REI Presents: How To Run 100 Miles

October 1, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


(toothbrush buzzing) – [Brendan] You ever wonder
why a perfectly sane person would try to run 100 miles all at once? Me, too. It wasn’t my idea, though. It was my friend, Jason’s. (fun music) For six months leading up to race day, this was my life every Saturday. Wake up early and wait
for my friend, Jason, to drive 10 blocks to pick me up, go to the mountains, and run. We didn’t sleep in, we didn’t have brunch
with our girlfriends, we didn’t play Frisbee in the park, and we didn’t sip coffee
and read the news. We ran together for hours, and every Saturday, we
ran longer and longer. ♪ I think it’s great how
you used to be great ♪ ♪ I can’t hate on how
you choose to relate ♪ – [Brendan] We didn’t know much about running ultra marathons, but we learned one thing very quickly. ♪ I understand why you wanted to let go ♪ ♪ A lot of pressure in the
middle of those shoulders ♪ ♪ And we ain’t getting nothing but older ♪ – [Brendan] Jason and I
are not lifelong runners or really even runners. We met during college at the
University of Northern Iowa while both of us were
working as bartenders at an Applebee’s restaurant. We became drinking
buddies, and after college, we always stayed in touch. We grew up a little bit
and eventually ended up living in the same neighborhood in Denver. The only reason I got
into ultra running at all is because Jason’s a great storyteller. – He’s now swinging a
hammer at all of us, right? Where did the big gulp go on a motorcycle? You’d never believe who punched
me in the face three times at Hungry Bear. He’s like, what are you talkin’ about. I was like, Drew’s mom. – [Brendan] One day on August
2015 I took him out for pizza while he told me about how
horrible his long trail run had gone that day. – I had my shirt off,
I’m pourin’ out sweat. No water. I’m like man, what am I gonna do? – [Brendan] It sounded
like just what I needed. I don’t even like running but I like challenges especially
when they’re big and scary enough to get me off the couch. We signed up for a
couple of shorter races. If you look it up you’ll
find that an ultra marathon is any race longer than a marathon which is 26 point two miles. They usually start at the 50K
distance which is 31 miles and then the 50 mile
distance and then the 100K which is 62 miles, and then the races that are 100 miles or longer. We tried the shorter
distances, got our asses kicked in every way you can imagine and barely finished before the cut offs. If we tried a 100 mile ultra marathon, we’d be extreme underdogs. – I’m signing up to run a 100 mile race. – [Brendan] Why are you doing that? – Because I love suffering and running with your ugly ass. – [Brendan] What am going to do with you? I had no doubt it was going
to be the hardest thing I’d ever done. But Jason has this way of
convincing you you can do things you don’t think you can do. He told me a long time ago that
you should never think about why you can’t do something. You should think about how you can do it. (upbeat music) – My mom was definitely
my first role model that I saw be put in a
really horrible situation and still push forward. What she did was truly remarkable. Hey mom! When I was in third grade
my mom divorced my dad and really didn’t have
a stable environment. She had to figure out
how to feed six kids. There was a lot of time spent
from us moving from one house to my mom getting evicted to
then when we lived abandoned women’s shelter, basically we’re homeless. But I never saw her give up. So I found out I was dyslexic
early on in grade school and one of those things
you don’t know exactly what’s going on. You just know that you’re different. They’re also then labeling
as slow, stupid, or dumb so then you start getting picked on. There was a bully that
always picked on me. One day in front of the principal’s office decided to slam my books to the ground and this was the last
time I was having it. I had to jump up and
put him in a head lock and after that every
grade until my senior year I got kicked outta school for fights. I became known as a fighter. I got into wrestling through
failing in basketball. The first couple of
years I sucked horribly. I didn’t win a match
for the first two years. Until finally in eighth
grade I won my first match. So by my freshman year in high school me and some of the other
freshman made varsity and wrestling in Iowa was a big deal and so it taught me like
sticking with something you can accomplish something. I walked into the guidance
counselor’s office my senior year tryin’ to figure out how
does one go to college so I asked him some basic questions to which he said, oh, college
is not really for people like you, Jason. You just sort of need to get a job, work your way up the ladder. And I just left the office. I was just like in my head
