I decided to run SD100 after hearing a number of my friends (Roch, Mindy, Mark, etc.) rave about their experiences. Neither Chad or I have flown to a 100 miler before but with the thoughts of a 100 mile race then a day at the beach was very enticing.
I spent the whole winter skiing and really not running. At the beginning of March my longest run in the calendar year was 9 miles. The 3rd week of March a business trip took me to San Diego and I decided to extend my trip a couple days to check out the course. Roch introduced me to Scotty Mills, the race director, and gave me some great recommendations for where to run during my time out there. I decided to run the “Sunrise Loop” which is a 29 mile loop the first day. That was pretty lofty considering my low mileage so I decided to take it very easy. I was armed with maps and turn by turn directions from Scotty. I had a great day on the course even though it was a very hot day and I did run out of water in the end. I then ran with Scotty’s crew on Saturday morning. They had a 34 mile run planned on the PCT and I tried to hang on for 11 miles and then decided to turn around and head back to my car. Scotty was kind enough to give me a ton of beta about the course and the race and I left armed to plan my training.
I trained for this race differently than any other 100 miler. I don’t consider myself a fast runner or even a runner for that matter sometimes. I also set a very aggressive goal for myself. I knew that if I ran an extremely smart race and didn’t have any part of my body fall apart at all I could maybe get a under 24 hour finish. It had never been a goal of mine to get under 24 hours because I never thought it would be possible. It became my mantra “SD100 under 24”. I also determined my training schedule had to include a ton of running rolling hills and flatter terrain. I will say this was hard for me to “make” myself run so much and not climb this hills that I so love to climb, but I had a goal and I had to get ready to run, run, run as much as I possibly could.
Great Ultra Runner Motto Posted at the Starting Line
San Diego 100 Elevation Profile
Chad and I flew to San Diego on Friday morning and after a couple grocery stops got up the Laguna Mountains. It was extremely hot. During the pre-race meeting Scotty emphasized how hot it was going to be and to be very smart about keeping cool, hydrated, salt consumption, etc. Chad and I talked about this and decided that I would run hard before it got hot, scale it back during the high heat, and then we would make up whatever we could when it cooled down and during the night (my pacer extraordinaire was pacing me from 51.3 to the finish).
178 runners lined up at the start. It was already very warm – close to 80 degrees – at 7am. The first 13.8 miles are on rolling trails with 2 aid stations (which Chad got me in and out of in record time). I averaged less than 10 minute miles which kind of scared me as I don’t run that fast but I was listening to my body and knew I had to push it early before it got too hot.
Suzanne and I at the start of the race
Approximately Mile 23
After mile 13.8, it started baking. From Penny Pines on it was full on heat mitigation. I had switched to my large bottles and picked up a hand bottle so I was carrying close to 80 oz of water. All my bottles were loaded with ice and different drinks. I ran where I could and hiked the rest as I needed to keep my body from overheating. I filled my bandana with ice cubes at every aid station so that they would melt down my front and back.
The loop from Pine Creek AS back to Pine Creek AS (miles 31.3 and 36) was tremendously hot (I heard about 105 degrees). Each time at the AS I loaded up on ice cold liquid, got sponged off with ice water, and filled my bandana again. Heading out of Pine Creek AS the second time we had an 8 mile climb. I started a strong hike out and kept reminding myself that this was my forte and pushed a really hard pace the whole way up – even running where it flattened out a bit. I came into mile 44.1 and quickly changed my shoes as Chad switched out my bottles making sure there was enough ice in them to last as long as possible.
Coming into AS at mile 51.3
The trail to 51.3 was rolling and I did my best to jog quite a bit of it even though I was quite hot and knew I still had to listen to my body. I came into 51.3 about 20 minutes behind schedule. I quickly changed my sport top and t-shirt, changed out bottles, grabbed food, and Chad and I headed out.
Still super hot out at 6:30PM – I hike up my skirt most of the day to try to stay cool by increasing airflow
This is the section that I ran when I came out to train in March so it was nice to be on familiar terrain. It was also then that the sun went over the mountains and I finally got some shade. It felt absolutely amazing. It did not cool me off completely right away (I don’t know if I ever cooled off fully all night) but it was a wonderful feeling. During this section I told Chad about my time on the trail previously. It helped me to remind myself that I’d done it before.
Beautiful Lake after Stonewall AS
]From the Stonewall AS, we had a steep climb up to Stonewall Peak. I again reminded myself of my climbing abilities and we cruised to the top then ran the backside to Paso Picacho AS (64.2). After that the trail was rolling up a hill then down to mile 72.3 AS. I was warned that this is an extremely cold part of the course but I did not need any layers at that point and was still requesting ice in my water bottles. It was a real indication of how hot the core of my body had gotten.
I was feeling good and continued to jog the rolling and power hike the uphill to Sunrise 2 (mile 80.3). Chad and I were in and out right away. Chad needed a bite to eat so I started out without him knowing he would be right behind me. I kept looking back for his light and it was a close to 30 minutes before he caught me. He was surprised at my speed and how long it took him to catch me. I was feeling pretty good during that time.
I just kept rolling through the night on the trails and through the AS’s. We kept doing the math and knew I was pretty well on track for under 24 hours, but based on the split times, it could be as close as 5 minutes. I was also managing my stomach at this time and if I pushed too hard it would start going south. I knew that I was going to be on my pace for finishing if I didn’t fall apart. That was the biggest goal during that time. The temperature was great. Chad pushed me to eat little bits of real food and sip on coke hoping that would help my stomach. I knew I couldn’t run out of gas if I was going to continue this pace and finish where I wanted. We got a little bit of a reprieve on the splits when the section from Pioneer 2 to Penny Pines 2 (miles 87.5 to 91.5) took 30 minutes less than my planed splits. Instead of easing back and cruising into the finish line, the goal was revised to 23:30!
Hurting a little (or maybe a lot) at mile 96, but ready for the last push to the finish line!
At mile 96 I wanted to get a little more food in me before I made a hard push to the finish line to finish in under 23:30. I was trying to swallow some food and all at once it all came up. I told myself this is not happening, dismissed it from my brain and ran the last 4 miles. I was so happy to see the finish line. The numbers above were blurry (my eyes were full of dust and pollen from the trail) and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw 23:21 as I ran into the finish line. I was absolutely amazed at myself and abilities to finish a 100 mile trail run that fast.
Happy to be done and getting a hug from Angela, the co-RD I had run with in March
Chad got our down coats as I started shivering just minutes after crossing the finish line. The first time I was not hot in over 24 hours. We hung out at the finish for a couple hours then headed down to Alpine to have breakfast with David and Suzanne then headed to San Diego.
San Diego 100 Hardware
We were so tired we just napped and sat but the pool on Sunday afternoon (we had to stop on the drive to SD as Chad was so tired he couldn’t make it the 1 hour drive). Monday we enjoyed a nice day on the beach and Chad got in a little surfing. We had a great dinner on the ocean front watching a fabulous sunset. It was a wonderful end to a great race.
Famous San Diego Fish Tacos
Tourmaline Surf Area
I’ve always wanted to end a 100 sitting on the beach
An amazing Monday night dinner with sunset views.
Thank you so much to Chad who supports me so much through training and racing. He ran almost 50 miles with me just one week after a 50 mile race the previous weekend. Thanks to Scotty, Mark, Mindy, and Roch for all of the course beta. Thanks to all of my wonderful running partners. Training wouldn’t be as fun without all of you.