TNF100: Final Thoughts on a 50K (Race Report Part 3?)

50K Race Report, Part 1
50K Race Report, Part 2

The Aftermath

When I left you at the end of Part 2, I had just crossed the Finish Line.  There was a reasonably nice spread of Finish Line goodies: water, sherbet pops, Subway sandwiches…and probably a few other items.  Unfortunately, after 4 miles on over-crowded trails, I was having trouble handling the crush of people at the food tables (mostly 13K finishers).  I grabbed a water and sherbet pop of some brightly colored, but mostly just “sweet” flavor, that I would never even consider eating in real life (ultras apparently mess with your brain), then spent a few minutes chatting with one of my clients, who ran the 25K.  Finally, I escaped to a quiet(er) patch of grass, and tried to call KMN.

He told me that he’d just arrived and was watching the Finish Line – he must have missed me by just a minute or two!  I made my way over to where he was (a quiet spot!!!!), and we spent about half an hour watching more runners coming into the finish.  The deluge of 13K runners had ebbed by this point, and the slow stream of finishers were a mixture of 25, 50, and 100K runners.  We watched, cheered, chatted, and ate watermelon.

[*Awesome husband (def.): He ran to the 31K Aid Station to cheer for me, then ran home (14 mile workout for him), then cut up watermelon, packed it on ice, and hauled watermelon + two changes of clothes down to the finish line for me.]

This is not supposed to be a bonus feature of the XA Comp...

This is not supposed to be a bonus feature of the XA Comp… [Edited to Note: Those are my fingers, not my toes.]

And then…it was time to stand up.  This went more smoothly than expected, actually.  After a few shakes, my clicky ankle loosened up (this is normal for me), and although I was pretty stiff, my knee was my only really sore part.  I rinsed my shoes at some outdoor taps – the early morning rainstorm and subsequent puddle sloshing, combined with my ripped sneakers, resulted in a LOT of debris in my shoes and socks.  Having returned most of the park back to the park, it was time to head home.  I suggested we splurge for the bus (“only a mile” seemed a lot shorter before I ran 30 miles!).

I suppose I need new trail running sneakers.  But I adore these, so much...and by now, we've been through a LOT together!

I suppose I need new trail running sneakers. But I adore these, so much…and by now, we’ve been through a LOT together!

In Singapore, it’s a common water-saving measure for us to turn off the shower while lathering/soaping/shaving.  But on this particular day, I let the water run.  As I said to KMN afterward, “Some days, you NEED that running water to get all the grime off!”  The chafing was moderate, but not awful: My capris got me on the backs of my knees and at the waistband, my hydration pack rubbed my shoulders a bit, and of course, there was the requisite crotch chafing – all I’ll say is that I need some kind of new solution to deal with that situation.

We got some lunch (I can’t even remember where – I’m not usually that into food immediately following a super long workout), I did some stretching/rolling, and took a nap.  My biggest accomplishment for the remainder of the day?  I joined some friends at a BBQ, and we stayed out until at least 11 PM!  [By which time I was threatening to crawl onto the chaise and sleep, but whatever.]

Of course, the next day revealed more sore spots:
Hamstrings (weird for me)
Calves (expected)
Back (need to add some supermans to my plank routine, I suppose!)
One spot on my abdomen (I momentarily panicked it was my appendix, but realized race-soreness was more likely), and – strangest of all –
Both my brachialis muscles (A little muscle in the upper arm – below the deltoid, and between the bicep and tricep).  I have no idea what I was doing with my arms during the race that caused this strange soreness.  But now I need to go figure out how to strengthen them, so they don’t cause me any future problems!

My knee was sore for a few days, but feeling much better by mid-week.  I didn’t do much running this past week, though – we’ll see what happens in the coming week.  But I’m hoping it was just a weird pull/positioning/tweak, and will sort itself out for good very soon.

