I Finally Ran My First 50k – The Tallahassee Ultra – Race Recap

Featured, Fitness, Personal • January 4, 2022

May 4 was the day I decided to run a 50k.

Why? I am not entirely sure.

Maybe I wanted a new challenge or prove others wrong or simply just see if I could do it. When I first was looking for races I knew I wanted to simply finish, with no time goal in mind (at the time). So that very day, I set out on a training plan without signing up for a race just of yet. We were still in the beginning stages of COVID and most races were cancelled, but I wanted to get started on my base.

That summer I trained in Florida which if you ever trained in the Florida Summer (aka Satan’s armpit) then you know how excruciating that can be. Now I had not been running before that so I was SLOOOWWWWW. However, unlike my first marathon, I had known how to approach this training a bit differently.

I move to Boston that winter and in October I signed up for my first 50k that was supposed to be in April. This allowed me to finish my base phase and then start training for 22 weeks starting in December. Keep in mind this was my first winter running or ever! First time I saw snow, let alone run in it!

All went well throughout the training online mid-march about 6 weeks out from race day. It was the day after I finished my first 16 miles run and I was feeling good. Until I hopped out of bed that morning. It was extremely excruciating to walk. After about a week and no improvement, I went to see a specialist where the conclusion was that I had a stress fracture. Which takes about 6-8 weeks to heel. I waited until the last minute, but ultimately I knew it was smart to back out of the race.

Once my foot healed, I knew I needed to find a race before the end of the year! The last race of the season that was close to home or where I live was December 18th. The Tallahassee Ultra.

Honestly, my training for the ultra went great. Never ran into troubles aside from a few phantom pains the last month of training. I feared I would not be able to race so I did everything in my power to keep everything in check. Because I wanted to race so bad, I did everything I could to stay injury-free: sleep, nutrition, stretching, hydration, all of it!

Leading up into race day was a little nerve-racking. Almost was unable to race due to travel issues but we made it.

That morning my support team (which included only my lovely husband) and I woke up at 3 am to leave the house by 3:30 am CST to make it to the race by 6:30 am EST. So a time change, 2 packs of oatmeal, a Gatorade, and 2 hr drive later we made it. Grabbed my race gear, prepped my husband with the plan, and then I waited.

I didn’t do much of a warm-up. I was trying to keep my breakfast in place and trying to keep cool. After training in 30 and 40 F weather in Toronto, 75 F + humidity was not a great shift. Also, I wasn’t even able to finish what I had planned but that is okay. I switched things up to try to backload food intake as early on as possible.

When 6:55 am hit, we all lined up (there were only about 30 of us) and I hit the back of the pack. I have no intentions of leading the group. Then we were off.

Mile 1: 10:55

Mile 2: 10:43

Mile 3: 11:17 (feeling good)

Mile 4: 8:21 (not sure what happened here)

Mile 5: 12:12

Mile 6: 12:56 (bathroom break)

The first loop out of five was complete. Was able to pick up snacks from the hubby and was holding down quite a bit of food.

I won’t bore you with every mile marker but this is what the rest of the race felt like.

Mile 8: 13:06 (holy shit, this is getting hard and I still have 22 miles to go! why is it so hot)

Mile 12 (loop 2/5): 12:20 (okay, the pace is holding. This isn’t too bad I’m going to make it)

Mile 15: 14:24 (I’m only halfway if I left now would anyone notice? Oh look at him go, damn he passed me twice! Heck yay! Go dude go! He ended up finishing in 4:00:00.)

Mile 18: 13:41 (what loop is this? Only 3! Switched shoes)

Mile 20: 16:42 (I’m not going to make it)

Mile 22: 13:40 (okay still have some pep in my step)

Mile 24: 14:25 (*takes an Advil)

Mile 25: 15:00 (pretty much walked that one, I’m dying and can’t keep anything down)

Mile 29: 13:26 (heck yeah, I am going to finish. *starts to run faster)

Mile 32: 6:59:08 I did it.

Finishing under 7 hrs may not be fast for some but I finished and that was my goal.

Now my focus this year is to get faster and increase volume. Hopefully getting faster for longer!

I have much more to share about how I approached this training season a bit differently and how I plan to train moving forwards. One big change I made was to increase carbohydrate intake during the day and during workouts, check out the Carbohydrate Cheat Sheet to see how many carbs you should be eating daily!

Stay tuned for the next running adventure!

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