Vermont 50-Miler this Weekend

Four weeks ago, I called my friend and quit.  I told him that I’d still come crew for him at the Vermont 50, but that I just wasn’t in shape to run it.

My training since my first 50-miler had been spotty at best: I hadn’t run more than 14 miles at once during that time.  While the heat in July and August had made it tough, my own lack of motivation was really to blame.

But then a funny thing happened: As soon as I made my quitting official with that call, I realized how completely wrong it felt. Impulsively, I decided I had to run this race.  So I figured out a plan to make this thing happen—a 20-miler and a 30-miler in the next two weeks, then two weeks rest.

Somehow, it worked, and here I am, staring down 50 miles of trail in the mountains of Vermont two days from now.

I’m not trying to turn this into some feel-good, “behold the power of focus and determination in the face of quitting” lesson for you all to take and apply to to your own training.  In fact, trying to run a 20- and 30-miler so quickly was probably stupid and risky.  But I guess I got lucky, and I’m actually feeling pretty good about this thing now.

I know this won’t be the most satisfying race I’ve ever run.  No matter what the outcome, I’ll know that I could have run it faster or felt better if I’d have trained like a normal person (i.e., not back-loaded it all into what amounts to two hard weeks of training before a two-week taper).

But I’ve noticed that often when I’m not in great shape to run a race, it ends up being a lot of fun.  There will be no expectations for me on Sunday, only the challenge of finding a way to carry myself 50 miles.  I won’t be stressed about mile splits or worried about dilly-dallying at an aid station to make sure I only eat vegan food. (Remember? I’m eating vegan this month.)

And if somehow it ends up that with five or ten miles to go , I realize I have a chance to beat my previous time (after all, it was 95 degrees that day and it’ll be 60 this time), then I’ll have something to shoot for and a little bit of that thrill that comes with a normal race day.

But that’s not my goal.  I’m running this race because there’s something about running for that long that feels good.  What I want is to finish this race and enjoy every bit of it, and if that happens, I’ll be happy.

No NMA Monday?

Since the race is Sunday and I’ll be traveling Monday, it’s very likely I won’t have the time (or internet access) to write a post for Monday.  But hey, if you show up and there’s no new one, you could always catch up on Thinking Bettor, my gambling blog. (Do it, do it!)  But I’ll write my race recap and have it ready to go by Tuesday at the latest.

Finally, I got a big shipment of No Meat Athlete shirts yesterday.  Most of the popular sizes have been out of stock for weeks, so if you’ve been trying to get one, now’s the time.

Alright, I’m out!  If all goes well, I’ll be back next week with another 50-miler finisher’s medal, and probably a story or two.

Have a great weekend!



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  1. Good luck! I was supposed to be crewing my husband for this race but he ended up getting injured and has deferred to next year. I hope you have a lot of fun- maybe you could run with a camera for part of it and take some pictures.

  2. Go, Matt, go! Have a great race!

  3. Good Luck in VT! I tackle my first “ultra” on Oct 8th at the 50k WV Trilogy race.

  4. best of luck this weekend! i look forward to hearing what you think of that race-i’ve heard very good things and i’m sure it will be gorgeous!

  5. Matt.

    I’m Emily Malone’s cousin. (Front Burner Blog). I live not all that far from this race. Do you need anyone to run with you towards the end? Assuming I could even keep up with you, even on a 50 miler – I’m about a 9:30 pace runner. Email me at sarahsabbatical at gmail if I can be of any help. If not – good luck! and welcome to Vermont!


  6. Good luck to you, Matt! Can’t wait to hear about it once you’ve rested and recovered. 🙂

  7. Best of luck & enjoy! Can’t wait for the recap

  8. Right on! Go Matt go! I like the idea of a “Matt Cam” strapped to your person somehow. Whilst you are ‘resting’ perhaps you can figure out how to rig one up.

  9. Remember… don’t push yourself too hard. Mom

  10. Yay! You’ll do great. I have my first 10k on Sunday. Also, dangggggg… I just ordered a NMA shirt so I could wear it for Sunday, right before this shipment!! Argh… oh well. :3

  11. Good luck Matt!! I hope the race goes well. Just relax, enjoy, and have fun! 🙂 (if that’s possible over the course of 50 miles) As always, I’m super impressed. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  12. Good luck Matt. I know you will do just fine. I am looking forward to your after race post. You are a great inspiration.

  13. Good luck with the 50. Of course you can do it!

  14. Good luck man! I won’t be showing up this time after all, but maybe we’ll be racing it together in a year!

  15. Good luck Matt! I’m sure with your drive and dedication you’ll do better than fine 🙂 I have so much admiration for you, and I hope to make my way up to ultras someday…thanks for paving the way!

    Also, I’m a bit late to the party, but I went vegan last week…I’ve tried it before but hopefully I’ll last longer this time!

  16. Best of luck, Matt!

  17. You’re a trooper! Best of luck on race day. I can’t wait to hear the recap Tuesday!

  18. Good luck NMA Matt! Looking forward to hearing your recap.

  19. Nice job with the ultra!! I know you didn’t have a lot of time to train, and you made some dietary changes this month, so you did awesome, considering! I would love to run an ultra someday. I’ve only been running since May. I have my first half marathon on 10/10. Gotta start somewhere…

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