A Mid-Packer’s Race Prep for Running A 100K

Running a 100K for mere mortals like me is pretty serious business. Serious enough that it takes a lot of planning so we can have fun for the 13 or 14 odd hours we are out there. I used to do this kinda race prep for my early 50K’s, but despite the non-elite status, I feel comfortable now to live off the aid stations. I’m running my first 100K in just a couple of days (the Miwok 100K) and thought I’d share my race prep. You know, this is the awesome part of running ultras. With just 30-40 miles/week of running, it’s totally possible to pull off a strong finish running a 100K. Of course, I haven’t run it yet, so all this race prep could result in me dry-heaving at mile 40 and dropping out. But there’s always hope…

Running a 100K

I think, once you build enough endurance, you can run most distances. However there are a lot of variables in running an ultra marathon. The micro decisions on what and when to eat/drink, change of socks, walk vs. run, positive splits so you can beat the heat later in the day, how much water to carry until the next aid station, chucking weight on loops so you can pick up your gear back at the aid station, timing of electrolytes and salt pills, keeping that food in – all matter on how strong you finish. Road marathons? You put in 70+ miles/week, you’ll get better for sure. Don’t get me wrong. It’s hard work, but road marathons just don’t have the same kinda variables that ultra marathons have. These variables and keeping your mind alert at mile 40, holding it together and not throwing up, I think, is what makes ultra marathons unique and special. So here’s my raw, unedited race prep list for running a 100K. Much of these are in the form of instructions I leave myself so when I’m up at 2:45am driving to the starting line or after 10 hours of running I get to my drop bag, I don’t have to think.

Running a 100K

First off the map that I print and carry with me so I can break down the monster distance in to bite-sized chunks. At each aid station, a simple glance at this tells me how to prep for the next segment. And that’s all that matters. Getting to the next aid station.

Running a 100K

Next up: Write down the address/phone numbers of the hotel, start location and where you are going to be and email that to your loved one. Looks like ultralive.net is providing live tracking this year. My bib is 271 and my wife has the link. For me this looks like this:

Bib Pickup

  • San Francisco Running Company, 247 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley
    • I’m also picking up a collapsible Salomon Soft Cup here since this is a cupless race
  • Friday 5/1 from 11:00am – 4:00pml

Hotel

  • Travelodge Mill Valley, 707 Redwood Highway, Hwy 101 & Redwood Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941 US
  • Check-in: Friday, Check out: Sunday

Then the prep-list for the day-before, night-before, morning-before and after-the-race:

Driving Day

  • Cut pineapples – the most amazing anti-inflammatory, sugary things you can eat at the finish
  • Primal bars (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Pita pockets, hummus, olives, Okara patties
  • Ice cooler + blue ice
  • Instant oatmeal (breakfast at 3am)
  • Pack microwaveable bowl + spoon

Night Before The Race

  • Make pita pockets for the vest
  • And some in the drop bag in a zip lock
  • Charge phone
  • Charge Suunto Ambit3
  • Alarm @ 3:00am (30 minute drive and get there around 4:15am)

Drop Bag – 2x Tennessee Valley + 1x Randall 

Duffel Bag (for the finish line)

  • Body Wipes (to wipe off the sweat while you are chugging an IPA at the finish line)
  • Change clothes
  • Jacket + Beanie (gets cold in Stinson Beach after the sun goes down)
  • Sandals + fresh pair of shoes/socks)
  • First-aid kit + Technu (poison oak remember?)
  • Glasses!!!!!!!! (I really do want to get rid of contacts after 12+ hours)
  • And holy moly, ice cold IPA – best thing after 14+ hours of trail running!

Race Day

  • Bib checkin at 4:30am
  • Parking lot opens at 4:00am
  • ~1/2 mile walk from the parking lot to the Community Center
  • 12 Marine Way, Stinson Beach, CA
  • Grab Suunto Ambit3

In the Salomon Vest

  • Two Salomon soft flasks
  • 1x Salomon collapsible cup
  • 4x Clif Shot Gels (refilled at the aid stations)
  • Map + instructions (see above)
  • Eye Drops (for my contacts)
  • Chapstick
  • Itty-bitty vaseline (Walgreens sells these)  for portable chaffing protection

After race

  • Pick up headlamp
  • Pickup drop bags (2x)

As you can tell, I take “having fun” pretty seriously. 🙂 This is pretty much what got me through the American River 50M with a 9:11 finish. Is it going to work on Miwok 100K? Ask me in just a few days and I’ll tell you all about it.

What does your race prep for running a 100K look like?


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