While doing my registrations for this year, I switched at the last minute from the 1/2 to the full marathon in Leadville this summer. I don't know why I let my mouse click that button but I did. So this Saturday, after a 3 year hiatus from marathons and 4 years since my first Leadville Trail Marathon, I return to the mining district for 26 and change.
I am going to do the standard runner douche move and downplay the event. Its not my goal race. Mostly just trying to get out there and have a longer day on the trails with support. The clock should help keep me in check a bit though. Plenty of friends out there this year, especially you Leadwomen and Leadmen, to keep me company. So I will see what the day brings but I am excited to get back up to Mosquito Pass once again. Ball Mountain? Not so much.
6,300+ feet of vertical over 3 climbs? Maxing out at 13,200 feet? All miles over 10,000 feet? Hardest marathon in the US? You know what I call that...Saturday.
From time to time, I get on a kick and try and do something different. So I decided back in May it was time to stop drinking diet soda. So I finished up every last drop in the house and instructed the shopping chief to purchase these products no more. The rest was up to me. I knew it wouldn't be easy but frankly, I just distracted myself and got through a small chemical addiction release over the first 2 weeks. I also grabbed a case of Mexican Coke by the bottle. I hate regular sodas now anyway after decades of diet. And I don't really want to trade not drinking diet soda for going back to regular. But I needed something to ease the transition. Plus, I am not giving up caffeine here either. Save that for another day. So here we are 30 days late and still on a roll. I have a random soda here or there. Sometimes when we go out I get some lemonade, but usually its water or maybe a beer.
I felt it was time to make this change after spending another 15 minutes googling some stuff and realizing that my liter a day Diet Mountain Dew was way over the top when I see all these stats about how only a can a day increases the risk of diabetes or metabolic syndrome or 1000 other things. Maybe I am running a lot now but someday I might not be. Maybe the running helps counteract the poison a bit. Someday it won't be there. Or maybe if I stop now, I might be a better runner. I still struggle with obesity in the mid-section. I store my fat there. And its not going away quickly. Reading how your body gets fooled into thinking calories are coming and then pouring a nutritionally void diet soda in, just causes all kinds of havoc. So time to rebalance.
Still weighing myself everyday and nothing has really changed. Everybody wants that quick win and it didn't come here yet. Maybe my body is still unwinding. Maybe this gesture won't do anything noticeable. Not sure. Going to stick with it though. Can't be a bad move long term.
Sydney presented me with a gift she had made me. She had been working secretly on this back since about Christmas I think. Whenever we were at the cabin, she would hide away in her craft area. She ended up producing this running history deal where she took all my races with results and photos and combined them in chronological order. Sort of weird to see the thousands of hours of work boiled down to this book. But you can see a transformation through them. Plus, there are tons of memories to go with each.
We have it at Leadville for now as a coffee table book. So maybe at a running party over the summer, some folks will get to check it out be be jealous of how cool my daughter is to build something for me like this. Nobody had done anything like that for me before. So I was appreciative. Plus, its cool that somehow all my silly time spent doing this stuff means something to her.
Again? Yes! 2 in 3 days. This time JT had a posse going up so I joined in. Was off by about 4 minutes from the prior hike. Felt it in my legs the whole time. I brought up the rear in the crew. I was steady though. Made up some ground once we got up to about 14K and were climbing the rocks. We sat a while at the summit as it was just chilly but not so windy. A storm was brewing to the west and was moving fast. We got out of there but we started getting snowed on before treeline very lightly. That turned to rain for the rest of the descent. Wasn't too bad. Felt worse for the people we passed who were still going up in that junk. I was happy to be sporting shorts on a peak in 40 degree weather. Summer? Yes!
I went 9.35 miles with an elevation gain of 4,635 feet in 03:06:17, which is an average pace of 19:56. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
The Fuller Family finally got a break in the schedule so we have been in Leadville all week. This gives me a good opportunity to run quality stuff each day. I did a nice evening loop of Turquoise Lake the other night in the clockwise direction which felt like a sin. Been hitting Powerline over lunch. But this morning, I was ready to get up on top of the state for the first 14er of the summer. Went on Friday morning to avoid the weekend crowds. Got started and quickly was power hiking. My lungs are not there yet. But I tied my time from last summer 2 weeks after WS100 without working too hard. So I was the highest person in Colorado for a few minutes. That's saying something. Up in 2, down in 1. Met Bob S up top randomly. Had fun running back down with him. Made the descent go quick.
I went 9.45 miles with an elevation gain of 4,624 feet in 03:00:21, which is an average pace of 19:05. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
Last season's late kayak purchase didn't offer us any time to get into the water. So I have been waiting for the lake here to melt and us to get some warm days to offset the frigid lake water temps. Today was the day. We got all four boats down to Tabor Boat Ramp and pushed off. We paddled out a ways into the lake and the kids wanted to eat snacks. They were all laughing the entire time. I was surprised this was such a hit. Kayla rode with me as I attempted not to hit her in the back of the head with the paddle over and over. Good times.
