Ran my first 50k yesterday!

Having nothing better to do on Valentine’s Day I put on my trail running shoes and gaiters, slathered on the sunscreen, filled up my hydration pack and headed for the hills at 8am.

We’ve been getting a fair amount of rain in the Bay Area recently which tends to turn some of my favorite trails into mud pits but the weather gods have been smiling - it was beautiful Saturday and so by Sunday things were really pretty dried out, only a few stretches of muck. Gorgeous weather, sunny and warm without being hot, winds calm even on the ridgelines, astounding views in all directions.

32 miles of Tilden Park hills later I arrived back at my truck, physically a bit tired but emotionally charged up. The post-run snack waiting in my little ice chest was the finest meal imaginable at that point.

No blisters. No strains. Very even pace the whole way. Cool bath afterwards to soak my muscles, nice hot shower to follow, light dinner and then a very nice snooze.

Got up this morning feeling hungry so headed out on my bike, treated myself to breakfast, rode around for a while (flats, no hills) to work some of the kinks out and just enjoyed the day.

I still feel pleasantly buzzed about it. Next up is a 40 mile run for my 40th birthday in April…

Incredible! Congratulations! The farthest distance I’ve ever run is 14 miles. How do you work your way up to a distance like that? I hear from marathoners that there’s a wall at mile 20-ish, is that the same for you, or do you just take a slower pace that you don’t hit the wall until later? Speaking of, what kind of pace do you take for an excursion like that? Is it something that feels excruciatingly slow at the start, but difficult by the end?


14 miles is definitely not easy, it’s distance running in my book. As far as working up to it, no big secrets. The usual recommendations are to run regularly and slowly increase your long distance run by no more than 10% per week. I would recommend one of Jeff Galloway’s books on running, he has a lot of great advice. Listen to your body, don’t try and run injured, that kind of thing. I’m also a big fan of regular walk breaks during longer runs.

Regarding “the wall”, I’d say that’s true. One joke is that the first half of a marathon is 20 miles and the second half is the final 6.2 miles. IIRC there’s an actual physical reason (you burn through all your glycogen stores in about 20 miles, something like that); I remember the first time I did a 22 mile training run I hit 20 miles and my brain suddenly began saying “Oh maybe you should just cut it short, you’re tired, come back and do it another time”; it was a matter of gutting it out and keep going. I don’t think I notice it as much now since I’ve run that far many times.

Gradually increasing your distances is good for another reason, you will really learn what you need in terms of rest, food, hydration and so on - those things are all different for different people.

As far as pacing goes I intentionally slow way down on those longer runs. I can maintain 8 minute miles on level ground for 10+ miles but yesterday I was averaging a little over 12 minute miles. My goal was to finish, not to hit any particular speed. It feels a little funny at first - for example whenever I had an uphill stretch I walked it, and on the downhills I had to hit that balance between fast enough to maintain proper form (you can hurt yourself running unnaturally slowly downhill) but not so fast that I’d be spent later in the day. On level ground I kept to a nice steady pace. It feels slow until 30 miles later when you realize you’re still chugging along at the same speed and nothing hurts; that to me is a good pace, I’d rather finish strong than limp the last mile.

One of the guys I run with sometimes is an ultramarathoner - he’s done the Western States 12 times, for example. The first time I ran with him it seemed like we got off to a very slow start but I realized the wisdom of it. Leaving aside those genetic freaks of nature who can RUN 50-100 miles full-speed, for most folks averaging 4-5mph over that kind of distance is considered quite good.

Lord christ jesus almighty. I thought the thread title was a typo. You are a god among men, OP.

So amazing! Good for you. What a commitment to taking care of yourself you’ve made. You’re an example of what you can accomplish if you choose to. Bravo!

My friends think it’s time I get a new hobby :smiley:

I think I’m just getting warmed up…

As I recall we’ve got a couple of Dopers who have done 50 and 100 mile runs so I’ve got a ways to go to be in their company!

My hat’s off to you. Well done.

I’m working up the nerve to sign up for a half-marathon. Threads like this are helping. I just have to find one at the right time.