By Wednesday, I was feeling back to normal for “every day life”, and even took an RPM spin class.  I know my muscles still need time for deeper recovery, but overall, I am thrilled with how easily I’ve recovered and gotten back to feeling normal.  Although trail running may include more elevation change, and definitely includes obstacles like chain fences and mud pits, I am certain that covering most of the distance on softer ground was less taxing than on pavement, and most definitely resulted in a faster recovery.

Personal Race Reflections

For my first 50K, I’m pleased.  [Final time 5:22:03, ranked 6/134 women in the 50K.]  There is very little I would change about my execution of the race: I probably would have only stopped once to refill my hydration pack (but better safe than sorry), and I wish I had kicked myself through the “low points” a bit sooner/better.  Other than that, the race really was a good one for me.  In addition, we were blessed with a terrific day: The weather was agreeable, and the rain and clouds helped keep the temperature manageable.  The mud was awesome, and caters to the kind of running I love to do!  Thanks, McRitchie!

This is one I'll probably be hanging on to...

This is one I’ll probably be hanging on to…

Final Race Review

Overall, The North Face crew did a great job, even when the weather took a turn for the worse.  The rain started right after the 50K flagged off, meaning that the volunteers had to handle stormy conditions for the subsequent 25K and 13K flag-offs.

With just one – one – exception, the course was marked beautifully.  This is no small feat (signs have been stolen and moved along the course in previous years).  When I came through, all Aid Stations were well-stocked with whatever supplies had been promised for that station.  I heard a few murmurs that one or two stations ran out of nutrition supplies later in the race; but the race organizers made it quite clear that this was a “self-supported” race (although electrolyte beverages, bananas, and Gu were provided at select Aid Stations), and I consider anything more than plain water to be a bonus when something is described as “self-supported”.  The fact that the crew managed to get and keep the water cold was welcome, and amazing.

The route was challenging, but fun – and almost exclusively on trails (maybe 3-4 miles on pavement/road), which is quite an accomplishment in Singapore.  The volunteers were generally helpful and polite, and a few even cheered.  Extra thanks to the non-volunteers, who simply came out to cheer, support, and offer random bits of food (potatoes, candy, etc.) along the way.  You guys rocks!

My biggest complaint is definitely the way that the 50K merged with the middle/back of the 13K.   I believe that the weather resulted in a slight delay in the start of the 13K.  I’m not convinced that the route would have been significantly clearer if the 13K had started on time (about 15 minutes earlier), but it’s possible.  Managing a race with staggered starts and overlapping routes makes traffic flow a challenge – but it would certainly do the 25K, 50K, and 100K folks a favor to run the 13K as far away (spatially and temporally) as possible.

Along similar lines, I think that the Perth Marathon spoiled me with its separate marathon finisher’s tent.  I definitely would have appreciated a separate line/tent for 50K & 100K post-race refreshments.  Pushing through the 13K folks just to get a bottle of water at the Finish Line was simply no fun – and I felt even worse for the 100K finishers!  But, this is a small matter.  The on-course execution was solid, in my opinion.

I’ve heard some complaints about the price point for the race: $96 SGD ($77 USD).  This certainly isn’t cheap (and I know that some aspects don’t scale proportionately), but considering that I’m willing to pay $30 SGD for a 5K (you don’t find them much cheaper than that in Singapore), I did some math:

$30/5K = $6/kilometer
$96/49K = $1.96/kilometer

A 50K starts to look like a bargain!  And, as I’ve noted in the past, I am wiling to pay for high quality race execution.

So that’s about it, guys.  After a week of rest, I’m formulating my new running plans and goals.  But for the next few weeks, look out for lots of RPM, a bit more BodyPump, and maybe some non-yin yoga.  Stay tuned. 🙂

Anyone wear boy shorts under their chafing compression gear?
[I don’t love boy shorts, but am thinking of giving this a shot to help with the chafing situation.]

50K: Is there anything else you are thinking about/wondering/want to ask, about mine specifically, or about the distance/training/preparation in general?

30 thoughts on “TNF100: Final Thoughts on a 50K (Race Report Part 3?)

