Rocky Racoon 100 Mile Run
Huntsville, TX
February 5, 2002

By Blake P. Wood,

Rocky Racoon 100 web page

Here are some miscellaneous thoughts and observations about my run at the Rocky Racoon 100 this year:


I had a single goal for the 2002 Rocky Racoon 100 - to beat 15 hours. This was pretty ambitious - last year I had won the race in 1613, which itself was a PR for me by almost 3 1/2 hours. The RR100 is five 20 mile loops of relatively flat trail and dirt road - quite different from my usual gig. My plan was to hold 250/loop for as long as possible, hoping to get some time in the bank, then hang on as best as I could. I followed this very well - 247, 248 (535), 253 (828), 305 (1133), 318 (1451). I came by the 50 mile point in 657 - a PR! (I don't run many 50s).

My legs started getting pretty sore at about 30 miles, and I ran along feeling sorry for myself until about 50, when it occurred to me that they weren't getting any sorer, so I might be okay. Nevertheless, I wondered for most of the race whether I was running over my head. I was willing to risk a crash-and-burn to get my sub-15, so I kept the pace according to plan, as that was the only way to do it. The pace I COULD run caught up with the pace I WANTED to run at about 70 miles. After that I was just hanging on, trying to get to each point in the loop by three hours after I'd last been there, and hoping the wheels didn't come off.

My 15 year old daughter, Heather, paced me over 11 miles of loops 4 and 5. She had no problem keeping up and was a lot of fun to have along. Her encouragement was really helpful in the final 2.7 miles from the last aid station to the finish, when my legs started wobbling and threatening to collapse. I can still hear her jogging along in front of me in the darkness calling "Come on, Daddy. You're doing really well, Daddy. We're almost there!"

Scott Eppelman had a fantastic race, leading the whole way from the gun. I didn't get a chance to say hello to him until the start, but saw plenty of him on the three out-and-back sections of each loop. We were pretty much running separate races - Scott was out to win, and I was out to break 15 hours. I figured that if a sub-15 hour run put me ahead of Scott, great! If not, that was okay too. Scott quickly got about 5 minutes ahead of me, then slowly stretched that out to a maximum of 15-20 minutes at 80 miles. I gained on him in the final loop, finishing 10 minutes behind him. I like Scott a lot and was really proud of him. As for myself - it was sweet to win last year, but much sweeter to run 1451. I still find myself at work suddenly thinking "Damn! I ran 100 miles in the 14's!" and it puts a big grin on my face.

Ironically, the only damage from the run was that I ended up with tendonitis in my left forearm - I think from carrying my water bottle, since I didn't use a running belt. Everyone at the Lab thought this was funny as hell - Blake runs this incredible distance, and comes home with a sore arm!

Food and Drink

In last year's race something weird happened - I stopped peeing at about 60 miles, despite drinking nearly a gallon of soda per 20 mile loop. Later, Karl King suggested this was because I was drinking too much sugar - apparently your stomach won't process fluids if the sugar level is too high. My plan this year was to alternate bottles of sports drink with bottles of plain water. This worked really well - I kept peeing and peeing clear for the whole hundred miles.

My calorie balance worked out like this I refilled the 20 oz bottle I carried in my hand at each of the five aid stations per 20 mile loop, adding up to about 4 gallons of fluid during the run, half of which was sugared. This is a total of around 1600 calories from fluids. I went through 6-8 gel shots at 100 calories/shot and a sandwich per loop at 300-400 calories/sandwich. With some other miscellaneous snacks, this adds up to about 5000 calories for the run, or roughly half of what I burned. I have no idea if this is anywhere near an optimum, but in this case it seemed to work. I'd be interested to hear how this added up for others.


I'd recommend the RR100 to anyone. It is very different from most runs I do in that it's flat and compact. With the three out-and-back sections and lapping people in the second half, you get to see everyone in the run multiple times. This is fun! Also, the people doing the coincident 50 mile run ran a shorter loop, so I got to seem some of them twice on each of my loops. The aid stations were adequately stocked and very well run. It's a great course for spectators - it only takes a few minutes to get from one to the other of the three aid stations with crew access, so I saw lots of my daughter and my folks, who drove out from California to visit and crew. The campground is clean and there are showers. The 30 hour cutoff is generous for this course. A good place to run a PR.

- Blake

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