So I am 11 days out from the Vermont 100 mile Endurance Run, my first 100 mile race, which will be my longest race by a factor of 2. I have been training diligently since I signed up for the race in January, running 6 days a week and working out at the gym two days a week as well. I have run a couple of races during this training block including the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race in Washington DC and most recently the Goat Butt 50K race in Mendham, NJ two weekends ago. At both races I felt strong and could feel a difference in my level of fitness in comparison to races at the distance in the past. All signs pointing to the fact that the training has been working and that physically at least I am about as ready as I can be.
|Coming in strong at the North Face DC 50 miler|
Just a point of clarification, I must say that my ability to train for this race has been build on the back of three years of training and racing marathons, half marathons and ultramarathons. Each year I have noticed fitness gains, how running a certain distance in training or in a race has gotten easier from one year to the next. My understanding is that this is how it works and this is why it's important to work your way up in distance slowly so that your body has a chance to adapt to the level of training and racing you are asking it to do.
|Scene from the Vermont 100 course|
You can do so much more than you think and part of how you do this is by ignoring that internal governor that is trying to keep you safe, comfortable and secure. Let's be clear I am not going to run until I collapse or pass out, but there is a zone past what's comfortable and before your body shuts down that I will probably end up in at some point. I would like to think that I am going to jog through the whole thing and never have to go there, but deep down inside I know it's going to happen. Actually it happens in just about every ultramarathon I have ever done, to me it's what defines the experience of running an ultramarathon.
So for the next two weeks I will be running the remainder of my training runs, painting, hanging out with my kids and obsessively preparing for the trip up the Vermont, making lists of gear, food, clothing, etc and fantasizing about what it's going to be like, emailing my friends who are doing this crazy race with me and coordinating with my crew and pacers.
Special thanks to Kat Bermudez my crew chief or "stage mother" which she has named herself, Knox Robinson fellow crew member and potential pacer, Maria Campos pacer, and a special shout out to Chipp Winston, Ayako Yamazaki, Helen Clark and Stephen Bandfield my fellow Trail Whippass' who are also running this crazy race with me in a couple weeks.
|Fellow Trail Whippass' after the Goat Butt 50K|
The Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run ("Vermont 100") is a 100 mile (162 km) long ultramarathon held annually in July at Silver Hill Meadow in West Windsor, Vermont. It is one of the four 100 mile races that comprise the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. It is also one of the few ultra races in the USA where entrants run alongside horses over a similar course, in a separate but simultaneous race. (Horses avoid some of the more treacherous single-track and technical trails.) The race has been held every year since 1989.
|Another beautiful scene from the Vermont 100 course|