Let’s Talk About Hundreds: Finish Line Interviews with 100-mile Buckle Recipients

While we wait patiently to hear the fate of the races we’re looking forward to in 2020 and beyond, we thought we’d also do a little reminiscing. We interviewed 4 runners living and training in different parts of the US to talk about the experience of running their first hundo – the build-up, the race itself, and the “return to flight” afterward. If you’re inspired to run your own, or just want a peek into the crazy, Dan (Denver | Leadville 2019), Ana (Seattle | Javelina 2017), Ellen (Seattle | Javelina 2018) and myself (Portland | Rio Del Lago 2019) took some time to share the memories!


Bobi Jo | Sunrise over Folsom | Rio Del Lago 2019

Dan: First, I would like to qualify all my answers with this:

I have paced and crewed my good friend at three 100 mile races. At each of those races I walked with him to the start line, was there at every aid station I could be, paced when it was time, and was there to celebrate with him at the finish. He is an experienced ultrarunner and is always willing to share his experiences and “pro tips” with me so I was, and still am, fortunate to have firsthand 100 mile experiences from him I could use in my own 100 miler. I crewed and paced him at his Leadville 100 run in 2017 so I had plenty of knowledge of that race going into it. I learned from him that in a hundred miler “you live a lifetime in a day” and had seen him hit low points early in a race then bounce back and hit high points after. I had seen him have GI issues in a race and recover. I had seen him have a panic attack and severe emotional breakdown at the thought of losing his family when they did not show up to an aid station and still come back and exceed his finish time goals. At his 2017 Leadville and 2019 Western States 100 I saw that virtually everyone walks the last 25 miles. With him I had seen the gamut of things that can happen in a hundred and consigned myself to those facts and if times got tough, like we always have to do, I would continue onward in relentless forward motion.

What made you jump from “smaller” races to taking the plunge to do a hundred? How did you pick the race you picked?

Dan: I put in for the Leadville 100 lottery because I knew a bunch of people who had put in or had gold coins and, of course, the race ended up calling my bluff. Given my halfheartedness though, with the right team I knew I would be able to finish.

My friend Mike and I agree on the theory of doing races – you run the race you sign up for. If you sign up for a race you show up to finish that distance. If you sign up for a 50 miler and only do 25 and get a finisher medal, we consider that a DNF. Since I was picked for the 100, I had no choice but to do it. Running a 100 mile race or the Leadville 100 was never a dream of mine, but thankfully Leadville was convenient because it is about a 2 hour drive from where I live.

Ana: For the first few years I ran ultras, I stuck to 50Ks and 50 milers and was not remotely interested in 100 milers. But then…I began to hang out with people who had run those races and it became more possible in my mind than impossible. And then I became curious enough to consider it, and then wanted to see if I was tough enough to do it. I chose a coach (Jess Mullen, who’s the queen of 100 milers), and decided with her which race to attempt. I knew I liked flatter courses, so Mountain Lakes was an easy choice. After that DNF, I was limited, but Jess recommended I try Javelina. She was going to be there pacing a friend, so at least she could peripherally help me. Normally I’m terrible in heat, so I expected it to be an unmitigated disaster. But thankfully, it wasn’t!

Ellen: It was a mix of things. First, I’ve always been a person who likes a challenge, so there was that appeal. Second, other women who I ran with frequently were doing them, and that made them seem possible for me too. They inspired me to believe! The race I picked (Javelina Jundred) was one a friend had done the prior year, and she raved about it.

Bobi Jo: I remember when I ran my first 5K, I felt so proud! Three miles is a long way! A colleague of mine at the time was training for the Portland Marathon and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it – “how do you train for that? How can you run that far? How long does it take!? That’s just crazy!” As I fell more in love with running and my addiction to the progress became stronger, I took those same questions to every new distance. I graduated to running ultras and loved the 50K distance. Eventually I found a 50M that I wanted to try and was just strong and delighted the whole race. The self-love that comes from finishing a race like that is indescribable. I always had my eye on the Mountain Lakes 100 here in Oregon as my “unicorn race” because of the small field size and the beauty of the course and after an emotional DNF at my second 50M just months before the Mountain Lakes lottery opened, I knew I had to put in. I was coming back with a vengeance. I skipped trying the 100K distance and just went for the big one. I’ve never even done a marathon, to be honest.