That 16 miles in Boulder last Saturday trashed me for the week. Damn. Felt like I ran a marathon. So I knew I needed to do it again the following Saturday. There was supposed to be some Mesa double crossing. I would rather gouge my eyes out. But that fell through and Shad put up a run with JT. Sounds better! But then JT didn't show. Oh well.
So with Shad, Justin, & Olan, we set out for a circumnavigation of the peaks from South Mesa. South Boulder just opened the day prior so it was great timing for a proper loop. The fire zone wasn't too dramatic. Trees still up but you can see through them all which was kind of cool. The route up SoBo isn't so clean now without the trees. We kinda felt like we were bouncing all over the trail.
A quick break and it was off to Bear. Then off to Green. Descent back down to Chautauqua for some water refills then the grueling Mesa 1 way back to the cars. Just over 4 hours. Felt a lot better than the week prior. Shad and I stripped down and jumped into the creek there. This was like stabbing needles into your legs. I muttered out "sweet baby jesus" at one point from the pain. But it was oddly refreshing.
Thanks for the run, guys!
I went 17.00 miles with an elevation gain of 5,198 feet in 04:06:11, which is an average pace of 14:29. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
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In case you want to revisit the classic...
We stayed down low this weekend for some reason so I had to hit trails here. This was kind of good because I haven't run in Boulder OSMP in like 2 months? Work, trips, life. Oh well. So I got down there on Saturday morning to find the usual gaggle of summer folks all over the place. Its sort of motivating for a while to see others on the trail. Find myself playing games like catching those people up ahead or staying in front of some other runners. Keeps my mind busy. I think all the usual suspects were up at the Dirty 30 racing. I have never done that race. I saw pics and people were in coats. No thanks.
I went up the back of Green first. It fucking hurt. My calves felt like they were tearing. I am not a limber person and when I am off steep stuff for a while, it catches up to me. So it was slow going but I told myself at least I was working and that was the game plan. After tagging the top, I ran out to Bear via West Ridge. I haven't been on this since the fire. Found myself walking and taking a few pictures in the burn area. Kind of freaky out there. Green plants are starting to bud but the trees look fried.
When I got to the Bear summit it was a cluster. There were over 30 people on top. I almost skipped the summit but decided to try and scramble over the top of them to finish the tag. Then I went down via Fern. It was pretty choppy for me. My feet are not dialed into the steep downhill after the hiatus. However, I had a running motion going and I seemed to look superhuman to all the Saturday hikers I was buzzing by. Hit the Mesa Trail and thought WWTD? Swung up Bear Canyon back to Green. Ah, nothing like going back up and and feeling like a machine on your 2nd summit. I was actually moving better every hour I was out there. First hour felt like I should quit. Second hour felt less like death. Third hour felt familiar and smooth. Fourth hour I was in a groove. I had new kicks on today too. These things were sticky. Like almost La Sportiva Crosslite sticky. I kind of liked it.
Not to be outdone by GZ, I got my pool setup when I got back from the run in like 22 minutes. I am a god damn professional pool puter up'er. Too bad the water freezes your nuts off. I wasn't silly enough to go in yet. Maybe sometime in July.
Racing in 4 weeks? Phew. Maybe I can call it a training run like the cool guys do.
I went 15.00 miles with an elevation gain of 5,653 feet in 04:00:01, which is an average pace of 16:00. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
Since ski season ended for us around spring break, we haven't been back to Leadville. Frankly, its no fun up there when you can't ski or you can't enjoy dry trails. The spring and fall are not my favorite seasons there. Locals refer to them as "mud season". So we stay down low and build up momentum for extended stays during our favorite times of the year. This past weekend for Memorial Day we made our way back up to find everything in good order. No snow at 10,000 feet and pretty great weather.
I tried to get right to work by putting in back to back 15 mile runs on course this weekend. They didn't go well but I got good time on my feet. I was just breathing hard on the first day and just exhausted on the second day. Oh well. Its early in the season and I have no acclimatization right now at all. It will return. Got to share part of the run on Sunday with the Timkos who were in town. We ran up to the top of Powerline where we were greeted with more snow than you wanted to deal with. That north exposure takes a few more weeks to bake out usually. So that was an out and back day. I hit my usual lake loop the next day. Finished up the weekend by packing up my ATVs for their service appointment back down on the front range. I haven't loaded them on a trailer since the day we moved into Leadville. Its been nice to get miles on them without transporting them.
Looking forward to summer. 3 "hometown" races. 3 PRs? Lots of hang time with family and friends as well. When you are in the neighborhood, stop by! We are open.