July 2016 Newsletter

Welcome New Members! – by Betsy Gonnerman
Boot Scootin’ and Boogie – by James Burnett
The Sprouty – by Catherine Freese
Featured UVRC Runner – by Lorna Young
Perseverance – by Andrila Chakrabarti
Bear Brook Half 2016 – By Rob Waryas
VT 100 Race Report – By Kevin Hartstein
Simple Joy – Sense of Accomplishment – by Judy Phillips Smith

Welcome to New Members

By Betsy Gonnerman

Raphael Adamek Charlie Buttrey Lotte Solvan Christensen
Alan Goldblatt Bridget Meador Robyn Mosher
Karen Rodriguez

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Boot Scootin’ Boogie 5K

By James Burnett

29 Wooly Syrup Chuggers From Age 9 to 78 Capture Lightning and Zoooom…to 5th NH Grand Prix Series Win

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The aftermath: Vanpool 10:30 pm pit stop at I-93 Hooksett Rest Area. It is obvious from this photo that the lightning strikes and thunder claps that forced the race to be delayed only served to energize the Chuggers who were still going strong after a long day and into the evening…

Notable – 78 year old Bob Katz, far right, still full of piss and vinegar after finishing 2nd in M70+ to Alan Callaway, 2nd from right. Bob’s comment after the race, “I do better in longer races.”

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Pre-thunderstorm: A gaggle of Woolies arrive and register not knowing that the 5K would be delayed 45 minutes by thunder and lightning.

Notable: 9 year old Gunner Currier (I think you know which one he is) asked Betsy Gonnerman, far left, if he could run the race with her. Betsy asked if he could keep up. “Yup,” Gunner replied matter-of-factly. And, he did, running 8:14 mpm, while high-fiving spectators all along the course and dusting Betsy at the finish, zooooooooom…

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A few of the Wooly Men pre-race.

Notable: Kevin Hartstein, tallest, finished 6th overall in a field of 947 six days after finishing the VT100 Miler in less than 24 hours. “My legs loosened up on the speedy downhill first half, but they felt a little tired coming back up the hill.” (17:55 = awesome).

Notable: Tim Smith (20:34.7), far left, and Rob Daniels (20:37.9), far right, were part of a UVRC 1st – 4th demolition of the M50-59 age group that also included Rob Edson, 3rd overall and 1st in AG in 17:06.2 and Tom Moore 3rd in AG in 20:37.8 = WOW! Rick Currier, arms around Gunner, 3rd in M40-49.

Notable: Great to have Mike Musty, 4th in M30-39, second from right, make the trip and you will be relieved to know that van driver Jim Burnett, 2nd in M60-69, yellow shirt, stayed awake all the way home and went to bed safely at 12:30 am.

Not pictured: Brandt Slayton, 4th M0-29, Patrick Wheeler, 9th M30-39, Steven Zackowski, 11th M30-39, Joe Frazier, 6th M60-69, Mike Gonnerman, 3rd M70+.

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UVRC’s Wonder Women pre-race. From left to right, Betsy Gonnerman, 1st W70+, Deb Keane, 2nd W60-69, Ellen Chandler 6th W60-69, Lori Bliss Hill, 7th W40-49, Mary Mancuso, 8th W50-59, Laurie Reed, 4th W50-59. Not pictured, Pam Moore, 2nd W50-59, Cindy Edson, 3rd W40-49, Rachel Forcino, 5th W0-29, Amanda Rusin, 7th W30-39, Karen Wright, 8th W30-39, Tiff Currier, 14th W30-39, Barbara Frazier, 6th W60-69.

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The Sprouty:

By Catherine Freese

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Join us on Saturday September 10, 2016 for the annual Sprouty Race!
Looking for a local run? Sharon, Vermont has a 5K and 10K race that runs along the White River. The Sprouty supports the Farm-to-School program at the Sharon Elementary School. The race is committed to bringing out community members and serious runners alike as we celebrate good health, local agriculture and the beauty of September in Vermont. T-shirts are provided to the first 150 to register, but you have to register by midnight Friday, August 26, 2016 in order to guarantee we have your size. The day includes a fun-run loop for kids around the elementary school with ribbons for all kids. Refreshments (including free smoothies) await at the finish area. Kids 12 and under register for free. Prizes are awarded to the top three male and female finishers in the 5K and 10K. Free lettuce plants from Dandelion Acres for all participants.

