Wednesday, July 15, 2009

VT100 Interview: Adam Wilcox

21st Annual Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run
July 18-19, 2009
Woodstock, VT

Name: Adam Wilcox
Age: 27
Residence: Candia, NH
Birthplace: Concord, NH
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer
Years Running: 3
Running and Other Accomplishments: 8 ultramarathons since I started this crazy business in May of 2008.
Hobbies: Rock & ice climbing, hiking, motorcycles, cars.

SJ: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Adam about yourself and the upcoming Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run.
AW: You're welcome. Glad to be here, John.

SJ: Tell us a little bit about how you became an ultra-runner.
AW: For me, ultrarunning was a natural step up from hiking. In the White Mountains, I worked my way up to 30 mile day hikes within a few years. Seeking a way to get some exercise during the work week, I began running around the neighborhood as a way to improve my speed and endurance in the mountains. It took me a few years to be able to run more than a few miles at a time, but it came to me eventually. In April of last year I ran my first race, a 20 miler, and had a great time. 3 weeks later, I managed to convince myself that a 50K isn't THAT much farther than 20 miles, and I managed to complete my first ultra. 3 weeks after that I was doing my first 50 miler, because 50 miles isn't THAT much farther than 50K, is it?

SJ: How have your hiking experiences played a role in your training for ultras and the 100?
AW: Hiking experience has been crucial. Hiking gave me the drive to go just a little bit farther every time I went out, to get early starts and commit to visiting just one more peak before heading for the car. In the mountains I learned how to stay on my feet for 12+ hours at a time, and to just keep moving steadily onward.

SJ: What was your progression through the different race distances, did you run a marathon before an ultra?
Aw: I have still never run an official marathon. My first race was the Eastern States 20 Miler, an event I still enjoy, and within 6 weeks of that first race I had completed my first 50 miler. I'm thinking I might do my first 5K in August, just to see what it's like.

SJ: How has the sport of ultra-running treated you to this point?
AW: Ultrarunning has treated me quite well. I've made close friends and managed things I never thought possible. The day after an ultra, I feel like I can handle anything that gets thrown at me in life, which has helped me pull through some tough times. Just one step at a time.

SJ: How long do you see yourself participating in ultra-running?
AW: I'm not sure. Right now my focus had been on Vermont as my first 100. Afterwards, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I can tell you that if I don't buckle, I'll have a score to settle for the next year.

SJ: Do you have a favorite race to this point?
AW: That's a tough one. I'd have to say the Vermont 50, followed closely by Pineland Farms.

SJ: What is the toughest Ultra you've completed?
AW: Pittsfield Peaks can always be counted on for a tough race. Not only is it the longest I've done so far, 53 miles, but it's also had the most elevation gain and the toughest terrain. I seem to remember something about carrying a boulder at the end of the last one, but it's a little hazy.

SJ: So tell us a little about your Vermont 100 Run... when and why did you decide to take on the 100 Mile Distance and in Vermont?
AW: After pacing at last years' race, and getting to see Nate Sanel really fight to get in under 24 hours, I couldn't wait for my turn. I remember being at the start and seeing everyone head off into the night, I wanted to go with them. When I finished the Vermont 50, I looked inside and asked myself if I could turn around and do the course again. The answer was yes. I signed up for the Vermont 100 a few weeks later on the day registration opened. I've thought about this race every single day for the last year.

SJ: Supposing you are nervous.. what are you nervous about the most?
AW: I have some general anxiety, but I know that I've done everything I can do to prepare. Beyond that, it's out of my control, so I might as well just enjoy myself.

SJ: What previous running experiences will you take with you through to the finish line?
AW: Every step of every race and training run for the last 365 days has been an experience that I'll take with me to this years' finish line.

SJ: Buckle or Plaque?
AW: Buckle or bust!

SJ: Do you have a time goal or ANY goals for that matter?
AW: While I would be happy to simply finish, 24 hours is the real goal.

SJ: Who is your pacer and who is your crew?
AW: My father and lovely wife will be crewing me this year. They've helped me out at previous races and I've been impressed with their dedication. My pacer will be a friend from my climbing life, Keith. He's talented triathlete with some interest in ultras as well. I've trusted him with my life while ice climbing and I'm sure he'll be a huge asset to me late in the game. I know I can count on them all.

SJ: What is your overall race strategy?
AW: I'm going to try to run a steady race and conserve my energy early on. I'm told the real race starts at mile 70, so my goal is to put myself in a good position there. I want to have a little time in the bank AND still have gas left.

SJ: What are you excited about the most?
AW: I'm just excited to see whether I have it in me.

SJ: Will you be camping or staying in a local hotel or Inn?
AW: I'll be staying in my tent at Silver Hill Meadow, where the race starts and finishes. I don't mind sleeping on the ground at all, and I think the commotion on race morning will prevent me from oversleeping.

SJ: Any other 100 Milers that interest you?
AW: I'll cross that bridge after I've recovered from Vermont. Some of the mountain 100s out west catch my interest, as well as Massanutten and possibly Rocky Raccoon.

Adam we wish you the very best of luck this weekend and hope your training and ambitions find you at the finish line in under 24 hours. GOOD LUCK!