Hooked on HundredsLiz Bauer named Masters Female Trail Runner of the Year
Photo by Michael Lebowitz, Long Run Picture Co.
In 2012, 53-year-old Liz Bauer of Plainville, Georgia, finished 36 100-mile races, on terrain ranging from smooth pavement to extremely technical to high alpine. She fought her way through blisters, tendinitis and dead legs to break the record for the most 100-milers in a given year. For this, Bauer credits her partner, Scott Brockmeier. Brockmeier wanted to see if he could run 30 hundreds in 52 weeks.
“He asked me if I would like to try with him. I said, ‘Sure, why not?’” says Bauer. “Scott became injured in late March with an Achilles tendon injury and had to take a month off. Even with only 11 months of running, he pulled off 27 hundreds, more than any other man had previously done in a year.”
Brockmeier was forced to cut his challenge short, but he still drove Bauer to most all of her races, and offered non-stop emotional support as she attempted to recover between races. “Running 36 hundreds was a full time job,” says Bauer. “Trying to work night shifts as a critical care RN was like adding overtime.”
We caught Bauer in a rare down moment between long work hours:
How did you recover between races?
I did not run any training miles between the 36 hundreds I ran. The swelling in my legs would often not go down until nearly a week after the race, especially following a difficult run like Hawaii’s HURT or Colorado’s Hardrock. I also had a lot of trouble with blisters early in the year—the worst during HURT. I finished that race late Sunday afternoon, so only had five rest days before my next hundred, Florida’s Long Haul. I taped my feet really well and ran anyway, despite large blisters on the bottoms of my feet. I experienced less discomfort than I expected.
How has your body held up this year? Do you feel like running this many 100s is sustainable for you?
I felt pretty strong early in the year. At the Zion 100 in May, I got lost during the night and ran an additional 20 miles. That knocked me back with exhaustion. The Keys 100 the following weekend was slow and difficult. Still, I raced the Nanny Goat 100 the following weekend and ran my fastest race of the year, crossing the line in 21:02.
After Bighorn 100 in June, I developed significant pain and neuromas in my feet. The pain became increasingly worse, so after Leadville, Scott suggested we try HOKAS. I wore them for the first time at Lean Horse 100 the next weekend, where I pushed really hard to try to break 24 hours (I ran 24:06). Since it was my first time wearing the HOKAS, I was not used to the low heel profile. This may have contributed to the tendinitis I developed in my left flexor tendon. Ten weeks and eight hundreds later, the tendon had improved, but my legs were dead.
Were there any moments when you felt unsure you could keep going? What prevented you from stopping?
Quitting was never an option. I ran through some pain, but never enough to stop me.