A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Vermont Strategy? Same as Last Year's

With 5 days before Vermont, it's time to talk strategy.

Last year, I did this race while proving a thesis that triathlon training is the best training available for running 100 mile ultras. My aim was to go under 24 hours.

I wound up doing so...by over 2.5 hours. I finished the race last year in 21:24:21.


So what is the strategy for this year?

Basically the same. Yes, I do have a lot more on the line this year than last year, as I have to concentrate on the entire Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, not just Vermont.

But I go by that simple premise...if it worked last year, I might as well do it again this year.

But what exactly was my strategy last year? Well, it's rather easy. I wanted to start off the race by doing 12 minute miles, or about 5 miles per hour. That pace is very easy to track without that much number crunching.

If I kept that pace through the entire race, I would finish in 20 hours. But I know at some point in the race I will start to slow down. At that point, I have a 4 hour cushion to finish the race in under 24 hours and get the belt buckle (in this race, no belt buckles are issued to people finishing over 24 hours, only plaques).

Last year, to my pleasant surprise, it happened quite late in the race, around mile 77. At that point, I knew I was going to finish sub-24. The only question was, how far under 24 hours.

Hopefully, with me being even lighter in weight than last year, I can do a bit better than last year.

As far as the blister concerns from Western States, there is still a concern regarding my feet going into the race. Most of the blisters have dried up, but the outer skin has been peeling off the bottoms of my feet, leaving some tender, sensitive skin exposed. I've been looking at Leukotape as a preventative for getting blisters in Vermont this weekend and have been doing some experimental running to see where the tape should be best positioned on my feet. I think I have most of the taping down pat.

Still, in a departure from Western States, I will not stop at every aid station in getting any blisters treated. If I do wind up with a severe blister issue, my goal is to just bull through the rest of the race.

I do admit that yes, I'm glad I finished Western States, but I'm not satisfied with that time at all. Call me a perfectionist, but I know I could do better in that race.

I'll not be satisfied with 28 hours in Vermont.

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