Jen581791

Tomorrow is my ultra trail marathon

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In 24 hours, I'll be on the trail, running 50k (31mi) up a substantial mountain (2300m or 7500ft of elevation gain) and back down again. I've got 13 hours to complete it, but I'm hoping to do it in less than that. I've been training like crazy for months now, and this is the big day. Never, never, never did I imagine myself doing something like this. I'm finding it really amazing to see what I can do when I put my mind to it.

Wish me luck!

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Sending you all the good vibes. I'm sure you'll do amazing. Isn't it crazy how different life is now than it was a couple years ago?!

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You've got it Jen - I'll be thinking of you.

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YAYYYYYY!!!! We are cheering for you like crazy over here! Shouts of encouragement from around the globe!! 

You have trained for this and are so ready. I hope you enjoy it! . You are such a rock star!!! And you will kill it! :) 

Go out there and know we are all with you. You have come so far already that you have climbed a million mountains! Check back in with us when you're done so we can cheer you. I'm SOOO excited!!  I'm living vicariously through you today. Hope that's okay!! 

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Good luck!!!! I am sure that you will do great. What an achievement!!! All your hard work is going to be rewarded today. Please keep us posted on your success!

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Wow.  How did it go?

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How did you do???

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I did it!! I finished the trail ultramarathon within the cutoff time. About 80 of the 350 or so did not, so not too shabby. It took me 12:41:30 to do it, which was longer than I'd thought, but the last 7km took an extraordinarily long time because they were a steep descent over very technical terrain (think ladder-steep over bowling ball sized rocks) and by that time it was dark, so I was doing that with my headlamp :( It was a long, hard, crazy day, but I finished and I'm so proud. I ran 53 km (33 miles) up a mountain and back down, for an elevation gain of 2400 m (7900 feet). 

It was surreal to show up the morning of the race and see all the people who had flown in from around the world to compete. I felt like a complete imposter in this group of incredibly fit athletes - they were so amazingly fit. Ultra trail-runners are just an insanely in-shape group. You basically don't want to be carrying any extra weight over those kinds of distances, plus the training sessions burn a ton of calories on a near daily basis. Let's just say there aren't any pudgy ultra trail-runners. I felt very out of my league.

The first half was great - I am very good at the uphill portions, and was holding my own very well. The downhill is where I fall back in the pack, partly because I'm just a bit of a chicken when it comes to running downhill fast over tough terrain, and partly because my knees are crap. At the top, around the halfway point, I was feeling great and was happy it was easier than I'd thought. Then the last 15 km took like 4 hours, with the bulk of that in the last 7 km. I injured my (other) knee at about that point, so the steep technical downhill in the dark was slow, slow, slow. I finished about 20 minutes behind the people I was running with all day, with pain every time I put my foot down. Fortunately, it was just a strain, I think, as it's much better today (two days later). 

I cried at the finish line, but I think it was mostly from the pain. Everything hurt, but especially my knee. But also everything else. My ribs hurt from my pack. My arms hurt from using my trekking poles like crutches for the last 7 km. My hips hurt. My neck hurt from holding my head up to see the trail all day. My lower back hurt from the weight of the pack. My abs hurt from just running so much. My quads and hamstrings hurt. Weirdly, my calves were ok. My feet were (and still are, and will be for a while) a complete mess. Black swollen toenails, blisters upon blisters. Oh, and I had woken up with a cold that morning (awesome timing!) so my throat hurt to the point of aching, my ears hurt from the pressure change at elevation, and I had a pretty nasty headache. Everything everything everything hurt. But I did it. And, weirdly, my running partner and I are already talking about what we're going to do differently for training next year :D 

So what do you eat when you're running up a mountain for 12.5 hours? Sugar and refined carbs, it turns out. This worked out OK for me since these are easy things to get into my stomach, fortunately. Lots of packets of sports gel (Gu, which is basically sugar goo with electrolytes in it plus caffeine), dates, gummi worms, cake, cookies, crackers, sports drink (like Gatorade). Other things available included candy bars, Nutella, and Coke, but I decided not to press my luck with those. Overall, I had no problems eating that way all day just because I was burning it all off I suppose. That's how most endurance athletes eat when they're competing. I think next time for training I'm going to try to stay low carb just to see if I can. I have definitely been eating a lot of carbs over the last two months during the heavy training phase, but I feel kind of yucky doing that. There are some endurance athletes who do low carb, so I suppose it's possible. 

