Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vermont 100 miler race report

Finally ---a long report for a long weekend...
Tales from the VT 100 Endurance Run -July 19-20
The week before the VT 100 Endurance Run (Silver Hill Meadow, Ascutney) went slowly --I gathered together drop bag items and started to pile them up, and decided that I would only run Tuesday and then not exercise the rest of the week. I tried to go to bed at 10 and sleep until 7:30 every night. I felt lucky to have gotton through the 10K in Central Park on Sunday and knew I was in good shape as it didn’t tire me, but Achilles discomfort was still around. I was looking forward to seeing all my running friends up in VT (the B.U.S. people, adam, sarah, tammy), to running most or all of the course with Frank, and to having Rob as a pacer –Rob planned to drive up Sat. afternoon, and meet me at mile 70 at 8 p.m. . With temps forecasted in the 90s with high humidity, I knew we would need him, and was most appreciative. Rob is a good friend and experienced ultra runner and a night person!
Since my younger kids were away at camp, and my teen and husband had to work Friday, I was going to drive up alone –in the middle of the week, though, I decided it would be a lot more fun and would save gas(and indeed it was)to hitch a ride with fellow runner and friend Wayne Bates, running his first 100, and his pacer Anthony P. –they were driving up Friday and staying at the Yankee Village Motel, where I also had a reservation. Plus, Anthony had just gotton back from crewing at Badwater so we could hear his tales and see pix. So we planned that I would pick up Anthony in White Plains, and together we would drive to Wayne’s in Brewster , which is on the way to Ascutney. Well, we got to Wayne’s (temp on Friday -94 degrees) around 10 a.m. and all piled into Wayne’s car...we had a fun trip up, and managed to hear every Badwater story and see all the pics. We went right to the start/finish tent at Silver Hill meadow, where I socialized, got weighed, got blood pressure taken, put out drop bags (a big bag for miles 47/70, with flashlight, headlamp, socks, shoes, clothes –which was later LOST!!! It went to another spot by mistake) ---we sat through the pre-race briefing (Hugo, bless his heart, gave me a bottle of Succeed caps, which would prove to be instrumental for salt intake) and then left to go check into the motel –as luck would have it, we met my friend Tammy at the motel, who said that she would give Wayne and I a ride to the 4 a.m. start at 2:50 a.m. , so Anthony could sleep in. The Yankee Village motel gave Wayne and Anthony a room (however shabby) with 3 beds –so after going to dinner and grocery store, we hung out in their room and put together our finish line bags, drug and S-cap bags, laughed a ton, and taped our feet and used Anthony’s computer… Wayne gave me a Vioxx to take at the start. At 9:30, I went to bed and tried to sleep –sleep didn’t come until 11:30, and before I knew it, tammy was knocking at my door at 2:30 -it was already steamy and hot when we drove to the start at 3 a.m. –we were all nervous for the hot, humid day ahead. The start area was buzzing with people –I met Frank and Pat, and socialized with Grant, Phil, Nick,Yuen, Steve, Denny, friends –had some coffee, bagel (no food available until mile 16) and filled hand –held water bottles. At 4 we were off into the dark. Most runners had a flashlight. I stayed with Frank, who was moving too quickly down a dirt road ---it felt funny to run after 3 days off. We leapfrogged a bunch of people and turned onto a trail ---it was here that we slowed down and relaxed and started to walk. The roads and trails were beautiful, and the hills came quickly – we even went through a covered bridge -by mile 10, Frank was soaked through and through. The first big aid station was Stage Road at mile 21 –Frank changed his clothes, and I got food, went to bathroom, and put my extra stuff in his bag. We then ran with Nick for awhile, until we hit a grassy trail ---we climbed p an enormous mountain with amazing views, and ran down a steep grassy trail where I could felt my left quad starting to pull –oh no!! Finally we got to Pretty House at mile 30, another aid station, where we ran into Grant. The sun was blazing and Frank was soaking again –we got some food and coke, and heed – too the 3rd of my S-caps, and some advil, and we walked down the road –we turned to the right –and surprise, another mountain to climb –Suicide Six ski area!! Frank had said that we climbed straight up, and he was right!! We trudged up the grassy trail, which I actually liked, and then went across, down, and back up ---the next ten miles were on rolling dirt roads and we did climb another ridiculously steep hill –it was after this that Frank started to complain that his body was breaking down –he was so dehydrated, and he was stating to feel like he would black out.
At mile 43, he was faltering --I walked with him for the next 3 miles up a road and into a trail. He couldn’t move. Finally with a ½ mile to camp ten bear (mile 47) where his wife and daughter would be waiting and where he cold get medical attention, I left him and ran ahead to get a medical guy to come get him. He chugged a bottle of water, and was still down 5 pounds. Meanwhile, I weighed in 3 pounds heavier (good) and Frank told me to push on. It turns out that he recovered after salt and fluids but his raw chafing would not let him go on –he would have run 53 miles in severe pain. We got into ten bear at 3 .m. and had been on our feet for 11 hours. I looked around for my drop bag ,a black canvas bag with my name on duct tape and could not find it –it was totally missing!!!
I started to feel good after the walking break with Frank, and started cranking and passing people –I was not happy to be alone, but the 100 miler is a solo effort. The heaven opened up just as I caught up with Adam on a muddy, single-track hill –are we having fun yet???’ I yelled over the torrential rain.
I passed Adam and got to mile 51 in 12 hours…the sun cam out, an I took another S-Cap. I then hooked up with a young guy from Plattsburgh running his first 100 –he also had left his friend, who was slowing with heat problems, behind at mile 30.