like, (beep) you dude. You have no clue what I can (beep) do. – [Brendan] The guidance
counselor turned out to be wrong. Jason failed to complete the ACT because he couldn’t read fast enough. He went to community college
and then got a bachelors degree and then he started knocking
on doors for a political party then he managed a winning
US congressional campaign and then he directed Nevada’s first ever presidential caucus. In 2017 he left politics to
become a motivational speaker and coach which made sense
to me since I’d been getting free life coaching from him for 17 years. Jason’s built his life’s
philosophy out of taking on hard things and succeeding
by not quitting. But running 100 miles was different. What if it shut him down? I certainly wasn’t that confident in us. – I was about to think, I was really inspired to run today and I think you might
gotta get into it at work. Every (beep) day. For 42 years, 5 a.m. – Exactly. – I bet he was inspired
a lot of those days. You have to run a lot of miles before you can run 100 miles. As is true in many things in life, trying is a good way to learn. And we learned a few
truths about ultra run. You don’t have to run the whole time. Oh my goodness. You get to eat a lot. – Cheers. – But all that food goes somewhere. Eventually you’ll probably
have to poop somewhere you don’t want to. Where you goin’? – I gotta go shit again. – Well enjoy. Oh, that looks rated R. Okay. Remember, there’s no
toilet paper in nature. How was it? – Dude, that was a rookie mistake. – What happened? – I tried to wipe with some
of those dried pine cones. – It just broke off? – It was just a rookie mistake. It’s not good. – Look at all these rocks. Why’d you pick a pine cone? You often will have to run
when you don’t want to. 19 point five seconds. When the schedule says you have
to run 20 miles on Saturday, you don’t stop after 19 point six miles. Parts of your body will hurt often. You actually chaffing right there? – Yeah. – [Brendan] Is that chap stick? Your joints, your muscles, your ligaments and tendons will rebel. The pain will not go away but
it will move to other places. One day your foot hurts,
the next day it’s your hip or your knee, or your
ankle, or your toenail. You’ll try anything to make it hurt less. Ice, space age lubricants
to prevent chafing, eating raw turmeric root. Yeah, I know. Foam rollers which are
home torture devices for athletes, even stretching. When people say wow, 100 miles,
that’s a long way to run. I feel like saying, no shit,
I had to run 1,200 miles before the race even started. – I’ve been doing ultra races for, I’ve been running for 45 years. I’ve been doing ultra races for 25 years and so what I’m going to
tell you is not a pep talk, it’s the plain truth. 100 miles is really far. – [Brendan] I’m pretty sure everybody at the starting line of this race is more qualified to be here than us. I’m terrified but at least
we’re doing this together. Most people don’t plan on
running the entire race with their friend. But that’s what we’re doing. – It’s harder than you think it is and it’s going to hurt more
than you think it will. (audience laughs) – Real friends show up for each other. Especially when it’s the
dumbest thing you’ve ever done. The Run Rabbit Run isn’t
the easiest race to do for your first 100. It’s 102.9 miles long with
20,000 feet of elevation. Or, roughly four New York City marathons plus 18 trips up and down the stairs of the Empire State Building. And you have to finish in 36 hours, the official first cut off time. – [Announcer] Three, two, one. – [Brendan] So here we go. (cow bell rings) (laughs) – Think Run Rabbit Run
is deceptively difficult. 100 miles is a journey and you’re going to spend the night out, you’re gonna experience
everything that comes with being out for a
24, 30, maybe 36 hours. (laughs) I think a lotta races start
and finish in the same place but when you arrive
back to that same place it feels like a lot of shit has gone down. The hills there are steep. You know, you’re settling
in to a 2,000 foot climb or a 3,000 foot climb, and it doesn’t level off the entire time. – Almost to the top of the gondola. How do you feel? – Pretty amazing. – That’s one hour. – We’re an hour in. – I feel like mile three,
mile two and a half. – Yeah, 38 a feelin’ great. – Don’t stop moving! There’s no reason to. You can pee while you’re walking. You can eat while you’re walking. You can cry while you’re walking. I am proof that you can puke
and walk at the same time. There’s no reason to stop. – [Brendan] Every year, on average, about a third of the people who
start the race don’t finish, our race started with 242 runners and 95 of us will drop out. We didn’t care about speed. We just wanted to finish. – Your muscles are sore, that happens. If you’re tired, that happens. If you throw up five times, that happens. That is a part of running 100 miles. Like, commit to seeing
