Ultramarathon

53) Mid-Maryland Ultra (50k), Elkridge, MD Feb 10th 2018

Time: 3:55:47 Place: 2/63

My original plan for the year was to train up for the Del Passatore 100km race in Italy in May. I entered a couple of early season 50k races to act as long training runs to keep the mileage up through the winter. This race was local, in a park I’d not run in before and the dates worked with other commitments. The five 10km loop format also made it great for a training run to test fueling etc.

Preparation

I took a recovery week after the Disney marathon, then had a couple of solid weeks of training before the race, including starting a weights regime of four 15 minute sessions a week. I didn’t taper for this one and set out with the goal of finding a pace and running consistently across the five laps.

Race Morning

After the usual pre-race breakfast I drove the 40 mins to the start. I was relatively early so got a parking space near the start / finish area, others had to park elsewhere in the park. Registration was quick and there was plenty of snacks in the pavilion that acted as the single aid station on the course. It was cold but the multi-lap course meant I didn’t need to worry about the extra layers. I opted for my Nathan Race Pack with 10oz bottles instead of the bladder as I would be able to resupply every lap.

The Race

The relay and 50k race started at the same time so it was difficult to identify who was doing which race. The first part of the course looped back and forth across an open grassy space, reminding me of school cross country, before heading into the woods. The course was beautiful and very runnable on the first few laps despite the icy patches that the race director had warned us about. I set my own pace and felt good after the first lap. It was warming up so I shed my wind stopper. I continued to lap at a steady pace, catching a few people and starting to lap people.

At each pass through the pavilion I stopped to top my bottles and pick up an energy bar to fuel the next lap.

During the third lap it started to rain, not heavily but enough that the trails started to become slippery. I was wearing my Altra Lone Peak Neos with trail gaiters, so wet feet weren’t a problem and traction was good except in the worst places. My lap times slowed slightly on the last couple of laps, mostly due to changing trail conditions.

I hadn’t set a goal time for the race but when I saw my splits at the end of the 4th lap I decided that I wanted to push on to try and finish in under 4 hours. I pushed hard and completed the loop to finish in 3:55:48. After I crossed the finish line I was told that I had finished in 2nd place which was a nice surprise. I knew I was relatively high up in the field but hadn’t realized I was that high.

IMG_5204Learning points

On multi lap races if using bottles, fill multiple bottles beforehand to save having to top bottles up each lap.

Altra Lone Peak Neos, with gaiters are great winter trail shoes.

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