Meet the TARC 50 Milers!

Community.. Love… Running… Three words that can pretty much sum up TARC.  What is TARC? Trail Animal Running Club, but more than just a running club, it’s a culture and a way of living.  There is no cost to join and no obligation other than a love of running and respect for the trails and each other.  I’m still fairly new, fairly slow, fairly inexperienced.  However, I have always been treated as well as any ultra veteran winner.

The closest I’ve gotten to an ultra thus far has been my 6 hour race with 28 miles.  However, that will all change on Friday when I toe the line for my first 50 miler.

I’m not going to lie.  Training for me hasn’t been easy.  I’m still learning to balance sleep, running, and friends and family.  I haven’t been the greatest at it but I’m learning.  But enough about personal struggles.  What I really wanted to know is who are my fellow 50 milers, how did they train and what’s their plan? I got the idea after listening to DFL Ultra-running podcast (check it out, it’s like running with friends!) tribute to the TARC 100 that’s the highlight of the race I’m running.  They interviewed 10 individuals who are running either the 50 or 100 miler with similiar questions.

However, that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to know more 50 milers, who they are and how they trained.  So instead I came up with 6 questions and asked my fellow 50 milers to answer in any detail they had time and desire for.  What came out was a spectrum of answers and further shows the diversity of ultrarunners and the reason why I love being part of the TARC community.

The Questions

1. Name/Age/Gender if you wish to share –
2. Is this your first 50 miler? What’s your running history?
3. What distance have your long runs or races been leading up to TARC 50?
4. What was your weekly mileage at the peak of your training?
5. What pace/fuel strategy do you plan to follow?
6. What gear are you planning on using during the 50? (Could be as general or specific as you want to type)

I’ll start with myself:

1. Liana/26/Female
2. First 50 miler, started running marathons over a year ago.  Have done 7 marathons and one 6 hour race.
3. I did a 6 hour race in March for 28 miles. Otherwise I’ve done a few marathons in April & May but most of my training runs have been 20 miles or so. I’ve been doing double long runs usually a 20 miler and a second double digit the next day. A few times I did a marathon and a 20 miler but that was only once or twice.
4. Usually 60s, made it up to 80 or high 70s a few times.
5. Might target 11-12 minute pace for the first 25 miles, and then try to survive the second 25 miles. Going to try to eat something every 5-6 miles at the aid stations.
6. Innov-8 trail shoes, 2xu compression socks, Fenix flash light & a headlamp, camelpak maybe for the second loop (still debating if I need it for the 1st 25 miles).  Bug spray and my handheld bottle if I don’t use the camelpak.

Interview 1

1. Justin Shireman/34/Male
2. First 50 miler/7 marathons…started running again three years ago after a long hiatus.
3. A couple marathons
4. 50-60
5. Whatever gets me to the finish line within 12 hours
6. Headlamp and possibly flashlight.

Interview 2

1. Gary David, 43, Male
2. First 50. First marathon was in 1996. Run about 13 marathons or so, two Ironmans, two 50ks, plus many many shorter distances (half-IM, half marathons).
3. longest was 29 miles. Generally training 13 hours a week including bike and run
4. Between 40-50 run miles. Also was biking.
5. Conversational comfortable pace. Drinking around a 16 oz bottle about every hour (depends on conditions), 200-300 cals an hour
6. headlamp, handheld light, ultimate direction SJ pack, nathan handhelds, Brooks Cascadias, Garmin Forerunner 305, clothes.

