Thursday, June 22, 2017

2017 Shires of Vermont Race Report and Video

Here is Holly's Shires of Vermont Race Report with Dave's comments and video.

Back to Vermont again thanks to the jerk race director from Vermont Cities. See my report from that one here. I really did not want to go back and do that one again and was very pleased that the Shires of Vermont marathon was back on again after a year hiatus. I had heard good things about it and was excited to run it. Then I saw the course profile. Holy hills! I was doing this one three weeks after Reno and knew I would either be beat up or more ready to run. If you read that report you know I fell during that race and I was still feeling the effects from the fall and was a bit worried.

Once again Dave will handle the pre race fun, but we did stop in a cute little town at a church for packet pick up the night before the race. One of the volunteers started chatting with me and she was so nice. I was not the only one looking for VT marathon redemption and she assured me that this was going to make up for it. We hit a pizza place for my traditional spaghetti and meatballs and went back to the hotel. We didn’t have to get up too early as the race didn’t start until 8 and we were only 10 minutes from the start. This is a point to point course that starts in Bennington and ends in Manchester. The race started at Bennington College and it was nice to have a place to wait with real bathrooms. A trumpet player played the national anthem and we were off and running. All 60 of us. Yes, 60.

It was a small race and I was soon bringing up the rear. I was with one other woman for a while, but I was in last place. No big deal for me. But I’m sure for some it would be difficult. As soon as I passed a water station or a mile marker sign on the road they would start packing up or pull the sign. I got to know that same volunteer whom I chatted with the night before pretty well as she was in charge of pulling the signs.

The course was GORGEOUS. Hilly, but GORGEOUS. I was doing ok, but the first miles were mentally tough for me. The hills were ok, but I knew the tough ones were still to come. We were on a hard packed dirt road for quite a few miles, but I didn’t mind it, since we were running through some pretty woods. We got to about the halfway point and got to run through a covered bridge! Dave ran through with me, carrying the GoPro of course. Now the huge hill was next. It’s a category 5 hill, which if you follow bike racing you know what that means. I walked up it and it was a nice break mid race for my mind and body. After the top is was downhill for several miles and that was great.

Miles 16-20 are my toughest miles mentally and to have a nice downhill for those miles was perfect timing. I was feeling good and the hard part was over. We got in to the town of Manchester and I was slowing down and was starting to get hungry. One more uphill here that was pretty tough, but soon I was approaching the finish line. I didn’t finish in last, but pretty close! I received a super cool handmade medal and they had plenty of post race food: chocolate milk, baked potatoes and watermelon.

The volunteers were AMAZING. The best I have ever seen. They were very energetic and enthusiastic. There were also some guys on bikes riding around and checking on us and they always had an encouraging word. Also one woman volunteer was driving around and she asked if I needed anything and I asked if she knew if the Nuun energy drink they had at the aid stations had caffeine, since I can’t have caffeine. She didn’t know, but said she would find out. She drove back about ten minutes later and let me know that they didn’t. I couldn’t have asked for better support. I highly recommend this race. I’m so glad I decided to do this race as my Vermont do-over. Small races really are my favorite and the people running this race know how to do it.

Dave's Comments

We had another nice long flight delay for this trip and landed in Albany pretty late. By the time we arrived in Bennington the only thing barely still open was Wal-Mart. We had a fine dinner of wine and Lunchables. The next morning we were trying to determine what the area had to offer. Turns out not a lot. Manchester had some shopping and dining, but that was about it. We checked out the Battle of Bennington Monument commemorating the defending of an important weapons cache during the Revolutionary War.

After checking out the area from a high place we drove 90 minutes to a brewery. The drive was very scenic and the location of Long Trail was right on a pretty riverbank. We stayed for one beer and then drove some more towards Harpoon's Windsor location. Another great spot along a stream with a few other local shops and distillery in the complex. We enjoyed lunch with our friends Charlie and Karen. Dinner was at Ramuntos Pizza, which was one of the few places in town we found spaghetti and meatballs on the menu. They had a great beer selection and some decent NY style pizza.

Long Trail

Race Chasing on Sunday was pretty darn easy. Not many people in the race and the roads were very lightly traveled. The only food I could find on the course was at mile 1.5. After that it was self-sufficency. Surprising fact since this race went through a few shires. With no real stops and a very open course I spent a lot of time looking at trees. After the race we had some really good burgers at Madison Brewing in town and went back to Ramuntos for a different beer selection. Bennington closed down early on Sundays so we spent the rest of our evening at Chili's near the hotel.

Our plan on Monday was to browse Troy, NY. We heard it had an up-and-coming downtown. If this is true it's not apparent driving around. We altered our plans and checked out Druther's Brewing in downtown Albany before heading back to Troy for lunch at Brown's Brewing. Both were housed in old warehouses and made some nice improvements in the spaces.

Check out the race video below to see some great scenery and watch us go over a covered bridge.


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