Saturday, November 12, 2011

LESSONS LEARNED from my first 50 mile run:

Having a week to process this, I thought I would make note of "things I learned" from my first 50 mile run for future reference:

Lesson  #1. YES, you CAN do more than you think you can !!
Lesson  #2. Pains will come and go, and you can run through most of them... but keep a mental list of those areas needing work. For me thats ITB stretches (with supportive glut med strengthening) and upper body strength.  Tired arms------>>>>>
Lesson #3. If you have EXTRA supplies, PACK them. You never know what you'll lose in the excitement  leading up to the race. In my case it was the mandatory headlamp. Lucky Whistler sold them !
Lesson #4. NOT everyone wants to play and socialize on a run like I do. Some are much more serious. Some enjoy the 'slog'

I need to pick up on that and respect their serious attempt for a 'time' or 'place'

Lesson #5. ICE baths WORK! I had mine day 2/day3(when inflammation peaks) and no muscle soreness at work on Monday.

Lesson #6. Careful planning of calories/salt tabs, water etc prior to the race pays off at the end when  you are not exactly thinking straight. I had care packages each loop that gave me nutrition for each lap, in addition to some sort of 'treat' to look forward to.
Lesson #7. If you usually wear ie. a size 7.5 shoe, but the salesman insists you are only a 7- Get the LARGER size, your toenails will thank you.
Lesson #8. Those long runs are NOT a waste of time.  Even if  the race you trained for is cancelled, the  endurance base accomplished seems to have some staying power... how long? I don't know, but my last long run was 8 weeks prior to this one. I was able to tap into my summers work for a fall run... Hay in the barn baby!

Heather V.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


If this run was a hotel, I would call it a" 5 star". It was very luxurious running. Great information,  organization, trail markings, aid stations, volunteers, and even port a potty heaven- you name it, you were well cared for. Being a newbie to the 50 mile distance, I highly recommend this run.

I have trained for two 50 milers this summer- both cancelled due to funerals etc. By Sept I was frustrated with 'wasting my time' doing all those long runs and decided to put together a team for the Whistler 50 relay (formerly H2H). I shortened my runs, trying to pick up speed... but kept  up with mini doubles 2 hr/3 hr sat/sun runs with my husband. Well, the team fell apart.

Instead of being frustrated again, I decided to be positive and ACT on what I wanted to do.... I signed up for the Whistler 50 mile run anyways, but as a SOLO.  Two birds with one stone !  Run in whistler AND do my first 50 mile . Attending to unfinished business.

Being raiseed on a farm, thats what I hope I had. My last 4 hour run was 8 weeks prior to the race...maybe it wasn't a 'waste of time' ? . I was inspired by a friend of mine who just pulled off a 30 km with little training- if she could do that, could I pull off an 80 k ? right?? 
My big concern was that this was generally a flat course and I haven't ran more than 8-10 flat miles in the last 2 years!

 Expecting my first 50 miler to be a grueling, complicated experience, it turned out to be a pleasantly simple experience that I would summarize into positive and negatives for each 21 km lap.

Lap 1:  17 km

+ ve :  6 am start, beautiful, peaceful run thru the trails. Great trai l markings, lots of runners... no worries. Enjoyed pulling back from the pack to run alone in the dark. Pristine !  

-ve : Left tibial plate and screws from an old fracture immediately started to ache. grrrr- it eventually settled and went away. This was my stumbling block that I felt would limit my distance past 50 km.

Lap 2: 21 km
+ve :The sun rises, I  get to see the beautiful full course. Paved trails thru golf courses, homes,lake, and Whistler village. Running with a guy who did leadville 3X, a woman who did death race, and another woman who did transrockies...meanwhile " hi , I'm Heather, of this is my first 50 miler"... feeling out of my league ! Big Time !

- ve: The metatarsal pain starts. 2nd toes, both feet burning from the pavement pounding. I'm thinking 'lovely, I got another 8 hrs of this' But that too passed....

LAP 3 : 21 km
+ve: I now know the course, and am feeling  like the the aid station attendants are old friends. I most looked forward to seeing Gottfried Grossier (organizer of several great local runs -including my FIRST 50 kilometer 'Frosty 50 k"    I was ahead of schedule.  I guessed 10 + hr finish time. I was a bit confused when I  checked the time to see I was only 6 hrs in ... was I only on lap 2 ? no, I was on lap 3 as I had 3 elastics on my wrist to mark each lap when I picked up my goodies from my drop bag from each lap. Being a nerd paid off.
Only 21 Km to go- would I finish in 8 1/2 hours? really? am I hallucinating?

- ve: Now its time for the ITB to kick in. All my other aches and pains are gone, now I get to enjoy  the results of having  my womanly hips. Lovely.  The commings and goings of aches and pains are actually becomming amusing.

Lap 4 : 21km  ( The final 60- 80 km )
+ ve:  I finally get to feel the push PAST  a 50 km !!! Woot woot !!!  
 Felt suprisingly fine until about the last hour where I think I did a great impression of what MR BEAN would look like if he started running- Tee hee ! 
My nutrition etc. was dialed in, I  thought I was lucid ... except for the part where I called my husband:
" I've got 4 kms to go to the finish ... it should take me 45-50 mins (thinking in miles)" Meanwhile my husband has visions of me crawling to the finish.
-ve:  Yup, a new entertaining pain. My ARMS ! wtf ! both biceps aching, I can't hold my arms up any longer- had to rest my thumbs in my waistband and literally run like a cowboy !                                                                                                                         

DONE !  8:04 ! 8th woman, 4th age group.
A couple of women sprinted past me on a downhill in the last 10 km, but I diddn't care. I wasn't  racing, I was just finishing, just enjoying my first 50 mile run .  And dammmit, it was actually enjoyable.
It was great to meet my husband and 14 yr old daughter at the finish line. Best hug ever !

And lets not forget the recovery drinks:

Heather V