those grievances through. (guitar music) – My name’s Syd Jones. I’m a friend of Brendan and Jason. I’ve known those guys
for seven years or so. The things that I really enjoy doing is knowing what they need
before they know they need it. So when they’re 10 minutes away I’m sort of frantically
trying to think of, if I were at this point
of a race, of a run, what am I gonna need? Am I probably gonna need some body glide, I’m probably gonna need
to refill my water bottle. I’m probably gonna need a hug. Nice work guys. – Thank you. Thank you very much. (crowd cheering) (cow bell rings) (guitar music) This burrito’s kinda cold. – It’s a little cold? You want me to heat that up for ya. (laughs) There ya go. Now it’s nice. At this point they thought
they might actually be a couple of hours behind. But they’re so on pace. It’s been a perfect day so far. A little hot right now. They’re real hot. – [Brendan] It’s easy to feel optimistic when you’re a third of the way there. But in the back of your mind you know eventually that the
wheels will start falling off. – We have to be drinking some fluids. A little bit sweaty. Thankful for this shade that
we got going on right now. – I would say that I do
not feel 100% right now. Sun’s gettin’ lower. Almost 11 hours in. – Not sure of the miles. – Still havin’ fun. – Still havin’ lots of fun out here. – Lots of power hiking at this point. – I’m a bit concerned about
tonight when it gets cold but they’ll be warm. – (Syd) They gotta coat, right? – (Kathy) I hope. (crickets) – Hour 12. – Hour 12. Comin’ into the Olympian Hall aid station in a second here. – Have the stick roll on mile 32. Is that right? Yeah, 41.9 or something. People tell you that the night is the hardest part of a 100 mile race. It’s dark for 12 hours. It’s cold and your world
is reduced to the little bubble of light from your head lamp. In the grand scheme of
an 18 year friendship, 36 hours is nothing. But this is the start of the most intense 24 hours of our relationship. And I think we both kind of know it but don’t want to say anything. (crowd cheers) – [Man] Good job. – We’re going into the dark,
into the night, obviously, as it’s night outside and
we are going to Long Lake which is back up where
we came down earlier, about 10 miles. It’s actually, it’s going to
be pretty interesting climb ’cause that was rugged on the way down. So navigating in the dark, nark, dark. – They had a snack, good
snack, changed their clothes, got a little dry, got a little
warm, had some hot broth, some hot soup so they warmed up a bit. I think they’re doing good. They might decide to slow
their pace down a little bit which is probably a smart
thing at this point. Jason seems like he’s in
a really good spirits. Brendan might be lagging just a little bit but I think he’s realistic
about their time goal now which is a good thing. – Thank you all. Thank you very much, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you. – [Man] Don’t forget to turn
on your head lamp, Jason. – [Jason] Yep. – See you soon. Thanks. – (Syd) See ya later, man. – Headin’ into the mountains. Here we go. Lot’s of fun. – I feel much better after
everybody force fed me. – Yeah. – Do you? – You’re a stubborn bastard. – I just felt like shit. – Oh, I’m sorry, I should say that. You’re a stubborn guy. They had to force feed you. You should have been eating! – Yeah. – I think they’re about two hours late is what Hilary had said. I sent her a message so that’s kind of disconcerting but, – Yeah, it says that
they checked in at eight but I think they left around 8:40. So nine, 10, 11, three and
a half hours for 10 miles. – Hour 19, 3 a.m., just left
the Summit Lake aid station. Mile 57 and we’re jogging. – Trying to jog. Jog a little downhill action. – Make up a little time. – 4 a.m., hour 20. Doing a little blister blister repair here. – It’s like the darkest part
of the night for these guys and it’s just brutal
watching their posture and they really do look like zombies but yeah. (crowd cheering) – [Man] Good job. – [Woman] Nice job running. Hey guys! That is you. – Sorry. – [Kate] You’re doing great. You wanna keep running? – Okay. Wow. – Where am I lookin’? – Right there. – Oh yeah. – So I had a moleskin on it
and now it’s in the worst, I never had one there. – I feel very slow at this
point and I think every time an hour goes by I’m like, oh my god. We’re gonna be out here like 36 hours. – Brendan, I think it’s over here. – She said when we’re just ready to go up. – No. I’m sorry, thank you. – It’s all good. – Brendan? – Yes. – Alright. – [Woman] Good luck! – [Brendan] Now I’m starting to drag. We’ve been moving for 21 hours and there’s no way you’re going
to feel good at this point. But Jason and I have a
sort of unspoken agreement. He keeps moving so I keep moving. (suspenseful music) – It’s time to pace. We’ve been ready to go up and pace them since like two, more or less. – Those guys should be
