~~Wow, 50 miles is a long way. Now that it’s over I’m glad Tom Lee got me to do this race by running our first 50 miler as we both turn 50.
Unfortunately, I came into this race not having trained as well as most of the past marathons I’ve run. It would have also been nice to not have been diagnosed with pneumonia Monday then feeling very weak Tuesday and Wednesday and then having terrible headaches on Thursday and Friday. I did, however, feel pretty good when I woke up Saturday morning at 3:30am.
Race day: Temperature 50 at start and 70 by the finish. Off and on winds but never strong and mostly sunny.
My morning pray was that I’d be smart enough not to push too hard and that I’d be able to judge how I felt so that I’d call it quits if I needed to. Well, my pray was answered. A half mile into the race my left quad, on the outside, tightened up like it would cramp up if I kept running on it. I thought it would go away, surely it was an imaginary pain, but after a while I decided I better walk for a minute to get the muscle tightening to release all the way. It worked, but anytime from then on that I went a little faster or run the pace I’d prefer to run at my left quad tightened right back up and I had to walk. See, the Lord blessed me with a problem that didn’t let me run faster than I should for my condition.
The first hour wasn’t near as fun because it was dark, but as soon as it got light it was fun to be out in nature running on trails. The sunrise was awesome. When I had run about 19 miles and ran by the starting line it seemed like I’d gone far enough for the day and would be happy getting in the car and going home. But I’d come to run 50 miles and I was still feeling good enough to keep going. I dropped off my long sleeve shirt and headlamp at my car and then headed out for the real punishment.
The east side trail was not near as beautiful as being up in the hill tops of the first part of the race but it was relatively flat which was nicer for getting the miles in. I was very pleased to get a phone call from my wife and two youngest daughters that they had arrived on the island. They caught up to me at about mile 29-30. It’s always nice to have someone cheer and give you a cold drink.
Buy the half way point my left quad would tighten up and caused me to walk at least every mile for 30 seconds to a minute. It got a little more frequent with longer walk breaks as the race went on. I was very glad to get to the Ranch 33 mile point where you get to turn around and head back towards the finish line. It was good to see Tom wasn’t too far behind me. I felt bad for anyone that had to run as much as me. Especially sorry for the 100 mile runners I passed. By the time I got to the 44 mile aid station I was definitely getting tired but was enjoying the idea that I only had 6 more to go. I fueled up and then headed up the very steep hill. I walked it way to fast and by the time I got to the top the quads in both my legs cramped up. I walked for about 5 minutes after that before they would relax enough to run.
Now with both legs on easy alert to cramp up and being tired the run was more of try not to think about the pain and just get to the finish. It was nice to come around the last hill and be able to see the white tent by the finish line. Nice to hold off Tom for another race and be able to say I’ve run a 50 miler.
The vegetable buffalo stew at the finish was very good compared to the race fuel during the run. Nice to put something healthy inside the gut before the drive home.