Vermont is the home state of our 30th President, the great Calvin Coolidge. Early in his political career, Coolidge gained a reputation as a man of decisive action, and in that same vein, I’ve decided to run the entire 272 mile length of The Long Trail. The trail runs the length of VT along the ridge of the Green Mountains which are part of the Appalachian Mountains and in particular the New England-Acadian Forests.
I spend a lot of time driving up and down Rt. 89 and going this way and that on VT backroads. I’ve seen thousands of miles of old farms, and rolling hills. Sometimes they’re green and other times snowcapped, but no matter what the season, they are always awesome. Since my running has increased, I’ve often fantasized about pulling over and running across one of the fields and into the mountains. I imagine pulling off my tie and ditching the black dress shoes, hitting a perfect stride just as I disappear into the woods. I’m almost like superman but without the phone-booth. When I’m driving and the mountains are in view, something about it looks so inviting and daunting at the same time that I can’t take my eyes away.
The reason I chose this challenge is because it’s ridiculous. What business do I have thinking I can run up and down the mountains for 10 days touching 4000 ft. peaks when the farthest I’ve gone is 13.1 miles? I don’t have an answer…yet, but I think this goal is within reach if I do the work. I’ve never done anything like this, but for some reason, I know I can do it. Lance Armstrong buttered his bread in the mountains, and that’s where you find out what you’re made of. Ultimately, that is the goal. I want to see what I’m made of.
So you’re gonna do 10 marathons in a row?
I really have no interest at all in the traditional marathon, so I’ve decided to skip it and move on. I got my first taste of trail running just as I was finishing Born to Run. I was also eating chia seeds and taking my shoes off, so I’d say the book had an effect on me. My first thought after finishing the half marathon was, “I can’t imagine only being half done”, but after reading the book, I started thinking and reading more and more about ultra running. I was in awe of these runners and their ability to push to their outer limits both physically and mentally. I started to wonder what it would be like to run 100 miles. How would I train? What it would feel like? What do ultra-marathoners look like? That was about a year ago and I didn’t do much about it until Spring when I came across an article about Courtney Campbell’s Long Trail speed record. The story stuck with me and I started looking at the mountains differently on my back and forth trips to VT. I started picturing myself running over the ridges, ripping through the woods and running through an entire state. I dismissed any thoughts I had of attempting it, and even joined CrossFit with the intention of cutting back on running. That didn’t work as I found myself to be running stronger than ever and craving mileage. I suspect I’ll satisfy my craving and then some over the next 40 weeks, but I can’t wait to get to the border on July 28th, 2012.
For a Good Cause
For the past seven years, I’ve been working in VT for a large dental company selling technology and equipment solutions, and have been able to make a very good life for my family. The dental community has been very good to me, and I’d like to take this opportunity to give something back. The people and culture of Vermont are great, and after a tough summer, they can use the help. This run will be a benefit run for 3 Free Dental Clinics that serve a large portion of Vermont. I will be working with the Vermont State Dental Society to help these clinics continue their great work. My goal for this fundraiser is to reach $10,000. You can check out the Giving page to find out more about the clinics and what they mean to their communities. Of course, if you’d like to sponsor me, you can do that here through PayPal’s secure service. Not a member, no worries, credit card or check accepted.