tMail ran the 100 (or rather 88 miles of it). ANIMAL! MadDog, Dogman and I worked the support crew shift.
tMail's Trip Report:
Where to start????
Call from Mutha, "tMail we missed the exit to the hotel, we are going to turn around be there in 20 minutes"
Once the 3 amigos arrived at the Snap Dragon Inn, which I give a 4 star for an in, we loaded into the Handler Wagon, MadDog assumed the pilot seat and we were off to registration. As part of my continued training MadDog parked as far away from the registration tent as possible, he said it was my "warm up".
I weighed in at 158lbs the most I have weighed in 3 years, I was 152lbs in the morning before I left. After the weigh in we rocked out under neath the tent and listened to the race rules and listened to Zeke Zucker and Mutha talk about the course markings. Mutha held up all the course markings as Zeke explained them. After the mandatory meeting was over we headed to the Windsor Inn for dinner.
DogMan really hit it off with the bus boy at the table, he can tell that story.
After dinner we went to the Snap Dragon and cuddled for the 6 hours of sleep 2.30am wake up. Conversation with MadDog was about whether Spark should be a firetruck that was outside our window and A type personality Chuck Mattera gave us a call, nightmares for MadDog to experience at Tracer Brook. I woke awake and felt like I had slept really well, MadDog bled all over the sheets, he can tell that story.
We arrived at Silver Hill Meadow for pre-race check in and then just hung out until the 4am start. It was a wild start, everyone in headlamps getting ready for a 100 miles. 3-2-1 go!
It was ultra quiet for the first 45 minutes people just realizing what was in front of them. I never ever thought in terms of miles I just thought in terms of keep moving. There was the early thinning of the crowd and the groups started to get formed. There were the constant questions of, Is this your first 100? What others have you done? Where do you live? What do you do?
Two people that stick out early in the race are this guy Luis from New Jersey built like a diesel truck and Chrissy Ferguson, Chrissy Ferguson during her hay day finished 3rd overall women at WS, was on the US Trail running team, her husband of 15 years just finished Hardrock which she paced him for and was now doing Vermont. She was a true cougar, called me a cutie. She is in a 20 year "agreement" with her husband at which point they decide if they go their own way. She hates kids even though she has one and hates her grandson, but said he is cute as a button. I never saw her again until after So. Pomfret aid station.
I was feeling good at this point as I steamed into Pretty House, first aid station. Everything went great, I gave them the heads up that I need some ginger ale, the stomach wasn't 100%. MadDog gave me some asian lotion on my knee, I got a Nutella sandwich and my hydration pack which qualified me for the Batton Death March!
As we headed out I crossed paths with few people was in some isolation and while heading to Stage Road did see a "Take Back Vermont" sign. Other than that we baked in the sun and the heat starting to take its toll. I took a massive dump on some knoll and we just kind of kept going. I came into Stage Road and the crew was magnificent I think we had some laughs the stomach was code yellow, I had some Thumbs, soda, lots of fruit, fruit was awesome, for the next 100 that will be on the high priority list. We started to evaluate eliminating sugar. I was doing a good job on ecap consumption and new I was being monitored based on the pack I handed off to the Dogs and Mutha. I was started to get short changed my water at this point! They dropped me to one liter in the hydration bladder I was doing a really good job nursing the 26oz handheld. I calculated I consumed roughly 5 gallons of water all day.
It was 17 miles until I saw the Dogs and Mutha again, and it was a grueling 17 miles of long climbs exposed sun sections and a guy that shit his pants and stunk like chicken shit. Those 17 miles I don't really have recollection of I don't know why, but I was alone for alot of it. I never thought of anything like solve world food supply, the debt crisis, taxes, invent something, I don't know what I was really thinking, I don't think you have time to think as weird as that sounds. Its just moving forward, doing what you can to survive and you just keep going. I had a cue sheet with me so I knew when my water stations were coming up. I just really kept thinking about keep drinking and keep taking ecaps.
Camp 10 Bear came after a long fucking climb I remember running into camp and seeing a car stuck in a ditch on the side of the road, the Dogs and Mutha had a good spot on the left, I took in more fruit, drank, picked at stuff and took a piss and saw MadDog out of the corner of my eyes checking the color it was clear, I was looking too.
My first weigh in147lbs I lost 11 pounds, impossible, one girl said wait another said go, I just walked away. This was impossible, but it makes my weigh in on my scale of 152lbs accurate b/c I normally am down 4-5lbs after 50 milers. Anyway I took off and rolled along. I remember this section being brutally hard, I felt like I was going backwards the climbs were relentless and two of the aid stations were out of everything when I rolled in that was sort of depressing because I was looking forward to fruit and was craving it. I remember feeling food at this point, maybe I was telling myself that and believing it but at the next handler station at Tracer Brook the true race started.
I came in running, I think, I can't remember, but I know that I ran around a right turn and the Dogs were to the left sitting down in the shake in a nice set up. I went from feeling good to vision going blurry and my hearing starting to go, very muffled. I was standing up looking at MadDog and I admitted MadDog, I am not doing good. He said, "I know". Things then went worse, I felt like I was going to drop. Then I was bent over, being held up, water being rubbed on me. Someone washed my face, I don't know who, but I was asked "tMail don't you feel better". I don't even know what I said, but it didn't. It was MadDog that suggested I sit down, I didn't want to because I "feared the chair". I was conscious of time and how long I had been there, but I wanted to pass out. DogMan was down low with me, in a real caring spirit for me and it made me feel good. He made me feel like, your stomach is a disaster that is ok, just try this, ok you don't like this try this. He came at me with every angle for food. He found his target with Snickers bars and then Ensure, I think cashews, I think fruit, I don't know, but the cold water was the best.
***Attention***MadDog was brought back to being 3 years old at this point as we later found out and will be joing G.A.C
My color I was told was green or white or combo of the two. I was given some Chocolate ensure that I didn't want to take I think I remember saying I will puke that stuff up, anyway I drank it. I was coming around and MadDog gave me that slight head nod/eye contact and said "ok bud you gotta get up now" I got up was given my pack and Mutha walked about with me trying to get me to eat almonds or cashews I can't remember. I remember saying to him I wanted my sunglasses, I don't know why, he ran back and go them for me. He stayed with me until I gave him the all clear. 5-10 minutes later I threw up 4 times in the middle of the road as a Subaru Outback drove off the side of the road as I stood in the middle and hurled. Whole chunks of Snickers bars came up and it was all chocolate, chunks of stuff. This kid Jeff watched in horror and said, 'that was impressive". I felt better but knew I just threw up everything that revived me. I wanted more food, but I was stripped of everything I had water and ecaps and almonds. I would eat one almond at a time it would take 10 minutes to chew one. Anyway that mile out of Tracer Brook up Prospect Hill was brutal took me 30 minutes for 1 mile I think. After that I rolled to Margaritaville and discovered no crew!!!! I backtracked back about 200 yards and there was Mutha in the road. I was ahead of schedule. Margaritaville is probably the most organized place and actually has lots of stuff. I took a burger and it took hours to eat I kept it with me and the Dogs and Mutha walked with me for a while, I remember taking another piss at this point and then took off for Camp 10 Bear. Camp 10 Bear more action was happening bodies falling apart. I picked up Mutha at this point and somehow was back to 157lbs, humanly impossible after what I just went threw.
Mutha and I took off, we were doing good, I don't think I said much to him, but he worked on me for eating and drinking. We negotiated how many cashews he could give me in my hand 2 was the max I could take. We had some long climbs and hit some beautiful horse facilities heading to South Woodstock. We put our headlamps on too a full moon that was beautiful and walking through a field that was like Gettysburg. The West Winds/Spirit of 76 handler station was cool, lots of lights and candle stuff, I remember asking DogMan for hamburger I really wanted one, they didn't have any but it seemed like they had a grill going and I was really confused by why they wouldn't have won, but I got a piece of bread with turkey meat on it, I took it. Heading out to Goodmans and Cowshed I know it was slow going I ran what I could walked what I had to. We were on dirt roads, the dust was everywhere you could see it in the headlamps. I felt like I was doing ok, we hit one unmanned aid station and someone left a Ensure, Mutha grabbed it and we negotiated sips and cashews. After Cowshed Aid Station on ran into some of my trail hunnies from TARC, we headed out and I this point the exhaustion started to hit, I walked with my hand on Mutha's shoulder and closed my eyes. The idea of taking a nap crossed my mind, there was 1 kid taking a nap with his handler watching over him. I thought I was doing ok, I was moving forward, I remember seeing a big cow's eyeball and his head it kind of made me laugh it was pretty cool. The sky was clear as day and the moon was beautiful.
