Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seashore 50K-Lessons Learned

It's been a few days since I ran my 5th marathon plus distance in as many months, and I'm not sure that I have much to say about the race other than I did it.  After Richmond Marathon, I decided to sign up for Seashore 50K because I knew it was a fast course with non-technical trails.  Although I had in the back of my mind that I would like to do a sub-7 hour 50K, my heart really wasn't in it.  In my heart, I knew I was a little burned out going into this race, and I could feel the tiredness in my legs as well. I was trying to keep a mantra of "Just Fly" in my head, but I pretty much knew after the first 10K that it was going to be a just keep moving day.
Ultra Mamas

On race day, it was unseasonably warm with a low of 55 and a high of 73.  I hadn't trained in weather that warm for a while so I had a feeling that race day was going to be kind of a slog.

I met up with my friends from Moms Run This Town at race start.  One of them had gotten all of us bracelets that said Believe on them so it was nice to have them to reflect on during the race.
Modeling our bracelets

  This was also my first race as a Marathon Maniac so I got to meet up with a bunch of the maniacs for a pre-race photo.   I think being a maniac was pretty much my fave part of this race.  It was so great to meet other maniacs and to always have someone to encourage you on the trail.

We started at the Narrows, did a short road out and back and then hit the trail.  I was running with our group of 4 coming into 64th Street aid station.  I just grabbed a drink at this aid station and quickly headed out.  We picked up the pace on the next longer section of trails as Cape Henry was a wider section of trail and runners got more spread out.  I grabbed a handful of chips and some M&Ms and reloaded my handheld water bottle before heading out on Osthmanus Loop.  This section of trail was just annoying.  It was really rooty, but not technical, just enough to be irritating and slow you down.  As I finished this section of trail, I pretty much knew that I was going to be in trouble for the rest of the day.  I was cramping in my stomach and back and feeling so bloated like I had to go to the bathroom but I couldn't.  I was drinking plenty of water, but I was having an awful time taking in any calories.  I had a few Honey Stingers and headed back on towards 64th Street.

I saw JD and the kids at this aid station and let him know that I was feeling bad.  He tried to get me to eat, but I couldn't force much more than a few chips.  I started the slog back out to the Narrows and met up with the other women out there at the drop bag area.  I forced down a quarter of banana and tried to run back out with them, but I couldn't hold onto their pace so I just slowed down and resigned myself to getting it done on my own.  I saw JD and the kids again at 64th Street and tried to go to the bathroom again with no luck.  At this point I was still on pace for a sub-7 hour (even 6:30 finish).

The slog back to Bald Cypress was pretty miserable with my pace really deteriorating at that point.  I really wanted to be at sub 15 minute pace the entire time, but I couldn't do it on that section.  I rolled into Bald Cypress and knew that the Osthmanus Loop was going to be a walk fest.  I was trying to run, but the roots were making that almost impossible given the fact that I was completely bonking.  I just wanted off of that loop.  The remarkable thing was that even though I felt physically awful, I was able to stay positive mentally and was really just focused on a finish regardless of what the time was.  I grabbed a few orange slices and a chip and headed back on Cape Henry.  At some point I saw the sign saying that we passed the marathon distance and did a little mental cheer and kept slogging on.

Coming into 64th Street, I was greeted by the best surprise ever.  I didn't expect to see JD and the kids until the end, but he somehow knew that I was going to need them at mile 29 so he was there.  Nicolas came running down the trail with a cup of ice that I promptly dumped right into my sports bra.  I got out of the aid station (briefly considering asking Zach to run the last 1.5 miles in with me-in retrospect I wish I would have) and headed towards the finish.
Don't I look awesome...almost done!

As I hit the final road to the finish, Nicolas jumped up and ran in with me while JD and Zach were cheering me on. 

Final finish was 7:21:20...nowhere close to goal, but a 50 minute PR over YUTC in September.  Overall I'm proud of the finish and the fact that I stayed mentally strong.  In hindsight, I should not have raced this one with expectations of a really good time given the number of big races I had consecutively.  I think it was a good lesson though to show me what I can do when I am in total and utter physical misery.  I was pretty much at the bottom of the barrel energy wise and felt sick like I had the flu for 2 days afterwards due to the dehydration and lack of calories during the race.  So despite knowing what I needed to do with hydration and fueling sometimes your body just doesn't want to cooperate, and you do the best you can to get to the finish.

Seashore is a great race and particularly great for a first time ultra.  It's not a particularly interesting course, but it's pleasant enough and spreads out pretty quickly.  The aid stations are well stocked and the volunteers are terrific. 
Nice wood carved medal this year

Quick review on one new piece of equipment:  I tried out Ultimate Direction Jurek Essential waist pack, and I loved it.  It was super light and comfortable yet it held a phone and a lot of fuel and did not bounce around at all.  I also should note that the RunPrettyFar tank was so comfortable and very cool.

Section 1:  11:02 min/mile (2.9 miles-31:57)
AS1 (64th Street):  40 seconds
 Section 2:  10:30 min/mile (4.3 miles-45:47)
AS2 (Bald Cypress): 2:06
Section 3:  13:02 min/mile (3 miles-39:06)
AS3 (Bald Cypress):  53 seconds
Section 4:  12:42 min/mile (4.3 miles-54:55)
AS4 (64th St):  2:30
Section 5:  13:50 min/mile (1.6 miles-22:09)
AS5 (Narrows):  1:45
Section 6:  13:13 min/mile (1.6 miles-21:20)
AS6 (64th Street):  3:21
Section 7:  15:46 min/mile (4.3 miles-1:07:48)
AS7 (Bald Cypress):  2:01
Section 8: 18:36 min/mile (3 miles-55:22)
AS8 (Bald Cypress):  1:09
Section 9:  16:10 min/mile (4.3 miles-1:09:22)
AS9 (64th Street):  1:00
Section 10:  16:16 min/mile (1.7 miles-27:40)
Total:  14:14 min/mile (7:21:20-31 miles)


  1. Nice congrats on the new 50K PR! That's fabulous! You have to make sure you change it on the top left of your blog, (it's so much fun to change those!)

  2. I agree with Kristy. Very fun to update the PRs. Sorry you felt so miserable during the race. Congrats to you!