Sunday, September 13, 2009

50 Miles!

One of my goals this summer was to run 50 miles in a race. I accomplished that goal last Friday September 11th at the Patriots' Run. The Patriots' Run is an event to commemorate the events of September 11, 2001. The run is held not only to honor those that died, but also the soldiers, police, fire fighters, and medical personnel that were involved in that tragic event that day but also continue to serve our country each day. The run is a 9 hour 11 minute run that begins at noon and goes until 9:11PM in the evening. It is a great opportunity to run whatever distance that you choose and run for however long you want to run. It is a certified marathon course but several people ran many different distances. Now the fun part. It was run on a .73 mile loop course. It can also be an ultra-marathon which I chose to do.

What a day it was. After a very aggressive training schedule, I felt that I was ready for the challenge of a 50 miler. My training combined running and cycling that on several weeks totaled close to or over 200 total miles. Nutrition was a very big factor in the success of this adventure. Weeks of pre-race preparation were very important. I worked hard to develop menus and daily training plans that would get me to my goal of 50 miles. Energy levels were very important and also the recovery portion after each training session. Looking back, I am very satisfied with how I arranged my training. Especially helpful was the cycling that I did that on some days that totaled 30-50 miles. My legs were just stronger for this race. I did my riding on Monday and Friday with shorter runs on Tuesday, Thursday; Wednesday was a combination of both running and riding (6 run, 30 ride), and on Saturday and Sunday I did my long runs with the peak training runs consisting of back to back 26 milers. Once again my Hammer Nutrition products were amazing. This time during this training I added GU Chomps. They are fantastic! Great fuel that settles well in your stomach.

The night before the race I had salmon, two small baked potatos, and some cornbread. Bedtime snack was a protein shake. Pre-race meal was oatmeal with soy milk and Hammer Soy Protein. I also drank Hammer Heed before the race. Temperatures were to be in the high 80's with the heat index up there too. We had some good cloud cover during parts of the day that really helped. During the race I had Hammer Heed, Hammer Perpetuem, GU Chomps, peanut buter/banana/honey sandwiches, water, tonic water, and one time had a frozen push-up pop that tasted like gold! I kept my hydration levels high due to the heat and had good energy throughout the 9 hours of running. I took 1-2 minute walk breaks as I refueled almost every two to three laps. An interesting thig happened at this distance though. The longer I ran the less hungry I became. I would try and change that next time (Yes, there will be a next time!) I would like to have eaten more. My stomach was a little hungry at times. After the race, I had a Hammer Recoverite Shake. Then about two hours later, a trip to Sonic for a hamburger and cherry limeade. Nice! Then I ate about every hour on the hour the rest of the night.

Race strateggy was to keep my head in the run, pace myself, stretch regularly, stay hydrated, keep legs fresh, and keep moving, but also let my thoughts go a little bit and try to relax. Being a loop course, it was easy to get to know other runners and run with different people every so often. I kept an even pace throughout much of the run, averaging 10.33 minutes per mile.

The highlight for me aside from accomplishing the goal of 50 miles was to be able to run with my son Andy who came out and paced me for the last 3 hours. What a blessing that was. He is a great marathoner, ultra-runner, and cyclist himself and to have him there was a big help!! I can still remember the moment I got to the top of an incline and saw him standing there waiting to run with me. Believe me after 6 hours of running, it was a total vision of relief for me. He did a masterful job of getting me in the right frame of mind to get the 50. His encouragement and our great talks those last 3 hours are a great memory to me. Thanks Andy!

The volunteers were amazing and very helpful. The run was well staffed and the food came in waves during the day. It was one of the best stocked runs I have done. I also want to give my wife a huge thank you! She had her station all set up right before the start/finish line where all of my food and drink was ready at the times we had planned. I had all of the stops planned as far as what I was going to eat and drink. She did a fantastic job of making sure I was doing what I had planned on doing as far as food and hydration were concerned. She also spent many of her weekends before the race following me around supporting my training runs each Saturday and Sunday. She is an absolute pro at this. She was there the whole nine hours with encouraging signs and help.

Gear for the run consisted my usual Brooks Running things. My Infiniti shoes did a fantastic job of supporting my feet and keeping me feeling light footed. Smart Wool socks again came through with a no blister day. That makes a huge difference.

I got to meet some great people and to name them all is a little hard since during the course of 50 miles, you sometimes just don't remember everything. But it was great to meet Dailymilers and Marathon Maniacs Rob and Chris. It was also good to meet Jonathan. And to you others whose names have escaped me, I apologize, it was great to meet you too.

Took Saturday and today off but will ride 30 miles Monday and get back into my regular training this week. Yes, I am a little sore in places but getting back out there as well as a massage this week will help. A total surprise was that I placed in this run. I left Friday night thinking I was in third place and tied with another individual and took home a great plaque. However today, when the official results came out I was in 2nd place for overall male in the ultra category based on laps and miles run.

Run Stats:
8:57:40 chip time
10:33 per mile pace
50.960 miles
70 laps

New goals are already set. More on those another day. Pictures to follow soon.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!