Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I am an ultrarunner

As of today (May 23, 2006) I have been running ultramarathons for 2 whole days. That is to say, I ran my first 50K two days ago having completed the Ohlone Wilderness 50K Trail Run. I accomplished my main goal of simply finishing by running (and shuffling and walking) conservatively through most of the course. I would have liked to have finished in under 7 hours, but went just over in about 7:05 (obviously, I am no speed demon). I only had one bad spell during the 4 1/2 - 5 timeframe when I thought that my hydration system was empty with around 4-5 miles until the next aid station. Having never run for longer than 4 1/h hours before, the thought of going without fluids for close to an hour brought my mental state to a serious low point. It also slowed my already slow pace and, somehow, made my feet hurt much worse than they already did. Luckily, my shoe eventually came untied and, when I leaned over, the "slosh, slosh" of fluid moving in my pack lifted my sunken spirit. I don't know that my pace ever really picked up until the last downhill (love that downhill), but I was able to ignore my aching feets more easily and actually enjoyed the rest of the struggle.

Overall, it was a great event and I am overjoyed at having completed my first utra! It was quite hard going at times and I think that is just what I was looking for. I chose Ohlone partly because it is right in my "backyard", but also because simply running 4.8 miles longer than a marathon never seemed like a major challenge. The near 8,000 feet of up-and-down over the course of 31 miles that comprises Ohlone assured that it was no simple marathon+5. If you'd have asked me mid-course when I thought I'd do another ultra, I'd probably have said something like "I think I'll focus on shorter events after this". However, it was only a matter of hours after the event that I was already looking for my next 50K and trying to figure out a training schedule to complete a 50 miler. I guess that's how the sickness begins.

Some interesting questions/observations after the event:

  • I need to learn to be a better walker in order to improve my trail running.
  • I actually feel better physically than I did after my first marathon.
  • Why do my toenails hurt?
  • I expected to be exhausted after the race, but I was actually wired and couldn't sleep until midnight.
  • Though I would have thought it impossible, my desire to run on roads is even lower than before.
  • With DOMS now setting in, and walking starting to be painful, why do I find myself thinking more about running another ultra?
  • I've been fantasizing about running a 100 miler since learning of their existence. Having finally completed a 31 mile race, a 50 miler seems much closer than before. However, a 100 miler actually seems much, much further away.


Scott Dunlap said...

You are DEFINITELY an ultrarunner after doing Ohlone. That's one of the tougher ultras out there!

I think 7 hours is a very respectable time, even if you've been doing ultras for years. Nice work!

If it makes you feel any better, my toenails are a mess. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by the blog!


rick said...

I like those observations. I too had to learn to be a better walker. You'll get the opportunity as your long runs become even longer training for a 50, then maybe later for your first 100:) Dick Collins Firetrails 50 in Lake Chabot Marina, Castro Valley is a great 50M, first week of October.

If your toenails only hurt after all those fire road downhills then you have tough toes.

Sounds like you're on your way to more ultra races. Good luck and keep having fun.

joyisonesfuel said...

rock on!