Featured UVRC Runner

By Lorna Young

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Name: Rob Edson

Town: Hanover

Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area? I grew up and went to college in Keene, NH. I moved to the Upper Valley in 2004 to take a job as principal at the Marion Cross School in Norwich.

What do you do professionally? I’m a teacher at the Cardigan Mt. School in Canaan.

How long have you been running? Same as next question. I’ve never run without competing.

How long have you been running competitively? I started running in high school in 1980 and continued competing through my 30s. I then stopped running for somewhere around 15 years until just before I turned 50. I have been back as a competitive runner for the past 3-4 years.

Why do you run? I used to say, “Because I’m good at it.” But after so many years away, I stopped feeling like I was very good, so I didn’t like getting out there. Meanwhile, my wife, Cindy, never stopped running. I finally realized that I wanted to get back out there with Cindy, going to races, getting to know her friends in the UVRC, etc. With her support, I got back into shape, lost 35 pounds, and felt better than ever. I now feel like running is the key to keeping myself healthy over the long term.

Recent memorable moment while running? At the Chief Maloney 10K, I had an awesome race against one of my age-group competitors. We ran side-by-side, step for step for 5 miles. It was an awesome feeling knowing we both didn’t want to give in. I was fortunate to get by him at the end, but the race itself was a blast.

Best athletic accomplishment and why? I won the NCAA Div. II National XC Championship in 1989 and the USATF Masters National 10K Championship 25 years later in 2014.

If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why? 5K – The pain ends sooner than a 10K.

If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race? The Skip Matthews Father’s Day race marked my return to running. Cindy signed me up in 2012, and when I saw a picture of myself running, I knew I had to get back into shape. Each year, I use that race to remind myself how far I have come.

Training partners? Cindy and I run together a couple times a week. I enjoy Saturdays at Omer & Bob’s and Tuesday Night Track whenever I can make it.

Cross training activities? A little lifting.

Favorite local running route? I’m a creature of habit, so I tend to run the same routes repeatedly. Right now, that means running a 5 mile route around the Canaan Street Lake on most days.

Favorite post run treat? Ice cold Gatorade.

What made you start running? In high school, I was about to be lapped by our team captains during soccer warm-ups. I refused to be lapped and ran as hard as I could to keep it from happening. Unfortunately, I still had another lap to go and I thought I would never make it. The next day, I decided to stay with the captains for the entire warm-up run. Not only did I succeed, the XC coach eventually saw me an convinced me to run a XC race. In my first race, I nearly broke the course record. I was hooked!

Who is your running “idol”? My wife! She’s my inspiration to keep going.

Why did you join UVRC? Cindy was a member and when I finally started running again, I hooked up with the club through her.

Ever run in a costume? Yes. I ran a 5K as Batman including a mask. The mask was a bad idea.

The only running shoe for me is? Asics Kayano.

Ever been injured? How did it happen? At a XC race in Mississippi we had storms so bad that part of the course was flooded and had to be changed. Needless to say, the course was a muddy mess. I got nicked in the knee by someone’s spikes early in the race. I didn’t think much of it until the next day when my knee became infected on the plane ride home due to whatever muddy crap was on the other guy’s spikes. My knee swelled up to where I had trouble bending my leg.

Hot or cold weather runner? Warm. I hate the cold. I used to run year round, but now I’m done outside once it drops into the 30s.

Morning or evening runner? Afternoon/evenings. I can barely bend over when I get up in the morning. I run therefore I’m healthier.

Favorite running book/film? Book: Once Runner – a must read for all competitive runners! Movie: The Jericho Mile – the final scene always makes me want to go right outside and run.

What does your daily workout consist of? 5-6 miles with 1 workout a week. I take one day off every week.

How about favorite workout? 1 mile – 2×800- 4×400 – Loved it in college, and I still get up for doing it.

What is your diet like? I’m a sugar addict. When I can stay away, my diet is pretty good. When I slip, nothing with sugar is safe. Running helps me fight the urge.

If you could run with anyone, who would be the person? Where would you run? Cindy – Ireland

Additional input or comments? People to mention? I owe a great deal to the club and its members for supporting me when I was struggling to get back into running. Thanks to all of you for Saturday morning runs, Tuesday Night Track, trips in the Lebanon Rec Van, 14 hour days at the 100 on the 100, Pub Nights, Pint Glasses, and friendship.

