Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vermont 50 Race Report 2011


I've been a little late on reports lately so some of the details may not be fresh in my mind.  It's been a busy month with running, work and life.  So here goes.

THE VERMONT 50 MILE ULTRA RUN
Sunday September 25, 2011

This is always a home town favorite.  Good course, excellent volunteers and race director Mike Silverman, who understands and listens to the runners.  Thanks Mike!

I showed up around noon the day before to set up a booth for the Green Mountain Athletic Association.  We are the states largest organized running group with over 600 active members.  This was our first year at the event and somehow I volunteered to host the booth.  I wasn't sure if I would be running the race, but of course since I was there I had to.  I had quite a few visitors at the booth and had some goodies to give away in a drawing thanks to the generosity of SkiRack, Julbo, Catamount Family Outdoor Center and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.  It was a sunny, warm and humid day with the occasional burst of rain just to add to the already muddy course from the rains all week.

Jack and George

After a great pasta dinner it was back to the ultimate camper race rig in the upper parking lot, (my F150 with cap set up with a queen platform bed.  Mike Wiegand and I were car camping.  And what a night.  We hung out for the pre-race ritual, Buds and Tequila under the stars before settling in for the night.  Mike had his own Audi "camper", which seemed to work well too.  The race start was at 6:20am so it would be an early to rise morning.  5:00 am, still dark but already fairly warm.  This could be a warm day.  After a little breakfast it was a quick walk to the start area.  There's a huge tent set up with snacks and refreshments as we wait for the bikers to get going.  With so many bikers, there was some issue and the race time for the runners was pushed back some, but finally at the crack of dawn, we were off and running.

Right from the start, I knew it was going to be a warm day so the electrolyte replacements were going to be key.  Self supporting, I had a drop bag at mile 30 with replacement electrolyte pills, GU gels and GU Brew which has some electrolytes as well as calories making it the perfect drink for the 50.  I also knew the drink they offered at the aid station was not my favorite so I would have to get by with mostly water after I ran out of my initial bottle of GU Brew.  That would be a gamble with warm temps and high humidity.  For shoes I wore the Mizuno Ascend's, a great all around trail shoe.  Some runners were wearing road shoes but with the mud on course, I knew a trail shoe would be the way to go.  This was probably the largest field they ever had for the 50 mile and as usual we were off at a fast pace.  With some of the early season flooding, there were some course changes.  Instead of a fast 3-4 miles along the river, after about 1/2 mile we were climbing steep hills which I really didn't mind.  After running with the front pack for a bit I backed off and settled into a groove and just did my own thing.  Brian Rusiecki was up front along with a couple of other young bucks.  I was running along with Glen Redpath, Steve Trull and a couple other guys.  Glen and I seem to run together quite a bit at these races and usually go back and forth throughout the day.  Glen had some good morning energy and seemed to take off ahead and I wouldn't see him again for some time.  Overall the course was in great shape.  The first half of the course has a lot of dirt roads with some single track mixed in.  The single track had some good muddy sections which seemed to cause more havoc for the bikers as we passed by many.  The day was warming and I kept on a regular schedule of taking the electrolyte supplements.  And I tried to eat a GU gel at least every hour for a little burst of energy.  Somewhere about halfway I was catching up to some of the other 50 mile runners who were starting to slow up.  Usually in these races, I just keep going and sometimes get stronger in the later phases of the race and today would be no exception.  I like the second half of the VT 50 way better as there is so much more fun single track.  Yes it was muddy but also lots of fun cruising through the woods.  I grabbed my drop bag at the mile 30 aid station, replenished my electrolytes, GU gels and GU Brew and quickly headed out.  I heard Aliza was not too far back and was waiting for her to catch up to me as she has been having a great year on the trails but never saw her.  Soon I saw a red hat in the distance.  Sure enough it was my Canadian friend, Glen Redpath.  Glen was slowing down just enough for me to catch up.  We ran together a bit and then I took off feeling good.  Glen was not too far off and at the next aid station he caught up to me.  We also met up with Chad Denning who was supposed to be pacing Aliza but heard there was a change of plans.  So Chad was coming out to pace with myself and Glen for the last 10 miles.  In the wide open fields it was getting really warm and I could see Glen fading a bit so I took off again.  Chad stayed back to run with Glen.  I was feeling good but was also thinking about food and was ready to end this race.  Finally I approached the last aid station, mile 47 or so.  I got some food in me and there was Glen again, right behind me.  So off I went again.  At many of these races Glen and I are only minutes apart, sometimes he is ahead of me, sometimes I'm ahead of him.  I think in the end we help motivate each other to keep going.  This last section was all uphill until the final mile.  I remember coming out of the woods into a field and it felt like a sauna, things were really starting to heat up.  So far so good with keeping on top of the electrolytes.  In more races than not, I develop leg cramps and have to make adjustments and back off for a while and/or limp in cramping.  But today I had it under control.  Finally, it was the final mile, a downhill finish.  To my surprise they had made some changes and added more single track variation which was fine.  And then finally to the finish.  Not my best but not my worst.  Coming from a hundred miler 4 weeks prior I wasn't sure how I would do but overall I was pleased.  In the end it was my year to stay ahead of Glen, I think by 2 minutes.  I was top master and won my age group and was 5th overall with a time of 7:15:20.  Youngin Mike Dixon was the overall winner with a blistering time of 6:17:33, I believe a new course record.
Another finish at the VT 50



So another Vermont 50 in the books.  Thanks to Mike Silverman, RD, Mizuno for their great trail shoes and gear and to GU Energy for nourishment!











3 comments:

nomeatbarefeet.com said...

Jack,
I have been looking for reports of the course because I want to run the 50k this year. I didn't know that GMAA had a tent. Any idea if there will be one this year too? It would be great support and a way to get to know people. Thanks for a great blog. Would love to chat more.

All the best,
Jonathan

nomeatbarefeet.com said...

Forgot to ask how the "no meat" is working out for you? Judging by your recent 50k finish it would seem like you are doing great!

Jack Pilla said...

Hi Jonathan,
Not sure if there will be a tent at the VT 50 this year, it probably depends on if I will be there or not. I haven't figured out my fall schedule yet. It was our first year with a tent there. If you want to meet some of the local trail/ultra runners, come to the Catamount Tuesday night trail races this summer.

So far the no meat food plan has been working as long as I focus on eating lots of carbs the week before a major race.

Email me or call me anytime if you want to chat.
Jack