And The Race Is Over

A Day in the Life8 Comments

30 hours after the shotgun went off, the LT100 is now over. It is a shame this is not a televised event. So much drama, suffering, excitement, and every other emotion being played out.

Anton Krupicka was on a mission to set a new record for the L... on Twitpic

My hero, idol, man-crush (thanks GZ), Tony Krupicka didn’t not pull out the win as expected. He didn’t even finish. You are probably thinking he blew it. Not so much. In a conversation with him earlier this year, he told me he only had time goals left at Leadville. He has won twice before. He was in this race for the course record. And by the looks of it, he was on or ahead of pace for most of the day. However, complaints from the field were coming in that conditions were hot. It was freezing cold last week during the 100 mile MTB race. You get all types of weather up there. We heard complaints of cramps from Tony. Goes along with the heat. He trains exclusively in Leadville — it never gets above 80 degrees up there all summer. Makes me wonder about how training here down low in the 90s sometimes 100s might benefit a racer up there. Anyway, so when the cramps came and the course record pace started fading, he probably called it. To some that seems like quitting. To others, it is much more noble than finishing. To step aside when you can’t complete what you set out to do that day and hold your head high. You gave it your best. I know if/when I start that race and if/when I have that moment, it is going to be super hard to make that call. So a DNF — Did Not Finish — or the better version, Did Nothing Fatal. That means that you can step back, revisit, revise, retrain, and race it again next time. Even stronger. Without a tainted course.

Over the last few years, I finally am starting to have the backlog of experiences to go through this cycle myself. To train hard and still fail at your goal. But in the end, if you look back down the mountain of fitness, you know you are higher up than when you started. And that is the true accomplishment. Racing is a man-made construct in which boundaries come into play. You have to race a certain distance on a certain course in whatever conditions present themselves. We can all surely run a PR on a day of our choosing under ideal conditions. But that isn’t how this game works. This is where luck comes into play. Saw people saying pre-race that luck is for the ill-prepared. Sort of true. However, you do get lucky when the conditions, the course, and your body all sync up and give you that perfect moment in the zone on the day that was chosen for you.

So to Tony and all other runners who lined up at 4 AM on Saturday morning at the corner of 6th and Harrison, you inspire me.

  • Matt

    Hey Brandon,

    I found you via GZ. Keep up the good work.

    “You have to race a certain distance on a certain course in whatever conditions present themselves. We can all surely run a PR on a day of our choosing under ideal conditions. But that isn’t how this game works.”

    Doesn’t that suggest winning that particular race on that particular day (Anton, Leadville 09) has more credibility than DNF because no CR?

    To each his own. Btw, was it strictly a CR issue, or was Parr going to beat him?

    Cheers.

  • Chris Labbe

    Tony is a much more classy guy than to walk off because he was 2nd. He had a significant lead on Barr near the bottom of Hope, at least 15 minutes.

    Tony made it clear all season that is was record or bust … in the heat, he busted. He was trying to return in 8 hours, something that (obviously) has never been done.

    BTW, too Barr about 10 hours on the return.

  • Concurring with Chris. Tony got schooled at the Leadville Marathon and took it. Although that isn’t his prime distance, he didn’t throw in the towel.

  • April Caylor Buschur

    Love reading your perspective on this. I haven’t personally ventured past the marathon distance, but have tremendous respect for the distance and course at Leadville. Good luck with your training!

  • I guess I don’t really understand racing to break a time record and not going for the win. I would think going for the win is always the most impressive feat, the time record is guaranteed to be broken again but no one can take away a win. Plus, winning a race two times before doesn’t mean you have dominated the event.

    Personally, I think wins always triumph time records. That was always the rub on Asafa Powell who held the 100m record but could never win when it counted.

  • I think in general that is a pretty good rule. Records just come when they come.

  • It’s the one thing that annoys me about Haile Gebrselassie, he seems more intent on lowering the marathon record than actually competing.

    Granted the guy has won over and over again in his career, but I think his excuse to not run in the Olympics (pollution) was not his real reason for not running, which was to go after the record in Dubai and the dollars.

  • Good work (for Geb) if you can get it Simon. 🙂

    Not sure I agree that a win is always better than a time. You don’t have to ask an elite that – just ask around. A lot of us jump in races where we know we are going to get trounced but hope for a good time. And we probably frown on cherry picking races where we could walk down an easy win.

    Pretty interesting to me how we all run and race for similar reasons, but then also very different reasons. I heard both admiration and disdain for Tony’s approach yesterday (his run for the record was ballsy … or … his run for the record was stupid). Whatever – he was out there making music one way or the other.