  1. Meagan

    Aww your poor shoes! I hate when they wear out like that. It’s like losing a friend. I’m glad to hear your recovery is going well. I hope you are still basking in the glow of your accomplishment. Don’t move on to “what’s next” too soon!

    I like your idea of a separate finisher’s area/tent for the 50K and 100K finishers. That would be a definite plus, since this race had a lot of distance options and got so crowded towards the end. I can’t believe people have moved course signs in the past! That’s crazy! I’m glad that didn’t happen to y’all this year.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I’m rather ambivalent about changing out my road shoes. But these trail shoes? I love. And Salomon’s current version is about 4 versions later than this one, so I’m a bit worried that they won’t be as good as these!

      People (not participants, just general jerks) do tons of dumb things to running routes. This happens more than you might realize; ask any race director you know, he/she has probably been a victim of last-minute-sign alteration/snatching. People can be really ridiculous sometimes.

      Reply
  2. Amy

    OK so that picture of your shoe looks disgusting. It took me looking at it for a good 2 minutes to figure out those were fingers coming through the holes; I thought your feet had swollen and popped through. I hate gaiters for snow and trails, but the short ones I have for trails really help keep my feet clean when running.

    I don’t wear boy shorts often but when I do they ride up anyway. I am actually going to attempt my first marathon in shorts next week. So far body glide has been good to me.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Hahaha – I have now edited the photo to note that those are my fingers. 🙂 I don’t use (or own) gaiters; maybe they would have helped in this situation, but with the water, everything was going in anyway. [OK, the holes in the sneakers were probably the biggest issue, but whatever. At least ventilation was good!]

      Yeah, that’s my usual issue with boy shorts. But something has to be done about this chafing, which occurs in Singapore despite the generous application of Body Glide… [And no, NOT wearing the compression capris is not an option for me. They’re like my safety blanket! :)]

      Reply
      1. Amy

        Didn’t you say after your marathon you were going to get on Twitter? I am just holding you to these things. And for my own selfish reasons of instant communication with you. And, because I may not have mentioned that the flood in Boulder led to a dead cell phone in this house which led to the purchase of new phones (for both of us because why not?) + a lifeproof case which has been excellent. But lifeproof is definitely more hardcore and heavy duty than other cases. Just letting you know!

        Reply
        1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

          Oh Amy, you are so so so right. And since the move to Facebook has been relatively smooth, and even enjoyable, I should just stop dragging my feet…

          And I actually need to do a post on the case I’m using right now – it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely keeping my phone safe!

          Reply
      2. Tekko

        Stumble upon your blog. Nice. Hope you are enjoying all your runs in Singapore.
        Weather was good that day otherwise I am quite sure your water will not have been enough.
        Anyway for the chafing, try Blistershields. Its much better than Bodyglide.

        Reply
        1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

          Hi Tekko, thanks for stopping by! I’m not sure I enjoy ALL of them – but I do enjoy MOST of them! And TNF was a great time – and thanks for your work as clean-up crew, as well!

          It was an absolutely AWESOME day for the race – and if it had been hotter/sunnier/less wet/whatever, then I definitely would have needed both stops to refill my pack (I decided before the race what my refill strategy would be, based on my training – most of which was done on warmer and less rainy days) – but better safe than sorry!

          Will have to look into Blistershields – thanks for the suggestion. I’ve tried every tool in my arsenal, and still have chafing issues. It sorta takes the fun out of the post-race shower!!

          Reply
  3. Stephanie@nowirun.com

    Your husband was a rockstar… it’s great to have your biggest fan want to support you in the best way possible. Your shoes are definitely going to need to be replaced. Yikes!
    When you said, ” and then it was time to stand up.” I thought something terrible was about to happen!!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      He was great on race day; but really, it’s the day-to-day support that I appreciate the most. The way he supports me on all the mornings I roll out of bed at early o’clock (OK, usually that support is “Just go. You won’t regret it.” *he buries head back under covers*), and the evenings when I roll in too tired to think about preparing the dinner I planned (he takes over), and the strange weekend schedules my running sometimes dictates (up before dawn; nap before noon; bed at 9 to repeat!). Those are what make him really exquisite!

