Leadville Trail 100 run: #5

Photo by Dave Finamore

Yeah, it’s old news. I ran the Leadville Trail 100 in August and finished. I’m now halfway to my goal of 10 finishes and a super grande Leadville belt buckle.

So what happened during the race? The conditions were perfect. Everything seemed to be going great until about mile 25. My stomach digestion was starting to slow.

My stomach got worse as the race progressed. My belly was full of toxic brew of Gu and Endurolytes (a brand of salt tablets.)

I had a decent but uninspired 3000′ climb up Mt. Hope Pass. My new Montrail Rockridges worked great on the descent. They hooked up and protected my feet from the rocky trail surface.

But my stomach just got worse. My weight at the halfway mark was the same as the day before, but I felt bloated.

My return climb up Mt. Hope was painful, but that’s par for the course. There’s a lot of human carnage on this climb and I wasn’t the worst.

On the flip side, I had my best descent ever coming down off the mountain. For the first time, I wasn’t passed — not bad for a flatlander.

At the 60-mile aid station I saw Kevin and a very pregnant Shelby Bauman. They cheered me on and more.

I continued to run into the dusk. If it weren’t for my stomach, I would have felt pretty darn good. All those extra training miles were paying off.

At the mile 75 aid station a runner named Dave was asking runners if they needed a pacer. I asked him what his expectations were. If he wanted someone who was on top of their game, I wasn’t the one to pace. Dave said my pace would be fine. He carried my pack and helped carry on a discussion which made the trail go by faster.

He was available for pacing because his runner had dropped out. She’d suffered severe hip pain on top of Mt. Hope Pass and couldn’t even step. Her Mt. Hope pacer literally carried her down off the mountain — an unbelievable feat!

My stomach just got worse. And midway up the Powerline climb I mentioned to Dave that I had thrown up in nearly 28 years. Then I threw up. I immediately felt great and started hiking up the hill, getting all chit-chatty all of a sudden.

I basically didn’t eat for a few hours. Then with just a half marathon to go, I did started nibbling on solids. I was mostly power hiking so the lack of calories wasn’t a big deal.

The sun came up for the second time during the race and I slowly made my way back in to Leadville. On the final stretch, the owner of Lifetime Fitness pulled up next to me in his big black SUV and asked how it felt to finish. It felt good.

Surprisingly enough, I finished with my second fastest time ever: 27 hours and 55 minutes.

Nothing spectacular but it counts.

What I did right

  • The Montrail Rockridge shoes were a great choice. Having zero blisters in 100 mile run is amazing. I only had one minor trip and fall.
  • Wearing compression socks may have helped keep my legs fresher despite the high-dork factor.
  • The replacement water bladder in my Nathan water pack didn’t leak. It’s a very convenient pack for these types of event, especially when running unsupported.
  • I lost weight leading up to the race.
  • Having Dave pace me for the last 25 miles. It’s so much easier to slack when it’s just you. Thank you, Dave!

What I did wrong

Apparently Endurolytes salt tablets are made to complement other electrolyte beverages, but I was taking in water. Endurolytes also are relatively low in sodium and contain a bunch of other stuff. I believe it was that other stuff which accumulated in my stomach. I plan on switching to other salt tablets next time and may even use an energy drink instead of water.



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