Leadville Silver Rush 50 Mile Trail Run 2008

Adventures13 Comments

Distance 50 miles
Time 12:32:14 (PR)
Pace 16:09
Rank 97 of 116 finishers/148 field
GPS Analysis Strava

Where do I start? A few years ago, we were camping in Leadville when we saw portions of the 100 mile Leadville race. I thought to myself, “those dudes are crazy!”. In the years following, I started running more, then started racing, then started really wondering what I could accomplish. So last year, I ran the Leadville Heavy Half Marathon and it was the toughest but most enjoyable race of the year. For 2008, I figured I would step up to the Leadville Marathon. I want to keep raising the bar and its cool to have your name hanging in Leadville for the year. The marathon covers mostly same course but 10+ more miles. Seemed like the next logical step — until THE POSTCARD arrived.

Somewhere around January 1st, I got the schedule of events for 2008 in Leadville and noticed they added a 50 mile race on the Silver Rush weekend. The Silver Rush has traditionally been a mountain bike race in the eastern mountains of Leadville. Now, they are going to bike on Saturday and offer a run on Sunday. Being its the off-season and I felt invincible and full of cabin fever, I signed up right away. I will figure it out as the date approaches.

Like any good anal compulsive, I started researching ultras as much as I could. What does it take? What do you eat? What is a drop bag? What do you put in it? Why do you need a crew? What is the game plan? How do you hydrate? On and on. My mind was full of these thoughts from January till weeks ago. I worked on answers. The game is simple…the more you know, the more you can prepare, the less you will be surprised.

So that was the mental game, the physical game was the real challenge. How fit do I need to be? As I studied other runners, I found that you had to at least be putting in the race distance per week. Double would be super. So I kept raising my weekly mileage while trying to race other events: 2 marathons, 1 half-marathon and more. But the big test would be the Greenland 50k race in April. I ended up doing not so great but learned a lot.

From the beginning, my goal for this race was clear — FINISH. At one point, the Leadville staff announced they raised the cutoff time from 14 hours to 15 hours. This extra hour gave my mind some ease until I realized I could be running 15 hours now instead of 14. What have I gotten myself into? So I ran. I was consistently over 50 miles a week, peaking at 70+.

Then the weeks counted down and it was finally the Friday before the race. I hadn’t run more than 3 miles a day all week intentionally. I was trying to heal up my aches as much as possible. That felt like the best path to success. Anymore running at this point was of little value. Just enough to keep my body from thinking it was in full vacation mode.

On Friday, we packed up and headed to Leadville. Its a 2 hour drive from my house. We checked into the Columbine Inn. No camping for this race. Seemed to important. Knew I would need a real shower and bed when the day was done. I wish I could have went up earlier. I knew every minute would help my lungs.

On Saturday, we went over to the start line and checked in. The start is at a hill used for tubbing in the winter. Outside there is a little ski hut. This is the “expo”. I got my bag and pulled out my bib — #7. Whoa. That seemed cool. But I think it only meant that I signed up really really early. We spent the rest of the day around town. Eating at our favorite spots, shopping, then headed to the Lake County Rec Center for a swim. Pretty easy day. I got the crew (wife and 2 kids if you are new) to bed around nine. I fell asleep pretty quickly but was awoke by the kids about 45 minutes later. I hate this. I cannot fall back asleep after such a short time. My body treats it like a nap, not sleep. So in some fit of rage, I woke up and started spanking all children in the room. Turns out I was 1/2 asleep and Sydney was totally asleep. I spanked her and she slept right through it. Shows the power of my spanking skills, huh? Turns out Reagan was the troublemaker. Everybody then fell asleep but me. I laid there tossing and turning for hours. Finally got some sleep around 1 or 2 until I woke up naturally at 4:45 AM. Alarm was going off in 15 minutes but my body was ready to go.

