Lessons Learned from my first 50k

Hagg Lake 50k (Picture by Tim Riley)

Hagg Lake 50k (Picture by Tom Riley)

As I float slowly down from my post race high I thought I’d savor the moment again and review what worked, what didn’t, what was awesome, and what totally, totally sucked.

1. Squash, it’s what’s for breakfast. It’s not sardines sadly, but it’ll do in a pinch: My usual pre-race breakfast consists of sardines and rice, but out of respect to my co-carpooler I thought I’d skip the canned fish breath. (What, are you saying that sardine breath can’t be sexy?). Instead I opted for pureed butternut squash topped with pumpkin seeds, some coconut oil and maple syrup. Ed wondered what kind  of squash it was, and my reply is – if it can’t be sardines, then I want my butternut squash!

2. Less is so much more: I had less than 20 minutes to get race ready. While I certainly felt frantic and frazzled (which totally sucked), I also didn’t have time to fret or worry or obsess over the distance. Obsessing is not helpful when you’re trying to achieve any kind of pre-race zen.

3. Don’t forget the salts and sugars: I don’t stomach any of the electrolyte drinks very well; whether they be Nuun, Gatorade or flat soda – instead I opt for a mix of GU, water and Endurolyte tablets and the mix seems to work – I downed 7 GUs and a bunch of tablets – and probably needed more salt.

4. Trail Runners are incredibly nice: Maybe distance running makes people crazy, but it also makes them incredibly supportive and very nice. Or maybe incredibly supportive crazy people are drawn to incredibly crazy sports? It’s kind of a chicken and the egg questions. In any case, the energy of the other runners, spectators and course aid station volunteers was top-notch. I met team members from Portland’s  Trail Factor and chatted it up with some truly amazing runners. I felt lucky to participate in a race where everyone was so nice and had such nice legs to boot.

5. Thirty-one mile, you’re so fun, I’d do you again: Maybe it was the heady blend of concentrated sugars, caffeine, mud and extreme fatigue, but running 31 miles happened to be pretty great fun! Don’t believe me? Look at that crazy grin that’s plastered to my face (taken at mile 17!). It was superbly exhausting, but such a huge accomplishment.


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in breakfast, running. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Lessons Learned from my first 50k

  1. Ana-Maria says:

    Thanks for the ‘lessons learned’. I’ll keep these in mind while I keep dreaming about my first ultra, hopefully to become reality in the summer.

    Now, I have to say, your prerace breakfasts are quite unique – the squash combo sounds awesome, gotta try it sometime.

    Congrats again, Ana-Maria

  2. leslie says:

    Great race report and great performance. I ran my first 50K 3 weeks ago, but my time is WAAAAAY slower. You’re right, though, the feeling of accomplishment is huge.

    When are you doing a 50 miler??? 🙂

  3. Aileen says:

    That picture could be a poster or ad for the race itself! Good work!

  4. I believe you. “That crazy grin that’s plastered to [your] face” is genuine enough.
    Great post.

  5. kingofpots says:

    congratulations! good job and awesome accomplishment on your first ultra race. you are a fast runner. welcome to the world of ultra running. if you have time, please browse at http://www.bataan102.com…fm baldrunner

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