Events Leading Up:
9.28.08: Vermont 50 Miler (VT): 8:58
10.19.08: The Run Across New Hampshire 124 Mi: 31:50
1.25.09: The Boston Prep x2 50K FA (NH): 5:27
2.22.09: 30 Dark Miles FA (NH): 6:06
3.6.09: Pittsfield Snow Ultra (VT) 52.4 Miles: 15:07
4.12.09: McNaughton Park 150 Miler (IL): 36:15 (DNF @100 Miles)
5.16.09: Massanutten 100 (VA): 33:35
6.6.09: Pittsfield Peaks 50 Miler (VT): 12:27
6.19.09: Pemi Loop Challenge 50K JR (NH): 12:24
Result: 2009 Vermont 100 - 23:27
And then came 2010. After 3 consecutive finishes under 24-hours at the Vermont 100, and two consecutive run's across New Hampshire.. I started to think about "what's next"? I became rather complacent with ultra-running. I felt like I could accomplish anything and no challenge was too small. So.. after finally getting into Western States, I signed up for the Grand Slam of Ultra Running. I also signed up and got in to the Barkley Marathon, where my goal would be to complete at least one lap. I was biting off way more than I could chew except I didn't know it at the time.
Then I got this idea in my head that I had such a solid ultra-base that I didn't need to train as much. Besides, I was now a Junior in college and was getting married in June (right before WS100). I didn't have as much time to train as I used to.. but who am I kidding.. I was tired. I didn't have as much drive either. At the end of 2008, I had run 100 Miles or more, 11 times, in just two-years of running them. That doesn't include the 50K's, and 50 Milers, and all the Fat Ass/Journey Run events in which I organized and/or participated in. In the time between the finish line of my first Vermont 100 ('07) and the Starting line of my fourth Vermont 100 ('10) I had run in 19 official ultras and completed 10 Fat Ass/Journey Runs. All of this between the ages of 25 and 28 in a time when so few young people participated in our sport.
For a few years, I had been warned by numerous veterans of Ultra that I was poised to burn out. And when I do, I'll disappear from this sport just as ever other young person before me. I poo-pooed their notions, confident in my abilities and an unwavering spirit to never let someone tell me I can't so something. The training numbers heading into Vermont 2010 Tell the tale better than I could here...
Training Miles: Oct '10 - Jun '10
Events Leading Up:
9.27.09: Vermont 50 (VT): 10:14
10.17.09: The Run Across New Hampshire 118.5 Miles: 34:26
1.24.10: Hammy Slammy in Hillabammy 50K FA (NH): 6:45
2.27.10: No Power? No Problem! 50K FA (NH): 6:40
3.27.10: Barkley Marathons (TN): 12:25 (22 Miles = ONE Loop)
4.11.10: Cross Rivendell 50K (37mi) JR (VT/NH): 9:55
5.8.10: McNaughton in Vermont 100 (VT): 7:02 (DNF @ 30 Miles)
6.5.10: Pittsfield Peaks 50 Miler (VT): 11:22
6.26.10: Western States 100 (CA): 28:29
Result: 2010 Vermont 100 - 28:58
I was humbled in 2010. After squeaking by at the Western States 100, I squeaked by at the Vermont 100. A mere hour and 2 minutes to spare and I had to dig deep for that. The training numbers above are indicative of a burned out runner. I lacked passion or urgency. I wasn't scared of any single event.. I was cocky to my own previous successes. Finishing that 2010 Vermont 100 was eye-openning. A race I had come to finish in under 24-hours, almost like clock-work, was now what I considered to be blemished. I was heart broken.. I now had 3 buckles... and one plaque (For sub 30 hours). The next month.. I travelled to Leadville, CO and ran in the Leadville 100. I barely made it out of the 50 mile turn-around aid station.. and timed out at Twin Lakes 2 in a section known as "The Grand Slam Graveyard."
I'd been running ultras for 5 years now. I had accomplished a lot more than I ever dreamed I would. But my legs, my mind.. I was burnt out. I didn't train.. certainly not enough for a major undertaking like the Grand Slam of Ultra. So there I was.. hunched over at the finish line of the Vermont 100.. looking for answers I wouldn't find for a few years to come.