I sprayed myself head to toe in kids SPF 50 suntan lotion for maximum protection and “stay on”-ness. I decided to wear my first offical race shirt from the Boulder Backroads 2005. It was a nice Golite shirt and I enjoy running in it. I put my nipple band aids on — wasn’t going to chance it. Tied up my TNF Rucky Chuckys and we were out the door. We got to the start about 25 minutes early. Parked real close. The kids were in back watching a movie and Kim and I chatted while I tried to down some Odwalla and Cheerios. Finally, they said 4 minutes or something to the start, so Kim and I got out and walked to the start line. Last photo opportunity before the longest day ever begins. After the photo, I gave Kim a kiss and told her thank you for allowing me to get to this place.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

All the runners huddled up a bit. There were 148 registered for the event. Final few seconds.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

The Leadville management decided that it would be fun for the start to be at the bottom of the Dutch Henri Hill. This is a tubbing hill so its a bit steep and its a lot of loose rock. The first man and woman to the top got a special silver prize. Me and most of the rest of the pack decided that wasn’t for us because it was going to be a long day. So it was a nice hike up the hill then off! You can see me in the middle, down a bit.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Since ultra-marathons are long by definition, its common to not count miles, but count segments. This is usually done by aid stations. There were four aid stations. Three of those you hit twice. One was at the half way point. Plus the finish. So I figured 8 segments. I will break down my race by those.

Segment 1 of 8 – To Black Cloud Aid Station

The course is out and back — that means you go out to a point then you return to where you started on the same path. Given the double scenery, I figured I would take my camera for the first 1/2 then drop it. That way you get to come along for some pictures. So here we are about 1 mile in. The start took a variety of windy fire roads to get us out of town and to the start of the longer trails that run east. Feeling great at this point. Decided to run with iPod off till the first aid station. Lots of chatter when you were in packs of runners so it was nice to be social.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Everything was going well except the back of my heal. I could feel the top of my shoe cutting right across the back of my tendon. Ripping the skin off. It was bleeding. What the hell? I was only 4 miles in. Trying to diagnose the issue, I figured out that my socks and shoe combo were slightly untested in these conditions. My Rucky Chuckys do fine on the trail but with my socks with built-in gaiters (covers so rocks don’t get in your shoes), the shoe was being pulled forward and that put it in a spot that rubbed. Crap. I kept motoring and made it to the aid station. I used the porta-potty and was glad to have that out of the way for the day. Then I grabbed some toliet paper and stuffed it in the back of my shoe. I also undid the gaiter bindings and left it loose. The damage was already done but my change of shoes were in my drop bag which I wouldn’t see until mile 25. Might be a long morning.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Segment 2 of 8 – To Printer Boy Aid Station

Leaving the aid station, I found myself nursing that leg a bit trying to keep the rubbing to a minimum. After getting up and out of the aid station, I turned back to the West from where we came and took this picture. That’s Mount Massive in the distance. Thanks to B2 — been there, done that. Another epic day in Leadville!

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

As you look at the route on a map, you see that we travel really far east only to return west on a slightly elevated path. From a hiking perspective, its like a really really long switchback. The way east was pretty boring but it got decently wet. You could jump around the puddles but most of the snowmelt run off was taking one of the lanes in the road. Here we are on a drier portion on the way east. We gotta go all the way to the back!

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

After reaching the back, there was a sharp hike up to the elevated road. I would not be able to ride a bike up that nor would I want to carry my bike up that wearing clips. I don’t know how the guys did it the day before. This course seems like its clearly harder to bike than run. As we got up on the road, it was a wide county road that seemed occasionally maintained. Great downhill grade. I just let my body go where it wanted to and suddenly I was flying along passing people and feeling great. It kept going and going and going. 3 or 4 miles of this? However, it dawned on me. That’s going to be a long fucking walk back up that road later this afternoon.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

As I hit the end, the road turned to blacktop and we ventured up the road for just a quarter mile into the Printer Boy aid station. I could see my wife with her camera snapping up photos and getting ready for her first official crew experience. Crews were only allowed at 2 aid stations, which works out to the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 marks. Just enough to see them at the major milestones.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

I hit the aid station sometime after 8:30 AM. If I was on the 12 hour race pace, I would have been there at 9 AM. But Kim came early and that made all the difference, I was running faster than I thought I would but it worked out. The kids were dead asleep in the back of the truck from the 5 AM wake up call. I checked in and then threw off my gear, sat on the road and ripped my shoe off. I need First Aid! Kim went and got the kit from the aid station and got me 2 band aids. I put them across the blood gashes on the back of my ankles. Both feet had them now. Have those shoes ready at the 1/2 way point I told Kim. Kim planned on being at the 1/2 way but in case something happened, I didn’t want to be without my drop bag. So I had it shuttled up there. Therefore, I had to wait for my change of shoes. Kim got my bottles topped off and we chatted a bit. She told me I looked good and that meant everything. Gotta get moving! See you soon!

