My First (Official) Ultra-Marathon


say “official” because this wasn’t the first time I ran more than 26.2 miles in a day, however this was my first real race longer than a marathon. Taking sixth in my first competitive ultra-marathon felt amazing. And it hurt. Miles 28-50 sucked. They were also fun, in a semi-masochistic/invigorating/exhausting/igniting kind of way. Not literally igniting as in “Oh no, my feet are on fire,” but more metaphorically, as in “Oh yea, I’m on fire!” And literally, it was close to 90 F out there, so when @gobeyondracing handed me a cool pint glass at the finish I immediately filled it, and kept it full, while I waited for Tessa. Once she crossed the line, it was over. We could finally stop running for a while. And relax. And read. And drink beer. Ahh…

Tessa Schwab Broderick Mount Hood 50
Tessa, looking lovely as ever, at around mile 17.

Two weeks later and I’m starting to get anxious to once again move fast in the mountains. Race prep was one of the main themes of our six-week road trip around NorCal and the PNW, so it feels strange to have not run since the race. Several hikes and bike rides, but my knee still hurts on downhills and shoot, she was limping before the gun even went off. Neither of us had stuck with our training plans, for many reasons. 1) We’d spent a lot of time in the van. 2) For six weeks we traveled on a budget with only small cooler—just large enough to hold a six-pack and a few other essentials—so we slacked on meat and veggies. 3) We couldn’t leave Rowdy alone for long with the summer heat, which complicated spending extended time on our feet. 4) There was a general lack of interest in running. That’s sort of a biggie. But we got ‘er done and I am impressed with both of our performances. We even created an additional obstacle for ourselves on race day…

Creative points: We weren’t about to pay someone in Government Camp $100 to watch him for the day, so we arrived a day early and slept about 1/8-mile from the start/finish line, which was also the midway point (the course was an out-and-back on the PCT). Instead of relying on support staff, we used the van as our midway aid station. Rowdy waited outside the van while we ran. In the shade, of course, tied to a side mirror, within reach of his water dish. We left a note on the window that read, “Yes, he is friendly. His name is Rowdy and he loves a good belly rub.” A few staff and spectators later questioned why we blew through the halfway point without stopping for fuel or a sponge bath, to which I replied, “Someone had to check on the dog!”

Tessa Mount Hood 50 trail run race
Yes, that’s Rowdy coming in hot behind Tessa just before the finish.
Mount Hood 50 mile race Adam Broderick
Not long before the race I spent a day circumnavigating Mt. Hood on the Timberline Trail. I’m glad I was able to experience the stratovolcano from both perspectives.
runner's foot
Fortunately, I didn’t have to pop that myself. Rowdy stepped on my toe and took care of it before I had the chance.
Mt. Hood 50 run race Adam Broderick
With more training and less obstacles, I think I could do better than 8:50/mile avg. Maybe next time.

Photo credit: Paul Nelson Photography

2 thoughts on “My First (Official) Ultra-Marathon

  1. Adam, you are a super stud! I can only imagine you getting faster. Sometimes it is difficult to remember to enjoy the journey which includes the training to get you to the starting line but I am preaching to the choir with you. I bet seeing Rowdy surely got you motivated! budaH now has little buddy “bb” (budaH’s brother) and we all run on single-track every weekend here around the hills of Portland.


    1. Thanks, Sherwick! That means a lot coming from you. Tessa and I found some great trails near you. We camped for a week near King Mtn and Elk Mtn, and another week+ near Hood and Hood River. OR is awesome.


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