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Tag: Running

Eastern States 100 – The Hardest 100 Miler on the East Coast

What went right

I kept the clothing light because I had been reading about the effects of overdressing can hold too much heat in.  I wore a new singlet that really worked well and didn’t cause any chafing.  I changed tops later at night because the temps dropped.  I  switch my pack at mile 83 to my waist belt. The only issue with this was I forgot some key items in a transfer like butt wipes and battery chargers for devices.  I think I made the right decision, I wanted to travel light and with no vest for the last section.  I saw that I was using aid stations effectively so I didn’t need all the extra stuff.  

It’s OK to not have a pacer.  I had made different attempts to get a pacer, but in the end, it just didn’t work out.  I didn’t need a pacer, I made friends and I talked to the right people exactly like I have done in the past.  Sometimes you hear the voice of someone or have a few words with them and you know they are the type of person to spend a few miles with.  I knew I could count on myself to make friends. It happened organically and was great!  Mixing in with just the right people at the right time.

I used my water on my back vs bottles in my vest. I could get lots of ice, have icy water, and hold way more than I needed. This will be the go-to setup for all races over 50K with aid stations over 8 miles apart. Distance between aid stations is critical for which setup to use. I also used pantyhose cut in half and filled with ice stretched over the neck.  It worked really well at keeping me cool, but it wasn’t a really hot day.  Then just dump the pack after the last drop bag and run it in!

2Toms foot powder for anti-blister seems to work well.  I still had major issues with my feet swelling and soreness on the sole.  Maybe thicker shoes? It was so much downhill I’m not sure it would matter.  It was faster to pre-load socks with this stuff than trying to lube feet.  Just throw a new pair of socks on and go.  

PRELOAD YOUR WATCH COURSE WITH WAYPOINTS!  I can’t stress this enough.  Using the course feature on my watch saved myself and others around me.  We knew instantly if we were going off course and how much was left to the next aid station.  Yes, we did go off course once or twice but were quickly back on course with this feature.  Note: disable Bluetooth, Inreach, and heart rate for my watch to make it over 30+ hours.  Need to be mindful of that in a race of this length.  Watch died at 100 miles, and this race was 103 in length.

I packed aid station bags at the beginning of the week.  It took off so much pre-race anxiety before I left.  I will always make sure to pack my bags WAAAAY before.  I used super large zip lock bags as always and they were perfect.  

Poles are now my new best friend for super technical climbs and descents. At first in the race, I was getting annoyed with them. After 30-40+ miles I got used to them and actually LOVED them. They really saved my race/life on some really technical stuff. I can’t count how many times I tripped and the poles caught me as they hit the ground first. I did remove the wrist straps and I had heard horror stories of people getting hurt if they fell with their arms in the straps. Warning: Do not leave it until race day to practice with them, they will do more harm than good. I actually broke a cheap pair in testing and got a better pair before race day because I tested them.

What went wrong

I had some type of butt rash I had to use vaseline on, not sure why, but I had it in my pack because this has happened before.  Tailwind gives me so much gas, hence the name, and I had to use vaseline.  

Incredible quad pain from the downhills to the point I could barely walk in the race. Not sure what you could do to eliminate that except TONs of downhill in training. That amount of force on the downhills was HORRIBLE. Like I didn’t want to take a step, and I noticed if I laid down and put my feel up it went away. Blood was pooling and I had some massive foot swelling. Changing shoes at aid stations worked really well.  When we laid down for 12 minutes I was super refreshed.  I was actually able to run again.  

I killed my small camera by getting too much water in it.  I record my runs and then do a video montage for those that want to relive the race.  My small camera died and I couldn’t recharge it.  I now know to put it in a zip lock bag.  It wasn’t until after the race and it dried out did it come back to life. 

