Published May 30th, 2010
After running 41 marathons and nine 50Ks, I finally popped my 50-mile cherry by running 50.54 miles at the Watershed Preserve 12-hour race two weeks ago (I finished in 11:23:11, deciding I didn’t need to continue on for the full 12 hours).
This race was originally going to be a training run for the Rainier to Ruston 50-mile on June 5; however, I’ve decided to try to BQ at Seattle Rock ‘n Roll at the end of June and wanted more recovery time (I’ll still be running a 50K at R2R). Besides, I figured Redmond Watershed would be easier on my body as it’s all on trails, while R2R has a lot of road. In addition, given it’s a 12-hour race, even if I didn’t reach my 50-mile goal, I’d still be able to run farther than I ever had (my longest run prior was a 50K).
I didn’t follow a specific training plan; rather, I just ran a sh!tload of marathons and 50Ks (this was my 18th race of marathon distance or longer for the year). While I’d never run more than a 50K in one day, I have run 62 miles in two days and just over 80 in three days. While I was pretty confident I had the endurance, I was still quite nervous.
I knew the key would be too start off conservatively, something I’m used to doing in my marathons. I actually mapped out a pacing strategy for each loop on a spreadsheet, with paces starting at 11 1/2 minutes/mile and increasing by 15-45 seconds every loop, ending with 15-minute miles. My plan had my total running time at just over 11 hours, which would leave almost an hour for breaks at the aid station. Of course, I knew this would all be speculation; I had no idea what race day would bring.
I also received some great tips on nutrition/hydration from one of my ultra-running friends. This race puts out quite the spread at the aid station; in addition to typical ultra-running food (boiled potatoes with salt, cookies, pretzels, fruit, potato chips, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, electrolyte drink, etc.), they also offer sandwiches and soup later in the day. Therefore, the tendency to overeat was great. My friend recommended sticking to gels for the first 20+ miles before imbibing in “real” food.