My First 100 Miler – Afterthoughts…
Despite what ultra-running legend Karl Meltzer might say, one hundred miles is far, certainly to me at least! It was after listening to his catchy strapline “A hundred miles is not that far” for the umpteenth time that I crazily entered the NDW100 last year. At the time I had never run a trail race and needed to complete the NDW50 to be allowed into the hundred mile daddy race. Turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, up there with the decision to make Leeds United my football team of choice, aged four or five! Anyone contemplating the idea of entering their first hundred miler, just do it and train hard, you will know in your own mind long before race day if you are going to finish or not (race day injuries apart).
Things I learned during and after the race?
The overriding factor is that nothing can prepare you for the demands of a hundred mile race if fifty is the previous maximum you have run in one go. Never did I under estimate the mental aspects of the 100, this is one area of running that fascinates me, the mental challenge. Dropping from a race had never entered my head pre NDW100, never thought I would have such thoughts, ever, period. The longer distance reminds us who is in charge, it can break us into small pieces and re-arrange the parts if we allow this savagery of our mental faculties to go unchecked.
A pacer can be the difference between a DNF and a buckle.
Any tiny flaws in equipment will be magnified a score times and more as the day turns into night and the miles add up.
Patch up your feet as soon as possible; thinking you can handle a few blisters at mile 60 will seem like the most stupid decision ever at mile 80 when there is more blister than foot.
Remember you are likely to be sweating less at night and hydrating at the same level as the daytime could mean you are over hydrating. I made this mistake and had to pee every ten minutes in the early morning.
Before the race I had in my mind a period of two weeks for recovery from the race, based largely on the fact it took this amount of time to get up and running post NDW50. There was huge swelling to my left foot which has largely gone away leaving some residual soreness around the tendons that were aggravated during the race. Blisters have dried up, the areas of chaffing in certain areas was cleared within a couple of days. Overall I am more than happy with how well my aging body has come out of the 30 hour ordeal. This year, since entering the trail/ ultra-world, and upping mileage I have had various tendon aggravations (tendonitis), thankfully after each has cleared up the same area has never bothered me again. If this hair brained theory is correct, then only my left Achilles is susceptible in future.