Last weekend Becca and I made the trek to Vermont for the Vermont 100-miler. We were going out for a fun filled weekend “crewing” for Mike who was attempting his first 100-miler. Neither of us had ever been to a 100-mile race event and really had no idea what we were supposed to do as Mike’s crew. All I knew is we had to meet Mike at certain points of the race and make sure we kept him alive (fed, hydrated) and moving in hopes of finishing the race under his goal of 24 hours.
To me, this meant we would be sitting around for hours waiting for Mike to come to an aid station, give him some water and food, watch him take off down the trail, and repeat for 24 straight hours. When you look at it that way, it does not really sound like a fun filled weekend.
To tell you the truth, Becca and I had a great time. We camped out for a portion of two nights (with a bit of sleep), met some great people (Jeff, Geof, and Serena), caught up with a few friends (Paige, Stephen, Kelly, Jamie & Mike’s parents), and got to enjoy the beautiful Vermont horse country. We also got to see Mike demolish his goal of 24 hours. He finished in just over 22 hours 20 minutes, an incredible 100-mile debut.
All that being said, the point of this post is not to recap our weekend or even recap Mike’s race (he did that on his blog and I encourage you to check it out). I am writing this to congratulate Mike. But it is not to congratulate him for finishing the race or achieving his goal. (We already did that in person and email.) I want to congratulate him for the focus and determination it took to prepare properly for the race, which ultimately helped him to make the Vermont 100 his ____ (I think you all know the next word).
I have known Mike for nearly 15 years. And one consistent thing about Mike is his love of dreaming up ideas, the crazier or more off-the-wall, the better. In college, he dreamt up things he wanted to do or businesses he wanted to start. A couple of my favorites include:
- Selling advertising on toilet paper (the best path to create a crappy brand)
- Start a line of doggy earrings (as a dog owner you would think he would have noticed how much they scratch their head and ears)
Mike now knows that when he gets silence after sharing an idea, it is my way of gently telling him it might not be the best idea. Not to say he does not have good ideas. He actually has many of them, including doing trash runs at races. But for every incredible idea, he typically has 10, let’s call them, more interesting ones.
And when Mike decides to jump on an idea, he does not always think it through. This often leads to him being a bit unprepared. If you read back on his blog you will see many of these instances including arriving for a 50-miler at 11pm the night before the race with no lodging arrangements. He also locked his keys in the car that same night and started the race with his water bottle sitting securely on top of his car. I personally get quite a bit of amusement from these adventures.
As much as I like to bust on Mike, this is not the point of today’s blog. When he told me that he had signed up for the Vermont 100, I was a bit concerned. He had yet to even run a 50-miler, an important qualification for getting into the Vermont race. I told him several times you can’t just wing a 100-mile race, especially with an aggressive goal of finishing under 24 hours.
Mike hardly tried to wing this race. He put a great training plan in place working with Bryon Powell and followed it. And he put together a thoughtful race plan and followed it, improvising as appropriate. He put together a seamless plan for his crew (we knew at every aid station – what to feed him, how to hydrate him, and what clothes to offer him). He even had his bags packed with all the gear and chow to sustain him when we arrived in Burlington 36+ hours before race start. So congrats Mike! Keep dreaming, and with a little bit of planning you will go further and faster than you ever imagined!
P.S. And of course, Mike’s Atayne gear contributed to his success. We like to say: you will run faster (and further) without the weight of the world on your shoulders.