Monday, August 19, 2013

Vermont 100 Race Report

 I have to thank the best crew at the Vermont 100 (Ann, Jen, Ryan, Hoyt & family,  Andy, our kids my mother and brother and his kids). I have no doubts I could not have completed this journey without them and I underestimated how much I really needed their support.  Someone once said ultra marathons are 90% mental and the other 10% is in your head. That is so true.

This course was hilly with a little more than 15,000 feet of climbing. It was hot and humid, the Vermont scenery was green and beautiful.

Pre-race meal was the usual chicken parm, a bottle of pedialite with a teaspoon of salt.

Awoke Saturday morning at 2:00 a.m. breakfast was, Whey protein shake, 2 boiled eggs, banana, apple sauce and sweet potatoes.

Ann drove us to the 4:00 a.m.  start.  Just before the gun, they had Fireworks, that was really cool. But, it was about then where it sunk in for the first time WTF am I thinking doing this, and for a fleeting moment I was scared, but, that passed and I was psyched and ready to go. I carried two hand helds, one with water and the other with GU Roctane drink and a few GU gels stuffed in.  We rolled through the first few miles with headlamps, mud and rocks. About 5 miles in I had to stop in the woods. (Oops, no TP or baby wipes, Hint- always carry baby wipes!)

Mile 14 saw Ann, Jen, Ryan and my mother a nice lift.
Mile 20ish First aid station, a little more than 3 hours, refill hand helds, ate some cookies, Pringles, and fruit. 

Mile 30 next aid station. Again refill hand helds, ate cookies Pringles and fruit, peanut butter and fluff sandwich. While standing at the aid table eating, I noticed my legs were shaking uncontrollably, I thought that was weird, but figured it would stop sometime.

It was somewhere in this next stretch where, I noticed my ankles and feet started to hurt, but focused on relentless forward progress and  keep moving forward.
It was also around here, that I learned, that when stopping to pee, other bodily functions may involuntarily follow.  Oops, how I wish I had some baby wipes. That strange phenomenon would occur a few more times over the next 15 miles. It was getting hot and humid, drinking lots of water. Maybe too much, but I didn't want to find out the alternative of not drinking enough.

Mile 47- Camp Ten Bear aid station, in about 10 hours. Went to mandatory weigh in, lost 4lbs, but I was good to go, All things considered feeling ok, a little vasoline on the undercarriage, potatoes in salt, Pringles, cookies, fruit and some other things on the table, I think I had an Ensure  (actually the generic version from Savemart, I had several of those throughout the day, very helpful), a fellow runner overheard me talking about stomach problems and gave me some ginger candy (hint this stuff really does help). I also stopped the GU Roctane drink, and stayed with water, coke, fruits, cookies and Pringles, later I would add Ramen noodles, chicken broth and Frappicinos and chocolate milk.

Got to halfway point in about 10:30. We were on steep hills in the woods and walking, this was a tough stretch for me, stomach feeling better, ankles felt like someone cracked them with a sledge hammer (it wasn't til the next day when I would realize the extent of the carnage). Really struggled to get to 55, then the hills got steeper, started to rain, but given the humidity of the day this felt glorious. At this point, all I could think about was getting to mile 62.5 (Margaritaville Aid station)  Finally trudged into Margaritaville feeling drained and beaten, the hills, humidity and bathroom issues having taken their toll.  My mother, brother, his kids, Owen, David and Livia were all there and this was a huge lift.   A change of clothes, shoes, Ensure, Coke, ginger snaps, ramen noodles, bag balm on the underside and I was rejuvenated and ready to roll. I noticed, that my change of shoes were tight, and my feet hurt more, I had heard your feet swell and you should have a change of shoes a half size bigger,  I realize now this is true. Oh well, time for the little piggies to suffer and move on.  I was able to pretty much run to mile 70 (Camp Ten Bear) I felt like I had gotten a second wind, I was very much looking forward to seeing Ann, Hoyt, Jen and getting Ryan as my first pacer.  My goal was to get there before sundown and I made it.

