21 October 2015

Glacial Trail 50 Mile

This was a race like no other I've done.  It was brutal.  I actually wrote an article for the local paper about what I've learned over 5 years at Glacial, and I'm going to use it as my "Race Report" here:

Last Sunday I returned to the Glacial Trail 50 Mile trail race.  It starts and finishes in Greenbush, just a couple miles from my house.  I ran the 50 mile race once, last year, and have finished the 50 kilometer race 3 times.  When I first started running, especially on trails, it was the Glacial Trail race that really piqued my interest.  I had grown up in Plymouth and was living at the time, in Plymouth, and I didn’t even know this race existed!
Thinking back to that time, I started thinking about what I’ve learned since my first Glacial Trail finish in 2010.  Here are some of the thoughts that come to mind:
1.       When it comes to running and health in general, NUTRITION RULES!  I’m not sure I’m running or training any faster now than I was in the past, but I’m finding better times and results, and I think it’s directly related to some changes in my diet I’ve made recently.  I’ve cut back even more on grains and junk (with a couple splurge exceptions J ), and have actually increased my fat consumption.  Yes, that’s right—I’m eating more fat!  And I’m feeling leaner and running faster.  It’s all about the quality of the food.  It’s not whether it’s carbohydrates or fats or proteins.
2.       Priorities must be kept!  Let’s face it: training to run a 50 mile race is kind of a selfish endeavor.  It simply takes time to put in the miles needed.  My wife, Ellie, has always been very supportive of my running hobby, provided I follow two rules:
a.       I can’t destroy myself and be a useless husband/father by running races or training runs that I’m not properly prepared for.
b.      I can’t just be gone all the time running.
So, in order to be properly prepared yet not missing out on family time, I do almost all of my running before the kids are awake in the morning, over my lunch hour, or after they’re asleep at night.  There are exceptions to this rule, but the majority of the runs get done as what I call “Invisible Training”, where the family doesn’t know that 5 mile run even occurred.  The same goes for life in general, too.  There is time for anything in your life, but there isn’t time for everything.  Know what’s important and what gives your life meaning, and prioritize!
3.       Stay Positive!  There inevitably are low spots when I’m trying to cover 50 miles on foot.  That goes without saying (although, I guess, I just said it). Your mind is powerful, and your body will follow it.  Positive and upbeat thoughts keep your body in the right frame of mind.  Last year, at mile 37 of the race, I was in a real low spot.  I was hungry, tired, sore, and just kind of “done” with the day.  Unfortunately, I was at mile 37.  Not long after that real low point, I was able to see my family and kids, and I made it to an aid station where I put some food in my belly.  In the end, it really is about the little things.  I saw my family and had a PB&J sandwich.  That turned around my day.  So I’m hoping to simply stay positive during Sunday’s race and think, in the low spots of the day, that it can only get better!
Well, considering those three objectives, how did last weekend’s race go?  In a word: HORRIBLE.  Maybe it was the heat.  Maybe I was a bit dehydrated.  I’m not sure what happened, but this race was one of my worst.  I was begging to drop out at mile 30, but Ellie simply wouldn’t let me.  I was cold (despite the temperatures), tired, sore, and even at times a bit dizzy.  I had no idea what happened, but I was having a bad day.  Despite all my pleading, I was coaxed in to finishing by Ellie and a good friend of mine, Tony.  Tony decided to come out for the heck of it and see how I was doing.  Ellie filled him in on the problems I was having and he jumped in to action.  I honestly have no idea how they talked me in to finishing, but I managed to do it.  So, after last Sunday’s run, I can add a couple more lessons learned:
4.       Never, never, never, take for granted the “Good Days.”  Always appreciate the blessings that we are given daily.  I’ve had my share of races where I’ve pleasantly surprised myself at how ‘easy’ the race felt.  I’ll always keep those memories close, and remind myself often to be thankful for them.
5.       You can’t do it alone.  There is absolutely no way I would have finished if not for Ellie and Tony.  Yes, I covered the 50 miles on my feet, but it is definitely a team sport, and those two deserve all the credit.  Be sure to recognize those in your life who help you get where you’re going, too!
So, there you have it.  What I’ve learned over the last 5 years of Glacial Trail races.  Will I be back next year?  Ask me again next week.  As of right now, I’m still having trouble going up and down steps.

STRAVA DATA (Battery Died)

Mile 39

5 Years of Glacial


nikki said...

you continue to amaze me! thank you for posting. i appreciate your words and perspective.

nwgdc said...

aww shucks nikki! you're not so bad yourself! get healthy now!