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Perseverance:

By Andrila Chakrabarti

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The Sunday before the much anticipated July 4th, Couch to 5K (C25K), I fell and sprained my ankle. What was I going to do? I had spent so many weeks training for this day and I wasn’t about to give up on myself. I took care, iced and rested my feet for a week before the race. I was able to walk/run, but most importantly, I finished my first race ever! I thank my co-runner Barb (I do not know her last name) for being there with me. I am ever so grateful for her support and encouragement!

I am proud of myself… and the entire family (parents all the way from India and brother’s family from Philadelphia!) came to support and cheer for me. They were there at the finish line with camera and smiles! My son and my husband were all so proud 🙂

My bib sits next to my bed, on my bedside table, still.
That’s my story.

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Bear Brook Half 2016

By Rob Waryas

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I awoke at 3am, as I often do. No alarm, just my internal clock knowing it was time. Though rain was in the forecast, I slid back the Spider-Man curtains hoping for a diamond-studded, deep purple sky and the promise of a peachy-flamingo-pale blue sunrise to accompany my drive. Foolish optimism? Perhaps.

I love everything (well, except the Port-O-Potties and the subsequent lines) about “race” day: getting up, while most sane people on normal schedules are asleep; the pungency of the medium dark roast before, during and after; the pride of having packed everything two days before and the niggly feeling that I’ve forgotten something important (did I leave my shorts? Am I going to have to line up in front of all the other runners in my underwear?); pre-race belly butterflies; mid-event peaks and valleys; post-race buddies and beverages; even the drive home and the emptiness that seems to haunt me when I’ve completed my “A-race” and there is nothing else on my calendar. Myriad motivators keep me in motion. Keeping ahead of the ghosts is one.

Sometime in late December of last year, I signed up for the Bear Brook “Marathon” (always longer than 26.2 miles but never quite a 50k). 2015 had been a year of one running disappointment after another. Overuse injuries kept occurring as I continued to overuse (consider me a cautionary tale).  But it was going to be the year that I ran my first ultra, and Bear Brook was to be it.  So like some 20-something (I’m not even a 40-something anymore) I continued to run through the pain…. and had to drop down to the trail half.  Fast-forward to 2016, one year older but none the wiser and once again I must let go the idea of running an ultra. Only now am I beginning to truly comprehend that running a 5k is as powerful and as important as running 50k. When you run less than 13.1 miles per week, running a half marathon in a day is a challenge, and if injured, perhaps even foolish. Thus the days and weeks leading up to Bear Brook were filled more with trepidation than excitement. And if I am to be a fool, I might as well be a fool in the rain.

Okay, running in the rain is one thing, but waiting in the rain is another. Even this fool hid in the comfort of his hatchback while waiting for the mandatory race meeting. Hypothermia is an all too real threat for a motionless body on a 56 degree morning. As I don my clothes (thankfully, I did remember shorts) the butterflies that filled my belly as I pulled into the parking lot have flitted away, only to be replaced by nausea. Note to self:  less coffee, more food, time to line up.

In a voice more like a BB gun than a rifle, the RD announces “GO”, and we’re off. Consciously I start dead last. I can only improve my standing, right? Having run this same course in 2015 I have a good idea of what to expect, of how the course will flow. Given my training, or lack thereof, I know too what to expect of myself…. simply to finish before the last Marathon runner (a 9 hour cutoff).

The Bear Brook Trail Half Marathon starts with a slight, but rather rocky, dirt road downhill. Soon the downhill turns to flat. I am grateful for the gentle warm-up but perhaps even more so for the “mere mortals must walk” uphill that comes near the mile mark. It is comforting to see that I am not the only human toiling through today’s event. No one I can see is daring enough, foolish enough, or strong enough to run up Catamount Hill Trail. The safety and reassurance I feel both as I walk the hill; a single segment in this human caterpillar.

