On Saturday September 7, 2019, I officially became an ULTRA-MARATHONER. An “Ultra-Marathon” is any race that is longer than a standard marathon distance. Meaning anything further than 42.2KM or 26.2Miles.
I set out on a goal this year to complete the 50K Trail Race in beautiful Haliburton Forest. I’ve been working up to this distance ever since I started running 2 years ago. I’ve run 2 marathons in the past and this was an inevitable event. My motivation started years ago when I read the books “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll and “Eat & Run” by Scott Jurek.
Booking accommodations near Haliburton Forest Reserve isn’t really simple as all the cabins on the compound were well reserved in advanced. And the nearest lodges and hotels were at least 30 minutes away from Base HQ. Regardless I got myself and my parents a room at the charming Oakview Lodge & Marina. It’s been family run for the last 4 years by Anna and Greg. They are absolutely awesome people. The lodge was very cozy, rooms well sized, and they accommodated my vegan meal request. Having a handful of trail runners staying with them, they actually prepped the fruit bowl, made vegan muffins, and started the coffee pot at 4AM for those doing the 100-M and 50-M races.
I learned very quickly that a trail race is not remotely comparable to a road race. And each trail run is totally different. There are so many variables. For one, the distance is super long, and the terrain from course to course could be extremely technical with a lot of tough uphill climbs and scary descents on rocks. So my 5 hour goal was immediately tossed out. I just wanted to finish this as best I could and have the most fun. Being it my first 50K, any request would be a PB day for me.
This has been the hardest thing I’ve physically and mentally done thus far out of all my races. Every step needed to be accounted for with full alertness. No zoning out here.
A huge difference between Ultra trail and road races are the aid stations. The aid stations were like buffets. I learned to only take carbs like boiled potatoes with salt, jelly beans, pretzels, cola I had some PB&J but felt the fat was hard on my stomach. Race was good up to the 25km turn around. Then something happened, everything of my body seized up and stomach didn’t feel right. it took about 30 mins for things to get normal. Then I was able to run again and started passing people again. There was good weather overcast with shade for the vast majority of the race. However, we did have heavy and light rain downpour near the end. Overall, this was a tough yet really fun experience. I really felt one with nature.
View this post on Instagram
50Km, 62,000 steps, 4300 calories burnt, 1300m of elevation, and 7 hours later…I FOUND ULTRA @richroll !! Officially an #UltraMarathoner ?????That was hands down the hardest thing mentally and physically that I’ve ever done. Thank you to all the @haliburton_forest Ultra race organizers and especially the volunteers at the aid station cooking up much needed calories! More thoughts to come…I’m so not going to be able to move tomorrow…now where’s the buffet? #ultratrail #ultratrailrunner #haliburtonON #haliburton100
The final few KMs or so lead us out of the forest and finally back on to the road heading to the Finish Line at Base HQ. This road happened to be uphill of course. But with the orange chute in sight, it just made me want to throw it all down and rocket to the the finish. It was an awesome feeling. After receiving my medal, that was it. I became an ultra-marathoner. I FOUND ULTRA.
I ate a banana and drank a ton of water on the drive back home. Took a shower, watched Bianaca Andreescu win the US Open defeating Serena Williams. And then went to India’s Taste buffet for dinner.
- I need bigger trail running shoes
- I need a tighter fitting hydration vest
- Apple Watch still had 44% battery life after a 7 hour workout!
THINGS TO DO
- Need to do more trail running locally for practice
I’ll be damned, but I love running, and I think I love trail running even more. I can’t wait to do my next one. Currently eyeing Sulphur Springs in 2020!