The Viaduct 100 Mile Trail Run
By: Sam Pasceri
I 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.
For 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.
Like 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.
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.
At 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.
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.
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.
As 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.
I 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.
I 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 had a support team with me but for this event I was on my own.
My 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.
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