Western States 2010

Western States 2010
Snow Field at Squaw Vally

Friday, July 23, 2010

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

Well, it has almost been a year since I last posted on my blog. It has been pretty much uneventful since I last posted except for the fact that I got into the GRAND DADDY 100 MILER of them all---The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run!!! Yep, they pulled my name out of the hat back in December of last year---only had about 17% chance of getting in. I couldn't believe it!! I actually was in tears when I found out.

When I last left you I said that Leadville was going to be my one and only 100 miler.....but.....after thinking about it some more I decided to throw my name in to Western States. I figured my chances are pretty low of getting in but if I was going to run another one it would be the premier 100 mile event of the country. So in October of last year in the 2 week window to get your name in the lottery I decided to go for it. 6 weeks later it was official....I was in.

So you would think I would have wrote about this earlier. You would think I would have had a count down. You would think that I would have wrote about Training Camp. No---I wanted to keep it simple. No distractions! Just train like I did for Leadville and I would be fine. Get that belt buckle and walk away. It never works out that way does it?!?!

Training Camp weekend (Patrick Perry, Brian Pawley, and myself) climbing Devils Thumb
So training stepped up in April with my first event of the season being the Rockin K 50 miler. I came out of that relatively unscathed with a 50 mile PR time of 10:04. Not bad for the rolling hills of Kanopolis State Park. The following weekend was Brew to Brew. 7:39 later I rolled in to Lawrence feeling great. The next weekend---the Lawrence Marathon. I got suckered into going faster than I wanted to and ended up with a respectable 3:39 marathon but the fatigue started to show from the high mileage weekends. The last weekend of April was the Free State 100k. I will just say it ended up being the Free State 44 miles. Then came May---with a trip to Vermont to help Danny Miller complete 200 miles---I got in 70 over a 2 day period of time. 2 weeks later was the 50 miler at Clinton lake---I was asked by Gary Henry to run it so I could evaluate course marking. Well, I didn't have a problem with the course markings because I knew where I was going. Many others didn't and became lost. I wish I had too...it was a long day and I bonked early and often. By the time 8 hours rolled around I hadn't even put in even 40 miles yet. Slow day indeed but with the mud and the heat it was good training. I quit at 37 miles....not because I was done like Free State but instead because I had a BBQ to go to in KC that evening and if I continued I would have been late. Then along came training camp---70 miles of running on the course. I wish all my vacations could be like that. It was just a whole lot of fun discovering the trail I would be running in 3 short weeks.

Fast forward....Time to travel west for the race!!! The plan...fly into Vegas with Ed Payne one of the crew members and meet up with my best friend Brian and his wife Dawn (they live in Vegas). We flew in on Monday. On Tuesday Brian, Dawn, Ed, and myself did a rafting tour of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Also on Tuesday I had the opportunity to do a 15 minute radio interview with Frank Boal on WHB 810 Radio. It was a fun little gig on the show Spokes, Strokes, and Strides. We would leave for Lake Tahoe on Wednesday morning....a 10 + hour drive through the desolate Nevada landscape.

Lake Tahoe!!!!
We made it to Lake Tahoe on Wednesday evening. It was the 2nd time I have made it to the area in my life. Lake Tahoe is absolutely beautiful. We got settled into our hotel for our stay and then Ed, Brian and myself went out for a short run. We only went for a few miles but you could tell that we were at altitude. It is about 6500 feet at Lake Tahoe and you could tell from our breathing that the air was a little thinner here.Thursday morning.....I decided I didn't want to buy into the hype. I didn't want to go over to Squaw Valley just yet to check out the starting area. That would come at medical check in on Friday. So Thursday was pretty uneventful---We spent the morning at a farmers market and then took a nice drive around Lake Tahoe. As I said before Lake Tahoe is a great place to be. A few years back Brian and myself had the idea of trying to hike all the way around (165 miles) in 5 days. That year snow was pretty bad and we got lost a few times so we only made it about 1/3 of the way in 3 days. Someday we will be back to try to get the rest of it in. At the time I don't believe either one of us knew we were so close to the start of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. The start is only a few miles down the road in Squaw Valley.

AinsleighAinsleigh and getting my picture taken with him!!! Gordy started this whole thing 37 years ago. The grandfather of 100 mile races. I think I will print picture out and put it next to my picture with Bill Rodgers at the 100th running of the Boston marathon in 1996.

Me and Gordy!! I am the clean cut one. WOW!!!!

So once the medical check was done I mingled with my crew at the starting line before the mandatory meeting in the afternoon. This was the first time the nerves hit. Standing at the starting line of the most prestigious 100 mile race in the country. The emotions begin to flow. I trained so hard to get here. To finish this race would be the pinnacle of my athletic career!!

