Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vermont 100 Pre-Race

The Vermont 100. For Twenty Years, runners have been gracing the hills of Woodstock, VT in search of something grande. Whether it be self exploration, soulful reprieve, or a sub-24 hour belt buckle. As if thats not enough, for the only time in the United States, a horse race is run simultaneous to the running race and over much of the same course. The thought that man could run further than horse on one day to many is unthinkable. But to an adventurous few, its what they plan to do as the culmination of their training comes to center stage.

Over the last 2 weeks my blog has been dedicated to bringing the Vermont 100 to you, in the hopes that you'll find a fire burning within yourselves that you too can do anything you put your mind to. We heard from a veteran VT100 runner and a staple of the organization of the event. We heard from multiple first time mid-pack runners taking on the distance for the first times themselves and now.. you get to hear from the "young ultra-runner."

Here are my tope five male finishers for the event listed in the order I think they'll finish. Good luck to them all as the mens race is shaping up to be a doozy!
1.) Jack Pilla; 2.) Andy Jones-Wilkins; 3.) Devon Crosby-Helms; 4.) Glen Redpath; 5.) Joe Kulak
And as for the women.. Good Luck!
1.) Devon Crosby-Helms; 2.) Michelle Barton; 3.) Diana Fitzpatrick; 4.) Lori Lebel
As for the men I interviewed leading into the race, I posted their interviews in the order I felt they would be finishing this weekend. 1.) Nathan Sanel; 2.) Paul Kearney; 3.),Jeffery Waldron

As with any race here in New England, the weather tends to play a major role. It looks like the race will be run in classic New England summer weather this weekend; Hazy, Hot and Humid! Here is your forecast for the weekend:
Friday: A 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Partly cloudy, with a high near 84. South wind 5 to 11 mph becoming west. Friday Night: A 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. South wind around 8 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 83. Saturday Night: A 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 58. Sunday: A 30% chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a high near 80.
Although temps look to only make it into the mid to upper 80's, runners should expect temps on the dirt roads to feel more like 100! MY KIND OF RUNNING WEATHER!

I'm ready. Every step I'm taken since the 2007 Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run has been aimed at running the race this year in the hopes of bettering my time. I feel like a 100 Mile Veteran with this event being my sixth 100 Miler. Not bad since I ran my first 100 miler in April 2007. Since the last VT100 where I finished in 23:19; I have run the Grand Tetons 100 (Hardrock Qualifier), 100 Miles at McNaughton (in the mud) and The Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 in Virginia (Hardrock Qualifier). Maybe I'm "over trained," but I have made sure of one thing... and thats to not go into this race a tired mess. For the first time since I started running ultramarathons I took some serious time off the last two weeks tapering into this event. I ran all of 15 miles last week and only 12 this week. I feel great. NO injuries; no bumps, bruisies or kinks... I'm in the game mentally, I'm prepared and I'm ready to go!

Only two things worry me: 1.) My lack of strength/core training at the gym. I'll be honest, I haven't lifted a weight at the gym since April. Thankfully I've been working as a landscaper since Memorial Day Weekend so not only am I heat acclimated but I have been doing strenuous work every day. Hopefully this type of work along with running and my 9 hours at the death race; has been enough to ensure my core will hold up for at least 80 miles of this weekends event.
2.) I'm down a crew member! Sarah is going to her cousin's wedding. My brother in law Mike is coming up to crew for me but he is also pacing me through the night starting at 10 Bears. I have no crew for the last 30 miles which could lead to some interesting strategizing in terms of a drop bag for West Winds and the rest of the race where I need crew help the most. If anyone has the night free... I need help!
Other than these two issues everything should be fine and should go off without a hitch. I take the experience of 5 different 100 milers with me into the race which should serve me well. I'm confident regardless.

2.) Sub 24 Hours
3.) Better last years time 23:19
Jeff Christian made a prediction for MMT when I ran it in May and he was off by 19 minutes! His prediction for the VT100; 21:40 I would be ecstatic if I could make or break this time and Im going to give it hell in my attempt to do so.

So thats it... I'm ready to go: The path of life has brought me here once more. Walk the ups, run the downs and run the rest when I can. Thats the plan and I'll stick to it as I did last year. I'm excited, I'm stoked, I'm ready. 20 Years of history at this race and I am more than humbled and honored to be a small part of it. See you in Vermont!