Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm an Ultrarunner

Well, I haven't posted in a while so there probably aren't any readers left. But I thought I would go ahead and post that I ran the Cowtown 50k on Saturday. So I'm officially an ultrarunner (as opposed to an ultrawalker).

Cowtown is the big annual road marathon in Ft. Worth, Texas. This year was the 30th anniversary so they added an ultramarathon option. You ran the same course as the marathoners until right before mile 24; then you did a long out and back, then rejoined the marathoners for the last two miles. It's not a bad course; it's kind of hilly (as far as road races go) and well supported. The weather started in the 30s and finished in the 60s so that was a challenge for me.

I was hoping to finish somewhere around a 10:00 pace but expected to slow down. I held the 10:00 pace really easily until somewhere around mile 22-23, then I started to tire and drag and had to walk more than I preferred. I walked and ran the rest of the way and ended up finishing in about 5:34, a 10:47 pace. I'm not too upset about the time since my ultimate goal was just to finish. I enjoyed the race and the day, saw a number of new and old friends at the race, and generally felt good about being outdoors, alive and running.

I do think I need to stop treating road races like road races and start treating them like ultras (although I hope to not have to do too many road races in the future). What I mean is that I need to eat more, drink more and consider stopping at the aid stations instead of running through and grabbing a cup with about 4 oz. of weak gatorade.

During this weekend's race, and during the White Rock marathon in December, I didn't have any problems with blisters, or major aches and pains, or cramping, or anything like that. I just ran out of steam. I was thinking yesterday that at an ultramarathon I start eating substantial food (PB&J sandwiches, potato chips, cookies) and drinking sports drinks or sodas at the very first aid station, which is usually 4-5 miles. I continue eating and drinking at every aid station.

I think that the next time I do a long road race I will carry some real food (PB&J would be good) and I will drain my bottle more frequently and stop at the aid stations to refill. I know I can do better at these distances (to be honest my training runs have been better than my races) and I think eating and drinking is the key.

My next race is the Texas Independence Relay where I'll be running about 31 miles of a 204 mile relay race with 11 friends and colleagues. Then my next ultra is the Ouachita Trail 50 miler in mid-April. I've got some good training planned before Ouachita so hopefully it will be a good race for me.

Thanks for reading!