Originally, I had planned on running the 50 mile option for the Peak Races Ultra Marathon up in the beautiful Green Mountain Trails. When I signed up this past winter for the race, I believe it was around the middle of November while visiting Joe De Sena, Miguel Medina and Andy Weinberg up in their cozy town of Pittsfield, VT.
As soon as I told Andy, the Race Director of Peak Races, that I wanted to do the 50 miler he came back at me telling me that I had to do the 100 miler. Apparently, the 50 miler was not an option for me. Perks of being a previous Death Racer and friend I suppose? I didn’t hesitate and happily took on this challenge. Going into the race I did not put in nearly enough training to be running this race, I knew it, my girlfriend knew it, everybody that knew how little I ran on a regular basis knew I hadn’t trained nearly enough to be going into a 100 mile race. Regardless, I was still ready for the challenge. After all, I have finished one Death Race out of pure stubbornness and both times I’ve competed in the Death Race I was forced to stay awake and on my feet much longer than the 34 hour cut-off allotted to complete the mileage in.
When I decided to write this post I opted to skip the long story that I normally put together for these types of adventures. Let’s be real, no one wants to hear about how I went around in circles for nearly 24 hours doing the same loop over and over again. That’d be really boring, I promise. What I did instead is create a list of lessons I learned on the trail from doing my first true Ultra Marathon, other than the Fuego Y Agua Survival Run: Hunter Gatherer 50K I did last October I’ve never ran more than a standard marathon (2012 Chicago Marathon) in one go.
From what I gathered from the seasoned ultra marathoners on the course, I picked quite the difficult 100 miler for my first. Of course I did. In addition to this list I created, I put together a short video of clips I filmed during each of my loops. Hope you enjoy.
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10 Lessons I Learned at the Peak 100 Mile Ultra
- Not a lot of people show up to run the ultra long distances, 15 racers showed for the 100 Mile and 11 racers for the 200 Mile
- Having a support crew can make all the difference in a race of this nature. Thanks momma (Darnell Matesi) and sista (Mariah Matesi) and Kristine Iotte
- Teaching your support crew about your needs for each lap can save anywhere from 5-10 minutes during each lap
- Having a water bottle that works is a lot more useful (I couldn’t sip out of my Ultimate Direction water bottles if my life depended on it, I kept having to unscrew the cap to drink which resulted in lots of spillage)
- More real food, less gels, chews, and other non-real food substitutes. By mile 70 my stomach was in knots and couldn’t stand much of anything
- Burgers, Pizza, Beer, and Egg with Bacon sandwiches are the most delicious things you can have between laps and give you such an incredible energy boost. Oh ya, and Mountain Dew. Mmmm
- Apparently taking Aleve is a very good idea to help with some of the aches and pains that start to settle in after 40 or 50 miles
- Trail toes truly is the most amazing anti-chaffing balm there is, after 70 miles of rugged terrain over the course of just under 22 hours I only changed my socks once and had zero hotspots and zero blisters. Note: I wore Injinji Outdoor 2.0 toe socks, they’re fantastic – sock review coming soon
- Training is a lot more important than I expected. I thought I could will my way through this, I’ve finished a Death Race, why couldn’t I finish this? That was my thought process. It was wrong. Next year I’ll be logging more miles the months leading up to this race.
- There is something exciting about pushing yourself to run a ridiculous amount of miles through the mountains. When it comes to trails and mountains, I really do enjoy running on them.