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Of course, for every silver lining there is a dark cloud.  The Catamount Hill climb triggers a storm in my right achilles. Burning bolts blast at my heel as I work my way up the trail. Thunderous pain reverberates with each step forward, upward: my heel drops and it’s lightning; toe off brings the thunder. What did I do to piss off Thor? As the tempest rages on, another maelstrom blows up in my mind: “How much damage am I doing? What the [insert f-bomb] was I thinking? Who the [insert another f-bomb] am I trying to impress?” It’s Triple D time (not that one on Food Network) – Doubt/Disappointment/Despair. The cursed Voice of Reason suggests that now is the time to turn around, to save myself and go have a beer. Thankfully, there is only cold seltzer and hot coffee back at my car. “Act Arjuna!” a voice commands cutting through the internal chaos. Then Morrissey is with me, singing: “Does the body rule the mind/or does the mind rule the body/I dunno.” But I do know, or at least choose to believe that I know. “It’s the mind that rules, at least for now, at least while I’m on the course.” I have reached the top of the climb. Time to descend.

For those who have never been, Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, NH (between Concord and Manchester), is 10,000+ acres of diversity. There are several bodies of water, including Hayes Marsh, infamous for its deer flies (ask the “marathon” runners) and Bear Brook. I have many favorite sections along the BB Half course and running along the goat path that follows this stream is one. Though I saw no bears, I could imagine standing in the flowing tea-colored waters with my almost 5 year old son fishing for trout. Was it this same thought or the walking that eased the pain of my cramping hamstring around mile 12? While devoid of “true” mountains, Bear Brook offers a great deal of vertical loss and gain (1500’+ for the half). Through this roller-coaster land crisscrossed by dirt access roads and singletrack, there are hemlock stands and mixed forests, fields and at least one expanse of wild blueberries. According to my Garmin I took 3 minutes to stop and indulge. Because of its size and diversity,  Bear Brook is a true multi-use park. Opportunities for everything from archery (there are 2 ranges) to mountain biking, snowmobiling/skiing, hiking/camping/fishing and horseback riding abound. Dancing amongst wet rocks and slick roots was challenging enough, but dodging the proof that horseback riding does happen at Bear Brook had me feeling both miffed and amused. Detaching myself from the ire and the laughter, I understood the message within the drab green “soft rocks”:  “Be present.  Keep focused.  Or, you could be in deep shit.”

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For me, racing is about exploration; the external and the internal. It is a reminder that so much of my suffering is self-inflicted, self-chosen. And there is a perverse part of me that believes such is somehow noble and profound. Yet today I am under no such illusions. This is not a day for self-flagellation. I am not running to excise guilt, sin or to punish the flesh. Today is about exploring the internal landscape, running deep into the dark valleys and climbing out and up searching for the perfect view. Today is about walking when I have to without judgment and running when I can. Today is about flirting with the cesspool, yet not falling in.  Today is for stopping to smell the beach roses.

There is a blessing and a curse to running the same race again and again. Recognizing a certain spot on the course can bring about “Wow, I’m this far? Cool!” But of course, there is the “Wow, I’m only this far?  Shit!” experience as well. Since I was not wholly prepared for the half, having course knowledge was quite beneficial. I knew what to expect, where to hold back, where to really hold back (as in walk) and where to push. The curse? Expectation. Not being much of a morning person coupled with a bit of nausea meant starting with little sustenance on board. Around the 3 ½ mile mark with my body beginning to demand fuel, I reluctantly downed a Chocolate Sea Salt Roctane. This offering (along with a handful of blueberries) should be enough to carry me to the promised land or at least to the anticipated oasis where I could feast upon Power Pellets and elfin magic and Shaw’s soda. As I came in sight of the first aid station, a volunteer greeted me with a blast on a plastic tube and proclaimed “I am a moose today.” Now this might confuse and confound a runner who’s been at it for hours and hours, but having only covered 7 miles at this point, I merely smiled politely, thanked her for being out in the cold and the damp to support the runners and headed straight for the food table.

