What went right?
- Bladder vs handhelds in race vest
- Great for tons of ice. This allowed me to use my front pockets for food/trash/phone for taking pics.
- Caffeine Pills
- Great boost of energy once you are tired. Took it twice during the race and really helped get me back on my feet.
- Fire pit to dry feet
- Have no spare socks but near an aid station? Use the fire pit to dry everything out! Why did I never think of this?!?!?! Thank you random drunk pacer that had no runner! Put my shoes, socks, and bare feet next to the fire for 5 minutes and they were as good as new!
- Pre-set race pace of 12:30-13:30
- Right at the start, I tried to hold this pace but I didn’t do it enough. It was both good and bad because I still would rather run slightly faster with someone than alone.
- No rocks! What was amazing was how different the trails were from PA-type trails. That is basically all I know and most of what I have run.
- I thought it was a joke when they called PA “Rocksylvania”, but it’s true! The course had way fewer rocks than the trails in Philly. (Wissahickon)
- Road shoes were used vs trail shoes.
- This race was very runnable in a road shoe. You will kick a bunch of rocks as there will be a sea of leaves, so keep that in mind.
- Used headphones on my head at the start, but didn’t have music playing 100 percent of the time. Clicked on music to take my mind off the pain when needed.
- They lasted THE ENTIRE RACE (25 hours) because I would pause when running with others. Great wireless headphones, highly recommend them!
- 3 camera system
What went wrong?
- Reusable cup lost
- One of the aid stations would NOT give me soup/soda because I didn’t have my cup. I told them multiple times it fell out of my pack. I get it guys, you want to go cupless, but using one cup for a guy who lost his isn’t a big deal. The next aid station was able to make it work and got me a replacement cup.
- Ran out of water during an 11-mile section.
- I didn’t top off my water bladder before I left the aid station. This was a HUGE mistake. I had to drink from a stream because I was dying of thirst and it was getting really hot.
- Didn’t close the aid bag and it got rained in it.
- Didn’t change shoes because 3rd pair got soaked and I also forgot to carry an extra pair of socks.
- Out and back format of this race can be annoying on the single-track sections.
- Watch course tracking via Garmin didn’t work very well on the GPX files I had loaded. This cause me to get lost once.
- My feet were wet for too long and I paid the price. I will never go that long with wet feet without changing socks. If it’s been more than 20+ miles and they have been wet, be prepared for some foot pain.
- Forgot my headlamp for the race start, but was able to grab it from the aid station truck.
Feedback for race directors:
- If I had a message for the race directors it would be that all aid station bags should be kept under a canopy. Every other 100 I have run has done this. I know it was my fault, but they lined them up out in the open to make it easier to find but got soaked in the process. It was 100% my fault for leaving my bag open a bit which caused it to get flooded.
- Allows people to use non-waterproof bags.
- Have backup cups for people that might lose them on the course. This is also my fault, but please have some leniency.
- I thought a drop bag was mandatory for Friday night. Some people like to give them a once-over at the hotel. I don’t know if I missed that note, but the trucks were still there in the AM.
What I would do differently?
I was consistent with my pace, but not enough. I was with people that pushed me slightly faster than I wanted to run. I still would have rather run with someone than alone so this was still the right decision, but I need to try a race fully set at a target pace. The fact I forgot my spare socks in my pack was pretty dumb.
I gave my buckle to my dad because he joked about when was I going to give him one. It was a tiny act of kindness I could do for someone who sacrificed everything. There are so many people that come together to make this happen. I would give them all buckles if I could, my in-laws, my parents, my wife, aid station workers, and people who marked the course. The list is endless, but I’m just glad there are people that make these races a reality. Check out the video below to see the course through my eyes. I hope you enjoy watching it! I really enjoyed running it!
Runner Shout out:
Michael Warren, Jennifer Russo, and Brian Collins shared the most miles with me and I can’t thank them enough!