Two NRC Race Team members, Lee Wilson and Beth Meadows, are tackling the Pinhoti 100 down in Alabama this November. As occasional training partners with differing takes on running and training (Lee, relying more raw talent and dancing how he feels; Beth, a little more anal and obsessed with what the elites are doing), we thought it'd be fun to get their individual takes on preparation, the race, and more throughout the next couple of months. So, without further ado...
NRC: Why a 100 mile race?
Lee: It’s been on my radar for a couple of years...the primary reason is that it’s a new challenge in distance and mental toughness. Like many people, I enjoy new challenges and trying to conquer those fears/challenges. It’s highly likely this race will conquer me but I’ll give it my damndest.
Beth: After finishing Pinhoti two years ago, I knew I wanted to try a 100 again, this time knowing what to expect a little more. And coming back from injury last year, the 100 is the only distance I really had my mind set on. There’s something intriguing and terrifying about a triple digit distance.
NRC: Why did you choose Pinhoti over other races?
Lee: Proximity. With it being in Alabama there’s less expense, time away from home/work, and if I DNF (hopefully within the first few miles if it occurs), I can jump in the car and be home within a few hours to lick my wounds. There will be quite a few people that I know so that will hopefully make it more fun, as well.
Beth: Pinhoti is such a well-run race with great aid stations and support. It’s close to Nashville, and it finishes about 20 minutes from where I grew up. I like the point-to-point aspect of the course as well. Having done the race before, there’s a “comfortability” factor in doing it again.
NRC: Any goal finish times?
Lee: I have minimal expectations on time. Back in my racing days, all we knew and focused on were splits, PRs, etc. It’s nice to not dwell on that as much anymore. My primary goal is to stay upright. The second goal will be to finish sub-24, and the last goal will be to see how close I can get to 18 hours. My background is shorter, faster races so one of my main challenges will be to train longer and slower, in addition to dialing in nutrition.
Beth: I don’t really have too many expectations. This time last year, I’d kill to run a mile so I’m just happy to be training. I’d love to hit under 24 hours, but mostly, my goal is to run a smart race. I'll be happy with 29:59:59.
NRC: What’s the most annoying thing about your training partner?
Lee: Nothing I can think of just yet. I’ve run with Beth for a few years so our banter is fun and runs go by smoothly. I can guarantee the annoyance comes from my end with plenty of complaining about mileage, heat, and running on tired legs. Beth has run Pinhoti before so it’ll be nice to pick her brain once I adjust to the fact I signed up for a 100.
Beth: Oh boy, that’s a loaded question! Kidding -- running with Lee is great and easy. Always fun and relaxed. Some days neither of us feel like chatting, and it’s nice not to have to force conversation. The only “annoying” thing may be his fake, hard breathing schtick. ;) I’m sure I annoy him with my weekly bonks and refusal to eat on longer runs. He’s also kind enough to slow way down to run with me. My tempo run pace is basically his 100 mile pace.
TRAINING PLAN/RACE STRATEGY
NRC: What’s your longest training run before the race?
Lee: I’ll shoot for 35-40-miler one day followed up with a 20-miler the next. I’m not following any specific plan but will plan to hit 80ish miles/week a couple of times between now and race day.
Beth: At least a 50k, with my preference being a 40 miler. I’d definitely like to get in a couple of super long weekends, some solid back-to-back runs.
NRC: How will you train/prepare yourself for being out there overnight?
Lee: I’m assuming having a young child and her periodic midnight “wake up” calls will be fine. In all seriousness, I’ll probably go run some miles one or two nights before the race. I’ll be so tired at some point in the race it’ll all feel like running in the dark!
Beth: I think the best way to do that is to hit up Percy late at night after working and being up all day for some nighttime slogging through the woods. It’s not just the running in the dark that I need to get ready for; it’s the running in the dark on tired legs. So, hopefully, I can get out a couple of times for some overnight runs.
NRC: Do you have any tips (for yourselves/others) that you’ll use to help you from getting lost?
Lee: Stay calm. I grew up playing and hunting in the woods and have been a bit lost multiple times. Like anything, once you lose focus things typically don’t end well. Missing a turn in a trail race happens all the time so if it happens in this race hopefully I’ll notice within a short time and turn back. The body and mind get so tired that keeping an eye on flags and signs will be key.
Beth: Pinhoti, from what I can remember, is very well marked. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything at 2am and with 65 miles on your brain and legs. I’ll probably have a pacer/safety runner for the later miles in case I start going off course. The last time I did it, Jeff Davis definitely had to keep me in check and on course. Other than that, just try to pay attention and not blindly follow those ahead of you.
NRC: Are you planning on training on the course at all? Explain.
Lee: If time allows, I’d like to. Seeing some new scenery will be nice. If I can get down there to run 20-30 miles and see one of the big climbs that’ll be nice but I won’t get bent out of shape if I don’t.
Beth: I’d really love to get down there, not just to practice for the race but also because they’re great trails. We’ll see if it actually happens though!
NRC: Beth, how will your training for Pinhoti this year differ from your training last time?
Beth: I’ll probably add a couple of longer runs. The last time I trained for it, my longest training run was a 50k so I’d definitely like to increase that. Other than that, I’ll probably stick to a relatively similar plan. It's nice that Lee and some other friends are running Pinhoti as well -- that'll keep me accountable and motivated, even more, this time around!
Good luck in your training, guys! We'll check back in to see how it's going soon!
** If you have any questions for Lee and/or Beth, be sure to let us know!