Afton Trail Run 50K By Trevize1138 We got very lucky with the weather. The starting line temperature was 62F and when I finished it had just hit 80F. A little humid but this is Minnesota in July so that's to be expected. This was to be my first attempt at 50K. I'd previously only completed one road marathon unshod and had to DNF a trail marathon in the North Dakota badlands because I had yet to learn a crucial lesson about hyponatremia. More on that later. My finishing time was around 6:40. I was hoping for about 6 1/2 hours and the course had over 4,000ft of vertical gain in it so I was more than happy with that. I had briefly considered doing the whole thing unshod but there's simply too much gravel and I'm not there yet with that. I ran the whole thing in my Luna Roots Origen sandals which performed excellently. A great deal of the course is easy dirt and grass, however. And there was one fine gentleman who did the 25K portion unshod! The day started out really rough for me. I was staying with friends who live close to the trail and got carried away chatting with them over breakfast. That meant I arrived a bit too late to get a good parking spot and was a good 1/2 mile and downhill from packet pickup/starting line. I had 10 minutes to go up that hill before they closed checkin and 40 minutes before the start. Laced up my sandals, put on the new hydration vest I'd just gotten the day before and started up the hill! I immediately was kicking myself for getting new equipment day before the race. I hated the hydration vest. The two 15oz bottles just shook and bounced on my chest and I'd forgotten the crucial tape for my nipples. No time to change that out first, though, I had to get my number. Got to packet pickup, pinned the number to my shorts and then ran back down the hill to get my trusty, 20oz handheld bottle and dump the ... I guess I could be cheeky and call them "jugs." On the way down I saw my friends whom I'd sayed with walking up themselves. "What are you doing? You've only got 15 minutes!" The vest worked a lot better as just storage for Stinger Honey gels and individually packaged doses of Trailwind so I kept it on with the handheld. The run back up the hill was a lot better except for the fact that I was running back up the damn hill. Oh well, I'm good and warmed up now! I was about 1/4 mile away when I heard the loudspeaker pumping up the crowd. I now had 4 minutes before the start and hadn't yet pooped. I found my buddy in the starting crowd and he just started laughing at how sweatty I already was. 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... here we go! That lack of morning bowl movement started to really concern me about 3-4 miles in. I was worrying that I wouldn't get a chance to address that until the first lap at the 25K mark and therefore this would be a really insufferable start. Lucky for me around 5 miles in there was a park outhouse with no line as just as I got there somebody was leaving. Five minutes later I was back on the trail and feeling great! I was determined not to make the same mistakes of the past. My first attempt at something like this was the 26 mile portion of the Maah Daah Hey Trail Run a year ago. Also my first attempt at that distance. For that I was wearing my 100oz CamelBak and had that same 20oz handheld. It was hot. Really hot. I also am notorious for sweatting and was following the "stay hydrated" advice. By mile 10 of that race I'd already drained both my water sources, refilled them, drained the bottle at that aid station and refilled it. Only about 4 miles after that I'd drained them both yet again and shortly after I started feeling really bad. I'd only taken in a little bit of Heed but most of it was straight water. I had drained all that water because I was getting increasingly thirsty and it seemed like no amount of water was helping. I was dizzy and nauseous. That's what hyponatremia feels like. For Afton I was determined to learn how to avoid that so I didn't drink any straight water for much of the race. I kept my handheld filled with Tailwind (comparatively high in sodium) and it really worked. Around mile 26 I tried to take a sip of Tailwind and felt like gagging. I figured that was my body telling me I'd had enough salt. Switched to straight water for the last 5 miles and that tasted good, only an occasional sip kept me feeling fine rather than feeling like I had to guzzle it down only to still feel thirsty. I also learned to give myself a break and take the time to let my body process whatever salt or calories I'd taken in. After the first lap I was really dragging. I'd eaten several orange slices at the aid station and a Stinger gel and had a full bottle of Tailwind. I trusted the process and started walking the second lap. After a mile I tried running and still felt awful so I kept walking. A mile later I tried running again and felt fine. I kept that focus on taking my time until the end and actually felt surprisingly strong for the last 5 miles. As always I met some great people on the run. For a few miles I was with a couple of friends Ali and Alberto. Alberto told me about how Ali convinced him to do this run last year saying 50K races are great only to find out during last year's 50K that Ali hadn't yet himself run a 50K, either! Friends lying to each other! Their experience certainly showed on that last lap as Alberto finished a good 20min ahead of me getting his own PR. I got a lot of comments on the sandals as always. This was the only event I've been at where several people actually said the word "Tarahumara" at the sight of them. A clear indication of the difference between the trail running community and road runners. And those sandals were great. I'd put about 140 miles on them while training and struggled a bit at first. I'd been using Xero DIY huaraches for a year before and needed something with a thicker sole for long, rough trails. I'd previously had the Luna Monos and was really disappionted with how soft those were and how they formed to the bottoms of my feet. That resulted in unwanted contact with my arches and a couple blisters there. But the Origens are a lot more true to the traditional Tarahumara tire-tread sandals all the way down to the recycled tire tread itself. The leather straps are stiff at first and caused hot spots but I've found if you stick to a lacing style and just deal with the hot spots they eventually callus over. They were nice and comfy the whole run. I'm looking forward to the next challenge now: re-attempting the Maah Daah Hey marathon on July 28th.