50 Miles

My day started at 4:45, so I could get up for a 6am start. I knew it was going to be a long day from the beginning. Little did I know how long it really was going to be. The Peak Races 50 miler was my first ultramarathon; for anybody who doesn’t know an ultramarathon is anything over 26.2 miles. I decided to put myself up to this after looking for the next big challenge after tackling pretty much every other distance including 2 marathons. I have found big goals have helped keep me motivated, and the 50 miler has been by far the biggest.

The first 20 miles flew by in this race. All I remember is that there was a river crossing at mile 2, which left my feet perpetually wet for the remainder of the race. My wet and beaten feet would later wreck havoc on my performance, but more on that later. I ran what I thought was within myself for the first 20 miles. I ran on flats and down the hills. I ran up gentle inclines and walked the steep parts. I was feeling good. I made friends with a few other runners. The company of Larissa, Terrence and Graham helped the miles fly by. When I hit the aid station at mile 18, all was doing good, I was in the top 5 for the race. I stopped and ate some food, Gatorade and I refilled with water in my camelback, in anticipation of the fabled blood route section which was 8 or maybe 13 miles (I was really confused and unsure of exactly how long it was at the time) of unaided wilderness. Almost immediately after leaving that aid station is when things began to fall apart. Climbing up the hills became tough, as the hills became mountains and never ending. The weird thing that happened was on the flats or downhill sections, even on the road, running became painful. Cramps and bloated feelings in my stomach hampered my ability to stride out at all. Then the real climb came. At mile 23, it was the start of a massive climb up to the Blood Route Gap. It was a never-ending grind of 2 or 3 miles and probably 2000ft vertical gain. Because I was starting to hurt before this climb, the wheels really came off during it. My pace goals and ambitions for a good finish fell through going up that climb. The top of the Blood Route Gap marked the half way point, and I reached it in under 6 hours, I’m not completely sure on the exact time. I spent almost the entirety of the climb and the following 3 hours essentially by myself in the Blood Route wilderness. I hobbled myself down the steep hills and tried my best to run on the flat sections. Walking up any incline was a given from this point on. My bloating and cramping prevented me from executing my nutrition plan I set for myself. I felt so sick, I really couldn’t stomach any food, although I probably should have forced it. My thoughts were to flush out the bad system in me, and build up from there. Unfortunately the bad system took 6 or 8 hours to go away.

The day was hot. The high was 92 degrees. That is not ideal for any running, let alone 50 miles. I thought I was drinking enough water from my camelback, but who knows if it was actually enough. By the time I reached the 30 mile aid station, I was struggling pretty bad. Almost any running was out of the question at this point. My feet had begun to get really bad. I felt they were really pruned from the prolonged wetness, and I could feel blisters on all my toes, and both my heels. The feet hurt a lot during any type of running even on flat or on the road. Hiking, was about all I could handle. I was quite delirious at mile 30. I couldn’t really comprehend much, and I didn’t really want to interact with people too much. All my physical energy was going towards pushing my body to the finish, and all my mental energy was devoted to convincing myself I could do it. The mental struggle I had with myself was immense and like nothing I have ever had. I had to stay extremely positive and persistent despite terrible circumstances and immense challenges. Leaving mile 30 was extremely difficult. I was practically in tears as I limped down the road away from the aid station.

The next 6 mile stretch was another brutal hill section. There were 2 massive hills, and the trail seemed to never end. Eventually I made it to the mile 37 aid station. I had slowed significantly by this point, reduced to a slow walk most of the time. In the woods I had conceded a strong finish, and my only goal was to get myself to the finish line. I no longer cared about my time and was determined to drag myself to the finish even if I had to walk the remainder of the course. I was going to finish the race, even though it was killing me. I never let doubt set in. At mile 37 I was pleasantly surprised by my friend Matt and his brother Drew. I was not expecting to see them and it was a huge pick me up at a time where I desperately needed it. All my support throughout the day helped me get through the race so much. My Dad, my Aunt and Bret were there the entire day to give me support and motivation. I saw them probably 8 or so times, and it was always great to have people there for me. After talking with them after the race, it sounds they also helped quite a few other runners on the course too including saving multiple runners from extreme dehydration threats. I truly could not have done this race without their help.

