Monday, July 23, 2012

An Interview with Brian on Badwater 2012

Brian's pre race interview
1. You employ a unique nutrition system which is structured but not terribly calorically dense.  Describe this plan and how well you think it works for you in Death Valley, a place where everyone has to consume a large amount of water during the first 8-10 hours.

I have been working with a nutrition plan that focuses on getting the body to use fat as the main energy source instead of carbs.  I think I still have a long way to go on perfecting it.  It takes a lot of commitment outside of racing as it is a lifestyle change.  I have noticed benefits as far as weight loss and increased energy when I have really committed.  I have chosen to incorporate this diet along with the supplement Vespa ( as I have more focus and energy during the race.  This time I didn't even get tired.  And I don't have to eat as much, which means less chance of an upset stomach and better recovery times.  

Fuel replaced food during the race for Brian

2. Your two children wrote you several letters to be read along the way as part of the Recore family tradition of supporting you from home.  Describe the content and impact of these letters and how important they are to you to along the way.

They originally started this in my first big race, Brazil 135, and have continued it for each of the three Badwaters.  They always express words of love and encouragement.  The letters sometimes are more emotional and sometimes they are designed to just keep me focused on the goal.   I really enjoy them and even ask for when the next one will be during the race.  I always like to read them out loud so the crew can experience them too.  In these type of races, emotions are pretty raw and I recall a few times the letters brought tears to the entire crew.

Maya's letter for the start line
3. You paid a lot of money to do this race for the 3rd year in a row.  Does the cost of Badwater influence your interest in a return trip?  What would you do differently if you had a sponsor who gave you a $100,000 budget?

Overall I don't think I would do a lot differently.  I would treat my crew a little better.  Due to the cost, our accommodations tend to suffer to the point where we have to share rooms and people even sleep on the floor.  Sharing rooms is part of the race experience I think but I would make sure we all had rooms next to each other and all had a bed.  I would try and completely cover the crews costs and mine.  Lastly, I would give like to give more to a charity as this year I could only raise about $3,000.

Demonstrating proper crewmember sleeping position
Bring big toes to touch, eagle arms, bend knees...
4. Describe the recovery process from a 135 mile race.  How has your body dealt with the impact and duration of the effort on Monday and Tuesday.

I think by the training I have done and the supplements I use during the race and after I have a pretty fast recovery time physically.  Today is Friday (3 days post-race) and I went for a short 2.5 mile run with Blake, my daughter Maya (age 10), and our dog Jackson.  Sometimes I take a little time off from running and get a little more cross training in to help with the mental recovery.

Blake (L) and Brian (R) before the start
5. When did you experience your weakest moment and what brought you out of that state of mind?

This year I felt really focused even after my crew pushed me hard and my body was hurting.  The lowest point was probably the last 10 miles.  It took me a while but I think it just faded with the comedy encouragement from my crew.  I chose to get the last letter with 3.5 miles to go and it helped bring it on in.

Crew duties include massage
and foot care
6. How much did you think about your friends in the race with you?

Not a ton.  I do know a few people in the race that I have crewed for or they have crewed for me.  Others I have seen in different races.  It is nice to talk with them when we come in contact during the race.  I also have a friendly competition with Ray Sanchez, who I crewed for two years, so I might ask where he is.

Brian (L) and Ray (R)
7. You opted to celebrate at the bar after finishing, eating, and showering instead of sleeping.  How do you manage sleep deprivation so well.  Are there any tricks that you use that work well for you?  Do you use caffeine in any form?

I think during the race I had two 5-hr energies along with some Coke and Mtn Dew for caffeine.  After the race I don't use any caffeine.  I think the after-party is all part of the fun and something I look forward to.  I just suck it up and go out.  I can always sleep after or in the car on the way home.

Sleeping on the job
Tapping out
8. One of your crew members flew in from Japan to share this experience with you and one of your crew members had to leave early Tuesday necessitating a 4 hour drive on Sunday to shuttle his car.  A more selfish athlete might have opted for less troublesome crew members.  Why were you willing to be so flexible and did either of these two complications cause you extra stress?

It didn't cause me any extra stress at all.  We just incorporated it into the plan. I think it impacted them individually a little more.  Blake who flew in from Japan got in late which made the crew wait a little longer in leaving, resulting in us not arriving until midnight in Furnace Creek.  He also only had 15min from he arrived at my house to shower before we got on the road.  Dave had to leave early resulting in the crew to help shuttle the car and him getting up early.  I'm just thankful we all were flexible.  

