|Jack with Corky at Leadville|
Last year was up and down for me both in races and personally. I had a lot of personal changes and challenges along with job demands that made it a very difficult year. It definitely made a difference on race day as I can't really remember a race that I felt fully rested and 100%. Still, I persevered and pulled off some good race results throughout the year. The Burning River 100 was my fastest 100 miler yet even though I was not feeling great. I still had fun visiting a whole new area and visiting Niagara Falls on the way out. Leadville was a disappointment in my performance but in the overall perspective, it was an awesome experience just being out there and it brought to light some other aspects of my life. And being my first time in Colorado, it opened my eyes to a whole new country, a place that I could call home some day? Who knows?? I did not return to defend my title at the VT 100 but chose to crew and pace for another runner which I completely enjoyed, helping her to finish in her fastest time yet for a 100 miler and beyond her own expectations. The JFK 50 miler was a surprise to me in that I had some time to check out the area and really appreciated the whole history of the race and the area. It made the race more than just a race, but rather a historic trip that I will remember for some time. It was also my fastest time for a 50 miler. I had my first DNF ever at the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon in May. I was so distraught that immediately afterwards I went for a 2 hour mountain bike ride followed up with a run to get in 20 miles for the day but had to run backwards for the few miles as I was in too much pain to run like most normal runners. I won the Rollin Irish Half Marathon in April which was fun. I ran in three or four 50 milers, did three 100 milers which included one of my own creations, ran many other trail races and logged more miles than ever before, just over 4500 miles of the year. I had a uneventful Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains of NH. Just cold and damp but no hypothermia or major bonking this year, so that was good.
I am very grateful to the wonderful network of friends I have and to the running community here in Vermont and all over the country. I always say, it's not about the race but more about the journey and that surely was the case in 2010.
RACE REPORT FOR THE NATIONAL XC 10K TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS IN CHARLOTTE, NC.
December 11, 2010.
With the holidays and a crazy work schedule I almost forgot about this but Tony has been bugging me so here goes.
Our 50's team with the Green Mountain Athletic Association is the defending champs for this event so we had to travel down to Charlotte, NC. After coming from nowhere last year in Kentucky and winning this event, we had some teams really after us this year. We have a great crew of runners who have no egos but are truly great runners. So we came to Charlotte with a great attitude and would see how we could do. For the team we had Norm Larson, Tommy Ryan, Tony Bates, Kevin McMahon, Jim Miller and myself. Jim Miller was still working on an injury so we weren't quite sure how that would pan out but at least we had 6 team members, with only 5 needed for scoring. Immediately after work Friday morning, I boarded a plane at 11:00 am from Burlington to Charlotte. It was great to board on the plane, knowing that I had a weekend to not have to work. I look at these races as a time to rest. The race was only a 10k so it would be over soon and I would have time to relax and enjoy life a bit. Coming from a hectic week of working mornings and night for the busy Christmas season I was only able to sleep at a two hour clip but twice a day, still four hours a day doesn't quite cut it. Anyway, I would have a good night sleep in Charlotte to try to catch up. When I arrived in Charlotte, it was a warm welcoming, that being the temps. As soon as I got settled in my room with Tony and Jim, I got on my running gear, headlamp on and out to view the city of Charlotte for a night run. The great thing about traveling and running, you can see so much just by running about in the cities. I ran by the famous Nascar Museum and then toured around. Charlotte was incredibly clean and friendly. The Christmas decorations were up so running at night was special to see it all lit up. Finally back to the room, dinner and to bed. The race the next morning wasn't until 11:00 am so a good nights sleep was in order. At the crack of dawn or by 7:45 or so we could hear a lot of noise below. It was the Nascar Marathon with thousands of runners just below our window running along. It was fun to see. Afterwards, we went out for the usual shake out run to loosen up the body and to get ready for breakfast. Breakfast, this was a challenge as most of the city was closed up on the weekend. The one bagel shop had a huge line so we ended up back at the hotel. A quick lesson was learned, don't order hotel food. Cup of tea, $5., A lousy bagel, $5. So be it. Then on to the race. The race course was a 10k loopy thing which ran along kind of a tow path with one hill but you ran that hill 3 times on various loops. This race was for all the masters runners so the adrenaline was running high and off we went in a mass start of 400 or so racers. From a wide start to a narrow trail, it was tight. Even after the first mile and a half, I can remember bumping with other runners. And the start was fast, even in a crowd but manageable, or so I thought. After the first mile at 5:40 or so, I was quickly losing steam. The lack of sleep was catching up. The legs felt fine but the energy level went from 10 to about 2. I could see the other 50's runners passing by one by one. And that's how it went for me, basically a survival run. Luckily I have awesome teammates who ran strong. Norm lead the way for us with an incredible time as usual followed by Tony Bates and Tommy Ryan. Just behind was Kevin McMahon, a 56 year old who trains while running with the baby jogger for his new born child. Way to go Kevin! Jim Miller ended up pulling out so I was the 5th scoring member of our team. One of the worst 10Ks that I've run, I felt like I let the team down but I just had no energy. Still, when the day was done, we made the podium coming in 3rd overall. Not bad for a bunch of old guys from Vermont!
After the race, I ran back to the hotel to get in my miles for the day. It was about 9 miles back to the hotel. I hadn't felt good all morning but after a mile or so of running back to the hotel I stopped at a convenience store to get a quick snack and drink. Snickers and a Coke, the snack of champions. Well, before I left the store, things erupted internally and that set the tone for the rest of the day and night. I quickly learned that the Marathon gas stations are frequent and have excellent bathroom facilities. It was a long run back but I was in no hurry so I tried to enjoy the journey. As I got closer to the city, I noticed the sidewalk system that I was following was coming to an end. What to do? I hesitated for a second but knew I had to make a decision. To go forward or head off in another direction to who knows where. So I kept going but no more sidewalk. So for the next few miles, I was running on the Freeway towards Charlotte. Traffic was buzzing by but I kept going on the shoulder hoping that eventually I would find another roadway to follow. I was just waiting for the police to pull me over but no, I finally made it to some exit ramp that I sort of recognized. By then the stomach was erupting again and by the power of God or who knows what, there was a port-o-let just ahead. Left over from the Nascar Marathon and no line so I quickly took advantage of the marathon perks. As I headed towards the city I came across someone who was still running the marathon, 7 hours after the start. I wished her luck and continued on, finally arriving at the hotel. For the night, it was awards, dinner snacks and an upset stomach again so back to the room for an early evening.