I’ve been excited to run this race since I first heard about it a year ago. The race is point-to-point on route 45 in Ohio from Wellsville to Walnut Beach Park on Lake Erie. It is also self-supported, which means I’m responsible carrying whatever I’m going to need with me while getting food and drinks from gas stations and convenience stores along the way.

My strategy is to go light on gear and heavy on fluids/calories. The weather is now looking like it’s going to cooperate with this. There doesn’t appear to be any rain and the overnight low on Saturday is expected to be 61 degrees. This means I can leave out the rain jacket and just pack a pair of gloves.

Logistics are always a challenge for 100 milers and this race is no exception. The only difference is that most of my time has been trying to figure out what stores are where along the course and which are likely to be open as I run walk shuffle along. Typically, I’m trying to figure out what to put in which drop bags and then spending time organizing them and writing out directions to put into them. This time I’m only packing one bag and that one’s going on my back for the entire race. And since I don’t want to carry 30 pounds of stuff I’ll never used, I’ve pared down my normal backup gear to only a headlamp, lighted vest, phone, some cash, and directions.

Instead of gear, I’ll be carrying quite a bit of weight in calories and fluids. There’s a decent amount of stores over the first 60 miles so I shouldn’t have to go more than an hour or two in between. The problem is stores will be closed overnight and since I haven’t scouted the course, I don’t know where the random vending machines are located. And even if I did know where they were, there’s probably at best only a 50/50 chance I would find it half asleep at 2 o’clock in the morning. So I’ve decided to load up at 60 miles with enough fluids and calories to get me the rest of the way. I figure it’s better to have a little extra weight than run the risk of running dry.

Pacing is the other big strategy item that I’ve had to decide on. I do not have a good track record at flat 100s so have settled on a plan to run/walk the entire course. Or at least until my legs give out and I transition to a walk/walk strategy. My performance at last November’s One Day at the Fair gives me some confidence that I can maintain this over the entire 100 miles, especially if I start it right from the beginning. While I have nothing to base it on, a 12 minute pace sounds about right. This would be far too slow for me to run at the beginning so will require walking to average out. I don’t see this as too slow though as averaging this for the entire race would put me at 20 hours or 2 hours better than my best time. So I’ll start there and see how long I can keep knocking out 12s before I eventually slow down.

I’m starting to get a little excited.

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