Iso testing the water
9. What crew mistakes did you notice along the way?  Describe the times when your expectations were not met.  At one early exchange, you passed the car and nobody got out to check in with you.  How did that make you feel?

I didn't notice any mistakes.  I thought it was funny that you missed me that time because I was trying to get to the car faster to give you guys a hard time.  I heard you all were involved in deep conversation too.  We were going every .5 mile so it was no big deal.

It's hard to get a tan, living in Japan
10. Did you ever selfishly want your family at the finish line or in Lone Pine to share the post race emotions with?

Not really.  It is a time to celebrate as a team as completing the race is a team effort.  If I continue to do Badwater I would think about having them come for "crew support".  The role of a crew member is very demanding and I don't think it would be [fun] for all of them.  I like the idea, though, of having the kids run with me [for] a few miles on the course.

The team
11. You spoke with your wife on the phone just after the 100 mile point in the race.  Did she say something which helped you or was it just a nice break from the monotony of 135 miles on pavement?

She was glad to hear from me and know everything was ok.  She was encouraging but it was more a break from the monotony.  

The 100 mile letter
12. How different was the 3rd year than the second and the first?  What was unique and memorable other than the PR?

The biggest difference was that I had more of a plan, and I instructed the crew to enforce the plan.  I really enjoyed the party atmosphere the crew brought to things.  I know there were no issues in the car whatsoever. 

Crew chief Jason consults the plan
13. What are your plans for the future as far as racing is concerned?

I have a few races I'm thinking about for the winter but I am a both a head coach and assistant coach for the my kids soccer teams respectively.  For the past couple of years, I haven't done much racing in the fall because of the kids sports.

Assistant Coach

14. How do you use your experiences on the course as examples for the kids you coach and your own two children at home?

I try to convey than pain is experienced temporary and that pride in doing their best will last forever.

Reading the 100 mile letter
15. Did you worry about anything during the race?  How did you manage those feelings?

I didn't worry much about anything.  I was confident in my crew and our plan.
Brian isn't much of a worrier
However, I found stuff to worry about
Confident in these yahoos?  You sure?
16. How frequently did you pee and did you feel comfortable with that?  What was your average water consumption during the hot part of the day?  Would you have liked more or were you happy with what you were able to get down?

I was pretty happy with my water consumption. The plan was to consume 40-60oz of water an hour but that doesn't always happen. I would take an occasional soda or G2. When I started to get bloated I decided to take on more s caps (salt). I was happy to hear in Lone Pine that according to my weight I could even cut back on my fluids.

Peepee time
17. Were you surprised by anything this year?

Not really

I guess this is totally normal to see in the desert
18. Was there any specific performance that impressed you this year?

I was impressed by the first place runner, Mike Morton.  He almost broke the record.  When he passed me around mile 35 he ran past like he was someone just fooling around because he was running so fast.

Oswaldo, last year's champ, closes the 2 hour gap in start times
19. Do you think the conditions were in any way more favorable than prior years?  How did the heat compare to the two prior years?  How did the wind compare?

This year it was a little cooler.  I was hoping it would be warmer.  The wind was a pain in the ass.  It was really similar to last year with the wind.  It sucked just the same.

I thought it got a bit windy too
20. How much harder do you think an unsupported crossing would be?

It's doable but racing you need a great crew.

Marshall Ulrich knows a thing or two about how to do this
21. Did you ever consider hiking to the top of Whitney immediately after finishing?

I have for the past few years but haven't been able to get the permits.  I guess I haven't really tried really hard either.  I would consider it for sure but my goal is to finish under 30 hours. I think I will pay more attention to doing this extra distance when I can accomplish this goal.

14,505 feet looks intimidating to me
22. Do you feel any long term health effects from training and racing in the heat?

No, none whatsoever.

I suppose loss of fashion sense must not qualify as a long
term health effect?  Chris Kostman aka the race director.
23. You have a sauna and you have also trained with your treadmill in a room heated to 130F.  Describe how important this type of preparation is to race day performance.

It helped me sweat better and helped me communicate my needs to my crew.

Sauna time with daddy
24. You ran up Stanley Peak in a wetsuit and hoodie as part of your training.  How did that compare to race day?

I actually used a suit from  It is very wetsuit like.  I think the training with the suit helps a lot in the off season. It really kicks up the stress a level or too. Anytime I can simulate similar stressful situations like in the race the better.

Stress?  This isn't stressful...

