We drove up early Saturday to pick up the race packet, check into our room, go to Ben and Jerry’s Factory and then visit Burlington before eating dinner at Waitsfield. It was a nice and quiet drive up to Vermont, even on 4th of July weekend.
We stopped at a highly rated place on Yelp called Mad Taco. The area there is called Mad River Valley and home to Sugarbush ski resort. This is the reason why the marathon is called Mad Marathon. They had some interesting tacos and many different hot sauces. They also had Sriracha sauce. The tacos were very filling and made for a good lunch.
We then drove up the road for packet pickup and then onto Sugarbush Inn. It was one of the hotels they recommended and it was very close to the starting line (~2 mile drive).
We checked into the inn and it was a typical ski inn. Many items were made with real wood and had a rustic feel to the inn. We got into our rooms and I instantly noticed there was no air conditioning. In the winter, you don’t need it, but I was afraid it would be too warm for me to sleep. Luckily, the overnight temperatures were low so the breeze through the window was enough.
After we settled in, we drove out to Ben and Jerry’s, which took about 30 minutes as much of the 14 mile drive was through back roads.
We went inside and paid for the tour. The cashier informed me that tours were not running at that time as the video was not working. Luckily, after about 15 minutes they got it working again and we got the next tour. In the mean time, we were browsing through their gift shop and also looking at the different displays they had in the lobby. It was definitely an interesting place and very family friendly. Below are some pictures of each stage of the tour. The tour showed the different steps in the ice cream making process and ended with a tasting of a few different flavors.
The Flavo Room was the tasting room. Best part of the tour! There were plenty of samples for everyone.
This was the hall of fame wall, where they list the current best sellers. Cherry Garcia is their best seller at the time in mid 2012.
After the tour and tasting, we drove directly to Burlington. I saw on Tripadvisor that the waterfront area was a popular destination so we decided to check it out. We drove to the waterfront but ended up parking a few blocks away at a meter spot. It was Sunday so it was free. It was a steep decline down to the waterfront. It was a bit warm and decided to stop at a stand by the train tracks to get a Maple Raspberry Twist Soft Serve Creemee. It was awesome. It was so good, we went back for another on our way back to the car.
We stopped at The Skinny Pancake to get a crepe. It was pretty good. This was going to hold us over until we had dinner back at Waitsfield.
So we decided to go to the restaurant at Sugarbush Resort called Timbers Restaurant as it was listed in the race packet.
The meal was ok. I got the pasta dish but got way too little pasta. I was a bit surprised as it was listed as a pre-race meal location and they didn’t have a large enough pasta dish. I asked for another portion of pasta. I definitely saw some other runners eating there as well. My wife had the pork chop, which was over done and dry.
Here is a picture of the main resort buildings:
The next morning, I got up early for the start. My wife dropped me off and then went back to bed.
The above pictures was before the start. They shut down the main road into town to kick off the race.
Below are pictures during the race. I knew I wasn’t going to be getting a great time so I took the time to take some pictures. The scenery was awesome.
The last picture is of the highest point on the course. Its all downhill from there!
It was near this point below that I realized I was making great time. I ran about 18 miles in about 3:30, much faster than I thought. My calves started to cramp up so I walked much of the rest of the race, despite taking the electrolyte pills.
There was a great view of Sugarbush resort and the slopes. You can recognize the bright red buildings and silo.
Below was a picture of me after the finish. I finished at 5:10. I thought I would be limping in just under 6 hours.
The race was great. There was a good number of water stations and the course was very nice. We lucked out on the weather as it was cool, highs in the low 70s with low humidity. It reached 90F only a few days ago so all the runners were very lucky.
In the last remaining miles, I was beat out by a 60 year old woman. I passed her around mile 3 or 4 but she passed me around mile 23 or 24. My legs cramped up and just couldn’t run to keep up with her. I tried for about a mile but just couldn’t. I saw her at the finish and remarked to her that she ran a killer pace. She was with her husband who also ran the marathon. She laughed and walked away. I hope I made her day.
Other than the cramps, I didn’t feel too bad attempting this race only 7 weeks after a brutal marathon in China. For the next marathon, I would have 12 weeks of training so much more preparation. This made me believe I can do marathons with less time in between.
I also had my phone so I called my wife to coordinate her picking me up. We had to check out at noon so we couldn’t use the room anymore but Sugarbush Inn allowed us to use their sports facility. They gave us passes for the gym. It had showers, exercise equipment, an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. It was a nice day so we sat out in the sun near the pool. I showered, swam a bit and jumped into the Jacuzzi to loosen my legs up before a 3.5 hour drive back to Boston. It was a relaxing end to a busy weekend in Vermont. Its definitely different to come up here in the summer, compared to in the winter for snowboarding.