Running My First 100 Mile Race

At 3am on Saturday 20th April 2024 (after what felt like the longest TAPER week in my running history) I woke up with a sense of calm, excitement and absolute readiness for what I was about to undertake – My first 100 mile race at the very first Faultline Ultra event.

The weeks leading up to this day were made up of long runs, short runs, specific based runs, coach chats, and a whole lot of strength work, but like with any other training block I have done,  I went into it with my three running essentials – Enthusiasm, Excitement and Enjoyment plus I added in one more  –  patience which became one of my best takeaways from this whole journey – to accept everything that happens without getting to worked up or anxious.  To accept what I can and can’t control!!

What did 100 miles feel like?

The 5am start was faster than I had anticipated.  No surprises, as most people feel fresh and eager to go.  However this is one of the many errors people make – go out to fast and then blow up. I had 100 miles to cover so after the field gradually spread out, I got myself into a nice comfortable pace.  The excitement had started.  I was doing it!

  

The first 50km went by quickly, I was fresh, my head was clear, and things were ticking along nicely.  I was eating and drinking every 30 – 45 mins.   My support crew (my husband, 3 children and our family dog Chester) were all waiting for me at Hub 2.   Something I was looking forward too after telling them not to come to Hub 1.  They had been given precise instructions about what I needed and what they could and couldn’t do. I wanted to spend as little time at these  hubs as possible.  The clock keeps ticking when you are standing still, so I wanted to get in and get out as quickly as possible.

I was approaching Hub 3 one hour before my predicted time but after a quick phone call to the tribe, there was a sense of relief.  They were one step ahead of me and were all ready ordering my pizza!    After a quick change of clothes, vest restocked, a few slices of pizza and a coke I was all ready for the night shift. – 81km done. (half way)

As the sun set, I welcomed night time with confidence.  Having done a few night time runs in training I felt a sense of ease as I  continued to move forward at a good but slower and accepted pace. My mind was good.  Still eating and drinking regularly and keeping my stomach  happy.  As long as I was moving forward everything was safe and fine.  No niggles, just a few slippery rocks that I was skiing on! No drama!

Hub 4 (105km) was in sight.  I spent a few extra minutes here getting more food in and sorting things out for another 30km ahead.   After saying goodbye to my tribe fuelled with more coke and pizza I stepped into unknown territory.  105km had been my longest distance to date so now was the time I had to rein in all my training and  see where this next stage would take me. Knowing I had my pacer at 130km was of great comfort so all I had to do was move towards that number and then I would have company for the final leg.  There were many moments I was on my own and a few when I was around other runners and a few moments I thought I was with people but that was just my mind tricking me!! 😉 Fun times!

As the full moon beamed down and without a cloud to be seen, I continued to have the feel good vibe. Tiredness was starting to creep in but that was okay, all natural.   Eating was becoming less but I was still hydrating well and moving forward. I knew the night time would slow me down but again I accepted this and was still enjoying the race.   I had a few moments of leaning against a tree and heaving – nausea had kicked in.  I wondered when that would arrive! That was okay – I didn’t stress about it and just allowed it to happen.  I was still moving forward.  The heaving was actually making me feel better!   I didn’t feel defeated…It was my body’s way of dealing with being awake for hours but the job of my mind was to stay strong and keep going.   

134km – Finally after what seemed like a long 34km I saw my tribe again and this time my pacer, Charlotte who had been waiting a long time (in the freezing cave of Makara)   looking eager as a beaver to get going.  But first I had to refill, take a bite of a ham Sammie, and go to the toilet. 

Off we went together and it felt so good having Charlotte with me.  We talked for a bit and I waffled on about goodness knows what, probably making no much sense at all.  At this point I was looking forward to the morning light and with the sound of the birds singing I knew that was very close.  I felt a little more alive once I saw the sky grow lighter and now I  could switch my torch off.   I was hiking at a fast pace at this stage which felt good. No desire to run at this stage.  I was still happy or maybe I was a bit numb! 

There was no doubt I wasn’t going to finish the 100 miles I just had to keep my mind on the present mile and not think too much about how many more I had to cover.  This proved a bit hard, and Charlotte sensed this and told me to let go and stop fixating on the numbers!!! Haha. That was her job!!!! I guess when you have a number in your head and you’re getting close to that number appearing on your watch  you start ticking off each 1km with obsession almost. But I knew the final number would not be the same as the one I had in my head so again acceptance and patience came into play. 

The end was so close but it felt so far.  But  all I had to do was keep moving forward, try to run a bit, hike the hills, keep focused, I was still doing it.  I may not have looked as focused now as I had been but I was still upright and still had work to do.   A reluctant nibble on a cliff bar was had and a few wine gums to suck on – something else to think about!

The 30 hour mark was getting closer now, and I did accept this may not happen and was okay with it (sort of)  but Charlotte had other ideas and told me it would happen!  I had no time to argue so continued through the final sections of the race.  This felt like it was never going to end. Mt Victoria felt like a maze that had no exit!  One final descent I heard a marshal say….that proved wrong as there were many more descents before the final one which lead us down onto the  flat and the last 2km. 163km done!

I could hear the loud speaker and the cheers of other athletes finishing.  My emotions were starting to brew but I had no time to cry, I still had a job to finish.  1km to go —– a big blister decided to pop on the bottom of my foot (I never get blisters)  but I didn’t let it stop me from digging deep and somehow accelerating into faster run feeling pain ripple through me – I had two choices, to stop and walk or to get this baby done.  I looked at Char, and said lets go, lets finish this thing.  I felt I was running faster than I was haha.  This was the moment I had visualised so much over the last few months, and I was about to make it reality.   Nothing else mattered in these final few minutes but me running alongside Charlotte and finishing my first 100 mile race. 

There was a tsunami  of emotions as I crossed that finish line, I cried.  The relief of accomplishing what I had worked so hard to achieve, combined with exhaustion and proudness were too much to hold inside.  A pretty special moment.  165km completed and over 5000m elevation 😊29hrs 46mins 47secs – I got my sub 30hrs – it really did happen ☺️

My mind was super strong going into this event.   I trusted my ability and trusted all the training and hours of strength work I had done before this race.  I was prepared on all levels to face the beast we call ‘the miler’. The body will give up long before it reaches its limit but I was able to break through barriers and shift my mindset from the very beginning. I was not afraid, I was curious and with curiosity I discovered even more about what I am capable of and I am excited to see what’s next. 

Would I do another 100 miles? Simply put – YES I would!!!!

4 Comments

  1. Lindy on May 2, 2024 at 9:45 pm

    Fantastic accomplishment Kim, very inspiring!



  2. Kamogelo on May 3, 2024 at 4:48 pm

    Congrats coach.. Wow.. Proud member



  3. Kim on May 3, 2024 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you Lindy 🙂



  4. Kim on May 3, 2024 at 6:18 pm

    Thank you Kamo 🙂



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