1. Expect the unexpected. Every 100-mile race is hard. I’ve ran the Mountain Lakes 100 seven times. And every race is a little different. Snow, wind, rain, heat, getting lost, extreme fatigue, blistering, vomiting, crushing self-doubt. I’ve experienced it all over the years. When you set out to run 100 miles, you have to be willing to accept the fact that things might not go as planned.
2. Training pays off. I spent the last 9 months training for this race. Long runs, speed work, strength training + experimenting with nutrition and hydration. The more prepared you are, the more confidence you’ll have when you step up to the starting line.
3. Aid station support + crew is critical. Your crew and/or aid station support is critical to help you keep going. My ride-or-die saved the race for me by helping me get warm, change shoes and clothes, and keep going. Running 100 miles might feel like a solo experience at times, but most of us count on support to go the distance. Be grateful for aid station volunteers and your crew.
4. Failure is always a possibility. It’s hard to stomach when we’re so conditioned to expect success. My running friend Mikey Morales trained relentlessly for Mountain Lakes 100, but early signs of hypothermia ultimately took him out. (No doubt he’ll be back!) And he wasn’t the only runner forced to drop. If you want to run 100 miles, you have to be OK with the fact that you might not always get a buckle.
5. Running 100 miles changes you. It serves as a reminder you can do hard things. It helps you practice pushing out negative thoughts. It forces you to play the long game, training for months to go the distance. And it teaches you to keep moving towards your goals, even if the outcome is uncertain.
Thinking about running 100 miles? I’ll see you out there.