What It’s Like to Run 50 Miles − in One Day

© Empipe | Dreamstime.com

© Empipe | Dreamstime.com

I finished my first 50 mile race on September 12th and like all things we as humans are proud of, it has come it in conversations with non-runners.

You can tell people you ran a 5K over the weekend without much of a conversation, but a 50-miler opens up an extensive line of questioning. So for those curious, I have narcissistically interviewed myself:

Did you go to bathroom?

I did once. But not while actually running. I stopped and waited in a one-person line to use a latrine. But it’s not really a big deal for trail runners to duck into the woods to take care of business.

Did you run the entire time?

No. I ran most of the time. More than I thought actually. But getting food into my stomach and tackling short, steep hills (down and up) is much easier while walking.

How long did it take you to run 50 miles?

Eight hours, 42 minutes, and 54 seconds. It was a small enough race that I came in 1st place female for the 50 mile category!

So you ran for longer than a typical workday?

Yes. But lots of runners were out there longer. And the 100K and 100 milers were out there overnight.

People run 100 miles? Like, actual humans?

Ninety-one of them finished 100 miles. Pretty sure they weren’t robots.

Did it hurt?

Yes. My legs felt like they were on fire for the last lap. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop. I wanted someone to meet me in the woods with morphine. But I wasn’t actually injured, so I pulled on my big girl pants and kept going.

Were there any fun parts? You did pay for this, right?

There were plenty of fun parts. Seeing the sunrise in the middle of the misty woods. Making friends with strangers and talking incessantly about running. Enjoying the strong camaraderie of this independent sport. Eating gummy bears while coasting down switchbacks.

What did you eat and drink while running?

Two GU energy gels (espresso and pineapple Roctane), one bag of Haribo gummy bears, a plastic bag of unwrapped Starbursts, Swedish Fish, Pringles, a few pickles, part of Nutella sandwich, part of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and saltine crackers. I drank Mountain Dew, grape Nuun, and water.

What did you eat after you were done?

A Big Mac combo meal.

Why 50 miles?

I finished my first marathon in 2009. I qualified for Boston in 2013. I ran marathons on two consecutive weekends in 2014. I ran marathons on two consecutive days in 2015. It seemed like the next logical challenge?

How did you train for this race?

I ran five days a week, 40 to 55 miles a week and all were hot, humid miles during the summer in Georgia. I did almost all my long runs on trails which gave me more time on my feet and plenty of elevation change.

My longest self-supported training run was 26.3 miles, but I did complete 39.3 miles during a race in July.

You’re done running for awhile now, right?

Nope. I started back with easy runs four days after the race. I have four marathons planned (at least) over the next six months so I’m back training again.

You do know you’re insane?

Yes. Thank you.

Have a question? Ask me!

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