Living the Dream: Training for a 100K and Still Being Home for Breakfast

This Saturday, after spending more time alone in the woods than at any point in my life, I’m attempting my first 100K trail run at the Oil Creek 100 in Titusville, PA. Yeah, a little nervous. I’ve been sick the past two weeks and have barely scratched out any time on the trails in that time. But I’m supposed to be tapering any way, right?

New Year’s Day dawn at Rothrock State Forest in Pine Grove Mills, PA along the spectacular Mid State Trail.

Most of my training has gone well. I managed to be pretty consistent with my long runs, back-to-backs, and mid-week longish-type-whatever-sorta runs. I think I ate much better than I did last year when I completed my first 50K on the same Oil Creek course. I upped the calories (and didn’t lose any weight), protein, and carbohydrates a bit and, more importantly, timed their consumption better. This time around I actually read up on that stuff.

Long runs? Yeah, I banged out a bunch of mid-20 milers and 4+ hour runs all on some challenging trails with similar elevation changes that I’ll encounter during the 100K. Much of it on beautiful singletrack. My max out distance was a 50K about three weeks ago. I tried to implemented some speed work and hill repeats, but, in retrospect, probably could have done more. I figure my trail running terrain, the vast majority completed in Philadelphia’s beautiful, and technical, Wissahickon Valley Park was hilly enough to test my climbing endurance.

Old stone structures along the technical trails remind runners of the industrial past of Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley Park.

What about night running? A little. More like really early morning running. My Saturday long runs started as early a 4 am. So I got in some headlight practice and a sense of what it’s like to run trails in the dark. In fact, some strong feelings of accomplishment occurred when I would end 20+ mile trail runs before 8 am just as the day was starting for my family. Ultra running and still being home for breakfast? Living the dream! And thanks to my awesome family for the times when I wasn’t!

We’ll see what happens soon enough. My goal is simply to complete the distance in a non-ridiculous time and feel decent at the end. I guess success is pretty much broadly defined. No matter. What I’m most psyched about, really, is getting out on the course and taking in the gorgeous Pennsylvania autumn weather!

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