Expectations can really suck, especially when not met. Waiting for me at a white plastic folding table is another smiling volunteer, ample water and… Sour Gummies and Starbursts? Damn it! As I  struggle to come to terms with the disappointment, my just now “new BFF” Bob shows up. To be fair, Bob (not actually his name, not really sure what his real name was) seems like an okay guy. So after a few pleasantries, I grab several of the sours and head down the trail and… so does Bob. We chat for a few minutes about Bear Brook and other races and injuries (his, not mine). As often happens, the pace picks up, neither runner wanting to be the one to back off and show weakness. Then Bob begins to walk. Now, I will admit that I am at best socially awkward, horrible at carrying conversations and even worse at tactfully, smoothly ending them. Mostly I seek the comfort of my own companionship large in part because of my ineptitudes. I recognize that here is an opening, a chance to trudge ahead, to outrun my awkwardness and maybe make my “escape.” Yet, I begin to a walk too, feeling the desire to honor both Bob’s bravery and my own need to slow down. More chatting takes place and this time I mention my achilles. Bob moans empathetically then looks at his “never again” TomTom and says “Let’s go!” Glancing over his shoulder, Bob beckons me to come along. “You go on. I’m going to finish my Sour Gummies. Man, these things are really chewy! Maybe I’ll catch up with you at the next aid station.” I have no intention of trying to catch Bob at the next food stop or anywhere else along the trail. He gives one more feeble “come on, let’s run” wave but I just shake it off. Gotta finish those gummies. In this moment misery prefers solitude and quiet contemplation. Soon I am alone.

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As it turns out, I do catch Bob (or at least a glimpse of him)  at the next aid station and he is already several yards down the trail. Peanut M&Ms grace the table and Macklemore fills the air. These volunteers know how to party! Tasty eats, tasty tunes, only four miles to go and the course seemingly all to myself seems to be turning out to be pretty good until… torrential rain. Macklemore and I must be on the same wavelength as we declare in unison “This is %#@&ing awesome.” Through a candied rainbow/chocolate smile, I thank the volunteers for sharing their time with us and grab a few more Power Pellets and head out into the downpour.  As if by magic, the pre-race rain stopped just as the half marathon began. Now it was as if the sky was making up for lost time and I laughed and smiled. This is the kind of crazy I had hoped for. This is the absurd. Not quite sure when, but at some point the rain stopped and so too did the euphoria. I believe this was around mile 11 or so, just about the time when the leg cramps began to threaten.

Like many runners, I can be drawn towards danger by the Siren’s Song that is the clock. Looking at my Garmin, I did a quick calculation and came to believe (in miracles?) that if I picked up the pace, I might finish in under 3 hours. WTF was I thinking? Of course, it’s clear in hindsight that I wasn’t thinking but it was all ego. Okay, maybe it was a combination of ego and of the love of challenge. I knew I was going to finish, well under the 9 hour cutoff time for the marathoners. So why not throw down? Pick up the pace, push and break 3 hours. Sounds simple, right? Minutes after my “let’s go” moment, I picked off my first racer. Moments later another. Two down and how many more before the finish? While I’m not one of those trail runners that seem to dance from rock to root to rock, the pace at which I was descending made me feel more akin to a mountain goat than to any primate. My pride and pleasure however, pissed off the trail gods; a root moved snake-like from beneath a rock to beneath my foot. Reflexively, my body stiffened to prevent a fall.  Though I avoided kissing boulders, my left hamstring did not go unscathed. I had no choice but to stop, to stretch, to accept that my greed would cost me more time than if I had just stayed locked in to my all-day-pace. Hearing a runner close the gap, I set off once again, running a bit more slowly, hoping I could hold on.

There was a presence behind me. I did not look back nor did I need to. I could hear its heart, it’s breathing, it’s desire to catch me, to crush me. Morrissey’s laughter pealed through my mind.  “You sure that the mind controls the body?” he asked acerbically. I reached for my left hamstring and rubbed but still kept moving. Whatever was behind me (runner, ghost, predator) seemed to have fallen back just a bit. We continued on rollercoaster singletrack for a few moments then hit a technical downhill. Once again I channeled my inner mountain goat hoping the gods were satisfied with my sacrificial hamstring. Now there was no thought of breaking 3 hours only that of not breaking my neck. As we reached the bottom of the descent that also marked the start of the last of the topographically significant climbs, I realized that I was once again alone.

Walking up the hill gave me time to consider the follies of my day. As often happens when fatigue fans the fires of self-doubt, I began to examine the follies of my previous months and years and life.  Though I was gaining elevation, my spirit was at its lowest point for the day. I looked up from my feet in hopes of getting a glimpse of the top of the climb. What I saw made me smile. It wasn’t the pinnacle, but a sign: “Warning!  Hip-hopping Rabbit Ahead!”  Just below the crest, I could see flashes of white and hear a bass beat. Within a handful of seconds I was dancing with a 5’10” white rabbit by the name of Jessica! The universe, and the best race directors, have a way of adding perspective to one’s endeavors. “Dude! Laugh a little. Shake your booty. Then hop to it!  You’re almost done!” seemed to be the message. With a joyful smile and a “Thank you!” I waved goodbye to Jessica Rabbit and was heading home.

