For me and Shelly Girl the road to Vermont stopped at a place called Lillian’s, somewhere around mile 44. It is a place I will always remember and will perhaps someday get back to just so Shelly and I can run that wonderful easy downhill section leading into the aid station that we had to walk, and stop, and walk and stop this time around. It was at that moment we knew that completing the Vermont 100 was not going to happen for us this time around.
The day started well enough. We had almost zero sleep but this made the 2 a.m. wake up call and 4 a.m. start easy to make. We got ready and were at the start fueled up and ready to go. Neither of us were as nervous as we thought we would be and I think this was because we were so ready to get the talking and thinking about this race past us and get on with the actual doing.
I don’t know about Shelly but I was not as excited about the start as I thought I would be. I have seen video and pictures of other 100 mile starts and I remember being excited to watch the start of Vermont last year but actually going through it I felt somewhat ambivalent, or maybe I was simply in shock!
I think my best memory of the beginning is all of the Bimblers who were there crewing and running. Everybody seemed so supportive and I know Shelly and I felt really privileged not only to give this race a try but to be a part of such a great group of people. I remember a count down and then we were running. It was cool to look down the road and look at a sea of headlamps illuminating the way for us to follow.
Over the next 44 miles we experienced a lot and I can only imagine what the others, who went so much further then we did, experienced. But here our my impressions of the event
1. Seemed like a perfect opportunity to accomplish this goal. The weather was fair and we never felt close to overheating.
2. I will never again tell people I had to “poop”. I will only let people know if I am actually having stomach issues.
3. The hills are huge but much more manageable for the body than the big downs.
4. It is a road run with some trail and not a trail run with some road.
5. Everybody kept telling me to have fun and enjoy the day but it never really felt fun, it just felt like work.
6. I had a terrible frame of mind and frame of mind seems like just about everything in this event.
7. I will not even consider another attempt until I get my feet fixed. I have always handled foot problems in 50 mile races but will not go 95 miles of a 100 mile race with every foot strike causing me significant pain. It simply is not that important to me.
8. I need to be a faster hiker because the race is as much, if not more, about walking than it is about running.
9. The best part of the race is the wonderful people who you get to hang out with over the course of the day (crew, other runners, volunteers, etc)
10. Yes, the scenery is wonderful but I believe I would appreciate it even more if I saw it over the course of several trips.
11. It was worth the effort just to be around our crew. They were something we really looked forward to seeing and they were so ready to be there for us. My biggest disappointment is not that I did not finish it is that I did not have more of a chance to hang around them.
12. Shelly Girl is a monster hiker and I have no doubt she would have rocked the course if her feet did not let he down her so early and so completely. We did not know she was doomed from the start and there is a foot doctor in the area who is not going to be invited to any parties we hold any time soon. Aagh!!!
So where do I go from from Lillian’s, because certainly the road to Vermont is just a road that now leads to another. Is there another 100 in my future? I hope not, but one should never say never. I do know that the whole experience helped clarify what is important to me in my running. I most definitely would love to go back to Vermont and crew or pace because the event itself is wonderful. I also am so very glad to have gone through the experience to have at least a bit of a better understanding of what it takes and what more I would have to give to accomplish the end result.
See ya on the trail,