12 May 2018

Greenland Trail

So last week I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, physically and mentally. I ran (and walked) 50 kilometers (31 miles) in about 7.5 hours.

Main thought after 5 hours: who pays for this sort of torture?

Because I didn’t know what to expect at aid stations, I brought all my own food. Probably too much, I definitely had a pretty full bag, but it served me well. My stomach was never in trouble. I did have to force myself to eat at regular intervals toward the end, but I was able to keep my energy levels up quite well. I did have to fill my hydration bladder though. And yes, it’s a pain to fill and replace. I can see how hard bottles are easier at aid stations, but the bladder is just so much easier to carry and run with.

My feet were fine! I was so happy. I worried about blisters between my toes, so I brought injinji socks as a backup. I didn’t start with them because the individual toes push my feet just wide enough to crush my pinky toe. I still have a black nail from more than a month ago. I never had to change socks or tape any toes or anything. I did have to dump pebbles out of my shoes from time to time. I like my shoes to be quite loose, so that’s a hazard, but easy to remedy.

The weather was beautiful! It was a tad hot, but not unbearable. It was a bit humid too, but gorgeous. I applied sunscreen before the race, but neglected to bring any along. Luckily the aid station had some and I avoided a burn. It was some sort of very strong "man" scent though. 

The trail was 4 loops of the same course. It got a little draining mentally, especially at the third loop, knowing I’d have to be back again, even more tired. Besides being loops, the trail actually did double back on itself for a short stretch. Getting to that aid station and literally turning around and running the exact same stretch again was rough.

I finished 75th out of 80 finishers.

I’m not sure how I feel about races. There’s definitely an atmosphere that’s fun, but since I finished so many hours after the winners, everything was packed up and there were only a few people to meet me at the finish. I don’t mind that it wasn’t full of people, but almost all the snacks were gone and it was just sort of sad. I paid the same amount as the others did and I finished in before the cutoff time, but I feel like I missed out a bit at the end.

I was definitely slow, I definitely could have benefited from a lot more training. But I finished, and honestly, for my first ultramarathon and first trail race, that’s all I was hoping for.

When I crossed the finish line I was overcome. It was odd. It was surely mostly due to exhaustion, relief. But I definitely teared up. Someone was handing me a medal. Boyfriend was congratulating me and asking me stuff, someone else was offering water and snacks. I wanted to sit and cry.

Recovery was not bad either. My hips and ankles were sore for a few days, but nothing bad. Now I just need to get back out and keep running. 
Photographer had an emergency, so this is the only photo. Huge smile as I neared the finish. 


Abby said...

Well done! It's amazing to me that you did a 50K as essentially your first race. I didn't realize that course was 4 loops, and I can see how that would be a mental challenge as well as physical. I would encourage you to try some other events - maybe a full or half marathon or 25K? - using your voice of experience now.
Your lack of foot problems is a testament to your training! What shooz did you wear?

Larz said...

I wore Vivobarefoot Motus. I'm happy with them. I might sign up for other races, I definitely like trails better than roads though.