As luck would have it, this guy had an extra headlamp at mile 57 and said I could borrow it! I had mentioned to him that I was nervous about getting from mile 65 to 70 (dusk) without a light!!! After 57, we climbed miles of steep hills –I walked along with a girl from Oregon, who was in the rand Slam.
At the top of the hill –Margaritaville, I caught up to Steve, who had been detained at camp ten bear because his weight was down by 6 pounds!!! His quads were really sore (perhaps from Massanutten 100??) as he said he went out too fast. As he was trying to get his pace back, I had to push on alone.
I cranked the next miles as knew Rob was waiting for me at mile 70. I ran with a guy from Kansas who told me all about the Arkansas Traveller 100 –at this point my legs were tiring, my shoes and socks were soaked and I had blisters forming on both heels and sides of feet and I had trouble running for an extended time –we would run for 10 minutes, then stop and walk –lots of mud to step around. Finally we ran down the hill to ten bear , where I saw Rob waiting with Barbara . I was so happy to see him!!! He noted that my drop bag was missing (he was going to put his reading material in it) –I got weighed –up 2 pounds, had some cold coffee, a grilled cheese and off we went. The time from mile 70-77 progressed slowly as we were in dark trails with roots and rocks and it was foggy but Rob kept talking and we hashed out the day --I felt like walking for awhile and he said he would walk the whole thing with me if need be. Mile 77 aid station was a beacon in the darkness –it was about 11:30 p.m.
And I started to feel better –only 23 miles to go!!! We left and started running –Rob encouraged me to
Run on all the flats and gentle uphills –downhills were hurting my quads, so we walked. At aid station 81 we both needed to go to the side of the trail to go to the bathroom. I heard a loud noise, like a dog falling into a creek, and it was Rob!! He had stepped into a 4 foot ditch by mistake -- 2 aid station volunteers came running over and pulled him out. LOL!!! He was soaking….
Miles 81 to 88 were not easy, but no one passed us. We rolled into mile 83 to find Anthony waiting with wayne, who was passed out in a sleeping bag. He had been an hour ahead of me, and had crashed.
I was so happy to see Anthony, but one look at Wayne told us he might not make it.
He would end up crashing again, after sleeping for an hour, in a pile of leaves on the side of the road. 2 aid station volunteers put plastic kiddie cars from someone’s yard around him to protect him!!!!! Hysterical. But, he rose and finished in 27 hours –I was most amazed and proud of him!
We got to Bill’s garage –mile 88.7- at 1:30 a.m. and I was starting to fade mentally. I had some coke, got weighed in, and Rob ate some cookies and we both had a sandwich. Time to push on!
We then went through these miserable fields and trails with uneven terrain –tough after having run 90 miles. Finally we came out on the roads to some steep hills. But we were running and my quads started to feel better, and physically I felt good –when we finally got to mile 95, I knew we would finish, even if we had to crawl. Rob led the way and we ran down a hill, only to find a woman and her pacer confused –not glow sticks, and no pie plates!!!. As luck would have it, Dot, a race official, was driving down the hill and pointed the way –someone had vandalized the course!!! We cranked ahead of the woman, and I ran as hard as my body allowed, as we had some gentle dirt roads. Ah, but all was not easy –we hit the longest stretch of hills, followed by a horrible stretch of muddy single trail through the woods. (one good thing - daylight was coming, and we switched off our headlamps). All of this at mile 97-98!!!! Finally, a nice stretch of hilly road and the one mile to go sign!!!!
Rob told me that we needed to cover the last mile in 23 minutes to make under 26 hours. I don ‘t know if I can do it, I complained. I guarantee you’ll do it if you jut follow me, he said. I picked it up and we ran the last mile –uphill through the woods, in 13 minutes, to finish in 25:50 –Rob said that not one runner passed me!!! Our time for 50K was about 9 hours –pretty darn good, and I could not have finished without his help. The minute we finished (and saw Zeke and his girlfriend/pacer Yuen, who had just finished as well) the heavens opened up again. Rob went and got his car. We talked to Grant and Phil and Scott under the tent -Sarah was on a stretcher, having dropped with blisters at mile 83.
I was overjoyed to have it over with but was worried about everyone else out on the course in the rain.
It would turn out that over 120 people dropped!!! So just to finish in the hot and humid conditions was an accomplishment….we went back to the Yankee Village to take a shower (Wayne had kept their room for that purpose), and I laid down to rest ---at about 8 a.m. wayne and Anthony arrived!! Wayne had finished but couldn’t move –he had to be helped into the car by the medical staff. Thank goodness we had Rob to help carry him into the room and into the bathroom. “I’m his pacer, but I am not giving him a bath’ said Anthony! So I was elected to strip off his clothing (left underwear on) and clean him with hot water and soap –he was so beat up that Anthony and I put him on the bed a hard task) to pass out and left him to go to the awards brunch –Rob drove home. We got back, with our plaques, a 12:30 to find him slumped in a chair, door open, and the cleaning women had cleaned around him!!!
We convinced the motel lady that ‘our friend was sick’ so we had needed the late check-out, and we got Wayne in the car –not easy as he was crippled and had to hold onto every wall and even Anthony to get in –and took off As Anthony was beat from Badwater, where he got 4 hours sleep a night, and wayne was in no condition to drive, I had to do the driving with 3 hours’ sleep in the last 48 hours –LOL!!!
With the help of a large dunkin donuts coffee and drive-through Burger King, we got home just fine.
What an adventure –and Frank’s wife ended up getting sick so they had a time as well
Would I do it again??? Yes, but only if I could travel with Anthony and wayne –what fun we had –have never laughed so hard in recent years 


