Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2009 VT 100 Race Report

This past weekend I competed in the 21st annual VT 100 Mile Endurance Trail Run. I headed up to Vermont on Friday morning and set up camp at the start/finish line. I was the envy of the tenters with my canopied hammock:

Ahhh… life was good. Kickin’ back in the hammock, with a great view of the countryside, sunshine, cool breeze… Soon that would all end and my world would change…

Mark and Bruce arrived in the afternoon and were checked in and weighed. I asked for my horse that I would be riding. I was told I wouldn’t get a four-legger and would have to use my own two. Damn. We hung around and met up with Clint (who was pacing Mark.) We also ran into Emmy, Frank, Bob and Mary. Here’s Mary with myself and Mark:

Mark, Bruce and Clint headed off to dinner with the families while I stayed at the site and ate at the pre-race dinner:

It started to rain in the early evening, which relegated everyone to their tents. Not much socializing going on in tent city. Here’s Mark getting his gear together. You need a lot of crap to run 100 miles:

I was bragging to Mark that my gear was a little more lean. Then he pointed out that I didn't pack a headlamp to run in the night. Shit, maybe I was a little too lean:

Saturday morning we were up at 3AM and ready to rumble. After fertilizing the woods we headed off to the start line. Here’s Mary, myself, Bruce and Mark just before the start:

The race began and Mark, Bruce and I were off to cash in on all of our training deposits:

Here's Bruce and I coming into the 21 Mile aid station (Pretty House):

Here's Mark somewhere in the first half of the course:

A fantastic suprise was to have Keith "The Mayor" Magnus show up to support all of us at this year's race. Here's Keith guiding me into the 47 mile aid station (Camp 10 Bear):

I weighed in at 47 miles only down 2 lbs. Just about halfway through the race and everything was ok:
Beth and Kevin (co-workers) were also at the race to perform some crewing at the stations. They rocked. Along with Keith (shown here spraying on some suntan lotion) I was well supported:

Soon after leaving Camp 10 Bear is my nemisis: Agony Hill. Last year I almost passed out (actually I think I did) trying to get up this hill. This year I managed to plod up without stopping:
Agony Hill still proved to be my nemisis. After getting up to the top my stomach started to boycott the plan. I pushed on and managed to stay on schedule. Here I am arriving at the 57 mile aid station (Tracerbrook):

I moved ok through the next 13 miles and arrived at mile 70 exactly when I was hoping: 7:00 PM. That was the good news. Here I am meeting up with my pacer Matt at mile 70:

The bad news was, I couldn't reign in my stomach and I had not been able to keep up adequate eating or drinking. I was now feeling like all the piles dropping from the horses in the race. I hit a low point. My crew tried to fuel me up at Camp 10 Bear but forcing down food is a weakness. I couldn't consume much. I changed my shirt/hat and headed off with Matt. 70 down, 30 to go:

I labored up the hill out of Camp 10 Bear still feeling awful. I was hoping to get through the crud and recover with some energy. Here I am at mile 75 with the sun almost down:

Shannon and my cousin Kasia were at the mile 76 aid station (Spirit of 76) when I arrived. It was great to see them but I don't think it was so great for them to see me in rough shape. I sat there for a bit struggling to muster some energy and settle my stomach. I popped some more tums and pepto and sipped some coke. Matt and I continued on and eventually rolled into the mile 83 aid station (Cow Shed). My low point had gotten lower. I was toast. Put a fork in me. Done. I was 20 hours into the race. I sat down and planned to never get up:

Matt tried to encourage me to rest for a while then move on. I told him to go to hell. He tried to give me some food and beverages. I spit it out at him. He told me I could finish this race. I told him who cares, I quit. :) Then another runner sittng in a chair at the station says to me:
"Hey, are you vomitting?"
"No" I replied.
"Then what's your problem? I've been dry heaving for the last 3 hours. Did you do this race before?" he asked.
"Yes, last year."
"Did you finish? " he asked.
"It was a fluke! If you don't finish this year, then it was a fluke that you finished last year. You can't call yourself a 100 miler unless you finish this year."
Ha ha... I got a kick out of that exchange. I then agreed to lay down and rest for an hour with the hope of getting up to finish the last 17 miles:
Enter The Rocket:

While I'm passed out on the ground "The Rocket" starts telling me it's not my time to quit. And that I need to get up and move. That I needed to "rally." It struck a chord. I felt like I had no choice. I rose and was going to attempt to make it to the end. While I was getting up I heard over the radio "Did runner 231 drop out?" Shannon and Kasia were worried about me since I hadn't shown up yet at the next station where they were waiting. So they asked the radio guy to try and find me. The reply from the guy at my station was "Yeah, he's here getting some beauty sleep." :) I got to my feet and staggered 5 miles to the next station. Kasia and Shannon were happy to see me and Matt and I were reunited with the Rocket:

