Running 100 Miles Each Month for a Year

Sometime in early 2014, I convinced myself that it would be a neat project to run a 100 miler each month. Now that it’s over, I thought I’d (finally) recap the experience a full year later.

I woke up with stiff legs to a text message the morning after finishing a 100 miler in Hawai’i in January. It was my friend, Marcy. Just four months earlier I ran with her into the finish of her first 100 mile race. Now she had stage IV pancreatic cancer.

I ran 100 miles in Texas in February. Marcy died. I ran 100 miles in Utah the next weekend in March. I cried at Marcy’s memorial. I ran 100 miles in Zion the next weekend in April. These 100 milers really helped. It was nice to have some time in my own head while simultaneously surrounded by a supportive community where everyone is rooting for everyone else.

I committed to doing a 100 miler every month for the rest of the year. By this point, I found I had built some confidence in the 100 mile distance and was looking for a new challenge. So, in May I toed the line of my first 200 miler in the mountains of Nowhere, Vermont with my dad there to help me out. After some weird hallucinations and nearly 62 hours, I won my first race and hobbled off with my prize —– a walking stick!

The year zipped by with 100 milers taking me to Wyoming, back to Vermont, British Columbia, Arizona, Colorado, and Alabama. All of this with Cassie’s support. Perhaps nobody else has heard me whine as much as Cassie has during these things — well, maybe Jon Davis.

For my December 100 miler, my friends and fellow bad influences, The Rocky Mountain Runners, put together the Boulder Bad Ass. This would be a real sufferfest. We set off from my front door at 10 pm following a Friday workday. Roughly 50 miles into the thing, I discovered that I got into the much feared Hardrock 100 miler, which would also turn out to be a miserable blast. I earned the nickname,“Beyoncé”, for being too much of a diva while grinding up a mountain at mile 90-something. It was horrible, it was wonderful, and then I DNFed the thing on my second try in 2015 — but it was still wonderful and horrible.

For good measure, I went back to Hawai’i to bring this 100 miler silliness full circle. Thanks to Body Glide, my foot care was spot on the whole year. Then I stupidly kicked a rock during this very last race and lost my big toe nail some weeks later. Oops! It’s finally grown back, but I’m confident that soon it’ll be a goner, as I’m off to Across the Years for my first six-day race.

January — HURT 100: Made new friends, but can’t keep the old.

HURT 100 buckle accompanying a serial killer pose.

HURT 100 buckle accompanying a serial killer pose.

This was the first time I met Marcy and the first time I ran with the Banditos. Without the photographic evidence, I'd never believe there was a time when I wasn't donning the short shorts.

This was the first time I met Marcy and the first time I ran with the Banditos. Without the photographic evidence, I’d never believe there was a time when I wasn’t donning the short shorts.

February — Rocky Raccoon 100: The old gang is back together again.

In the car with my dad the day after the 2012 Rocky Raccoon, my first 100 miler. Unfortunately, I inherited his serial killer mug. Notice the Razr flip phone. I've since upgraded to a Target flip phone.

In the car with my dad the day after the 2012 Rocky Raccoon, my first 100 miler. Unfortunately, I inherited his serial killer mug. Notice the Razr flip phone. I’ve since upgraded to a Target flip phone.

Switching out pacers from my cousin, Nicole, to her sister, Erica. Same routine as the first time we did this.

Switching out pacers from my cousin, Nicole, to her sister, Erica. Same routine as the first time we did this.

March — Buffalo Run 100: Alone time feels really good sometimes.

If you don't have something nice to say about the short shorts, you can talk to the hand.

If you don’t have something nice to say about the short shorts, you can talk to the hand.

You may not see the camera-(wo)man, but the camera-(wo)man sees you. Sometimes you’ll see their prints in fresh snow or see them scurry off while chomping on a deer carcass.

You may not see the camera-(wo)man, but the camera-(wo)man sees you. Sometimes you’ll see their prints in fresh snow or see them scurry off while chomping on a deer carcass.

April — Zion 100: Everything is going to be okay, just not as fun as it used to be.

Strapping on the headgear just before the Zion 100 start. One of the brightest headlamps you'll see out there, the Coast HL5 ran me $8 at Home Depot, batteries included.

Strapping on the headgear just before the Zion 100 start. One of the brightest headlamps you’ll see out there, the Coast HL5 ran me $8 at Home Depot, batteries included.

After Jason Koop's dog pissed all over my leg, I sat down to enjoy a beer in my PJs. Polygamy Porter -- Why have just one?

After Jason Koop’s dog pissed all over my leg, I sat down to enjoy a beer in my PJs. Polygamy Porter — Why have just one?

May — Peak 200: If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out.

My dad incinerating my wet shoes by the fire. He crewed me through the whole thing.

My dad incinerating my wet shoes by the fire. He crewed me through the whole thing.