UltraBrit said...

Congrats on a great accomplishment! You are simply amazing! I don't know how you manage to make it through with all those hills, and the heat and the rain. You should be extemely proud of yourself. Kudos to Rob for being a wondeful pacer for you.

AnthonyP said...

LOL !!! What a great write-up. We now have to find as many races to travel to together as possible !

Meredith said...

Awesome job Emmy! You did well on a very difficult day. Thanks for all the great pictures too!

Laura said...

Wow, Emmy, sounds like a really rough race. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You did an amazing job :)

Anonymous said...

Great write up ... I felt like a fly on the wall of your experience. Again, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. See you this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great race. Thanks for driving back and keeping Anthony and I entertained for the weekend. (Thanks for the sponge bath)

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great race. Thanks for the ride back the stories and the sponge bath!!! LOL

CTmarathoner said...

thanks Kate, anthony, meri, pam laura, and last but not least Wayne...
Kate and pam -do think you would like pacing!

Tammy said...


Congratulations!!! What an amazing race you had!

What a detailed and amusing race report! I am ready to travel with you, Anthony and Wayne. You all seemed to be having such a great time.

Guess mis-adventure might follow you guys (I am glad that no rooms I stayed in subsequent to the race followed the eclectic bathroom styling Anthony had to deal with...I imagine climbing up to the facility would have been impossible!)

Congratulations again!


Anonymous said...

I could be up for pacing ... just not to the extent in terms of miles. Given the most I've run to date is 16 ... I think I need to make it through my first marathon before I take up pacing! :)

Anonymous said...

Emmy, super job this weekend. Sub-26 on such a hilly course in those hot & humid conditions is great.

The full results are now up on the VT-100 site. You were 85th out of 266 starters, and 2nd woman over 50. Most impressively, you steadily moved up in the standings at every single split after mile 40. You really ran a smart race, and held it together right to the finish.

Thanks for having me along, I enjoyed running with you through the night. I like pacing, it's all the fun of a 100-miler with none of the agony. The course was really beautiful, from what I could see through the fog. Sorry if I talked your ear off, I get like that when I run.

I still haven't heard the full details of this legendary drive to Vermont with Anthony & Wayne, but I guess some things will have to remain a mystery...

DawnB said...

congratulations again emmy great race report. I really was expecting to run that age graded on tuesday wound'nt have been the first for you :) you're amazing and you inspire

Scott said...

Congrats Emmy! What a feat! It was tough and you gutted it out.
Hills Hills Hills!!!

Again, it was great to meet you finally and I hope to see you at more races...