The next 3 mile road section downhill back to the start line before the final 10 mile loop should have been easy. It wasn’t. I could only manage a shuffle; it was really pathetic in hindsight. I eventually got back to the start, and had a talk with Larissa, who just won the race (Remember, I ran with her for like 20 miles).  She just powered through the course without really slowing down it seems. She was a beast. I then had to muster up courage to tackle the final 10 mile loop left. This loop was rough. It started with a 2 mile steep climb to a pinnacle, and then meandered down again with a lot of switchbacks.

I just grinded up the mountain, this time deciding to grab a few sticks from the woods as trekking poles. The poles helped immensely. They took weight off my ailing feet, and put my fresher arms to work. At the beginning of the final loop I realized I would end up having to run in the dark. Luckily I had a headlamp which I borrowed from Matt. At the top of the climb I met back up with 2 other racers in the simultaneous 30 mile race. Mike and Joe were just hiking due to their own injuries, so we decided to stick together, as I couldn’t handle much more that a hike at this point. Mike and Joe were great company to have and really helped get me through the last 8 or so miles.

At about 6 miles to go, a woman behind us began to struggle a lot. She basically collapsed sighting dizziness and lightheadedness. We had to stop and help her get back to a coherent state. She was really hurting and we gave her Gatorade and water. She eventually started feeling better and we decided to make sure she made it down the hill. We hiked with for a few miles, and she started feeling better and hiking faster.

Then it got dark. Things got really interesting when the sun went down around 8:30. The major problem for me was that Mike, Joe, and the women, Jessica didn’t have any headlamps. I was going to have to lead them through the dark. Once it started getting dark, I actually started feeling better. It was weird the last 5 miles I felt better than I had in the previous 30 miles. It became apparent that Jessica was slowing down again and, I decided the best thing for me to do was push on to the finish myself and get Jessica more direct help. I knew the last 2-3 miles switched back a lot and geographically wasn’t far from the finish. I knew if I could finish and get Jessica help, she would be better off, then me leading her very slowly the last 2 miles in the dark. I knew I couldn’t handle another hour in the woods. I needed to take care of my completely broken body and get myself to the finish.

The last 2 miles I suddenly had a huge strong kick. I started running again, focusing on getting myself to the finish. I have no idea how I was able to run at all at the end, but I somehow managed. It could have been my stress regarding Jessica’s situation, the closeness to the finish, or the darkness around me, but I managed to run really fast at the end of the race.

I finished the race in 15 hours 46 minutes. The finish time was a little off my 10 hour goal, but I didn’t care. The last 10 mile loop took me 4 and a half hours alone. When I finished I couldn’t even comprehend what I was done with. My focus was to get help for Jessica. I told the race director, and eventually someone went to go get her help. I found out later Jessica did finish the race, somehow, a full hour after I came through.

The ultimate goal of finishing was accomplished. That was the most important thing, and I did it. I am so incredibly proud of myself for pushing myself like I never have beyond my limits. The race was much more difficult than I ever could have anticipated. I never expected to have to handle the amount of hills I conquered, or lose the ability to run at all. I ran until my body physically wouldn’t allow it anymore, then I did another 20 miles. The 50 miler allowed me to prove I am physically and mentally capable of putting myself through amazing feats.

I would like to thank everyone who came out to support me on race day, and all the racers who I had the pleasure to run with. I could not have done this race on my own, and camaraderie at ultramarathons is unequalled. Congratulations to everyone who finished at the Peak Races UltraMarathon 2013, it was one for the books.

