My first ultra marathon is in the pocket and I could not be more proud. It was a self-supported trail run that I had organised with my dad. He would run his 50K in Belgium and I would run mine in Barcelona and we would keep each other posted about how it went. If that is not teamwork, then I don’t know.
It was the first really sunny (and hot) day in Barcelona so it was quite an adjustment for my body. Luckily for me, my body reacts better to heat than to cold weather. However, right before I wanted to start, I noticed that my water bag was leaking. Since dehydration is the primary reason why people start feeling cramps, I got a little bit nervous. But I decided to start anyway.
Besides some problems with the route (private properties, not existing roads), it all went quite well. During the heavy climbs I walked and ate to save energy and during the downhills and flatter roads, I just let my legs go.
For this part I had planned the most. Because I know myself and I know that this is my weakest point. I often forget to eat during my runs, but no fuel means no energy. Normally you should aim to get at least around 60g of carbs in every hour of you are during for multiple hours. But, I know my body and I know this is too much for me. So instead, I focused more on just eating something.
I had planned to eat a bar every hour and around kilometer 25, to eat my half baguette with potatoes and some vegetables. I know that a lot of runners prefer to stick by bars, but my stomach gets too upset about it, hence the baguette.
Due to my leaking water bag, I was too thirsty at the end to eat another bar, so I decided to take one gel. It really helped me to push through those last miles. Even though you might almost be at the finish (eg 5K more to go) don’t neglect your nutrition strategy. I am extremely happy that I sticked to it, because also afterwards I felt much better.
I won’t deny that at some points it was hard. Running alone for such a long time is not easy. Luckily my dad and I had agreed to stay in touch during the run to keep each other updated about where we were, how it went etc. I am 100% that without this communication, it would have been 10x as hard.
Team work makes the dream work
You can be a good runner on your own, but you can be an amazing one if you have the right kind of support and team behind you.
After rewarding myself with a delicious pizza last night and some Dafalgan before I went to bed, I enjoyed a really good sleep and this morning I felt really good actually. My body felt tired, of course, but the part that hurts the most are the scratches on my legs from the bushes. Not too bad I guess then.
However, for today, I will take it really easy with lots of high quality food (fruits, vegetables, protein, …) and water to rehydrate. I will evaluate how my body feels like over the coming days to see when I can pick up some light training (inside on the bike). Nothing too straining for my body and nothing planned to give my body the right amount of time to fully recover.