8 Tuff

8 Tuff

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

VT 50 Done and Gone!

I promised that I would follow up with a race report for my first 50 miler. Sorry it took so long. Had a nice long lazy week this past week, should have done it then. But here it is, Enjoy!

First of all I would like to thank Amanda for coming along with me on this journey. I know it wasnt the most coziest vacation ever, cause we ( when I say we I mean "I") decided to camp out the whole time on the road and in VT. We left early Friday morning around 6 AM and let me tell you I never seen so much rain in my life! Damn! It rained the whole time from Newport all the way to Geneva, NY. This was our stop for Friday evening. We staid at a little camp ground just about 10 min outside downtown Geneva. Amanda did a tri here a year or two ago and she thought it would be fun to stop by. As soon as we arrived we set up camp and went for a short 4 mile run, where I felt alittle dead in the legs but nothing not to be expected. It was a nice little run on some backroads. We decided to go to a local little pub that she ate at while up here for her race. I believe it was called Patricks or something Irish. But it was a nice little establishment and got my fill with wings, burger and a few beers. Got to bed somewhat early and up again by 8 to get on the road to VT.

This drive was alittle better. Overcast skies but not as rainy. As we hit the state line of VT I remember looking over to Amanda and saying "I didnt think VT was this hilly!" I mean I expected it to be some mountain ranges but mostly rolling hills. Boy was I wrong! It almost seemed as if we climbed the whole time we got into VT to our destination at the Ascutney Ski Resort in Brownsville. We finally arrived at the Resort after a few misadventures due to some road detours due to the affects of Hurricane Irene a few weeks before. We checked in pretty quickly and chatted with one of Amandas , Bob, from Cincinnati. Then we made our way to the Running Bear Camp Grounds. Once again set up camp quick and went for another short jaunt. Legs felt alittle looser but still heavy, just from the nerves im guessing. We later drove around and found a little pizza place to eat at. Had a steak hoagie, fries and a coke. I just tried to fill up on calories. Headed back and went to bed around 7:30 - 8 oclock-ish wgich is pretty early for me but since I had a 4 AM wake up call, i found it appropriate. Actually slept pretty well but 4 AM came quickly.

A quick shower and a peanut butter sandwich later, we were on the road to the start. Upon a arrivle I checked in again and asked about my drop bags. The answer I got was not what I was looking for. I was suppose to bring my drop bags to them the day before. Def a mistake on my past for not asking and just assuming. For most people this would have sucked but since I had Amanda there, she was able to take the bags to the appropriate aid stations. Once again, THANK YOU AMANDA!!! I would have been in a world of hurt if it was not for her. After calming my nerves and one last restroom break, it was almost time for the start. There was quite a few mountain bikers racing as well so they were starting in waves before the 50 miler runners started. (YES this was a mountain bike race as well as running.) Next thing I knew we, runners, were called to the start. After a few quick tips and remarks from the starter, we were off!

Basically in the begining I just tried to pick out a person/group that looked pretty relaxed and just tagged along. So I picked two guys talking and just ran with them. Looking at the runners in front of me, I noticed a few guys just flying. I mean it seemed as if they were taking off for a 5k! At this point I thought to myself "Dang, these guys are SERIOUS!!!" But I tried not to let it get me down. I just stuck to my plan and tried to relax as much as I could. About a mile into the race the group grew to about 6 guys and we also hit the first hill. Not just any hill, it was a hill that climbed for a good 2.5 - 3 miles! it was on a crushed gravel road so it wasnt terribly horrible, but it was a nice introduction that basically said "F-U!"

The first trails came up about mile 4 which was also the first aid station. Decided to skip that station and kept on going with the group. I was on a plan to take a GU about every 30 min. I also had my handheld water bottle filled with Nuun, so I was sipping on that. First aid station came up about mile 8 and it came up fast. I decided to refill water bottle but I couldnt get the top off and had a volunteer help me out. This is when I lost contact with the group and was basically by myself. I tried to remain calm and I did. I told myself I tould make up ground in the end. (at least thats what I kept telling myself.) So I just tried to enjoy the scenery and remain on pace. Miles past fairly quick and the first drop bag station came up at mile 12. Saw Amanda pretty quick and she refilled my bottle, which she also had trouble loosening the top, and refilled belt with gels. After I took off from that aid station, we dove into more trails. Now I mentioned before how Hurricane Irene hit this area a few weeks before. Well one would think the trails would have dried out alittle. NO! it was probably the muddiest race I have ran. There was multiple parts of the course that basically were 100-200 meters long that was just pure slop! I mean it felt as if your shoes were being sucked off your feet type of slop! The mountain bikers were getting stuck in it so it was hard to past them. At first I was trying to finesse my way through but after a few misteps I just plowed through as best as I could.