-Brian

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Vermont City Marathon Report

Vermont City Marathon celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year with special guests Jeff Galloway, Bill Rogers, Frank Shorter and Bart Yasso joining in with the 8,000 runners, 20,000 spectators, and 1,500 volunteers.  It is simply the biggest race in the state of Vermont in sheer numbers and popularity.

This year, we had the largest number of students, alumni, staff and faculty who ran the race, totaling about 20 overall runners.  “VCM” is without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year, and I appreciate the time and effort that is required to train for this challenging course.  The hills aren’t brutal, but they require adequate training to be successful.

Sophomore’s Everett (4:02:53) and Elias (4:16:40)  tackled the full marathon along with recent graduate, Dayna (5:05:42).  Brian/Eric (3:59:02) and Kevin (3:46:45), along with myself & Darin (3:48:20), completed the 1/2 marathon and all runners placed well.  Several recent graduates, including Rachel (4:05:14), Adam (3:40:19) completed the course as well.  (Times for 1/2 marathoners are combined)

Every year, the weather is varied, but this year had one of the worst conditions in recent history.  The team met in Battery Park at 7:00am to light rain and 41 degrees.  The temperature stayed about the same for the entire race and wind and rain made conditions rather challenging.  Temperature was perfect for the run, but rain/wind made things exceptionally challenging to keep warm, especially while getting ready for the 8:03am start time.

This event provides closure to a successful year, and will continue to remain a tradition for CCXC to participate in.

Spartan Beast, Part 2

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Authors Note: There are specific details, stories, quotes and other happenings that you won’t find in this post, or any post due to the agreement we made before the race began; what is said and done on the course, stays on the course.  That agreement, created in blood and sweat, we honor to the grave, so information provided below is edited for content.  In addition, Miles 3-9 were mostly a blur to us all, and information might be presented out of chronological order.

The six of us arrived at the 1:00pm start line about 8 minutes early; hoping that they wouldn’t give the same speech to us that they did in the morning; an overdressed “Spartan” reading from a script about leading the troops into battle and that not all of us would return; but instead be just a memory.  Half of us, who have completed Tough Mudder would argue that this start wasn’t looking promising, and to be honest, we weren’t really paying attention. 

The race began with 500 people rushing the start line through clouds of smoke and fire and an audience of about 1,000 people cheering on the last set of runners to hit the course.  The time: 1:03pm.  When the six of us crossed the start line, we didn’t realize that it would be pitch back before we would cross the final obstacles.  Spartan, like all adventure races, attempt to make you miserable, cold and muddy right off the bat.  During a slight uphill we jumped in and over three trenches about 6 feet in length and 10 feet apart through waist deep muddy water and nearly inescapable mudslides if you fell in.  Everett took lead and instead of trying to jump over, decided to nearly cannonball into the first chasm.  Two fire hoses shot into the air and on all of us and less than 1/10th of a mile in, we were drenched and cold.

Slowing climbing one of the slopes we began a series of over/under obstacles; over 3-6 foot walls and under cargo nets, back and forth until we were about 1/4 of the way up the first peak.  We were then greeted with more trenches, about 4x as big as the first, requiring you to trudge through waist deep water for about 20 feet or so.  It was here that we were presented with our first view, even though we were still far from the first peak.  A 12 foot cargo net was next, and it was the only thing holding us back from our second major climb to near the top of the first section of Killington.  At the 2/3 mark of the first peak, we ducked under about 50 feet on barbed wire hidden on the course, where Spencer took a nice chunk of flesh out of his forehead; the makings of hopefully a badass scar.

Up this climb, we also tackled two 7-foot walls, me nearly killing Nick and breaking his shoulder, and other racers helping us climb and help each other over the wall.  The walls were the first obstacle we were required to be creative with, and doing this particular race on ones own had to have been a challenge.

