Friday, July 27, 2012

An annotated course description: the Vermont 100k

Dear Diary,

32 mile drop bag.  Contents: headlamp
jacket, extra pair of shoes, sunscreen,
extra shirt and shorts,
and of course, Ensure Clear + Larabars
(my super foods)
What follows is a description of the course from the website, and my comments.

Vermont 100 Mile Course Description - 2012

There is 9000 feet in elevation gain…the course is going up or down most of the time with only a few stretches that are flat. The last 30 miles are rather challenging....

Yeah. Thanks for that, by the way.

...The first six miles are rollers on a paved road, mainly, leading up to the point where they connect with the 100-milers at mile 6.7. Then there is a mile of paved moderate uphill, then back onto some climbing single track/horse trails until you get to Jenne Rd. Up some, then a sweeping down and up and soon a nice downhill stretch into Camp Ten Bear (the first time)
I didn’t take gels on this course. Instead, I loaded my pack with Gatorade and ate PBJ on white bread throughout the course. It seemed to do the trick.
…a half mile hump that connects you to a 22 mile-long loop. Some road, then meandering trail and Agony Hill – a lumpy steady uphill grind to the halfway point, then on gravel again to Pinky's. Cross Tyson Rd. and it's class 4 dirt road for 2 miles of easy upgrade to Birminghams… Cross a big field into the woods and snowmobile trails, up and down and out onto gravel for a nice 2 mile downhill breather to Tracer Brook.

51 mile drop bag.  Contents: socks, Ensure clear + Larabars.
This bag was deliberately left largely empty in casee I wanted
to drop off gear here.,
The downhill breathers are, pretty nice. But I had a sense of entitlement by the time I reached them, because after all, the course owes you this. Here, at mile 19, I took out my Ensure Clear and 2 larabars (nearly 700 compact calories), and changed my socks. Then, according to the course description:

now facing mostly uphill for 9 miles. First 3 are the steepest and only a few level sections…then that hump again and Ten Bear again (mile32) where pacers can join you.

My take: After mile 19, you start a a soul-sucking long uphill. It rises nearly 1000 feet, all the way. Here you will hate everyone and everything. You ask,who am I kidding? I’m no distance runner. I have no business being here.

"Somebody, somewhere, owes me a flat, cool trail run," I grumbled darkly, "and that someone is wearing a ring that looks just like mine."

Occasionally, a horse would go clopping by, with unnervingly cheerful riders on their backs. "I'd be cheerful too, if a large animal was doing all the work," i grumbled darkly. But it was pretty cool seeing the horses. We had gotten a lecture on how to approach, or be approached, by the horses, and they us. They were far, far more courteous than being passed by, say, roadies. And they smelled better too.

Oh, shut up. You know it's true.

At Camp Ten Bear (mile 32), I was weighed. My weigh-in was at 160.6, and at Camp Ten Bear I weighed in at 160.7. Story of my fucking life – I run 32 miles and gain an ounce. A nurse told me it was white around my mouth, and that I needed to sit down. She tested my Oxygen and said it was a little low, but coming back up. I put on my ice bandana, drank/ate some more Ensure clear and Larabars, and headed out, and started up “heart break hill” but take it from me, after the climb after mile 19, nothing will bother or surprise you again. Okay, that’s a lie – it will bother you, but you won’t have the energy to be truly angry. Instead, you just try not to cry.

In your planning keep in mind that the last 30 miles are challenging, with a number of trail sections and short, steep uphills. Just out of Ten Bear, there's a half mile level trail then ¾ mi. fairly steep up Heartbreak Hill on bumpy, usually wet jeep road. A mile of easy grade gravel and first up and down on 2 miles of trail, then back on road at Seabrook at 75.1.

My note: Don’t get off track here. I was busy unwrapping a Larabar and went down the wrong path; it cost me about 20 minutes. At about mile 45, Sweet Baboo came strolling up, I say strolling though he was moving at a sub-10 minute pace. He was maddenly cheerful and gosh, I have to admit I was too, because I was on track to finish. baboo had made me a pace chart, and if you Plan to do this 100k ask me and I'll send it to you.

