On September 18th, 2021, I toed the line to the 50 km ultramarathon in Bernau. Just 3 weeks after my 3rd place finish at the Schwerin Lake Ultra Trail Marathon, I wanted to use this 50 km race as a faster-paced training run.
I registered because it is just 30 minutes from Berlin – where I currently live. The perfect opportunity to test some new nutrition strategies and enjoy running for such a long distance without a backpack.
The racecourse was a relatively flat 5 km loop on asphalt. I decided to not take any water with me and drink at the aid station only.
For nutrition, I relied on honey again. I had a few teaspoons for breakfast – along with coffee. And I filled my reusable GU flask with honey and carried it with me.
Despite my intentions, however, I didn’t eat anything from the aid stations. I also forgot to take electrolyte pills with me and had only a bit of salt I added to the honey to replace the sodium lost through sweat.
Nevertheless, it turned out to be a great race, and I am happy with the result.
I didn’t follow any specific race prep, as I viewed the event as a training run to prepare me for longer races later this year.
On Wednesday before the race, I went for a 27 km run, on Thursday for a 20 km run, and on Friday, I went for a 17 km hike.
Friday evening, I went to Bernau to pick up my race bib and then to my girlfriend and enjoyed a nice dinner with her.
I didn’t follow a special diet or carb-loading protocol. Instead, I ate my typical diet of fruit, meats, cheese, and the like and we had boiled potatoes with chicken, cheese, eggs, and avocado for dinner.
Except for some tiredness from training, I didn’t have any issues going into the race. No injuries, no niggles, and – as opposed to the Schwerin Lake Trail Ultra – no liver or stomach pains.
I woke up on Saturday at 04:45, drank a double espresso, had 4 – 5 teaspoons of honey, dressed, and made my way to Bernau just after 06:00 am.
It was a grey and windy morning. When I arrived at 07:20, the athletes participating in the 100 km German championship were already running through the drizzle.
I wandered around a bit and made my way to the start just before 08:00. Since it was still raining, I wore my rain jacket for the first few kilometers. However, it was way too warm, so I already took it off after the first lap.
I sipped on honey at the start of every lap and drank some water every time I passed the aid stations in the start/finish area.
The first lap felt a bit heavy, and running felt hard. Despite my plan to use the race as a training run, I was nervous, and my heart rate shot up accordingly.
But once I got into a rhythm, running felt easier again, and I ran the following laps faster than the first.
When I finished the 5th lap, I felt mentally strong and didn’t have any issues. My stomach was cramping a bit, and I had to burp a few times, but this didn’t bother me too much.
However, in lap 7, I was overcome with tiredness and slowed my pace. I took cola the following 2 times, I passed the aid station, and it seemed to pick me up. I could feel my butt and hamstrings hurting, but I felt pretty good again mentally.
When I left for my last round, I spotted my girlfriend arriving. She came to pick me up after the race. I waved to her and shouted “the last lap,” and ran a strong last lap.
The thought of finishing soon and faster than my goal time pushed me even more.
With only 2 kilometers left, rain set in again, and it felt wonderfully refreshing on my body.
I finished 1st female and 3rd overall.
Post-Race Dinner, Opera, And Thoughts
After the award ceremony and receiving the certificates and presents, my girlfriend and I drove to my girlfriend’s home. I showered, and we enjoyed a lovely lunch of baked potatoes again, sausage, cheese, and veggies.
Afterward, we went to see Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, which was broadcasted live from the state opera Berlin to the Bebelplatz.
All in all, it was a great race weekend, and I have again learned something. First of all, I still need to practice having a proper breakfast before any type of long running. Secondly, I need more water than sipping a bit every 5 kilometers only.
And finally, I definitely need to start experimenting with solid foods now. I don’t think honey alone will sustain me on my quest to finish the 58 h backyard ultra in December.