Last Saturday, June 21, 2014, was my first 100-mile run attempt, from Long Beach to San Diego. This was a solo run, without any crew, pacers or aid stations. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, with a lot of ups and downs. Last week I wrote a post about How I Trained for My First 100 Mile Run, so I’ll skip that part. Below is a recap of my first 100-mile experience. My Strava run details can be found here.
I started my run at 2AM in Downtown Long Beach. My plan was to run all the way south, mostly by the coast, to reach San Diego. Cities in between would include Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, Camp Pendelton, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solona Beach and Del Mar.
I brought along a Go Pro camera, so you’ll get to experience first hand what happened on this adventure. Here is a 9 minute recap video, sorry its pretty long, but I couldn’t leave out more clips without painting a good overall picture of this adventure.
Music by my friend Piers Baron.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the distance and progress at each city along the way. A mile by mile breakdown can be found on my Strava.
10 miles / 16k in 1 hour 21 min – Huntington Beach
15 miles / 24k in 2 hours – Huntington Beach Pier
20 mile / 32k in 2 hours 46 min – Newport Beach
26.2 miles / 42k in 3 hours 40 min – Crystal Cove ** HR higher than I expected
30 miles / 48k in 4 hours 14 min – Laguna Beach
35 miles / 56k in 5 hours – Monarch Beach ** Feels like I’m just getting started
40 miles / 64k in 5 hours 43 min – Dana Point
43.5 miles / 70k in 6 hours 18 min – San Clemente
48 miles / 77k in 7 hours – San Onofre ** Feeling Rough
50 miles / 80k in 7 hours 17 min – San Onofre ** Half way point!
55 miles / 88.5k – Camp Pendelton ** Able to run 5 good miles
61 miles / 98k – Camp Pendelton ** I underestimated this
62.6 miles / 101k in 9 hours 23 min – Camp Pendelton ** Lowest I’ve ever been in running
68 miles / 109k in 10 hours 37 min – Oceanside ** last few miles rough, walking running
71 miles / 114k in 11 hours 22 min – Carlsbad ** Happy!
79 miles / 127k in 13 hours 5 min – Encinitas ** Playing game with myself
85.6 miles / 138k in 14 hours 44 min – Del Mar ** I’m running again!
90 miles / 145k in 16 hours – University of San Diego ** Made it to San Diego!
98.7 miles / 159k in 17 hours 33 min – San Diego ** Ouch ouch a curb, nearly there!
100 miles / 161k in 17 hours 47 min – San Diego Finish ** That was a long one!
Detailed mile by mile breakdown with Heart Rate data on my Strava
3 LESSONS LEARNED
Lesson 1: Pace Yourself, slow down!
Running 100 miles is a long way. During my Long Beach Marathon and Avalon 50 mile race, I held back at the beginning and slightly regretted afterwards that I didn’t start faster. For this 100 mile run, I projected to run 8:15 min / mile at the beginning and finish with 9:45 min / mile + some walk breaks + water stops. I ran the first 50 miles too fast, in only 7 hours 17 minutes. I was overconfident and thought I could keep that pace up, but my legs were pretty beat with 50 miles to go. Then mile 50 – 100 took me 10 hours 30 minutes, more than 3 hours slower than the first half. Don’t start too fast, if you try to shave off 1 minute early on in an Ultra marathon, it might cost you 5 minutes later in your run. My friend Jimmy warned me about this in advance and I had to experience this for myself.
Lesson 2: Sugar and Caffeine will bring you back alive!
Taking in enough gels, food, water and electrolyte / salt pills is absolutely crucial. In this ultra run preparation, metabolic efficiency was an important part of my training. I’m able to burn body fat very well for energy, however sugar is still a very important fuel source as well. After 50 miles I got sloppy with my Gu Gel intake every 30 minutes and instantly noticed my performance go downhill, energy levels decrease, Heart Rate increase etc. I hit my lowest points at mile 62.7 / 101k and mile 82 / 132k when my glucose levels were depleted. As soon as I drank a Coke, it was if a curtain was lifted. Within 5 minutes I had energy again, my legs felt better and I could continue running again. I had never experienced this before. Next time I’d drink a Coke much earlier on.
