The Night before Leadville

Leadville, Colorado – At 4am tomorrow morning, they’ll fire a shotgun at the corner of Main Street and Sixth to start the 30th Leadville Trail 100 mile run. Despite the early start, I look forward to being in that group.

It’s been ten years since I first ran this event. With a finishing time of 24 and half hours, it remains my fastest time after 5 more tries.

That may change this year as I’ve run about 200 more miles in training for this event. I also did some run training in the Appalachians earlier this year. I’ve noticed an improvement, too. I ran/hiked about 45 miles over 4 days around Frisco, Colorado and never felt too tired.

On the negative side, I’m 10 years older and about 3 pounds heavier. My weight could have been a bigger liability had I not lost about 24 pounds of winter blubber during the past 5 months. Weight is such a major factor at Leadville. Running with an extra 10 pounds of fat is like carrying a gallon jug of milk. Besides the added work, it’s tougher on your body. This is magnified in Leadville as the trail is often going up and or down.

One other negative? The race course is longer. They’ve added about 2.3 miles.

As for my race strategy, I am not doing much differently this year.

I have chewable vitamin C tablets with me. Last year I craved orange juice, which seemed to improve my upset stomach. These little orange tablets may help.

I’m using gel packets instead of gel bottles just because the aid stations have them. For solid food I have some Fig Newtons and Shok Bloks. I’m going to try avoid other solid food until later in the race in hopes that it helps my stomach. My  stomach totally cooperated 10 years ago.

Overall, I am hoping to run more segments where I’ve walked in the past. I hope to stride up the mountains a little quicker too. We’ll see.

You never know what’s going to happen over 100 miles.



Leadville Trail 100: Run #6

Sometimes I think I write these race reports just so I can remember what I did.

Anyway, I forgot to write about last year’s Leadville Trail 100 mile run. Here’s what I recall.

For one, I had a support crew. My girlfriend Lori came out for her first Leadville race and helped me through the course. I had hoped to introduce her to Jenn from IMBA who was crewing for her boyfriend but didn’t get the opportunity before the race. When I ran through an aid station about two-thirds into the race, they were next to each other chatting. Jenn, this is Lori. Lori, Jenn.

I did have stomach issues again before eventually vomiting about 60 miles into the run. Even drinking water was making me nauseous. So, right before the aid station I took four strong gulps of water. Bam! Everything came out and I started on Stomach 2.0. The ugly side of ultras.

Still, my new and improved stomach still wasn’t 100%. I craved orange juice.

With about 6 miles to go and the sun beginning to rise for the second time during the race, I ran past a mellow dude sitting at a bonfire. He said, “Run between the cans.” There were two columns of aluminum cans on both sides of the trail — AND ONE WAS AN ORANGINA! I stopped in my tracks and asked the camper if he had more Oranginas. He did. I offered to wait while he went to retrieve one from the cooler, but he insisted I keep running to the finish. He’d catch up with a cool, bubbly citrus beverage in hand.

He never did.

After running 90-some miles, you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to fixate on such an event. No, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a hallucination.

At the finish line, Lori was kind enough to run to the store and buy some OJ.

And fortunately she was at the finish. I ran the last 12 miles faster than ever before. So fast that Lori would have still be sleeping at the hotel when I got to the end. Realizing this, I waved down a car with about 4 miles to go. I asked if they could call Lori and let her know I was well ahead of schedule.

“What’s her number?”

Ah… Thanks to speed dial, I don’t even know that on a normal day. Thankfully I remembered it was written on my race wrist band as an emergency contact. They told me to keep running and it would be taken care of. Unlike Orangina-man, it was.

I had my second fastest finish at 26 hours and 32 minutes. That was good for 116th overall out of the 351 that finished. There are typically around 1,000 registered racers.

Why was I faster? I’d run more training miles than ever before and weighed less than in previous years. I think that latter was key.

I also used three pair of shoes. I started with a pair Montrail Rockridge, swapped to my regular road shoes at the Fish Hatchery outbound, then to a second pair of Rockridges at the next aid station. I made the same changes on the return. This worked. It felt great running in some light road shoes.

The other update is I used a Black Diamond Spot headlamp. I was very pleased with its dimming feature which helped the batteries last all race long. I also put cellophane tape on the lens to diffuse the LED spot. I plan on using this again in conjunction with my Surefire flashlight.


Registered for Leadville 100 run: Lucky #7

The heightened  interest ultra racing continues as the Leadville 100 run is nearly full again according to some.

In the “good old days” racers registered by snail mail and could wait until a month before the race. No more. You need to commit (i.e. pay) early.

This will be my 17th Leadville 100 mile race. Ten were on the bike and I’ve run six already. My goal is to finish 10 of each.

Last year I ran more miles before Leadville than ever before and it paid dividends with a faster finish and a quicker recovery. I’m hoping for more of the same this year.

I do have a new training partner Faygo, who’s pictured on the right. We’ve been building up her endurance, and yesterday was her longest run of 7 miles. That along with the Christmas craziness last night means she’s been in bed most of the today.

 


Leadville MTB 100 and Detroit Chicken Race photos

I finally got around to uploading photos from two very different races held earlier this year.

The first photo gallery is the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race. As support crew, I was able to snap photos of Michigan racers, including Team Mongo.

The second photo gallery is from Detroit’s first ever chicken races.

And this photo was taken in my car immediately after finishing this year’s  Leadville Trail 100 run. I put these bags of ice on my quads (which helps reduce inflammation) before napping for a few hours. After waking up, I hobbled a couple blocks over to the awards banquet. Next year I should get a room in Leadville so I can take a full-fledged ice bath.


Taping on toe nails

One problem with ultra-running is it can really lead to some ugly feet. No matter how much one spends on fancy shoes and socks, it seems the occasional black toe nail and blisters are inevitable.

I’ve read that the blackening is often caused by the toe nail continually hitting the inside top of the shoe. If that’s the case, I plan on wrapping my bigger nails in athletic tape prior to any future long runs.

During this year’s Leadville 100 I got four black toe nails — a personal best!

Twice now after pulling on socks I’ve felt a wood splinter against my foot, which only turned out to be a smaller toe nail falling off.

Losing the bigger nails is usually a little more traumatic. I had one flip back while pulling on a sock. It didn’t really hurt as there was a partial nail underneath it. I just taped the old nail on top to provide some protection until the new nail could grow in more.

And if you think damaged toe nails are a sick and wrong topic for this blog, by all means avoid this video I made while draining blisters.

Don’t forget! The 2010 Leadville Trail 100 run application is now on-line!


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