Jul 30, 2007 7:19 PM
I drove up to VT this year with fear in my heart, remembering the collosal struggle of last years finish. I felt that I had trained more intensely this year, and had learned alot of lessons about what can go wrong during a hundred, and how to steer clear of those problems, so I oughtta be able to relax. But I couldn't!
Karen (my fiance') and I got to Silver Hill at 3:00 Friday afternoon, and after I checked in with a wieght of 171 and high blood pressure (from nerves), we headed over to where Joe Brown had set up the tent. We relaxed from the drive, and then headed down to the meeting and dinner. It was good to see so many familiar faces and catch up with a few friends. After dinner, Karen went to a motel with my mom and step-dad, and Joe and I went back to the tent to settle in. I saw Sherpa John and his crew and we chatted a bit, and then, after laying out my stuff for morning, I crashed out at about 9:00.
For a guy who was so nerved up, I slept like a rock, right through the alarm at 2:30! Luckily Joe heard the alarm, and got my lazy arse up. I threw down an Ensure, an oatmeal bar, acup of strong coffe, and a quart of Gatorade for breakfast. Then I hit the porta-john ahead of the throngs, and went back to get dressed for the day. I was going to be using Hammer Perpetuem as my primary source of fuel, so I fixed up a bottle, and filled some zip-locks with the powder to last until the first crew point. We put some stuff by the car for our crews to pick up, and headed to the start.
I saw a few friends and we wished one another Godspeed, and at 4:00, we were off for the adventure. It was good to be moving through the perfectly cool pre-dawn air. I fought the urge to run fast in the cool weather, and stuck to my "slow-but-steady" strategy from the get-go. Joe and I ran together, joking and laughing, and setting a light hearted mood that would last all the way to the finish.
We were tooling along at a steady 12 min. pace and feeling great. The weather was perfect, and the fingers were crossed. So far my sub-24 main goal felt totally doable. Hmmm... 20 hrs? "Don't get crazy, just stay cool and be smart", I tell myself.
Saw the crew at Pretty House, grabbed a fresh supply of Perpetuem, threw down half a pbj, and moved out quickly. By now, Joe and I had fallen in with a core group of runners that I'd be near all day including Barry Hopkins, and Cory Johnson. We all had twisted senses of humor, so it made for a good group. We had fun threatening one another, and busting eachothers chops (hence the "fight scene" picture on the Spectrum Photography site). Going into Ten Bear at 47, all systems were go, but I had what felt like hot spots on the pads of both feet, so, much as I hated losing the time, I wis
ely decided the see the podiatrist.
I weighed in a pound up (172) and went to the foot guy, who told me it wasn't hot spots, but metetarsal something or other. I iced my feet while I ate some roast beef, then grabbed my renewed supplies and got the hell out of dodge. By now, Joe Brown was 15 minutes gone, and although I tried for awhile, I'd not see him again until the finish. I did catch back up to Barry and Cory again in the loop back to Ten Bear, and the joking continued. I had a bad patch between Tracer Brook and Mrgueritaville, but still managed to cover the stretch in an hour. On I pressed, pushing my way back to Ten Bear.
I rolled back into Ten Bear at 7:00, and weighed in at 171, then rushed to the crew for a change of socks. I threw down a bannanna, a pbj, and restocked the Perpetuem. Jimmy (a.k.a. LocalNovelty), my pacer and I rolled out at 7:08 p.m., into the final 30. I was feeling strong and confident, and told Jimmy I was moving well, but wasn't looking to push any harder yet. My biggest problem was that my quad's were on the verge of melt-down, and had been since Tracer Brook, but they weren't getting worse, and I was still able to run the downs, though not as quickly as I wanted to.
Just after West Winds, it got dark, and we turned on our flashlights and kept moving well. I felt good about getting a large chunk of the trail stuff done before dark, because it's tough to move quick on the trails at night when you've got almost 80 miles in your legs and brain. This was where my melt-down began last year, and oh what a melt-down it was! I don't even remember much of the last 20 and am still amazed I was able to push through for the finish. This year, although exausted, too be sure, I felt as tough as nails, and there would be no melt-down.
As always happens with me, everything was tasing like total sh*t, but I kept up with the Perpetuem anyhow, and chugged a hot soup every chance I got. We rolled into Bill's at 11:50. It felt good to know that 24 was in the bag. I weighed in at 167 and joked with the nurse that the lost weight should help my speed over the next section. I sat down for a minute to take in some soup, then headed out to do it.
We soon hooked up with Marianna Inslec, who was super strong in her first 100, doing it all solo with no crew or pacer. She was also well-humored, and we had a few good laughs. Running through that section of VT at night is magical, especially when you're way high from the effort of the day. We heard two packs of coyote's calling back and forth from opposite sides of the valley, and it was good. We reached Polly's around 1:50, and Jimmy said we could push and break 23, but I couldn't have cared less. I just wanted to savor the last bit.
When we finally reached the last section of trail, and see the glowing jugs, we stopped for a minute through the silent woods, could hear the finish line. I took a deep breath. I soaked in the peace and satisfaction, and let that one moment imprint it'self in my mind. Then we ran in, and I crossed the line in 23:09, an hour and a half faster than last year!
It was great to get up and come down to watch the later finishers, and I got teary eyed every time I saw someone come in. What an awesome accomplishment, and what a great bunch of people. I was ravenous at the barbeque, and ate as such! It was great to get my hands on that buckle (although the plaques are nicer!), and to see everyone else get thiers. For me the most inspiring moment of the weekend was seeing the final finisher come in (past the cut-off) to a well deserved standing ovation.
The weather was perfect. My crew (mom, Bob, Karen, Jimmy) were spot on. Jimmy did great pacing me. Karen did great pacing Joe (to a 22:27:27!!!). I shall return!
After a week of eating anything and everything, I ran the infamous Escarpment Trail Run in the Catskill's yesterday. Damned tough single track 30k with 10,000 ft. of climb. I'd recommend it to anyone. I was surprised how good my legs felt, and that I pulled off a 4:25. Now that the VT/Escarpment double is done, I think I'll take it easy for a bit!
Congrat's all of you other VT and Escarpment runners!