White River 50 Miler

Saturday I successfully completed my second ultramarathon of the 50 mile variety. Here are some thoughts and pictures from the experience.

The course:

Absolutely beautiful! The route climbed up two mountains over the course of the race, and along the way there were stunning views of Mount Rainier in the background. The weather was perfect. I would complain that it got a little hot in the afternoon, but it was only mid-70’s, so I might not get much sympathy. Most of the course was soft single track trail, but there was one 6.5 mile downhill stretch on a dirt road that just about did me in. I much prefer the trails.

Nutrition:

In a nutshell, not perfect.

My nutrition plan involved carrying 20 ounces of water and two EFS flasks on my belt and another 20 ounce handheld of water. I would eat a little at the aid stations to supplement, but I mainly wanted to cruise on through, only taking time to refill water and grab a new EFS flask where necessary.

This system worked well until halfway through, when I got nauseous. This was followed by some muscle cramping around mile 30. I realized that I wasn’t eating enough EFS gel anymore to get the salt I needed, and thus the cramping. But I didn’t want to eat more gel because I was nauseous. At each of the next two aid stations I swallowed two salt caps and ate a handful of potato chips. Then I grabbed some GU Chomps and filled my bottles with Nuun to get a few more electrolytes in me. The cramps subsided, and I was able to run again. However, the nausea never really improved. I tried eating more solid food at the aid stations, but this resulted in stomach cramps for a couple miles until the food settled. So for the last stretch I went back to a diet of EFS gel supplemented with Nuun. I was able to maintain and even finished strong, but I was pretty calorie depleted. I didn’t eat nearly as many calories over the course of the race as I should have. Anyone have any advice for me on this topic?

Shoes:

I ran in the New Balance MT101s, and I loved them. No blisters and my toenails look pretty good. I loved the light shoe on the soft trails. On the hard rocky dirt road at mike 37-43 my feet felt a little sore, but not enough to make me change to more padding.

Highlights:

My three boys at the starting line.

The aid station at Fawn Ridge (mile 31). This came after a brutal climb and I was in need of a pick-me-up. There were balloon animals hanging from the trees along the trail as you approached the station to set the mood. Once I came in I was approached by two volunteers with spray bottles full of cold water who misted my entire overheated body. This was heaven.

Jenni met me at mile 43 to give me one more boost of encouragement before the end.

The soft, gently rolling trail from mile 43-50 was great. This was such a nice change from the dirt road we had run on earlier.

All said, this was a great race. I’ll be back to this one. Here are a few photos from the day:

The boys at the start

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My training buddy John

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Racing in to the finish

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