Why I didn’t wear Hokas for my 100K and other answers to your questions

Working at SFRC is an absolute privilege.  I love being part of this community that has grown organically through a mutual passion for the outdoors and running.  The one and only downside to the job is that sometimes, you have to answer to your constituents.  If you are injured, you will have to talk about that injury 30 times a day.  If you have a bad race, you will have to get pity hugs all week long.  If you are planning on running a race, you will have to talk about how you feel, if you’re ready, what you’ll wear, what you’ll eat, what time you expect to come through the first aid station, etc… more than your pre-race nerves would like.  You are surrounded and immersed in the running community, for better or worse.

After my 100K race (and win), everyone wanted to congratulate me but they also had some questions, so here are some answers:

Q: What was your finishing time?

A: 16 hours and 58 minutes.

Q: Why did it take so long?

A: It was technical, hot, difficult and I’m slow.

Q: What shoes did you wear?

A: Peregrines for the first 44 and Lone Peak 2.0s for the last 20.

Q: Why didn’t you wear Hokas?

A: I had Hokas ready (both Challengers and Bondi 4s), but after seeing how technical the trail was going out (and since it was an out and back, how technical it would be on the way back) and how good my feet and legs felt by the halfway mark, I made the call not to go Hoka.   I didn’t see the value in putting them on if I wasn’t hurting and the trail wasn’t suited to lacking ground feel.

Q: Then why do you put me in Hokas for my technical races?

A: I never specifically recommend Hokas for technical races, but I do say that if the Hokas feel the best on your feet, you have to go with the shoe that’s the best for you, regardless.  I would never have traveled to my 100K without an arsenal of shoe choices which included two models of Hokas.  It just turned out I didn’t feel like changing into them this time.  Next time could be different and I think you should always have that option available to you as an ultra runner.

Q: Why did you need two choices of Hokas?

A: Look, I work at a shoe store which means I have four thousand more times the shoes that you probably do.  It means I have access to a ton of choices.  I brought about 10 pairs (no joke) on the trip to Santa Barbara, knowing that I would probably wear 1-2 of about 6.  I brought Hoka challengers and Bondi 4s because they are really different in terms of feel.  Challengers would have been fine for this course if I thought I needed the extra cushion.  Bondis would have been great if there was a little more runnable terrain, but there wasn’t.  I knew that they represented two different shoe choices I would want in case things went south.  I also brought the Kiger 3, Pearl Izumi M2s, as well as the Peregrines and Lone Peaks that I eventually did wear.

Q: How did you decide on the second shoe to change into?

A: I have run in the Lone Peak 2.0 a lot over the course of the past year.  When I injured myself a year ago, Altras were the only shoe that I could run in for a while (I’m not entirely sure why), and it seems like every long race I do, I want to either be in Altras, or I’m craving them by the halfway mark.

Q: So why didn’t you start in them?

A: I have no idea.  The Peregrines felt really good and stable and I wanted to test their limits for 100-mile potential.

Q: You typically don’t eat gels or fuel a lot during the run.  Did you fix that?

A: I did it by the book.  I tried to get 150 calories in an hour with 100 calories at each aid station.  I took in about 4 gels, three packs of sport beans, but the remainder came from tailwind and real food.

Q: Was it hot?

A: SB100 usually boasts a tough, rugged course and very high temps (usually hovering around 100).  I think this year it was in the low 90’s.  Which yes, is hot, but boy it could have been worse.  I was totally ok with that level of heat, generally speaking.

Q: How did you get lost?

A: Like I mentioned in the race report, the marking was a little blurry but it was totally my bad.  I think after that other woman passed me, I got focused on her and got flustered and wasn’t looking for the trail turnoff.  Turns out she missed it too, so I was probably just following her.

Q: Would you do the race again?  Would you recommend that to me?

A: Yes and yes.  I would totally do it again. That type of course was brutal and I loved every dreadful minute of it.  I say that endearingly.  I would also recommend it to others.  It’s a challenge for sure, but why not challenge yourself?  Just know it’s a tough one so plan accordingly and train properly.

Q: What were the nicknames you gave to other racers?

A: I won’t get into what the actual nicknames were because some of them might be offensive (though I never would mean them to be).  I needed a good way to keep track of other people in my head and that was the easiest way of doing it.

Q: Did you pee during the race?

A: Yes, I think just once though.  Might have been twice.  I really can’t remember.

Q: You say you felt good the whole time, but you also mentioned having low points.  Whats that about?

A: Well, I think “feeling good” is relative.  It doesn’t always mean you’re smiling and your body is pain free.  I think my low points were more related to my mental state.  The only physical low points I had were when my IT Band acted up a little and when I got a blister on my heel  In the 100K distance, if that’s as bad as it gets, I’ll take it.  I went through the normal emotional undulations of an ultra for sure.  But I think that’s all part of the journey and as long as it doesn’t completely break you, just like physical pain, the mental pain is temporary and easily forgotten as soon as its gone.  I think relatively speaking, I felt good the whole time compared to other ultras I’ve done where I’ve hit major low points both physically and mentally and almost didn’t make it through because of them.

Q: Lastly and most importantly, what did you do with your bangs?

A: Ahhh the age old question.  Ok, so for any old run, I haphazardly pin my bangs up, to the side or not at all if I’m wearing a hat.  For races, because I don’t want to fuss with that at all, I french braid them to the side and use two bobby pins to secure them.  Since I was wearing a hat, I almost didn’t notice.  And no, it doesn’t give me tension headaches or anything like that.  Having sweaty, salty bangs whipping at your eyes for 17 hours sounds a lot like Chinese water torture to me.

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