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Segment 3 of 8 – To Venir Aid Station

Leaving that aid station, you travel downhill through some nice forested switchbacks. When I popped out a mile later, Kim was there on the trail snapping photos again! The course crossed the road from the aid station so it was a great mid-segment photo opportunity. That sign in the middle right says “Oro City”. This is where gold was first discovered in Colorado. A piece of history. This whole course winds through eastern Leadville’s mining district. It was what brought people to these parts so many years ago.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008
Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Time for some uphill! That’s me — top of the road. The first question I get about races like this is — do you run the whole time? Nope. The general rule of thumb (unless you are a stud/star) is that you walk any and every uphill. Its just not worth the exertion. Take the uphills to hydrate, eat, re-group. But the problem in Leadville is that there are not your ordinary uphills. You started at 10,200 feet in elevation. We are up over 11,000 by this point. Walking up these hills at any kind of pace makes your heart pound like its coming out of your chest. You do your best to manage it either by maintaining a pace that you can deal with or you go fast and take short breaks to calm things down. I started the day with the former and ended with the latter.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

After that road, we got onto some singletrack trail and marched up and up and up. This was the 2nd of the 4 big ascents for the day. This one seemed harder given we were 17 miles into the race. We zig-zagged over some mining properties and then I came up on a tent and I was happy to be at the aid station. These are like mini-finish lines. I got a big handful of pretzels and topped off my liquids. Might have ate more. Can’t remember. Didn’t stay for more than 2 minutes and then kept rolling.

Segment 4 of 8 – To Stumpftown Aid Station

I didn’t get a mile out of the aid station and I was coughing and not feeling hot. Food wasn’t going down too well at this point. Nothing tasted good. This is the main issue in these races — you have to stay fueled. Depends on the person slightly but after about 3 hours of hard exercise, all your glycogen (sugar supply as I think of it) is burnt up. Your body starts working off fat reserves (which it can’t convert fast enough) and food that you are putting in. This is why gels and such are so key — they convert to energy faster than big foods or proteins. But you keep mixing. Anyway, from the start of the day my normal drink of choice, Accelerade, was not going down well. Water was good though. Suddenly, the coughing triggered something and I spewed out red liquid (I like the mixed berry Accelerade). Then again, and again. 3 big blasts of pure liquid. And then, I instantly felt better. 2 runners came by and offered antacid but I passed. I think my stomach was just asking for a reset. I promised it that we would get a new electrolyte drink at the next station. It said we could continue.

There were some cool abandoned mines along this part of the course. It was kind of a large shelf on the ridge. Again, Mount Massive across the back. I will stop telling you that now.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008
Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008
Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

At this point, the course started to head around Ball Mountain. Just a big round dome of a mountain that was inconveniently in the middle of the course. I was talking to a guy and he mentioned that this part sucked “yesterday”…you see a good number of folks did the bike race yesterday and then were in for the run today. OMG!

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008
Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

The back side of this mountain sucked. It sucked hard. You had to climb way up to a saddle. You could see the people on it from far back. Nothing like seeing where you have to go and dreading it.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Once to the top of the saddle, it was a brutal downhill slide. You could not run. You could barely walk. Kind of a skid and stop. Just prior to this, the leader had passed me. It was about mile 18 as I recall. There were others coming up this nasty section and they were not looking like they were having fun. Some of them side-stepping the portions to try and get up. That’s not going to be fun on the return.

There was a small half-circle to run and then I could see the 1/2 way point! This was huge for me. The first big cuttoff point and I made it no problem. It was about 11:40 AM. My plan was noon. Running it fast again. Ok, I will take it. As I went into the station, I could see Kim running to the truck. She had forgotten the bug spray and the kids were getting bit by flies. The bugs were bad out there but they didn’t bother me too much. So she missed the big entrance. You can’t ever turn your back or you might miss the action in this sport! But I saw a blanket with 2 beautiful ladies on it and I crashed!

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Daddy!!! I greeted everyone and then started tending to my feet. I got my shoes off. the back of the soles were blood red. I stayed with my gaiter socks even though they had some blood in them. I put on antiseptic and got out my athletic tape. I taped up both my ankles. Felt good. Let my feet air out the rest of the stay and then I put on my good old comfy road shoes — the Nike Air Triax. The road shoe makes another trail comeback. It felt like an old friend was there to guide me back to the finish. It was a boost. I knew my feet would be golden in these shoes.

