This year a 50 mile run was added to an already solid list of options including 4 miles, 19k, 31k, and 50k. I toyed with the idea of attempting the 50 mile run, but decided on the 50k, based on my training plan and goal to complete the Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance run in April. I had a few goals for this run, but the one that fueled me most, was to beat my time of 5 hours 58 minutes from last year.
The 50k began at 7:30 and I immediately stuck to my plan of being conservative early; it can be hard to ignore the adrenaline that takes over at the start of a race. The first few miles flew by, as I approached the first aid station at mile 5, I made sure to finish drinking the remaining water in my hand held bottle. I reached the aid station, staying only long enough to refill my bottle. I ran alone for the next few miles enjoying the newly groomed trail.
A few miles from aid station 2, mile 10.7, I worked to keep a steady 9 min/ mile pace while running through the sandy wash. I arrived at the second aid station, had my water bottle filled as I ate a few pieces of peanut butter sandwich and orange slices. Before heading back on the trail I thanked the husband and wife duo, who had also helped me out a few weeks before at The Castle Hot Spring’s 22 mile run.
After 8.8 miles I arrived at aid station 3, which is also the start/finish line of all 5 races. The 50 mile runners were headed back onto the 31k loop, going counter clockwise. I marveled at how fresh many of them looked. They had 30 miles left in their run and I had 11 plus left in mine. Fatigue was setting in and I wanted to keep moving, so after grabbing my waist pack and second water bottle, I made my way back out onto the Coldwater trail.
Not long after leaving the aid station my legs felt so heavy that I contemplated dropping out of the run. It took a bit of self talk to will myself to keep moving. In my opinion, these are the moments that ultras are run for. The battle with ones self to push past the pain, self doubt, and live in that moment when you’re David battling Goliath.
I fought hard those last few miles and crossed the finish line in 5 hours 54 minutes. I was happy to have run 4 minutes faster then my time from last year. I was also happy to have completed my third 20 plus mile run in four weeks. I stuck around the finish line afterwards for about an hour enjoying time talking and laughing with my wife, kids, and friends. Another great day out on the trail!
|Heading into aid station 3 (mile 19.5)|
|Moments after crossing the finish line.|