Viaduct 100 Mile Trail Run
signed up for the VTR (Viaduct Trail Run) about a year ago. I chose
this race for several reasons. First it was close to home, fairly
flat, free and I was hoping to actually go to my first race to
“compete”. The Viaduct trail is an old rail road trail with the
rails removed. There’s one area where a bridge has been removed
that joined a steep valley. Other than that it's fairly flat. The one
thing I never took into consideration was the stones, the very large
stones that are used when laying a rail road track. It's these large
rocks that would later take many people out of the race since they
jammed into your foot when you least expected it and caused a great
deal of pain.
purchased a motorhome earlier this year for racing. I wish I would've
done it years ago! It's very handy and my family is really enjoying
it. I drove down a day early so I could relax and set up my “camp”.
I was able to find the perfect spot right next to the start line.
the first time, I promised myself I was going to limit my time at my
time each stop spending no more than five minutes there. I didn't
have any crew to help me out so I had to get everything ready myself.
the Beast of Burden, the course is a 25 mile loop course (OK, more
like 26 miles) but, it was a pretty neat course. Since there is no
entry fee the only aid offered was water at the start/finish, mid
point and at the turn around. There was more than that but i was
prepared with my own studff anyway. The race started at 6am under the
Viaduct on August 7th.
My birthday is August 8th.
Since it was my birthday the race director surprised me by having
everybody sing Happy Birthday to me before the gun went off. It was
actually pretty neat since it echoed under the Viaduct. From that
point on I was known as “The Birthday Boy!” Everybody was very
nice and they had some great volunteers.
was supposed to be 30 people at the starting line. The race director
even had a waiting list for other runners. Unfortunately some people
bailed out at the last minute. This is the problem that you run into
when you offer a free race. The gun went off at 6am sharp and a small
pack of four people including myself took off right away. We were
running around a 9:30 pace. After 4 or 5 miles I backed off to a 9:40
pace and two guys (Denver Dill & Bill Cuthbert) picked up their
pace a bit. The other runner (Tom Glenn) was about two minutes behind
me. This left me in 3rd
I would later find out that Tom competed in the Lake Placid Ironman
two weeks earlier with me and had a time close to mine as well.
the first turn around the two runners ahead of me had a 15 minute
lead. I was baffled that they had such a huge lead after only 12.5
miles. A little while later I found out that this was their first 100
miler. My first thought was that they will blow up after 50 miles so
I should just stick to my game plan. At the end of the first loop (25
miles) I came in at 4 hours 18 minutes. It took me longer than I
wanted to at my motorhome but, I was off pretty quick.
two miles into the second loop I was having some digestion issues so
I had to back off and let my heart rate drop. This is where Tom Glenn
caught up to me. He walked with me for a bit and did the usual
introductions. This was his first 100 miler as well. Before I knew it
he was off again and I was still walking. Now, I got bumped back into
I took it easy for a little while until I felt my stomach was able to
digest properly. I was able to pick up my pace and started feeling a
lot better. This time the two front runners were over 50 minutes
ahead of me. As I was coming into the turn-around aid station Tom was
just leaving and had about a 6 minute lead on me. I didn't spend much
time at the turn-around aid station. I was out of there in less than
5 minutes. Here I learned that one of the front runners had to bail
due to stomach issues. This put me back in 3rd
Being in the top 3 was new to me and added a lot of excitement.
the way back to the start/finish it's slightly downhill and I was
able to make up some time here. I began to hold a 9:30 pace for some
time. After a couple of miles I came up to Tom who was in second
place. He was walking and I could tell he was beginning to struggle.
When I came up to him he said that he was suffering from some stomach
issues. I walked with him for a bit and then I was off. I was feeling
really good now and felt very strong.
At the beginning of the
race the RD told us to keep our heads up and make sure we didn't take
the wrong trail. There’s really only 1 spot you could ever get
lost, that's exactly where I did it. I decided to turn on my MP3
player for the first time. When I was doing this (with my head down)
I missed a turn and ended up climbing a huge hill. I have no idea
what I was thinking or why I kept going. After stumbling onto a
beautiful lake I realized I better back track. This little wrong turn
cost me about 25 minutes.
soon as I made it to the bottom of the hill I realized where I went
wrong. I was supposed to veer to the left instead of going straight.
As I looked down the trail I noticed a woman running. She was a
couple hundred yards up and moving well. Her name was Shannon and she
was right behind Tom for some time and sitting in 4th
While I was busy hiking up this hill she passed Tom and me. Shannon
was now in 2nd
I didn't push too hard but, I pushed it. She was running a sub 10
min. mile. We were approaching the end of our second loop and the
start/finish was just ahead. I checked in and then headed for my
motorhome. I quickly made a sandwich and noticed her walking out onto
the trail already. I grabbed what I needed and I was off. I remember
thinking that if I could stay behind her at least I wouldn’t get
lost! Shannon had eased up a little bit and I slowly managed to put
some time in between us. I
love loop courses because it give you a chance to see everybody else
and time yourself from other. As I continued I hit the turn around,
grabbed what I needed and was off in 4 minutes. When I saw Shannon
and noticed that I was about 8 minutes ahead of her.
daylight was fading fast and I didn't bring my headlamp with me for
my third loop. The last two miles back to the start are on a single
lane trail and well shaded. I ended up running the last mile in the
dark. I remember thinking this was it, this is my last loop and I
still feel good! I had my Nathan hydration pack all setup with my
headlamp and full of fluid so I wouldn't have to stop for water along
the way. I even had my 3” folding knife on there! Oh yeah, I was
ready for those monsters hiding in the woods.
For a while I
ran with my music playing. I guess I should have left my headphones
in because as soon as I took them out I could hear all the creatures
in the woods. It sounded as if they were running next to me. There
were a lot of coyote out there and I even saw two cross the trail in
front of me. I heard a terrible screeching noise just around a turn.
It sounded as if this thing was waiting just for me. The closer I got
I could hear it from both sides of the trail. This is the first (and
only time) I was glad that I was running on rocks. I scooped up a
couple of rocks and pitched them into the woods ahead of me. As I got
closer I realized the noise was coming from above, not from the
sides. I shined my headlamp up and saw a huge owl. As I was looking
at that one I heard another screech above me. There was two of them!
After I realize it wasn't really the boogie man I took off again. I
was shocked that I was still able to run at this point. I wasn't
moving as fast as I was earlier but, I was still feeling strong.
I approached the mid aid station I was greeted by the same friendly
people that were there earlier. They were always very nice and eager
to help. I started complaining about some stomach issues and the girl
quickly handed me some ginger candy. I tossed them in my mouth and
away I went. It took about two minutes for my stomach to settle and I
was happy once again.
reached the final turn around just under 18 hours. It took me 3 hours
7 minutes to get out there. I quickly filled up my water bottles and
headed out. I spent a total of 4 minutes there. As soon as I started
running I started doing the math. OK, to break 21 hours I need to run
2 hours and 50 minutes to the finish. I knew that I could run faster
on the way back but, I just had to keep moving.
arrived at the mid aid station and grabbed a couple of more ginger
candies. No, my stomach was fine... I just really liked them. I
checked the clock only to find out that I had slowed down a lot. I
had an hour and 6 minutes to reach the finish line to go under 21
hours and I still had 6 miles to go. I took off and was really
feeling good. Every so often I would step on a jagged rock and it
would jab me in the arch of my foot. I'd let out an
“Ewwwww....Ahhhhh!” And figured that noise alone would keep any
animals away from making me their diner.
About 100 yards from
the finish line you have come across an old train trestle. One false
move and there goes your ankle. I remember thinking ok, go slow and
don't screw this up, you're almost there. As I approached the finish
line I heard, “Oh - Look! It's the birthday boy! Congratulations!”
shook hands with one of the race directors (Carl), took a couple of
photo’s and quickly made my way over to my motorhome. I knew I had
to pack up my motorhome quickly because I wouldn't be any shape to do
it later. Usually I’d have some crew there to do this for me but, I
was all alone this time.
finish time: 20 Hours 51 Minutes which was a new PR for me. I never
felt so good after a race as I did here. There's a part of me that
wishes I would've ran one more loop just to see if I could do it. I
plan on returning in 2011.