Monday, August 16, 2010

Vermont Long Trail - Let's Go!!!

Illustration by David Blumenthal
After a long year of training and anticipation, the Vermont Long Trail adventure is finally here!  I'll be driving up from DC to my parents' place in MA on Saturday, and then we'll make the final 4 hour push up to the Canadian border in northern VT on Sunday.  I'll be hiking up to the start of the trail on Monday morning with plans to begin the adventure at exactly 6am. I'll be sure to take a photo of my watch next to the "trail monument" at the northern terminus of the LT for official proof of my exact start time. After that I'll plan on taking various photos and videos along the way and posting them here when I pass through cell coverage areas. I'll do my best to get 2 or 3 updates posted each day...and I suppose I'll spend some time running too!  I'll have a loose plan to run 20 hours and sleep 4 hours each of the first two days. From there we'll see where I am in relation to the record and adjust as needed.  I will plan on meeting up with my parents once a day at a road crossing for re-supply of food, etc.. I'll be running with a small pack, sleeping wherever appropriate, and collecting water from various natural sources along the way.

Since I am trying to break the "Fastest Known Time" (FKT) on the trail, I'm following the appropriate rules to be as transparent and open as possible during my adventure. While foolish things like performance-enhancing drugs and other forms of cheating/lying have pretty much invaded all levels of sports in the world today, I'm happy to say the long-distance hiking/running world is still one in which Gentleman's (and Gentlewoman's!) Rules are respected.  Peter Bakwin has done a great job in recent years of maintaining a website where all FKTs are listed and updated as results are reported. By following the general rules prior to, during, and after a trail run, proof of your result should be clear and accepted by all in the community. Here are the simple rules to follow, per Mr. Bakwin and Buzz Burell:
  • Announce your intentions in advance. Like a true gentleman, pay your respects to those who came before you, and tell them what you intend to attempt and when.
  • Be an open book. Invite anyone to come and watch or, better yet, participate. This makes your effort more fun and any result more believable.
  • Record your event. Write down everything immediately upon completion. Memory doesn't count.
I'm happy to report that I reached out to the current Long Trail record-holder, Jonathan Basham, and he has wished me well on my journey.  I will also be posting my intentions on the ultralist to notify all other interested members of the community. Of course, this blog here will be the proof of my progress along the way, and if anyone happens to be up in VT next week and can figure out my location from my updates, please feel free to join me for a few miles!

Important note of clarification: I'm not running the Long Trail simply to set the speed record. If I do, great, but my adventure is much more important than that. Simply put, if this was 20 or 30 years ago, I would most likely be dead...I wouldn't have lived past 27 years-old. Because of the advancements made in treating many forms of cancer in the past few decades (including my non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), I was able to walk out of the hospital with a new lease on life.  Much like Spiderman's powers, with that gift came great responsibility. One obvious way I give back is by helping to raise money for cancer research, but perhaps even more important to current patients is doing something that can inspire them to keep fighting.

I recall the rush of adrenaline I felt during chemo treatments when reading about survivors like Lance Armstrong who came back better than ever after cancer treatments. Even though I know I'm no Lance Armstrong, I still push myself as hard as I can to accomplish things in my new life that will hopefully serve to inspire my fellow patients.  I'm running the Long Trail to celebrate this new life and inspire others.

Am I as talented as the current and former record-holders on that course? Nope!  Do I have the motivation in this adventure to make up for that talent gap and seriously challenge the record? I honestly think I do.

So, let's get these gangly legs out there in the Green Mountains and see what we can do!  I say "we", because with your help this will truly be a team effort.  Every comment posted to this blog, and every $10 donated to DFCI will give me the strength I need to keep pushing on out there.  My eyes are steel, and my gaze is long...Let's do this!!!!


Casseday said...

Good luck Dan!

shane said...

Hey Dan, we'll be thinking about you every step of the way. Run with purpose!

TonyP said...

Best of luck Dan!!! Go get it!!

Dan Rose said...

Thanks, guys! ...and THANK YOU, Tony for your generous donation!!!

Chris Reed said...

Hi Dan,

I wish you the best and I'll be following you blog.

Amelia said...

I am so so so excited for you!!! And even more in awe of the whole adventure now that I've hiked a bit of the Long Trail myself. We'll swap stories once Joel and I are back from Canada. Maybe that will be a perfect time for a DC-based reunion?

Kim said...

Best of luck Dan! Wishing you good weather and happy trails!

Stanley said...


Do me a favor...if you see any snakes on the trail, kill them.

You don't have to eat them, but you know...

Angel said...

I know I've said this a million times already (in a week!) but this is totally awesome! You are so inspiring and I wish you all the luck in the world on this quest. My prayers are with you. Katia J.

Ric Munoz said...

So exciting, Dan! I wish we could all be there to cheer you on in person. But even though we can't, all of your fans will be following along in spirit! Best of luck - I know you're going to rock it out there!

Anonymous said...

Run smart
Run tough
Run safe
enjoy the journey

I wish you well!

Michael Henze

Jamie Donaldson said...

You are such an ispiration to me Dan! I will be thinking of you next week! HAve fun!