This past weekend I experienced two monumental firsts for myself while competing at the Columbia Cycling Club’s 15k Trail Run:
- My first time to run a race on the trails
- My first time running a 50k (or 31mi) distance in one clip
Adhering to my training schedule, I was due to run 31 miles on this weekend, but there was no official 50k race anywhere nearby. So sometime last week I started thinking about creative ways to get in a 50k run without being alone the whole time. Initially, I was simply looking for a running group to join up with for a small portion of my run. But, having problems finding a group that didn’t want to charge me, and was running long enough to warrant a substantial drive was hard to find. Then I came across the CCC 15k scheduled for the same day. I immediately fired up Google Maps and realized that running to the starting line of the race would be about 35k, or the exact distance I would need to use the race for the remaining miles!
So that is exactly what I did! It was, without a doubt, a long day. I woke up around 3:30am and hit the road running by 4am. I wanted to give myself enough time to be able to relax and take it easy on the run, but enough time to shed some clothes and eat some food before the race. Fortunately, I was able to do that, running the 22.77 miles in 3:32 (or a casual 9:43 pace) and I arrived exactly 30 minutes before the start of the race.
The race itself was wonderful! By the time I got there it was in the low-to-mid forties with clear skies. Everyone there was extremely friendly and it was an appreciably small turn-out of under a hundred people. Before the race, I also met up with Narash, a fellow Vibram FiveFinger runner who has already run a few ultras in his VFF.
Two days before the race it rained pretty heavy so there were a few patches of mud to watch out for. I got a good reminder of this about 20min in when I took a tumble on a sharp turn. Fortunately, it was just on a mostly muddy patch and not rocky. As far as official race results, it looks like I came in 4th in my age division (out of 16), 20th overall (out of ~85) with an official time of 1:20:30, putting me at an 8:37 pace. Overall, I really enjoyed the race and think I’ll certainly keep it on my radar for next year!
So combining the 35k 3:32 and the 15k 1:20 puts my total 50k run at 4:52, or a pace of 9:23. Granted, I ran the trail race WAY faster than I wanted to (or should have), but that’s an amazing pace for an ultra distance! I highly doubt I could keep that up for my 40mi race only 30 days away. But a boy can dream.