C10K Math

The math  behind finishing a hundred 100 milers is rather daunting:

10 finishes per year (every 5 weeks): 10 years to complete (54 when done)
4 finishes per year (every 3 months): 25 years to complete (69 when done)
3 finishes per year (every 4 months): 33 years, 4 months to complete (77 when done)
2 finishes per year (every 6 months): 50 years to complete (93 when done)

Now those numbers assume I finish all the races I start.  I’ve only finished half the races I’ve started so far, so it would take twice as long assuming the same 50% finish rate.  That seems overly conservative since I did manage to finish the harder of the two hundreds that I’ve started.  Most races have finish rates of about 70% so if I improve to that the numbers look like this:

10 races per year, 7 finishes: 14+ years to complete (58 when done)
4 races per year, 2.8 finishes: 35+ years to complete (79 when done)
3 races per year, 2.1 finishes: 47+ years to complete (91 when done)
2 races per year, 1.4 finishes: 71 years to complete (114 when done)

The Current Plan

I’m not sure how I’ll age, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be finishing any 100 mile races after I hit 90.  I’m also pretty sure that trying to run 10 per year will either break me, my marriage, or both.  Three or four per year with a max of 5 per year seems about the right balance.  Running 3 per year for 10 years (30), then 4 to 5 for 10 years (45), followed by 2 to 3 for 10 years (25) would get me to 100 in my early 70s.

In order to have any chance of accomplishing this, I will need a whole slew of things to go right.  The two key determinants though will be motivation and health.

It seems obvious, but I’ll need to actually want to run 100 milers for a long time.  I have a tendency to really get into a hobby or activity, devote significant time and effort for a period of time, and then get bored.  So the first thing I need to do I make sure I don’t burn out on ultras.  I can do this by not running them every other weekend.  I might be able to get away with this for a couple years, but not for several decades.  I’ve limited myself to 5 or 6 a year and this seems to be a good number.  It gets me out there regularly, but also leaves me wanting more.  It’s only been 2 months since my last race and I can’t wait till my next race in January.

And hopefully moderating my racing will also help keep me healthy and injury free.  There’s a lot more that goes into staying healthy not limited to smart training, supplemental core work, cross training, plenty of rest and recovery between workouts, good running form, etc.  I don’t have any medical training or certification (see Disclaimer) so a lot of what I’m doing is just being conservative.  I’ll keep scouring the internet for additional tips and tricks and hopefully this will work for me.

What’s in a name?

Ultimately, this may end up being more of an aspirational goal than a real one.  I would like to run long for the rest of my life and having a huge goal like this will keep me focused.  But I’m not going to let the pursuit of 100×100 impair the other aspects of my life.  Goals are great things to have to help guide you, but they can’t be the end all be all of your existence.  Life isn’t just about the destination.  It’s more about the journey to reach it.  Less about the 10K and all about Chasing it.

And that’s this man’s plan as of today.

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