FKT: David Woods - Indiana Dunes High Traverse (IN) - 2022-10-15

Route variation
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Total time
6h 7m 50s

Ran the 50k unsupported. Started the run a bit later at 10:51 AM to catch up on some sleep. Returned to the car just over 6 hours later.  Used my Google Pixel 1 for tracking on Strava, and my girlfriend's GPS watch as a backup in case my phone lost battery or malfunctioned.  My Google Pixel 1 stayed plugged into a charger for the whole run without any errors, so the GPX data is from my own Strava account's recording.

FOOD: Took 2 packages of 3X sodium margarita flavored Clif blocks, 6 small squares of salmon jerky, around 15 peanut butter filled pretzel bites, 6 dark chocolate squares (about Clif block sized), and a cacao almond flavored Muir Energy gel. I ate 1.33 packages of Clif blocks, none of the salmon bites, 6-7 of the peanut butter bites, all 6 dark chocolate squares, and did not eat any of the Muir Energy gel.

LIQUIDS: Packed 2 liters of water and 500 mL of Tailwind. I guesstimate that I drank 600-700 mL of water and 300 mL of Tailwind before turning around at Lake Michigan. I finished the Tailwind when I returned to trail 9 in the state park. I finished all of my water at mile 30. I was using water sparingly in the last 4 miles and was very thirsty by the end.

CLOTHING AND GEAR: Long sleeve shirt, shorts, buff, glove liners, running vest, 500 mL bottle, 2L bladder, phone, and battery for phone charging. I wore my glove liners for the first 7-8 miles and for the last 4 miles.

THE DAY: Blue skies all day and beautiful, near peak fall colors throughout. Temps started in the 40s and rose into the 50s. Light wind on the more exposed areas. Loose sand on the dunes in Cowles Bog and on 3 dune challenge and very loose sand on the unmarked trail in between trail 9 and the beach at the turn around point of the route.

Felt strong in the first half which was smooth and uneventful. Only thing to note was that I drank a lot of water in the morning, so I had to urinate at mile 2. Tapped Lake Michigan with my foot before turning around at the halfway point. From here through the second 3 dune challenge, I was starting to feel it in my legs and energy level. From the first 3 dune challenge through the second one, it's just under 13 straight miles of 90% loose sand which is where most of my energy was lost. My next quick stop was at mile 21-22 right after the second 3 dune challenge (in reverse). Here, I emptied out the sand from my shoes that was putting some pressure on my toes, before I started heading back on the flat roads and trail to Cowles Bog. With how tired I was feeling at this point, it quickly became a mental challenge. Once I got just past the Cowles Bog parking lot, I took a 6-7 minute break at the small monument at the start of the Cowles Bog trail. I sat in a squatted position against it, and ate most of the food I described above here. It also brought some much needed energy back into me. I hiked up the final dune of the route and i did not have the legs to jog up this steep dune. When I made it to the bridge that crosses over Dunes Highway towards Bailey Chellberg, I took a 30 second breather as I had an awkward trip on the way up the ramps. From here, I had a smooth couple of miles to the finish.