Thankfully, focus was once again my companion for the final, wicked descent. It would pretty much rank as one of the suckiest things ever to be within a mile from the finish and break an ankle. Though all the big climbs have seemingly long ago passed, perhaps the most significant one is at the course’s end. Not wanting to have to walk up the wee incline, I stopped just out of view and stretch my hamstring one more time. Whether I  gained their favor or lost their interest, I crossed the finish line without the trail gods meting out another dose of humility and pain. I am done!

I came. I endured. I ran from ghosts and towards challenges. Ate blueberries and stopped to smell the roses. Found companionship and solitude. Experienced pain and elation. Danced to Macklemore and with Jessica Rabbit. All of this in the span of 3:07:25. Perhaps, this more than any reason is why I run. For in the act of moving, I am alive.

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VT 100 Race Report

By Kevin Hartstein

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It was just after midnight when the thunderstorm and torrential downpour began. Although I had been on my feet for twenty hours and had covered about 92 miles, it seemed almost like a joke – as if a character in a cartoon had said the fatal words, “well it can’t get any worse.” My painful shuffle up the most recent of the innumerable hills on the VT100 course slowed to a walk.

The thunderstorm would be the last in a set of several obstacles. The week before the race I fell running on the Pacific Crest Trail while visiting my family in California, spraining my wrist and scraping some skin off of my right leg. When I returned to Hanover I found out that Phoebe, my pacer, had rolled her ankle hiking. Although she made an impressive effort to rehab the injury quickly, she realized it just wouldn’t hold up to the 30 miles she was slotted to run with me and regretfully let me know she had to drop out. On top of these injuries, I had managed to get a cold while traveling and stayed up coughing my last night at home before heading off to check in for the race on Friday and pitch my tent in the campsite.

IMG_1481My twin brother, Taylor, came up from New York City to run the race as well. This was his third 100 mile race and he had warned me to expect things to go wrong, but this seemed like a lot. Nevertheless we picked up our bibs and stuffed our race vests with electrolyte tablets, gels, and Clif bars. I let the volunteers at registration know that I would be joining Taylor in the “solo” division, meaning that I had no crew to meet me at the aid stations and no pacer. We ate dinner and got a few hours of sleep before waking at 2:30 to prepare for the 4am start.

The race itself is difficult to relate. My legs hurt a lot for a long period of time, but that don’t seem sufficiently descriptive so I’ll just list things that went well and things that could be improved:

Running alongside horses and riders, who make up the other part of the VT100 Endurance Race, was easier than I expected. Even when passing at night on trails, the horses were very calm and never got spooked – though all of them had passed me by the time the thunder and lightning started. The riders were friendly and expressed their support and admiration for the runners. In terms of community, ultra runners have marathoners beat by a landslide. It must be something about common misery, but every person I met on the course had something encouraging to say and the people I ran with during the race made a point to say hi during the awards ceremony the next day and ask how things went after we parted ways. Not to say that marathon runners aren’t nice people, but the level of intimacy is just higher in a field of around 300 runners who are sharing a large campsite next to the finish line.

Now for the bad stuff. For starters, I went out too fast. This mistake is common in all races, but when you beat up your legs for 25 miles and then realize you still have about 3 marathons left to run, it feels extra depressing. Taylor and I had decided to run the first 30 miles together to the UVRC aid station at Stage Rd. He pushed the pace on the downhills and I foolishly chased him – especially in the 5 miles leading up to the aid station. His quads must have developed some kind of superhuman resilience from all of the pounding in his previous ultramarathons, because we are genetically identical and mine felt like wood for the rest of the race. By around mile 80 downhill running became too painful to manage and I adopted a sort of fast shuffle-walk with swinging arms that carried me until I started walking. Toward the end I actually started looking forward to uphills because downhill movement had become so unpleasant.

I also brought too much stuff in my race vest. Since I was un-crewed, I decided to carry things I might need rather than estimate what aid station to leave them at. This ended up being a lot of weight and bulk that I didn’t need. The cargo included a bunch of extra Lara bars and Clif bars, an extra shirt, a pair of sunglasses, extra contacts, some useless vitamin-b energy shots (I only drank one and it did nothing for me), and extra batteries for my headlamp. I did use my water bottles, gels, salt tabs, and headlamp, but this would have all fit in a much smaller, more manageable package.

