In this race report, runner Sarah F. reviews the Indiana Trail 100 ultra race. Read on for her tips on staying mentally focused and making the most of your drop bags!
Race: Indiana Trail 100
Runner: Sarah F
Race Date: 10/12/2019
Location: Albion, Indiana
3 Bests – What aspects of the Indiana Trail 100 race did you like the most?
The trail was beautiful! Whenever I started to get tired or overwhelmed, I just looked around at how beautiful the trail was and immediately felt grateful to be out there. I liked that it was a loop course. It was my first 100 so it was nice to be able to see my crew so often.
I loved the community. Everyone I met was encouraging and friendly. It was amazing to spend some miles with people I never would have met otherwise but that shared in this experience of pushing ourselves to run 100 miles.
Not so much – What aspects of the Indiana Trail 100 race didn’t do it for you?
Nothing! I loved it!
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I really enjoyed the community and being out here with other people who love this sport as much as I do. When I was at a low point, there were always others there with a supportive comment and I tried to do the same for others when they were struggling. The one thing I did really well was getting in and out of aid stations very quickly. I thought about what I needed ahead of time and never spent more than 20-30 seconds in each aid station. My crew helped out a lot with this by being prepared with everything they thought I might want.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Indiana Trail 100 race to help the next runner
I got through the first 70 miles of the race without getting overwhelmed by staying in the moment. I never let myself think about how many miles I had left or how far I had come. Any time my mind veered off, I refocused by looking around at the trail and reminding myself how lucky I was to be out there. Also, whenever something went wrong, I tried to focus on the things that I could control. That got me through a lot of miles.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Always put extra headlamps and handheld flashlights in every drop bag. I didn’t have a headlamp when it started getting dark around mile 52 and it slowed me down. Also, if something is working, don’t change it. I changed my shoes at mile 60, even though the ones I had on felt great. The second pair of shoes really tore up my feet because they didn’t have enough cushioning. I switched back at mile 80 but my feet were pretty painful at that point. I also learned that no matter how tired you think you are in the early hours of the morning, you will almost instantly feel better when the sun comes up.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Indiana Trail 100 race?
The first 12 miles are very runnable and the second 8 are more technical with more climbing.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Yes! I thought it was a beautiful course. The leaves were changing so everything was colorful and the course is almost entirely through the woods.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
It’s a 5 loop course, and most of the trail is very runnable. The majority of the climbing is in the second half, miles 12-20, which was tough in that last loop.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
I thought it was extremely well run! The race director greeted us at packet pick up and handed me my belt buckle as I finished. All of the volunteers were very helpful and helped to get me in and out of the aid stations quickly.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the Indiana Trail 100 happen.
We were able to get a room at a local bed & breakfast about 2 weeks before the race. There’s camping on site and several hotels about 20 minutes away.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
I brought a lot of my own food because I don’t eat gluten, but later in the race when I wanted something different, they were very accommodating. They had hamburgers with gluten free buns, gluten free muffins, cookies, etc. My pacers who don’t have any dietary restrictions had bacon cookies, pulled chicken sandwiches and grilled cheese. I thought that had a really good selection.
Weather and typical race conditions
This year the weather perfect! About 50 degrees during the day and around 35 at night with no rain.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Yes! I saw my crew at 3 of the 5 aid stations plus they set up a small table alongside the trail at mile 5.
How’s the Swag?
Long sleeved tech shirt, winter hat and an Orange Mud buff.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I definitely recommend others run this race, especially if it’s your first 100.