      And yes. New shoes. But I hate throwing anything away until I’ve squeezed the very last ounce of life out of it. Do you these qualify yet? 🙂

      Reply
      1. Grace

        Ah, supportive husbands. Mine shows his support in the form of kicking me out of bed for an early run when I’ve requested to be kicked out of bed for an early run.

        Just place that Sierra Trading Post/ Amazon order and get new shoes already!! 🙂

        Reply
  4. Jess

    You are so hardcore and inspiring! I really enjoyed this recap. Shame about your shoes, but they served you well! And congrats on 6th!!! That is awesome!!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Thanks, Jess! Glad to know that someone who writes with brevity may also enjoy a longer report! 🙂

      And you’re right – I should appreciate the time we (my shoes & I) had together, rather than bemoaning their demise!

      Reply
  5. Kristen L

    You did so great in this race! Fun to hear your thoughts after resting a few days. I’m glad your soreness didn’t last too long. I love when a race has great volunteers — it can really make the difference between a good race and a not so good race environment.

    I don’t have too many good suggestions on the chafing. Can you try a different brand of compression capris? Or maybe longer spandex tights underneath?

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Ugh. Problem is that I ADORE CW-X for their targeted compressive qualities, and have yet to find another brand that begins to compare. I know they need the seams to hold all that good compression together, but I wish…there was another way! 🙂 Yeah, that’s why I’m thinking about “boy shorts” underwear – a protective layer that does double duty!

      Reply
  6. Cait the Arty Runnerchick

    you’re freaking BEASTLY!!! goodness, you ultra people have my utter respect! 🙂 soo proud of u, and loved seeing those FB pic’s…please know u’ve got a Stateside friend who was cheering for u like mad!
    one thing on the abdomen soreness, i’m sure it’s prolly ur psoas, it’s tight in a LOT of runners and a deep muscle. do some stretching on that guy…sorry if u want to tell me to shove my two cents, feel free. 😉
    great job holly!! i hope u DESTROYED the food post-race…and daaaysss after…u earned it!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      That’s quite a compliment, coming from you, Cait! 🙂

      No, no – bring on the suggestions. I love to hear from people who know more about this than I do (as I’m mostly self-taught anyway 🙂 ). Psoas…gonna go look that sucker up now. [Although it’s not sore anymore, so I’ll be relying on my memory on where exactly it hurt…or else I’ll have to run another ultra!]

      Thing is…I’m never that hungry post-race. I should be, but I’m not. And I actually still owe myself a post-race sundae. Hmm….better get on that! 🙂

      Reply
  7. charlotte

    Wow, I’m so impressed you did this! (And also really impressed with your husband – great guy!!) I feel you on the pain of losing beloved shoes. Duct tape, maybe? Great job on your run!!!

    Reply
  8. Doug DeWeaver

    Hi Holly! We got a taste of sign moving at Dirt Cheap #5 in Webster back in August. I ran 5.6 miles, some ran 2.9 miles. I think I did most of the course. The results were threw out. YJR spent a lot of time making sure that no one was lost in the woods that night!

    Reply
  9. Debbie @ Deb Runs

    Three words about your three part recap… awesome and engaging! Thank you for sharing your race adventure with your readers in such glorious detail. And of course congrats on your 6th place female finish! Woot woo!

    I’m sure your mathematician dad is proud of you for calculating the cost per kilometer for the different races! 🙂

    Reply
  10. Portia

    I just inhaled this awesome race report! Thank you for writing it all up. You make a 50k sound like fun, which is really saying somthing for me. 🙂 I’m excited to read more of your blog!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Hahaha – it was pretty long – I hope you breathed out a few times, too! The race was quite an experience for me – I wanted to share it with the folks who “kept me company” and supported my crazy plans! 🙂

      I’m honored that I made it sound like fun. To be honest, most of it WAS fun – minus the 20-30% that really, really sucked. 🙂

      Reply

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