We did it! (and then some)

Yesterday, Dave F. and I both completed our first ultradistance race, the Skyline Challenge 50K (~31 miles).  In fact we actually ran 33 miles since we got a little bit lost on the trail section of the course.  Amazingly, I feel less sore today than I usually do after marathons (for example, I can walk up and down stores without gripping the rail for support and without groaning in pain!).   I think it is because we ran at an easy pace and for me, at the aid stations consuming plenty of fluids (in the form of HEED sports drink), taking Endurolytes, and eating Pringles (mmm…yummy). 

My training was minimal as I had no plans to run an ultra until I happened upon the Skyline Challenge website a few weeks ago.  I figured I completed National Marathon 5 weeks ago, so a 50K would be just 5 miles more (little did I know that I would be running an extra 2 miles) and if I ran it easy, I would survive.  In fact, I hadn’t even run 33 miles in a week this year (my highest mileage was 31.5 and that includes 26.2 for the marathon). 

The race was really fun but I was sure glad Dave held back his pace to run with me because all of the runners were so far ahead that I probably would have gotten totally lost on my own.   Although it was a small race (maybe 30 runners divided between the 50K and 50 miler races, plus another 30 who ran a half marathon- we never saw the halfers since they started 2 hours after us and finished before us), it had more amenities and goodies then any other race I have run.  There were fireworks at the start to send us on our way, and amazing aid stations with friendly volunteers and every kind of goodie you can imagine (plus endurolytes and painkillers), and each finisher got a rousing applause as we came through the finish chute.  Plus donuts and coffee before the race (I avoided those), and a cookout after the race.  And lots of good schwag – nice shirt, firefly LED light, etc. 

The race was a scenic course out near Front Royal, VA, mostly on rolling country roads with 7 miles on the Appalachian Trail.  The trail section while slow going on the upside was absolutely gorgeous, blanketed by beautiful spring flowers – trilliums, spring beauties, violets, etc. (the spring flowers also brought out dozens of hikers – which took away some of the tranquility of the run).

It was a great experience and I am still in a bit of a shock that I actually finished the race in decent shape.  I never really understood why people like marathons so much because for the most part I find them to just be painful but maybe I’m really an ultra gal.  But now that the marathon and the 50k is done, my plan for the summer is stick to short races only- no more long distances.  Next winter, who knows?


Photos from the Skyline Challenge

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