After blowing up at last year’s race, I decided I was going to treat this like the training race it was meant to be. I’d gone out way too hard last year, so I did some calculations and figured out the pace I needed to run to turn in a respectable finish while still feeling used, but not used up.
The 50K course, at Rosaryville State Park in the Maryland suburbs of DC, consists of three 10-mile loops, with a couple of additional short sections to bring the distance up to 31 miles. I crushed the first loop last year, clearing the main aid station in 1:40 and change. I hammered through the initial miles of the second loop as well, only to realize halfway through that the wheels were already coming off.
I’d been in the hunt for a Top 10 finish up to that point, but didn’t have enough left in the tank to hold my pace.
So this time around? Better strategy and smarter running. Run the first loop in 1:50 and reassess. If I was feeling good, the plan was to run the second loop at the same pace and reassess again. If I was feeling good at that point, I’d push the third loop. If not, I’d do the best I could.
That plan would’ve gotten me across the line in about 5:30, roughly 12 minutes faster than the previous year.