McKenzie River Trail 50K - Race Recap

I SURVIVED! I'm sure you had no doubt I would, but I definitely wondered as we stood at the start line "Am I going to make it to the finish?"

 The race started at 7:30 am, which called for a 4:15 am wake up and drive out to the course. We arrived to the sun rising and wafts of smoke from the forest fire hitting our nose. Luckily, the smoke wouldn't follow us the entire race, but it was a bit nerve racking as we got close to the start.
This is my "holy crap, I'm going to run a 50K!" face.

 I picked up my race number (and awesome swag), said hi to my mom who was there to help cheer me on and got myself ready. Last minute body glide and sunblock were applied and fuel was shoved into my Nathan handheld.

 Most of my Eugene running crew was there and ready to run (this made it much more enjoyable along the course to see so many familiar faces - and get to run with a few of them at times).
A few minutes before the start, we walked over to the line and I pretended I wasn't running 31 miles.
For some reason, Saturday's race didn't bring the nerves that a marathon typically does. I suppose it's because I felt like I was just doing a long trail run with friends. AND the fact that I decided early on that I was going to walk during this race when I needed/wanted to.
Yes, that's me, the overly excited girl. 

The first few miles were up and around a series of waterfalls making it fairly steep. Because of the narrow trail and the uphill nature, everyone was walking a lot, which was fine by me. Slow and steady was my goal for the day. Check out this video one of the racers took of the start (you can see me in blue) and then running the first 1/2 mile.
With a 7:30 am start, the temps were still fairly cool and the sun was just peaking its way through the trees.
Aid stations were spread out approx every five miles, which really helped break up the race mentally.
Most aid stations involved a lot of this - me feeling out of it and shoving food in my face, while volunteers did their best to add water or gu to my bottle.

The aid stations seriously rocked (other than the gu brew)! They were chock full of: pb & j sandwich bites, Pay Days, Oreos, Pringles, gummy worms, cantaloupe, bananas...

My one aid station flub was when I poured Mt. Dew into my bottle thinking it was the Gu stuff. BLECH! Made me nearly vomit on the trail. Had to dump it out at the next aid station and have the manfriend refill me with Accelerade - LOVE that stuff!
Other than the small 3 mile loop at the beginning, the rest was an out and back. The first 16 miles were fairly decent, but then my stomach started hurting and my body was just getting tired. When I hit the aid station at mile 20, I was thinking "sore? yes. but 10 miles left? that's nothin' (but I know it's gonna hurt)!"

 My friend Porter who is uber fast and finished in 5 hrs! He rocks a pair of crazy shorts or tights at every race he runs.
The second half of the race was gradually uphill so it definitely wore on us after a while.

 At the final aid station, my hamstring and right hip weren't happy. My right knee and ankle were sore and I was NOT looking forward to the technical lava rock section and slogging through another 5 miles.
Those last five miles were all mental. The manfriend was smart and gave me my ipod at the final aid station. I used that for a few miles to get my mind off the pain, the heat and the smokey smell. In that last hour or so, I was going about 15-16 min miles with lots of walking. Temps were probably in the 80s. A few of the tricks I used were:
- run 5 more minutes and then you get a sip of water
- run until you reach an incline
- repeat Lady Gaga 'Poker Face'
- run past that next person
- the more you run, the faster you get to the finish
- walk 1 minute and then you must run

 And FINALLY, I heard finish line sounds and ran my little heart out.
For 31 miles, I think I held up mentally and physically pretty well. No, it wasn't easy and yes, I questioned mid race if I ever wanted to do such a distance again.

The answer is yes, by the way. I want to do the full MRTR course someday.

 And, it was a hell of a lot of fun.

 Overall, I'm happy with how well I fueled and didn't push it too hard. While I wanted to finish the race, I didn't want to injure myself and be out of commission for my upcoming marathon. Mission accomplished!

