Random Thoughts After A 50 Mile Ultra Marathon Training Run


For the second year in a row I hosted a self supported 50 mile training run to get ready for a spring 100.  Two years in a row I’m overwhelmed with the support I received from the local running community.

Last year after signing up for Umstead, I knew I needed to get in a (really) LONG run.  I decided on a 50 miler in a local park (Noland Trail) and hoped I could talk a few of my friends to come out and spend a few hours with me.  I set up a Facebook event and invited everyone I knew and hoped for the best.  Last year 19 people showed up throughout the day and someone ran with me all day long.

Noland50mapcol(The route would start with 3 miles of trail, 5 miles of roads
and finish with 2 miles back on the trails)

For 2015 its the Graveyard 100 (I ran the 100k last year), and I once again I hit up Facebook.  With a less then idea forecast I really wondered if anyone would show up.  Rolling into the parking lot I set up shop and got my mind ready for the 7 a.m. kick off.  As I was getting my gear together some 14 people gathered at the back of my car to run with me.  And again as last year some of these people I had not meet before!  At a little after 7 a.m. we hit the trail.

noland502014prerunmotivation(How do you get “Awake” for a 50 Mile run…with some Skillet of course)

Lap Time/Results:

Clock Start Time 0702

Lap 1 (0-10 miles):  1:48:04
Lap 2 (10-20 miles):  1:49:08
Lap 3 (20-30 miles): 1:50:47
Lap 4 (30-40 miles): 1:58:33
Final Lap (40-50 miles): 2:00:07
My transition times were slower then “race day” would be.  I planned to keep them short, but it was hard to not talk to those who came out to run with me.  I decided to stick to starting laps every two hours.

Finish Clock Time 1700:07

noland50201420miles(Lap 2, 20 miles into the day)

Thought out the day I had someone with me for every lap but lap 3, 20 – 30 miles.  50 miles was covered in a hair under 10 hours…with great stories, laughs, jokes, support, tales of past races, sharks, food and future goals.  I’m so thankful to everyone who ran with me.

noland50finish2014(Andrea and Hank brought me home….I’m in the center)

FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS

1.  The most precious gift someone can give you is their time.

2.  A day filled with misty rain is better then driving rain, but your none the less wet.

3.  We should all thank the inventor of Body Glide…after being wet for 10 hours I wondered what surprise awaited in the shower….none!

4.  I need to plan better for Social Media/Communication logistics, although I had everything in place to run 50 miles, my phone died at 20 (dang two year old phone battery life)

5.  It’s hard to explain why we do this…but others who run long distances like we do…get it!

Bonus: A wife who comes out in said misty rain for the soul purpose to give you a kiss and say Hi, is a KEEPER.


  • What do you think would be your top tip for someone looking to complete their first 100 miler? I’ve got a 24 hour race on the calendar (goal is minimum 100k, max 80 miles), a 50 miler, and if all goes well my first 100 attempt the end of July. The thought of running 100 miles is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Any advice is appreciated. :)

    • Brian Burk

      Sorry for slow reply, was on vacation and my tablet would not allow me to reply.

      100 Miler is daunting, but doable. Keep focused and never let doubt enter your mind…in the months leading up to my race I never once allowed my self to say I was going to “try” to run 100 miles…..I told everyone, whenever I could that I was running 100 miles. Your mind is a powerful tool….use it.

      My best advice….keep moving no matter what, keep your pit stops short and to the point and “fear the chair” once you sit down for any length of time it is so hard to get moving again. Umstead had a nice warm pit stop at the HQ turn….I told myself no matter what I would not go into the building…..100 miler death lurks in there.

      Best of luck, pls keep in touch
      Brian