This year's Vermont 100 was a blast! It started with a fun and crazy ride down with Jeanne P. and Joe H. We drove from Joe's house in York, Maine to Woodstock, Vermont via Boston (don't ask). There was a lot of conversation and laughter and the trip went by fast. Kevin met me there a little later in the evening.
At 4:00 AM Saturday morning we headed up the gravel road to start our journey. I started out with Joe near the back of the pack. We both had "buckle on the brain," as Joe put it. He thought that in order to pull off a sub 24 hour finish we should be in Camp Ten Bear for the second time at mile 70, by 8:00PM. Anyone who knows Joe, knows that he can be hysterically funny without even trying. So I was snorting and choking with laughter for the first 15 miles of the race, actually weak in the knees at times. I wanted to stay relaxed and enjoy myself and Joe helped set the right tone. At Taftsville, mile 15, we wished each other well and I moved ahead. Joe did stay on his planned pace through mile 70 at Ten Bear, but lost ground in the last part of the race. He finished over 24 hours, but it was still a good run and his 11th finish at Vermont.
It was warm and humid so I really concentrated on drinking. I also took in more food than I normally do. Kevin met me at every crew station. He was a great help by giving me encouraging words and handing me any supplies I asked for. I normally skip having a crew so I felt very pampered! When Kevin helped me get my shoe off, tend to a blister, and put a dry sock on, I almost felt like I was cheating! Both times through Ten Bear I was completely spoiled by friends who were hanging out at that station. Jeanne, Melanie, Damon, Steve P, and others joined Kevin in handing me food, filling my bottles, and giving me advice and encouragement.
I made it to all the crew stations at almost the exact times I had predicted for Kevin. I arrived at mile 70, Camp Ten Bear for the second time at a little after 7PM. I had planned on 7:30 so I was in good shape. Everyone was excited about how I was running, but I warned them that this was where I traditionally started to slow down a lot. I was worried about breaking 24, but Damon did the math for me and pointed out that I had 9 hours to run 30 miles, no problem!
Melanie joined me as pacer at West Winds and was the most awesome pacer I could ever ask for. I asked her to pace because I knew she was focused and serious and wouldn't cut me any slack. She didn't disappoint! When I started getting mentally tired and started to slow down, Melanie announced that I wasn't in bad enough shape to be walking as much as I was and that when I did walk I needed to be walking faster. She kept the pace half a notch faster than I wanted to go and I had to push myself to keep up. She convinced me to run all the flats and downs. Melanie was good at calculating to tell me how fast we were moving and how I was doing in reaching our goal of sub-24. She really was a huge help!
I crossed the line in 23:32! This wasn't my fastest Vermont finish, but it was my best Vermont finish. I had fun, ran at a controlled and steady effort, and proved to myself that I haven't lost much fitness by having to do cross training in place of running miles over the last few months. I'm excited about starting training again and will be picking out a Fall 100 to run.