What was your training plan like? Did you have a coach? 

Dan: I did not have a coach but I do have mentors.

My good friend Evan is about running all the miles you can and friend Mike is about racing (and truly racing to win) nearly every weekend, so I thought I would split the difference and tactically sign up for as many races that would fit a smart training schedule with the goal of covering the distance while focusing on maintaining good nutrition and hydration (and a few competitive races as well). Being able to eat and drink is paramount in a long-distance race and I knew I had to hone my nutrition plan for a 100 and would use local races for practice.

My profession can be demanding of my time and I knew I would not be able to stick to a consistent training schedule created by a coach and because of that I wanted to avoid any additional stress if I was not able to meet those obligations. My weekly mileage varied from 16 miles a week to 75 miles a week from February through August given races, long runs, recovery, and long work hours. Some days, due to work, I would have about 15 minutes to run that day so I would get on the treadmill and run as fast and hard as I could in that time then rush to my office. Other days I had plenty of time in the afternoon and I would adjust accordingly. I avoided a coach for a number of reasons, but mainly to avoid the mental stress of running the prescribed miles and because I know my body better than anyone else will. I have no natural athletic talent and because of that I require a lot of rest after hard or long efforts. I feared that if I got a coach I would overextend and push myself into over-training, which I have seen happen.

From February to July I ran three marathons, one 50k, one 12 hour event, three half marathons, one 10k, three 5ks, and I paced for 32 miles at Western States. One weekend I ran a 50k on Saturday then paced a half marathon on Sunday – it was great training for both the legs and body to endure fatigue and sore muscles! I highly recommend! With that schedule of races I felt like I had plenty of variety of training runs under my belt and was confident going into Leadville.

Ana: I worked with Jess on creating a plan that worked for my schedule and body. She’s a believer in moderate mileage, so my training was usually 50-60 miles/week, and never more than 65 miles/week. I would also do hill work, intervals, or tempo runs once or twice a week. No real speed work. And light core and strength a few times a week.

Ellen: I don’t work with a coach. Typically I download various plans from the internet and then retool them to work for me. For example, I often swap out a midweek run for bootcamp or battleropes, which helps reduce the toll of running a lot on my body while continuing to build fitness. For my first hundred, I think mostly the timing was perfect: my goals that year were adventure goals—I’d started out the year with a 50K in January and then a 100K in February, and then I focused on building multi-day fitness for doing the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in 3 days in early August. I was pretty tired after that, but I fastpacked a 40+ mile route in the North Cascades a couple of weeks later and did the Loowit Trail around Mt. St. Helens not long after, so I totally had the base. The problem was that I was hiking a lot and needed to kick start the running again, so I signed up for Bellingham Bay Marathon, which was a fabulous kick in the butt and reminded my legs how to run.

Bobi Jo: I knew when I got into Mountain Lakes I’d need to start taking running seriously. Before I was able to just sort of muscle through a 50K with some phoned in long runs and not over doing it. But this was the real deal. Just winging a training plan wasn’t going to get me that belt buckle. Where do I put speed work in relation to hill work in relation to strength training in relation to long days in relation to rest days? Turns out, neither Google nor Wolfram Alpha has that answer. I reached out to a couple of coaches and found a great fit with a woman from Oregon (though not local to me) and we got going. She was (and is) integral to my success. We work off a shared spreadsheet; I fill in the days between the start date and A-Race date with “life” stuff (vacation days, other races, family visits, pre-planned work stuff) and she fills in my workouts with appropriate hard days and rest days, ramp ups and tapers, speed days and hill days, including what to do and when. We have 1-2 weekly emails to check in on fatigue or other feedback and she is also an amazing resource for just tips in general (how to incorporate food into training, new places to run, ways to help recover, etc.) It just took out any “figuring” on my own – I just went out and did the work and as race day approached, I could trust the training. As a runner who thrives with a lot of rest and lower mileage weeks, seeing generic plans online with 70-90 mile weeks was just too overwhelming.