25. How hard are the climbs in this course compared to a regular trail ultra like SD100?

I think all hills are tough.  I hate them equally.  In Badwater though the hills are much longer than most trail runs.  These hills are about 17, 11, and 13 miles long.

It's a little strange to look up to a sign that says this
26. What did you learn about yourself, or about anyone else, over the course of the 135 miles?

[coming soon]

27. If you had to steal someone else's crew to replace your own, which one would you pick?

I wouldn't steal anyone's crew.  I think it is very important that the entire crew can get along and work together while having fun.  My crew this year had a great chemistry that allowed for both a fun awesome time and focus on the goal.

[NOTE:  poorly worded question.  Re-asking as "If your entire crew died in an explosive car crash moments after leaving the start and all of the other crews offered to crew for you instead, which one would you pick?"]

28. How important is experience at this distance to reaching your goal?  How important is experience on this course to reaching your goal?

Heat training and time training are the most important mechanical methods I use to train for this experience.  The most important training tool, however, is heart - you can't train this.  This race is not about how fast you are or what place you finish; this race is about something more important - proving to yourself that you are worthy.  There is something that all Badwater Runners want to know - do I have what it takes.  Men and women in combat seek the same.  True performers and competitors want to be weighed and measured and then found worthwhile and meaningful.  The pith of a champion is knowing that your mind can concur the "disgusting pain" and continue to endure.  Badwater is our measuring stick.  At the end of the day, when we cross the line, we cross with our team and the pride of knowing that our body broke at mile 109 and we still had the moxy to persevere.  

The finish line never sucks
29. Would you approve of either of your children racing Badwater one day?

Yes I would.  I would actually encourage them to set this as one of their goals.  I would be more than happy to crew for them and see them cross the finish line.

Like father, like son

Chase, Brian, Maya
Chase and Maya become triathletes
Jackson the dog likes to run himself into the ground too

Siblings, a bond which cannot be broken
Cute doesn't seem to do this justice

Maya's first 10k
Maya's sport of choice

30. What does your wife, Danika, answer with when someone who doesn't know you very well asks her why you do this?

She says, "He is crazy"  She is great and has been very understanding.
Mother and daughter You'd smile too if you had 3 Badwater buckles

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The beautiful thing about taking care of someone for a day is how good it feels when you wake up the next day and the impact of your efforts starts to soak in.  Yesterday at the Vermont 100 was all about Rod and a little about Ken.

The last time all 3 of us Kailua Boys were together was in Leadville in 2010 where I came closest to capturing Rod's puking with my camera.  I had witnessed it firsthand at WS100 initially, then got a full serving at AC100 when he stopped at one of the later aid stations and I watched him throw down 3 cups of gatorade and promptly send them to the dirt off the side of his chair.  Afterwards, Rod looked at me with a blank expression, got up out of the chair, and continued on down a long descent at a fairly ridiculous pace.  At the time I was confused, surprised and impressed.

Rod near the top of hope pass in 2010, watering the plants
Since that Leadville trip, however, I've gotten used to the puking and it no longer scares me.  I know Rod does everything he can to manage this tendency of his, and he typically tries at least one "solution" every time he toes the line, but it's gotten to the point where I think he should probably just factor some "puke time" into his split predictions.  I mentioned that to him yesterday and I actually meant it seriously as well as in jest.

Chris, Rod and I after the LT100

 Although Leadville was not a puke-free race, it felt like another step forward for Rod from a solid AC100.  More important than the results, however, something really gelled with the 3 of us from our days as kids on the tennis courts of the KRC, somehow united in a singular purpose and with our frontman doing the work, a team aspect emerged from the primordial intentions of a "guys weekend."  I can't explain this, I can't really understand why I have such a great time with these two old friends, why 3 grown men would rather go run a bunch of miles on trails together than chase women or get intoxicated, but the formula served up a healthy heaping of happiness.

Since that Leadville trip, Rod claimed his first 100 mile victory at the Cascade Crest 100 last year.  Ken and Chris were there to crew and pace him, I sat out.  I really wanted to be there at that race, but I had commitments to the team I take to the Hood to Coast relay and I couldn't figure out a way to get from the HtC finish line in Seaside, Oregon to Easton, Washington in time to do anything helpful mostly because I needed to get the team back to Portland in the rental van before I could grab a rental car.  I also did not think I could safely drive 4+ hours each way off a 4:30 wakeup on Friday and no sleep on Saturday, and one of the things you learn as a pacer or crew member is that if you haven't taken care of yourself, you can't do crap for anyone else.  Rod's win was special to me because of my previous contributions to his 100 mile racing and I felt like I missed out on a moment, one which I could never experience again.