The walls marked our last uphill climb for a little while and we completed our first mud crawl and monkey bars obstacles.  The mud crawls have and will always be one of my favorite obstacles.  You’re crawling in mud, water, grass and most importantly; jagged rocks.  The barbed wire fluctuated from being around 9-12 inches off the ground, and trying to get through with a Camelbak posed a challenge for some of us.  The easy method: tuck and roll… and roll and roll and roll.

The obstacles were easy.  They weren’t always simplistic to complete on the first time; requiring 30 burpees per fair, but the obstacles were the easy part of Spartan.  The hills; the HILLS would be the actual challenge.  After climbing the first three miles or so, it was safe to say that on our first major descent towards the start line, that while we were looking forward to what the Beast could offer us, we were hurting.  Mile four marked two more obstacles; a traverse walk (think horizontal rock climbing) and the first rope climb.  The traverse wall got half of us, and out of any obstacles we failed going forward, I think this was the one that was the most frustrating.  Eddie and Jordan were waiting for us at this point and we took a picture break before we continued on for Miles 4-14.

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Team Eye Sex completed the first four miles in a horrifically slow time; but time wasn’t the point.  Our objectives were finish line or die, time was irrelevant.  Mile 4 marked another mud crawl, an opportunity for us to stay cold and muddy, and this time it was all uphill.  Imagine being on your hands and knees, being sprayed with cold water, covered in mud and climbing uphill on your stomach.  For the average person; this sounded to be a nightmare; for most of us – another Saturday adventure race.  For Brian, a perfect opportunity for Eye Sex.

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It was during this moment that Nick and I plowed into each other, Everett screamed when his bandana got caught on the wire (NBLB = No Bandana Left Behind) and Spencer and Devin were rolling along trying to get up the muddy hill.  Getting through the barbed wire probably took us about 15-20 minutes before we began our second climb up the second-highest peak at the mountain.  We were expecting to go straight to the top when a sudden turn brought us back down once more to face the obstacle we were the most familiar with from the morning session: The Tarzan Swing.  An obstacle that more than 80% of people failed in the morning was more challenging doing it, than watching it.  Call it exhaustion, call it a lack of endurance; I’d prefer to call it a one-way trip to Burpee Island for more of us.  Worth it.  I actually enjoy burpees, although after the entire course, I don’t think any of us enjoy them anymore.

After Tarzan Swing, the beast was winning, but we weren’t giving up.  A hike through the woods in flat and slightly uphill sections lead to us a 150lb boulder on a pulley that we had to pull up 20 feet and then set it down nicely; “Don’t just drop it!” the stoner-of-a-volunteer yelled at us.  It was here that Everett learned the difference between pink and blue and just because he wanted to lift the boulder that matched his camelback and bandana; man needs to read/listen to instructions so he doesn’t have to do certain obstacles more than once.  After the boulder, another steep climb, through the woods; rounding out Mile 5.  In front of us a board with 100 combinations; a word followed by a seven digit number.  We were instructed to memorize this number and we’d have to repeat it “much, much later” down the course.  Hotel 143 5526.  I’ll never forget it.

More obstacles; mostly ones none of us remember their existence or order they came in came through Miles 7-9 until we reached the Sandbags.  Challenge: take a 70 pound sand bag up a steep hill, get your picture taken, then bring the bag back down the mountain.  Exhaustion was pretty abundant at this point but we all thrusted through it; we had no choice.  Another lifting challenge, then a water challenge on a singular rope out to hit a bell and swim back.  Darkness was beginning to set in, and head lamps and glowsticks were now going to be required for the remainder of the race.  After search for my headlamp, I came to the realization that I left it in the car and started popping 20-30 glowsticks to hand out, hopefully no one on the course noticing that I didn’t have a head lamp.

