Monday, July 10, 2017

Vermont 100 Preview

You would think that one of the oldest 100 mile races, part of the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, would be well known in the ultra world.  Western States and Leadville have storied histories. The aid station names are known. The winners are celebrated. The Vermont 100 is a mystery. You can't even find a course map. 
So how do I preview this race that I know next to nothing about? I do know is that it started as a horse race like Western States. In fact, unlike Western, the horses still race at the same time as the runners. Other than that, I have heard that this race can be hot and humid, which does not bode well for me. There is about 14k feet of climbing with no ridiculously long climbs but constant smaller ones. And that is about all I know. 
I took a solid week off following the last race. When I finally got back to running, I felt good but only after a couple miles. The following week was spent in Montreal with my wife, where I got a couple runs in. I also got a bunch of beers in along with just about every food Montreal had to offer. Three weeks between races leaves no time for any real training so I decided to just enjoy myself. 

I suspect this was actually a sharing portion of poutine.

It feels like Western States was both a long time ago and just yesterday. It has only been just over two weeks. In that time I have not been doing much in the way of preparing for Vermont. I've seen some of the post race recaps and videos but find them hard to watch. I said I was OK with my DNF. That is still mostly true. I am convinced that there was really nothing more I could have done that day. It wasn't my day, the circumstances didn't cooperate and I wasn't prepared enough. All that being said, I am still disappointed and regret that I have to wait, possibly a long time, to get another chance.
I have found it typical to go into a sort of depressive state after a race, successful or not. This appears to be a normal thing as I have heard other runners talk about it. Even after finishing a race well, I come down off the emotional high and sink into a week or two of lows. I don't know the true cause but after going through it multiple times, I come to expect it and know that it will pass once I get back to a regular running routine. 
This time around I have been left questioning whether I am able to still do this and if it is even worth doing. I haven't been dwelling on this or considering it seriously but, nevertheless, the questions have been popping up in my head. Part of the appeal of ultrarunning to me is getting to a low a point and then somehow working through it, coming out the other side and accomplishing the ultimate goal. Western States may have been a low point. It also may only be the beginning of a downward slide, since there is no guarantee of a finish at Vermont or any race coming up. The lesson learned from this silly hobby is that when things do go wrong, you keep working and, eventually it gets better, even if it doesn't happen as soon as you'd like. 
So I got knocked down but I am getting back up and giving it another go. I'm not sure I'm ready for another 100. That doesn't matter because the time is here. It is very possible I could fail again. I would rather do that than not even try. 

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