This isn't "pretty house" but I like to think of it that way
After Rod's big win at Cascade Crest, which followed his 2nd place at SD100 and my first 100 mile journey, I remember one specific evening when I exchanged a series of text messages with Rod about the Vermont 100.  I waned to see the course, thinking I might one day consider running it myself.  I thought it'd be the perfect venue for Rod to attempt another win, a course which might cater to some of his strengths while still being reasonable enough for me to consider one day.  Those text messages ended with one from his wife, Katie, which read "Rod is on a date, he will talk to you tomorrow."  I felt like such a jerk that I sent cookies to her to apologize.

Vermont materialized in Rod's calendar while I lagged on buying my flight and reached a point of overload at work that made me think I might not be able to make it after all.  Then a change, I lost my job and suddenly had all the time in the world although the budget for pleasure travel certainly shrunk.  I bought a ticket somewhat last minute, direct on Jet Blue which wasn't too bad and Rod upgraded our hotel to a 3 bedroom suite at the Ascutney ski resort.  I hadn't really met Ken before, just a few moments here and there at Western States when I paced Buchanan and he paced Rod, but since Rod is such a grumpy old man about who he lets into his circle I figured Ken and I would be old friends in no time.

The buildup to race Saturday was about as mellow as it could possibly have been.  When we got up at 2:30 am EST for the 4am race start, it still felt like the night before.

Mohawk on the left (Ken), belly shirt on the right (Rod)
We got the boys to the start line with smiles and headed back to catch an hour of z's, but after two cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee, I couldn't even pretend to sleep.  Chris and I got our gear together, hopped in the car, and went off in search of breakfast but at 6am in Windsor there aren't many options for breakfast so we struck out everywhere.  We gave up and attempted to catch Rod at the first aid station with crew access, aptly named "Pretty House."  I kid you not, these Vermont people have more charm than someone like me could ever appreciate.  As we approached Pretty House, we realized the crew driving directions had us circle the aid station and we were caught up in traffic doing this while we watched the leaders exit the aid station and continue on down the course.  I was bummed that we had already effed up our crewing duties since it isn't that hard to drive a car and sit on the grass with a bag of stuff waiting for Rod who had run 20 and was staring at another 80 ahead of him.  So bummed that we set off down the road in a foolish attempt to at least grab his headlamp which we thought he might be able to toss to the side without any of the other competitors making a fuss about crewing outside of the aid station or littering, both of which would have been grounds for a DQ.  We got far enough down a dirt road to see Rod in the midst of a pack of 4 or 5 and promptly gave up the effort, then headed to the Stage Road aid station and waited.

Crewing is mostly about waiting with a smile on your face.  That part drives me nuts.  I'm not good at sitting still and we didn't even have chairs with us since we had traveled so far.  I was asked to move the car twice as the aid station volunteers figured out their parking scheme, and we waited and waited and waited some more but Rod eventually came through, about 2 minutes behind Lee, the course record holder and frontrunner on the day.  We got a bottle exchange, took his headlamp and I breathed a sigh of relief, he was doing just fine and wasn't annoyed about the miss at Pretty House.  We had a bunch of time before the next crewable aid station so we waited around for Ken.  Ken rolled through right behind the first female runner, having gotten off course once already but in good spirits.  He asked Chris for his visor which was in a bag in the car and Chris went off to search for it and did not return.  I sent Ken on his way sans visor, feeling bad but not wanting him to waste time standing around waiting.  I eventually found the bag under some jackets in the car and stuffed it in his drop bag that he got to around 70 miles in, probably just as sun was setting.  Oh well.

Chris and I took a short break in the town of Woodstock, one of the most adorable little Vermont towns that you could possibly imagine, where we grabbed some coffee and surveyed the locals.  There's a bit of a Hawaiian style sense of community in the entire state and this was on full display in Woodstock, except that as haole tourists we were greeted warmly in Vermont :)

Camp 10 Bear the first time through
The biggest aid station of the day, Camp Ten Bear, was one that runners would see twice, once at mile 50 heading out and once at mile 70 heading in.  It was a zoo, complete with a microphone, band, 100's of cars, a swarm of bees, and mass confusion.  I didn't want to be there but after we quickly crewed Rod who still looked great I didn't want to abandon Ken without a visor.  The guy loves his visor, probably since he sweats so damn much and it helps direct the sweat off his brow like a rain gutter for his head.  I talked to Chris and we decided he would camp out at ten bear to crew for Ken and get ready to pace Rod while I went off to crew Rod at the next two aid stations.