How did your training impact your social life? Work life? Home life?

Dan: I wish I could say training for the Leadville 100 took a toll on my social life but my two social activities are running related so if anything it improved it!

Ana: Training for a 100 miler is life-consuming! So much more than 50 milers. But it’s become more or less my lifestyle. I rarely go out anyway, and thankfully many of my friends are ultrarunners too, so I’d run with them on the weekends. But I would often push off other non-running social engagements because the training came first. Sometimes it was tricky because my job requires nights and weekends occasionally, but that’s where working with a coach is helpful. We could customize my plan around those events. And thank goodness for my husband! We share chores at home equally, but he would often pick up the slack if I had large training weekends. Grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry – all without complaint. I’ll admit I felt bad sometimes, but he’s always been graciously willing to help. Wherever would I be without my ultra running spouse?

Ellen: I’m married with twin 10-year-old daughters. My husband and daughters crewed for me at the 100K I mentioned, and my husband one of the crew for Rainier. They totally get me! I’m not sure how I’d do it if my husband weren’t supportive and willing to carry the workload at home when I take off for a long weekend of training. As for my social life, fortunately the women I run with are among the best friends I have in the world, so it comes together nicely. And, I work from home! Seriously, I’m totally lucky.

Bobi Jo: The meme we’ve probably all seen “As a runner, people ask what you’re doing on the weekend and you respond with a number” became all too true. Mountain Lakes was in mid-late September so the bulk of my training happened in July and August, meaning all those fun summer things (kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, camping, backyard BBQs) took a backseat to long runs every weekend and back-to-backs some other weekends. I still got to do some of those things, but they were worked in around running instead of vice versa. I ran a lot on my lunch hour at work. There were days dedicated to strength classes at the gym. I gathered my runner friends for weekends in the mountains, which was great, but running, and the race, was top priority everyday. How and when to fit it in was always in the forefront of my mind.

Ana | Sunset in the Desert | Javelina 2017

How did you plan for the miles you couldn’t train for? What are some key takeaways about how to prepare for a hundred?

Dan: In my mind much of my training was for those miles late in the race that I would have to meet for the first time. The formula for successfully running long distances is pretty easy: run a lot, then run some more. (My actual formula was 10x the distance of the race 30 days before the race.) I knew I could run 50 miles because I had done it twice before, but how would I run the subsequent 50 miles? My friend Evan says “in a hundred miler you live a lifetime in a day” and with that you have to prepare for anything life can throw at you. Ultimately you have to outsmart, out-grit, out-will, and outrun the distance. Hundred milers test you on every level – physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual so you have to train those parts of your being as well, however is best to suit your needs. In each step the distance is trying to get you to fail.

Running 100 miles without witnessing someone do it seems unfathomable. Yes, after running 50ks and 50 milers you’re ready to suffer and accustomed to the pain, but how do you prepare for running or walking at 3am at mile 70+ after running for 20+ hours? It is virtually impossible to train for that so I would say go out and volunteer at a race or see if you can pace someone at a 100 and get a front row seat to see how they handle it. Ultimately for me to overcome the sleepiness I had to keep moving forward with the belief the sun would come up on a new day and I would find reserves of energy I did not know were there. And they are there.

Ana: Honestly, there’s no real training for miles 65-100. Hopefully you haven’t been under that sort of physical stress and sleep deprivation before, and I couldn’t have ever predicted how I would react.  It’s weird and different every time, and you just have to go in expecting the unexpected. Go ahead and make plans for all of the worse-case scenarios you can think of, but really, be ready to be resourceful. And, if you can manage it, have a great crew and/or pacer with you. I wouldn’t have finished either of my 100 milers without them, period.