I approached mile 70 and saw Hoyt who had jogged out, I was happy, I was at least going to make it to mile 70. We saw a girl who was in a little trouble, Hoyt stopped to help her, she said she was losing her vision.  Hoyt helped her to the medical tent. I only hoped she was ok, could recover and continue.  I got weighed in, lost 8lbs close to the point were they may put a medical hold on me for losing too much weight, but I made it and I was good to go.  I had the devil's crotch to deal with, all I wanted was butt cream, Ann went waay above the call of duty, and took me behind the Porto-pottys, I saw her surgically remove a fern, some leaves, twigs, and who knows what else I stopped looking after that, and I really don't know where that stuff came from, but that's what happens when you forget the baby wipes.  Butt cream applied felt heavenly and I was sooo happy. I would have no similar issues after that. I was starting to feel recharged, drank a Frappicino, ate  Pringles, cookies, fruit, potatoes in salt, and ramen noodles.

Good to go, Ryan and I jogged out of aid station, 8:00 pm, 18 hours in. I was happy to have Ryan with me. My joy was short lived as we got to the next hill in the woods, we walked on but I was again sinking. We got out of the woods and into some open meadows, still up hill, I felt I wanted to run but it was too hilly for me and I just couldn't. The sun was setting, the nearly full moon was coming up, it was breathtakingly beautiful. We turned on our headlamps and went back into the woods.  I couldn't run the steep downhills, too tough and I was having problems adjusting to the dark. We got to some relatively flat section and started to shuffle along. It was about here Ryan politely pointed out our walking pace may be faster then run pace, but it felt good to run. We finished this 7 mile leg, Ryan had gotten me through, and Hoyt picked me up for the next 11.  We were able to run (at least I am calling it that) quite a bit of this stretch. Hoyt pushed me on through and we got to Jen at mile 88. More Frappicinos, ramen noodles, cookies, Pringles and we were good to go. Just needed to get 3 miles to next aid station, then 4... Jen had the world's brightest headlamp that lit up the woods. It was awesome. She walked behind me and I saw my shadow and I thought I looked like Frankenstein, playing around with that a while in my mind, got me through the next mile. At this point our goal was just to get to the next glow stick, then the next, we got to aid station at mile 91, ate and drank some more, and trudged on. Jen would ask me questions to distract me and keep me moving, but I couldn't talk and I am not sure if I didn't answer or just said yes or no. Jen got me to mile 95.5. I had no doubts I was going to finish, I never did, I always knew I was going to make it no matter what because I wasn't quitting, but I had been scared of the unknowns and what could happen. Ann picked me up from this point and we walked glow stick to glow stick. I think even "ran" a little. The sun was coming up and it was beautiful.  Ann got me to the finish, it was now daylight again, we saw Jen, Ryan,  Hoyt, my brother and mother, and the dude handing out the finishers medal which is also the coolest bottle opener. I really felt pretty good at that point. Finished in 25 hours 26 minutes.

Later that day, Jen, Ryan, the Kohl family came over for some awesome baked ziti Ann made. A highlight of the race weekend, discussing the finer points of the race, and the adventures of the crew, who had stayed awake over 24 hours, with only a few naps sprinkled in, and had successfully navigated the Vermont "roads" and woods, to be there for me at every possible handler station, and even more.  I am sure they all have their own stories, that I look forward to hearing more about.

Post-Race beverage of choice: Magic Hat Blind Faith IPA courtesy of Ryan Brubaker

The Good: Ann, Livia, Owen, David, my brother, his family and my mother, Jen, Ryan, Hoyt and his family, Andy, Vermont, covering 100 miles and yes it is an awesome adventure and experience.
Some things that worked well for me:
The best crew in the race!
Chocolate milk, Frappicinos, Pringles, ginger snaps and any kind of cookies, ramen noodles, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, watermelon, potatoes in salt, ginger candy and butt cream.

The bad: the hills, humidity, pain, struggling through the second half.

The ugly: stomach problems, no baby wipes, and my ankles, once I took my sneakers off after the race they looked like grapefruit.

Is it what I thought it was? Yes, and more. Although I underestimated the pain. But it's a pain we can all deal with, anyone of us can do this. I had heard you run the first 50 miles with your legs and next 50 with your head. I believe this is true, anyone of us can do this or something like it.

Would I do it again? No doubt! (just not anytime soon)

I hope some of this information is helpful for you, and of course, I would be happy to talk stories with anyone, that's where I learn the most and pick up some great advice from you guys.
Thanks, Jaime

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