After being by myself for a few miles, I came up along a runner seeming to be struggling. He introduced himself as George and he decided to pick up his pace to stay along side of me. We ran together for a few miles, which was nice I guess. This was his 2nd VT 50, and he lived in the area. He explained to me the blue like tubes attached to every tree was a suction devise to get maple off of the trees for syrup. He was def pretty knowlegable about the area. He did have a flaw and it was that he wouldnt shut up. It was nice for a mile or so but then it just got plain annoying. Im not trying to be mean but sometimes thses people just talk about nothing pertaining the current situation. George, if your reading this, your nice guy but I really dont need to hear about your past GI issues!! So I decided to put in a small surge and left Georgy boy behind. Now looking back its sort of funny, but about a mile or two after I put the little surge in a girl with a skirt ran up along side me. She was all smiles and her stride looked effortless. "how you feeling?" she asked. "not bad, you?" I replied. "GREAT" is was she came back with a took off ahead. Almost seems as if Karma came around to me after complaining about George. It got me a little frazzled but I recouped and kept on chugging along. By this time we hit another aid station around 27 and this is where the 50ker's joined us. So now we were with bikers and 50ker's the rest of the way to the finish. One thing I did notice at this station was two guys that took off at the very start were getting into a van. This made me feel good about not going out to fast. Also at this point in the race I knew this is the farthest I have ever ran, so I did get alittle excited just from that.

The next aid station was about mile 32 and it was the 2nd drop bag station. I saw Amanda pretty quickly with my bag. At this point I was just covered in mud. So I decided to change my shoes, socks and shirt. I reapplied body glide (thank god) and refilled my nutrition needs. The next couple miles were less entertaining, I was mostly by myself and passing alot of bikers and 50kers. I was mainly concentrating on taking my gels when I needed to and keep on drinking to make sure I made it. Didnt want to let anyone down!!! Gels were def getting harder and harder to take. My stomach was handling them just fine but just the act of getting it down there was a task. So at some of the aid stations I was taking a half gel and eating a pb&j and sippin on coke. Boy oh Boy..... let me tell you about the coke. I never trained with it but once I took a sip of it I was hooked! It was a instant pick me up! From there on out I was looking forward to coke!

About the 45 mile mile mark I hit a wide open field and noticed two guys infront of me about 400 meters away. At first I just thought it was a couple 50ker's so I didnt make a big deal of it, but as I got closer I realized it was one of the guys that I started out with and his pacer (a pacer was a person who could run the last 10 miles with you.) This was a huge encouragement for me, I picked the pace up alittle and just tried to pass him with as much authority as I could. I just wanted him to think there was no way he could hang. I did just that, even though I was hurting the whole time. The next and last aid station seemed to take awhile to get to. it was right about mile 48. This point of the race was on a back road that people lined and cheered. I remember asking a lady "where in the hell is that last aid station?" she laughed and said right there and pointed. I turned my head and saw it perched up on a nice little incline. "S.O.B" I only had 2 more mile sto go but I was hurting. Got in and out of that aid station with just some water and sip of coke, again!

The last 2 miles were on some awesome trails. Made me think about all those articles I read about trails in Colorado and how beautiful they are and how I wish I could be out there running them. I could say that I almost shed a tear, but that aint manly! So ill just say I was just very happy I was almost done and so proud of all the hard work I put in. I could here the announcer at the finish and even though I couldnt see it I knew I was close. I finally made my way through some trails and out on top of a ski lope I emerged! "S.O.B!" again!!! I have to go down this whole ski slope on uneven ground and my quads feel as if they were ready to bust out of the skin! I made my way down as quick as possible with a smile I tried put on so it didnt look I was in too much pain. At the top of a little bunny slope I saw Amanda there cheering and yelling, so I tried to kick it in. I use the term "kick" loosely though, it was more of a gentle pick up. And finally crossed the line in 7 hours and 57 min. 27 min slower than I wanted but still very happy!

Overall it was a GREAT experience and Im glad I can write this for you all to read. I do alot of races every year and alot of them are for granted. The way I felt after this race made me thankful more than ever to be able to part-take in these events. I hope we all realize how lucky we are to be able to do the things we love and anytime we want. When dont realize it until we lose that freedom. Ill stop rambleing now....... Until next time, Run Hard!


  1. Congrats my friend. When's the next one?

  2. I am soooo proud of you!! You were great.