A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Once upon a time... I ran 50 miles

**Believe it or not, I used to be able to run for longer than 10 minutes. (That's right my friends, I am up to 10 minutes now!) I used to run miles and miles on the trail. I still love the trail. I can't wait to get back on it! At this point my knee is going to be better just in time for the warm weather... and the snakes! (DAMNIT!) I'd like to tell you about a time, long ago in 2010, when I ran a 50 Mile Ultra Marathon! Get a cup 'o coffee (or scotch) and sit back. This is a long one. (Or just scroll down and look at pictures.)**



Once upon a time... I ran 50 miles!

When I first started running, I only ran on the road. After awhile, I would dabble in trail running- mostly because my friends ran on trail a lot and I didn't want to run alone on the weekends. At first, I didn't like the trail. I felt like I had to concentrate the whole time to be sure I didn't fall or step on a snake or something equally as frightening. I don't know when I changed my mind, but eventually I loved trail running. I still do.

In January, 2010, I ran my first ultra marathon- a 50k. It was the longest distance I ever ran in my life. It was one of those Fat-Ass, no frills get togethers called the Phunt 50k in Elkton, MD. The race was in early January. It was freezing and the ground was snow covered, but somehow I managed to finish in six and a half hours(ish). No one was even watching while I crossed the finish line- that is how Fat Ass-y this one was. I grabbed two hot dogs (I was starving!) and drove 2 hours home. It was a great experience! Just a loooong day in the woods.

For some reason, I decided to run a 50 mile ultra after that. A lot of my friends I ran with at the time had run ultras (even 100 milers!), so it didn't seem like such a crazy thing to do. My friend Anne and I decided to sign up for the Bull Run 50 Miler in Clifton, Virginia. We trained together and ran the entire race together. That day was one of the best days of my life. I felt so good the whole race. Part of me doesn't even want to attempt a 50 again because I don't think any race could ever turn out as well as Bull Run did.


Some FAQs about running a 50 Mile Ultra

**Based off my experience only- I am not an expert! I only did it once!**


How do you train for a 50? I know I trained too much. I ran too many miles during the week. I should have rested more on those days. I did things right on the weekends, though. We did a lot of back to back trail runs- 20 miles on a Saturday and 12 miles on a Sunday. Stuff like that. Our longest run was supposed to be 30 miles but I got injured and wasn't able to do that one. More on that in a minute...

Did you experience any injuries during your training? Why yes, I did! Several weeks before the race my achilles suddenly got SUPER tight. I had to rest and go to PT. I even missed some important training runs. Somehow, it got better pretty quickly and everything worked out. I have never had an achilles injury since.

What did you eat during the race? Lots of peanut butter sandwiches. 2 pieces of pizza. Water. Mountain Dew (LOTS!!). Peanut M & Ms and a doughnut. I'm sure I ate other stuff too but I can't remember.

Did you run the whole time or did you walk? We walked up every hill and sometimes we walked while we ate. Otherwise, we ran- slow, but steady. We weren't looking to break any records.

Where do you go to the bathroom? All over the woods! The first 35 miles I was sure to go behind a tree. But by the end of the race I was drinking so much Mountain Dew that I had to go all. the. time. And for some reason, after 9 hours in the woods, you stop caring about peeing behind a tree and don't care who sees your bum. So I sort of stopped being concerned about finding a tree at that point.

What did you carry with you? My hydration pack as well as a little pack around my waist. I am pretty sure I had napkins, aspirin, and salt tabs in that. Oh, and I had my phone, too! I remember texting my friend at one point while we were running through a field.

What did you eat after the race? Immediately after, I had a huge grilled italian sausage, some cupcakes, potato salad and a soda. I think some ginger snaps on the way home, too. When we got home later that night, I ate an entire small pizza from Papa John's... including the butter dipping sauce!

Did you have any injuries or blisters or anything after the race? I had two HUGE blisters on the outside of each big toe. They were as big as marbles. I didn't even know I had them until I took my sneakers off. I popped them in the shower immediately. That hurt like a bitch but there was no other choice- they hurt too bad!

Did you and Anne talk the whole time? Yes. We talked the entire 11.5 hours. I have never had a longer conversation with anyone. I am so lucky to have been able to share this experience with Anne. She is a wonderful person, an amazing runner, and a great friend. I wish you all would get to run with her someday!


And now some pictures of our day!!!




I ate a big bagel on the way to the start. When we got there, we stayed semi warm inside
and loaded up on some pre-race coffee. I used wear a bandanna when I ran.



Pre-race pic! Me and Anne. Best trail running partner EVER!



My mother-in-law Deb, Anne, me, and Paul.
Paul looks like a BABY!!!
Deb and Paul crewed for us. They brought a tambourine and a drum so when we
were approaching an aid station, we would hear their music. BEST. CREW. EVER!



This had to have been early, before Mile 11 since we still had on our long sleeves and gloves.
See the blue bells? The course was gorgeous.



Mile 11- Our first (of many) stops for food!



Mile 21. 
PB&J fueled us most of the way.
Most of the pictures you will see are of us eating!


Oz

Who are these people? Well, they are the volunteers at the Wolf Run Shoals aid station. This aid station is at Mile 25 and you pass it again on the way back as well. These fun volunteers dress up every year, and that year, the theme was The Wizard of Oz. I was too delirious to understand that they were dressed up because I thought the Tin Man was a runner who was wearing one of those suits the people who run Badwater wear. I said to Anne, "Why is that guy in a Badwater suit?" She answered, "Megan, he's the Tin Man!" Augh, it all came together after that!



Mile 28. I had just started the Mountain Dew. Once I started, I didn't stop!



Mile 38. At this point, we knew we were going to make it!
Notice how my clothes just kept coming off...