Anyway, he showed up and asked his pacer if he would stay with me, as it was getting dark. I was, to be honest, pretty grateful for this; although I was to be running until 4 or 5 am, it never occurred to me to get one. I think the pacer was somewhat annoyed at first, as he engrossed himself in conversation with another runner and appeared not to hear the same question when asked it, loudly, about three times, but he redeemed himself by become the most awesome pacer ever. If it weren't for him, I don't think I would have finished.

Bob the Pacer is a physician from Massachusettes. He's getting ready to run The Bear. He was friendly and kept me talking by asking me about myself, which of course is my favorite subject at times. He didn't seem to mind that I wass mostly walking by now, and even got me to run at times when I though I didn't have it in me.

...Then single track up and down and up a steep gravel driveway to Spirit-of-'76 handler station (which is actually at 39 miles). Head out onto 1.5 mi. of up and down trail, then 10 miles of uninterrupted road, most of it downhill, and then a couple of steep roller coaster ups in the last mile to Bill's at 51.5 mi..

At Bill's they weighed me again. 161.5. DAMMIT. See what I mean? But by then I knew that my nutrition and hydration were spot on. i sat down for a bit, but not too long because I didn't want to get chilled. After this, you don’t really know what’s going on because it’s pitch black and you’re trying to watch for glowsticks and not wander off the course. If you have a pacer extraordinaire, as I did, then you can simply focus on the growing pain in your feet—thank goodness for that. i took a no doze, and two advil, and two Tylenol, and I was ready to rock and roll. Or trudge 11 miles. They told me thirteen more. I wept. But at the same time, I have to mention, I was enjoying myself. I loved seeing the horses, and there wasn't NEARLY as mich horse manure on the course as I'd envisioned.

All in all, though, I didn't suffer as much as I had at Javalina 100, despite this being a much more challenging course. Toward the end the hills were simply inevitable. They just kept coming, and were shorter, but since I was moving slower they seemed about the same. At mile 59, my Garmin finally died, taking to heaven all of its data. Yes, that's right. Fucking 310x didn't retain a sing bit of of the 59 miles , like it never happened. It hate it for that. I hurt, but it wasn't the kind of pain that made me cry out. It was a loud ache like, well, like I'd been on my feet for nineteen hours, or something.
And then ahead of me I saw lights of a different color. " There's the finish line," said Bob the Pacer.
You're lying. There is no finish line.

"No really. It is. "

I'll believe it when someone hands me a medal, I grumbled.

i found out the next day that I was the last official finisher. Anyone not finishing the 100k was listed as DNF. They gave me these for finishing...and for finishing under 20 hoirs.
When I crossed the finish line I burst into tears. Then I sat down for a while, until someone asked me if I needed anything, and then I wept again. "I want my husband."

"go check over there," motioning to a sea of bodies, prostrate on cots. Many of them had their heads covered. I thought I saw Sweet Baboo's feet, and his pack. But I hesitated. Didn't want to whip a blanket off some total stranger. Just then, he uncovered mis head and looked toward me and grinned.

"You finished!"
I burst into tears again. "that was hard," I sobbed. 

He, who had just run 100 mies to my 63, nodded sympathetically.

"Lets go back to the hotel and get some sleep," he said.

And then we did.
The end.



  1. Congrats! It makes me tired just reading it!

  2. Your running feats make my jaw drop. You are amazing! Congratulations, and well done!

  3. Wow! What a fantastic achievement ! I don't think I could ever do that distance! Well done!

  4. Never In A Million Years. I bet your weight comes down 2 days afterwards. :)

  5. Congratulations! Most Impressive

  6. I wish I was as brave as you. The end.

  7. I love this post Misty. It's just AWESOME. But really, sell the bread maker, you want to run another one of these things!

    You know I'm kidding - way to go!

  8. awesome job! that was very impressive - you should be super proud of yourself! don't worry about the weight - on day 4 of a six day race I had gained 6 pounds.(boy was I PISSED!!) A week after the race the 6 pounds I gained - vanished along with 2 more. whew!


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