I decided to do The Unwanted 100, which is 100 toal miles over the course of 100 hours, for a couple of reasons:
1. Missed the marathon I had been training for all Summer due to a covid outbreak in our home
side note: this is the second time I’ve missed the state of Washington due to a freak event
2. To celebrate my 41st birthday
It’s not my first rodeo with virtual ultramarathons. I’ve done the Goggins Challenge, the Yeti Challenge, and even a standalone 100 miler.
This one appealed to me because it could be done from home with minimal childcare needs and the “pick your strategy” terms meant I could sleep at night.
Goggins was rough for me when it came to those 10 pm runs!
100 hours is roughly 4 days, averaging 25 miles per day. So that’s (kind of) what I did!
Day 1: 25 miles
Kicked the Unwanted 100 off with a 12 mile run.
It was important to me that I put double digits under my belt immediately for a mental boost.
In fact, for the remaining days I would continue this pattern: double digit mornings.
I am a morning person by nature.
Are you a night owl and reading this for tips? I recommend doing the bulk of your miles during the time of day you feel most energetic.
With a work schedule to accommodate, I ended up doing three additional runs on this day (Thursday): 4 miles, 5 miles, 4 miles.
Maintained average mile pace between 8:15-9:15 all day. Hindsight is 20/20, but that was definitely too aggressive.
Day 2: 25.5 miles
I ran an extra half mile on day two because it was my actual birthday and it equals 41K (get it?!).
Started the day with a rainy 12.5 and had every intention of hitting the beach for a double digit long effort mid-day, but it never stopped raining!
Instead, I ran in my neighborhood and waited out the bouts of thunder and lightning.
The rain was mostly light, so I put my phone in a ziplock bag and went for it.
By the end of the second day (12.5, 6, 2, and 5 miles), I felt great and had sense enough to slow down a bit to an average of 9:45/mile.
Day 3: 25 miles
Finally got my run on the sand mid-day on Saturday with a 10 miler that took me end to end on Sunset Beach, my favorite local beach for running.
I knew the soft surface would be good for recovery and, even at mid day in August in 90 degrees, the breeze felt amazing.
The challenge of the Unwanted 100, of course, is simply to complete all 100 miles in 100 hours.
However, I was also keenly aware my collective time would be recorded.
When I did Blackbeard, total time was 24:58.
Apples to oranges, but I wanted to break 18 hours for this effort, which included more rest by design.
Sand (which tends to slow you down) be darned, I maintained 9:45/miles throughout day three and it was the only day I did two double digit runs: 10, 10, then a 5 miler.
It’s important to have a plan B- that’s my other piece of advice for those looking to do this challenge.
For me, the strategy change came with weather but I had a plan B in case my body or mind felt too fatigued as well.
There are no awards for doing all 100 miles in less than 100 hours.
If I needed to, I’d have done more runs in shorter durations. Ex: 5 x 5 milers.
Day 4: 24.5 miles
My fourth day fell on a Sunday. We go to church 45 minutes away in Myrtle Beach, so I knew the bulk of my miles would need to be during the second half of the day.
Tough mental pill for me to swallow (see also: morning person!), but also allowed me to rest my legs and fuel properly.
Note on fuel: I’m not a Dietician, but have 20 years of experience here.
Believe me when I say you need carbohydrates.
Here’s the thing though: when you’re running often like this, you need them in smaller quantities.
Did I have birthday celebrations over the weekend? Yes, and plural. All of them involved food.
I’m no idiot, though. I intentionally ate smaller quantities.
I also did it alongside plenty of water and electrolytes.
The old school CrossFit endurance recommendation has always served me well: half bodyweight in ounces + 20 oz per hour of activity.
That’s a lot. It’s necessary.
I’m writing this the day after finishing and haven’t had any recovery roadblocks- that’s partially due to correct fueling and hydration.
…that and keeping my wits about me with pace.
I averaged 9:35/mile throughout the Unwanted 100, putting me just over 15 hours for the collective effort.
No clue where this will get me in overall standings, but I’m very pleased with the results.
I beat my 18 hour goal by over 2 hours!
The Unwanted 100 was a great experience!
1. it gave me an event to put training toward, which helped with emotional closure.
If you’ve ever missed a race (especially for something other than an injury), you understand why this was needed!
2. provided a “physical challenge” (that’s a Double Dare reference) for my 41st birthday
Am I going to do it again?
I could see myself revisiting this over Goggins or Yeti since personal strategy is so broad.
Could I beat 15 hours with shorter, more frequent runs?
Would it be advantageous to do 4 or 5 single, double digit runs to allow for maximum recovery?
Lots of ways to skin this cat…which makes it really fun!
If you want to take a stab at it, you can register for 2022 right here– note you’ll need to submit your results prior to September 20 if you want to participate in ranking.
It doesn’t cost anything unless you want a belt buckle for finishing- and even then it’s only $30.
Of course, if you want to just do it (for the pure challenge) without registering, I don’t think the running police are going to come get you!
Here are some products that helped me finish. I’d kiss them all on the mouth if I could.
Salty Britches is an ointment for preventing chafing…and it is the stuff.
We got some samples to help my son with the sand in his shorts while swimming in the ocean but it became an unexpected MVP when I wore a non-Senita bra early on day two and got horribly chafed.
I slathered a bunch on my already irritated bra-line and never had an issue the rest of the weekend. It didn’t hurt to put it on already broken skin, either.
Salty Britches is thick and goes a long way – you can even get it on Amazon. Bonus: it’s a small Mom-owned business based in South Carolina.
Look, there came a point where I just needed to drink electrolyte drink the entire time.
It’s August in North Carolina- even on the rainy day, the humidity was blegeudhgasjkdgahjgasdjgugghhhhhhhhhh.
I’ve written about Ultima at length previously and maintain it’s the best tasting product out there with the best nutrition profile.
We did three different meals out over these four days (see also: birthday), so I like how Ultima powder comes in single serving sticks (kind of like a Crystal Light mix in).
I was able to take them in my purse instead of lugging an entire tub into a restaurant.
If I had a do over for this challenge, the only thing I would change is only having two more Sarah bras in my rotation. The chafing incident wouldn’t have occurred with them.
Here’s a full guide to their bras– you’re welcome, ladies.
Note: a few affiliate links above, earnings send my kids to karate!
Here’s where I usually tell you to find me on Instagram…but Strava and LinkedIn are my social networks of choice right now!
So, let’s hang in person at an upcoming race instead. Here’s what I’m doing the remainder of the year:
Holden Beach half marathon (October 1)
Ocean Isle Beach Half Marathon (October 22)
Calabash Turkey Trot (November 24)
Kiawah Island Full Marathon (December 10)
…and you can still find me on IG every so often, but note I changed my handle to @suzyruns: