My favorite ass man, George Zack, returned to Leadville today to defend his win last year. But Speedy Jack had other plans apparently today. We caught up with them near the end of the course and followed them in. Regardless of the outcome...and the crappy weather at the end...George always has a smile on and love to play to the fans. Great work, dudes.
The rains came. Then they stopped. The sky cleared. What a great night for a run with friends!
As has become tradition, we opened up our home to as many runners as we could to cap off the training for the Leadville Trail 100. Runners gathered at our house throughout the evening. We had the grill going. We had "In The High County" on the TV. People were swapping advice and war stories. Runners meeting other runners. It was a great social scene. But we were here to do a job. So I got everyone organized and gave me pre-run briefing before shuttled all the runners about 4 miles to the Fish Hatchery to start our journey back to the warm house along the LT100 course.
It all starts with a nice kick in the teeth as you climb up Powerline relatively fresh and only thinking one thing -- I have to do this same climb with 75+ miles on my feet in two weeks. Fuck me. But we persevered and the lead pack was at the top in about 60 minutes after leaving Fish. We regrouped and then started the colder and darker descent to the lake. I always find myself playing host and wanting to be sure that everyone has a great time and is safe. The runners are all adults but I don't want to leave anybody behind. So I played sweep and bounced around at the back of the pack keeping tabs on things.
We came into Timberline trailhead to find our aid station rocking out to Prince. The beer was flowing. The mood was hopping. However, a bunch of folks took the opportunity to abbreviate their run by getting in the warm cars for a ride back. Never! I am always trying to get a good final long run out of this night no matter what. Time on my feet.
As I came around the lake, we had a lost runner calling me and calling back to my house. He ended up missing the CT turn. Oops. Ended up on the paved road and the crew picked him up in the car. I was trying to coordinate my version of search and rescue from my iPhone while passing through Mayqueen.
The run to Tabor is far too long at night. No bearings even though I know the trail. The lake is just too dark. Ugh. Finally got there and made my way around the lake with a few other runners in toe. The trail is so sketchy through there at night so I led. Felt good to be running through that section given I have NEVER ran it in the race. Maybe this time.
I picked up a another group near the Boulevard and led them back home. Got back at about 1 AM after starting at 8. 5 hours on my feet but never really working too much minus the Powerline startup. Everyone stayed up until about 2 AM eating and drinking and socializing. Plenty of questions about how this was going to go down in two weeks.
Thanks to George Zack and Rob Timko for manning the aid station at Timberline. We threw that in a couple years back and I think its a nice add to the event. Gives you a small break and chance to view the amazing star show that Leadville offers.
All photos here are from Rob Timko. Thanks Rob! His full set from the night here.
Thanks to my wife, Kim, for allowing me to open our home to a bunch of crazy stinky people who eat our food (that she makes!) and camp in yard! I couldn't pull it off without her.
Appreciate everyone who came out to run! Hope it was a good experience. See you on the trail in 2 weeks. I feel ready. How about you?
I went 21.35 miles with an elevation gain of 2,367 feet in 04:37:35, which is an average pace of 13:00. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
Its the most wonderful time of the year...August. The Leadville Race Series kicks into gear with the 100s. As previously announced, I will be hosting the UNOFFICIAL LT100 Night Run this coming Saturday.
Final instructions are available here.
I need to know how many we are transporting & feeding so RSVP if you are coming:
See you out there!
I enjoy my line of work because I build things...in The Matrix. However, I still have a fondness for building things in the real world too. However, it isn't the same. You can't just refactor your design when you are done. Its such a pain in the ass. All the planning, design, measuring, etc. I am used to just rewriting until its perfect. So this project in Leadville was my first medium scale creation. After several weeks of hauling the materials from Longmont to Leadville, I finally got to drive some screws this weekend and complete the first phase of the creation!
Check that sucker out. Its pretty sturdy too! Multiple humans can walk on it and it holds their weight. It measures about 18' by 20'. 108 2x6s. 50 concrete blocks. 15 lbs of nails. And a couple new tools later, I had it done. Of course, I did get some help. My wife "advised" me along the way. Basically, finding me a blueprint of how to build this and then questioning my moves. Thanks, honey. Then I employed child labor in a few spots like putting on some of the facia boards. Nothing like 10 hands to hold the board in place while I drive the screws.
The next phase of the project may get delivered this week. This is a base for the real "structure".
Anyway, I started walking around the yard with my creative juices flowing now. Reagan had taken a bunch of my leftover wood and wanted to build a house. I played along and found that she was trying to hang a 2x6 off of a tree as big as my wrist. That's not going to hold. So I proposed something else -- what if we build something bigger, higher, and better? She was game.
Next thing you know, my nephew, Ed, and I are up in trees and making stuff happen. Lots of raw cuts made it more fun than the precision of the deck project. We found 3 good trees in a triangle formation and went to work. Suddenly, I had a few boards up and was standing 8 foot in the air on my next creation. A few decking boards. Some make shift joists and I had a platform. The branches were in the way so I got out my pruner and started sawing from 8 foot off the ground. Surely, that's not in the manual.
Kim got wind of this and quickly had me adding side boards to keep the ER visits to a minimum. It worked. Made a ledge on each side. Built a ladder. Hung a rope down. Then went back up with my circular saw and cleaned it all up. Enjoy!
I am now being asked to add a second story and some bridges to adjacent trees. Don't tempt me. I create things.
|Overall||134 of 587|
|GPS Analysis||Garmin Connect|
My last run of this race produced a pretty memorable performance for me in 2011. I knew I was going to have my work cut out if I wanted to eclipse that time from before. But there were obvious issues in that performance so I figured I could address those and score a PR. This was the night before the race thinking -- which always gets me believing the wrong things. So I lined up and figured I would see what the day brought.
My kids met me along the way. Always great to see them in route. They instantly started arguing about something and I figured I had stayed long enough.
I don't know what this is but my wife tends to capture the best images of me.
I gotta go kids! Meet you at the next stop.
The rain started as I hit Printer Boy inbound. It wasn't too bad for me. Others suffered later in the day I bet as it poured.
However, an aid station guy and Kim sort of talked me into taking my coat. I wasn't keen on it but I went with it. The rain stopped minutes later and I had to drag my coat with me to the finish. This clearly cost me the course record.
Visiting with a fan club member. He wanted an autograph.
Anyway, on the race. I just didn't have any big gears today. I think its a combination of my fitness and my lungs. But I will take what I can get. Seems to warm up 3-4 hours into the run. When I had my best run on this course, I DNF'd at the LT100. Related? So maybe a mediocre run will get me what I need. I was really working to try and break 10 hours. Was doing math from the Iowa Gulch turn inbound. Ran harder there than anything else all day. Wheels started coming off with 1 or 2 miles to go. As I was 5 minutes out, I realized the reroute of the finish and I came up short. Oh well. Bottom line -- I got a good 50ish mile training run in about 4 weeks out. That's gotta do something.
Oh, and going back up Ball Mountain there was a bull moose off in the distance. Awesome! Weird. It looked like a gigantic dog and ran that way. First wild moose sighting!
Great seeing so many friends out there today. Once again got a ton of random shout-outs from people I have yet to meet. Those that pulled up by me constantly mention the blog posts I did on this race previously as a great resource. That's when I used to take a camera on my runs. Those were the days.
I went 47.60 miles with an elevation gain of 7,728 feet in 10:05:09, which is an average pace of 12:43. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
After quite a long time, we finally replaced all the lights in our cabin. There was the added difficulty that most of them are pretty high up and my ladder skills are fading as I age. But after some budgeting, designing, purchasing, delivery and such, we finally had the lights in the house. Just time for me to install them.
That one wasn't so bad. Except for the dust. The house had sat empty before we bought it and the dust accumulated on the fans. So we never used them or Kim would yell as it would create a dust storm in the house. So we lived with it because we thought the lights would be swapped out soon. But it look a bit longer.
Here you can see my extreme skills at 20 feet up. Wiring over my head with no visual. That's how awesome I am. Not even sure if I turned off the power. I cheat death.
The final one was the big one. I went up my 24' ladder fully extended. It was barely touching. I shat myself I think on about the 12th step. So I came down and promptly called my Leadville painter buddy. C'mon over! We double teamed on 2 of this 32' ladders which do not need to be fully extended and hence are more stable. But the light was heavy so it took us both to get it up and hung in a manner that would not bring the light crashing to the floor.
After it was hung, we had to install all the glass with these tiny thumb screws. Don't look down.
Final power test...yes!
I am putting my ladder away now. I hope I never have to change a bulb.
The fork. Go right to run. Straight to bike. Or left to nowhere.
Spent the extended holiday weekend in Leadville. Had it in my mind that running wasn't the priority for the weekend being that it was between the marathon and the 50. So I got a few good runs in and felt satisfied. Really was hacking a lot too this weekend up there.
I abandoned my Double Hope when Andy Wooten told me he wanted to run from Twin Lakes inbound to his camp. That was a much better idea given the carpool logistics that Melissa handled for us. We started and hiked out of Twin like you would in the race then kept a decent pace back to Pipeline. That portion of the course seemed so short today. The road to Fish was long as always especially with a bit of a headwind.
I wore my hydration pack on that run to test it out. Was debating it for Silver Rush. My 2011 failure there was hydration in the 2nd half. I need at least 2 bottles for Iowa Gulch. Not sure I want to carry that pack all day though. Decisions. Part of me just says do it because its a better LT100 test. Who cares about 50. I also wore some Inov-8s on the run and my tendonitis flared right up on the road to Fish. Good to know. Keep experimenting.
Worked a ton on my outdoor project this weekend. My hands and back are sore from the lifting. Headed to chiropractor today. Ready for the next phase of the build though.
My right foot is about the same. 0 impact on my running happy to say. Getting out of bed is the worst part of the day. It warms up though and seems to be fine after. Just doing what I can to nurse it through the summer at this point.
Hardrock is this weekend. Still on my bucket list. JT going for his 5th finish. Hero.
Less than a month till the night run! Geez. Summer goes quick.
Been asked about the crew and pacer plan for LT100 this year. Well, its all new. I am going to be going mostly pacerless and crewless this year. What? Yeah, that's the plan. My wife is going to crew at 2 or 3 spots during the day and only ones that are convenient for her. My sister will not be making the trip. After 3 years of Leadville, it was time for her to take a break. I appreciate everything she did in the past but I don't want her to be committed to a lifetime of crewing. Drop bags to the rescue. On the pacer side, JT says he will come from running the Ascent on Pikes to run Hope Pass with me, then to return to run the marathon on Pikes the next morning. Proves he is nuts. He should liven the mood though for that grind back over Hope. Then I leave Twin solo for the run home. I haven't ever been pacerless in a 100. You just use them because you can use them. I have had various folks over the years (JP, TL, NP & Natalee). All have helped or inspired me in different ways. But running for me most of the time is a totally solitary endeavor. For some reason when its the biggest race of the year, you pair up with a pacer. So not this time. I hope that doing it this way brings something new out of me. Some sense of urgency or focus or awareness. I really hope I am not blowing my opportunity at the big prize by doing this but I think its time to give it a shot. I have to be on my game the whole way home.
Sunday is the 50. Back up to Leadville in a few days after I do some work, recover low, and get some more lumber!
With my successful ascent up this mountain last year with Sydney, I figured it was time to get Reagan into the club. She was hot then cold on the idea. But finally when the day arrived, she was ready to go. Might have helped that I just sprung it on her the night before so there wasn't days of angst about it. She popped right out of bed and was roaring to go.
Reagan really liked the willow crossing. Being a smaller person, you are just in this maze so its probably pretty cool. We knew the direct way through them this time so we made a quick crossing and didn't get our shoes too wet this time.
This was the first time Reagan asked me where the top was and how far we had gone. I just told her...you don't want to know. Just keep moving. I am all about keeping them moving and not letting them stop at all. A nice slow pace is fine. Just keep on moving forward.
Reagan isn't the best eater and she has massive blood sugar swings. So I tried to get her to eat as we went. I had pseudo healthy snacks but should have just brought some raw sugar for her. I was worried if we could keep her fueled the whole time.
We powered up through the gully in pretty good time. This is the crux of the climb for kids. You gain that first ridge and you are home free. But that gully is rather steep and it takes a bit of toughness to climb it at this age.
Let the bonk began. Reagan started feeling tired from the altitude at about 13,500. Dang it. I kept working to feed her more and keep her moving but she was dragging. Somehow we got through it and got her going again.
We kept powering on as I counted it down and promised the fun stuff on the ridge ahead.
This is more fun, I guess. Kind of got Reagan back up on top when she could see for miles in either direction from the top of the ridge. That seemed pretty cool.
Ah, shit. That didn't last. Bonk. This one was bad. We had gotten above 14,000 feet and you can see the summit at about the same elevation. Its a nice walk over. She said she was done. I came up with something nice and talked her back to her feet to make the final push to the summit.
I made a snowball and threw it at her. Told her to make a snow angel. Trying everything. Must make it to the finish.
Summit! Smile...oh, she's dead. She was tired and didn't even celebrate. Kind of just wanted to rest.
Nap time! I said they could do whatever on top.
She's up! Time to celebrate the summit.
Let me lead! Reagan wanted to lead down. But she didn't have a good time back through the gully. Tears. She felt uncomfortable sliding down the scree fields. Its like the best part. She didn't like the slipping and couldn't get used to just letting it go.
She told me she didn't want to see another rock again for a week.
I asked for their best tired faces. They earned them. This is a short 14er but its steep as they come in sections. Proud of both of them for getting up and down the mountain under their own power with minimal input from me. We already have started talking about future mountain excursions.
We went 4.65 miles with an elevation gain of 2,269 feet in 04:21:34, which is an average pace of 56:14. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
This isn't good.
This pain in my right foot seems to have been building over the last few weeks. Its getting worse. I don't think the race actually stimulated it at all. I think it from summer -- just being outside with no shoes on. This is a new one for me.
The ball of my foot is sore in the middle. Sort of like I stepped on a sharp rock but not quite. Kind of combined with the feeling that you want to crack your foot but it just won't go. I can press on my foot all day long and I can't re-create the sensation. Its just when I walk barefoot on it around the house on a hard floor like wood or tile.
When I put shoes on, it does not hurt. Hence, I can run and I never feel it at all. So far. But I am worried because if it flared up in a race, you would be dropping pronto.
Walking barefoot to the kitchen is impossible without turning my foot and walking on the side of it. Been reading and trying to self diagnose. Sounds like a neuroma in the foot...sort of. So trying to force myself to wear shoes all the time right now inside and outside. Icing it while I work right now.
|Rank||127 of 625|
|Max Elevation||13,188 feet|
|GPS Analysis||Garmin Connect|
First race of the season in Leadville is done. I PR'd the course by over 20 minutes. The day itself was pretty uneventful. I thought it would be a good fitness test as I build to the 100 in August. It was. I learned my fitness isn't as good as other years right now. This was expected actually. I haven't put in the volume this year as in past years. Time, stress, whatever. All excuses. But I used to peak in June and be pulling out my teeth by August. Maybe this year I will get the timing right.
Anyway, it was fun to get back on these trails and run the marathon here again. But I still do not love this course. I prefer the directness of the half. But I can say that the hours melted by. I would literally look down and another hour had elapsed. I remember this course dragging on and on before. Guess I am more used to time spent on my feet now.
I was really hampered by my breathing today. Seems to be getting worse. I lazily attribute it to some exercise-induced asthma. I am getting close to seeing a doctor about an inhaler and seeing how it changes my performance. Lance doped. Its cool now a days.
Never pooped the whole time. Go iron supplement.
Finally, started getting some legs on the descent back into town as it started hailing & snowing on us. Felt like I could keep running at that point for a long time. Am I finally warmed up now? I cracked a smile coming back into town -- no matter how unsatisfied on my personal scale of wanna-be-awesome-ultra-runner that was....its still rare air to just wake up and run 26 miles ABOVE the highest city in the United States.
My family missed the finish. They were there but I flew by with all my amazing speed. Thanks to my friends Courtney and Shad for the photos.
No post-marathon soreness. Good! 50 miles here in two weeks. I expect that to hurt.
I went 26.17 miles with an elevation gain of 5,837 feet in 05:34:59, which is an average pace of 12:48. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.