10 Things I Learned From My First 100-Miler


1. Keep Moving – when things started going downhill around mile 80, I realized I was not going to be able to do that much more running. With that in mind, I moved quickly through aid stations and resisted the urge to sit down. A 15-minute mile is still much more productive than a 15-minute break.

2. Keep Eating – you can skimp on calories in a 50k and even to some extent a 50-miler. However, there is no skimping in a 100-miler. I’m lucky in the sense that my stomach is solid 99% of the time. I had no trouble taking Huma gels, Clif Shot Bloks, grapes and ProBars all day and into the night.

3. Train for the Course – almost any coach will tell you that you need to train for the course you will be racing on. Unfortunately, we all have other responsibilities in life besides ultra training. A lot of my training is done on the treadmill, and I paid for it late in the race. My legs felt strong and I was able to run the smooth trail/paved parts extremely well; however, my stabilizers were completely shot and anything technical reduced me to a walk (and a sad walk at that!).

4. Pick a Race You Care About – Jason Koop is adamant about this in his book and I completely agree. You can have little desire to run a marathon or 50k and you will still finish it. You can probably even fake it for a 50-miler or 100k. However, you can’t fake it for 100 miles, there are simply too many opportunities to drop out. Pick a race that you want to do. If you have to talk yourself into it, there is a good chance it will end poorly.

5. Be Nice to Volunteers – obviously, you should always do this regardless. People took time out of their lives to watch a bunch of idiots run around in the woods. However, there is a second reason – race volunteers (and friends and family too) will give you back what you give them. If you come into an aid station with a positive attitude and a smile on your face, they will get you right back on that course quickly and with what you need.

6. Visualize – visualize before the race. Visualize during the race. Stay focused. Think about your finish. 30 or 40 miles may seem far during the race, but think about the finish. It’s just one day in your life. You can get there. Keep moving (see number one).

7. It Doesn’t Hurt Much More Than a 50-Miler – did I do it wrong? I’m not sure. Right after I finished, it was bad. I sat down and I literally could not get back up. I could barely get back up with help from other people. However, the next day, I was alive again. I could hobble around, and it resembled the day after a 50-miler or 100k. Also, from what I hear, it gets “easier” each time.

8. Think About What You Want in a Race – there are some things that worry me going into races. I worry about getting lost. I worry about being on terrain I’m not comfortable with. One of the reasons I picked Oil Creek was because the course markings were allegedly remarkable (and they were!!) and the terrain was what I enjoy running on (and it was!!). Running a race like the HURT 100 in Hawaii may seem like a cool idea – because Hawaii – but it might actually be a terrible idea. Doing Run Rabbit Run might seem like a cool idea – because mountains – but again, it might be a terrible idea.

9. Have Fun – if you aren’t having fun, what’s the point?

10. Live in the Moment – this is true in many areas of life, especially nowadays. Put away the phone. Put away the camera. Forget about the Facebook posts and Instagram pics for a day – it will all still be there when you get back. Run the race. Meet people. Push yourself. Finish strong. Drink a beer or coffee with friends. It’s not every day you run 100 miles…