My tenth 100 miler is in the books, and what a race it was. I started at a pace I thought was slow and spent the early miles making friends and catching up with old ones (thanks for the miles Mark Frey, these were under much better circumstances than what we went through at ES100) and tried not to concern myself with anything but my own race. I knew Ryan was ahead and had heard of someone going out super hard at the front and was just hoping it wasn't him. At 50k(stage rd) I still felt good, and was cooling off with water regularly as it was gonna start getting warm and I wanted to get ahead of it early. I was a bit fast but figured I could take it easy during the hot part of the day. At 10 bear #1 (47miles) it was about 7:30 elapsed, (11:30am) and that's when I realized that I may have gone out too fast. In 2011, my first 100m, I wanted to test myself and so I went out with the lead pack and trashed myself by mile 70 to the point where I couldn't run anymore. This year I had just run the same split to 10 bear #1, so I was worried, but knew that I felt pretty good, so kept on trucking. The 23 mile loop back to camp 10 bear has some brutal climbs in it, one aptly named "Agony rd". The first aid station on the loop is where I found Ryan, sitting on a chair looking like shit. He had full body cramps/spasms and couldn't get them under control. I felt horrible, after all, this whole ultra running thing was my idea, and it was my job to prepare him for what he was gonna face. I felt like I let him down. I did have some electrolyte capsules (Thanks #Liv9) which I shared with him. I've been where Ryan was, and it does not feel good. At the Vermont 100, the race organization is great, so I knew he was in good hands, and so I forged ahead hoping Ryan would be able to run later on. On this loop I was leap-frogging with a Grand Slammer named Jason, he was killing it, running super strong. He'd pass me on the ups, and I'd catch him on the downs. eventually we'd run together for a few miles. When we reached 10 bear #2(mile 70) at 3:30pm I was running well but feeling a bit sore in the quads. I was now 30mins ahead of my 2011 blowup time and pretty concerned about that. This is where Thomas Duhamel came into the picture. Thomas was at VT100 to pace a friend who ended up DNFing earlier in the race, and all he wanted was to run. I had fully intended to run this thing Solo, but after a bit of coaxing, I quickly changed my mind. Thomas and I had met at Gaspesia100 the last 2 years, he had won the 100 miler both years. I knew him enough to trust him as a pacer, although I had never run with him. He was just what I needed, a strong runner, calm and patient, and who loved taking photos (his photos are attached). The next 30 miles were very tough for me. I was working hard for every mile, but I was moving well. I hiked the ups, ran the downs, but the flats were killer. After 10 -12 miles I was starting to feel worked and I could tell my stomach was starting to revolt. I took some salt, some nuuns but struggled to feed myself, and knew I was getting dehydrated. At mile 85-ish, I pulled over and spilled my guts on the side of the road (photo: me hanging on the rail was moments after said event). During all this, I saw a 100miler pass me. I didn't like this, and so a minute later, we forged on full steam ahead, and I was feeling light and much better. We came into Bills with lots of daylight left, and I got to catch up with William Jackson and Kristen Smith before they reminded me that I should probably get going :). Thanks for the chat and for working the aid station!! I had Thomas mix my last dose of carbopro, I grabbed my light and ran out of there, smelling the barn. I was really hurting bad, but somehow just kept moving forward one mile at a time. Thomas described what had happened the previous year at this point in the race when he paced Mathieu Blanchard. Brian Rusieki had just caught them and proceeded to run up a steep climb full throttle, leaving Matt and Thomas behind unable to match the pace. This perhaps is more impressive when you're staring at the hill, but believe me, it was big and steep. I was grinding out the final miles, until we had but 2 miles to go. I thought I could still come in under 18 hours, so that was my new goal. At this point the lead woman, Lindsay, caught me. I had no problem with her passing me, but I really wanted to get under 18. I put the hammer down aiming for that sub 18 time. As the clock came into view I saw it roll over to 18 hours, and I missed the mark by 6 seconds. I came in, 7th overall, feeling like I gave it everything I had. A good race for sure. Thanks go out to Iuli, Sam and Nico for putting up with my sick habit of ultra running. Thanks to Ryan for joining me on this adventure and exploring what it is to run ultras. Thanks to Thomas Duhamel for pacing me and taking fantastic photos. Thanks to Greg and Dan from Liv9 for continuing to support me with recovery blends and other goodies. And thanks to all those who followed along and supported me.