Ellen: Several of my friends who work with coaches introduced me to Sage Rountree’s race plan worksheet. I’ve used it for just about all of my bigger runs/races/adventures since I learned about it, and it’s amazing how the simple questions help me wrap my mind around most of the things that may come up. I think taking the time to think through as many scenarios as possible and making a plan for each of them is a really great strategy for dealing with unknowns, including those miles where I had “never gone before.” As for the extra miles beyond what I’d done before, doing the Wonderland Trail over three days and some of the training events before it really helped me develop the mental toughness. Beyond that, know WHY I’m out there—a purpose to hang on to—and having a mantra (I have two that keep my head focused depending on how I’m feeling at a given point) to repeat when I’m feeling rough really helped.

Bobi JoI assembled the best crew I could think of and hoped for the best! I had plans and backup plans. I had a medical kit (first aid, but also extra ChapStik, medicine for stomach troubles, medicine for headaches, medicine for heartburn), I had my favorite foods and then random stuff (you never know what’ll sound good or sit well!). I had extra clothes and then other extra clothes (you never know what’ll feel good!). These parts you can’t really train for; I wasn’t going to be in the same physical shape on any training run that’d I’d be at mile 80 so it was an intellectual training and research puzzle, as well as putting trust in your crew to know when your efforts are going sideways. How well do you know yourself and your body? Good, now imagine none of that’s true and plan for the opposite, too!

I had the joy of being on a good friend’s 100M crew team about a month prior to my own race and that experience was invaluable. Waiting around at aid stations watching the runners who feel great and the ones who feel like garbage, the ones who are injured, the ones who are struggling, the ones who are veterans and the ones who were giving it their first go…amazing intel. And incredibly inspirational. If you can, be on someone’s crew. Or volunteer at a 100M aid station on the night shift. You’ll finally start to get it.

We all know hindsight is 20/20 – what do you know now that you wish you’d known before? 

Dan: If I knew I would have been picked I would not have put my name in.

In all seriousness, for me, after word got out that I was picked many people wanted to come out and help, crew, or pace. In my mind there were only five people I could think of that would be willing to help me out, but in reality I actually had to turn help away because I felt I had enough quality people helping already.  As I said, 100 milers test you on every level possible – physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual, so you want people there that can help you through those tests.

Ana: That after 70 miles my guts give up and I have, ahem, lower GI distress, lol. (This has happened twice now at Javelina Jundred, and while just two occurrences isn’t statistically significant, it is the beginning of a pattern!) But jokes aside… I don’t think I ever appreciated HOW important the mental game is to a 100 miler. My first Javelina I expected a nightmare, but it actually went really well (with the exception of the aforementioned GI distress) and I surprised myself. I thought my second Javelina would be easier because I thought I knew what to expect. Boy, was I wrong. I was the most physically prepared I’d been ever, and I was confident because I knew I could do the race. I thought I had the mental piece in the bag. But it turns out, my mental game fell to pieces when I was forced to walk miles 70-100 because of a painful TFL muscle strain. I’d already finished this exact race two years prior, so I didn’t really have a special carrot dangling in front of me for motivation. When everything truly went to pieces I was ready to throw in the towel. It was only because of my pacer and a text exchange with my coach that I even finished. And that motivational disappearing act and lack of grit (in my mind), rattled me. In fact, six months later, I’m still working through the emotions related to the experience.

But the way that 100 milers strip you raw emotionally is part of the draw for me. It sounds a bit masochistic, but how often are we truly pushed to our limits in modern life? (Um, pre-COVID-19, I mean.) Running a 100 miler is one way to really test your grit. And running hundred miles can teach you so much. Confidence and humility. Solitude and teamwork. The value of a solid training plan and the need for adaptability. It’s basically life lessons wrapped up in an insane sport.

Ellen: I wish I’d had the courage to go for it sooner. Training and preparation can get you there!

