1) Have you done anything like this before?
Not in this format. I have completed three 50ks in the past. I have been wanting to complete a 50 miler for the past couple of years now, but have gotten cold feet. The jump from 50k to 50 miles is quite a bit of a jump. A bit intimidating. I had signed up for the Bull Run 50 Miler. I was determined that this race was going to be my attempt at 50 miles, but it got canceled. Like so many others whose races got canceled, I was looking for a way to not let the training go to waste. When I learned about the Backyard Ultra, it sounded perfect. It was on the same day as Bull Run. I could run as far as my legs would take me. I could bail at any time and not endure a walk of shame. Best of all, it was free. I had no excuse not to do it.
2) How did you find out about the Quarantine Backyard Ultra?
I found out about the race from a post on the Charlottesville Area Trail Runners Facebook page. CAT is such a great group for trail runners with weekly long runs on trails. They have experienced trail runners who are eager to offer advice to runners of all abilities.
3) What was your strategy? (Go fast to have more time between laps or like Mike Wardian who ran consistently to have a 15 minutes break?)
Funny you mentioned Wardian. My strategy was more like his. My strategy was to go out slow, at around 9:00-9:30 pace. This would give me about 20 minutes or so to recover, refuel, and hydrate. After about 4 laps or so, I received a comment from Bert Jacoby (a former Stafford resident and sub-2:30 marathoner) on Strava that I was going too fast. I follow Mike Wardian on Strava and noticed that he was running 10:30 pace. So, after a marathon, I did slow it down to 10:30 pace.
4) What did you do to prepare if anything and how did you handle fueling during the event?
So, as far as preparation goes, I owe a lot to some advice given to me by John Anderson, co-owner of Crozet Running Store. Ever since my hip surgery a few years back, I have a tendency to be injury prone. My body can’t sustain the traditional program of high mileage weeks with two hard workouts and a long run on the weekend. John only runs hard once a week. The other runs are run at a slow pace. The long runs, he assured me, didn’t need to go much further than 20 miles The goal is to show up on race day healthy. Grit and perseverance would get me through 50 miles. This advice was when I was training for Bull Run. So, I ran three days a week; I alternated with 3 days of cycling. And, I took one day off, usually Mondays. As far as fueling goes, I made sure that I downed about 300 calories of normal food (not gels or anything like that) and 20 ounces of water on every break. A lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
5) Did you sleep at all during the event?
I did not sleep. No need to. My goal from the very beginning was to just run 50 miles and call it quits. I never had any ambition to run overnight.
6) In general tell me about your experience.
The race was very fun. Unfortunately, I had tweaked my hip a few days before the race, and it wasn’t 100 percent on race day. The hip was definitely the major issue throughout the day. I had 3 goals for the day. My A goal was to run 50 miles, my B goal was to run further in one day than I ever had before (34 miles), and my C goal was to run at least a marathon. I started out at 9:00-9:30 pace through the marathon, at which point I made the decision that if I were to make 50 miles, I would need to slow it down to 10:30 pace. The interesting thing now was my B goal, 34 miles. After I completed 8 laps, I had reached 33.3 miles, which meant I had to go out for a 9th lap.