I gassed up the car and grabbed a sandwich and some extra water and made it to the next aid station no more than one minute before Rod did.  I noticed Rod taking his time at this aid station, the fighter in him was on mute and the survival instincts were starting to kick in.  He popped his second Zantac of the day, took his bottle and gel flask, and continued on after a stop that seemed longer than I would have liked.

The approach to Margaritaville

The next aid station, Margaritaville, took a while to drive to.  The driving directions were actually cracking me up, some of the landmarks included "a truly ugly lavender house" and "snowplow blade" along with my favorite "stone house."  I arrived and watched Brian head out slightly in front of Lee, both of them looking strong but Lee taking a bit more time and Brian bolting through.  It seemed like those two would be duking it out for the win and I hoped Rod would be close enough to bridge the gap to them.  Perhaps 10 minutes later Rod arrived looking bad.  He told me he had puked and I told him it was hot and getting hotter than expected.  He sat for a bit, tried ginger ale, a ginger chew, bananas and potato chips, along with some ice water but nothing seemed to really help his mood.  I tried to cheer him up, still feeling that this was perfectly normal but I could tell he was bummed, just like he always is when he starts puking.  His legs seemed fine, the most bulletproof aspect of his body, but that damn stomach just tends to shut down in the middle of the race.  After he left I gave Katie a full update and headed off back to ten bear.

Rod and Chris discuss the plan at 10 Bear
I got the scoop from Chris that Ken was in good spirits when he came through and we got Chris ready for pacing duties.  Rod arrived at ten bear looking a little better than before but took a little chair time and some ginger ale in an attempt to calm his stomach further.  At that point he was thinking more about anyone behind him than catching Lee and/or Brian in front of him.  They took off and I packed up and left, after transferring Ken's car stuff to his ten bear drop bag in some vain hope that having his visor at mile 70 for the last dregs of daylight might somehow make him feel happy since we really couldn't crew for him with only one car.

The next aid station, named "the spirit of 76" was truly one of the most picturesque of the day.  We parked in a field next to a barn and I met Meredith, who's husband, Paul Terranova, was one of two in the "Grand Slam" which consists of 4 of the most prestigious 100's in the country (Western States, Vermont, Leadville, Wasatch)  and will be following all of that with a trip to race Ironman in Kona this October.  Meredith had paced Aliza, a Vermont resident, to 3rd at Western States last month and is a resident of Austin so we swapped some fun stories about all the places and races we had shared space at without knowing each other.  The others in this mix included Mike Le Roux, the reigning ultraman champ and some serious eye candy for the ladies, along with James Sweeney, more on him later.  Glen Redpath was pacing Paul on this section, the very same section he had gotten lost on during his own Grand Slam quest previously and wound up taking a DQ, so he knew how tricky it was.

Almost mustering a smile
Brian came through before I even arrived, and had an hour on Lee who stumbled into a chair looking like he came for the win and didn't care about second place.  Within the span of about 3 minutes, Mike, Jim, and Paul came through and I went from a bit of a subdued spectator to an agitated crew member when I told Rod that he was now 3 minutes behind 2nd place (Paul with Glen pacing).  Meredith tried to give Glen two fingers to indicate they were in 2nd place without being rude to Lee who was still seated in a chair and not looking too good but I don't think Glen figured out what she meant.  Jim's girlfriend was pretty excited as were the Le Roux crew, the energy just picked up at that point and I remembered Joe Grant's "oh, it's on" from Unbreakable.  I quickly packed up and caught Meredith walking back uphill to the cars, my competitive excitement no longer controlled.

I zipped back to the general store, bought a sandwich and coke for Chris who with his little detour wound up running about 20 miles, and got to the next aid station, with another fantastic view, early to prepare for battle after updating Katie on the situation.  I'm not sure she understood anything that I said this time, I was in a frantic frenzy as I believed with all of my heart that Rod would beat anyone within range over the final stretch.  I lined up Rod's final bottle at the aid station, threw some ice in it and we all waited.  Meredith would be taking over pacing duties for Paul from Glen for the same stretch, so she and I stretched out a bit and I have to admit I was thinking the whole time "no way you win, no way."  Of course it doesn't matter at all what the pacer thinks or does, nor does winning or losing matter, especially in the "battle" for 2nd, but all of that is the rational side of post race acceptance.  The hype of being in the middle of it all is fighting for that sub-16, 2nd place, or whatever it is that pushes you to your best.  I was prepared to do anything I could to make sure Rod got as much as he could out of himself in that home stretch and I knew, I just knew, that there are very few on this planet who can compete with him at the end of a 100.

