02 August 2014

Vermont 100 Race Report: Hills, Greenness, and Gorgeousness. And Kind of a Crappy Race Running-wise, but you can't win them all!

This report is super late because, well, life. But the experience was so huge that I've also needed some time to just sit down and write about  how amazing it was. And how painful. And how much it taught me. And how I can't wait to go back next year.

Vermont 100 is a really special 100 miler. Really. And I'm not just saying it because it was my first many moons ago, and the 2014 Vermont was my fifth Vermont (thus earning me a 500 mile buckle, wheeee!). There is a lot of love and thought and kindness put into this race. I've run 100s and 50s where it's clear the RDs could barely care. Vermont 100 is many months of planning and time of volunteers and 100% awesome. I love it.

The aid stations have themes and decorations. The volunteers are cheerful. People sit outside their houses to cheer people on. There are horses. It is just GORGEOUS - rolling hills and meadows and barns and silos and cows. I got to moo at a bunch of those cows. That was quite wonderful.

It's tough but good at many points. Everyone comes back every year, so you make new friends. And it's awesome. I don't have 5 consecutive runs because I skipped a year. I spent that entire year feeling sick in NYC, checking online to see how everyone was doing. Yeah. It's like that.
getting weighed in. my weight was pretty consistent the entire race. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

I started out excited to run - but my legs felt kind of sluggish. You know sometimes you just try to run a speed workout and your legs tell you, "No, this is NOT happening"? Yeah, that was happening. So I decided to experiment. "I'll see if going out slow helps me. My legs will feel fresh later on."

News flash: going out slow does NOT make your legs feel fresh. They still feel like utter crap. I'm going to never go out slow again.

I was chatting with lots of friends, enjoying the day. My crew missed the first two checkpoints, and I was honestly a little worried about them, but fine. I pushed, but did my own pace. It was often slow. I ran a bit with Elena whose legs were trashed after Western - but it didn't work out. She was running UP the hills and walking down, and I was doing the opposite. Oh, ultras....

I hate that technical section in the 30s. Just kicked my ass, but I was prepared for it and it didn't seem that bad as it had in the past. I was sweating, feeling overheated, but it actually wasn't that hot. Low 80s maybe.

The Sound of Music meadow literally made me sing, and that other meadow in the 40s - still gorg. Never gets old. I love Vermont. I should move there - except not in the winter.
running friends rock. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Mile 50, I ate a cookie at an aid station and it clearly didn't agree with me. It sent me on my hands in knees, dry wretching and heaving like I never have before. Misery. Ugh. I was forced to a walk for a while, letting my tummy calm down. My tummy was never 100% the rest of the race. Misery.

At Vermont, you run from aid station to aid station. Running through that covered bridge. Heading to amazing Margaritaville. So much fun. You just love the volunteers.

Margaritavilla had the cookies back, and I was happy. I wished my stomach was feeling better, but I slowly chewed a few ginger cookies as I walked out of the aid station before running.
Camp 10 Bear Rocks. Photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Mile 70 and pacer #1, Christophe, and then I fell apart. My blisters. OMG my blisters. My blisters. My feet. Ow. Ow. Ow.
Changing before being paced. Photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Basically he got to see me at my worst. Thanks, Christophe. Oh wait, no, the worst would come later. I ended up walking a lot more than I wanted to because my feet were in agony. When we got to Spirit of 76, my absolute favourite aid station of the course, I ate grilled cheese and had someone wrap moleskin around my blisters. I really need to run with moleskin. It's pretty wonderful.

best aid station ever. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

I left the aid station with Kim, who was super positive and a really great pacer. We chatted about everything random, Burning Man and running and whatever, and the time actually went by pretty fast. I ran most of the time with her, which is saying a lot. 
me and kim at bill's bar.(c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

When we got to Bill's Barn, Pacer #3, Stephanie was ready. She was so patient as I was a hot mess. I was not great until Polly's, but after Polly's, those last few miles before the mile 98 aid station, I was a wreck. I was peeing every 10 meters, falling asleep on the trail, my feet hurt, everything sucked.


It sounds horrible, right?

But really, it wasn't. It was a lot of pain, yes, but also so much fun. It was hanging out with lots of my amazing friends in the ultra community, and seeing pretty sights. It was eating lots of grilled cheese and cookies. It was joking about Immodium and mooing at the cows. It was being free. It was no email or bullshit or deadlines or washing dishes. It was being in the present moment, it was now, it was awesome.

Thank you, amazing pacers Christophe, Kim, Stephanie. Thank you, volunteers. Thank you, Julia & Amy. And thank you Vermont for being so freaking beautiful.

3 comments:

Tony Bargardo said...

The first time to Ten Bear were you sitting on a blanket eating a pie by the time clock? I swear I was standing right next to you and your crew. The picture of you leaving ten bear refreshed my memory.. Amazing job! Congrats on a well earned finish.

Kirstin C said...

Love that summary closing line: It sounds horrible, but really it wasn't!

I don't even like roads, at all. But there truly is something about Vermont. And maybe it is that it was my first, 8 years ago. But the people definitely make it outstanding.

Rudy Shepherd said...

I'm running Vermont this year, it will be my first 100 miler. I"m so excited! and nervous. Thanks for the heads up.