I ate a small turkey wrap. Downed a Diet Pepsi – god, that tasted good. Soda is so quenching in races. Its like the soda calms your stomach and lubricates your pipes. Reagan was eating my orange slices as fast as she could. Kim kept saying “those are for daddy” but Reagan would respond with “but I want some!”. Glad to see you but don’t stand in the way of a hungry kid. We shared stories, progress reports and more. I ended up hanging out for 20+ minutes. It was intentional. It was so great to see them at the half way point. And I had planned for 5 minutes but when I came in early I decided that I deserved this. And we as a family deserved it. It was the 2nd best moment of the day.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Segment 5 of 8 – To Venir Aid Station

The bad part about stopping is that you have to start again. So here I am trying to warm up the engine and hobble out of Stumpftown. I had sat a lot longer than everyone else. Most folks were in and out in 5 or 10 minutes. But I had some extra energy and wondered how it might translate.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

As I rounded the turn out of the valley of the aid station, I could hear the kids screaming and there cowbells clanging. I raised my hands in victory or something and motored off into the wild. BTW, if you click on these pictures, you can see them full size on Flickr and make out more detail.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

As I came in and then out of the 1/2 point, you interacted with nearly every runner. As you were coming in, the outgoers were cheering you on. As you traded and were on your way out, you had to cheer the incoming on. As the incoming thinned, you started seeing people that didn’t look like ultrarunners. But they were out there. And they liked your cheers but you could tell they didn’t need them. They had this under control. Amazing spirits. As I mentioned, I ditched the camera at the 1/2 point. Little less weight plus I could focus on finishing this thing. That was the goal if you recall.

That climb back up to the saddle of Ball Mountain sucked hard. Nothing fun. I probably had to take more breaks there than any other section due to the steep climbs. My pace was 20+ minutes if that was even right. The GPS watch couldn’t figure out if I was walking or not. Eventually I made it to the top and the gas tank felt empty. There was decent downhill track to run from here but I didn’t want it. I walked a bunch of it just to get myself back into the groove. Probably felt queasy a bit from the big lunch at the aid station but figured if I could keep the food down, it would payoff later. Eventually, I rolled bck into the Venir aid station and fueled up. I had switched at 1/2 way from Accelerade to PowerAid lime. That seemed to be the electrolyte drink of the day. The aid station worker topped off my bottle and asked — want ice? Nobody had offered ice so far. Sure! The bottle was so cold and lovely that I wanted to marry it. I dripped some down my back and it felt so good. I wanted a whole bath of it. Then I woke up and realized I was having a fantasy with my water bottle. The aid station offered some Pizza Hut which I passed on. It was freshly delivered via ATV to the aid station for lunch. Time to move on!

Segment 6 of 8 – To Printer Boy Aid Station

Back to some good downhill. There was a guy in front of me who was setting a good pace. He had passed me and said something encouraging about finishing so I was motivated. I shook off that walking that my body had convinced me was good and broke into a good stride. I ran several miles down following this guy. Felt great. Had a good time. We ended up hitting the end of that trail and turning onto a road for a quick uphill walk. Then another big downhill and I felt even better. I looked down and I was doing 7:30 pace and we are 30 miles in. Felt good. Too good. I hit that road where I met Kim just after Printer Boy before. No Hummer in sight so I hit the forest and started uphill. We got dusted out by a dozen ATVs coming downhill in that part. Dicks. I have ATVs but I would have stopped to let the runners go. These overweight punks seemed like we were in the wrong place. Anyway, I kept it up and hit that little hill at the entrance to the aid station. Saw Kim sitting in the car. I was early again! What a trend. She came out and greeted me but seemed “off”. She was offering me everything but I didn’t know what I wanted. That’s half the issue. You don’t know what you want or need. You almost need someone to shove something in your mouth and not let you ask questions. Crews are there to keep you sane and keep you moving. The kids popped out and said hi. Sydney pointed out that Reagan had a boo boo on her head. Oh, yeah? Kim looks at Sydney like “we weren’t going to talk about that”. Kim tells me that they had been at the Leadville ER because Reagan fell and hurt her head. All was better now but I would get the full story later. I saw that Reagan seemed normal and decided that its nothing for me to worry about. I said my goodbyes and started to leave. Sydney asked me something and I responded that “the next time you see me, Daddy can stop running.” All the runners at the aid stations erupted in cheers! The goal was clear.