Bobi Jo
Eating is everything. Eat early and often. The race starts at 6 AM? You should be eating a full lunch by 9 AM. Shovel it in, because you may not feel like it later. You can make up the calories, but not necessarily the energy. Keep on top of it from the time you start your watch. Secondly, make your crew be bossy, even if they’re not in their real lives. I’d roll into an aid station and take a look at my options and say “you know what, I feel pretty good. I’ll just get stuff at the next aid.” and they’d trust me. I needed them to be more forceful and instructional, rather than letting me dictate.


Dan | Mountains of Leadville | Leadville 2019

On race day, which miles felt the best? Worst? How did you get through it? What did you think about during all that time?

Dan: Miles 98-100 felt the best because all of my favorite people were with me celebrating the accomplishment! I don’t remember this but prior to crossing the finish line there was discussion about me crossing the line alone for photo purposes. Thankfully my position of wanting everyone there with me won the day and my favorite people and I came across the finish line together! My hundred was a group effort and a celebration of movement that I could not have accomplished on my own, it was shared.

Miles 30-36 and 46-49 were the worst because at those times I was getting complacent with my pacing and nutrition and I hit low points. At those points my thoughts centered around how awful running was and how could I endure that effort again, but thankfully I was able to re-calibrate and eat and drink and was able to bounce back and get wholeheartedly back into the race.

For the most part I made an effort to keep my thoughts clear and positive, and it was around miles 75-90 that I mentally started to fall apart and because of that had to repose my entire race and finish on my pacer Evan. My pacers were people that are important to me and I was able to have them at places in the race when I needed their talents the most. All three of them knew me well, but as the distance went on the pacers I had knew me better and better so if things really fell apart, they would know if I was just BS’ing or if things were seriously wrong.  When I saw Iron Man at mile 90 my pacer Evan knew I was simply hallucinating.

Ana: This is impossible for me to answer because it’s been different every time! And the challenges were different for every race as well. During my 2017 Javelina, I think the hardest miles were actually 20-40. It’s the hottest loop at that race, and you still have so far to go. I got through it because I didn’t even let myself think quitting was an option. Our brains so often get in our way, so just turning it off sometimes is helpful. Because it’s a master at convincing you to stop the pain and give up. All in the name of comfort. I also found that a mantra helped me. When negative thoughts would creep up in my mind, I was bat them away with my mantra. It helped immensely… this time.

During my 2019 Javelina, my hardest miles were 70-100. That was because I was in so much pain that I couldn’t run, so I was forced to walk. I tried running a few times, but my leg seized up in pain and I would burst into tears. (I should note that I’m not a crier normally.) And, again, I only got through it because my pacer is fantastically stubborn and my coach encouraged me to keep going when I was ready to drop. In this case, the mantra wasn’t strong enough to withstand the pain. For both, though, the best mile was the last one. 🙂

Ellen: My first 20 miles were the WORST! I was terrified of what lay ahead of me, I was freaking out, I was realizing how hard it was going to be, and I totally wasn’t having fun. I have a very no-nonsense friend who calmed me down, kindly lectured me and gave me perspective, and sent me out with a very specific mission to calm myself down over the next 10 miles. It worked, thank goodness, and I aside from getting more and more tired, I felt better and better the further into the race I got.

Bobi JoMy best miles came about every 10 miles. I’d feel strong and happy and formidable for about 10 miles and then really tank and feel down, emotionally, for about 10. This was true from about mile 20-100. It was a rollercoaster but I can honestly say miles 75-85 felt better than miles 25-35. The only way to get through it is to get through it. Make a friend on the trail to find some solidarity. Come into an aid station and tell a volunteer that you’re struggling; they’ll tell you a joke or pull out a secret snack or give those encouraging words. Tell your pacer! Switch positions; if you’re in front, let them go ahead and you can sulk without thinking. Or if you’re behind, swap to the front so you can take in more surroundings and remember why you’re out there. But sometimes you’ll be sad. So it goes. It’ll pass. I DNF’d at Mountain Lakes at mile 75 but went on to finish Rio Del Lago just 6 weeks later. During “all that time” I thought about everything and nothing. At Mountain Lakes I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and ended up fragile and spent miles 70-75 sobbing hysterically. At Rio, I was there to get to work and devoured it.

