I finished my first ultra-marathon!
Not really sure if I would call it a 50K run. It was more like a 50K adventure/obstacle course. I was completely unprepared for the course. I have spent hours and hours exploring the different trails out at Oak Mountain, Alabama while training and nothing out there compares to what they put you through at the North Face Endurance Challenge series in Pine Mountain, Georgia. It was a constant blend of rocks, boulders, cliff faces, hills, streams to cross, trees to climb over and under, up hills, down hills, more rocks and more boulders and more hills. There was one stretch at about mile 20 something where we got to actually run along a normal trail for about 2/3 of a mile. Besides that it was a constant struggle to run/walk/climb but just keep moving forward. I remember “goat hill” at Oak Mtn, a lot of the course had terrain like that.
I should have done more homework and studied the course and times from previous races. North Face puts on these races around the country. For example in Kansas City they do a 50K and the average finish time was 5:32, in Wisconsin it was 5:51. In Pine Mtn, GA it was 7:45. I guess if I would of paid attention to the average finisher times I would of realized it was not a real “runable” course.
I knew I was in for a tough time at the starting line when Dean Karnazes asked how many of us first timers were. About 10 of us raised our hands and he laughed and said we were going to die on the course. Shown him by finishing! Time was awful for a normal 50K at 8:17 but after what I went through and the course and then seeing that these other “veterans” only finished in an average time of 7:45 I am feeling pretty good about it. The thing that hurts most is the bottom of my feet. I pounded across so many rocks that I beat the something out of my feet.