comin’ in about 45 minutes, an hour. It’s been 24 hours. – [Brendan] 8 a.m. on Saturday. We’ve been moving for an entire day. – As does happen with these things, not everything’s going as planned. (laughs) – This is one of the worst goddamn ideas. – [Brendan] We made it through the night and you’d think the sunrise would be this big hopeful moment. But look at Jason. He’s limping and we still
have 29 miles to go. But nobody’s talking about quitting. Who’s the stubborn bastard now? This is the guy who’s
lost a full two years of wrestling matches before he won one. – I pee when Brendan pees. Hey, I’m bringing humor right now. We need it, okay? – [Brendan] What is this
thing in front of me? – Brendan’s doin’ awesome. I try and ask him. I care about him. I don’t know what goes on over there. You know. (uplifting music) – You just keep pushing. By far the hardest thing I’ve ever done further and further out. One of those hard things
become way less hard in retrospect. So this is probably gonna be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. – [Man] What are you guys doin’ now? – Some drink. Electrolyte drink and potato chips. – [Man] How’s the chip drink? – Phenomenal. A little salt and vinegar. What? – I feel like I have the
energy to bring it home. ‘Cause everything’s (beep) clunked. Clunked out. – Mile 74 so Jason’s ankle
started to really hurt and become swollen. So he’s trying to troop it out. Hopefully we finish before the cut off. He’s tough. But I would be lying if I didn’t say I was not giving me some anxiety. – They’re both pooping
right now at the same time. – [Brendan] Let’s be clear
here, I’m ready to quit. Everything hurts and this is not fun. I hate running. I hate mountains. And I hate this (beep) sandwich. But we still have a couple
hours before the final cutoff and we can still walk. ♪ Wild, Wild horses ♪ – This is how it happened. Yeah cuz bookah, I can
take these steps that are much easier on the shin. – [Brendan] Good then, man, yeah. – [Jason] Not as much
fun suffering, why not? – Get me a peanut butter and
jelly sandwiches cut in fours, why not? Wanna have the tip of your
private parts chafing, why not? – I know those are two
of the most stubborn guys I’ve ever known in my life. (laughs) If anybody can make it
together, those two together are gonna get across. But I think they’re in pain. I think they’re hurting. – We’re gonna be done
there by seven, you know. – 45 minutes, you go
four and a half miles, walking backwards. Our pace, let me just tell you guys, our pace is 30 minute miles right now. – Okay. – So yes, two miles an hour. – We’ll be done in two and a half hours. – To be past the cutoff of the 8:45. – You guys are gonna have to run. – We’re startin’ to
worry about these guys. We’re getting text messages that they were hurting, in bad shape. I’m worried to be honest with you. I’m really worried. I know they wanna come in under 36 hours but I’m kinda worried that it’s gonna be really, really close. – This is happenin’. What do you mean this is we’re right. I’m gonna (beep) get down
this (beep) mountain. – [Woman] You got this you guys. – [Brendan] I guess when
your friend is also your hero it’s like we’re runnin’ or something. Sometimes you just do what he does. Not everyone finished an ultra marathon under the cutoff time but Jason’s whole life has
been based on not quitting. (crowd cheering) (inspirational music) (crowd cheering) – Here comes Jason finishing 100 miles. – [Man] Go baby all the way, all the way! (crowd cheering) – [Man] I need another medal! (inspirational music) – Good job you guys. You are one tough dude. Come on, let’s go sit down. You wanna sit down? You alright? Oh man. – [Announcer] Jeremy
from Roxword, Colorado. – [Brendan] We don’t always run together on Saturdays anymore now that
we finished our 100 mile race. Maybe we’ll do another one some day. Maybe we’ll just be proud
that we did one at all. Whatever happens, I
always remember one thing I learned from Jason. When you’re a kid, they tell
you you can do anything. Most people stop believing
that at some point. Jason never has stopped. Maybe I shouldn’t either. ♪ I think it’s great how
you used to be great ♪ ♪ I can’t hate on how
you chose to relate ♪ ♪ But I know that you had the potential ♪ ♪ I understand why you wanted to let go ♪ ♪ A lot of pressure in the
middle of those shoulders ♪ ♪ And we aint gettin’ nothing but older ♪ ♪ Aint nothing changed
but the day we run from ♪ ♪ But nobody knows it
better than you, uh ♪ ♪ One for the bar tab two for the shine ♪ ♪ Let’s go to your car do another line ♪ ♪ Barely trust ’em they’re all puppets ♪ ♪ Love is nothing scared of success ♪ ♪ One for the bass two for the drums ♪ ♪ Last call gonna take whatever comes ♪ ♪ Barely trust ’em there all puppets ♪ ♪ Love is nothing scared of success ♪