02 August 2009

lessons learned from the vermont 100 miler

The Vermont 100 Miler (#vt100) was my first hundred miler, and since finishing two weeks ago, I've thought a lot about what I could have done differently. My goal was a sub-24 hour finish, which I know I could have done had everything been aligned -- but everything wasn't aligned. When you're running 100 miles, you're not thinking very clearly. Now I am and thinking back on a few things I know I'll do differently next time...

  • Take ibuprofin if you need it. My feet were swelling ridiculously, and while I was carrying ibuprofin with me, and had some in every drop bag, I didn't take any. I chalk it up to cloudy thinking.
  • When you're sleepy, take caffeine. I had some in my drop bags, but I probably should have carried some with me. I didn't take it b/c I didn't want to, and at one point, I was swerving across the path (good thing I wasn't a car or I would have hit something).
  • Don't talk to your pacer for a while before. Mecca caught me up on some good stories, gossip, etc., which was great when I was sleepy.
  • Change your socks. I almost changed my socks earlier, and wished I had -- I never would have had swollen, rash-covered, blister-covered feet if I had. I thought my feet were fine, and the pain didn't start until mile 55 or 60 or so. So next time -- I'm changing my socks frequently.
  • Bring an extra pair of shoes - a half size larger. A friend recommended this to me, and I thought, "Spend all that extra money...and how can I size myself in a shoe a half size larger?" I wish I did. With my allergic reaction, my feet swelled up so big that I couldn't get my feet into anything other than flip flops for a few days. No joke: the Monday after, I couldn't stuff my foot into my Birkenstocks and had to go home from the doctor's in a surgical boot.
  • Baby wipes would've made me feel fresher.
  • Eat. My stomach was wrecked and I decided I couldn't eat gels but I wished I tried to, or tried something other than all the solid food I was eating.
  • Drink less. I drank so much I was stopping every 20 minutes -- good thing I was running with guys who were stopping the same. I ended up gaining 4 pounds between mile 47 and 70! This also could've had to do with the eating all solid foods thing.
  • Bring toilet paper. I was peeing nonstop, and there's not toilet paper hanging from the trees. I was using leaves, and I told Mecca, "It'll be a miracle if I don't get some sort of infection after this race." Yay for miracles.
I'm sure there are other things, but these are a few of the things I've learned. I had a blast, and I'm so glad I met so many amazing people and had a great support crew. I can't wait for my next -- and yes, there will be a next -- 100 mile run!


Runner Tammy said...


Belated congrats on your VT100 miler. Just getting to the finish line is an accomplishment and you did it with such challenges!

You also might make a mental note to ask other runners (particularly ones with fanny packs or hydration packs) if they have some products if you find yourself on the course needing stuff.

I shared lots of toilet paper, wet wipes, advil and ginger chews throughout the race (and I never mind if people ask me for stuff because I have back up supplies at each drop bag--and if I can share stuff I am less likely to finish the race with 5-10 lbs of equipment in my fanny pack that just hopped a ride for 100 miles).

See you on the trails at VT50,

dsr said...

read your great comments on the vt. 100---hope to run it next year with my training bud.--she did run the 100k---was first woman runner for the 100k....her first....we will start training after we run BOSTON.