Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vermont 100 Crew

Last weekend I spent the weekend crewing for a fellow Bimbler. We had met up the week before to go over the details so I felt prepared to help out for the race. I arrived on Friday afternoon in time for the pre-race briefing and dinner. Met up with all the other Bimblers there and sat around the rest of the evening chatting and catching up. It was such a great group of people and runners, it was great listening to stories from past years and other races. I look up to so many of the other runners it was great listening to their past experiences. We went to bed early and set our alarms early for the next morning.

Everyone was up and getting ready by 3am for a race start at 4am. It was still dark at this point, and we all headed down to the Start together. We huddled around our runners sending good vibes their way. There was a lot of nervous energy in the tent and you could tell the runners just wanted to be on their way. Then they all lined up... and they were off!! 

Vermont 100 also has a horse race that goes with the runners race. I've never been to a race like this before so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The 100 mile horse race starts about an hour after the runners. The horses slowly checked in and then they were off as well! It was fun to see the horses along the course and throughout the day. 

Once the runners were off, all the crew groups set off for the first aid station, and some breakfast :) From about 6am we went from aid station to aid station. The first half of the race we saw our runner about every 3 hours, but then the second half we met up with them almost every hour. Luckily my runner was very organized and knew exactly what he would want at each aid station. I pretty much just swapped his hydration vest at each place and added some gu's here and there. Pretty simple :)

It was great seeing the other Bimbler runners throughout the day, and also having their crews around to hang out with and chat. I also met a few other Connecticut and New England runners. It's great to see that even though the ultra running world is getting larger and larger, it is still such a small world and a close community. The environment at ultra events is unlike any other running events. It is low key, social, happy, and encouraging. Everyone cheers for everyone and each runner wants everyone to have a great race. 

I met up with Elaine at mile 50ish. She was meeting up with Alex at mile 70 to pace him for the rest of the race. She had never been to a 100 mile race and was a little nervous about pacing for the first time. We talked a lot about races and ultras and how crazy all the 100 mile runners were :) I think we were both getting the itch to run farther races though. Once we met up with Alex at 70 she was gone and I picked up Suresh as my new navigation partner- thank goodness too! I was so nervous about driving and getting lost in the dark in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. 

Finally we  met up with Alex and Elaine at mile 94 (ish) and they were looking strong!! We hurried to the finish and before we knew it, they came through the finish line!! He finished in 21:20!!! It was such a great race for him, he looked so strong and focused the entire race. I stayed at the finish line for a couple hours watching other runners finishing and it was so moving and motivating. All I wanted to do at that moment was sign up for a 100. I am really starting to get the 100 mile itch. I've been around ultras my entire life and now I think I am ready to step it up a notch and try for a 100... maybe :). I have Mountain Masochist 50m in November so I will have to wait and see how that race turns out before I sign up for anything. It was the best thing in the world seeing all the runners coming through the finish line accomplishing their goals that they have been working towards for months or even years. 

Lots of Bimblers supporting their fellow Bimblers!

Here comes Mr. Bimble himself!

Getting weighed in


Probably my favorite aid station-Bills I think, mile 88?

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