Been asked enough times…what’s your goal for the race? I have answered it differently depending on who asks and when they ask. Its not to be coy. Its more that I continually change my mind. There are multiple levels of success here. I will list them in importance to me.
So first and foremost, the goal is to finish Leadville and return to a non-DNF streak. Finished in 2010 — by walking 40 miles. DNF in 2011 at 86.5 at about 4 AM — 6 full hours before the race ended. I feel like I have plenty of time to make this happen given the will. 1000 mile buckle just needs finishes.
B. Big Buckle
So that is sub-25 hours. This was the elusive prize for the last 2 years. In 2010, it was my first 100 and I had no business chasing it. I just got into the hype like every other 1st timer saying that was my goal. But the real goal was to finish a 100 mile ultra. The Leadville 100. I did that. In 2011, I blew off the big buckle. I convinced myself that I was sub-22 ready. Maybe faster. I blew up. I missed the goal and with that the big buckle slipped away and I had nothing to show for my effort. Lesson learned. So this year its more about that buckle. I could see myself getting it in the bag at some point and starting to turn the engines down.
C. Show Potential
This is really the crux for me. I want to see if all my anal preparation, my 3 years of experience here, my possible altitude/home-court advantage can deliver me a “feel good” race. That type when you cross the line and you know you nailed it at a 95% confidence level. What will that run look like this year? Well, give the 23:22 at Western, and the ~40 minute slowdown for this course, and everything else — I think I can run this in 23 hours. Yes, that’s faster than Western. But this is what I trained for. I know this course. This is the end of the season. No holding back for another 100 miler in 2 months. Ultimately, a 100 mile PR would probably be the success criteria here.
Here is what I have been refining for a month. I tagged it at 23 hours. This allows me a full 2 hours of downside if its just not the day I hoped for. I would plan to spend most of that on the inbound section if needed. And if things are feeling right, I will try and stick to this and be able to pull off the goal that will leave me smiling all winter.
That’s 10:15 to Winfield. And 12:45 back. The data from 2011 shows that the average return is 3:30 longer (+/-15 min) for sub 25. Sub-22 is 3 hours. That means I am pulling it tighter more than the average. But the average has a lot of blowing up factored in there I figure. I could mess with +/-15 minutes across the board but its a net-zero change I figure.
With the 23:00 target, I won’t have to be as anal as I was at WS100. There I was running minute by minute at each aid station and I found it stressful on the day. These numbers make me run something slower than last year for most of the day, yet leave me plenty of room for variance and still making the majority of the goals on the day.
So I will print this, stuff it in my pocket and run. I will not be glued to my watch all day. I only check it at the checkpoints to give myself a sense of faster or slower or just right. Most of all, it tells my crew when they should expect to see me. Hope I can keep them believing in my ability to hit my marks!