Last Call 50 Miler Race Report
For about six or seven months, I was counting down the days until July 8. I signed up for my first ultra-marathon, based on nothing more than the race description: start running 50 miles at midnight on Sunday and race overnight after taking a shot of whisky. I thought, why not?!
We have several patients competing in just about every ultra-marathon or endurance race there is in the Colorado Rockies. From the Leadville Trail 100, and all races in the Leadville Series, to the Silverheels 100 (which was the same weekend and course I ran) to the Run Rabbit Run race in Steamboat Springs. Our patients often come in with foot pain as being a leading cause of their difficulty training. My own roommate is having an unusual tendinitis after running in the Speedgoat 50 in Utah a couple of weeks ago. My wife has run dozens of trail ultras, so with all of these runners around me, I decided to jump in.
Through extensive cross training, I got ready for the race. I did yoga three times a week, with one of them being a restorative session. I continued to downhill ski while there was snow, but also added in backcountry runs with more hiking and uphill work, like the Professor on Loveland Pass and Silver Couloir on Buffalo Mountain. When the snow was gone, I took to running my new puppy down the Willow Creek trail system. With any new season, gradually increasing mileage is of utmost importance. Jumping straight into 15-20 mile training runs would be rough for anybody.
My mileage gradually increased from my daily 3 mile runs to long 15-20 mile runs on weekends. Unfortunately, I never made it longer than that in training. I had several runs around 15 miles, either up Ptarmigan Mountain and back or Hope Pass down by Twin Lakes. We even had a few training runs on the race course, down in Fairplay. Later in training, however, my knee would begin to ache after around 10 miles and mostly on the downhill. Without time to get accustomed to custom orthotics, I decided to use our in-house brand of over the counter orthotics to correct my fatigue based overpronation.
With my Medi brand orthotics and my zero drop shoes, I hit the trails after shooting my whisky at midnight. Slow and steady was the name of my game. For 52 miles, my feet felt mostly great. I developed some lateral heel pain and second toe blisters from simple overuse, but otherwise, my feet survived with flying colors. My left knee, however, was done for by about mile 15. That meant 37 miles of significant pain while going downhill, including racing the cutoff for the last 9 miles, all downhill, from the top of Hoosier Pass all the way back to Fairplay.
The race course was beautiful and the experience was unique. Three weeks later, I was fully recovered, except for some residual knee pain when running downhill. I’m not sure I need to do it again, but I do know I’ll be around ultra-runners for the rest of my life, so I was excited to get the race finished and know that they’re going through. If you find yourself in need of footcare following your athletic endeavors, please don’t hesitate to call our offices in Avon or Frisco, Colorado!