Crewed tMail in Vermont 100 w/ DogMan, Spungie and Pat "The Irish Rose". tMail's trip report is here.
My Trip Report:[This message is subject to the 'What Happens At The VT100 Stays At The VT100' rule of self-censorship, or WHVT100.]
* tMail rocked it like a hurricane. to hit sub-24 he consistently averaged a 22hr pace for the first 55-ish miles, and during the last 45-ish miles barely slowed, averaging faster than a 22:30 pace. he finished the last 2 miles at a 'walk' without sacrificing those stats, but summoned the last of it and ran the finish line like a pro.
* the low point physically this year was not Tracer Brook (mi 57), but The Spirit of '76 (mi 77). we made an extended stop for soup/potatoes/etc. and his body said 'oh hey, we're done, right?'
* the rally: within an hour out of Spirit of '76 not only did his mojo return, but tMail hit his groove and consistently maintained a 12-13 min/mile pace for long intervals resulting in recovering from a 23hr forecast to a 22.5 based solely on the minutes we put in the bank up to mile 88. While Spungie had come to meet us a minute or two out of Spirit of '76, we arrived at Bill's (mile 88) early enough to surprise the crew who was busy napping, puttering about and watching a runner bleed from a face-plant-induced open head wound. the rally continued, arriving at aid stations and the last manned stop (Polly's) ahead of schedule.
* This year's 4-man crew with last year's event as learning, was like a sort-of decently-oiled machine. The Irish Rose drove, DogMan navigated and the two never made a single error, taking us to stops, stores, gas, ice-cream, etc. like they were born there (possible exception is getting from Bill's to Polly's, but that was because of the directions. I wasn't there, but it sounds like carnage, with cars going every which way). Spungie and I kept the humor and retard-commentary going in the back of the car. But at the handler stations, with 4 of us with our thinking caps on, we remembered just about everything. As an example, Pat: "we're low on water". Spungie: "we're low on fruit". Dogman "I'll cut watermelon". Mutha: "this reminds me of Spungie's Grandmother".
* Kudos to DogMan for playing Mother Hen.
* Kudos to The Irish Rose for maintaining an unwavering calm in the face of uncertainty
* Kudos to Spungie for being focused on tMail's nutritional needs (tracking calories, in this case)
* Kudos to me for the "What the fuck are doing on my beach?" story.
I paced from Camp 10 Bear last year, and again this year - making it to the finish line w/ our runner this time. I have a few comments as a newbie pacer for any of you that have not done this before and may do it in the future:
* 'Pacing' is 0.01% physical
* 'Pacing' is 25% being able to estimate speed, know where you are and estimate arrival times at stops, and likely finish times w/ margin of error.
* 'Pacing' is 74.99% mental. While the goal of the pacer sounds physical ("get your runner across the finish line at all costs"), the demand kicks in when the need is presented and it shows itself like this [Note the WHVT100 rule - so this is just the tip of the iceberg, it's up to me and tMail to remember the details]"
- after an hour of silence: "mutha....i don't visit my parents enough..."
- after an hour of silence: "mutha....i don't think i'll ever run again..."
* I blew it a few times when it was my responsibility to keep the shit together:
- we got passed by a truck on the approach to a fork in the road. i instinctively followed the truck. tmail noticed that the route went the other way. goddamn it.
- on some really long stretches with no turns after dark, the event organizers spaced the chem lights pretty far apart. when tMail asked "are we on the route? i haven't seen a chem light", I had to crank up to an 8 min pace to find the next light to confirm. I should've known we were good and on the route.
- early in our run together tMail asked me the time to the next stop. i had no idea. i never made that mistake again. for the next 7 hours i had all arrival times estimated to within 5 minutes of our actual arrival times.
- i got 2 extra-strength tylenols for tMail and left them in the car. he asked for them and at the next med stop i forgot to get more because while the crew was attending to his needs, i got busy eating and drinking to meet mine and forgot. major embarrassment.
My memory of the 30 miles (8 hours) was of only two things:
- twice tMail's rally nearly left me huffing and puffing in the dust on two major ascents
- the rest of it was all about the mental game. as evidence, that was all i chatted about w/ dogman on the way home. all. really.