What I would do differently

Stop being so scared going into these things.  If anybody was willing to talk about it I would cry about how crazy the course was.  Next time STFU and stop scaring yourself.  I know enough now about how to handle these types of races.  Yes, this was the granddad of them all, but it’s still just goddamn running not brain surgery. The only thing at stake if you fail is YOUR pride. I kept telling myself my new mantra, “I don’t mind what happens”, AND I actually believe it.

InReach died because Bluetooth and ant+ were enabled, they should be turned off for that long of a tracking event. Who cares if I can send it from my watch if the device is dead??? Just set it in track mode and pull it out at aid stations to send additional messages.  My dad thought I actually dropped from the race because he didn’t see any additional points when the device died.  

That’s it.  That was everything I learned from this race, besides that it went very well.  I felt great, didn’t get hurt, had fun, and made a really cool video people seemed to enjoy.  Check it out below.  

My video montage of ES100

First State Trail Race – 2022

What went wrong

I made the fatal mistake of running someone else’s race. I was running too much with a 25K person vs a 50K pace in the heat. I was just having too much fun and not really thinking. I should have known better, I have had races in the heat before and knew this could happen. Basically, I didn’t save anything for the 2nd loop, where the true race began. I had put too much stress on the body early and created a debt I was unable to repay. I should have slowed down, but my ego got the best of me. I was under the false assumption it was going to stay cooler because there was good cloud coverage. On the 2nd loop, as expected, the heat/humidity shot up and I started to slow down drastically.

What went right

The first loop was good, I was running with TJ and it was nice to talk with him. The only issue was he wasn’t doing the 50K, he was doing the 25K. He was in 6th place for the 25K when he crossed the line and I was right behind him. Why in gods name did I think that was a good idea is beyond me… I wore compression sleeves and filled them with ice, I had an ice bag on my chest, and I took salt tablets. Once I started getting dizzy I knew I was in serious trouble, it was at this point that I tried to find shade and lay down. There was a nice person who ran a bag of ice back to me, I should find out who that was and thank him. He didn’t have to do that and sacrificed a huge amount of time from his race because of my stupidity. All I could do at that point was wait it out until I could get back on my feet. I tried to get up but my leg kept cramping. As I started to walk back near the stone wall I threw up all the water in my stomach. Once that happened I actually started to feel much better. I have to use the aid stations more effectively if it’s this hot. Stop, don’t rush, take your time and relax. It would have maybe saved my race and given my body time to absorb the water. I should have known I also missed the sign that I wasn’t peeing. That can be an indication your body is not processing the water.

What would I have done differently

Tips for my next hot race:

  • You should be peeing! If not drink more water!
  • No records broken that day.
  • Painfully slow start.
  • Don’t be stupid, you can’t bank time!
  • Heart rate is a window into how your body is managing the heat.


I went to this race with zero planning and it showed. The only item missing from my heat strategy was SLOWING DOWN. Thinking I could beat the heat was such a stupid idea that backfired. I am glad it did. I am two weeks away from my first 100 of the season and I would rather learn the lesson here than there. That’s the power of the weather and I never respected it. If you disrespect the heat, the rain, the cold, it will END you.

The longer the race the more you have to create a plan and stick to it. You can’t just POWER through longer races. The mistakes of the beginning catch up with you. If there is heat in the forecast, then you need to go out PAINFULLY SLOW. Meaning so slow you almost can’t stand it. Put yourself at the back of the pack and just wait.

On the plus side, I did get some good footage to remember this failure. Enjoy!

Pine Creek Challenge 100 – Friends make all the difference

I have figured out the formula for finishing a 100-mile race. Pine Creek is the 3rd time I have completed the 100 mile distance. The key to all 3 finishes was one underlying theme. Surround yourself with incredible people! I know that’s not easy, and it can be total luck. Don’t get me wrong, there is lots of training you need to do, but that is just a matter of putting in the miles. If you can make friends with complete strangers on the course, find an incredible pacer, or put together a great support crew, you greatly increase the odds of finishing. I have been lucky enough those things happen each time. You are going to be battling your thoughts in the race. Having somebody there to talk with eases the pain. They are there to help push the pace or slow things down if you’re going too fast.

