Zsuzsanna Carlson's 2012 NJ Ultra Festival 100 Miles...Race Report

March 24, 2012  Augusta, New Jersey Ultra Festival 100 mile race. I Ran this race the previous two years that it has been held. During the 2010 race I dropped out at mile 76 with shin pain. 2011 I came in second female in 21:24. In preparation for this years race I trained on more roads than trails due to the flat nature of the course. I did more back to back long runs for the first time since running ultras, I also practiced eating more while running (as opposed to eating while walking or hiking up a hill).


The venue moved to a new location this year, the NJ Fairgrounds. The course comprised of 10, 10 mile loops. The race started on pavement but soon you would hit an overgrown rail to trail. There were 2 out and back aid stations just about 6 miles into the loop then up the only hill through the fairgrounds to the start and finish area and repeat.  

First 3 laps were chatty and uneventful. I ended up dropping my hydration vest and went with my hand held water bottle. On the out and back sections I even dropped the water bottle on the ground maybe a mile out from each turnaround. I loved running with absolutely nothing to hold or weigh me down. I Stuck with my plan, no iPod until at least mile 30, no walking (other than that little uphill to stretch my legs), eat and drink...

The sun came out and there was not much shade. I do not like heat and got worried about the summer time 100 milers I have lined up, I’m going to have to work on my heat tolerance, as I quickly got nauseous...

It was very nice passing by people I know on the out and back sections, some of them shooting for new, longer distances, we cheered each other on....

During Laps 4,5,6, my nausea got worse, I could not stomach my perpetuem, which has proven to be so helpful this past year in holding off the feeling of muscle soreness DURING races....as for gels, I think I had 3 of them the whole 100 miles!!!

One girl I noticed, thought she was in second place, kept the same time between her and I at the turn-arounds, then I noticed her gaining on me loops 5 and 6. Coming into the start/finish area after loop 6 I decided take some time to regroup I haven’t been spending any time at aid stations.

Forgot to mention, my neighbour and friend Adam Mayer finishing his first 100k just then and coming in 2nd overall, his encouragement all day was very helpful, also us leapfrogging helped me keep steady and focused.


In comes the girl that has been running behind me and keeping me on my toes but guess what she was in the 100k race. I had to change my sports bra at this time as I realized it was too tight, adding to my discomfort, if not causing it also Adam gave me some of his organic crystallized ginger.

Lap 7: I could not believe how much my stomach improved, I felt great!!!  I Had my headlamp in case it would get dark, I was still running pretty steady yet slowing down. My friends Helen, Amy and Clarissa would be volunteering at the AS from 6-10pm, a big boost. Thank you!

On the way back to the start area it got dark and for the first time I LOVED IT, the sunset, twilight, fade out, do not give me anxiety in a 100 like some.

My IT Band got totally tight on this lap, It went from ok to unbearably tight. I got lucky as a friend was at the start who is a physical therapist. She set up her massage table and stretched me out for about 10 minutes. It was time well invested as I left for lap 8 feeling like a new person again!!

Lap 8 was very uneventful, I started to walk or shuffle here and there. I am still not crazy about my headlamp and my vision is poor at best I have 5 headlamps and don't feel comfortable with any of them, I’m working on, it a hand held should solve the problem (extra). Drizzle and showers started up. I feared getting cold so every once in awhile I put on my jacket  but every time I overheated way too fast so I mostly ran in my singlet, until my very last lap.

Lap 9,10 I had to take my 2nd Aleve of the race, the back of my knee swelled up and I could not run as any impact was really painful I shuffled away. Glad sleepiness was not an issue in the race as it was reasonably fast.

My friend Barry Lass volunteered at the AS after 10pm and he got to come and see me finish. Meant a lot as he was my night time pacer in my very first 100, 3 years ago....

Thank you to MPF Campmor & to Jennifer and Rick of NJTrailSeries for being awake enough to cheer me in, at 3:24 am. I got 1st place Female, a first for me.  Lenny, Jules, Johnny Rocket, Josh Dennis, thank you for the advice and positive words during the race.

I have to admit that I wanted to quit at mile 60. Nausea is the worst as it keeps you from getting in the fuel you need...I can't take 100 milers for granted. Yet for the first time I feel I managed the race, I handled it. In the past, the race was boss. I think I played it right, yet I can do better still!