Two weeks from now I will be relaxing (or at least trying to) the best that I can in my hotel room in Leadville. It is so hard to believe that it is that close. It's not that I am scared or that I feel ill prepared but more so just looking at the past year and how quickly it has flown by. I know that I will be sitting in the bleachers for the Friday pre-race meeting with all of my friends like we have done the past few years and as Ken gives his speech I will sit in amazement that I am back there.... again. So soon. Too soon.
Regardless I am confident about this years LT100. I have a great crew and pacers. We had to make some last minute changes today regarding the pacer line-up but that has all been worked out will benefit EVERYONE involved. 'Cept for Ray... he's going to run and extra 11 miles now but since he is in training for UTMB I am sure he doesn't mind.
Last year was my year to see if I even had the capacity to even consider going for a sub-25 Leadville finish and I have to say that last years results were mixed. Looks like I can but it will be close. This year especially the past few months have been really dedicated to overcoming obstacles or weaknesses that could potentially really slow me down over time.
1. My feet... I've got tender feet, no doubt. The switch to Hokas this year has been a game changer for me in lots of ways. Sure I miss my light minimalst shoes but I don't miss having my feet feel as if they have been beaten by a rattan cane after each run. Blisters? I have some great tape and adhesive that I will use this year and the only way that stuff is coming off after the race is with a healthy dose of mineral spirits.
2. Heat... I am a strong proponent now of heat training. Well not so much the past three days as it has been kicking my ass but I know it will pay off. If it is hot in Leadville (the forecast now looks like 60 and rain) I will be fine. At any rate, I know the plasma expansion from the heat training will go a long ways to helping me function better at altitude.
3. Weight... This one has been hard. This past spring Christoph and I were on a run and it was on Barr Trail and back when I was sick so it had to be in May. I was talking about dropping some weight before San Juan and Christoph piped up, "as long as I have known you, you have been saying that you need to drop some weight." Well he was right. That was a line that I had been uttering forever. I was always hopeful that somehow I'd run enough that finally I'd just drop pounds. It never happened... So all of July I have been strictly counting calories... not cutting out certain foods so much but trying to ensure I eat less, I am mindful of what I am eating and each week I have been able to have a caloric deficit. Anyway, I haven't lost a lot of weight but some. My clothes (especially my belts) fit a lot different though. At least I haven't gained any and now that I am tapering that will really be important.
4. Compression... I finally decided to try out some calf compression sleeves and I have to say that I am really liking them. Over a long distance especially after a long descent I can see their benefit. I wore them when I did my Pikes Peak round trip a few weeks ago and they great. I wish that I had worn them during the LCW run last weekend but I forgot them. However, when I got home and put them on AFTER the run they felt great and my legs appreciated the extra support.
5. Taper!!! Last year I did not get to taper. Well the four days before the race but that was it. This year I plan to back off and take days off like I did this past Monday and will again tomorrow on Friday. If I do try to run tomorrow, anyone who catches me has full permission to kick me in the doodads so I stop. I don't feel like I am bouncing back just yet but with the three running days this week I have 37 miles in and plus the heat training kicking my ass... Next week, next week I will feel better.
6. Mindset... I want to take a break from Leadville after this year and focus on other things. I will still run and plan to run but just do different things. I really want to do the Pikes Peak Double again next year and PR in both the Ascent and the Marathon. I really want to leave Leadville with the big buckle this year and walk way with what I would consider a clean break. But if I get a third under 30 buckle, well that ain't too bad either.
7. Experience... I've run more miles this year than any year. I have just had my highest mileage month ever. My base is there for certain. I've been able to spend alot of time on the LT100 course this summer and am fully re-familiar and comfortable with it. With the two other finishes (and my DNF in 2009, can't forget that! ) I feel confident now that I know where to lay-up and where to push it on the course. I didn't get to do as much speedwork this summer as I wanted but I plan to run more of a consistent pace over a further distance, just slower this year and hope that works. Of course I still have some hard splits to make and I need to be mindful of that.
So there you have it... pretty much my entire sitrep. I guess the one thing that I left out is that I am planning on giving it all I got and doing my best the entire race... There is that to consider as well... :)
This weekend is the night run in Leadville, the last big hoorah... It will be fun. Can't wait to take more time off next week. Yay for the taper!