Pray for good weather. Three days out from a 100-mile race, that’s all you can do. At this stage, there’s no point doing any more training. Your body isn’t going to get any fitter over the next 72 hours. You might as well relax, eat well, sleep as much as you can, run to stay loose, but not so hard you deplete yourself. And above all, pray for clear skies.
100 mile races are challenging enough when the sun is shining. Wet, muddy trails can make things hellish. Under those conditions, your goals have to change. You’re not just trying to cross the finish line in one piece anymore. You’re trying to keep your feet dry for as long as possible. Wet feet are susceptible to blisters, and blisters can end your race fast. Which is why runners usually bring 2 or three pair of runners and a half dozen pair of socks to each race. We store them in “drop bags” along the course.
The worst possible scenario? Cold, pounding rain. Last year I ran a 100-mile race in something close to a hurricane. All 50 runners were soaking wet from the very first mile. Blisters were the least of our problems. There was chafing and hypothermia to deal with too. Late at night, when the temperature dropped, I couldn’t stay warm enough. Shivering uncontrollably, I dropped out at 3 am, after having run 92 miles.
There’s my list. You’ll notice Advil at the top. A couple of years ago, after some exceedingly painful ultra marathons, I discovered the joy of ibuprufen.
I don’t take many. I’ll gobble a couple of those sweet little pills at mile 75, and another couple four hours later.
It’s not recommended, of course. Too much Ibuprufen could potentially damage your kidneys, which are already under serious strain, trying to keep your urine flowing despite a lack of available body fluids.
Still, they do such a good job of dulling the pain, especially when running downhill late in a race. You’d think that running uphill would be the hardest thing, but it’s not. Running downhill feels like your legs are being pressed through a cheese grater.
So hello Advil, old friend! I don’t care if you’re not recommended. Running 100 miles through a forest isn’t generally recommended either.