Guest Q&A: Jeremy Weibley
Read Time: 4 mins - Short Film: 5 mins
Endurance sports can literally and figuratively lead us to the highest of peaks and the lowest of valleys. There are lessons to be learned in both of these physical and mental places. Human Powered Movement is proud to support Jeremy Weibley on his quest to finish his first 100 mile trail race. In this short film and Q&A you'll see why some ultramarathons end up with belt buckles and beers and some end with concussions and cobwebs. Ultra running is kind of like mountaineering ... reaching the peak is optional, descending is mandatory.
Q: First off … What in the world made you choose the Midstate Massive for your first 100-mile attempt? (Editor’s note: this race is known for its technical surface and New England’s particularly volatile fall weather)
A: First, I fell in love with the GPX file as soon as I saw it. The route literally runs through the entirety of the state of Massachusetts which was extremely captivating to me. Secondly, I know how to traverse East coast trails and didn't see the 11,000ish feet of elevation gain as an EXTREME jump for my first 100mi. The technicality of the course was terrain that I have dealt with before. It would be tough (duh), but plenty of other races are 20,000ft plus, which I knew I wasn't ready for yet.
Q: What was your training and nutrition plan leading into the event?
A: My training plan topped out at an 80-mile week. Crazy, right? 100 miles in 1ish day after never doing that amount in a week? My choice was bold but was thought over carefully. The weekends leading up to the race consisted of long runs with a lot of elevation as well as back-to-back long runs on Saturdays and Sundays. I knew I was going to be supplementing a lot of miles on the bike and leaning on my strength training to carry me further. Plus, I just didn't want to commit so much time to one activity. I slowly tinkered with my nutrition plan over the months and "training" races leading up. I practiced stomaching more real food in the middle of runs and figured out what works for me. I found out that sun chips and tailwind all day in addition to PB&J and mashed potatoes sprinkled in every 20ish miles is my go-to combo.
Q: Before the noggin knocker, did you encounter any other physical, mental, or logistical challenges?
A: Physically, I was feeling great. The only big challenge on race day was staying alert and paying attention to the course markers. Some were well marked, and some weren't, but that's the fun of ultra running! The weather, of course, was a complete wild card. You really had to take it slow, even on the flats, because a lot of the trail was either super muddy or covered in big puddles. I was forced to slow down, which I took as a blessing to simply conserve energy for later in the race if I wanted, or needed, to push.
Q: Obviously, things didn’t go as planned and you mention in the film that you wouldn’t change a thing. It’s been a month since the race, do you still feel the same? (IE: Has added time changed how you view your experience?)
A: Yeah, I would definitely change slipping on top of that mountain, but that's pretty obvious. My answer is still the same though. The maturation from this race was really important for me. I came into this race without a single DNF. I left this race with an invaluable understanding of the proverbial line I refuse to cross when it puts me in danger of getting back to the important people in my life. It's glamorized on social media to "push through the pain and ignore it", which is true in a sense, but when you only have one brain ... we choose to live and see another race. In any long-distance endurance sport, you have to possess the skill and understanding to pull back to see another day unless you want to dance in the arena of long-term ramifications to your body. It also helps to have a crew that TRULY knows when to push you vs. when to take the finish line out of the equation.
Q: It’s hard to fully comprehend what can be gained from an experience like this over time but looking back, what was the biggest running lesson and life lesson learned?
A: Falling in love with the mundane aspect of training because you never know what your race day will look like. It can get boring putting in those long runs and high mileage weeks, but it wasn't just making me a better runner. This training was making me a more disciplined individual for life in general. I've become more accepting of the ebbs and flows that life has to offer from this training cycle. In my opinion, if all of your mental eggs are in the race day basket then you have a solid chance of becoming disappointed. The weather could be vastly different than expected. Your body might be in an odd spot for some reason. You could pick up an injury during the race. I think that's where it is important to fall in love with the journey to get to race day and be ready for a variety of puzzles to solve.
Q: What’s next on the endurance agenda: Rest and relaxation or raging and racing ASAP?!
A: My Pennsylvania boys, who also showed out for Psychoactive, will be running the Kiawah Island Marathon on December 9th. I hope to be pacing my good friend, Phil Overton, to a PR attempt in the marathon. Then we have Perennial Endurance Run with HPM on January 13th (10Hr category), which I’ll use as a training measure for my 30-hour race at Sesquicentennial State Park which is part of the Sandhills Trail Race Series. You run the same 7.75mi loop for a variety of distances up to 50k. The next step up is a 30-hour option, which allows runners to see how many miles or loops they can get done in the time allotted. I will also use that as a measuring stick to see what my 2024 racing season will look like. I have some races saved already but will take the first couple months to see what my body could be ready for and go from there. To answer the question more directly … Raging ASAP!
Q: Most importantly, what beer are you going to drink and where are you going to put your Belt Buckle when you cross your first 100-mile finish line?
A: Hahahaha … Could it be anything other than a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale????!!!! Already cozying up a place for my belt buckle when I get it!
Q: Parting words for the HPM readers and viewers out there?
A: Smile and never turn down an opportunity to tell those supporting you that you love them. Smiles make the world go round. Much love, Jer.
Journal - Belt Buckles & Beers or Concussions & Cobwebs: A 100 Mile Quest
Human Powered Journal
Writings and musings of an active lifestyle
Adam Bratton is the Founder and Head Enabler at Human Powered Movement.
Guest Contributors are more compelling in written word and life in general.