Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Vermont 100 or was it 50k?

Last weekend I won the Vermont 50K. Since I didn't let anyone else know about this option in the Vermont 100, my competition was pretty small-most runners opted to run the FULL 100 miles. I, however, realized the errors of my ways and figured that if I stopped at 50 kilometers I could: 1)go to the Norwich Farmer's market, 2)have lunch with my parents, 3)drive home from VT, 4)take a nap, 5)watch The Dark Knight Rises, 6)eat dinner and 7)sleep. AND all of this could be done before I would be finished the 100 miles. People who run 100 miles are CRAZY! And not because of the distance so much as the time commitment. There are very few things that are fun for 20-30 hours and running is certainly not one, in my humble opinion. With that being said, I do think that everyone should somehow get involved in the Vermont Adaptive Sports program which does amazing things to allow people of all abilities gain access to sports from which they otherwise would have been excluded. You don't have to run an ultramarathon to get involved, but making a donation or volunteering as a guide will be greatly appreciated.

I started the morning thinking I would be one of the crazies completing the full distance, especially after DNFing last time I attempted it. Things started going south around 22 miles where I stopped being able to eat anything without feeling sick. My body and lungs could have probably kept going but my stomach(and psyche) could not. I had been running high 8's for the first 22 or so then slowed dramatically and actually had to walk the entire two miles prior to my early exit. Those two miles made me realize just how long I would have to be out there just to finish this race. Just couldn't handle it this year. My biggest regret of the day wasn't that I stopped early but that I let down Rich who had been training months to run his first ultra as my pacer. However, my hope is that he maintains his fitness and carries it through to the Bay State Marathon where I'll be pacing him for the last half in his attempt to break the elusive 3 hour mark. With how fast he's been running recently, I don't think he'll struggle with that.

As anyone who tried looking up Amber at Lake Placid will have figured, she didn't race it this year. Things didn't come together the way she had hoped in the weeks leading up to the race and she made the smart(and yet) tough decision not to race. It did free her up to help fundraising for Concord charities by being dunked in the Dunk Tank as part of Market Days.

Up Next: Ironman Mount Tremblant(Danny) and Timberman 70.3(Amber) August 19, 2012. You can follow both at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vermont 100 Crew Part II

In 2009, I had a three person pacing crew to help me get to the finish from mile 70 on... Didn't quite make it. 18 miles and 7 hours later, I decided I had had enough.

This year I have a new crew and a different approach. I will have my friend, teammate and fellow race director, Rich Lavers be my pacer for the full 30 miles that the race allows a pacer but will also have my parents as my handlers out on the course with changes of shoes and for moral support in those middle miles where I will certainly be fading. This will be my parents' first time as handlers but I expect them to do an exceptional job as they did with cheering me on in previous races like the Cleveland Marathon where I saw them multiple times on a course difficult to navigate by car. This will also be Rich's first ultramarathon(30 miles is definitely an ultra) but he has been training better for those thirty than I have for the one hundred. He definitely will be an asset to have so late into the race.

So hopefully with this new crew, better pacing, no hour long breaks at mile 70, or sausage eating, I will be able to finally finish the Beast of the East.

The Crew:
Rich Lavers and his son(and faster family member)James

My dad and namesake: Dan

My Mother:Judi

For any one that isn't doing anything from 4am on Saturday to 4am on Sunday July 21-22, I have generously provided my planned schedule for arriving at each aide station. If you go to there are directions to some or you could probably just follow the trail of tears and whimpering which will lead directly to me. 
Good luck to everyone doing Lake Placid Ironman the next day. Depending on how I'm feeling, I may try to get up there to cheer everyone on. 

