The day after the 50K I went for a 6 mile “recovery” run and all the systems tested OK. The results are out and it appears that this is the fastest 50K BT race ever. Two examples: 1) There are 21 runners with time under 5 hours, vs. only 6 last year. 2) The first female runner (Beth Woodward) finished 12th overall with time 4:42. Last year (with a slightly better time) she was 3rd overall. I finished 25th. If I had maintained my pace (for a 4:55 finish) my placement would have been 19th.
About hitting the wall: I have always been proud of my strong and fast finishes in races, including marathons and previous 50Ks. I have never hit the wall in a race. I did not even think that a wall exists for me (for my body, nutrition routine, and distances that I run). So I was surprised how quickly and unexpectedly this came about.
Some people might say, you've run for 28 miles and there were only 3 miles left. Couldn't you just dig deep inside and find the strength to run them, even slowly? It was impossible. It's like saying, this car has been running for 300 miles and now it is out of gas. Can it just run 10 more miles? There was nothing left in the tank, so to speak.
My new system of eating a large breakfast before the run has served me well for up to 24 miles, but it needs to be fine tuned for longer races. If you are curious, here is what I ate at 6:00 am on race day (just one hour before the 7:00 am start): A large bowl of hot cereal with a sliced banana, raisins, walnuts, two teaspoons of peanut butter and honey at the top. Plus, an orange, and I had a glass of Gatorade. Not many people would think of running after this. A nap sounds more appropriate.
I am still glad that my collapse came from lack of energy and not from an injury (common among other runners).
After having completed 5x 50K runs (3 summer, 2 winter) I would like to try my hands (legs?) into something longer. I think I am ready for a 50 mile race. 100 miles is insane (for me, at this point). I wish the Burning River 100 also had a 50 mile section. I guess I can look for something further but I like to run/support local races.