We splashed through more mud, up some hills, down home hills and entered the final wooded climb.  I love rock climbing and I love hiking, but this wasn’t either.  This was a full-blown scaling the side of the mountain one foot at a time, climbing over 2,000 feet in less than 2 miles.  I speak for the group that this was a breaking point for most of us, and constantly looking straight up seeing climbers 30-40 feet from you nearly above your head and line of vision was nauseating.  It was without a doubt one of the toughest parts of the day, and at this point – it was near blackness.  At least an hour into the climb, if not more we emerged at the top, and the sky opened.  There’s a difference between rain in your daily commute, or running from building to building, and when you’re at the top of the mountain with no cover or protection and your only direction to go is down.

Rain, appropriately enough made the final obstacles a bit more challenging; my personal favorite being the log jump – a series of 7 logs in a row you had to jump one by one to get to the other side without falling.  I think we all passed it.  Another steep climb, after we had thought to be at the top brought us up the actual peak, and the pouring rain; the combination of being 12 miles into the Beast and the temperature averaging just at 50 degrees made the final descent to be freezing.

The last two miles needs no words, and I don’t want to go into much detail on this part of the course, but we’re still having dreams about it.  Think a 2-mile long mudslide down the mountain on trails; hearing ankles and bones popping, screaming people, sliding down 10-20 feet at a time only to find a tree to grab onto and stopping yourself, and doing so without a headlamp.  For Everett’s sake, for proof in writing; Everett was my hero at this point.  Did we all have support from each other on the course and did we meet some very nice girls (Hi Candy, Hi Jennifer) – yes.  But Everett stepped up and was my shining light down this final hill so I could see.  If only he read instructions and stopped doing the “Ladies” section of each of the lifting obstacles, I would’ve given him the “I saved your life” he so desperately wants, but alas – we all have our faults.

It wasn’t until this final descent that we split up; not for any other reason but our safety.  This was extremely dangerous, unbelievably stupid, and made us never want to run in the dark in the race again.  A few more obstacles, throwing a Javelin that I think we all failed (did anyone do burpees on this?) and jumping over the final firepit to end at the finish line. 

There was no grace, there was no sense of entitlement, and all inhibitions we may have had with one another were thrown away at the start line.  We all had breaking points, we all had a sense of fear down that final mountain.  We finished together because we started together; we had a goal and we accomplished it.  Spartan’s slogan is, “You’ll Know at the Finish Line.”  Undeniably true statement.

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Part 3 this weekend, after thoughts, final pictures, etc.

Spartan Beast, Part 1

“We did what we were trained to do, what we were bred to do, what we were born to do… Hundreds leave, a handful stay. Only one looks back.” – 300 (2006)

3:45am would be the death of us as mortals and the birth of Spartans.  A 21-hour adventure from BTV to Killington, VT for six men looking for a challenge of epic proportion, one that none of us could have expected or prepared for.  The air was cold and windy, a condition we would get used to throughout the day and there was still 2 ½ hours until daylight as our two cars began the drive to Killington Mountain Resort, about 2 hours away.  On arrival, still in darkness, four trailers bearing “Spartan Race – You’ll Know at the Finish Line” stood in front of us in the volunteer parking lot and complete with muddy, cold and emotionless faces completing obstacles we knew we would conquer before the day was over.

To provide some context, Spartan Race is a series of Adventure Races located throughout the United States and six other countries that features 3 different lengths.  The Spartan Sprint is a 3.1+ mile race with 15+ obstacles, Spartan Super (8+ miles, 20+ obstacles) and finally the Beast coming in at 13.1+ miles, or half-marathon length plus 25 or more obstacles.   People throughout the world compete in multiple Spartan races and lengths throughout the year and earn points based on their standings and places throughout the year.  By completing one of each of the three of the races, (Sprint, Super and Beast) one earns the Trifecta Medal (if all three are completed in the same year.)

Killington, VT hosted the 2012 World Championships of Spartan Race and we would have the opportunity to interact (even briefly) with Spartan legends during our volunteer session, as we cheered them through the race.  First prize: $5,000.00.  Further, anyone interested in completing the Ultra Beast (basically the beast, but run twice) the winner would receive $10,000.00.  We found out that morning that the course was more than 13.1 miles, but no one gave us confirmation of the official distance until we finished that evening.

