Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Leadville Trail 100 Run

Hugging Merilee at the LT100 Finish and getting my medal  24:51:25.  JT was still on the Powerlines busy getting chicked by Amanda.
Saturday was the fifth and final race of the 2014 Leadman Series.  The Leadville Trail 100 Run.

In short it started out fine but once I started running down the powerlines, everything just started to feel off.  It was then that I started to suspect that I was feeling the effects from the bike ride the week before.

By the time I hit the Outward Bound Aid Station (Formerly Fish  Hatchery) everything really began to unravel on me.  Pretty much everything from the waist down just felt shattered.  My mood, energy level, general outlook on life, all of that just evaporated.

I have never been in a dark spot like that for so long and so early in a race.  The next 16 miles to Twin Lakes was just pure hell.  I got myself through it but damned if I know how.  When I arrived at Twin Lakes at mile 40 I was just a total wreck.  All I wanted to do was to crawl under some shady spot and cry and wish it all away.  I got to Twin Lakes in about 7:45, about a half hour off of where I wanted to be.

Melissa did a great job "handling me" and getting me to where she was set up.  She was stern yet empathetic as she pretty much just ordered me to keep my shit together.  She asked me if I wanted anything past what I needed to pick up and I said ibuprofen and a Mountain Dew.  I took three of the IB's and slammed the Mountain Dew before leaving the parking lot.  Now to jog across the clearing to start the climb up hope pass.

I was able to start motoring again and by the time I was to the river crossing after going through some other deep water crossings I was starting to feel a lot better.  Actually I was looking forward to the climb up Hope Pass as it doesn't wreck  havoc with me like most.

I had left Twin Lakes in 194th place.  When I got to Winfield I was in 119th.  Things were getting better.

I picked up my pacer Paul D. at Winfield and we did not waste anytime getting out of there.  Annie had taken him there while Melissa had stayed at Twin Lakes.  I told Annie to tell Melissa that I was definitely feeling better.

Paul and I had a great climb and descent off of Hope Pass.  It was bout halfway down to Twin Lakes that I started to do some math in my head.  We would be hitting Twin Lakes about about 15 hours.  I was kicking it around in my mind wondering if we could do a sub 10 hour return the last forty miles back to town.  I was definitely feeling better and was seriously considering this.

So I broached the subject with Paul.  He thought it was doable.  We would just not have any room for error, or time to waste stopping and anything that was runnable would have to be ran. Period.  We started hatching our plan and figuring out what to do.  There would be no real stopping at Twin Lakes on the inbound now.  The tape job on my feet seemed to be holding up so no need to waste time changing shoes, socks, tape, etc.  Of course that introduced some risk as I did not know if the tape job could hold another 40 miles.  But by the time we were at the river crossing we had decided to go all in.  We were out of Twin Lakes at 15:05 and I was in 106th place.

Of course we would have been plenty safe enough to just cruise in and take it easy to finish in the 27 hour range possibly, but with the prospect of actually getting the big buckle out there, even with the ridiculously narrow time margins, made it a race again and not just a run.

Paul and I ran our asses off and by the time we were back at Outward Bound, I was in 82nd place and 18:16 into the race.  This was where I picked up my pacer Jeff M who would take me the rest of the way in.  Melissa had already briefed Jeff that this was going to be an all out effort so when I got him he knew what the game was pretty much.  Except for hiking up the Powerlines, Jeff and I ran pretty damned near the entire rest of the course all the way to town.  We left Mayqueen with about 3:20 left in order to come in under the 25 hour mark.  We knew it wasn't going to be easy but we pushed it.  We made that in 3:13.

And I pulled it off in the end.  86th overall and  24:51:25.  Another big buckle and Leadman #2 done.

But this run... this magical last 40 miles was unlike anything I have ever accomplished. It was a gamble on so many levels.  But it was also a black and white, pass or fail situation.  Binary.  Either we pulled it off or we didn't.  There was no room for close, almost, or maybe.

And it was fun.  Fun in that weird sort of way.  My pacers could have coddled and babysat me for the last forty miles and we could have been relaxed and just goofed off and still got it done.  Little did they know they would be part of much bigger effort.  I am guessing it put a bit of pressure on them but it also made things more interesting I am sure.

I don't think I have ever been more proud of a run and for me putting it all out there than this one. Ever.

I will do another write up about finishing the Leadman Series. It was definitely different doing it a second time.

Here are the aid stations, my placement, and splits for the run.

MQ    114 2:08:26
OB    147 4:27:37
HP     153 5:38:41
TL     194 7:45:04
HP    133 9:53:58
Win   119 11:15:35
HP     93 13:24:11
TL     106 15:05:26
HP     96 17:03:48
OB     82 18:16:30
MQ    82  21:38:36
Pb      86 24:51:25


  1. Everyone knows the only Leadman event that counts is the 10K.

  2. Way to crawl out of a cave and embrace the risk of pushing it!

    ....and I agree with brownie (above) while laughing, the 10k IS the best event (ha ha ha ha).
    Way to go double Leadman.

  3. We still give you run of the day! Awesome way to pull it together and get er done!