Segment 7 of 8 – To Black Cloud Aid Station

Things have been good…maybe great…until now. I started back up that long ass road. The one I flew down earlier. It went on and on and on. Might have been 4 miles. It was taking forever. Pace was maybe 18-20 minutes. As I was going up it, I was figuring that my 12 hour goal of goals might not happen. I could see people 1/2 mile before me and after me. I don’t know how to explain it but it was one of those moments that tested you. The only bright side was that I had no other choice. I couldn’t go back. I was close. So I just kept going. The road curved as it followed the mountain. Every time I would get to a new twist I would look but there were no flags. Damn. You see they mark the whole course with these pink flags and ribbon. So if you don’t see them about every minute, you probably aren’t going the right way. The course was perfectly marked and I never had a question. Anyway, I could tell you how much I hated this part but I think you get it. I could see the next segment down below. I wanted to slide down the bank to it. Probably would have died but I could here B2 saying…c’mon…just go down. If it would have been a hike not a race, I am sure that would have been honestly attempted.

I finally made it to the turn. Relief. Again, I was exhausted but there was something new. My body felt odd. I had started doing some thinking on that road and realized that I had not peed in about 3+ hours. Maybe 4. Oops. So I squeezed some out and it was dark dirty yellow. Not good. That was bad dehydration. I had been downing the water, but not so great on the PowerAid. Something else was up. Below my stomach it hurt and it didn’t like to bounce. But looking at the clock, it was run now or miss the 12 hour mark. I decided to bail on the 12 hours because I didn’t want to sacrifice the primary goal of finishing. I knew I had enough on the clock to easily walk it in. So I tried to enjoy the walk. It was a lot of loose stone in this part and when I did try to run a bit, it just wasn’t working for me.

A GPS update: So as you might have read, last weekend my Gamin Forerunner 305 died. I think the battery blowed up. I send it off for repair but its not back yet. What would I do? No GPS? So I went out and bought myself a new Garmin Forerunner 405. Not sure I like it better yet…just so used to the 305. But it might grow on me. However, the 405 would only last for 8 hours according to the specs. What’s a guy to do? Luckily, my friend and co-worker, Luke, sent me out his 305 from California. It arrived the day before we left for Leadville. I used it from the start of the race and at mile 38 it started singing that the batteries were low. So I thanked it for its service and switched over to the 405 to finish out the race. The bad news was that I had no mile marks or tracks in this watch so I didn’t know exactly where I was on the course anymore. But I knew I was getting closer and that is all that mattered.

2 or 3 miles of this and I went walking into the aid station. “You don’t look so good”, said the volunteer. Not what you want to hear. “You look like you are low on salt”, she said. So he helped me concoct some watermelon slices that we pour salt on with a salt shaker. It wasn’t bad. Easy and juicy way to get it down. Turns out my kidneys were the thing that was bothering me. They didn’t like the running because they were going into a bad place and didn’t like the bouncing. At this point, I remembered I had some electrolyte pills in my pocket. I got them as a sample once. Never tried them. No time like the present. I downed those, filled my bottles and they let me go. If this was a 100 mile race where they check urine and weight, I bet I would have been stopped there. Luckily, I was back on the move.

Segment 8 of 8 – To The Finish

A little more walking then running then walking and I got back into some good trail. No more big loose rocks. Also got some tree cover. The day was 80 degrees. That is as hot as Leadville ever gets but the sun is so intense with the altitude. I was just tried of it at that point and the trees offered the shade I needed. I could imagine in a 100 mile race where the sunset is a big booster.

Meanwhile, at the finish line, my crew arrived and had expected me prior to 6. That came and went. Sydney couldn’t resist so she started doing her own ultra by climbing up and down Dutch Henri Hill repeatedly. 3 or 4 times by Kim’s count. This kid is going to be a running star. I wonder if she will run this course someday and we can show here these pictures. Can’t wait.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008
Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

I did a good job of getting some good runs in. I even started gaining on some folks that had passed me while I was in kidney failure. They cheered me on as if “I can’t believe that dude is running”. It gave me some needed moral boosts and I kept moving through the pack. I kept periodically turning on my first GPS watch to see how close I was via the lap points on the map. 4 miles, then 3, then 2. Things were getting good. But I knew I was ready to stop running. As it got down to the end, I passed 2 kids sort of hidden in the trees. They had a walkie talkie and said “number 7, number 7”. They were radioing in to the finish line. #7 was coming home, baby! So that’s when it all turned to tears. I couldn’t see the finish but I could hear the music. Its was seconds away. Had I really fucking done this? I started running at 6 AM and now some 12 hours later, I was about to cross the finish line of a 50 mile ultramarathon in what could easily be considered the toughest 50 mile course in the nation.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

