I’ve been struggling for a perfect way to sum up the feelings following my first 100-mile run, but I guess the best way to say it is… I did it! On July 31, continuing to the morning of August 1, I completed 101 miles at the Badger Trail 100 in Belleville, Wisconsin. The run was a culmination of training across the year, albeit a year delayed thanks to COVID, and it didn’t just happen overnight.

Building Up To 100 Miles

When I first caught the trail running bug in the mountains of Montana, I never dreamed running 100 miles would be in my future. Of course, every runner says some variation of that at some point in their running life.

As the marathons and ultramarathons slowly progressed, I began to dream of the possibility of running 100 miles. It could be done, but dang it was an intimidating goal. As I ran my first 100 km race in Idaho and began to run the 50-mile distance more regularly, I knew that 100-miles was in my future. I just had to get out there and do it.

In October 2019, I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for a 100-mile race in South Dakota. It was an out and back rail trail with relatively little elevation gain. I had already run a 50-mile race on the same course, so at least I knew the route was manageable.

my first 100-mile run training
Gearing up for 2021 running with a January 50-mile race (and PR!) in Moab, Utah. Read more about my adventures at Arches Ultra.

My First 100-mile Run That Never Happened

Training for 100-miles was going well in early 2020 as I was finally being consistent with regular long runs of 26 to 31 miles. And in the process, as everyone now knows well, COVID came and smashed our plans. I waited with anticipation until the race director finally called off the run and moped around for about two days… and signed up for back-to-back Idaho ultras to deal with the situation. (Yeah, I never claimed to be sane.)

After running 100 miles over the course of 8 days with over 40,000 feet of elevation gain, I was ready to rest and recover while figuring out what came next. I buried myself in focusing on work and building a new and significant relationship.

Thanks to an awesome recommendation and a little nudging, I found another race that would hit the spot of what I was looking for. When Dairy Carrie recommended that I head up to her area for the Badger Trail 100 Miler, I knew I’d be able to make this work and have a support crew there to help me along the way.

training for my first 100-mile run on trails

Final Training for My First 100-mile Run

I’d be lying if I said everything leading up to this moment went as planned. Throughout February, we endured severe cold on the ranch in Colorado and my motivation to train wasn’t there. In March, we wound up with a massive blizzard just before the annual bull sale at the end of the month.

April, May, and June brought calving season that had me working on my feet all day, 7 days a week. Again and again, I kept coming up with excuses for why my training wasn’t taking priority. The only positive was that my work kept me on my feet and learning how to deal with exhaustion while still pushing forward.

In May, I ran a local 25-mile race in the foothills near Fort Collins. In June, I ran 50-miles in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Both these races featured extensive amounts of elevation gain and were good race prep that kept my confidence up that I could push through and keep moving forward in tough race environments.

Then came July and I moved to southwest Virginia and kept busy with breeding season for the cowherd throughout the month. Knowing I was coming down to the line, I squeezed in several runs between 10 and 13 miles when I was tired.

my first 100-mile run training

How will it turn out?

This definitely wasn’t the training plan I had in mind, but I still felt I was pushing forward even with all life was throwing at me. Going into my first 100-mile run, I knew I was undertrained, but I was definitely willing to give it all I had on race day.

Part 2: Stay tuned to find out how the trip to Wisconsin rolled out as I ran my first 100-mile run.

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