How I Turned a 50K Race Into a 39 Mile Run
You know how a lot of people are afraid they'll get lost in a trail race? Today I wasn't paying attention and I made a wrong turn in my 50K race. After feeling disappointed in myself, I realized that if I finished the 50K course, I would run a lot farther than my longest distance ever, which is a marathon. I was kind of happy about the idea of running nearly 40 miles. Could I do it? I ended up adding 8.1 miles to my 31 mile race and I ran 39.1 miles today! So there was bad, but there was good.
Race page: Hog's Hunt 50K Trail Race, Huntsville State Park, Texas (north of Houston)
Results: 8 hours 44 minutes to run 39.1 miles
Course: dirt park roads, mostly shaded, some single track and sand, lots of tree roots, hills, 8 aid stations, flushing toilets at the start, at least one porta-potty on the course
Weather: humid at first, warm to hot, 70-86F
After I told the race director about my wrong turn, he called ahead to the aid stations to let them know some crazy runner (my description, hopefully, not his!) who needs help with directions would be coming through. I'd get up to an aid station and they'd cheer for me and make sure I had extra directions about where to turn, or not turn, once I left their station. It was great!
I really didn't think they'd be out on the course the whole time because I was so late, but the aid station volunteers and volunteers at an important turning point waited for the very last finishers. Two volunteers ran with me on the course when I was in the later miles and nearly alone on the course. That was a real pick-me-up. They hustled to get me through the stop quickly and they made food/drink suggestions. I read that aid station volunteers should treat runners like preschoolers. A tired runner appreciates everything spelled out.
|Post-race: The Trail|
Fuel Pre-run: pancakes, syrup, banana
Fuel During Race:
6 servings Tailwind Nutrition sports drink powder carried in my 40 ounce Nathan fuel belt. Using less caffeine (2 servings) than usual and/or more water per serving (10 ounces) worked better than usual for the first part of the race. I started with 3 full bottles of Tailwind mixed with water. Rather than mess with powder on the course, I put 3 servings of Tailwind with a little water in one bottle on my 4 bottle belt. When I had 2 empty bottles, I squirted 1/3 of the Tailwind mix into two bottles (leaving 1/3 of the mix in the first bottle) and filled all three of those bottles with water. A volunteer helped me with this and it worked well.
Because the race lasted much longer than planned I ran out of Tailwind so I used the course provided drink, vanilla Heed (50-80 ounces maybe). It's less sweet than Tailwind and I liked it.
Post-marathon Food: Chocolate milk (from home), banana, M & M's. According to the desired carbs: protein 4:1 or 3:1 ratio, that's too many carbs or too little protein, though. The provided food was at an aid table at the finish.
I didn't see a snake, an alligator or a wild hog like I thought I might. Although I stubbed my toe on roots, I never fell. Because of roots and a hurt ankle, I didn't finish this race in 2012.
Next time, I'll write a separate post about finishing and what it's like when people think you are the first female finisher when you turn out to be the last.