* As Spungie and I were discussing while crewing, being happy and smiling will elevate your mood and dull pain. Being angry, depressed or forelorn will cause physical pain to deepen. The role of the pacer is really to dull physical pain to bring the pace up and cross the finish line, but to stay within the mental focus of the runner. Don't tell dumbass jokes unless the runner asks for one. frame all 'problems' expressed by the runner as positive elements within the runner's control. If it requires lying, don't say it. Find the truth in all positive, uplifting aspects of the subjects that is on the runner's mind. for example:
- runner: "i don't think i'll ever run again ..."
- pacer: "that's a great option too. follow your heart and do what makes you happy. nobody cares if you run unless you like to run. take up ballroom dancing or video games. your family and friends take pleasure in your happiness. we're just following your lead."
* This race, as an observer, is a lesson in interpersonal dynamics. The fascinating variations in relationships and crew/runner dynamics is astounding. Some examples (no gender bias intended - these are just some specifics):
- runner wife heaps abuse on miserable husband crew. she appears to not at all be able to get mind into a good place.
- runner wife has not clue why husband is even doing this, but is correct in her assessment of how stupid the event is, in a way.
- runner husband is easy-going, happy guy. wife is the same but under pressure to support husband. all is good and they are kind and forgiving to each other
- family supporting father runner. father goes out of his way to carry found horseshoe 10 miles to give to his kids at the next stop. kids thrilled. hugs.
- aunt runner is met by little nieces and nephews at Margaritaville station. screaming, hugs, laughing and shouting. smiles everywhere.
- business-only support crew mimics NASCAR pit-stop. runner in-and-out faster than NASCAR. lug-nuts everywhere.
* We thought the temps would drop but we sweated our balls off throughout the race (except for tMail's 'low point' at Spirit of '76 where his body decided to check out momentarily.
* I drank 2.5 bottles of beer immediately after and had the beer shits when we woke up. bad move. next time, hydrate and eat FIRST, then drink
* Spungie is the greatest guy to hang with while drinking. I was laughing so hard I was crying, but can't remember what the fuck we were talking about.
* I brought my own TP and ass-wipes. smart move.
* DogMan and I stopped at the Dirty Cowboy Cafe and were astounded by the stupid college students behind the counter. It was like ordering food at a retard-clinic.
This was a great weekend. Again, lots of fun and good times had by all. A shit-ton of laughing and enjoyment punctuated by crazed lunacy and focused support of the runner. Good to get home.
DogMan's Trip Report:
Thanks TMail. Nice chapter(s) to life. And congrats. Excellent dig. Going forward no fear, only methodical assassination. With a big s* eating grin next time. Watch out!
Very grateful to everyone. Highlights:
1) Mutha was in his story telling prime. Enough said.
2) Kudos to Mutha for the guidance to the finish. Most excellent. A++.
3) Spungie was in his enthusiasm prime, keeping the energy level and attitude in tune all day.
4) Kudos to Spungie for the calorie calculations.
5) Kudos to Pat for the steady hand on the wheel, and the even keel throughout. Great complement to us all.
6) Thanks to MadDog for schooling me on the meadow dinner at Bill's. We cashed in big on that this year, and Spungie brought it home with the tea and dessert. Was some super fine dining.
7) Watch out for the napping demons at Polly's. We should set an alarm next time, just in case.
9) Grey shorts
10) Keep smiling
11) What a beautiful yet totally f* up event. I am NEVER f* running 100 miles. Really, eh well maybe unorganized 50K, eh maybe 50M, eh....
12) The hallucinations of lights. Wow that was freaky. Seeing a f* horse where there is none, who knew.
13) I did nothing, yet I am totally f* chucked.
Some lessons learned, mostly personal...
0) It's all about the runner.
1) Manage your anxieties, listen more.
2) We definitely had some minor snafu's, but TMail never saw it, so we get an A. If one were to professionalize crewing would probably consider more semi formal separation of concerns and/or lists so we make objective assessments. You get tired, there is confusion. And anxiety. Having some structure to decision making could only help.
3) One particular example of above would be in assessment, having a pre-determined idea of how to decide to push versus pull. I had a major anxiety attack after the send off at 76 that one of two things was about to happen. Either TMail would rally in about 2 miles and smoke it. Or he would keel over and Mutha would be stuck in the middle of no where with a hypothermic whimpering de-hyrdrated undernourished sack of potatoes needing a warm blanket. It turned out A, but would really suck if it were B and we missed it.
4) Need to cut down the amount of s* being carried around. Some low hanging fruit here.
Cross that f* off the list! Hoorah!