My second 50km Ultra!

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My second 50km Ultra!

As I still can’t really walk down the stairs without pain and my walking pace is too slow for anybody I know, having just ran 50 km two days prior, I am being encouraged by my running inspiration Viktoria Brown to write about my experience at the recent 50 km race.

As an ambassador for “HoldTheCarbs”, I was excited to run my first race in 2 years representing the team.

And part of me thinks, “eh there is not much to share really” but then I think back to when I didn’t even think I could run a half marathon and yet worked my way here over the years. So here is my quick experience from the race, Sulphur Spring Trail Race 2022.

For me, the race experience, and the feeling after are worth the trouble. I do feel the journey (i.e. the months of training) are much harder than the actual race.
I will be honest with you, I am not about the speed and pace, and that is why I love trail running. The pressure is not there to run fast. The fellow runners talk to you, smile and cheer you! We all walk the hills, WALK not run! You can stop to have a banana or chips! The volunteers fill up your camel backpack!

Paulina Karwowska Team HoldTheCarbs

I have to say the Sulphur Spring Trail Race was a hard one for me, but the people made it AWESOME. The runners who all cheer each other as they are passing one another in opposite direction and the volunteers who were genuinely urging you on etc. Without that supporting atmosphere, the race would have been very very hard.

The first surprise was the hills: the shear number of them, big and small! I didn’t check out the race trail in person before (mistake for sure) and it was my first time in the Dundas Conservation area in Hamilton. It is beautiful. But also, I am pretty sure it is just a few mountain hills packed together. People warned me about the “three sisters” but oh man the 100 little brothers were much worse! It seems like it was one hill after the other. As I mentioned most trail runners walk the hills but there was so many to walk!!

During the first 15 km of the race, I was scared my sciatic pain will get worse. It was starting to get aggravated with every hill. But somehow it eased after the first loop as other pain must have taken over. I got my first blister in years! I blame the wet hiking trip the week before which aggravated my feet but still, I got a giant blister which I should have stopped to take care of but I didn’t.

Paulina Karwowska ultrarunning

A note on the gear. I wore a new long-sleeve shirt, super high-tech one that cools you down when it gets wet (Skin cooler 90 TM ). It actually worked! Thank you Team HoldTheCarbs! Not only it kept me cool but protected me from UV and chafing. I kept splashing water on it…stopped at a creek at one point too and got soaked. Loved the cool feel on my skin! As a result I didn’t feel the heat, despite the high temperatures. That is probably why I also didn’t drink enough during the race. I finished my 2 L electrolyte camel pack and had a large sip of coconut water and coffee at 30 km but still I hit the wall at around 40 km. I felt nauseous and a bit sick. My pace slowed and I forced myself to eat a Goo gel with caffeine.

The last 5 km were very hard but my husband who was live tracking me, kept sending me positive messages that SIRI read to me urging me on. So, I ran super slow and only walked the hills. Even the small ones. Whoever designed this race is slightly evil because the race ends with a super steep long hill.

I am grateful to have seen many amazing runners during this race given that many were real ultra runners... you know those who run 100 miles and then fly out another week to run another 2-5 day race. They are inspiring! Aka Viktoria Brown category.

This was my second 50 km race (first one was Seaton trail, 4 years ago) and I guess I beat my time here but I feel you can’t compare trail races like regular road runs. Seaton was super technical while at Sulphur I didn’t trip even once!

Bottom line, I am in pain but I will run another “short” ultra next year but will definitely do more hill training to be ready!

Paulina Karwowska Sulphur Springs

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