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What Goes Through Your Head Immediately Before a 100 Miler

Posted by on Oct 7, 2011 | 9 Comments

It’s about 9:30 am on Friday, October 7th.  At 6pm this evening, I’ll start the Grindstone 100 miler in Swoope, VA.

The game plan is pretty simple- start slow for the first half, assess my condition, then try to “race” the second half.  The course is an out-and-back with pretty significant climbs and descents on relatively easy trails (technically-speaking.)

My training going into the race is nearly identical to Western States.  I didn’t follow a specific plan, rather ran a variety of race distances intermixed with a few “fun run” long runs.  Shelly and I also did some high-intensity interval training a few times per week over the last few months.

My mindset could best be described as cautiously confident.  It’s a distance I’ve successfully covered multiple times.  The vertical change plays into my relative strengths.  I have an experienced crew and pacers (Shelly and Jesse.)

There are a few obstacles that will present unique problems.  Since it’s an evening start, I’ll be forced to run through the night once and probably into the night a second time.  Sleep deprivation is my ultrarunning kryptonite.  Also, the forecast calls for temps dropping to about 40° at night.  I hate cold.  I REALLY hate cold.  Both variables can be handled with a healthy dose of warm clothing and Red Bull.

Of course, there will likely be a ton of unforeseen variables.  That’s the appeal of 100’s.  The ruggedness and remote nature of the course will assure a litany of problems.  I’m slowly reducing the gear I carry and the gear I have the crew lug around, which I found to help confront issues as they arise.  Limited tools to solve problems leads to simple solutions, which ultimately results in faster times.

As such, I’ll take the same approach as Western.  I’ll have fun, savor the experience, and push my own limits to find that edge of my current abilities.

Since people have asked, this is the gear I’ll be using:


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  1. Rob
    October 12, 2011

    “relatively easy trails (technically-speaking.)” That’s were you made your first mistake. 😉 Virginia trails ARE technical and require a much different approach than Western States which is a road run compared to Grindstone. Great effort though!

  2. chadisbarefoot
    October 8, 2011

    I LOOOVE my Brooks Infinity II shorts! Best ever!

    Question: Why would you choose to wear cotton shirts? Tech fabric is so much lighter and more comfortable over several hours. Hm.

  3. Trish Reeves
    October 7, 2011

    Best of luck to you, Jason! I’ll be thinking of you at 6pm when you start, sending good thoughts your way. And to your pacers as well!

  4. Bob
    October 7, 2011

    Good luck to you Jason, I know you will do well. Enjoy the run.

  5. Sean
    October 7, 2011


    I was just thinking VA is not too far from me, maybe that would be a good 100 to do next year. Then I saw the profile! woah!

    Good luck!

  6. The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy
    October 7, 2011

    Good luck bro! You’ll do great!

  7. briderdt
    October 7, 2011

    For me, it would be more along the lines of “what the $#&^ was I thinking?!?!”

    And yes, I also question the hand-held light, as you’re already carrying two hand-held water bottles. You grow a third hand somewhere in the last weeks?

  8. Josh
    October 7, 2011

    A hand held light rather than a headlamp?

    • Liz
      October 9, 2011

      Free hands not withstanding, I much prefer my handhelds to headlamps – except when I mistakenly blind myself going for food or drink. :-/