Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vermont 100!?!

I have changed my goal race (yet again). I will be running the Vermont 100 and not White River 50. I have been itching to run something longer that will bring me into the element of the unknown. I know I can push through discomfort and stick it out for 50 miles, and on a good day I can run (relatively) fast. Although I have done one 100, it was at Umstead, which took a lot of the unknown out of it, as it was a loop course. I knew what awaited me in terms of terrain and aid, and I never got to a breaking point—rather, the closer I got to the finish, the stronger I felt. Vermont will be a different story, especially if the conditions are similar to what I have been dealing with this year.

I went into Umstead with no expectations, as I was injured for the four months leading up to the race. In the ten days between June 19-28, I ran 100 miles over a ten-day span, with 4 18+ milers and three rest days thrown in for good measure. I am much more physically prepared, it would seem, but I also go into the race with much higher expectations. I always set myself several goals, especially when the race is long and so much can happen. Here are my goals for Vermont—dream: under 18 hours; ecstatic: under 20 hours; happy: under 22 hours; pleased: under 24 hours; content: finish under 30 hours.

Part of the uncertainty has to do with the race course itself; although one of the first 100 milers and part of the grand slam, it has no map, no elevation profile, and until a few weeks ago had no course description, and the course description is long but not very descriptive. I know I will be running on mostly smooth gravel roads, some single-track, and a few miles on the road, with lots of ups and downs. I will be looking for more blogs that contain descriptions of the race.

This will also be the first time my family will be seeing me run an ultra, as well as the first time that I will have a crew (guess who?). I am excited to have the support and hope that they enjoy the experience. I am also worried about wearing them out. 20 hours is long enough when one is running, but probably even worse when someone is driving around and then sitting, waiting, and worrying. I also worry that, although I am always exceedingly polite and thankful to aid station volunteers, with my family my real (i.e. a-holeish) side might come out. All in all, though, I am excited.

I have a Twitter account now, but I don’t know how to use it. I will figure out how to do so and have someone send out text message updates of my progress on Twitter. I got my Twitter account solely so I could follow last weeks Western States 100. The webcast was overwhelmed with web traffic (big surprise), so Twitter and the webcast’s “Live Blog” were the only way to get updates. Twitter was even more timely than the “Live Blog” in letting us know who was up front and who was dropping out, thanks to some people tweeting from the aid stations. I think it’s only a matter of time before big races like Western States have designated Tweeters (Twitterers?) at aid stations, much like Scott Dunlap suggested on his blog back in April. Congrats on the finish, Scott.


  1. Hey Matt!!! It's Sean back from the Biola days of CC. Wow, that' is just AWESOME you're running 100 milers! I did a marathon for the first time about 5 years back, but haven't gotten into the groove since. I'm in the mountains now, so the weather is perfect for it.

    Keep running hard and hopefully you'll blog a little more so I can track your progress. 8^D

  2. Hey Matt, here's a profile of the course:


    Even though it looks old, it appears to be for the current course (and not the pre-2004 course) since the elevation change is correct. Although I just went through the description, and it looks like the profile understates the number and severity of hills that are in the last 15 miles.

    Good luck! See you out there.