Interview 3

1. Linnea Anderson, 27, female
2. This is my third 50-miler. I ran my first at Stone Cat last year and my second at Rocky Raccoon in February. I started running (for more than just extra conditioning for other sports) in 2007 with half marathons, then ran my first full marathon in 2010. I started trail running and training for ultras last spring and have done several 50Ks in addition to the 50-milers.
3. I was injured on and off from November to April, so a lot of my training consisted of just trying to get the mileage back up. I had an excellent base from last summer/fall, so I haven’t found it to be too difficult to get back into it. As preparation, I’ve done two 50Ks (TARC Spring Classic and Pineland Farms) and several 3-5 hour trail runs.
4. My peak mileage was around 50 miles with several strength workouts as well. I’ve tried to keep the mileage very reasonable to limit the chance of re-injuring myself.
5. I’ll take walk breaks, but I don’t follow a strict run-walk plan; I just walk hills or when I feel I need a break. When things get tough and running gets very mentally challenging, I find it helpful to give myself a limit – i.e. “I can walk to that tree” or “When my watch hits :45, I’ll run again.” For fuel, my mainstay is Clip2 from Succeed! mixed with coconut water. I call it my “miracle drink” because of how it brought me back from a rough place at Stone Cat. I’ve also been training with Tailwind and the Succeed! Amino mixes as well. I’ll probably start with Tailwind, then transition to a mixture of Clip2 and Amino with coconut water. For food, I just eat whatever looks good at the aid station – which, at TARC races, is usually almost everything!
6. I’m using my Black Diamond Storm headlamp and one Knuckle Light for the dark hours, which is most of the race. I’ll carry one handheld and some drink packets since the aid stations are so close together, and just refill with coconut water when I go through the start/finish each time. I’ll wear my new favorite shoe, the New Balance Leadville (NB1210).

Interview 4

1. Tracy Gariepy, F, 35
2. This is my first 50! I was registered for the 50 at Stonecat last year, but about a month before the race found myself with a stress fracture of the 2nd metatarsal and in a boot/crutches. No Stonecat for me  I’m an avid half- and full-marathoner, especially Disney races. I annually do the Goofy Challenge at Disney World, which is a half marathon and full marathon all in the same weekend. Last year I did my first two 50k trail races (Pineland and TARC Summer Classic), which would have been perfect training for Stonecat, had I been able to make it.
3. My longest run for this 50 miler is only 20 miles, with a few 18’s. I had a bad run at the TARC spring classic where I intended to do 50k, and dropped after 30k
4. My weekly mileage has been about 50 miles.
5. For any training associated with trail/ultra training, I always just run at a comfortable pace, whatever that may be that day. For road races I work a lot more on speed and pacing. At this TARC 50, I’ll be running with a friend who is generally slower than me. I’m hoping that by running slow with her will make up for the fact that I’m not fully trained for this distance. I don’t have a specific fueling strategy. I eat when I’m hungry, drink when I’m thirsty.
6. I hate carrying gear when I run. It kills me to do it, but I’m going to have to suck it up and wrap a headlamp around my fist (found a cheap one at REI), and maybe also carry a flashlight. I’ll wear a waistpack with two small water bottles, but mostly rely on aid stations for refueling.

Interview 5

1. Thomas Dorr 38 year old male.
2.this is my first 50. I started running again about three years ago leading to my first marathon last year . This year I have done two marathons leading up to this
3. Two spring marathons and several 20 to 25 mile runs
4. 60-70 miles
5.slow and steady, I think the hard part will be slowing my pace from my shorter races

Interview 6

1.) Lauren Farkash /44/ Female
2.) second 50 miler – have also run several 50k, paced husband and friend in several 100 milers, have run 27 marathons, trying to complete one in each state, running since I was a kid
3.) long runs have been up to 3 hours, with a couple of recent marathons
4.) 75 miles per week at peak
5.) no strategy, running with a friend who is training for VT 100
6.) Basic gear: shoes, handheld hydration, headlight, spi belt for gels and s caps

