Jul 182011

by Chuck Hazzard – It took me five years to finally run each mile of the Vermont 100 course, but alas, I finally made it.

The short history is as follows. First, in 2007 I paced Jamie Anderson during the final 30 miles of his debut 100 mile ultra run. I had a blast and like a lot of people, I got hooked on ultrarunning.

In 2008 I made my first attempt at completing the Vermont 100, but only made it to Camp 10 Bear before dropping out. Then 2009, slightly better but DNF’ed at Margaritaville. Finally, 2010, I again dropped at Camp 10 Bear.

Basically, I was only missing the 8 or so miles between Margaritaville and the second pass through Camp 10 Bear. So what better excuse than to sign up for the 100K and see the final 8 miles.

Although I am not a big fan of hot weather, there was barely a cloud in the sky, the humidity was not as high as was the case in the prior years, and a full moon was forecast. Best of all, the air quality was better than it had been during the preceding week.

Now to the race weekend.

Katy and I drove up to Vermont on Friday afternoon. We did not see any familiar faces until we were in line for the medical check. Some of the folks we saw were Bob Dunfey, Chip Tilden and Tom Page.

The fellow who checked my blood pressure asked rapid fire questions about my running history. This resulted in an above normal blood pressure reading. Thanks buddy.

Next up was the weigh in. Spot on with my normal weight.

Katy and I ran into Michele and Russ Hammond as we were leaving the tent. It was great to finally catch up to them in person as we wanted to hear more about their Trans Rockies run. We are definitely pumped to run in this event in the next year or two.

Our last stop before jumping in the car was the GAC compound. It is always fun to chat with Gil and the other GAC’ers.

Katy and I drove back to her mother’s house in Norwich. We had a nice pasta meal and retired to bed early.

One extra bonus of the 100K is the later start time. We went to bed around 9pm on Friday night and slept soundly until 6am Saturday. It was nice being able to kick back with a couple of cups of coffee before heading to the the start of the race.

We arrived at the starting area around 8:15am. A quick stop by the porta potty, check in, and within no time we were lined up at the top of the hill for the start.

Julia sent us on our way at 9am sharp. Stephen Wells and I had decided to run together as long as we could. Neither of us was hell bent on pushing hard as we both have bigger fish to fry within the next few weeks.

Stephen and I ran with another fellow to Lillian’s. This was 5.6 miles into the race and the point at which we joined the 100M course. The 100M runners were up to mile 43.5 at this point. This is also the aid station I thought about dropping at last year as I was experiencing repeated asthma attacks and felt like I was carrying an extra 200 pounds. I willed myself to make it to Camp 10 Bear. It was not pretty.

Stephen and the other guy took advantage of the porta potty at Lillian’s while I continued on my way toward Camp 10 Bear.

I was extremely happy to get off Route 106 and back onto the trails, which there are way too few of. I slowly made my way into the woods, at which point Stephen caught back up to me. The other fellow was no where to be seen. Stephen was quite sure he needed to hit the woods for a bit. Ultimately he dropped at mile 40 or so.

We arrived at Camp 10 Bear a little sooner than I had planned on, but lots of hills would be soon upon us so we would have plenty of opportunities to walk.

We were now at 9.3 miles. This would be the first of our seven handler stops. Katy handed me another 20 ounce bottle of my homemade sports drink and we were off.

We made good time getting to Tracer Brook. There are some killer climbs on this section, but the final three plus miles is very fast. The biggest surprise is that the lead 100M runners caught up to us as we were leaving Birminghams. Justin Angle and Leigh Schmit were running together and appeared to be on a record breaking pace. Man these guys are fast.

The section between Tracer Brook and Margaritaville is only 5.1 miles, but there is one very long climb to the top of Prospect Hill. There is very little shade, but luckily there are a lot of drinking troughs for the horses. I always take time to dip my head and wet down my Buff I wear around my neck. It really helps cool you down.

Next stop was Camp 10 Bear which meant we would be over halfway done.

We arrived at Camp 10 Bear around 2:30, which is still right where I wanted to be. Once again I weighed in and had not lost any weight.

I stepped off the scale and looked for Katy and Lori. They were no where to be seen. Yikes. I was really hoping for another sports drink to help me power up over the big hills which are right after the Bear. As it turns out, Katy did not realize we would be coming into Camp 10 Bear from the opposite direction as the first time around. No one clued her in until long after we were gone. Lucky for me I had some Green Magma packets.

Jeremy Litchfield, founder and CEO of Atayne, started running with us at this point. I had read that there were no pacers until Bill’s, but Jeremy asked Julia and she had no problem with him jumping in sooner. A nice young woman also joined us. It was fun to have some new energy in the group.

Our pace slowed quite a bit between Camp 10 Bear and West Winds (Spirit of Seventy-Six). Stephen’s stomach was a mess and I could tell that it was really starting to effect his ability to run in comfort.

At some point after West Winds Stephen fell off the back. Jeremy ran with me to Bill’s. This section went by much quicker as there are some long flat and downhill sections. Despite this, I had to take some walking breaks as I could not maintain a flat out run for much more than one mile.

I was way psyched to see that Katy was ready to run to the finish with me. Jeremy decided to wait for Stephen, so we were off. 11.2 miles and I would be done.

It took us almost 1.5 hours to make it to Polly’s, the final crew station. I was really starting to get tired, but Jeremy told us Stephen was feeling better and that Matthew Smith had just left Polly’s. With Katy’s encouragement we decided to try and chase Matt down.

We were about two miles out of Polly’s when we first spotted Matt on one of the downhills. I poured it on despite the killer toe pain. I knew it would be over soon, so decided to suck it up.

At the next long climb we came upon Bernie Doucet. Bernie had been in second place and for some reason thought Matt was a 100M runner. I got the sense that he was bummed to find out when I told him Matt was a 100K runner. Matt was almost at the top of the hill at this point.

Bernie was able to stay ahead of us as we entered the final field and then single track. It was right after a sign which said .99 miles to go that Bernie missed a sharp right. Katy followed him. I yelled to Katy that they had missed a turn. Katy in turn yelled to Bernie.

I decided this was my last shot at third place. I gave it all I had and ran the final trail section at a pretty decent clip, fast enough in fact, to leave Katy trailing behind me.

I was able to hold on, beating Bernie by a mere three minutes. I was also about one minute behind Matt. Not quite a photo finish, but still pretty darn close for a 62 mile race.

I hung out at the finish long enough to see Stephen nab fifth place and to see Lindsay Simpson, the first female finisher, come through.

My final time was 11:49:26 which was good enough for third overall and first in my age group.

Time to rest.

  One Response to “Vermont 100K – Chuck Hazzard”

  1. Congrats Chuck!
    Thanks for the great story.

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