100 miles or bust!

I have always been a runner. I started in elementary school and went all the way through high school, into college. I was never very good, but my coach always told me I was a long distance runner, “if the race was longer than a 5k, I’d do a lot better”. Little did I know what long distance actually meant.

It wasn’t until later on when I ran my first marathon, in 2006. It took four years and five marathons until I found ultramarathon distances .I have now completed multiple 50k’s and just last year, two 50 milers.  So on to my resolution for this year – I’ve decided to run my first 100 miler, and share my journey with you.

I have done my research and narrowed my choices down to two races; I am waiting to see which one I can do based on a family event and my work schedule. I can’t lie the uncertainty of which one I should plan for is getting me a little nervous. My first choice is the NJ Trail Series, Ultra Fest in March and my second is C&O Canal 100 in April.

I feel confident about the time I have given myself, I know with the miles I have “banked” and some extra long runs I can accomplish the 100 miles. However, there are moments when I don’t get to put in the long run I had planned that I wish I had given myself more than only a few months.

All that doesn’t matter now, I have my mind set and I’ve already spoken about my goal to others. There’s no backing down.

With the help of my husband, I am creating an intense training program to not only “just finish” the 100 miles I have planned, but to run them well, to my standards. The courses I have chosen are perfect for first timers, relatively flat terrain with hard packed dirt trails. Ultra Fest 100 consists of 10 laps on a 10 mile out and back stretch, the C&O Canal 100, would be 2 loops of 50 miles. There are plenty of aid stations and drop bag locations for both. No pacing in Ultra Fest, though the way the course is laid out, you’re passing people all day long and. Pacing in the C&O Canal, is allowed after the 50 mile mark, which means I can have my husband there next to me the  if I need the help.

My first 50 miler was completed last year at Ultra Fest. I know the course and the people well enough to feel confident in succeeding with my first 100 mile race there. I also know the course well enough to remember that last year I only ran 5 loops and this year will be 10. This is a mental hurdle I know I need to work on, and is being incorporated as part of my training. I’m hoping I can do Ultrafest, I haven’t heard a lot about C&O, and with everything else on my mind, fear of the unknown is something I’d like to do without.

So, for now I just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, my plan is to train like I’m running my first 100 miles at Ultra Fest in March and if I can’t, I will add a month’s worth of “security” miles to my second option.

-Nichole