So you signed up for the MMT 100?
MMT 100 is a beast. If you are an elite runner, 20 year old something, 30, 40 something. This report is not for you. This is for that poor old bastard who thought 36 hours was more than enough time to finish any 100 miler.
I'll spare you the details of how I pulled this or that muscle, where the blisters showed up, how I felt at a particular aid station, when I had my pity party and decided I would quit and die.
Blah, blah, blah, we've all been it through it before. After contemplating how to write this report, I decided just to try and give some advice, FWIW. And maybe address some expectations you may have.
Over the last couple of years I had worked my way from the back of the pack to the middle of the pack runner. Nothing to be proud of for sure, but at least I am improving. I had done one 100 miler in 2015, the C&O Canal 100 and thought that wasn't too bad. Let me try something harder.
After I signed up in January for the 2016 race, I started to go to the training runs. I started with the second training run, and quickly found out that I had moved right to the back of the pack again. Hmmm, these trails are hard. These runners are good, very good. Time to up my game and give this thing my best shot.
The training progressed, and it strengthed me, more than I had ever been before. I was powering up the hills, bombing the downhills. Even pulled off a 50k PR at Seneca Creek in March.
I was doing a marathon or 50k every weekend, and including some serious elevations. I was lean, mean, strong and ready for anything.
Yeah, right... You're dreaming, you arrogant, delusional bastard.
MMT chewed me up, spit me out, rechewed me up again. I had to use everything in my person to finish this thing. Physically, mentally, emotionally, logistically. Someone hit me in the head with a rock, there are plenty here to choose from.
Some other things I learned,
- Do the training runs, they are invaluable. Even the front of the packers do them. It will allow you to negotiate with the course during the race. All race plans need adjustments, but you knew that already.
- Do the Chocolate Bunny training run and find out how Kerns Mountain can be slow going in the dark.
- Do repeats at places like Maryland Heights if or when you can't get out to the mountains.
- Do at least a 50 miler in the Masanutten mountains or Shenendoah National Park. Like a double Sophie's Death March (skip the climb up Old Rag, unless you like rock climbing)
- Throw in alot of power hike / running intervals in your training
- Nutrition, no advice here, I am a beer, bourboun, caffiene, & donut runner.
- The race is more of a hiking/power hiking course with runs in between.
- By most accounts from runners, the total elevation is more like 18,000 to 20,000 ft.
- Have socks at every drop bag location, as well as carry a pair.
- Carry a jacket throughout the race. Yes, it's going to rain in May, in Virginia.
- Carry baby wipes throughout the race, if you don't know why, you don't belong in this race.
- Have your favorite food at each of the drop bag locations, you never know how you going to react to some of the food. I normally like chicken soup during these races, but threw up a whole cup of it at the Habron Aid station.
- If you don't use a bladder, have a way to carry 3 bottles. I carried an empty 17 oz platypus water bottle as my third.
- Have a good light in your Habron bag, not matter how fast you think you are, sheit goes wrong.
- Changing shoes at Gap Creek is the best place. Roosevelt to Gap Creek is the sloppiest part of the course.
- Get to Gap Creek/Jawbone II with at least 3 hours to go to the finish. Even though the cutoff is 2 hours before the end, you might need more time. After you cross the saddle on top of Jaw Bone, it gets real technical. And you won't be running the road as fast as you think you will. It would really suck to run for over 100 miles and not make it in the time limit.
- Poles or no poles? I don't think you'll need them, but having said that, my lower back was hurting after the race. It never did that before.
- Bears, snakes, bugs? never saw any of them.
- Just keep moving. Keep moving until they pull you off the course. You'll may find out that you'll stay ahead and won't get pulled.
- Have someone there for you at the finish, they close up camp pretty quickly.
After the race
- How should I know? It's 3 weeks after the race, and I am still experiencing "after the race".
Here's where I lost time:
- Crappy flashlight beginning of race - lost 15-20 minutes on Short mountain.
- Calories intake defeciency, miles 54 thru 78, lost 1.5 - 2.5 hours.
- Insufficient climbing / power hike training. started in after 69 miles, lost 1.5 - 2 hours
On the bright side, if you finish, you'll now qualify for most any race in the U.S., including Western States 100.
So good luck, you poor bastard, you're going to need it.
BTW, If you haven't figured it out yet, I am talking to myself, still talking to myself 3 weeks after. Where's that rock?