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100 days to 100 miles

By Henry Howard

As of this date of publication, it is exactly 14 weeks and two days until I line up at the start of the Hennepin Hundred.

Or 100 days until 100 miles.

It will be my third race of that distance, following successful finishes first at Rio del Lago in 2019 and last year at Hennepin. (Previously, I’ve written about my “why” in returning to Hennepin.)

A lot of things can happen between now and the first weekend in October, some good and some not so good. All of those experiences formulate some of the lessons ultra running teaches us.

Patience. Commitment. Resilience.

We don’t challenge ourselves because running 100 miles is easy. We challenge ourselves because of what we get out of the overall experience.

Throughout our training we imbibe in small victories. A really solid run. A great race result. Or just the joy we feel being on the run in nature.

Those all provide rocket fuel for our adrenaline. We want more. We push further. We push harder. We know we can do hard things.

And that’s another beautiful lesson from all the hours, miles and early wake-up calls. We can do hard things.

Last year around mile 25, I hit a rough patch at Hennepin. The warmth from the sun hit me hard. The next dozen or so miles were a challenge until I rallied.

Patience. Commitment. Resilience.

My crew was instrumental in getting me through the rough patch. (And I am so grateful to have Brandon and Paul back for round two this year.) Also serving as motivation in my time of need were some of the other runners throughout the race.

I shared several miles at different times with Joshua Holmes from Run It Fast. I briefly ran with a fellow Bigger Than The Trail ambassador. And there were on again off again greetings and encouragement with familiar faces.

100 days is a long time.

100 miles is a long way (regardless of what Karl Meltzer believes).

That’s true until it’s not. Time will pass quickly. The training will conclude. And then it’s a day to celebrate.

Nutrition will be set. Drop bags organized. Racing gear on.

The minutes leading up to the start of Hennepin represent a shift. One part of the journey complete, with all the lessons learned. And another part of the journey will be about to begin, with promises to teach me something new.

Patience. Commitment. Resilience.

And so much more.


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