Last Saturday, June 21, 2014, was my first 100-mile run attempt, from Long Beach to San Diego. This was a solo run, without any crew, pacers or aid stations. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, with a lot of ups and downs. Last week I wrote a post about How I Trained for My First 100 Mile Run, so I’ll skip that part. Below is a recap of my first 100-mile experience. My Strava run details can be found here.
I started my run at 2AM in Downtown Long Beach. My plan was to run all the way south, mostly by the coast, to reach San Diego. Cities in between would include Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, Camp Pendelton, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solona Beach and Del Mar.
I brought along a Go Pro camera, so you’ll get to experience first hand what happened on this adventure. Here is a 9 minute recap video, sorry its pretty long, but I couldn’t leave out more clips without painting a good overall picture of this adventure.
Music by my friend Piers Baron.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the distance and progress at each city along the way. A mile by mile breakdown can be found on my Strava.
10 miles / 16k in 1 hour 21 min – Huntington Beach
15 miles / 24k in 2 hours – Huntington Beach Pier
20 mile / 32k in 2 hours 46 min – Newport Beach
26.2 miles / 42k in 3 hours 40 min – Crystal Cove ** HR higher than I expected
30 miles / 48k in 4 hours 14 min – Laguna Beach
35 miles / 56k in 5 hours – Monarch Beach ** Feels like I’m just getting started
40 miles / 64k in 5 hours 43 min – Dana Point
43.5 miles / 70k in 6 hours 18 min – San Clemente
48 miles / 77k in 7 hours – San Onofre ** Feeling Rough
50 miles / 80k in 7 hours 17 min – San Onofre ** Half way point!
55 miles / 88.5k – Camp Pendelton ** Able to run 5 good miles
61 miles / 98k – Camp Pendelton ** I underestimated this
62.6 miles / 101k in 9 hours 23 min – Camp Pendelton ** Lowest I’ve ever been in running
68 miles / 109k in 10 hours 37 min – Oceanside ** last few miles rough, walking running
71 miles / 114k in 11 hours 22 min – Carlsbad ** Happy!
79 miles / 127k in 13 hours 5 min – Encinitas ** Playing game with myself
85.6 miles / 138k in 14 hours 44 min – Del Mar ** I’m running again!
90 miles / 145k in 16 hours – University of San Diego ** Made it to San Diego!
98.7 miles / 159k in 17 hours 33 min – San Diego ** Ouch ouch a curb, nearly there!
100 miles / 161k in 17 hours 47 min – San Diego Finish ** That was a long one!
Detailed mile by mile breakdown with Heart Rate data on my Strava
3 LESSONS LEARNED
Lesson 1: Pace Yourself, slow down!
Running 100 miles is a long way. During my Long Beach Marathon and Avalon 50 mile race, I held back at the beginning and slightly regretted afterwards that I didn’t start faster. For this 100 mile run, I projected to run 8:15 min / mile at the beginning and finish with 9:45 min / mile + some walk breaks + water stops. I ran the first 50 miles too fast, in only 7 hours 17 minutes. I was overconfident and thought I could keep that pace up, but my legs were pretty beat with 50 miles to go. Then mile 50 – 100 took me 10 hours 30 minutes, more than 3 hours slower than the first half. Don’t start too fast, if you try to shave off 1 minute early on in an Ultra marathon, it might cost you 5 minutes later in your run. My friend Jimmy warned me about this in advance and I had to experience this for myself.
Lesson 2: Sugar and Caffeine will bring you back alive!
Taking in enough gels, food, water and electrolyte / salt pills is absolutely crucial. In this ultra run preparation, metabolic efficiency was an important part of my training. I’m able to burn body fat very well for energy, however sugar is still a very important fuel source as well. After 50 miles I got sloppy with my Gu Gel intake every 30 minutes and instantly noticed my performance go downhill, energy levels decrease, Heart Rate increase etc. I hit my lowest points at mile 62.7 / 101k and mile 82 / 132k when my glucose levels were depleted. As soon as I drank a Coke, it was if a curtain was lifted. Within 5 minutes I had energy again, my legs felt better and I could continue running again. I had never experienced this before. Next time I’d drink a Coke much earlier on.
Lesson 3: You can achieve the unachievable
A few years ago when I ran my first marathon, I thought I was going to die at mile 20. I never thought it would be possible to run further than a full marathon, 26.2 miles. One day in 2013, after several months of training, I ran 28 miles, another day 35 miles and eventually 50 miles. When I decided to run my first 100 miler, it was a big jump up from 50 miles, however I’ve become less scared to aim beyond what I’m capable of.
The ‘unknown’ makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable and scared. Ask yourself, what am I really afraid of? When you hear your answer out loud, it is often because of uncertainty, and in most cases you don’t have to be afraid of this unknown. Aim beyond what you’re capable of and ignore where your abilities end, amazing things will happen!
Running such a massive distance was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. Thank you for the motivation and inspiration Jimmy Dean Freeman, Kate Martini Freeman, Coyote friends and Trail Runner Nation crew. It’s been 5 days since my run and my body is still very sore, but it’s starting to feel better. My energy levels will stay low for a few weeks. The impact on your body and energy levels is heavy with a long recovery period.
I enjoy running fast on both road and trails. I don’t have any desire at this point to run another 100 miler, however I could see myself run another 50 miler one day because I can run a much faster pace than a 100 mile run. My next race will be the Boston Marathon in April 2015, I’d like to run it in 2 hours 45 minutes.
I’ve started writing an e-book about Running Faster with Less Effort. Also, I’ll be posting several other running articles on this blog in the next few months.