Jerry Armstrong is a former Marine that turned his sharp, inquisitive mind to Ultra Running over seven years ago. He has methodically researched nutrition and exercise physiology to his own running endeavors. During the Leadville 100 Jerry ran into stomach issues that have plagued him in other races and discovered how to assess what form of nutrition he needs under varying forms of stress.
See Jerry’s pre-race interview HERE.
Weight: 140 lbs
How many 100’s have you attempted? 7 attempted, 6 finished
Average miles per week: 80-120
Lara: What was your finishing time?
Lara: What was your favorite moment in Leadville?
Jerry: I had a couple hours on the return to Twin Lakes, approximately miles 55-60 that were epic. My pacer, Mark Larson, and I were running hard downhill and singing loudly. The runner’s high was in full gear… no sense of time or effort. Moments like that make the pain worth it. Of all the moments out there, I’d say that was the best in this race.
Lara: What Aid Station stood out for you the most, in that you were looking forward to getting there or it was incredibly special because of how your body was reacting?
Jerry: I didn’t feel well for most of the last 50 miles. I think the most “memorable” A/S was Fish Hatchery inbound, about mile 77. I was pretty out of it, very cold, and disconnected from reality. I don’t know how long I was there but it was not a quick stop.
I also enjoyed Fish Hatchery outbound… Mile 23. I felt great and my crew was so pumped! I loved being there in that crowd, trying to stay calm and acknowledge so many people cheering my name. It was just awesome.
Lara: What kind of gear did you carry that worked great during this distance? Did you have any trouble with anything?
Jerry: I can definitely say my shoes/socks worked. I wore New Balance 110s for 50 miles and New Balance 101s the final 50 (1 size larger). I also used Dry Max trail running socks throughout. I had no blisters, hot spots, or discomfort in my feet the whole race.
I used very little “equipment” other than my Garmin 310xt. Everything worked well and, with the help of my pacers after 50 miles, I had no issues other than my stomach.
Lara: How was your nutrition?
Jerry: I discovered the hard way that I should have eaten more solid food throughout the race. I used liquid nutrition exclusively through 60 miles and that caught up with me. I use SPIZ and even though it historically has worked well for me my metabolism is such that I need some solid food to supplement the liquid, regardless of total calories or carbs.
Lara: How did the Leadville 100 compare to other Ultra’s you’ve done?
Jerry: This race was really crowded for me. Although I really like the big aid stations, I’m not a fan of the mass numbers on trail.
A good balance for me is Western States 100… I love the frequent aid stations and quality volunteers but less of the crowds on single-track. WS100 is definitely my favorite race.
Lara: What would have done differently during the race?
Jerry: Well, hindsight is 20-20… a little solid food would have shaved hours off my time! That’s the only thing I should have adjusted… thankfully I know this now and the next 100 mile race should go much better.
Lara: Was there a person that was either physically present or that you carried in your mind during the race that gave you motivation and energy to keep going?
Jerry: I kept my entire crew in mind all day. I decided to finish for them, regardless of anything else. I didn’t have it in me to finish for myself alone.
My wife Jen was also on my mind. She’s a Type 1 diabetic and during my race she rode and completed her first 100-mile cycling event. I thought about her often and was so happy to receive an emotional call from her just when I pulled into Twin Lakes at 60 miles. She had finished the ride and her voice was inspiring. She means the world to me.
Lara: Jerry, you used the Hypoxico tent for several months leading up to this race. What are your thoughts post-race on the tent?
Jerry: I used the Hypoxico tent for several months prior. No doubt, the tent helped with altitude. I ended up purchasing the Hypoxico Altitude Systems equipment… I can’t wait to use it for my next big race.