A truly humbling experience for my first take at 50 miles, learned and suffered new things, in the end I got it done in 9:55:28. The course elevation is no mountain but going through it 4 times plus the roots, I definitely prefer rockier and technical courses because in the end when you kick a rock it will hurt but it will at least move, roots on the other hand do not move and it still hurts 🙂

Huntsville State Park Elevation

Huntsville State Park (screenshot from the Huntsville State Park site)

The 50 mile race took place in Huntsville State Park and was 4 loops total; each loop of 12.5 miles. There were 4 aid stations located on the course. The course ran through the piney woods of the park and its definitely a must see if you are an outdoor person. Lots of wildlife (including gators, yes you read that right), an abundance of different bird species and more.

Each 12.5 mile loop consisted the Chinquapin Trail (red) and an out and back on the Triple C Trail (green), the loop started with gentle rolling terrain that ended up at the first aid station where we did and out and back. Next section of the course was fast as in there’s sections of downhill where you can make up time if you need to (when you can) before making it to the second aid station. The second part of the course it was more rolling terrain with lots of roots and board walks that had some excellent views of Lake Raven.

First loop (1:57:58 )

I felt really good this first loop but thinking it was going to get warmer I wanted to get the first loop out of the way, bad idea I know but it seemed like a good one at the time. By the end of the first loop the only song stuck in my head was: Roots bloody Roots.

The nutrition on this loop consisted of 1 honey stinger gel, 1 honey stinger waffle and 2 s-caps. Every time I’ve tried to use salt at a race seems to have only made things worse and it was probably the reason for my painful two next loops.

Second loop (2:22:57)

I actually felt quite good during the first part of this loop but as soon as I passed the second aid station I started having stomach cramps and they were not pretty, every time I wanted to run harder I was immediately slowed down, I soon realized that slowing down was helping and slowing down I did. This second loop threw my nutrition way off base, therefore I’m sticking with gels for the foreseeable future, sure they get boring but they’re much easier to swallow than a nutrition bar or a waffle. I ate a gel, a waffle and whatever I could eat off the aid stations which consisted mostly of oranges and bananas.

Third loop (3:00:36)

Still trying to recover from the painful second loop but it was starting to get warmer, thankfully the park’s beautiful pine trees provided enough shade to make it feel more pleasant 🙂 I can at least say that I enjoyed the park’s wonderful views. The high topped at 81F, I think its safe to say that I thrive in colder/cooler weather. I did plenty of walking trying to get my body to settle down before the last loop. I skimped on nutrition during this loop because nothing was making it through, had just one gel, no waffles, no bearded bros nutrition bars (which was a big surprise), only oranges and bananas.

Fourth loop (2:33:59)

It was this loop when I started recovering from the mess I caused the previous ones, I stopped at the first aid station and asked for coke, I obviously was low on calories/sugar so the coke felt like the best treat I’ve had all race.Sipped down 3 cups of coke and instantly felt energy, almost I have summoned the gods of sugar.  Had two handfuls of some pretzel medley which also tasted pretty good.  Needless to say I had a much better experience this loop, and ran almost the entire loop.

I had a blast this last loop realizing that I was about to finish my first 50 miler, I made a hard push towards the end so as to keep it under 10hrs but the most rewarding and totally unexpected surprise came when I saw Lety near the finish line and for that I thank her.

Conclusion

To be able to share the accomplishment with Lety, Jorge and Sofy made the race 10 times more more memorable. Going to play with nutrition and see what I can trim before Bandera’s 100k, there’s still more than a month worth’s left of training 🙂

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