May as well report this as a race, as unorthodox as it was for me. It was actually a lot of fun.
I parked 3 miles from the start line and ran there. Made it about 10 minutes before start time. Ran the race, paused a bit, and then ran 2 miles back towards my truck, walking the final mile, giving me a 50km Ultra race time of 4:34:11 (not including the pauses, and not officially measured as such - so not an official Ultra).
I made a mistake by leaving my auto pause turned on, so I didn't have an accurate measure from the marathon portion on my GPS. The advantage of that is I know exactly how much time I spent at the aid stations: 10 1/2 minutes. That's not bad, actually.
Excluding those aid station stops, my mile splits were very even. Between 8:15 and 8:30 mile pace throughout, with some faster splits along the way. The exceptions were the miles after mile 26, where I hit a couple of 9:00 mile splits. Since this was a double loop, I'm able to compare my timing mat splits accurately between the first half and the second half:
1st Half 2nd Half
Those splits correspond to the 8 person relay transitions, so should be about 3 1/4 miles apart, give or take. So, I did slow down in the second half - but that must have been mostly longer time spent at aid stations, as my recorded paces stayed pretty much the same.
There were only 21 of us in the Marathon, but there were also 157 in the Half and 10 teams in the 8 person relay, so just under 200 of us on the start line. I was the only one in my age division, by the way, so I won it :) Was the 4th of 16 males.
Beautiful day: Sunshine with some gusty wind in places. 7C/45F at the start, and 17C/63F at the finish. I just had fun with this, so was able to high five the spectators and chit chat with the aid station folks along the way. I never pushed myself at any point and felt strong at the finish. Well, the marathon finish anyway. The final 2 miles after my pause were REALLY hard to do.
Since this was a dress rehearsal for my 100 km Ultra in 5 weeks, some comments on things I learned:
Pace was good. I might slow it down a bit to around 8:45 for the longer event. Even if I'm hitting 9:00, I'll be okay with that as long as I don't linger in the aid stations.
Aid stations: I tried to time it so I was emptying my hand held every 3 miles. I carried 10 baggies in a waist pouch, each holding 1.5 scoops of Tailwind. Before I got to the aid station, I pulled out one baggie and I took the lid off my hand held. Then things got really messy. It was just too hard for me to efficiently pour the powder from the bag into the bottle. I was consistently losing a fair portion - on my hand, arm, ground, helpers. Sticky when wet. I discovered the best technique was to have an aid station person do it for me. Well, 3 of the 4 who did it, did a good job. The one was as bad as me. I'll have to look at using smaller baggies. I used the sandwich size. I'll try the half size for the Ultra. Trying to do it while running was impossible, so I think I have no choice but to get someone to do it for me in the aid station.
The water was less of an issue, but it was a lot easier to fill the bottle directly from the big water container, as opposed to pouring cups of water in.
There are 20 aid stations in my 100 Ultra, so it would be good to be as efficient as possible in them.
Other than having to run twice the distance, the only other challenges I anticipate in Niagara Falls are the heat - likely to be a LOT hotter than it was today - and the big hill going up (and down) the escarpment. I'll likely end up walking a good portion of that ... I did not walk anything today. Oh, the travel too. It was SO nice to have only a 15 minute drive to the start line today!
Oh, one small feel good victory: of the 10 teams in the 8 person relay, only 6 finished ahead of me, and 3 of those by less than 5 minutes. I noticed they were pretty young runners on those teams, so it gives this old man a certain sense of satisfaction that I can keep their 5km pace over a 42km distance :)
That's it. Now I'm heading 'home' to celebrate my mom - it's Mother's Day, after all.