Thursday, July 24, 2008

Post Race Vibes

So I was at work on Tuesday, mowing lawns and all of a sudden this wonderful feeling came over me. All of that hard work, all of that training... then all of that running. I can't believe that I did it... AGAIN. Two Vermont 100's and Two Sub 24-Hour Buckles. While I stated that the race is by no means "easy," I will attest to the fact that this years conditions were exceptionally severe in terms of thunderstorms AND the heat/humidity combination. Perhaps this is what attributed to the 100+ DNF's. To know that I survived and that I can once again hold a new buckle in my hand is really an amazing feeling and has me begging for more. 266 runners started the race. 158 finished. I was in 62nd place with an official time of 23:37:06, now my second fastest 100 Mile time. I was 8th of 10 finishers in my age group, Male 20-29. 73 people ended up buckling.

When I think back on the training I did for this race and all that I've been through since December; I can once again protest that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO. It doesn't matter if you run 30 miles per week, 50 mpw or even 100+ mpw. What matters most is that you:
1.) TRUST whatever training you did do.
2.) Implement your PLAN and stick to the plan.
3.) PREPARE for anything. Expect the unexpected. For instance.. its July in New England.. of course you have to expect the weather we had the day of the race. If you didn't expect it and/or you didn't PREPARE for it... you certainly suffered from it.
4.) Remain POSITIVE throughout the race. My back was up against the wall in terms of buckling way back at mile 65. I had 2 choices. One was to give up and be happy with finishing, and two was to push for what I went to get... a buckle. The results speak for themselves.

There are a LOT of experts out there, and in turn a lot of naysayers. These are the folks who instead of thinking, acting and being positive, they find the negative and try to send you down that negative road. The kind that says, "You can't buckle a 100 miler on a 49 mpw avg!" Well... I did. But I can see their point, not EVERYONE can do it. And it really all comes down to how we think. People can say what they want. They can tell me I can't, or I won't, or I'm nuts... people can call me a joke.. whatever. It matters not to me. What matters to me is this.

Since December I have run three 100 Mile races. I finished 100 miles at McNaughton standing up. I survived the difficulty and "rocks" of Massanutten. And I buckled at Vermont for the 2nd time in as many tries in as many years. I'm no superstar. I'm just an average Joe. I run when I can, I train as much as possible. I take a lot of rest. My taper is short... and I love life. Lets look at Massanutten. How many people bitch and moan about the rocks. They talk it up, "the rocks are terrible, they are the worst ever, it sucks, you'll hurt, you'll this you'll that." Of all the things that sucked and hurt at Massanutten it was my ass chafe. If I went into that race with the same negative attitude towards the inevitable.. then Yes, yes it all would have sucked. But instead; I ran 103 miles in 32 hours and loved every painful step of it. And when I crossed the finish line and later received my buckle; I was able to enjoy it that much more. The same goes for this years VT100. For days people talked about how hot and humid it was going to be. How it could rain and how miserable it was going to be. However, I showed up expecting the heat and humidity and embracing it for what it is. IT IS WHAT IT IS. I prepared for it mentally and THAT in and of itself is the best preparation anyone can do for a race. Prepare mentally for anything. The results will speak for themselves. While some may say the VT100 is easy.. the "game" is hard. You must play it from the moment you take that first step, until the end. This is true for any distance. If you WANT to buckle bad enough, you'll prepare for it enough. You'll Plan, prepare, remain positive and have trust. Do the research, follow these rules, and the rest will come to you.

So it looks like officially running 100 milers is done for me this year, and it sucks because I'm going to miss it. If I could choose one to run it would be either Arkansas Traveller in October or Javelina Jundred in November. These fit into my schedule nicely and both would be a great time I'm sure. However, unless I can find a way to get there cheaply; it looks like a small group of us are going to plan our own Fat Ass run of 70 to 120 miles. Depends on what we do it. Whatever we do decide, it will be free and ALL of you will be welcome to come along for any part of our journey run. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I have a 100 and 200 miler to direct on Halloween Weekend. Its going to be an amazing race! Plenty of shwag and we will have buckles.. details to come on this later.

I'm heading to the 24 Hours Around the Lake in Wakefield, Ma Friday night to help my buddy Hans Bern Bauer in his attempt to win the event. I'll also be cheering many of you on as you partake in your own ultra-journey. If you are there please say hello! Hopefully I can get to the mountains on Saturday. I'm preparing to help pace Karl Meltzer through the mountains of NH on his Appalachian Trail record attempt. Check it out!

Happy Trails!