Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vermont 100 - One down Three to Go.

OK, first off, this race is much tougher then advertised. I have never seen so many hills, they just kept coming and coming.

Finished the race this morning just after 6:23 A.M. in a time of 26:23:42. It turned out to be a tough day as the temperatures climbed to 90 degrees with extremely high humidity. In addition a Kansas style afternoon T-storm brought down branches and wreaked havoc with some of the aid station tents. It was the heat however that messed with me, causing me stomach problems from around mile 45 on. At mile 84 I was able to “get some of it up” and felt a little better, but was reduced to running the last 16 miles on nothing but Ginger Ale in my water bottles. There were two moments in this race where I felt so sick I thought for sure I was done, but the support of a couple aid station volunteers and the kindness of two gracious runners helped get me through. God is good, and I felt is hand of protection on me as I struggled throughout the later stages of this race. He gave me peace when I was “losing it”, strength when I needed it and at times I even saw Him use others to help me through to the end. I know there are those who can run events like this under their own strength, even without recognizing or “tapping” into its source. For me, there is no way I could have gotten through yesterday on my own (If I’m honest with myself, I know that’s true in all areas of my life).

Well, now it’s time to turn my thoughts to Leadville which is in four weeks. Physically I need to recover from the stresses of this past weekend. Rest and Ice Cream our on tap for the week ahead. Mentally I need to get focused. Because of the altitude (the entire race is run at elevations over 10,000 feet) Leadville is a tough race for “lowlanders” as we’re called. Also I need to get beyond the fact that in addition to my one finish at Leadville I also have three DNF’s (did not finish). Spiritually I need to remember the lessons from yesterday and remember that God can bring me through my pain given the opportunity, I just need to stay out of the way and let Him work.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Uh, how did I miss that? Discovered today at check-in that there is a 100 mile horse race that runs simultaneously and on the same trail as the run!?

Other then that little surprise, check-in was pretty uneventful. Got my T-Shirt (kinda ugly but hey it's a Patagonia), weighed in (found out I didn't gain as much as I thought) and dropped off my drop bags. At the pre race meeting they informed us that the forecast for tomorrow includes record high temperatures. Just about that time a big thunderstorm rolled through just to add a little extra shot of humidity. On returning to town to grab a steak (my night before meal of choice) I learned that the storm had knocked out the town's power and that dinner was on hold, could it get any better? Well it did. Power was soon back on and I had a great steak and a nice glass of wine at Spooner's Bar and Grill in Woodstock. Well it's off to bed as I have a 1:50 wake up call for the 4:00 start. I look forward to finally taking my first steps in the 2008 Grand Slam.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Is it that time already? Arrived to clear blue sky in Vermont today feeling like I haven't run much the past couple weeks (probably because I haven't) and that I'm at least five pounds heavier then I was going in to Western States. Since California my mileage has been in the 25/week range, partly due to the fact I was trying to let my legs recover from all the downhill I ran and partly because I had a busy few weeks of "fathering". Oh yeah, I began commuting to work riding my bike, more to save on gas then for the exercise, however the added cross training certainly is a nice benefit.

Packed drop bags today and thought through my plan for Saturday. I'm on my own for this one as Karen stayed in Topeka to be Mom. The forecast for Saturday is HOT, near 90 degrees with rain throughout the day and night, oh well, no smoke:) My plan is to try to run hard until it gets hot, then pull back on the pace until evening when it begins to cool down. Would like to finish in under 24 hours and get the buckle. Those who finish between 24 and 30 hours get a plaque and the opportunity to move on to Leadville with their Grand Slam hopes still alive.

In closing I just want to congratulate Paul Schoenlaub on his finish at last weekends Hardrock 100. This is the toughest race in the US and once again Paul goes from St Joseph, MO to the top of the Rockies and runsa great race. Way to go Paul!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Grand Slam*

Yes, forever more the 2008 Grand Slam will have an * associated with it due to the cancellation of Western States. However, thanks to the Wasatch/Grand Slam race committee for making the decision to recognize the investment (physically, emotionally and financially) 36 runners had already made toward the goal of "slamming" in '08 and offering a modified version of the slam. I would also like to thank this group for not listening to the over compensating, testosterone influenced voices of those who felt that the Western States curve ball was not enough to make this year's slam more complicated and therefor thought the entire thing should be made even more difficult by running either Cascade Crest or Angeles Crest on back to back weekends with Wasatch, please, give me a break, as if having to audible six months into training , extending the season by four weeks, running four 100 milers in eleven weeks wasn't enough. Oh yeah, did I mention that Arkansas Traveler had a less then 50% finishers rate last year and that only one of four Badwater finishers ran it to completion. Traveler has 30,000 feet of elevation change on a course so rocky i was unable to wear shoes for three days following the event. Last year Traveler was run on the same hot and humid day as the much publicized Chicago Marathon. Temperatures in the 90"s with heat indexes well over 100 made for a chaffing fest like noone had ever seen as there was no way to stay dry in the Arkansas sauna. Despite the tough conditions Race Directors Chrissy and Stan Ferguson have put together a GREAT group of volunteers that serve the runners in a way most races could only aspire towards. Needles to say, I think Arkansas is a appropriate substitution and maintains the integrity and credibility of the Grand Slam.

So, how great is this, I still get to run the Grand Slam* this year and I already know I get to go back to Squaw Valley next year. For now...on to Vermont.