So here are the important things: the pictures. 

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Edited by Jen581791
adding photos

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WOW.  You are a TTF superstar!!! :)

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Jen!

YOU ARE MY HERO!

We're all told to step up our exercise but you have embraced that to the extreme and truly - I am totally in awe of your achievements.

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6 hours ago, Res Ipsa said:

WOW.  You are a TTF superstar!!! :)

Thanks! I feel pretty proud of all the hard work I've put in to get to this point! :) 

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59 minutes ago, cinwa said:

Jen!

YOU ARE MY HERO!

We're all told to step up our exercise but you have embraced that to the extreme and truly - I am totally in awe of your achievements.

Extreme is probably the best word for it! Thanks :) 

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I am SOOOOOO excited! You are the very best!!! Congratulations on your incredible achievement!!! I hope you are basking in the glory of a hero's goal mastered!!! Is it weird that I feel incredibly proud of you? Well, I am! :P

Hug yourself today and know we are all sending our heartfelt congratulations and admiration. Thanks for the pictures. Looks like you had a great day!

Sorry about your injury during the race, though. I hope it is healing up okay. Take care. You deserve a little rest time! :lol:

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Wow!  I'm so glad you were able to accomplish your goal without permanent damage, yikes!  My hometown hosts a world premier gravel endurance bike race and it never ceases to amaze me that after finishing 350 miles of gravel racing with no support team they cross the finish line seemingly half dead and like you immediately start thinking about the next race.  Some different wiring in endurance/extreme racing brains for sure! 

What a triumph for you to master this challenge!  So much sweeter given where you started.  People who have never had struggles with food and obesity have no idea how much more you overcame just to get to the race...well done!

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11 hours ago, Cindy Lou Who said:

I am SOOOOOO excited! You are the very best!!! Congratulations on your incredible achievement!!! I hope you are basking in the glory of a hero's goal mastered!!! Is it weird that I feel incredibly proud of you? Well, I am! :P

Hug yourself today and know we are all sending our heartfelt congratulations and admiration. Thanks for the pictures. Looks like you had a great day!

Sorry about your injury during the race, though. I hope it is healing up okay. Take care. You deserve a little rest time! :lol:

Thanks, Cindy! I'm soaking up all the pride I can get :D

My injury seems to not be too big a deal (please let these words not come back to haunt me). After three days of complete rest (I have a bad cold, so no desire at all to run, fortunately), my knee feels pretty good. I'm going to go back at it pretty slowly, so I'm hoping it'll just have enough rest to not be a problem.

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9 hours ago, msmarymac said:

Wow!  I'm so glad you were able to accomplish your goal without permanent damage, yikes!  My hometown hosts a world premier gravel endurance bike race and it never ceases to amaze me that after finishing 350 miles of gravel racing with no support team they cross the finish line seemingly half dead and like you immediately start thinking about the next race.  Some different wiring in endurance/extreme racing brains for sure! 

What a triumph for you to master this challenge!  So much sweeter given where you started.  People who have never had struggles with food and obesity have no idea how much more you overcame just to get to the race...well done!

Endurance racing is a weird thing. I think it takes a certain kind of brain, and then it sort of takes over your sanity. Fortunately I'm wise enough to not have my eye on the 130km for next year. I think 50km is plenty. 

It is definitely a different kind of achievement to have taken the long road to get to this point. 99% of ultrarunners have probably never even been slightly overweight, so they'd have no idea, but I've definitely got it in the back of my mind at all times. Three years ago me would have been blown away, for sure.

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Amazing!!! What a spectacular accomplishment!  B)

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