First Ultramarathon coming up soon

Kilter Posts: 188 Member
I am doing my first ultramarathon (50km) on April 6 and as the days move on I'm getting both more excited and more stressed :)

My training has been lackluster and my longest training day was a 5 hour stretch over the worst part of the course that topped out at 28km (first 21km and last 7km of the course).

I'm doing the DiezVistas 50km race up here in BC, Canada. Anyone else out there done this race, or done races like it? Any last week words of encouragement or advise?



  • markdavy1982
    markdavy1982 Posts: 109 Member
    Do what you have been doing in your training and try to rest this week, you will smash it.
  • lizsmith1976
    lizsmith1976 Posts: 497 Member
    I wish I had words of encouragement, but having never done an ultra...

    I did finish my first full marathon after only having trained to 30K. My pace was perfect until then, and after that I just had to settle in for the pain, and be happy I was going to finish. Plus, it looks from your profile pic that you have had plenty of experience with endurance events !!

    My first IM is in 7 weeks, any words of advice for me? :) I'm not actually too nervous, just ready and excited and want to see how it all shakes out. Do you have any other tri plans? I'm curious, because I kind of see completing an IM as the culmination of my tri plans and after that I might move on to ultras.
  • Kilter
    Kilter Posts: 188 Member
    lizsmith, it's funny, I was very nervous for my first IM, but the second one was... meh, all good. for this ultra the distance isn't a big deal, 50km is long but not really long and not much longer than a regular marathon, plus I don't have to spend 6 hours on my bike first :)

    the trails part is the hard thing. elevation gain, roots, rocks, etc..

    bah :)

    I'll wind up doing a few more IM level events for sure. Celtman in Scotland and Norseman both look like excellent events and brutally hard :) I may do the new IM Canada since they are not longer in Penticton (I did the last race there last year) and Whistler is a nice area to play and closer than Penticton anyway.

    Advise for IM? If you are confident in the swim, go out into the pack, find a spot, get on someone's feet and stay there. If you aren't confident, pick a line inside on the buoys, most people go outside and it gets clotted up, plus you are swimming with folks who are less confident and more likely to pull up sharp or get in your way.

    On the bike, don't be a hero. Stick in your HR groove and don't push just because you feel awesome (and you will). Do NOT stand on the hills unless you are about to fall over on the bike, use your gears, it's why your bike has 20 of them right? Cadence, cadence cadence. Cadence is more important than high gears, you have to run after. And speaking of cadence and the run, in the last few km of the bike, HIGH cadence, wash out the lactate.

    On the run, race to your plan. Eat as much as you can stomach. If you can't stomach it, puke, wash your mouth out and eat something else. Seriously. Encourage people you pass, they will remember you if they pass you (or if they don't) and you'll have their good wishes with you for the race. Tough it up in the last 10km. Just shut up and run. :)

    Which IM are you doing?
  • jturnerx
    jturnerx Posts: 325 Member
    I’ve done more trail 50ks than I can count with elevation gains anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 feet and I’m heading into my 4th 50 miler this weekend so I have a little bit of experience with ultras. For me, one of the biggest puzzles to crack was pacing. I’ve blown up spectacularly (in a way I’ve never been able to do in a road or trail marathon) at a few 50ks because of pacing mistakes I’ve made. That “it’s just 5 more miles than a marathon” is not insignificant especially on courses that are technical and have more than a vertical mile of elevation ascent and descent.

    Move through the aid stations efficiently. They can be black holes that suck time. Have bottles/pack open for drinks, grab what you need to eat and get out. If you are talented and can eat solid food and run at the same time go for it but I prefer to finish eating while walking. The few seconds I might save running would be negated if I found myself choking and needing the Heimlich Maneuver.

    Lift your head up once in a while and enjoy the scenery. :)
  • Kilter
    Kilter Posts: 188 Member
    jturnerx, this race has 6000 feet gain (and drop) and that's been a huge challenge. I am comfortable walking up the hills, but want to go faster than I'm technically capable of going down them. I see people bounding down hills that I'm doing step by step and it frustrates the heck out of me, but I worry about blowing an ankle since I've had some injury there in the past.

    I've been warned about the aid stations and I've been warned to not sit down unless I'm in a washroom. I've been doing gels on my training runs and am good for 1 gel / 30 minutes right now. I also have a hand bottle of gatorade mix and a 1.5l waist water bag. Aid stations are at 6.5, 15, 23, 30, 37 and 43. My plan is to refill the hand bottle at all of them and the waist bag whenever it goes empty, hopefully only every second or third.

    Time to the first aid station is 1 hour, it covers a good chunk of elevation. Time to the 15km mark is another 1.5 hours as it does a peak hit and then a bunch of minor undulation before a huge drop. An hour out to 23 and another hour out to 30. 1.5 hours up to 37 which does another peak and some undulation before dropping. 37 to 43 is another hour, it goes back up the second peak and then back down a fast but runable switchback section. 43-50 should be about an hour, the last 4.5km are mostly downhill and took me 30minutes yesterday, but I was pretty fresh at the time :)

  • jturnerx
    jturnerx Posts: 325 Member
    The course looks awesome. Hope you have a great time. Yes, be careful on the down hills. It's easy to think the downs are easy (and it feels that way from a heart/lung perspective) but you are subjecting your body to significant ground reaction forces. When people talk about blowing their quads it's not the ups that did them in, it's the downs.

    6,000 feet of gain and drop are par for the course for the trails in my area so I have a pretty good idea what's in store for you. I love the downs, the gnarlier the better.
  • Kilter
    Kilter Posts: 188 Member
    Race was awesome! It rained, it hailed and it was even dry for the last 5km or so.

    I stuck to my nutrition plan, pushed a bit when I felt I could, and didn't let myself get into a funk when I was tired.

    I had a goal of 8 hours with a stretch goal of 7:30. I rocked the course in 7 hours and 21 minutes, well ahead of pace.

    Garmin Information:

    The winner finished in 4:05 which is just amazingly fast (in my opinion).

    I will TOTALLY do another ultramarathon. I'm sorta half thinking about doing the Frosty 50km in September. It's supposed to be even harder :)

    Thank you for the support guys!
  • mehamb01
    mehamb01 Posts: 4 Member
    Congrats on the ultramarathon and the multiple IM. I did my first IM last year in Louisville, and am scheduled to do my first ultra (50-mile in Nashville) in November. Still need to drop a few pounds to get to optimal race weight, but I'm glad to find likeminded people on this site.
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member