Lesson 3: You can achieve the unachievable
A few years ago when I ran my first marathon, I thought I was going to die at mile 20. I never thought it would be possible to run further than a full marathon, 26.2 miles. One day in 2013, after several months of training, I ran 28 miles, another day 35 miles and eventually 50 miles. When I decided to run my first 100 miler, it was a big jump up from 50 miles, however I’ve become less scared to aim beyond what I’m capable of.
The ‘unknown’ makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable and scared. Ask yourself, what am I really afraid of? When you hear your answer out loud, it is often because of uncertainty, and in most cases you don’t have to be afraid of this unknown. Aim beyond what you’re capable of and ignore where your abilities end, amazing things will happen!
Running such a massive distance was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. Thank you for the motivation and inspiration Jimmy Dean Freeman, Kate Martini Freeman, Coyote friends and Trail Runner Nation crew. It’s been 5 days since my run and my body is still very sore, but it’s starting to feel better. My energy levels will stay low for a few weeks. The impact on your body and energy levels is heavy with a long recovery period.
I enjoy running fast on both road and trails. I don’t have any desire at this point to run another 100 miler, however I could see myself run another 50 miler one day because I can run a much faster pace than a 100 mile run. My next race will be the Boston Marathon in April 2015, I’d like to run it in 2 hours 45 minutes.
In July I’m moving to Holland with my wife and daughter until early November. We’ll hang out with family and run our online businesses Aika Collective and Love vs Design from there.
Can't wait to connect with you on the other side!
Congratulations on your first 100!!! You look like you had a lot of fun :). And yeah I agree that sugar makes all the difference, I think its because it rejuvenates our brains and that keeps the attitude flowing. Thanks for the post and good luck on your future runs.
What a great video! Thank you so much for doing this. I have shared it with my Ultra Group as a great example of the range of emotions people go through running 100 miles. Also, that you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on races. Great job Flo!
Congratulations! Not an easy thing to do when it’s a supported race, let alone doing it all on your own. Amazing job!! I, too, have been training to be more efficient metabolically and am anxious to see how I do at an upcoming 50 miler. I think because I’ve almost completely eliminated grains and processed sugar from my diet, the intake of sugar during the race, especially late in the race, will give me an even bigger boost when I need it than it has in the past.
Thanks for sharing your achievement ~~
Congratulations! Awesome and very inspiring. I am curious as to your route. Any information would be great.
Awesome effort! Glad to hear you’re taking some time off to completely recover – I feel tired just watching the video! Good work and I wish you well with your future achievements.
Thanks Micah! Yes I was having a lot of fun most of the time, with a few rough spots 🙂 Sugar makes all the difference for sure. I definitely look like a Coca Cola and Skittles ambassador in this video! Good luck on your future runs as well!
You know more than most people how emotional these Ultra Runs can get Scott! I’m glad I’ve experienced this first hand now as well. Trying to keep a positive mind while things don’t go according to plan can be tricky but it is possible. Thank you for sharing this video with your Ultra Group. Good luck at your future race adventures these coming months! Cheers
Thanks a lot Leslie! Completely eliminating grains and processed sugars will make a significant difference to be more efficient metabolically. I’m sure your running improves because of this as well. That’s exciting about your upcoming 50 miler, which one are you running? The one thing I do want to warn you about is to keep focused on your sugar intake from the start. Its very hard to catch up on a deficit and much nicer on your mind and body to keep your energy levels consistent. Have a great race!
Cheers Kevin! I ran most of this on Pacific Coast Highway and Beach Paths. In San Onofre I had to go below the I-5 Freeway to run at the Marine Base of Camp Pendleton for about 10 miles, then back to PCH again. From mile 87 – 100 I ran away from the beach, inland towards downtown San Diego.
