Training and Fueling for the Vermont 100

A pre-race update from UnTapped athlete Lila Gaudrault

Why and how Lila started running longer distances and how she is training and fueling for the Vermont 100 in July. Check back in later this summer for a post-race update!

In my first few years of running, most races followed a similar pattern. Whether I was lining up for a cross country meet, half marathon, or uphill mountain climb, I knew roughly how the day would play out even before the gun went off. I would start strong and confident, running a fast first mile or two before the fatigue or lactic acid kicked in and I descended into a pain cave that got worse with each step. Every mile felt progressively harder, and there was no recovering. 

When I began competing in longer events – 50ks, 50 milers, and 100ks, mostly – I realized something amazing. I could start a race feeling strong, eventually descend into that pain cave, stay there for a bit, and then, with some good fueling and self-talk, recover and run stronger than I had even initially. This second wind has become my favorite part of ultramarathoning. Until recently, I never pushed far enough to know it even existed.

You have to run as hard as you can for as long as you can, suffer greatly, then come back from the worst pain and fatigue to realize you have a whole other gear. This is why I want to run 100 miles. 

The Vermont 100 was an easy choice for my first go at the distance. Everything about the race intrigued me, from its rich history (originally a horse race, runners first completed the event in 1989, making it one of the country’s oldest 100-milers), to the nature of the course (hills. Dirt roads. More hills), to the close-knit community surrounding the event. Running the Vermont 50 last fall, a race that follows much of the same course, solidified my decision. 

Lila Gaudrault
Lila Gauldrault

100 miles is a long way to run. It is not nearly as simple as 50 miles twice or 25 four times. The distance has both excited and terrified me throughout my three years as an ultrarunner, and I’ve procrastinated tackling it, choosing instead to compete in a steady stream of 50ks, 50 milers, 100ks, and other similarly long-but-not-too-long events.

This year, I’ve been racing more than ever, racking up hundreds of miles on the roads and trails, and have been continually amazed at how quickly my legs recover between efforts. Physically, I know I am ready for 100 miles. Mentally, it will be a challenge. It will take a lot of trust in myself and my training to ride out those inevitable low moments, knowing they are a necessary precursor to that second wind. Because what I’ve noticed is that the second wind, unlike the first, doesn’t end. In my most recent races, I felt strongest after 10 hours of running at a decent clip. What’s the ceiling? When does the second wind end–or does it?

Running 100 miles may be merely an excuse to test my physical and mental limits, and I can’t wait to learn what they are. 

In my pack – Fueling for the Vermont 100 

Lemon Tea Mapleaid and Lime Mapleaid 

Salted Cocoa UnTapped 

Chai Waffles