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.
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.