Lessons learned from crewing another 100.
This past weekend Sheila and I got to crew (along with Ashley) as our friend Scott took on a 100 mile trail race across Massachusetts. The midstate trail in Massachusetts. He would start in New Hampshire – Run all the way across Mass, then cut into Connecticut and Rhode Island before finishing up back in Mass. The event is called the Midstate Massive Ultra Trail
I was along for driving and aid stationing while Sheila and Ashley would help me crew while they did the pacing for the final 50 miles of the event.
Scott had an incredible race – capped off with a top 5 finish on trails he had never stepped foot on before. I wanted to put together a little something about what I saw as some of his reasons for success.
- Preparation. Not just the running (but this is insanely important) but everything else. He had pre printed aid station and race information taking the guess work out for his crew. He had bins prepped and sorted in the vehicle for gear and clothes and nutrition and first aid – etc. It was all organized and easy to set up. Scott had preloaded the route map into his phone which he used a number of times in order to not get lost in the dark. He had a plan to keep his watch charged and phone ready. Overall he was prepared, and that saved him so much wasted time on race day and removed so much of the stress.
- Attitude – A few times Scott got off course. He settled, he used the mapping, and he got back on course. Many people (including myself) allow this to ruin their race. Learning from this positive attitude is huge. It’s about not letting the issues of race day, (and in 100 miles there will be issues) ruin your day. Be positive and move through it.
- Running in and out of the aid stations – This seems odd as a reason for success… However, I saw SO many people walking in, and walking out. Scott ran in, and then ran out all of them. What I began to notice, when he did this, his crew, and ALL of the other crew in the area would speak about how awesome he looked. And it was real talk. It was not to motivate him to actually be better, it was real. That kind of positive reinforcement is so valuable in the late miles when really all you want to do is walk. Want to feel like an absolute baller runner? Run in, and run out of your aid stations. You can walk 30 seconds later, but that energy will help carry you for a bit.
- Speaking it into existence – Here is somewhere I struggle. I REALLY noticed it at mile 81. Scott was in his chair, I was getting some noodles and broth ready and a random person came over to talk. I looked up, Scott had his head in his hands, bent over in his chair and let out a little groan. The guy probably came over for concern said “Are you alright buddy?” Scott looked up and said “I feel great man, I am really moving well, can’t wait for some daylight and the finish.” I recognized in that moment, he had been saying “I feel great” or ” I am doing well” or “This is so awesome” all day long. Even when he looked like shit, verbally he said those things. I think it’s the number one reason he was having so much success.. He was literally speaking his good day into existence. The old saying “Be careful how you talk about yourself because you are listening.” rings true in ultra running. I am not great at this (SEE!) It matters a lot on these days. I actually tried it last night on my run and it worked.
- The right reasons – I think finding your “why” in running is important. For some people it is to prove a point, for some people it is to win a race, for others it is simply they love running. Scott says he wants to see how far he can test his limits. This means that every step forward has a purpose. “Dang, my feet hurt – I wonder if I can run faster for a bit?” That is a test on limits and it’s a really cool reason to try running 100 miles.
It takes a lot to complete a 100 mile trail race, but I think these 5 steps really helped Scott be successful. It was so much fun being a part of his crew and seeing the way he handled himself out there. I have been at this sport a long time and I can say it is refreshing to realize that I will never stop learning from other runners!
Great job, Scott – Another well earned belt buckle!