August 15, 2009
Shane Skowron describes how he became the youngest finisher in a 100 mile race, and Brian MacKenzie and Carl Borg of CrossFit Endurance explain what they think it means.
I was 20 years old on July 18, race day of the 2009 Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run (VT 100). On July 19—28 hours and 26 minutes later—I was its youngest finisher.
During my training in the months leading to the race, I used CrossFit Endurance methodology and I seldom ran more than five kilometers at a time. I averaged about 20 miles a week. Prior to the VT 100, my longest run was a single 50 mile race.
Many ultrarunners prepare for a 100 mile run by training approximately 60 to 100 miles per week, with half of those miles done in a two-day period. There is little precedent for low-mileage ultra-training. To many ultrarunners, the idea of training 20 miles per week for a 100 mile ultra is absurd. Several people told me I was unlikely to finish.
Five or six days per week I did a CrossFit WOD, including a few pure strength workouts. Three times a week, approximately five hours before the CrossFit WOD, I did a running workout inspired by CrossFit Endurance. I did not follow the schedule of any single CrossFit site. I took most of my workouts from the CrossFit Main Page, CrossFit Football and CrossFit Endurance sites.
In retrospect, I believe I was prepared for the distance I attempted. My finish is proof. At no point during the run did my muscles or joints fail me.
I will continue to follow a similar plan for any future endurance events I attempt because I am pleased that CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance enabled me to meet my goal. Because I now have more experience training for, tapering for and running ultramarathons, I expect to see significant improvements in the future.