We guessed around 86-87 miles I took one step and the knife went through the knee. Mutha did a great job of trying to manage and identify what was wrong we decided to sit down in a really cook spot and just chilled, I took 2 NSAIDs and just chilled. The pain was a 7 out of 10 for me, it was giving out, it was burning and I could put no weight on it. Mutha wanted to rest more, but I wanted up. I tried to keep going again, but everystep was I let out a G$$$ war whoop / MadDog primal scream. I tried dragging the leg, using Mutha as a crutch, I couldn't figure a way to make it work. I was proud of how far we made it, I sort of accepted it. It was buckle or bust, I busted and left what I had out there before Bills.
Mutha let some runners know #76 was down, within 20 minutes the Dogs showed up, I was laid out in the grass Mutha was laying against me so I wouldn't lose heat. MadDog came over he had a big smile on his face, it made me feel good, like I made him proud. I was down and out laying in dirt and grass, knee on fire, 88 miles into the Vermont 100 and I was at peace and MadDog was happy, what a tough guy to please!!!!!!
That was our day.
I know that MadDog, DogMan and Mutha had a great time and everything turned into being so much better than expected.
I had the worlds best crew and support. It is tough to ask someone to take up their entire weekend, take them away from loved ones, their daily jobs, weekend tasks, to serve you. Regardless you don't want to let them down and I know we had that understanding, but it is a tremendous amount to ask of people and MadDog, DogMan and Mutha, I can not THANK YOU guys enough, you guys did more than I ever thought. It was a pleasure coming into those aid stations seeing you guys and what plans of attack you had for me. I was demanding of things and asked for the impossible at times but you guys always came through, THANK YOU. You guys were my life support and I could not have made it as far as I did without you guys.
PM and G$$$ I felt you guys pushing me along and I know you wished you were there, because if you were [... omitted for vulgar, private joke ... ] !!!!!
MadDog's Trip Report:
Since I am late penning this I will only try to fill in some blanks, in quasi-chrono order, here's the raw unedited version:
1. I get a text message from a welterweight champ of Blue Hills aka "Cheeto commandeer", he's just getting on I91 south from I89, and will be sequestering himself in his room, and wants to know my status. I respond I'm on my way to get one of the other corner guys, and we'll be on the road to fight-central soon.
2. I wind my to the Bear den parking lot. No signage. Enter an open door and kindly ask where Bear Code is. She's agitated and unfriendly (editors note: I am not liking this Montpeculiar behavior - I see a pattern) and tells me they're over there - no sign. Thanks I say and off I go.
3. I enter what I envision a Formula 1 garage looks and encounter and engaged and focused Andy Gilbert, chief techno-pundit holding court of the IT dweebs. MD: "Andy, you in a meeting?" DM: "Maddog! Yeah, I will be with you soon." Not good, I am thinking. And I head next door to the granite fab slum, and schmooze with the stoners. I was in heaven.
4. A trip with the VT trippers is not a trip, if we don't miss the exit. Mutha steps up and makes the call to Cheeto What fun!
5. Mister Snapdragon, was a little too snappy for me. Red flags were raised...though I praise him/them for the improvements to the building. I have a softspot for rehab care given to old buildings.
6. Windsor Station pizza sucks. Farnum Hill cider is not bad, not bad at all.
7. The first time I really reconnected saw parts of the area from my race was when we passed by the South Woodstock store. Suddenly I felt anchored. The whole weekend I was constantly replaying parts of the races as we encountered it - and I could remember - the runner's perspective is completely different than the crews.
8. I was pleased to see Cheeto relaxed and chilling when we were putting in for the night. We both got a good chuckle from the text from Spark regarding the firetruck for sale "I will take it" - he doesn't even know wtf it is...we both laughed hard. From there something went terribly wrong....
I woke at 230 from phone, and Cheeto wakes. We soon find that my hands must have been bound overnight and that my wrists showed severe bruising. And then, the sheets under me had splotches of blood. Windsor forensics would be engaged but not before we headed for the horses and the start.
9. I had a momentary panic mode when I got separated from the boys, with 2mins to go. Thinking to myself it would be awful not to see him. Out of nowhere, Mutha appears from within the crowd and reels me in.