After moving our cars into a lot we probably shouldn’t have parked in, but we were all glad we did, we headed to the registration table to get signed in for our volunteer section.  We were Section #1, received our T-shirts, Gatorade, water, sandwiches, chips and granola bars, and after an uncomfortable 75 minutes of standing around, we were led by our Volunteer Coordinator onto the course and would begin a 6-hour volunteer shift.  Five students; Brian Culmo, Spencer Cray, Everett Ackerman, Nick Pugs and Devin Carter and I were in two different locations towards Mile 4 and Mile 14 of the course.  Mile 4 was a water obstacle called “Tarzan Swing” which featured a 25+ yard swim out to a bridge where a rope ladder would lead up 10 feet above the water to four hanging ropes.  These ropes, tied off at the bottom would be handles for competitors to swing from rope to rope to a 5th, white rope with a bell tied on the end.  By crossing the obstacle, using brute upper body strength and a little bit of strategic management, one would hit the bell, fall in the water and head over to shore – about a 30-35+ yard swim.  The catch:  only about 20% or less actually completed this obstacle, leading to the majority of participants heading to what we declared, “Burpee Island.”

Spartan is cruel and more demanding than most adventure races for one reason; if you fail an obstacle, you complete 30 burpees; an exercise that demands stamina, a strong stomach and willpower to get you past your first set of ten.  Burpee Island was heavily populated throughout the day, requiring all failing competitors to swim an additional 50+ yards and do burpees; IN the water.

Burpee Island:  Population – 2,000+ people.

Leading runners into this cold, grueling swim was Everett at the loud speaker, explaining the obstacle, yelling at a few to go faster.  Brian and Spencer greeted the runners coming into the obstacle, Nick stationed originally at Burpee Island and then visiting me on the Island of Success – the beach you’d reach if you hit the bell and completed the obstacle.  Devin took one for the team and was stationed at the Javelin Throw – a 30 foot throw into a straw target, or 30 more burpees would be required.

Knowing that we would all be running this course at 1:00pm during the Volunteer heat, we all took notes on how competitors were doing, and tried to get a grasp (literally) of how to complete this obstacle.  The whole purpose of volunteering, other than our desire to help out at multiple events throughout the XC season, is that if you volunteer for 6+ hours, you get to race for FREE ($13.14 total cost because of insurance.)  6:45am-12:45pm got us to the race early, warmed up us (the only time we would be warm that day) and got us ready for the exposure to the extreme elements and course that is Spartan.

We were released a bit early, since our Coordinator knew we were running the race, and I’m not sure if he felt sorry for us for the pain we’d endure, or he just had an exceptional memory, but 6 hours after we first met, he wished us good luck and we took off to the parking lot to suit up.

Glow sticks.  Head lamps.  Camelbaks.  Backpacks.  Clifbars.  Candy.  Powerbars.  Clifshots.  Powergels.  Gu.  Ten items that would give us our only hope throughout the race, we were required to carry the entire race.  Spartan decided that this would be the first race to be mostly self-supported, with only two water stops along the course, neither of which would have any energy or fuel; just water.  They also reminded us that we could treat any of the water on the course ponds, if we have the equipment.

We grabbed our bib numbers, pins, tracking chips, timers, wristbands and all required equipment to reach the start line, filled up our backpacks with all nutrition and fuel, and rushed to the starting line; our race starting in 8 minutes.  The start line was filled with the last heat of the day, a nervous tension throughout the air, some smiles, but mostly deep breathing and loosening up.

Nearly 12-hours after our day had begun, we were starting what would be the toughest experience of our lives; a race that would bring us closer, reveal our breaking points, and ultimately a test of determination and will-power that would bring six men together for an experience we will never forget.

