Choosing My First 100 Miler

I've spent much of this spring (if you can really call it that, we're supposed to be getting 3-6" of snow tonight) thinking about which race I want to run for my first 100 miler. As I've written before, I had been leaning towards Javelina Jundred in Arizona in October. More recently, my thinking has changed, leaning instead towards the 100 miler right in my own backyard, the Resurrection Pass 100.

I kept going back and forth in my mind about which one I wanted to run. They both have their pros and cons. At a certain point, I just got tired of thinking about it, so last week I sent the Res Pass RD an email saying count me in the for the 100!

There are definitely a number of pros to running Res Pass:

  • It's a cheap race to run. It's a very low-key race with no registration fee, and I don't have to fly anywhere. It starts at 3pm on a Friday, so I don't even have to drive down the night before and camp out.
  • I'm already familiar with the course, having run the 50 miler last year. The 50 miler is a point-to-point from Cooper Landing to Hope. The 100 miler is an out-and-back of the 50 miler course, starting and ending in Hope.
  • I'll have company. My buddy Ray that I ran the 50 miler with last year is also running the 100, so it will be nice to have some company, especially while running through the night in the middle of bear country.

Res Pass is not without its' cons, however:

  • It's a largely self-supported race. The only aid stations are at mile 12, 50, and 88. In between, you're on a remote wilderness trail with no access. This makes it very hard to drop, at say, mile 65 if things aren't going well – this could be good or bad, depending.
  • Access to water. With so few aid stations, you're mostly on your own for carrying water, and refilling in streams as needed. Of course, that comes with the need to filter or purify the water, if you don't want to end up with Giardia. At the 50 miler last year, I carried a hydration pack with 70oz of water, which I only had to refill once. Though I found that refilling a hydration bladder from a stream can be a pain, especially when you're tired. And by the end of the 50 miles, the pack was really starting to weigh on my shoulders. I'm not sure what I'm going to do for the 100, but I've been experimenting on my longer runs.
  • No belt buckle. Small race = no swag. Most "big" ultras like Javelina give out belt buckles to the finishers. It's an odd tradition, but I've got to admit that I want one.

The race is still almost 3 months away, but I'm getting really excited. My training has been going well so far. I've been consistently running 50+ mile weeks, usually with a 20+ mile long run on the weekend. I've gotten up into the 60's once so far, and hope to reach the 70's a few times before race day.

I've heard it said that even though a 100 miler is twice the distance of a 50 miler, it's way more than twice as hard. For better or worse, I'm eager to find out for myself! I know that this will likely be the hardest things I've ever done, and that there will probably be times that I want to quit. I'm going into this race the same way I went into my first 50 miler last year: with the attitude that I will finish, and not even letting the thought of not finishing enter my mind.

And who knows, depending on how things go at my 100 mile debut, I'm thinking that I may still sign up for Javelina in October – I'll get that belt buckle yet!

One thought on “Choosing My First 100 Miler

  1. Dude, welcome to the party! I’m running again this year so I’ll see you there, if not before. Feel free to pick my brain about gear and what not. I started with a bladder but had 2 20oz bottles for refilling on the trail. I treated with bleach, 3-4 drops and wait 20 min, and had no issues. Once in desperation I filled directly below a beaver lodge… I have a full (4 part) write up over on my blog. Btw, what group are you running with in ER?

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