Interview 7

1. Beth Campbell/44/female
2. This is my second 50 miler. My firsts was in January at the Avalon 50 Miler on Catalina Island in CA. Afterwards i was hooked! I’ve been running as a sport since high school xcountry and have been running marathons since taking on a bet from my brother in 2000.
3. For training I’ve been running more for time on my feet rather than distance. it usually works out. i’ve also been trying to do back to back long run days; usually Saturday and Sunday. My Longest was an awesomely difficult 5 1/2 hour nighttime trail run (7pm -12:30 am) with some of my crazy running peeps. We wanted to try to acclimate to starting at 7pm like we will be doing for the race. Not an easy transition for this 4:30 am runner.
5. My weekly mileage never got over 50 miles a week. I work full time and have 9 year old twin boys … 50 is all I can manage without losing my mind or dropping from exhaustion.
6. Depending on the temps I was planning on carrying a camelback so that I can be self reliant. Headlamp is the only other must. Trying to travel as light as possible!

Interview 8

1- Andrew B / 30 / Male
2- This will be my second 50 mile race start. I started the Wapack 50 in 2012 but only did the first 43 miles. Longest run for me ever was 60 miles at the 2012 TARC Ghost Train. I ran in high school XC but quit after graduation. Took up running again about 2 years ago. Ran about 1200 miles last year.
3- Longest was the TARC 50k in late April … closer to 32 miles. Other than that I did a few 10 mile runs in May and another 9 last weekend when it was like 90 deg out. We’ll see if my laid back low-mile approach was a good or bad idea next week!
4- Best week was about 40 miles. Monthly: April 130 / May 150
5-Pace is keep it slow! I always go out too fast, I have recently been practicing what a 12 min pace feels like – I will start off at this pace. Since my GPS will not last for the race, I’ll use a regular watch and a pace card with each station at my calculated time for a 12 min pace. Fuel – eat at every station and pack some cliff bars to eat in between stations.
6- Pack is a runner’s belt w/ 20 oz water bottle and storage for several bars. I will just wear my headlamp. Only other thing I need are shoes: new balance mt101s. These shoes are literally falling apart but I can’t find anything new to replace them with the same profile so I am praying they can last one more week.

Interview 9

1. Anthony Tieuli / 40 / Male
2. No, this will be my 2nd 50 Miler. Ran the StoneCat 50 last year. I’ve been running regularly since 2010 when I was running mostly to train for sprint triathlons. Picked up the distance bug late in 2010 and ran my first Boston in 2011. Ran my first ultra (Pineland 50k) in 2012 and have run a bunch of marathons, 3 or 4 more 50k’s, and a 50 Miler in the last year or so.
3. Mostly 50k races and marathons as long training runs. the last few weeks have been more shorter (10-15 mile) back to back days.
4. 50-60 miles.
5. I don’t have a pace strategy, I just go by perceived effort. I don’t let my heart rate or breathing get out of control. For fuel, mostly gels and water and maybe some perpetuem. I tend to not like the junk food at aid stations, but I do like to eat fruit. Of course all bets are off after mile 35. I’ll eat whatever my body tells me to.
6. Inov8 Trailroc 255’s, Injini 2.0 Socks, Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp, Ultimate Direction handheld water bottle and/or Nathan Vaporwrap hydration pack, Hammer Gels and Hammer Perpetuem.
Check out Anthony’s blog InsideMyTrailHead for some awesome race recaps!

Interview 10

1. Dave Will 42 m
2. Yes. 42 marathons, one sub-3, an ironman, and a few 12 hr adventure runs. Been running for 25 yrs.
3. Mid-twenties on trails.
4. 70’s
5. 11-12 min pace steady, regular fuel.
6. Camelback, GU brew, PB&J, chex mix, turkey jerky, endurolytes, headlamp, nipple band aids!

Interview 11

Dari Whitehouse 50 Female

First 50M – to celebrate turning 50 on 5/27/13. I’ve been running since 2008.

1 – 50K, 5 marathons, 3 1/2 marathons, blah blah blah

My long runs in prep for TARC included the Boston Marathon in April (crossing 57 seconds before the first blast), and a nighttime 40 miler on Martha’s Vineyard in May, along with misc. 20 milers.

