On Friday, on the 305th day of my runstreak, I ran my first trail marathon on crushed limestone. A training run for the Market-to-Market 50k next month. It was slow, warm, challenging, and fun. Let me show you what I saw.
Early on there were vanishing horizonal views like this…
I started at the MoPac trailhead connecting to the MoPac East trail, ran east for 13.1 mi and west for 13.1 mi (out and back). Small towns on the way with water/restrooms available in Walton at 3 miles out and Eagle at 10 miles.
All of the course is on the Market-to-Market 50k course so it’s good to get familiar with the crushed limestone that I will be running upon next month.
With a multi-purpose trail used by runners/pedestrians, bikes, and horses, the question arises: who yields to whom? It’s not on the sign but obviously pedestrians must yield to cars on all the crossings with major streets that intersect with this trail. Also, stay right pass on the left. You must know the rules of the road as a trail runner or user.
For shoes, I wore my new TopoAthletic Trail MT shoes that I won in a #RunThisYear Twitter chat. The shoes held up well. I’ll do a review of them soon when I’ve run in them more.
One thing that didn’t work was wearing the Nathan belt with water bottles. This got too tight and caused some major stomach problems/cramping at mile 23 to the end. I carried the belt after a while. I used my Polar 24 oz bottle for refillable water and brought a 20 oz Gatorade with me that was gone after 5 miles.
At 13 miles, I took a photo of the 13 mile marker and texted it to my wife to tell her I was halfway home. (She asked me to do that.)
The first half split was around 2:30 so I was on pace for about a 5 hr marathon if I could hold that pace.
In the second half, the sun was really blazing. Not enough shade. Not enough water, even refilling water in Eagle and Walton probably was not enough. Dehydration definitely became an issue.
Fatigue and stomach cramps took over at 23 miles. Just couldn’t keep the pace up. Lots of walking breaks. One restroom break.
Finally got to the 26 mile mark and thought of stopping but decided to continue to at least get a marathon pace split to use for 50k planning. Finished in 5:13:19, slower than I wanted but adjusting for heat/humidity and stomach cramps, that’s okay, this was supposed to be nice and slow, relaxed pace.
Now that I’ve run a self-supported trail marathon, I think I might be a trail runner. But maybe the conversion to trail running isn’t complete until after I’ve run my trail 50k.