I didn't stay long at Bill's and headed back out to finish. I had really stiffened up at Cow Shed with the hour+ rest and didn't want to keep repeating that agony as well. At 91 miles I became roadkill. At this point I really felt like I was beating this course: :)

Quick mediation before the final 8 miles. (24.5 hours into the race):

At least Matt enjoyed a beautiful sky through the night and into the morning:

I was hoping to not see the sunrise (a second time) during this race, but since I did I might as well get a picture:

Plenty of scenery:

27 hours and 20 minutes later I finally crossed the finish line:

I finished just behind Kap'N Kirk Boisseree who was being paced by The Rocket. (Note: Kap'N Kirk is attempting to complete the grand slam this summer.) Matt and I shared with the Rocket and the Kap'N the joy of finally being done:

Matt got his first trail running race experience with this ultra. He endured my struggles and was forced to be out on the course longer than we expected. I was glad to have his support and he ensured I made it to the end. Thanks Matt, and job well done:

Enough with the finish line pics and over to the medical tent for an Iv:

Shan hauled my carcass home in the back of the Jeep:

Another great adventure! :) Thanks again to everyone who supported me during this race. Even Mark's mom was awesome. After the 47 mile checkpoint she jogged next to me a few strides and in a firm, slow, monotone voice said "Scott, you can do this. You CAN do this. Do it." Excellent.
Major congrats go out to Mark and Bruce. Both had incredible races. Mark in 21 hours and Bruce in 23. Got it done. Excellent.


Lauren said...

You're the most incredible man I've ever known... aside from my husband. I'm so proud of you babe!

Bob - BlogMYruns.com said...

Scotttttttt Hey Bro, Great Job on finishing and I SOOOO feel your stomach issues.

I puked hard three times in 5 miles, after mile 57 (way too much caffeine - (caffeinated gels & coke) NOT a good combo for three aid stations in a row-- LOL ) dropped at 62 (sadface) I had nothing left in me and nothing would go in...I am bummed cause I made such a dumb mistake on the caffeine overload but learned some good lessons... also FIXED my feet and blisters on the trails and feet were great ...so that was good news! ahhhh

GREAT Job on getting it done Scott on a rough day. Your pictures told the whole story, way to gut it out Bro, very awesome !!

Huge Congrats and recover well!

Nitmos said...

Incredible story. You are hardcore dude. Congratulations on gutting out the finish!

AnthonyP said...

How did I miss you there ? I saw one of your buddies who asked me if I saw you....great job and fantastic report.

cmorse said...

Glad to hear you persevered and finished, even if you did witness two sunrises. 2nd one was pretty fine...

The Rocket looks familiar - I think he was one of the guys I was chatting with at 10 Bear waiting for Mark to come back through at 70. A bunch of seasoned ultrarunners from CA, as it seemed every other runner through seemed to know at least one of them...

Bruce G said...

The pictures and words tell a great story....I could hear the theme of Rocky play through my head as you started your couragous climb back to life and then finish. Congrats on overcoming and getting it done....That's one hell of a journey.

Bruce G said...

Dude...I knew the "Rocket" looked famaliar. In the April issue of Runner's World is an article about a crew's plans and report on aiding their ultra runner in the Wasatch 100. A decent part of the article is about Errol "the Rocket" Jones the "patron saint of pacers" known for his encouragement and strategies to help runners finish their ultras. I'll get the issue to you. You were helped by a legend.

KMag said...

Scotty!!! Good work man...you had a tough day but you got through it. Really good to see you guys and I cannot wait to get back to CT to get some training runs in with the boys. I'm in the search for a 100-miler in the late fall or early winter...we shall see if that pans out. I'm sure you're fully recovered by now :o) Talk to you soon bud

Kap'n Kirk said...


... looks like I need to bill you for the services of my esteemed pacer, Errol "the Rocket" Jones, Patron Saint of Ultrarunners. The Rocket was quite happy to help, er, get your sorry ass moving out of the Cow Shed. Lucky for you that I was napping so that you could get access to him...

Enjoyed catching you in the last few miles of VT100. You made a stunning attempt to catch me - lucky for me that the course wasn't another 1/2 mile longer!

I hope that you're healing nicely. I head to Leadville in a few weeks - I'm looking forward to the next adventure in the Grand Slam. Note that the Rocket will be pacing me there, too - I only run with the best...

See you on the trails,

Kap'n Kirk