10. Off the runners, as Cheeto gets ready to move out, we wish well, and he does a little head drop to his left shoulder, subtle but noticeable from behind. It's the exact move a boxer does when loosening up in the ring before touching gloves. He's going to rumble, I thought.
11. We regroup and begin to get camp setup...after 30mins of boy chatter and frolic at the expense of Chisel, amongst a bunch of quiet tents Betty Boxer shorts appears and sends us off with our tails between our legs. We naively assumed that those tents were 100 mile runner's tents (and thus emtpy) not so...she firmly informed us. Buh bye Betty.
12. Stage Road was a porn set. While melting at my post I was confronted by commando chick, a pacer I suspect but who had rather sparse views on clothing. As if that wasn't bad enough...15 ft off of commando's right shoulder was the drop bag area. In comes BUFFy, she's hunting around for her stuff and I return to my lookout for the boys and Cheeto, I no sooner turn back the other direction, and Buffy it appears decides she's better off with no top while hunting through her drop bag. I wondered if she was looking for her sunscreen...then Cheeto pulls in. At the same an older guys stumbles onto us. I am battling inside because Cheeto is in, DM and MZ are on him, so not much I can do and the older guy needs help - so I try to split my attention between the two. While ok, the guy did ask me for help. I felt obligated got him a coke and helped with his drop bag. I use drop bag loosely. It was a Hannaford plastic grocery bag, with a roll of duct tape in it. I was astounded. He drank, I got back to Cheeto and he was pulling out of there so off we went...
13. All throughout the course and event, I was reconnecting with my race. It was magical to climb back in time, with the sensory of the day triggering all kinds of memories.
14. The whole bag swap idea was great. Once Cheeto was back on the course after an aid station, we immediately dissected what he gave us - allowed us to play enduro-anthropology, and try to infer what the f was going with Cheeto. This and Larry Ellison's masterpiece were the only tools we had to use that allowed us to make ourselves believe that we somehow had control. We control of nothing.
15. These 24+ enduro races are tests of one's ability to physically perform, manage the body and mind, and manage the course. Bringing all that together is not easy. Cheeto did a splendid job! At several of the major station stops - essentially a 20mile spacing, you could see the damage and effect of the course on runners. Strong and spirited at the start, and then 40 miles some slight changes, then 60 miles in bodies slumping, starting to shuffle, then 80 miles unable plant a foot on the slightest downhill, hurling, unable to smile, etc etc...it was really something.
16. Praise and kudos to DM and MZ, for all the positive energy and engagement during the weekend. No better crew was anywhere in sight.
17. Fuck Tracer Brook. There is always one low spot in these events, Cheeto knew it, and worked through it. It was great.
18. Seeing the body at Camp 10 stabilized and wrapped in a burrito on a stretcher was only reminder to me of how we should be thankful for the ability do that kind of event.
19. Yes Cheeto, we were secretly dialing back on things in the pack...after seeing a pattern of consumption dropping from the bladder and needing solids etc., and knowing the likelihood of it increasing to be nonexistent, we were offloading weight for you, and trying to soft-force feed you. Tactical decision by your corner team. I was inspired and reassured when Cheeto said he wants the buckle. Don't know where that came in the course, but it was essential for him to articulate it and us to hear it...it reaffirmed the machine's goal.
20. I don't about health care in Virgina, but I do know there are pretty darn good surgeons there.
21. It was good for the corner guys (and I think for Cheeto) to launch you out of Margaritville with a burger in hand. I did not like the guy who wanted to dock you 2mins for peeing there.
22. Spirit of 76 was an awesome spot to see you guys, as short as it was. And a little funny about the misfires on the hand offs.
24. Bills was where it was at. ...it was a wild period of emotions. I was worried to death and sad as the minutes ticked away. Worried about not buckling and not wanting him to be devastated - given all that that he has done and given up in the preceding 11+ months, but not worried about Cheeto's health. And I was reconnecting with my race when I hit Bills. When word came that we had to go out to the boys, it was comforting for a split moment, knowing that the Cheeto wouldn't have to punish himself with the rest.
25. Cheeto Comanche, showed us lot - he is disciplined, committed, wasn't attached to the outcome, he didn't have buckle fever - but he can endure. Great job, DM, MZ, CC.