Congrats! 50K is a major milestone!

Pretty amazing. Congratulations.

Another “well done” here. I have done about 20k cross-country, but 50k is a whole 'nother level of wow.

Like Telemark, I am contemplating a half-marathon at the end of summer. But that comes after I finish my first Olympic distance Triathlon in September, following a season of Sprint Tri’s.


Amazing! Well done!

I’m fascinated by this running stuff, but I’m such a beginner - never ran in school or anything, only started in my twenties with the Couch to 5k. I’m thinking about signing up for a 10k this year, but that’s as far as I’ve dared! Have you “always” been a runner? How did you start?

No, I was never a runner when I was younger - I’ve always done a lot of walking and hiking and biking though.

Started running when I started losing weight a few years ago. I probably couldn’t go more than a mile without needing to walk for a bit, but I just kept adding a little at a time - one more block, etc. My endurance got better, I started working out pretty seriously and that plus shedding pounds made running a lot easier; I’m trying to imagine how it would feel to do those distances with a 40lb pack on (that’s what I’ve lost).

A lot of people do the same thing as you’re doing - sign up for an organized event and it’s a great motivational tool, you have a particular deadline to meet, you can set a training schedule and so forth. If you’ve done a 5K then 10K is quite doable, just stick with it. Do more than running - throw in some riding, swimming, strength training, etc. It really helps. Find some workout buddies, that’s the best way to make sure you get out and go consistently.

si I’m impressed by triathlons; the biking and running part is fine but I’ve always been a horrible swimmer.

If you’ve done 20k then you’ve done a half marathon so the distance shouldn’t be a challenge.

Telemark, unless you really find it motivating you don’t need to enter an organized event or race. Personally I like to just get out and go, so you might want to try that. Find some nice trails, get a map so you can figure out how far you’ve gone and gradually build up your distance.

Nice, nice work. I did a 12-miler on Valentine’s Day and it was the worst run I’ve had in a long time. Glad to hear it was just me…I thought it might be some Cupid punishing me for going on a run when I should have been rubbing my wife’s feet or something.

Of course, maybe you’re not married…in which case, maybe it was the damn Cupid!

I’m going to sign up for a 10K in the next few months and a half-marathon for later in the summer. I have a 31.5 mile dayhike (12,000 of elevation gain) planned for June, so it all ties together. I’m just up to running about 10K for my long run of the week, but I like the idea of a formal race to keep my training goal in mind. The excitement of all the people, the aid stations, the timer will be added motivation that I might need for the half.

Plus the t-shirts. I want a t-shirt. :slight_smile:

I prefer swimming, myself. But I grew up near water. And swimming is such a complete workout. I’m in a pool at the moment, but I am hanging out for April when I can hit the lake again. I love open-water swimming, even if it is cold.

Yeah, I am confident of the distance now, but I need to improve my pace - I really want to do a 10k under 50 minutes (my last competitive run was 51’30). I started with ~ 1 hour events, the sprint tri’s are 1:30, my cross-country 20km/ a planned half-marathon was 2 hours and my full tri in Sept will be about 3 hours. A nice build up to begin to think about a 4-4:30 marathon for the end of next year.

I started with a charity 10k - not competitive and really nice surroundings. It was a whole heap of fun.


Are you human? :smiley: You run 32 miles and are a bit tired at the end? Jebus.

Well, wow - that’s amazing, Valgard.

I’ve always been a heck of a walker and an okay sprinter, but I thought distance runners burst forth from the womb in track shoes, or something. Knowing that I’m going about things in much the same way as you is definitely inspiring!

That’s quite an impressive feat! Well done, OP! :slight_smile:

:smack: I* just* figured out your username. BQ, right? I’m a runner, and I live in Boston; you’d think I’d know that.

Great job, OP. I’ve a friend who does the mile-for-every-year birthday runs.

Congratulations, Valgard!

Heh. Took your post for me to get it. I’m the sister of a life-long distance runner (well, I think he started when he was 14, but close…) and have been subjected to all things running since 1974 or so. My brother has done Boston several times; shoulda gotten it in this context. Excellent name.