Things I’ve learned in preparing for the Angeles Crest 100, my 1st 100 Mile Race July 31 2018, 1 Comment

Things I’ve learned in preparing for the Angeles Crest 100, my 1st 100 Mile Race

I’m 5 weeks out from running from my first 100-mile race and I’ve learned a quite a few things since I got into the AC100 lottery, which took place shortly after last year’s race. Thankfully I’ve had almost one year to prepare, and I’ve definitely taken advantage of it. It’s been an awesome training cycle that has completely changed my thinking process on training runs, race preparation and nutrition.

I began running Ultra Marathons in 2015 and have run 16 of them up to this point. My longest race so far is the 2017 Chimera 100k where I had an awesome race and ended up 1st male and 2nd overall. I figured my training for the AC100 would be similar to the 100k training (which went very well), but it’s gone in a completely different direction and I think it’s made me a much better runner in every way. Most importantly it’s been tons of fun!

(Photo Credit: Paksit Photography / 2017 Chimera 100k)

Training Runs: Once I got selected through the AC100 lottery, I immediately contacted a friend who had ran this race before (also running the 2018 race) to start putting together my game plan. The AC100 is a point to point race here is Southern California that starts in Wrightwood and finishes in Alta Dena and I had not run one inch of it…. I knew the training runs would be tough because two cars are needed for shuttling to get the most out of each run. This is where I learned the fine art of putting together some group runs. It’s been awesome, each run started 

out with 2-3 runners but we all would invite others and would end up with 4-10+ runners on each outing. Most of the training runs have been approximately 25 miles so that has given us quite a bit of time to become very good friends. I’ve also learned to think outside the box when planning some of the runs to get in some extra miles and vert. One of the keys to running these races is to do as much climbing as possible to build up a good strong base, something that takes years… So, I’ve had to hit the hills as often as possible to get my base strong enough to handle 100 miles on this tough course. One of the training runs ended up being a night run on the last 25 miles of the course (Chantry Flat to Loma Alta Park). I woke up early on Friday morning, worked all day and then met the guys to start our run by 8pm. Word spread about this run and we ended up having 11 guys going through the night together, it was an amazing time running these beautiful trails overnight in the Angeles National Forest! We finished about 3am and then two of us ended up hiking 3+ miles back up to Chantry Flat to get back to our cars at 4:45am. Another run was supposed to be 23 miles from Shortcut Saddle to Chantry Flat but two of us ended up extending the run to Dead Man’s Bench for an additional 10 miles. It’s runs like that that have made us all stronger and more mentally tough, all things that will be needed during this race to keep moving forward when it gets tough out there. Something else that I’ve recently added into my program is a Standing Desk at work. This desk has allowed me to remain on my feet all day and I feel that is has already been effective even though I’ve only been using it for a few weeks. Balancing family, business and running isn’t very easy in a 100-mile training schedule, but it’s been fun trying to figure out ways each week sneak in miles and spend more time on my feet.

(Photo taken around 1am from Sunset Point looking towards Pasadena)

Race Preparation: Preparing for a 100 miler (crew or solo) is nothing like it’s been for me at the 50k-100k distance. Shorter ultras are pretty much one day events if they’re close to where you live but this race has been quite a bit tougher for me to plan for. The start line is a little over 1 hour from my house so it’s close by, but I’ll need to be up there the day before the race for the racer check-in, pre-race meeting etc. So, I’ve had to book a hotel in the area for my crew and myself, budget some spending money for the crew and put together a list of things we all may need during the race. The race has a 33-hour cutoff and the awards ceremony starts at 2:30pm on Sunday so I really need to have things planned out for 3 days. This is all new territory for me so it’s quite a big change from the other distance races that I’ve run previously. Solo runners have to figure out logistics like getting to the start line, what’s needed in each drop bag and consider the timing on reaching each drop bag etc.… I have plans in the future to run a 100-mile race solo but I thought it would be best if I run my 1st one with a crew. I’ve got an awesome crew set up for this race and I’m super thankful that they are sacrificing their weekend to help me out. All of them are fellow Orange Mud “Dirt Unit” teammates; Lawrence McDaniel (Crew/Backup Pacer), Sparky Sparks (Crew/Pacer from Chilao Flat to Chantry Flat) and my cousin Elliott Bruce (Crew/Pacer from Chantry Flats to the Finish).

(My 1st time up to the Mt. Baden Powell Summit.)

Nutrition: Doing a race like this has given me a sense of urgency to get in the best shape possible by good smart training, proper rest and by eating as good as possible. I’m a business owner and I have a family with 4 girls so there isn’t much time to waste. I’ve been able to take care of my family, business and training fairly well but the one thing I need more of is sleep and rest. I’m really going to focus on getting more rest the last 4 weeks of this training block, so I can get to the starting line as well trained and rested as possible. A huge part of this race will be taking in calories often as I go. I’ve learned a lot about my body and nutrition over the last year so that’s been key in staying healthy. I’ve been using Honey Stinger Gels, Chews and waffles for my run nutrition and I’ve relied on FLUID Nutrition for my liquid calories and recovery. It took me a few years to get settled in these two areas, but I’ve been using these two brands for 2 years now and they work awesome! I’ve experimented with different solid foods on longer runs as well to find out what works best for me. I’ve been on the high fat/ lower carb diet for the past few years (known as OFM) but I’ve definitely grown in that area as well. It’s a great way get your body using all of its power sources instead of relying solely on carbs for fuel. I’ll be using the Orange Mud VP2 2.0 for the race and I’ll pick up an OM handheld for some extra fluid.  during the peak heat hours of the race.

(Photo Credit: Rocky Castro - The final climb before the Eagles Roost Aid Station.)

This weekend I have the Angeles National Forest 60k race (formerly Mt. Disappointment) and then four more weeks of training until I get to toe the line at the AC100. I’ve ran the entire course in sections and it’s still hard to wrap my head around doing it all at in one race. Crazy I guess but I cannot wait to get to the start line and run these beautiful trails with all the great runners and friends! Stay tuned