Here is a detailed map of my route:
Here is my detailed run plan that I printed and brought with me:
Thanks Corinne, that’s funny you feel tired watching the video, I feel the same way rewatching it. The recovery is going well, so I should be able to run slowly soon again. Wishing you well on your future journeys as well!
Thanks Floris. Appreciate the info. Again great job. I hope to do that same run some day soon. Totally inspired by your effort.
Hi Floris, congratulations on a great accomplishment! I feel motivated after watching it!
I would really like to hear about the gear you used for your run. Shoes, watch, backpack, shorts, socks, etc. I’d be curious to hear how you went about choosing it, and what your thoughts on the pros and cons on such a long run.
Glad you like the video Chas! Here is a photo of most of the gear I brought on this trip: http://www.flotography.com/how-i-trained-for-my-first-100-mile-run
Shoes: Brooks Ravenna 4
Watch: Garmin 310 XT with HRM + Suunto Ambit2 (I ran with 2 watches)
Backpack: Salomon Skin Pro 10
Shorts + Shirt: Nike Dry Fit
Socks: CEP Men’s Progressive+ 2.0 Run Socks
I trained a lot with all my gear to make sure I was comfortable running with everything for a long period. On my 35 and 50 mile training runs I took a bunch of notes of what worked and what didn’t work.
Shoes – this was my 4th pair of the shoes, I had run two 50 milers in the same model, so they worked well.
Watches – I trained mostly with the Garmin HRM and watch. I like seeing 4 data fields while running: total time / total distance / average pace over 1 mile lap / current HR. This watch was probably not going to have 18 hours or more battery life, so I brought a small portable charger ($20 amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005X1Y7I2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) After 8 hours I recharged my Garmin, took about 1 hour. I borrowed my friends Suunto watch and this worked great as well. I had 3 settings: Current pace / total distance / total time.
Backpack, it was $180 when I bought it, expensive but worth it, fits very tight on your back and I could put so much stuff in it. I ran solo without support so had to bring 25 gels, 10 energy bars, phone, Go Pro, battery charger for watch + phone, etc. My pack was heavier than I expected 8.6 pounds but I needed all of the gear. I love this backpack.
Shorts and shirt, nothing special, just very bright and reflective to make sure every car would see me from a mile away. I also put 30 very reflective stickers on my clothes, shoes and backpack. This made me 200 times more stand out in traffic, like a running xmas tree.
First Ultra with compression socks, they worked great. My feet did get warm in my shoes, so I had put foot powder in my shoes that morning.
Overall all the gear worked well. Getting very familiar with it before a long run gives you confidence and avoids last minute surprises.
the more I watched your video,the more emotional it became for me and the more proud I felt on you.
Glad to hear you like the video! You and mom have inspired me a lot with running. Your 1988 marathon in New York has made a big impression on me. Can’t wait to spend this entire summer with you in Holland and go on many runs and bike rides together.
Dikke knuffel and kus,
Hey, I’ve been using Carbion+ to keep my carb levels constant during my long runs (still bellow 26 miles). I am curious how it would work for you in a ULTRA distance?
I haven’t used Carbion+ yet. The plain GU gels work well for me with water, I like to keep things simple for the runs below 50 miles. I do add a protein bar every 3 hours to get some protein in as well.
I’ll keep an eye out for it.
Dude, that’s pretty inspiring and crazy..
Well done, seriously well done.
Anyway, one question for you.
Do you think you could run a halfmarathon in about 1hr 09?
Cheers from a rookie
Thanks so much Sarah, stoked to hear that! At this point I’m not able to run a half marathon in 1:09. My 1/2 marathon PR is 1:20:01 in October 2014, however I plan to shave off a few minutes this year. 1:09 is very fast but not impossible further down the line. Have fun on your upcoming runs! Cheers
You are ready for this http://www.wser.org
haha, maybe one day I’ll run Western States, if I’m lucky enough to get in. For now I’m going to be running some shorter distances. Cheers!