Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mad Marsh Ultra - My first!

I would like to say that all the pieces came nicely together this morning for my very first Ultramarathon! It was exactly 2 months ago that I decided to take this new route with my training and racing... going long instead of fast!! Over the last 2 month I put together a very focused training plan taking me from decent 5k running shape to racing my first (of many more to come) Ultras.

The only negative thing that I did in my training was doubling my long runs literally over night. Knock on wood, I stayed healthy and continued to progress my long runs up to 24 miles (two weeks prior to my race). My comfortable distance of choice, by far, was my 15 mile course. I quickly found that I could hammer out a fast 15 miler and quickly recover without missing any workouts! My fastest in the last two months top out at a 7:14 pace.

The last two months seem to fly by and finally race day was here! The Mad Marsh Ultra was a PERFECT first for me. It was A. Local, B. Cheap ($20) and C. Small. All together between the 50K and the 22 miler there were less than 50 people. I thought it was awesome that the race director and her husband both ran the race after getting it started!

The race was completely self supported and I put together an amazing Crew team with two different pacers. I can not even begin to express how grateful I was to have both Giancarlo and Brain out there with me, along with being able to fill water bottles, grab Gu, or even my sunglasses once the sun broke out of the clouds! I also had Kayla on stand-by to pop or wrap anything that needed attention on the medical side (Glad I did not need her services until after the race to drain a blister on my left foot that looked like a 6th toe!!!) and Sandra to help cheer me on, keep track of splits and fill in where ever needed! These guys totally made my day, without them I could not have done as well as I wanted to!! My Advice: Find a great crew that is willing be stand out in a field at 5:00am, freeze, bring you whatever you ask for and you are golden!

My plan was to go out slow and build up. I did just that!! Taking the first three laps (4.5 miles each) at a very steady target pace of 9:00 miles. Once they "junk" miles were out of the way, I slowly started moving up and gaining time off of my original goal of 4:47.00. By the end of lap 4 of 7 I had myself 6:37 ahead of pace and gaining. Lap 6 was by far my fastest lap with 3 back to back 8:00 miles between miles 22 - 24. I finally had to stop (for traffic) around mile 29 and my thighs quickly locked up on me! It took the next mile to loosen back up. Around this time, my mantra kicked in with "you've got this" "you've got this" over and over and over. My body was screaming for me to stop again, but I did not want to ruin the streak I had going so far. The last mile was tough! My body was fighting hard for me to stop dropping down to 10:30, only to have my heart fight back with 7;30 pace! This fight when back and forth 8 times over the last mile between my Body and my Heart to finally cross the finish line well a head of schedule!

My nutrition plan consisted of the following:

Lap 1: Nothing

Lap 2: 6 oz Water and 1 Gu

Lap 3: 6oz Water/ 6oz Red Bull Mixed and 1 Gu

Lap 4: 8oz of Ensure, 1 Strawberry Fig Newton, 1 Gu

Lap 5: 12oz Coke, 1 Gu

Lap 6: 3 Motrin, 12oz Water, 1 Gu

Lap 7: A few sips of water

The only thing I will do differently next time is not drink Coke after the Ensure... the few bubbles still left did not mix well at all...Took a few miles to settle my stomach back down!

All in all the day was a huge success in my opinion. I had a great team, a huge remote cheering crowd between family and friends from a far (sorry you couldn't find the race Rachael - Argggg!!!) perfect running weather and an amazingly flat course! I can not wait to get my next race on the schedule! If anyone needs a crew man to help out, please let me know as I now know how appreciative I was of having dedicated friends out there helping me today!!! Cheers!!!

Time: 50K 4:28.14 (Total time 4:35.27 - 31.89 miles)

Elevation Gain: 1,494ft

Calories: 2,997

Average Moving pace: 8:38

Mile Splits:

1 - 8:46 11 - 8:50 21 - 8:40 31 - 8:43

2 - 9:00 12 - 8:43 22 - 8:09 32 - 8:32

3 - 9:05 13 - 8:26 23 - 8:06

4 - 8:56 14 - 8:09 24 - 8:08

5 - 8:39 15 - 8:28 25 - 8:24

6 - 8:57 16 - 8:24 26 - 8:50

7 - 8:49 17 - 8:34 27 - 8:54

8 - 8:26 18 - 8:25 28 - 9:04

9 - 8:26 19 - 8:18 29 - 9:29

10 - 8:35 20 - 8:20 30 - 9:33


  1. Congrats on the Mad Marsh Ultra! Outstanding pace too! I've run 3 marathons, and plan to run my first ultra next year.

  2. Thanks Shannon! Best of luck with your winter training and your first Ultra next year!!!!

  3. Hey Tim congrats on the race, that is a great read/description/strategy, I am always inspired when I read others "firsts" and I think maybe me someday.

    I a training for my first half marathon (trail) in June. I am always impressed with those doing ultras as 12 miles is a freaking long way for me right now.