2016 was a year of milage building for me. To finish off this build up I ran my first ultra on Saturday November 19th. The race was the Grand Ridge Trail 50k. I came in 13th overall with a time of 6:21:32.
The Grand Ridge race was organized by Evergreen Trail Runs who did an excellent job with the event. In addition to the 50k distance there was also a 5 mile, half marathon, and marathon. The 31 mile course included just under 6,000 ft of elevation gain. Besides the physical demands of running 31 miles the looping course was also mentally demanding. The course starts and ends at the same spot and includes 13.1 mile out and backs and a 5 mile loop. This means you come back to the finish line a total of 3 times. When your already tired knowing you have to turn back around and do another loop was mentally draining.
I’m very proud and happy that I was able to finish. But I know I can do better. Maybe I started too fast (low 7 min pace until we turned to climb). But the biggest problem was following other runnings as they pressed the downhills harder than I was ready for. I think running the downhills that hard blew out my quads early. Making the last half really painful when descending. Even though I know I can do better I’m still very happy with my first ultra. I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to another ultra my future.