One last item that proved worth its weight was the light rain jacket I had thrown into the pack. It wasn’t waterproof, but when the sky opened up at midnight I fished it out and threw it on. Although I still got drenched, the hood kept my head relatively dry and the jacket formed a warm layer against my skin that turned what might otherwise be abject misery into mere severe discomfort. I walked the last 8 miles of the race through the storm, spending 45 minutes on the final 2 miles of hilly and technical terrain that make up the final stretch. When I finally crossed the finish line after 23 hours and 15 minutes I thanked the race director and hugged my brother, who had finished three hours earlier, and friends who had stayed up to congratulate me. Hobbling into the medical tent, I shed my wet clothes, wrapped myself in towels and blankets, and shivered myself to sleep.

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Overall, I’m extremely pleased with my race. I want to thank Taylor for his encouragement and for getting me into running in the first place. His girlfriend Sofie and her sister Jamila also provided encouragement at many of the aid stations and helped me stand up and walk the next day. My friends Eli and Robert met me at the finish line with hugs and helped me get warm and dry. I also want to thank all of the awesome volunteers who stayed up all night making quesadillas and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for runners, especially all the dedicated folks of the UVRC who helped out at Stage Rd and Mike, who led the gang at the Camp 10 Bear Aid Station. Also Phoebe – would have loved to have your company during those last 30 miles! Thanks again for volunteering to pace, maybe next time! Finally, Cara volunteered at Stage Rd. and then also met Taylor and me at Bill’s Barn at mile 88. I was definitely struggling a lot when I got there and Cara helped me get going after sitting down in what felt like the most comfortable chair ever created by man. She also met us at the finish line and helped me walk what seemed like an incredible distance back to my campsite after leaving the medical tent at 4am.

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Simple Joy, Sense of Accomplishment

By Judy Phillips

As many of you know, I’ve been running for 37+ years. I love sharing awareness of this simple sport – which just requires some time, a pair of shoes and putting one foot in front of the other – and the joy it’s brought me over the years.

I’ve run through various fitness levels and often lots of physical pain. I’ve fought the notion that it takes longer to heal when older, but have found that it’s true. The flip side is that lifelong activity helps with healing, because of the importance of good circulation. I listen to my body, and know when to skip a run or race, or switch to cross-training – weight training, Pilates and Yoga – all good but nothing compares to the fun of running.

Running has helped me manage some difficult times; get and stay fit; and has been a “quiet space” for meditation and creativity. I have found fun ways to work it into my daily life, often using running as transportation, and love finding races for us on our travels. I have run many races for charity and organized a race in NYC for Ethiopian Famine Relief in 1985 (under the auspices of the Notre Dame (Alumni) Club of New York).

Most importantly of all, running has brought me a sense of accomplishment: meeting a challenge, and feeling good about myself because I persevered. That feeling brings joy, and THAT’S what I’d like to share with younger folks, especially, who may be facing obstacles, not necessarily of their own choosing. That joy can bring hope, and the encouragement to seek other goals and experience a sense of achievement.

I’m an example of how anyone can do it, and have fun. I am not an athlete, yet have run many races and covered many miles. I have so many happy running memories!

So, I try to meet challenges and keep moving. And, I am always grateful for every step.

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4 comments posted Go To Comment

  1. Jim Burnett /

    Rob Edson – I loved your interview. You are UVRC’s Top Gun for sure!

  2. Dave Sullivan /

    Kevin, thanks for sharing your VT 100 experience. I too have found these ultrarunners a very generous and unique community–perhaps it’s because when you push through all of those mental and physical barriers that they (and now you) have, there’s no artifice left, just raw human emotion.

    My runner and I got caught in those storms as well, and I had the exact same thought. “What next, locusts?” I muttered to myself, and I was only 20 or so miles into my 30-mile pacing responsibility.

    Congrats again!

  3. Jim Burnett /

    Judy, You are a trooper and an inspiration!

  4. Jim Burnett /

    Kevin, Incredible story about an amazing effort. Now let’s see, Hercules conquered seven challenges from the gods, right? One down, six to go…

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