A 50K PR

I haven’t raced a 50K in a long time.

Well, it seems long, but I guess in the context of my running journey, it’s only been two years.

The last time I ran this 50k was actually two years ago. I strained a muscle in my butt and was carried off the course in tears. I didn’t know something could hurt so bad, but I’d still want to keep running.

DNF. It sucked.

This year was different. I wasn’t training for it. I was doing it solely for fun. To scratch that ultra itch.

Driving up to the race was the most relaxing ride I’d had in a long time. I sang to the radio, I talked to myself, I played out different race scenarios. I figured 4.5 to 5 hours would be good. I was confident I’d have a fun time.

The race began and I kept the pace moderate, never elevating my heart rate unless I was on a climb. Because the race is four loops of the park trails, each loop brought more confidence on where to push and where to relax. I ran the whole thing.

The first two loops were nice in that I felt comfortable and in my element. I wasn’t worried about anything but enjoying myself and thinking about my life. Oh, and making sure I didn’t fall. I promised Chelsea I wouldn’t fall. She needs her training partner after all.

I told myself the third loop might suck, because you’ve been running so far, yet you’ve got a whole loop left after it. It became apparent that my strategy was to just get that loop over with and maintain my pace.

Upon starting the fourth loop I was told that the first guy was 4 minutes ahead, which is a lot of time, especially if I slowed down and he didn’t. I felt strong and passed the second place guy on the big climb of the loop. It’s usually not smart to pass people on climbs, so don’t do it.

As I rounded the bend to the last aid station, I saw the first place guy getting a drink.


Mindset flipped. It was on. Four miles to go.

I ran for my life.


My last four mile splits:





At the end of a 30 mile race.

My last loop was my fastest. 57 minutes.

At the end of a 30 mile race.

I felt so alive, it was unreal. It felt damn good to race in that way.

Maybe all this training is paying off.

I won the race outright with a shiny new PR of 3:58:36.

Scratching that itch never felt so good.

Ellie Pell