My mileage was lower than I would have liked due to my experience at Boston. On average, about 50 miles per week, I guess. I’ve had a pretty hard time reclaiming my passion for running since 4/15. My son, his gf & my best friend were at the finish line and it’s been a tough period for us all.

Gu every 4 miles or so, salt caps, gatorade & water, pretzels, PB&J sandwiches, pieces of protein bars & honey stinger waffles. I’m hoping for a 12min pace but really I have so little trail experience, I’d be thrilled just to finish without a DFL or DNF due to time cut off.

I’ll use a hydration pack. I dehydrate pretty easily due to past chemo treatments. Knuckle lights & a headlamp (maybe), trail shoes plus two back ups due to mud & anticipated rain this week.

Dari is also a 4x cancer survivor and now a Boston survivor.  NPR did a small piece about her and her son.  “Just some insights into who I am and why I’ve looked forward to this run so much. I’m hoping for a cathartic and dare I say, freeing run in the woods with amazing friends on Friday. As a 4x cancer survivor and now a Boston survivor, I’m grateful everyday I get another chance to get it right.”  Check it out, it’s fairly short (only 9 minutes long) PRX interview.  

Interview 12

1. Emer O’Donoghue 50 F.
2.Yes. Running since 1995. This is my first 50 miler. I ran a 50k last year to celebrate my 50th birthday. Pinelands. I have run 6 marathons. I am a mountain runner and have done the series since 2001. Missed 2007 and 2012. Back again this year.
3.20 mile is my longest run. I have done the first four mountains of the USAFT-NE Mountain series. Sleepy Hollow, Wachusetts, Bretton Woods Fell race and Ascutney last Sunday.
4.53 miles.
5. Go out easy and hold on!
6.Shirt and shorts, something I usually run it.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Someone also posted this chart of the runners.  Trail running doesn’t discriminate!

If you want to track any of us because you are really curious to see where we are at 3AM on Friday night when you are warm in your bed look here.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed that and if you’re planning on running the TARC 50 or 100 Miler, share your answers!

4 thoughts on “Meet the TARC 50 Milers!”

  1. These interviews are great, thanks for doing this. Really happy to read other people’s thoughts, particularly as I’m going into this myself with so little prior experience in trail racing or ultras.

    I’m Nathanael, 36 year old male. This is my first 50 as well. I’ve run 13 marathons & a bunch of halfs, nothing longer. Like Lauren I’m trying to work towards 50 states.

    Leading up to this I did three spring marathons, one of which (Nashville) was in the pouring rain. I’d rather not repeat that so am really hoping the rain holds off this Friday!

    I had a peak week of 50 miles but typically have averaged around 40.

    I don’t really know what to expect pace-wise but have read that I should plan for 3x my marathon PR for a trail 50, which would mean roughly a 12:30 split. That seems slow but would get me there in time, which I’d be happy with. I don’t really have a fueling strategy (typically in a marathon I’ve found taking in 400 calories is sufficient), this is an area of concern.

    I’ll wear my hydration pack, headlamp w fresh batteries. I tested a handheld light as well but the swinging beam threw me off so I’ll probably ditch that. I’m running in New Balance 610s but will bring some older trail shoes to swap at the half in case those get sogged. I run with a nike+ gps watch and don’t really know if that’ll make it through the night or not.

  2. Leah / 29-year-old female

    This will be my 3rd 50-miler. I’ve been running since 2006, and right now I mostly do 50K’s.

    My longest run leading up to this race has been 36 miles. I did 20-milers all winter and have done several 30+ milers this spring. I don’t do back-to-back long runs.

    My weekly mileage topped out at 65. Most weeks I did 50-60.

    I’m hoping to average 5 miles per hour, but it will depend on how runnable the course is. I fuel with Hammer Nutrition–specifically Perpetuem, Endurolytes and Gels. I also love eating grilled cheese and fruit at the aid stations.

    I’m using my Camelbak, Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, Garmin 405 and Hokas.

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