….on my 2018 ultra season. Let’s recap how it all went down.
April, Cooper’s Rock 50k–> My first ultra, and on my own turf. Finished 3rd overall had a wicked fast time of 5 hr 31 min. Maybe it was home field advantage or maybe it was beginner’s luck but either way I had so much fun. Ultra running was definitely for me.
May, Pittsburgh Marathon–> I have ran this race multiple times but wasn’t feeling 100%. I was still recovering from the 50k just two weeks prior. My knees hurt and I felt slow but I still ran a course PR! this year It wasn’t my fastest marathon PR but I was happy with my performance, 3 hr 45 min. I think this was a testament to the training I had been putting in early this year gearing up for ultras.
June, Hell Hath NO Hurry 50 miler–> This was by far the toughest challenge I had ever attempted thus far in my running career. I battled nausea, muscle cramps, and overcame going off course for an extra 1.4 miles. I finished 4th overall and 3rd male with a time of 12 hr 17 minutes and a total distance of 52.7 miles.
August, Kanawha Trace 50k–> Talk about a rough one, this time the heat and humidity got me good. It was the first race that if I could have quit I think I would have. My legs were cramping up with every step and my knees were wrecked. I pretty much had to walk the last four miles of the race because my knees were in some excruciating pain. I eventually finished, 6 hr 46 minutes.
Also August, Spartan Beast–> 15 miles of obstacles, hills, and mudd. ‘Nuff said.
September, Morgantown Marathon–> What a fun, and tough race this year! I felt great, was watching my nutrition and monitoring my hydration. It was PR weather and I was ready to crush it. Right before I walked out the door to head to the race I grabbed 5 salt capsules, then put 2 back. I figured I wouldn’t need them. I was on pace to PR by about 2 minutes…until the last mile. I had 1.2 miles to go and had 12 minutes to make a PR. The last mile is up Beechurst street, a steep climb to the finish, more affectionately known as ‘son of a Beechurst hill’. I willed myself to keep running while my legs begged me to stop. With less than .2 miles to go, I could see the finish line, all I had to do was run across the parking lot and claim my PR. All of a sudden, both of my hamstrings locked up and I collapsed to the ground. I tried to get up but I couldn’t move my legs. I lay there, in pain, but most of all disappointment, as I waited for my legs to uncramp and I watched my PR slip away. Eventually I was able to get up and across the finish line, 3 hr 29 mins, two minutes and change shy of a PR.
October, GAP Ultramarathon Relay–> This was an EPIC adventure. My fiance, two friends, and I ran a total of 150 miles from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA. We battled the cold, the rain, the wind, sleep deprivation, and even had to dodge a Netflix TV series that was filming at 3am! I am super proud to say that we won the 4-person Ultra Team division! It was an amazing experience and each one of us put up top-notch efforts. I would totally do this race again and I was impressed with how well my body held up over the course of the race and my 44 mile portion of the race, in which I held 7:44 min/miles!
October, Halloween Half–> Just 7 days separated this race and the GAP Relay and my legs were definitely reeling. I was able to hold sub 7-minute miles for the first 9 miles but then I blew up, and finished the last miles in 8+minute miles. I probably should have been recovering but I still had fun and finished with a respectable 1 hr 37 minutes.
November, Fire on the Mountain 50k–> Check an earlier blog post for the race report. Definitely a fun race to end the year on. 5th overall with a time of 6 hr 4 minutes. It was my first race in the 30-39 age group and the competition was stiff. I was 3rd in that age group.
To sum it all up:
I am very happy with my running season this year. I wanted to see if I could handle the longer distances, and I showed that I not only can, but I can compete. I think I need to race less often, and train more. The back-to-back races can really take a toll on your body.
I learned a lot about not just running an ultra, but racing. You have to manage your pace, nutrition is everything, and consistency is the key to success. I also learned a lot about myself. I found out that I can dig deep and find untapped strength. I can withstand some pain, and then get a second wind. Most of all, I found out I love this sport and the ultra community.
Best of luck to all my ultrarunning friends and readers! I hope you had a great year too and I hope you continue to get stronger and faster. Climb to higher heights and crush your PRs! Bounce back for more blog posts and product reviews in the near future!