While sitting in a local shop in Pittsfield, Vermont on Saturday morning May 7, 2011, I looked around the General Store I was sitting in and noticed the shop was very ‘cute’. Cute in a movie set type of way. The kind you see a young couple go in and order a delicious breakfast made with thick juicy pancakes, wholesome local farmed eggs, natural blueberry muffin, freshly brewed coffee, and truly freshly squeezed orange juice. I blinked and realized this is truly happening. I was sitting in front of a young couple ordering a delicious breakfast buffet platter. Unfortunately I couldn’t join in on the fun as I was the only idiot to wake up at 5AM after sleeping in back of the car that I drove from Parsippany, NJ to Pittsfield, VT to assist my friend Jim Lampman in his quest to finish 200 miles. I only slept an hour and half before my day started…
I looked at my watch and it was roughly 7:30AM and I have had granola cereal out the box…with milk…waaa..not as fun as what that couple was eating…
As I waiting patiently for Jim to arrive after his rugged 10 mile loops with over 2,400 feet of elevation on the McNaughton Course, I ended up meeting great people in the headquarters/turnaround point. Amongst many was a bull…no joke. But one of these folks was the infamous Andy. You see…I am sure everyone has heard of crazy stories regarding crazy races around either in the U.S. or abroad. As I sat and chatted with the couple eating breakfast, they inquired if I have heard of the Death Race. At first I had no clue and was afraid to find out what it entails. As I received feedback I realized that YES I have heard of it in the Outside magazine last year. This race is for the strong hearted only. Seriously. And then I realized / was told that Andy was the race director…What a small world! He definitely fits the bill for one of the coolest people I have ever met and most energetic at any given time of day. Everybody knew him and he got to know everybody…even gave me a nickname for the day – Bunny Fu Fu. (Don’t ask)
When Jim arrived to the headquarters at or around 10AM I was fully pumped up to go for a run with him. This is the main reason why I drove over 6 hours, right. To run and pace Jimmy for his quest for 200 miler finisher. As I donned my gear he stepped out with Bunny (not me…his friend) which was also pacing him. I waited a bit as I wanted to gain some run time and play catch up. I caught up to him while he was one mile away from the base. He walked. And walked. I found out that he had already been completed 120 miles by the time I met up with him. He was obviously tired and heavily sleep deprived beyond belief. So I walked. And walked with him and Bunny. Making sure that his spirits were up all the time regardless of how exhausted he felt. By the time we reached the aid station on my first loop with him, 12 noon was lingering and the heat was torturous. As you know, after a long day of running…never mind 120 miles your body just starts playing games on you. Not Jim. He kept his cool and continued his quest for a good pace to finish each loop strong.
Bunny stayed with us for that last loop until he reached mile 130. I continued with Jim until 1:10AM Sunday and after he reached mile 150. By this time I have motivated / crewed for him / paced him / kept him in the game alive and well for nearly 14 hours and 3o miles of trekking. This was unfortunately my last loop with Jim. I was heavily concerned because he would go out on his own at 1AM when sleep is heavily desired by any runner in the middle of the night. I put on my Marine Corps game face and instructed Jim that he must not stop at all. He has to continue pushing forward NO MATTER WHAT. I specifically instructed him not to fall asleep on a favorite rock he had on each loop. Reason I did this was because I wanted him to finish. And to see him come back to the headquarters at 5AM. This would have giving him 4 hours to finish his 160th mile. Plus I was planning on leaving at 5AM to head back to New Jersey.
I awoke at 5AM. No sign of Jim. AT ALL. Myself and the other crew members he had Bunny, Bart and Ashley (the couple from breakfast) also panicked. Ashley began running the course backward to see if he fell asleep on that rock! or elsewhere. Bart received news that Jim was laying down in the half-way point after Ashley left to find him. So myself and Bart (Bunny wasasleep) drove to see Jim passed out and resting inside of a car. Zoned out and luckily alive!
It took our friend nearly 5 hours to complete 5 miles. Bart and I secretly discussed that he should just stop here. 155 miles is an awesome accomplishment. Ashley came in and we discussed our recommendation with her. There was no recommendation for Ashley. Jim is her best friend and she made the decision for him to stop. GO ASHLEY! Jim conquered without any debate at all. He held his head high with a strong accomplishment. A lot of lessons to be learned but a great pride story he could always relate to…even if he didn’t meet the cut-off time. Think about it. While he was trekking since Thursday mid-day until Sunday morning…what were you doing? Jim your amazing my friend.
If you are a ultrarunner and haven’t paced someone!!! Start doing it…You would greatly appreciate the running atmosphere a lot more. Trust me. My good friend Carlos paced me while I completed my first 100 miler and now I truly understand what Carlos went through as he kept me in the game to finish.
More photos viewed here : http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.674334261839.2161151.26804487&l=096ec0a217