Why is it that in an ultra can you make friends with complete strangers? Is it the fact that you are facing a common goal and you both want to succeed? You create an instant bond because of the shared suffering. So the biggest thing I did RIGHT was to make new friends. It has helped me EVERY SINGLE time in a race, except for Vermont 100 where I was gifted the ultimate pacer by chance.

The other thing I really liked about this race was having a pace chart handy. From this point out, if it is a 100-mile race, it is critical to have every single detail of your race in an easy-to-look at Excel-like grid that is laminated. I am going to create one of these cards for every race at this distance.

Race charts like this make you feel like you are actually making progress in a 100-mile race. Somehow, Michelle, had the entire thing memorized!

The other benefit of running with a friend is you hear about new podcasts and books that are worth checking out. You learn about books and podcasts that might interest you and would never be exposed to. You hear about the most impactful material that is in that person’s life.

Michelle, Amy, and myself at mile 50.

I wouldn’t say I helped Michelle as much as she helped me. We completed it together. In my first hundred, 2 people stayed with me to get me to the finish. I remembered how much of a difference that made to have people to chat with. It helps with your mental state and I couldn’t imagine doing it alone. It was nice to go through the night with someone on their journey.

I am 100% sure Michelle was more than able to have completed it alone, but she was also kind enough to share the experience. Having someone to run the race with also keeps you honest about the pace. We would take turns alternating between a run-walk when combo in the later miles to keep under our pace target. It’s one thing to run 100 miles on your own, but an experience shared is so much more enjoyable.

Some of the things that I would say went wrong in the race were little slip-ups.
I skipped a shoe/sock change at mile 30-40 miles. There was gravel and dust that was getting in the top part of my socks that started to cause a rash. I should have cleaned and swapped socks sooner to prevent that. I also didn’t have enough caffeine intake later in the race and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I finally got a cup of coffee at mile 90 and it made a huge difference. Maybe I can bring my own instant coffee?

I should have had a drop bag at BOTH aid stations, not just the Blackwell. There is something about having access to YOUR stuff that gives ease of mind. Something in the bag you can look forward to that is not at the aid stations. I struggle with knowing what to put in each bag so I opted to put it all in one, which really didn’t work out.

I ran out of water between the longer aid stations, be mindful of a hot hundred and ONLY using handhelds, they actually might not be able to hold enough water if it’s greater than 8 miles between aid stations. I am just grateful the weather wasn’t too intense that day.

What would I have done differently? Not too much, my feet took a beating and I am glad I went with the shoes that I did. I switched out 2 pairs of Altra Torin 5s which felt great and caused zero hot spots. 100s can be extremely lonely, and if you get lucky enough to find a person running a similar pace it is worth staying together. You motivate each other to push when the pain can be unbearable. If I had to do anything different I would have lowered my expectations of a finish time when on a new course.

How would you know what to expect? My “A” goal I realized was going to be almost impossible to hit. My “B” goal was under 24 which I achieved. My “C” goal is to make friends and have fun, but my “C” goal was actually the most important goal. I am GRATEFUL for the experience and will be smiling for the next few weeks with the wonderful memories replaying in my mind. I still feel new to the 100-mile distance and feel like I have a lot to learn. Finally, don’t put your number on your shirt, I was an idiot and switched shirts and forgot to move my number. It should always be on your pants! How could I forget that!

Michelle Goldberg and myself right after the finish.

Final thoughts: I should have never told people it’s going to be easy because it was all flat. I completely underestimated the distance and the terrain. The course was beautiful as you can see from the photos. Would I do the race again? I am not sure… I think I enjoy a more rocky and technical terrain over the endless flat roads. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but I enjoy an actual hill every now and then.

More videos and photos can be found here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/eA6UWL9FSdMsfC1F6