Tag: maasmechelen


Race Recap: 50k Maasmechelen – My First Ultra

A while ago I talked about my decision to my step to ultra.

After some nice months of training, I felt ready for my race.
Seeing it was the first ultra I was going to undertake, it was a plunge in the deep.
Therefore I set out with a goal with a big margin.
I was happy to finish under 5h and hoped to get in the 4:30 region.

Race day conditions seemed good and after waking up, a carb loaded breakfast and a 2h drive I arrived at the scene.
The race was part of an ultra weekend. Together with the 50k, there was a 6h run, 12h run, 24h run and a 100k run, so the scene was buzzing with excitement and a lot of fit people were walking around.
Somewhat nervous I got to the start after having some last water and a toilet break.

The race consisted of 4 laps, all on solid and flat ground, basically the biggest reason I had chosen this race.
100k and 50k started simultaneously, but our race got a head start of about 500m so the pack was thinned out.

There were 3 food/drink stations over the course of one lap, which meant I would mainly rely on what was provided.
I had left a camelbak with water, gels, dades and bananas with my girlfriend who would stay with our 3month old at the cafeteria at the start/finish in case of “emergency”, but I hoped I would not need it.
I also had left a bag with sugar water, a banana and a bar of dark chocolate at the 2 stations during the lap for backup.
This way I felt fairly confident I would not have hydration nor food depletion issues and that my stomach would hold up.

When the gun went off, I went out too fast, which by now is just normal. First lap: 5:17… Bear in mind I was aiming for 6minute laps and hoping for 5:24 laps (per km mind you, not per mile ;-))
Although I went off way too fast, a lot of people passed me. Second km I managed to pace myself (5:31) and not look at all the speeders.

After 4km I found my own pace and got into a small pack of runners.
First lap went very well and ended after about 1:07:00, which meant an obliterating success.
I still felt strong and decided to keep on running this same pace.

Second lap went just about the same way and just like that I was halfway my ultra.
Weather was good running-wise: overcast with sometimes just the slightest drizzle and a nice 17°C and I was having fun. So off to the second half.

My heart rate slowly started rising, so I knew my body was starting to feel tired. I made sure I stopped for the necessary time to eat and drink enough at the stations.
Constantly cramming a lot of sugar in my mouth really helped my legs. At the last station during my third lap I decided to drink some Coke and I don’t know if this was the trigger or it was just generally tiredness, but … there were the gut cramps 🙁
I had passed the start/finish point about 10minutes ago and knew there wasn’t any toilet available until the near end. I would be unable to make it like this, so went behind a tree.
First time ever this was necessary, thank god for the tip of always taking toilet paper.
Plus side: it helped me a lot. I felt relieved and strong for the last part.

Last 15k I decided to try to step it up a bit and km 42 actually was my fastest one! (4:48)
So in all honesty I can say the last part was just fun as I could still push myself and just like that I ran my 2nd marathon time in 3:39 and my (official) end chrono was 04:23:00.

First ultra: CHECK
Ended it in a hoped time: DOUBLE CHECK
Not walking like a disabled person week after: Not so check 😉 – Quads were sore after, but it was manageable.

Thank you for reading my report 😀