On Saturday, I ran the hardest race of my life. Don't let the name "Death by 5K" deceive you. This was a 50K run over the course of 24 hours at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis. The first 5K started at 8 am on Saturday, and then we ran the same 5K trail loop again every 2.5 hours through 6:30 am on Sunday — for a total of 10 5Ks (or 31 miles).
I've run two 50K races and one virtual 50K (and I'm currently training for a 50-miler in May), so I knew I could do the distance. And I assumed that breaking a 50K up into 10 5K segments could make it feel easier. But boy, was I wrong. It wasn't the distance that was challenging; it was the sleep deprivation. But let's back up a bit.
I arrived at the race on Saturday around 6 am and set up my campsite. This would be my home base for the next 24 hours. Inside the tent was an air mattress and my pillow, because I intended to catch naps in the breaks.