Most people aren’t awake for that many hours without the added factor of running. How did you push through the sleepyness?

Dan: By mile 75 I started to get sleepy tired and was having a tough time keeping my eyes open and I wanted to lay down and sleep even though my body and spirit wanted to keep moving forward. Thankfully my experienced pacer kept talking to me about topics I had absolutely no interest in which kept me awake thinking “why would I care about this?!” and, of course, we talked about girls too. I would also take a drink of Coke which gave a temporary jolt of energy. Also in those late miles I would shut my eyes and my pacer would guide me along while running to ensure I would not run off into a ditch or off the trail. From miles 62-87 I told myself, “you didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

Ana: Weirdly, this hasn’t been a huge problem for me, I tend to only get a little sleepy right before dawn, so somewhere between 4 and 6 am. But when it does crop up I have two solutions. 1) Blast some trashy pop for a sing along to wake you up. (It also works well as a bear deterrent, fyi. 😉 ) 2) Ask your pacer to talk to you incessantly.


  1. Music
  2. Pacers who had great stories
  3. Mantra and determination

Bobi Jo: At Mountain Lakes I was so sleepy I was hallucinating and falling asleep while running behind my pacer. I’d open my eyes and be plodding along off the trail. I’d stop and lean on my poles, closing my eyes for seconds, struggling. That race was all about the Coke at the aid stations. At Rio Del Lago, I didn’t feel sleepy tired. I was energized and moving, determined to finish. The difference for me was complacency. Going into Mountain Lakes, there was no doubt in my mind about finishing and was humbled. At Rio, I wasn’t going to let me fool me again. There was no room for sleeping.

What was your recovery like? How long was it before you could / wanted to go on a run? 

Dan: I finished the Leadville 100 without too much of an electrolyte imbalance so thankfully I did not have the flu-like symptoms I usually get after a race. The day after the race I met some of my crew members for brunch and was able to stomach some food, but not as much as I would have liked. Aside from that, all-in-all I felt pretty good! My legs were certainly sore and I was still quite tired, but I had actually felt worse after 50k – 50 mile races. I attribute that to executing a strong nutrition and hydration plan and taking it conservatively on race day(s).

The next weekend I mentally wanted to run, but physically that did not happen. I think I spent that weekend eating and sleeping! Two weeks after the 100 I went on a 4 mile hike with some friends in Crested Butte and found hiking uphill was a bit tough but they were kind enough to set an easy pace so I could keep up.

It was about a full month later I had the confidence to sign up for a 5 mile trail race and test the legs and lungs again. Somehow I was able to pull off some decent speed and took 3rd in the race! Shortly after this though I got really sick and was stuck in bed for about a week and recovery from that illness took a long time and slowed me down considerably.

Ana: This is a tough question for me because both times following Javelina, I ended up injured in one way or another and couldn’t regularly run for 6 weeks the first time, and 6 months the second time. (In fact, I’m still not up to regularly running after 6 months.) Both times, however, I allowed myself a break. Two weeks of no running is the barest minimum for me. But I also allowed myself a month of just running whatever, if I felt like it, and didn’t force training at all.

Ellen: I felt better after my first hundred than I did my first 100K. Right after the race, I ate a whole pizza. When I got back to our Airbnb, I took a shower and about an hour nap. I got up, visited and swapped war stories with friends, ate some very salty potato chips, and then about 4 in the afternoon realized I was very tired. I went to bed and slept like the dead for 14 hours straight. The next day I was slow and my muscles were enervated, but surprisingly I wasn’t sore. I think it was maybe 2 weeks before I ventured out for a gentle 5K with friends.