Post race veggie burrito and free massage - mmmhmmm
...and awesome swag are what ultra dreams are made of.
STATS (although with trail running it's not about the #s)
Time: 6 h 23 min 29 sec
Place: 100/151
Division: N/A (There were only 11 racers under the age of 30 and one of them was 15!)

Anything I missed or you want to hear more about? Have I convinced you to sign up for an ultra?

Honestly, I'm SO relieved to have this behind me. This week is all about rest so I can come back next week for a few more weeks of hard core running before the Victoria Marathon.

And, a BIG thanks to my mom and the manfriend for not only waking up in the 4 am hour and driving so far, but for being at almost every aid station cheering me on and ready to give me any fuel I needed.


Great recap! I love those photos! Congratulations, you're a super star.
jen said…
Congrats!! Great recap and great job out there. I think you absolutely nailed your first 50k. You paced yourself perfectly, kept moving through the techinical sections and through the pain, and had a fun day. Perfect! I am really bummed I missed the race this year but would love to run the full course next time. Congratulations on finishing your first (of many??) 50k! :)
Britton said…
Girl, you totally rock! That is so awesome!!! I know the feeling I got after I finished my first (and only so far) marathon! I can't imagine what it felt like after completing 31!!! That is so awesome, congrats to you!!!
Leigh said…
Awesome recap! And a big congratulations on finishing! I can't say you have me convinced yet, though I'd start with a marathon first :)
Anonymous said…
SO excited for, proud of, and impressed by you!! :) Congrats, Sass - I think you'll be makin' moves on these ultras next time, too! I volunteered at a 50 miler + 50 K last summer, and was so in awe of the runners. They were so at ease, obviously hurting a little bit but mostly enjoying themselves. It's easy to see where they get hooked!

Enjoy the rest week!
You are so hardcore!!! I can't believe you finished that in 6 hours. That is AWESOMESAUCE!

I have dabbled with the idea of an ultra on and off. I love trail running so much but my 27K MOUNTAIN climb kind of scared me off of it for awhile. There is a 36K trail race here in Kamloops at the end of August every year. I missed it this year because I was training for the tri but I'm thinking of doing it next year. We'll see!
Michelle said…
Great recap, Lauren! I'm still bummed that I wasn't able to run this with you but I'm proud of you for sticking it out. Enjoy your down time before the marathon!
Emily said…
CONGRATS! And yes! You TOTALLY have me convinced to sign up for an ultra. I can't figure out when to do one to fit in with my current race schedule but I really, really, really want to do one!
Liz said…
Congrats Lauren! Seriously, I can't believe you did that. I mean, I can believe that you did it, but it just sounds so crazy to me to run for 31 miles up and down dirt paths, etc.

Also... how about those aid stations?! That's crazy. Last year when I ran NYC, people were trying to hand me candy on the side of the streets and I thought they were nuts. But maybe they're onto something?
Way to go, Lauren! I knew you would do well. I have been anxiously awaiting this race recap and I thought of you throughout the day on Saturday.

I love man friend for being there with that iPod with you for the first leg of the journey. :)

Well done, you! I am super duper impressed!!!
Raquelita said…
Lauren, you are such an inspiration! I am so impressed that you did this ultra and the swag is almost convincing me to consider doing one. :)
Thanks you guys! It was a lot of fun. LONG recap, but there was a lot to say for a 31 miles race. :)
Lindsey said…
I definitely knew you would finish! Love the photos and the recap. Congrats! I'm glad you had such a good experience and that you want to do another one. Awesome. Interesting that there were only 11 races under 30.
Kristin said…
Congratulations! You did an awesome job under very hard conditions! I was following the MRTR Facebook updates all last week and hoped the fires (and heat!) wouldn't be too awful. I'm really hoping to do this next year...if I can get picked in the lottery next spring.
amanporter said…
It was great seeing you out there, and I'm glad we had our group pulling us all through. Keep me/us posted for the next 50k, if we don't get into McKenzie again - I'll be happy to run another one with you

CrazyPants Porter

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