Performing the ritual of covering the feet in Body Glide, changing socks, and eating something substantial every lap. I used to sell lemonade on that table!

Performing the ritual of covering the feet in Body Glide, changing socks, and eating something substantial every lap. I used to sell lemonade on that table!

My parents hung out with Ken Arble's partner, Diane, for the entire race. She disappeared right before Ken finished to bring him his finishing uniform. Great to see him come in.

My parents hung out with Ken Arble’s partner, Diane, for the entire race. She disappeared right before Ken finished to bring him his finishing uniform. Great to see him come in.

This shows my progress throughout the Peak 200 miler. Like a good and experienced crew, my dad correctly told me I was going too fast every single time I came in toward the beginning of the race. I intentionally slowed down to the point that the first 100 miles felt very easy. After 140 miles and about 41 hours, I took my first and only sleep break of 2.5 hours. I felt fresh after that and continued to plod along conservatively. With the incentive to be done, my final lap was my second fastest of the entire race!

This shows my progress throughout the Peak 200 miler. Like a good and experienced crew, my dad correctly told me I was going too fast every single time I came in toward the beginning of the race. I intentionally slowed down to the point that the first 100 miles felt very easy. After 140 miles and about 41 hours, I took my first and only sleep break of 2.5 hours. I felt fresh after that and continued to plod along conservatively. With the incentive to be done, my final lap was my second fastest of the entire race!

June — Bighorn 100: Make new friends, but keep the old.

Bighorn 100 start. Maybe I should get a camera.

Bighorn 100 start. Maybe I should get a camera.

July — Vermont 100: When I was your age, we ran 100 milers against horses.

At the Vermont 100 for the 4 am start...why so early???

At the Vermont 100 for the 4 am start…why so early???

Triple Bypass bike ride. When drinking beers with Matt Malloy, I can always count on him to sign up for something dumb way far off in the future.

Triple Bypass bike ride. When drinking beers with Matt Malloy, I can always count on him to sign up for something dumb way far off in the future.

Got stuck with Bandit the donkey for a second year.

Got stuck with Bandit the donkey for a second year.

Walked most of the race with Bill the donkey supplier only to lose by a nose.

Walked most of the race with Bill the donkey supplier only to lose by a nose.

August — Fat Dog 120: A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.

Here we are before the race. A bunch of idiots and their enablers.

Here we are before the race. A bunch of idiots and their enablers.

This is David Huss, who I met around mile 100. After the race, David and his pacer, Sam Jurek, offered up beds to me and two others in the A-frame cabin they were renting. I really hope to see these awesome guys again sometime very soon.

This is David Huss, who I met around mile 100. After the race, David and his pacer, Sam Jurek, offered up beds to me and two others in the A-frame cabin they were renting. I really hope to see these awesome guys again sometime very soon.

September — Mogollon Monster 100: This race suuucked…not all ultras are ceated equal.

October — Boulder 24 Hour: And time goes by so slowly. And time can do so much.

Those water bottles get real heavy when you have runner arms.

Those water bottles get real heavy when you have runner arms.

Glad to be done with the Boulder 24 Hour with Mike Oliva, who decided to run this thing the night before.

Glad to be done with the Boulder 24 Hour with Mike Oliva, who decided to run this thing the night before.

November — Pinhoti 100: Unexpected opportunities will come your way.

Ready to go do something stupid.

Ready to go do something stupid.

Eating a banana with jazz hands.

Eating a banana with jazz hands.

December — Boulder Bad Ass 100: I have the best friends on the face of the Earth.

Finally met up with Ryan Smith and Nick Pedatella on top of Green Mountain with loads of pacers -- Emily Royal, Mike Randall, Jon Davis, Eric Lee.

Finally met up with Ryan Smith and Nick Pedatella on top of Green Mountain with loads of pacers — Emily Royal, Mike Randall, Jon Davis, Eric Lee.

Lying down on top of Bear Peak while Jon tagged the true summit. This is the worst I've ever felt during a run. Looking forward to besting this one!

Lying down on top of Bear Peak while Jon tagged the true summit. This is the worst I’ve ever felt during a run. Looking forward to besting this one!

Be sure to eat...

Be sure to eat…

...and drink.

…and drink.

January — HURT 100: None of this is as hard as it sounds.

Heading out of the last aid station with machine gun blasting!

Heading out of the last aid station with machine gun blasting!

Finish!  With our hosts and people extraordinaire, Connie and Alex Durant.

Finish! With our hosts and people extraordinaire, Connie and Alex Durant.

Perfect day to hike up Mauna Kea. While the telescopes were cool, Cassie's find of $20 on the trail was the highlight.

Perfect day to hike up Mauna Kea. While the telescopes were cool, Cassie’s find of $20 on the trail was the highlight.

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