There it is with the official time on the clock.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

I was presented with my finisher’s medal and a nice sliver bracelet with the words “Leadville Silver Rush 50 Mile Trail Race” on it. I hugged the kids and my wife. I didn’t have to run anymore! A little dramatic but I felt like I looked. I finished! Goal achieved.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run 2008

Post Race

I hobbled around the finisher’s tent and then made my way to the Hummer. I got in the passenger seat and started sipping on a cold Mountain Dew and we drove back to the hotel sharing stories. Turns out Reagan was going to the bathroom at lunch. There was a small step up into the bathroom and she missed it and fell and hit her head right on the toilet. I swelled up like a stack of quarters I am told. Kim was freaked out because it didn’t look good and Reagan was not happy about it. With no medical connections in town, she took her just down the street to the ER. A nurse came out and had a look, and asked some questions (like did she black out?). Everybody seemed calmer now and Reagan was doing better. Looks like the one everyone would have guessed most likely to be in the ER today wasn’t! They regrouped and made it back to Printer Boy aid station just in time to see me come through. What a crew!

Heeding Glenn’s advice, I told Kim to get an ice bath ready for me. Had to get things fixed up. I put one foot in the water and cried like a baby. No, god, no. I warmed up the water and got in. I can run 50 miles but an ice bath — no way! I relaxed a bit and we continued the stories from the day. The stories from the crew are always fun because its the part of the race you didn’t see but you can relate. After getting cleaned up, it was time to get something to eat. Pizza Hut was adjacent to the hotel so we opted for the simple, quick and close. However, I had Kim drive me over there. Didn’t feel like walking. We ate some and headed back to the hotel. I spent the next 2 or 3 hours with big bath towels full of ice around my calfs, ankles and feet. I wasn’t in that much pain but I knew this would help me later in the night and the next day. Finally, after a few lousy TV shows, we hit the sheets. That was a long 18 hours.

We drove back home on Monday after spending a good portion of the day in Leadville. Sydney had some more shopping to do. Walking felt great. I even carried the luggage out of the hotel and down the stairs. I have felt worse after shorter races.

Let’s get to some geek stuff! Tried to get a good layout on this map but its hard. If you click through this picture and look at a larger size, you can see it pretty good. I put markers on the approximate spots for the aid stations. Here is a link to the offiical topo map if you are into that.

Leadvile Silver Rush Map

I have no idea what you could figure out from this other than I was moving — some fast, some slow.

Time to wrap up this super long post. A few topics I would like to cover. I will do it in Q & A form I guess.

Q: Could you have done better?

A: I suppose. I spent more time than I should have at aid stations. GPS shows that I wasn’t moving for 61 minutes of my time on the course. Those were mostly aid stations, a lot of which was at the 1/2 point by my choice. I am not as sore the day after as I could be so that makes me think I left some on the table. But usually post race, its your legs. My legs were not the issue in this race. It was more about fuel and fatigue.

Q: What did you learn from this race that will improve future races?

A: I learned that in ultras, “nutrition” becomes more important than pacing. Its sort of an art with some science sprinkled in. The problem is that everyone is different and you have to learn what your body wants and needs. Then you use the various solutions you have picked up to try and deal with the condition. I clearly had an issue with salts and need to do more there, even though I thought I was nailing that all day.

Q: 50 is cute. What about doing the Leadville 100?

A: Its still on my radar but after doing this race I don’t know if I could ever commit to the training involved. Its probably just something you build to like anything else. But training 50-70 miles a week is all I can afford with work and family. To do a 100 mile race, there would have to be more hours logged and that would be tough. There are tricks like AM and PM runs but its still a lot. Given how I felt at the end of the 50 and how I feel the day after, I could have went further. Not sure how far but running through night until the sun comes up isn’t in that ballpark. I would also have to revisit nutrition in a serious way to stay in it. Let’s finish this year and then we will talk.

Q: Do you think you are awesome now?

A: When I crossed the finish line, yes. But afterward you are humbled by the experience.

Q: What’s next?

A: I gotta run up and down a mountain next month in the Pikes Peak Marathon, “America’s Ultimate Challenge”. Its only 26 miles. No problem. Yeah, right. Think this is going to be a similar but different beast given the all up then all down nature of the course.