Part 2: Start to Finish coming soon!

Archie Post 5-Miler

Seven students raced last Sunday morning at the Archie Post 5-Miler, Vermont’s oldest road race of 44 years.  The five mile course sweeps through back neighborhoods of South Burlington and winds into UVM’s bike trail back to Gutterson for the finish.  In one of the fastest and most competitive races Archie Post has seen, with both male and female records shattered, Champlain XC held their own among the competitors.

Female Results:

Katherine R. (37:47), Alicia T. (40:35), Ellen V. (41:30)

Male Results:

Brian C. (30:18), Jacob M. (35:59), Elias C. (38:19), Eric H. (45:15)

Brian C. led the team coming in 22nd overall out of the pool of 115 runners.  Solid times for a first race of our XC season with plenty of opportunity to lower these times drastically over the next two months.

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Oh, and Elias won a pie.  First XC Runner in Champlain’s history to win a pie by winning his age group.

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My Take on Jay Peak 25K

I will continuously give Brian a hard time for this race for taking the “scenic route” around and around the mountain with cute little uphills and downhills, but to give credit where it’s due, Brian destroyed this beast of a race. 

While students were all snuggled up on a brisk Sunday morning, one that required the first sweatshirt of the season, my team captains arrived at my place with breakfast sandwiches in hand, and maybe a bit too much energy.  4:45am is tough on students, and it’s still tough on me, although after a cup of Caribou Coffee and a bite of a Tour de Shiner (bacon, ham, sausage, cheese, hashbrown, roll) we had enough to make our 90 minute drive to Jay Peak.  The drive was nice, despite nearly murdering a family of turkeys about 70 minutes in.

Arriving at Jay Peak during the sunrise is something everyone should experience.  Rocking a Champlain hoodie, and Spencer wearing a hoodie with a pillow in it (no joke) we were ready to check in at registration and figure out our responsibilities.  We knew we were going to hoof it to the top of the mountain, and were prepared to do so, but I somehow dragged this poor woman, Anya into our volunteer group accidentally, and she was forced to hike to the peak with us.

With Brian registered for the race with bib in tow, and Spencer falling asleep at the “Introduction Meeting” – which for the record is sign that the racing staff probably doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing, Spencer, Anya and I began to hoof it to the top.  The first mile was pretty easy… access roads and sloped trails until we got about 1/2 way to the peak.  From there, it was a grueling mile STRAIGHT up the mountain, no turns, through waist-high brush and slippery rock facades.  Basically, bushwhacking.

At the top, our aid station was set up and we were presented with 360 degree view of Vermont and Canada and without question, had the best location for an aid station.  We had an EMT there named Steve, or George, or Chris, or something; neither of us can remember.  We had water, Gatorade, candy, chips and peanut butter sandwiches, and about 45 minutes in the runners started.  I made a comment about how if Brian was in the top 3 at this point I was going to throw him off the mountain, because we both agreed he’d take it easy for at least the first half UP, and when he came through in 5th place, I was happy. 

The 25k’ers went and passed and it was an uncomfortable 3.5 hour wait for the next runner to show up, a sign of the first 50k’er.  Race Directors gave us two different numbers of runners, so in an uncomfortable exchange of text messages to the RD, I decided to just take charge with Spencer.  We rocked it, we had the best EMT to work with, and no one was seriously injured at our station.  Reports of bloody feet and maybe a missing arm, but that’s not too bad, right?

In isolation, at the top of the mountain surrounded by Canadians, candy and cowbells, Spencer and I’s conversation turned to food; given it has been 8 hours since we have had any.  We took turns shouting out food we were craving.  Bacon.  Chili.  Hot Dogs.  Chili Bacon Hot Dogs.  Mozzerella Sticks.  Mozz Sticks dipped in Chili.  Tacos.  Anything and everything.  This may have been our breaking point of being nice to anyone anymore.