Hundreds are long, and they have a tendency to hurt
Jim arrived first which was a bit of a surprise.  He received one of the most sensational kisses from his girlfriend which I think backfired a little bit.  It seemed to switch a gear in his head, he went into the aid station in 2nd place with confidence and left it after stating out loud that he isn't strong on trails and basically opening the door wide for someone to catch him.  I felt bad because I had watched his girlfriend put so much into this race and I know how much of a mind twister that final stretch of a 100 can be, you care so much and so little about things that in retrospect take on completely different values.  I thought Mike or Paul could very well be next and that Rod might have to hunt down 2 or even 3 guys but I was delighted to see him come through next.  At that moment, with 11 to go, I knew second place was in the bag.

It sounds cocky to say that, but I know Rod well enough now.  I love pacing him.  Absolutely love it.  He closes like a true champion in his 100's, he closes as strong as I have ever closed in any race I have ever done, with fire, intensity, and drive.  The 11 miles we ran together felt like a solid training run for me, I'm a bit sore and I was breathing hard for all of it.  I asked him if he felt like fighting for 2nd to which he almost said no but then proceeded to pick up the pace.  We caught Jim on trail, walking as we ran.  Rod caught on fire and as we entered an open field he bounded down like a wild animal loose on the set of The Sound of Music.  I looked back, with over a mile of visibility, and saw nobody.  With 8 to go, second place was his to lose.

The last bit was just pure pleasure for me and seemed like a hard effort for Rod, the perfect kind of running for each of us.  So the beauty of pacing is that you are fresh and if your athlete is having a great day and is a stronger runner than you, you both can reach your own zen state simultaneously.  Perhaps one analogy is when a weaker swimmer throws on some zoomers and swims with a stronger swimmer at his/her full speed.  Both get that euphoria, both get to push themselves, and both feel special and somehow, for that moment, touch on greatness.  Now that I think about it, other than when Rod paced me at States last year, I've never finished with him in a 100.  I just realized this a few seconds ago.  I've always been the early pacer, the one who does the work but gets none of the "glory," the one who has to leave a little in the runner's tank for the next pacer.  This time I got to empty that sucker and I loved every second of it.

I told Rod sub 16 was doable and he said he didn't care, then picked it up again.  We were holding 8 minute pace on the flats and dipping well under that downhill, running hard, very close to my limit on dirt even though my legs were fresh.  I hadn't even brought a headlamp or "head torch" as the Aussie, Le Roux called it afterward and we were going to finish in daylight, enough daylight to see clearly even in the heavily wooded sections.  Rod ran 99% and only power walked for a few seconds as we blitzed through the final aid stations.  It would have been recklessness if the roles were reversed, but the vast experience and years of training prepared Rod to handle the challenge of the moment.  We reached mile 99 on trail where Rod, the alpha, kicked it up another notch and said, "I'm going to the front."  He ran every step of the final hill, turned the corner and hit the last half mile of trail.  I asked if he would be so kind as to give a fist pump or two at the finish and he said he sure would, then added some hoots and hollers as I peeled off to the side to let him savor his first sub 16, a chair, some chocolate milk, and a very well earned 2nd.

We went back to Bills, where I had started pacing, to look for Ken or see when he went through but 2 hours after Rod's finish there was still no word.  The one downside to an old school race like VT100 is that not having live athlete tracking makes finding people very difficult.  I say that as constructive criticism knowing full well that Julia, the RD (who I gave a big hug to as we left because she did such a great job of keeping a smile going throughout the whole weekend) is as awesome as RD's get and also with the realization that most of the course has limited or no cell phone signal.  But having seen it done at various other races, and especially well at most of the big ones, VT100 should really try to figure that part out soon.

We got some food and sent Rod to the showers, then Chris and I returned to the finish where we found Ken in the med tent after 84 miles of running and a bit of puking himself.  He was in good spirits though, and we returned him to his room before I passed out on the couch, too tired to even make it to a bed.

A warm and gentle sunrise greeted me a couple of hours ago and inspired this.  I wish I had taken more photos during the day, but we were all moving fast, there wasn't a whole lot of extra time to do much more than what got done.  I made a few new friends with this trip, and expanded my view of the ultrarunning community, one of the most interesting groups of people I've ever met, chock full of fun personalities and quirky styles.