Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preperation for 100 miles - Lessons learned from 100k

In about sixteen days from now I will run 100 miles.  That statement in itself will consume my mind for several hours at a time.  It's a good thing though - I want it to. 

I feel like listing some lessons I learned from my first 100k race at Weymouth Woods Park in Southern Pines, NC.  After that I will lay out my game plan to complete my first 100 mile race.

Lessons learned from the 100k

  • I started out way too fast.  I wanted to run with some other faster runners and I let the emotions of the start line get the best of me.  It is STUPID!  Out of the nine ultras I have ran, I have started seven of them way too fast.  I need to start out running a 10 min/mile pace - not a 9 min/mile pace.  I'm just not there yet.
  • Too much salt / electrolytes is bad.  If I am running over two hours I always pay close attention to my salt intake vs. bathroom breaks.  The temperature was in the 40s for the first 5 hours of the race and I did not pee any which is not good.  I was drinking 10 ounces of water/mile and taking two Endurolyte tabs every hour.  After 5 hours of not using the bathroom I started taking one capsule and everything began to work properly.  I'm still learning what my body requires in regards to salt while running in different temperatures.  It seems to go like this:  60 degrees and under (1 Tab / Hour),  60-80 degrees (2 Tab / Hour),  80 degrees and up (3 Tabs spaced out over 1 hour).
  • Organize the drop bag!  This was my first race using a drop bag.  I had a few items organized in storage bags, but most of my things were just thrown in.  This did end up costing me extra time during the race.  Especially while trying to find things at night.
  • Should have carried a hand held flashlight.  I decided not to carry my hand held light and just wear a head lamp.  I would have benefited from the extra light for sure.  I don't mind carrying it either.

Overall, I think I was about as prepared as possible for the 100k.  Here are some things that I did right and would like to duplicate at the 100 miler:

Worked with other runners during the race.  I ran with more experienced runners and less experienced runners.  This helped mentally.  I learned veteran's strategies and fed off of new runner's energy.

Ran with other runners at night when possible.  It is much easier to navigate a trail with more than one light beaming down.

Ate 200 -300 calories per hour.  I seem to run best when I eat this amount of food every hour.  OK, so I went over this a few times with a extra gulp of birthday cake, but I couldn't help myself.

Drank 60 oz. of fluid per hour.  This is my mild weather range.  It can be a little more or less and I'm still OK.

Took care of blisters before they took care of me.  I felt hot spots rubbing at 45 miles into the race so I stopped, changed socks, and applied more Glide.  I still had a few minor blisters after the race, but I was fine.

So here is my game plan for the 100 mile race:

I have already posted my goals, but here they are again...


Finish in 24 hours-
Average 14.24 min/mile Pace
100 miles in 1 day

Finish in 26 hours-
Average 15.36 min/mile Pace
100 miles in 1 day, 2 Hrs.


I'm going to start out with my 10:00 min/mile pace from the begining of the race.  I plan to run into each aid station, grab what I need, then speed walk for five minutes on my way out back onto the trail.  I'm forcing myself to do this from the very first aid station stop.  I'm going to use this strategy for a long as possible.  There are no hills to walk so it will interesting to see how long I can maintain this combination of movement.

I would love to be close to the 100k (62 mile) distance at sunset.  That would mean only 38 miles to travel in the dark.  We will see how that goes.

Beth is going to see me start and then probably hang around the race some through the afternoon.  She will then head back to the hotel and get to bed early.  We are planning on her being back at the race around 4-5 AM so she can help me through the toughest part. 

That is my broad approach to this race.  I'm not going to over analyze every little detail.  I will bring everything that I think I could need and show up well rested.  I really want that belt buckle!


  1. Look forward to hearing a report on this. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing pictures of the trails since most are within my region. I am planning to run Chattooga 50K this year and it will be my first ultra.

  2. Thanks K9! I'm looking forward to the race as you can see. That is great to hear about Chattooga being your first ultra. Look for me at the race and say "hello" if you get the chance. Good luck with your training.

  3. I really think you have a done a great job in preparing for this. Knocking out these ultras, slow and steady in bite size pieces is so smart. And now you have a much better idea of what works for you. You will do great!! And if you don't have some butterflies now, then your heart ain't in it! And I know you want this bad :)