VERMONT or BUST
I took this photo of Steve last year at the finish of his first VT 100.
I don't have a 2011 photo. But the only difference would be that when I saw him this year well-rested at the finishing area, he had a huge grin versus that "sun-in-the-eyes," a.k.a., "ITBS" cringe as illustrated above.
Going to VT100 was a healthy choice; just what I needed to perk up my running enthusiasm by reuniting with old and new friends and lending a helping hand and upbeat energy. The long time that passed since I saw (or trained with) my TUG pals felt like a decade. To start, my time-off to heal various body parts was called out of hibernation when Steve reminded me of my offer to help pace him in his 2nd VT 100. I started to train again with some regularity, which felt good, to see if I could help versus hinder him with his run. Several hot, hilly and horse-fly filled runs in the woods later, I knew I could be there and be a positive presence for him.
We left the pacing very open and the first time I saw Steve was at mile 47 (Camp 10 Bear). Lucid and chipper, he reported he felt better than he did last year. I think he added something to his Vermont Maple Syrup fueling system that made a difference the first 50 miles. I asked him if he'd like me to pace later and he said, "yes." I promised to be at Bill's by 12 midnight and would wait. What I didn't know (until later) was that Steve was sick the week prior and perhaps started his 100 dehydrated. He wisely decided to drop at 100k distance, at about 8:30 pm. concerned for his kidneys (there's a long wait list to get new ones; why risk it!!!). 100K is NOT TOO SHABBY! I didn't know he'd dropped until a radio official at Bill's called and checked at around 2 a.m. A lot can happen in this distance, especially slowing down after sundown. I figured Steve's pace dropped, especially in those sneakers with no fewer than approx. 4, 220.349 miles on them ... (and they're still good). Steve made the right choice for his health and future running/racing. Too, bad I didn't get to light his way through the woods until dawn but there will be other miles to keep.
Damon and Cheryl Lease gave me a ride to Bill's from Camp 10 Bear and I got to see so many folks come through—too many to mention. I headed into the barn as Mark Kruger and his pacer, Paul Y, were making their way into the darkness. Mark looked fresher at mile 88 than anyone else up to that point (except for maybe Norm Sheppard, who seems more alive as the miles build). Mark was on pace for a sub-22, which blew me away! I'm glad I encouraged that dynamic duo to connect for VT and that it worked out positively. I settled in and volunteered a bit, rested less and hopefully made the runners feel "good to go." Kevin and Michelle darted into the room and were off like race horses; they paced two speedy women (Patty and Sara) who appeared all business and finished sub-24! I think they spent less than one minute at Bill's for their weigh-ins and fueling.
Up to a certain point in the night, many runners I observed were hanging out perhaps longer than usual. These were the (experienced?) folks who were certain "to buckle." They had time to spare.
NO, not that kind of buckling.
The atmosphere was light-hearted, no morbid zombie faces and only one medical cot occupied. After the possibility of a sub-24 hour, the energy at Bill's shifts into what one person referred to as, "the Morgue." I didn't sense that because I was too giddy and silly with greeting running friends and acquaintances. While I didn't shuffle with Steve, I feel good about being a smiling and familiar face for folks, when they possibly need it most.
Ginger arrived and we waited for her husband, Michael Menard and his pacer Julie O'Mara. I waited for Steve (still didn't know yet). While we waited I was able to see many running friends like Dave McDermott who was having a blast with his first 100. His pacer, Suzie was full of laughs. Here we are sporting some animal prints:
Suzie in Moeben Sleeves (l)
Me in my City Cat Running Dress by Nuu-Muu (r)
(photo by VT 100 finisher, Dave McDermott)
When Micheal and Julie came in they were alert and full of life! Yippee! Micheal was relaxed and made his first 100 appear as if he were born to run this. They both wore Hoka's! One One with the Trail! Ginger and I headed back to start/finish and I watched the sub 24's finish (woot Dave M!) and then hit the bag for a few ZZZZZZ. During my slumber I missed Christine Matthieu, Jeff Lane and Micheal Menard finish! Steve and I caught up, he was smiling and apologetic about my having to wait. NO worries! And after some R & R with Julie and Steve and other friends and acquaintances, I was back in NH by noon!
It was a so great to spend time with Theresa R and to meet her friends Meghan and Aliza, to cheer on Amy Lane and her pacer Jen G Fields, and to share some conversation Jack Pilla and Joe Carrara. Jack informed me know that the video I captured of him winning the VT 100 in 2009 was getting a lot of air time on a local station, WCAX.com . Thanks for letting me know, Jack! Here's the LINK.
Happy healing and training to all!