Bobi Jo: My recovery from Mountain Lakes was pretty swift and I was back to running in a week or so, after settling into the emotional turmoil of my DNF. I read an incredibly inspiring blog post about a DNF and subsequent finish at another race just weeks later and knew I didn’t have to “waste” my training, so I did the same thing! I finished Rio just 6 weeks after Mountain Lakes. My recovery from Rio was brutal. I had some serious blisters and a very angry left calf. I couldn’t walk properly for about 4 days and seriously considered using crutches. After the calf calmed down, my right Achilles became the problem. I didn’t run a single step for about 25 days and to be honest, I wasn’t really chomping at the bit to get out there anyway. Even though I did, my cardiovascular system was out of tune. The slightest incline felt like a mountain summit both on the legs and the lungs. My first race was about 7 weeks after race day, a 5K, and just before the 2 mile mark I was pretty over it, physically. It was a long, gradual road back to feeling “normal”.

Ellen | Desert sunrise on Loop 1 | Javelina 2018

What advice do you have to someone thinking of doing their own hundo? Or even their first ultra?

Dan: With any distance race, whether a 5k-100miler, you want to build a strong aerobic base and be able to train within your aerobic range. With a strong aerobic base you can begin to improve your running economy to become faster and more efficient. I like to say a strong aerobic base allows you to leap forward to the longer distances with success.

Other simple advice I would say is:

Study the elevation profile of the course and plan your race ahead of time.

Eat early, eat often.

Embrace the pain and learn from it.

Start out slow and take the first few miles of the race extra conservatively.

Train your muscles, body, mind, soul, and spirit.

And my mantra: “We didn’t come here to have fun, we came here to suffer!”

Ana: Can I reference this post I wrote for Dirtbag Runners, lol?  I would say that advice goes for both! But for first-time ultrarunners, I have the regular, boring advice: Practice with your race-day food (and don’t just survive on gels – your guts will hate you.) Eat early and often. Trust in your training. And oh, yeah, HAVE FUN. This insanity is supposed to be fun! I often forget that because I take it all so seriously!

Ellen: Believe in yourself! You can do it! Being prepared, both in training and in planning, is key. Oh, and know why you’re doing it and actually WANT to do it. Then it can be fun!

Bobi JoIf you’re thinking of your first ultra, my advice is to be happy about it! What you’re doing is so incredibly impressive and worthwhile; enjoy the training, enjoy the race, enjoy the day! You’ll probably have highs and lows but it’s a great accomplishment. My first 50K was so, so special. If you’re thinking of your first hundred, listen to and read about all the experiences you can. What works for them might not work for you…but it also might. Stay humble. That distance doesn’t impress easily.

Bonus question: what is something interesting about you that doesn’t have to do with running?

DanI used to be an electrician and now I’m a lawyer, working my way up to sitting on the bench. Oh, and I cut my own hair, even when it’s not coronavirus times.

Ana: I’m a self-taught whisky enthusiast and have visited 14 distilleries in Scotland. I just finished taking a spirits class from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust to learn more about distilled spirits! I love to learn about all of the nerdy details of the whisky-making process, and I enjoy educating others and helping others to understand and enjoy whiskey too.

Ellen: I ran my first 100K at age 52 and first 100 at age 53. Oh, that does have to do with running. Um… I was bed rested for 4 months when I was pregnant with my twins, and afterward I couldn’t walk around the block without resting. And I earned my MBA, worked full-time, and had infants at the same time. Maybe that’s how I learned how to deal with the sleep deprivation of ultras?

Bobi Jo: I love vintage Pyrex. I know all the patterns and have a sizable collection. I am part of a lovely Instagram community, not unlike the running community, about it and it’s just delightful.

About Author

Bobi Jo has lived all over the midwest but moved to Portland in 2007 and now calls it home. She started casually running in 2012 and trained up for the "Run Like A Mother" 5k as her first proper event. She got a taste of the runner's high and is now a veteran ultrarunner. While running is her favorite sport, she is a "Jill of all trades, master of none" - her other hobbies include rock climbing, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and traveling the world. On her elusive rest days, she is an avid bookworm and a Green Bay Packers fan.

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