The race went well, and Spencer and I took the tram down to stuff our faces of anything since we hadn’t had any food since 7:00am and it was close to 3:00pm.  They messed up Spencer’s pizza, as he called it, and I wouldn’t recommend the pub to anyone who demands average to fast-paced service, but it was a good meal.

For a 15 hour day that featured early mornings, hectic climbing, confusion on the course, poor RD support, awesome EMTs, isolation, Canadians, cowbells, children stealing our candy, and more – it was surprisingly fun.  It had it’s ups and downs, but we have stories to share that wouldn’t have if we weren’t there to support Brian.  4th place overall, 1st in his division… looking forward to his, and our teams next race on September 9th – Archie Post.

Vermont City Marathon – May 27th 2012

This weekend, runners from XC2012 at Champlain College hit the pavement for the 24th annual Vermont City Marathon through the streets and paths of Burlington, Vermont.  Rising sophomore Brian Culmo will be competing in his second marathon this year (his first in October 2011) and Rachel Salois & Darin Boutet, recent graduates of Champlain College will be two of the three runners in the 3-5 person relay.  Also in attendance are alumni, Dan Bergeron (’09), Andy Konz (’07) and Adam Tinker (’11) participating in the 1/2 and full-length race.  This weekend marks the hottest marathon-weekend in at least five years with temperatures reaching 85+ degrees by noon.  Full report will be available on race day, and follow us on Facebook or with hashtag #ccxc2012 for up to date race results!

Kaynor’s Sap Run 10k

Kaynor’s Sap run 10k was today in Westford, VT. Brian, Bret, Karina, and Danielle all competed in the race which didnt start until noon, which allowed for a needed extra couple hours of sleep. The race was run on all dirt roads with an out and back course. The hills made this one interesting. the course was NOT flat. The weather was cool, but manageable, even in a t-shirt. It wasn’t the nice weather of lasts weeks 70+ degree weather, but I’ll take it. The run was fun, it was good to get out and race again after what seemed like a long winter off from racing.

-Brian

New Site! New Name! New opportunities!

This site now represents where the Champlain Running Team is headed. Champlain Running Team or CRT has now changed names to Champlain Cross Country to represent what our team will be doing. We are applying to be a varsity sport in the fall of 2012.  please check out the new “About Champlain XC” section to learn all the details. New and exciting things are happening with Champlain XC this year.

The LAST Week (Nov 13-19)

Hey everyone,

Sad to say it’s the last week of CRT for the fall season. On a good note, it’s been a great time! We’ve ran 10 races– ranging from mud and roots in the Catamount trail runs, to Downtown 10k through the streets on Burlington, and the ultra-fast Fallen Leaves 5k two weeks ago. And let’s not forget our pasta parties, the Green Mountain water station (serving fresh pears!), red rocks run, haunted Halloween run, hills of doom workout, and the gorgeous sunset runs we got in (before daylight savings ruined that.) THANKS everyone for a great season!

If you haven’t gotten your shirt yet (Jacob W., Chentel, Dayna, Meghan, Katie, and Ellen,) I’ll bring them to practice again this week for you to pick up. We’ll be hanging out by the Fitness Center before practice from 5-5:15 on Tuesday and Friday as usual.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for the End-of-Season Party at 6pm on Friday, December 2nd at Bret’s Apartment!

Here’s the schedule for the week:

Tuesday:

Practice 5 pm outside the Fitness Center.

Wednesday:

Don’t forget to sign up for the LAST Fallen Leaves 5k by midnight on Wednesday!

Friday:

Short run at 5 pm outside the Fitness Center.

Saturday:

Fallen Leaves in Montpelier. Meet in the IDX parking lot at 7:45 am for a ride. Darin, Brian, and I will be driving straight to Boston after the race, so if you need a ride to Boston and don’t mind chipping in for gas, we have one more seat available. If you need to get back to Burlington after the race, Bret should be able to drive.