This was going to be my 6th and perhaps last VT100 (well at least for a while). Amy is taking over the responsibly of RD for next year so I figure I will be spending my time next year helping out and lifting heavy things rather than running. The weather forecast for race day was 80 degrees for a high and low-ish humidity, this is much better than last years sweatfest.
(Brian and Amy, pre-race)
I did some normal pre-race stuff then I was at the start. The gun goes off and in typical 100 mile fashion, a bunch of guys jam down the road, 2 of them really kill it and are out of sight instantly. I can see Sam Jurek ahead of me and try to slowly catch up to him so I have someone to run with. After a few miles I catch him and we start running together. Sam is running shirtless and I feel like a flabby little man next to him. We catch up to a guy who is barely walking up the hill with these crazy England flag short shorts, I have to do a double take because he is moving so slow this early on and, well, the shorts are something else.
Sam and I run together and around 15 or so we catch most of the people ahead of us. We keep running the same pace we were and we kinda float right through them and no one latches on.
(Ticking off the early miles)
(Getting personal attention at the Trail Monster's aid station)
I hit the road section at mi 45 and see the line of 100k-ers ahead of me. They had to change the course here and extend the road (highway) section - yuck. I grind up the slight uphill grade and sort of feel like I am running in place. I slowly pass a few 100kers and roll into Camp 10 Bear (mile 47 aid station). Nick is there again and tells me that I am 15 min faster than I have ever run this at this point...this is where I get worried. I didn't think I was running fast but somehow I ended up faster than the time I ran hard to 50 and blew up - this is not good. I tend to pride myself in running smart and at this point is seems like I blew a bunch of energy running too fast.
I head out of the aid and tell myself to slow down and try and walk some of the long hills. I still feel good and hit 50M at 7:00 almost on the nose. This is probably the first time I look at my watch all day. I slowly pass Joe Holland (in the 100k) and I say some comment about that I am glad we are not skiing right now (I did one xc ski race and he lapped me and kicked my ass, kind of a running joke between us). I start feeling tired and look forward to seeing Nick at Seven Seas (mile 58 aid station). I feel super thirsty, Nick gives me a bottle and I down the whole thing. He then has to run 100 yards to the aid station to get more water. In that time I down an ensure and some more drinks, He hands me the bottle after his 200 yard dash and I am off.
(Cruising on the dirt roads)
I run down the hill and get a little bit of energy boost from all the people around. I find Nick and see Brandon Baker, who will be pacing me for the rest of the race. I am glad we only have 30 miles to go because I don't feel great, but I have felt worse at this point, so whatever.
(Loving the trails - photo by Northeast Race Photo)
We come into the Spirit of 76 (mile 77 aid station) and I grab some stuff and slap Zeke Zucker (the aid station captain, and an uber-volunteer for the VT50 and VT100) a high five on the way out. I don't know or want to know if I am blowing time or doing well. I am moving ok, but I doesn't feel like I am killing it.
(Attacking the many uphills)
There are some nice trail sections from this aid station and I enjoy the soft footing and small hills rather than the grinders you get out on the dirt roads. I start to move better especially on the flat dirt road sections up to the next aid station.
I go into Bills (mile 88 aid station) feeling good and Nick tells me that I am 6 minutes up from where I was 2 years ago (where I ended up missing the course record by 1 minute). This gives me motivation, like someone flipped a switch. Now I run everything - no more walking. I jam the downhills and actually feel good on them. The pity and pain I had earlier in the race goes away and I start to run hard.
Somewhere around 90, Brandon is no longer aside of me. I look back and he is 30 yards behind. I kind of got into the zone and didn't even realize it. Earlier he told me he has Diabetes and it had not sunk in. He hadn't eaten anything since we started and now his blood sugar was out of whack. He says he is ok and keep going and I feel bad but keep running up the hill. The next aid is only a mile or so, so I figure he can get a ride if he is really in rough shape.
(Leaving Camp 10 Bear, with pacer Brandon)
I see card on the side of the road and know that it is now Mile 95. I feel great only 5 to go. I tell Nick that Brandon bonked and to wait for him. Nick tells me that I have to run 5 miles in 50 minutes to break the course record. I feel like I should be able to run 10 minute miles, but don't waste any time.
I run everything from there out. It feels fast, but who knows. The end of the course changed with some steep ups and downs and sort of a bushwack section. I tried to enjoy the last mile as I looked at my watch with time to spare. With 1/4 mile to go, a couple of kids were on the side of the trail waiting for me to run the last little bit in. I headed down to the finish and finally did it, after 6 tries, finishing in 14:47 for the course record (sorry Leigh)!
(Personal congrats from the RD, Julia)
Brian got a bit of press for his race, you can read about it on:
Far North Endurance: http://www.farnorthendurance.com/rusiecki-and-cusick-take-home-wins-at-the-vermont-100/
Running Times: http://www.runnersworld.com/trail-racing/the-beast-of-the-trail-running-east?cid=socTRA_20140812_29589696
And you can hear Brian talking about it on:
Ultrarunner Podcast: http://ultrarunnerpodcast.com/brian-rusiecki-interview/
Or see a quick video on:
Trail Runner Magazine: http://www.trailrunnermag.com/people/video/1405-weekly-race-review-july-20-26-2014