On Saturday November 14, 2015 I ran my first 50 Mile Ultra-marathon. The race was a culmination of hundreds of miles of training but in reality meant so much more. I have been dreaming and thinking about running a 50 mile race for years and on Saturday I made that goal a reality.
As with most ultras, it was an early start to the day. I luckily had the ability to sleep in my own bed the night before the race (not that it helped with sleep). When the alarm sounded at 3:45 I was already awake and ready to get moving. I arrived at the start with plenty of time to get the gear together and go through the pre-race routines.
Like most ultras, the start was pretty uneventful. As runners gathered and chatted among friends, the countdown began and we were off.
I had a pre-race plan of letting the day come to me and taking things slowly. I was very calculated in the risks I was willing to take. The day could not have unfolded any better. I have been in a world of hurt in other ultras and given the fact this was my first 50 mile race, I was very concerned about having similar issues. Luckily, I did not.
For fueling I used a combination of Tailwind Nutrition and Ensure. Over the last few races I have switched to almost all liquids for caloric intake during training and racing. I have found that the liquids are much easier on my stomach. I carried two 24 ounce bottles, one with water and one with Tailwind nutrition. At each of the aid stations, I would swap out my bottles. It was an easy routine and made it very simple to get in and out of aid stations without having to think about what I was going to eat or drink. I had the luxury of having my wife help as my crew. She would wait at the next aid station and have my bottles already set up. It was an unmeasurable help!! As a side note, for those who have not used Tailwind, you are missing the boat big time!! Please go give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
The course set up had an aid station placed about every 6-8 miles. Mentally, the focus was to take each section at a time and run to the next aid station. I really tried not to think about the mileage as a big number, but rather broke it down into the mileage until the next aid station. The miles clicked off much faster than I imagined they would and before I knew it I was less than a mile from the finish.
The best part of the day was the last mile. Not only because I knew my goal of running 50 miles was almost complete, but I ran it with my wife. I had asked her to come meet me for the last mile so we could run in together. It was the perfect culmination of an amazing day. We were able to share the last mile of an incredible journey together.
Looking back I had a few goal before coming into the race:
2: Feel good for as long as possible
3: Finish under 12 hours
I feel so lucky and am so thankful to have been able to achieve all three of my goals. My finishing time was 10:30:40.