Author’s note: The following post was started on July 14th just a day before leaving for the race this post was written for. It was to be the first section of a longer post and race report on the entire race. However, late in the afternoon of July 16th, I withdrew from the race at mile 47, Camp 10 Bear 1.
This is the first in a series of posts to write about the experience of training and failing at the 100 mile distance. Through these posts, I hope to explore the nature of failure and reflection.
As an English teacher, these posts will form the backbone of some model writing I’m doing for my students this year in several classes that are writing personal narratives, “This I Believe Essays,” as well as blogging and podcasting. I hope to repost entries on my Edublogs page and in Medium.
Here’s the low down on my Vermont 100 race from start to finish.
In terms of my training and running, using Relentless Forward Progress worked for the 50k runs and the 50 milers I’ve done in the past, so I continued to use the training plans found in this book to help me prepare. I also read Krissy Moehl’s new book, but I read it too late to put her plans into place.
About a week out from the race, I got super serious about packing and the finer details of the trip. I created a pile of gear to use when we got to Spring Hill for camping, and a pile of running gear, and pile of clothes to be worn once I got the deed done and we were headed home, with a brief stop in Woodstock, Vermont for celebration!
In terms of gear, the plan was to start with one pack and set of clothes, and then to change outfits every 25 miles to give me a sense of a fresh start, and to keep the pack that would be accommodate the gear that I needed at the time. Normally, I run in the Camelbak Marathoner, but I also snagged an Ultraspire Omega so I had something with some more storage. I would use the Omega if I needed rain jackets, lighting or other gear. Now, I love my Camelbak but sometimes you need more storage.
I found that the race director, and I’m sure the entire staff, put together a really solid website and detailed pages and materials. While I couldn’t really preview this course, all the pre-race materials helped me and my crew be ready for this challenge. I would also tell people who are preparing for this race to scope out YouTube because there are some great videos there to help you get a sense of what this race will be like.
In my original plans, the crew was just going to be my wife, Michelle, but a week out and looking at the complicated directions between aid stations, as well as thinking about the enormity of crewing for 24 hours, we decided to enlist the help of our close friend, Meg, who was able to clear her schedule and join us on this adventure. Knowing that Michelle wasn’t going to be driving around the back roads of Vermont by herself in the middle of the night, gave me a sense of ease, and would allow me to focus on the run.