My Race Plan

1 Densmore Hill 7 5:10 AM 6:00 AM            U 4.5
2 Dunham Hill 11.5 6:00 AM 7:00 AM          UP 3.8
3 Taftsville Bridge 15.3 6:40 AM 8:15 AM             A 2.2
4 So. Pomfret 17.5 7:05 AM 8:45 AM           U 5
5 Pretty House 22.5 7:55 AM 10:05 AM         AHP 4
6 U-Turn 26.5 8:40 AM 10:45 AM           U 5
7 Stage Rd 31.5 9:35 AM 11:45 AM          AHP 2.4
8 Route 12    33.9 10:00 AM 12:20 PM                A 2.3
9 Vondell Reservoir  36.2 10:30 AM 12:45 PM            U 3.4
10 Lincoln Covered Bridge 39.6 11:10 AM 1:25 PM                    A 1.8
11 Barr House 41.4 11:40 AM 1:45 PM            U 2.5
12 Lillians 43.9 12:05 PM 2:15 PM            AP 2.1
13 Jenne Farm 46 12:30 PM 2:40 PM             U 1.6
14 Camp 10 Bear 47.6 12:50 PM 3:10 PM          AMHP 3.8
15 Pinky's 51.4 1:30 PM 4:10 PM              A 3.1
16 Birmingham's 54.5 2:10 PM 4:45 PM              A 2.9
17 Tracer Brook 57.4 2:50 PM 5:30 PM          A(M)HP 3.2
18 Prospect Hill 60.6 3:40 PM 6:05 PM             U 1.9
19 Margaritaville 62.5 4:05 PM 6:35 PM           AHP 3
20 Brown School House 65.5 4:45 PM 7:10 PM             A 6
21 Camp 10 Bear 71.5 6:00 PM 8:20 PM           AMHP 3.6
22 Seabrook 75.1 6:55 PM 9:05 PM             A 2.3
23 The Spirit of 76 77.4 7:25 PM 9:30 PM           AHP 4
24 Goodman's 81.4 8:15 PM 10:30 PM                     U 2.6
25 Cow Shed 84 8:55 PM 11:15 PM                A 5
26 Bill's 89 10:05 PM 12:45 AM         AMHP 3.4
27 Keating's 92.4 11:00 PM 1:45 AM             A 3.5
28 Polly's 95.9 11:55 PM 2:40 AM          AHP 2.2
29 Sargent's 98.1 12:25 AM 3:25 AM            U 1.9
30 FINISH LINE 100 1:00 AM 4:00 AM        AMHP

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oh Boy! Here we go again!

Flashback to 2009. Danny plans to run the Vermont 100 on 25 miles per week training. 21 hours later? Danny DNF's at 88.6 miles. Suffers an embarrassingly long ride back to the start from a volunteer who can't help asking: "You look pretty good. Whatcha dying from?" Right about then it felt a little like... shame. As Lance Armstrong is most famously quoted saying: "Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn't have anything to regret for the rest of their life... I'm sure this decision won't haunt you forever." 
After having to live down the 88.6 moniker Amber had labeled him for a year, he decided that he could seek redemption and solace by completing the Leadville 100. That proved to be a temporary bandage over a still open and fresh wound. While soothing for a little while, the VT100 DNF remained fresh in his mind every time that he traveled a little too far on I-89 or stared at the NH map upside down. Nothing could pacify his need for true redemption: attempt the race again and leave nothing behind. So he signed up for the 2012 race and took most of his other races off the table so that he could focus on actually training for running 100 miles.

Flash-forward to the Present: Today is July 1st, nineteen days until Danny toes the line for the second time in West Windsor, VT. Three years ago, Danny had raced three marathons and a fifty miler in preparation for the race. Admittedly, he may have had minimal weekly mileage stats but at least was getting in long runs. Today, he completed his longest run since the Cleveland Marathon and it was only 13. In fact, in the month since Cleveland, Danny has posted weekly mile stats of: 2.5, 17, 22, 10 and 32. Oh boy. Those numbers looks eerily familiar. What Danny is counting on pulling him through the race is not necessarily a stellar preparation but the confidence that he could have drawn a lot deeper into the pain cave than he did three years ago. He quit at 21 hours with only 11.4 miles to go! He had nine hours to cover less than 12 miles. A slow crawl would have brought him in under the cut-off. And yet he quite. Shame, shame on him. This year will be different. It'll take a little more than some thrown up ramen noodles and aching quads to get him to not finish. 19 days and 30 hours and he expects to finally close this wound forever. 

Up Next:  Danny: Vermont 100(July 20-21), Amber: Ironman Lake Placid(July 21). Amber is in the running to qualify to the 70.3 World Championships. Read the second part of her race report here