We finished together and we finished strong! On second glance, I look a little delirious!



We don't look like we ran for eleven hours and twenty minutes, do we???


Running a 50 miler was an awesome experience. I will probably do one again... eventually... but I'm not in any rush! This race was just too perfect!


Do you have any ultra running goals?
Do you enjoy trail running or prefer the road?
Who is your favorite running partner?

26 comments:

  1. Wow! I want to do one someday but I also keep thinking of how much marathons hurt and it stops from registering just yet, though I know it's a bit different because most people take walk breaks and there are food stops and all that. P.S. that race is in my backyard! I grew up in the woods in Clifton :)

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    1. 50s are soooo different from marathons. The trail is soft, so even though you are doing 50, it's not as hard on your joints. Plus, you don't run NEAR as fast as you would in a marathon. It's really just an all-day long, slow, jaunt through the woods. That is crazy that you grew up right there! We thought the trail was soooo pretty. :)

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  2. This is sooo amazing! Right now I can hardly imagine running a marathon, let alone an ultra.

    How do you carry REAL food on such a long run? (Like the sandwiches.) I know people swear by PB&J for marathons, but I have no clue how you carry something like that!

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    1. Good question! In marathons and other ultras, I have shoved little sandwiches in waist pack or in my hydration pack. For Bull Run, I am pretty sure I put some emergency food in my camelback. But, we also had my hubby and his mom crewing for us, so they would give us food every few miles. The pizza and mtn dew were from the aid stations.

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  3. Just reading this made me tired, phew!! Ultra runners amaze me! I don't think I'll ever go past 26.2 and even that intimidates me!

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    1. And think, there are people that run 100 freaking miles!!!! That makes 50 look a lot less impressive!

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  4. Oh my gosh this is just insane! But good for you. I am not a runner, so just reading this made me want to die lol but what an experience!

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    1. lol you made me laugh! It was a great experience. :)

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  5. Wow, good for you! I have no desire to do an Ultra although my sister does! (one of my biggest worries in any race is "what if I have to go to the bathroom"). Glad to see your mileage is picking up. You will be adding more miles before you know it. I am super impressed with what you are able to do so far so quickly!

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    1. lol I only worry about the bathroom if I'm on the road. If I'm on the trail... the woods is my bathroom!

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  6. YAY this is the best post ever :) You look amazing at the end... it doesn't look like you ran 10 miles let alone 50! Where I live we have sand and palm trees instead of woods with awesome trails. There are no ultra races around here, but there is a 50K near my mom's house in north-central Florida that I've got my eye on for next Feb... and then I just heard about a little 50-miler that has like a 30 hour cutoff that I may target for my first 50 next October... I think I could make that cutoff haha.

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    1. I think we looks so good because we were running so slow! Seriously, I look worse after 20 minutes of intervals on the arc trainer than I look in that pic! That is awesome that you have an eye on a race. Yes, you would def make the cut off time. You'll be showered, at home, and in bed by the cut off time. :)

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  7. So what you're saying is... there's a race where I can eat a lot of food while I'm running? SOLD.

    Seriously, the idea is somewhat appealing. I'm not in that kind of shape right now, but if I get to that point, I'd definitely consider doing an Ultra race.

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    1. If you love being outside and you love nature (which I know you do!) it is definitely something to consider. It's just a long, slow, jaunt in the woods. Very stress free compared to a marathon or a half.

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  8. Well, you know my feelings on the marathon, so FIFTY miles scares the living day lights out of me. You are amazing. And no, you absolutely do not look as though you had been running for over 11 hours. You ladies looked great!

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    1. We felt good too, that's the amazing part! I'm scared to try it again. I just can't imagine another race going so well. I feel like that was my moment and I shouldn't ruin it.

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  9. Wow, go you! That looks like it was a lot of fun. I am just trying to get back up to a half marathon right now but an ultra would be cool! I would definitely need a buddy though...it might take a little work to convince my usual running buddy to do something that long. :D

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    1. Yes, I think having some friend to run with would be key! I couldn't imagine doing it alone unless I knew I'd meet someone on the trail. Actually, once, I was running in a trail relay. I did the last two legs, which added up to like 21 miles. I didn't bring music or anything to listen to because I assumed there would be other people on the trail to talk to. I was wrong. Since I was the last 2 legs, everyone was spread out by then. I would pass people once every 20 minutes or so, but there was never an opportunity to run and chat with someone. So that was like 4.5 hours of solo running- some of it in the DARK. Eeek!

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  10. Holy awesome! You are a rock star!!! I have a 50K on my radar but I most certainly cannot even imagine 50 miles?!?!!??! I love the bandana look :)

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    1. Once you do I 50k you'll be like... ehhh I can do this for a couple more hours!

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  11. Hi Meg! Sorry I haven't been around. Long story! I think that is really incredible what you did, although I can't imagine drinking that much mountain dew! lol! I'm glad you are up to running 10 minutes...I know you've been struggling so much with running and missing what you could do. I'm not going to blow sunshine up your ass..it's just hard to think about what once was. I do hope you have stead healing and can do what you want to do as far as running. After my half, I know one thing for sure, long distance running is SO not for me. :)

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    1. I've been wondering where you've been! Was checking your blog... Hope all is well with you! :)

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  12. I can't imagine running and eating lol It looks like you had a great day :) 50 miles is an amazing accomplishment...bad **s I hope your knee gets to feeling better sooon!

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  13. I love this post!!!!! What an amazing race!!! I want to run an ultra someday - 50 miles! I think I am going to put it on my "before I turn 40 list." I remember when I told Gunshow about it a couple of months ago, he looked at me like I was CRAZZZZY! I would definitely have to run with somebody though!!

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    1. Yes, grab a good friend equally as crazy as you and DO IT!

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