Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Vermont 100 Finish

This weekend was my second attempt at Vermont 100, and I'm happy to say I finished.

Solo finisher's cup, local apple cider jelly (from Mom), and buckle, atop the finisher's shorts
Vermont is not a technical race by any stretch (I'm not sure if it even properly counts as a trail race, as most of it is on dirt roads), but it's a punishing course. 17,000 feet of ascent (and descent) is nothing to snivel at, and Vermont is humid. And this year, we had the added benefit of the race occurring on the hottest day of the year. The temperatures were in the upper 90s, with a heat index over 100. And there wasn't much reprieve at night, though the temperature ostensibly dropped 20 degrees.

At the pre-race meeting, race director Amy Rusiecki shared some advice: Don’t be a hero. Be a finisher. It's something I've heard before—we all have—but I found it especially inspirational on this day, in the heat. My dreams of finishing under 24 hours went out the window by midday, and it would have been easy to get discouraged. Or, on the flipside, to try to catch up and burn myself out. Both would have led to another DNF, and I didn't want that.

That said, besides slowing down, I didn't face too many difficulties in this race. It definitely went better than my last attempt at VT. I didn't think about dropping out at all, which is unusual for me. The biggest problem was being wet for 27+ hours, which caused chafing in every unspeakable place, even in my usually-silver-bullet Saxx shorts. Besides this, it stopped me from taking many photos, since my phone and hands were always wet.

For my training this time around, I did the 12-hour at Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn again back in May, where I covered 58 miles on the track. After recovering from that, I did 20 miles and 10 miles almost every Saturday and Sunday. I made sure to work in some hill training (difficult here in Philadelphia), which I did in West Fairmount Park (repeats up and down a 1/2-mile hill) and on the treadmill (hiking for 30 minutes at a time with the incline at the max of 15 degrees). And of course strength training (power lifts) 2–3 times a week, as usual.

Big thanks to my mom, my sister, and her boyfriend Erik for coming to see me a couple times along the route. That was unexpected! It's always heartening to see friendly faces... even if I don't always act like I appreciate it in the moment.

Before the race we visited the King Arthur Flour factory and shop... and afterwards we visited the Ben & Jerry's factory. A great weekend!

Me and a snail at Ben & Jerry's

At King Arthur Flour, pre-race


  • Shamma Mountain Goat sandals
  • Reguard compression tabi socks (I put these on around mile 70, as the dust was causing the straps of the sandals to be abrasive.)
  • Orange Mud endurance pack (Overall I like this pack, though the straps are a bit uncomfortable at times, and it feels heavy and wet on my back after a while.)
  • Orange Mud handheld (I switched to this at mile 88, since I needed less water at that point, and it was such a relief to have the pack off my back!)

Heat strategies:

  • My biggest thing in this race was wrapping a handful of ice in a bandana, and keeping this around my neck. VT has pretty frequent aid stations, so I was able to replenish this every 4 miles or so. It took extra time, but it was necessary. (Though one aid station, Stage Road, was out of ice when I got there!)
  • I wore a desert ("sun runner") cap with curtains on the back and side to create some shade. While this was a bit uncomfortable at times with the humidity—it felt pretty stuffy—it definitely kept me cooler under the sun. It had the added benefit of keeping away the deer flies, which were bothering everyone else. 

New things:

  • When I was tired, I took some peppermint essential oils—the Doterra beadlets are great. They woke me up immediately. I was surprised! Better than coffee. New secret weapon.


  1. Hey! I accidentally read your 'why run 100 miles' article then followed from your twitter to here (lol I'm not a stalker I promise..). I am contemplating to run an 100 mile race next year. I don't know anyone around me run that far so I just google and read other peoples race reports lol. Anyways, I found your running blog extremely interesting! Congrats on finishing Vermont 100! And keep up the good work! :)) x

    1. Thank you! Best of luck in your training :D

      If I can do a 100, anyone can!