Well, this is sort of sappy but some thanks are due…in no particular order:

  • Ken, Merilee, and the rest of the LT 100 staff, who know how to put on a great race in a beautiful place.
  • Dean, Scott, and Anton: 3 ultra runners of whom I have read, studied and followed make this happen. Dean showed me that you can run outside the bounds of normal distances. Scott diligently covers his races and reports on what it takes to run ultras. And Anton showed me that its just about running.
  • My Mom, who listened to my training recap every weekend and gave me cautious optimism at every turn.
  • Trent and Corey, who sang the songs that put me through training and the race.
  • Glenn, for sharing his years of running experience with me whenever I need it.
  • Luke, who listens to my training stories, tells me I am the man, and sent me his trusty 305 in my time of need.
  • Henry, Bob, and Mike, who kept my body tuned up and ready to go.
  • Sydney and Reagan, my kids, who didn’t care if I ran 100 feet or 50 miles but made me feel like a hero every time I saw them during my race.
  • Kim, my wife, who wasn’t excited about waking up at 5 AM and driving around the mountains all day with 2 kids and crewing for her wanna-be ultra-marathon man husband. Who would be? But she did it all with a smile and I think she even had a good time. For allowing me to miss dinner, be late to events, disappear from bed at sunrise on the weekends, and listen to all my ramblings about my run on any given day, I thank you.
  • You, who read this blog and share my experiences. You give me an outlet.

Until next time!

View all photos for this event.

  • Congrats on finishing! 50 miles seems so far.

    I’ve just recently got into running 5Ks, so 50-mile races are still in the distant future for me.

  • Jason

    WOW! That sums up everything. I have been reading your blog for several months now (I live in the Littleton area) and have been casually reading about your running expeditions, but this one obviously made a huge impact on you and I am very humbled by your experience. I used to run cross country and am getting back into race condition. I will remember this the next time my body tries to stop me prematurely. Thanks!

  • B2

    What a good story, I’m so glad you did it! Way to man up and run 46 miles on bloody stumps! Wish I could do it, I’ll admit…good job. Now take a break, will ya? Oh, check that…now you can climb, right?

  • Kent

    Well done! Congratulations, that is quite an accomplishment.

  • BJ

    Nice job Brandon. I was the guy in the green shirt who passed you on the downhill going to the last aid station and who you passed about a mile before the finish. Way to power through it!

    Great pics. I’m sharing them with folks to give them an idea of what the course looked like. Stick with it and think about doing a hundred. There’s no reason you can’t do it!

  • Epic run and post. You’re the man!

  • Thanks all!

  • Glenn

    Visionary blog. Nice to be on the ack list, you did all the hard work yourself.

    I like the arm tatoos, and I want them for my first 50 (which will be the freaking American River, like I’m a goat or something?). Is that a scorpion or a ball of lint?

    Nothing new on race day, nothing new on race day. Ow, ow. Good recovery, however.

    Stomach reset, I like that. Avoid the BSOD, however. No pizza hut? What would Dean say?

    I think you did right to chill in the rest areas. Enjoy the moment, trim the 0:30 in your NEXT 50M.

  • Brandon Fuller

    I forgot to mention the tats! I am a wanna-be. So I brought a Sharpie and let the circle draw. It was going well until Sydney decided to start coloring stuff in. Then it was ink all over the place. The sweat and suntan lotion ate them off mostly during the race. Need something stronger!

  • Natalee

    Congrats Bro! You’re a stud in my book!!!

  • Well done, I’ve got no desire to run one of those! Major Props!

  • Lisa Hayen

    Hey, Brandon. I really enjoy reading your blogs. I’m amazed at all of the races you’ve done. My big races for 2010 are the Greenland 50k (you kindly responded to an email from me about that one) and the Pikes Peak Marathon (I really need to see if I can beat my slow 9:30 time from the epic 2008 race – I was afraid of falling on those pointy ice-covered rocks, so I went on the cautious side). I’m curious about the Leadville 50. While this one would be off in my future by a few years (I promised the hubby we could start working on our first child after Pikes Peak this year), I might still want to do this one eventually. What is the cut-off for time for the Leadville 50 run? Their website is a little vague, and I’m darned sure I’m a slower runner than you.

    Thanks – Lisa

  • Thanks!

    I recall it being 15 hours for the cut-off. Would be dark by then anyway.