What makes you think you can run 100 miles?

What makes you think you can run 100 miles, anyway?

I can’t.  Not yet anyway, but that’s the beauty of all of this.  Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day.  But I crave the challenge.

At one time I couldn’t run a half marathon.  Or a marathon.  Or a 50k.

I remember the exact spot – 4.5 miles into my first 6 mile run thinking to myself ‘how in the hell am I going to run a half marathon (twice beyond what I still haven’t finished) in a few months??’

I continued to train, fought through pneumonia and knee pain, and finished my first half marathon in as planned.  And it felt Awesome!  I was exhausted, but knew immediately I had to do it again.

I went through a similar experience when training for my first marathon.  It was a 17 mile run day, and I was 14 miles in, and felt like total shit.  I was gassed, it was later in the day than I normally ran, and I just wanted to get home to my wife and kids.  I thought … the actual race will be over an hour longer more – what’d I get myself into!?

I continued to train, fought through a dog bite with rabies vaccine (that’s a story for another day), and another knee injury that sidelined me for over a month, and finished my first marathon as planned.  And it felt Awesome!

Just as I finished a 16 miler training for my first ultra, I thought to myself ‘that was a good run, time for some waffles and coffee … oh shit, I have to run double that, plus some in a couple months for the race.’

I continued to train and completed my first ultra (Kal-Haven Trail run – 33.5 miles) in April of this year.  I loved it and knew as soon as I finished that I needed to do more – go farther.

IMG_2153

first ultra!

See – I’ve never been a good runner.  At least I haven’t considered myself good. Hell, I don’t even know what good is.  Does it mean you can run X distance in Y time?  All I know is when I ran in high school everyone beat me.  I haven’t gotten any faster.  I do believe I have endurance – I enjoy pushing myself physically, and mentally, to run farther.  I enjoy the planning that goes with it and the race strategy.  I enjoy being outside in the quiet.  I love it.

Ever since ran that first marathon, I’ve had this thought in the back of my mind that I’d run a 100 miler some day.  And now I’ve picked the race – the June 2017 Mohican Trail 100.

I’ll spend 2016 training for a summer 50 miler and build upon that into 2017 for my first 100 miler.  I’ve already started putting together the list of races for 2016.  I’m guessing there will be another 50 miler in there between August 2016 and June 2017 as I prep for Mohican.  If anyone has a suggestion, let me know – something in the Michigan / Indiana / Ohio area would be best for me.

And that’s how I plan, in a nutshell, to run a 100 miler.

Thoughts?  Advice for anyone who’s run a 100 miler?  I’ve read a 50 miler is twice as hard as a marathon.  And that a 100 miler is 4x as hard as a 50 miler.

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6 thoughts on “What makes you think you can run 100 miles?

  1. Brittany

    Wish I had some advice but I’ve only done 26.2 once. Just dropping by to say it made me chuckle when you start thinking about how far your race distance is and how far you’re running on that day and how hard it is. I remember doing a 5-6 mile loop and thinking “Four plus more times of this in 5 months? NEVER going to happen.” It happened.

    Good luck on your training!

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  2. ultrascott

    Sounds like you’ve been bit by the 100 mile bug…there is no perfect path or advice. So much is about you and your goals. For me, I enjoy 100’s for the experience and my goal has always been just to finish and do my best. It looks me a year to go from casual to marathon, and then another year to go from marathon to buckle. In that year I did 2x 50k’s and 1x 100k in a 24-hour event. My main advice would be to include 24 or 48 hour events in your training, rather than just fixed 50-milers. Depending on your pace, you may be able to do 50 miles in ~10 hours, but that doesn’t prepare you for the mental and strategic challenge of being out there at night by yourself and losing your mind. Thats the major difference with 100’s. Even if you can fit in one 24-hour run and do it very casually, it will help you know what its like to still be going at 3am. It would be very tough for me to wait 19 months to go after the buckle…life is short…but kudos to you for patience and good luck!!!

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    1. darkskyrunner Post author

      Hey Scott – yes, I’ve been bitten by the bug! Thank you for the words of encouragement and the suggestion of a 24 hour event. I think that’d be very beneficial to my training.

      I see on your blog you’ve got little ones at home too. Do you do most of your running in the early morning hours also?

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