My race photo--"Representing KANSAS!!!"
My male crew members--Danny Miller, Gary Henry, Brian Pawley, and Ed Payne.
Female Crew!!! Erin Manning and Dawn Pawley!!!
My pro shot.
Bring it on!!!!

The Crew. Solid as a Rock!!! I can't thank all of you enough for your help!!!

One last chance to rest before the trip to Auburn.
Saturday morning----race day. The day I was waiting for since that cold winter day that they announced my name in the drawing. My crew got me to the starting line in plenty of time. It was a cool morning with lows into the low 40's.
Time to roll!!!

"Hmm....I wonder if I can carry this whole platter of food with me to Auburn"

The Start!!!!

The start......Well, I got up to the starting line with about 15 minutes to go. It was crazy energy. I just kept focusing on the starting line banner. Trying to take mental pictures of the start....memories that will be with me for a life time. I kept thanking God for the opportunity to be here....a once in a lifetime event. The clock counted down and we were off at 5am on this Saturday morning in June.

The rest is a blur to tell you the truth. But here is a brief description of the race.

We started the climb up to the top of Immigrant pass...a 4 mile hike to the top of Squaw Valley Ski Resort. As we went up the sun came out and showed the beautiful views of the area. Here is a pic from near the top of Squaw Valley looking back. You can see Lake Tahoe in the distant background.
Squaw Valley Snow field--Lake Tahoe in the distance.

My goal was to get under 24 hours and for the first 23 miles or so I was on track. The snow was bad up top and down the back side of Immigrant Pass (I fell 3 times in the snow) but I made good progress. I made it to Duncan Canyon in great shape around 10 minutes in front of 24 hr pace. I met up with my crew members Ed, Gary, and Erin. They helped me move on through in good time.

The next step was the hike up to Robinson Flat. It was getting hot at this point of the day and I tried not to push the pace as we moved up the mountain side. I was already feeling a little fatigued as I ran some fast miles on a fairly flat section of gravel on paved road between 13 and 20 miles. With it warming up it was time to just relax and take the course as it comes. The climb up to Robinson flat was gorgeous but is also open and exposed in places. A fire had went through this area at one time and all of the pine trees were gone. As we climbed up into Robinson Flat the snow got bad again. Big drifts to climb up and over. Even with the slow pace I was right on 24 hr pace into Robinson Flat. What surprised me about Robinson Flat was that we still had about a mile of climbing up out before our big descent into the teeth of the course. This climb was difficult because of the snow drifts that were on the road and took more time then I realized.

At the top it was finally time to descend and descend we did!!! I noticed at this time I was getting passed by a few runners as we headed down a beautiful stretch of trail at the top of the world!! Here I thought I was a good down hill runner but apparently not as good as I thought. With the fatigue of 30 miles already on my legs I was braking too much down this stretch. Some runners from the area passed and told me to get use to the down hill. They said "Plan on the next 2 hours of being all down hill".

Dusty corners---geez--wonder how it got it's name??
Next up....Dusty Corners where I would meet up with Dawn, Brian and Danny for the first time of the day. Only 38 miles into the race but already 8.5 hours in....a whole work day on my feet and it is only 1:30 in the afternoon. I noticed at this point I was around 30 minutes behind 24 hr pace and was quite discouraged....where did the time go? I ran pretty good the last section but I was slower on the down hill then what was needed to keep pace. I also knew deep down that 24hrs was going to be out of the question at this point. I was tired and the next 24 miles to Forest Hill are some of the hardest miles on the course in the heat of the day. Time to regroup and change expectations.

At Dusty Corners I made the first mistake of the day. I had Brian give me a Arizona Ice Tea Can...yes one of the big ones. I downed the whole thing at once. Needless to say the stomach wasn't too happy about 3 miles down the trail and my pace slowed greatly for a few miles as I regrouped mentally and physically.

A few miles past Dusty Corners is Pucker Point. A beautiful section of trail that overlooks the American River from above. Right before this point Henry Bickerstaff from Oklahoma came running by. I met Henry at training camp 3 weeks earlier and by chance he was also staying in the same hotel as I was the night before the race. Henry was feeling pretty good at this point and buzzed by me as my stomach was settling from the tea bolus. Of course this caused my competitive juices to flow. Henry is in his mid 50's and I wasn't about to let him go by unchallenged. We basically jockeyed back and forth over the next 4-5 miles as we headed into the canyons and the heat of the day.

We started down into Last Chance Aid Station and started the climb up to Devil's Thumb. I forgot to switch out salt caps with the crew at Dusty Corners. Because of this I began to get my electrolytes off balance. By the time I climbed to the top of Devil's Thumb I was tired and overheated. I was crashing bad. It is hard to eat when you are climbing and it is hot. They weighed me at Devil's Thumb. Right at the starting weight!!! Great. Keep moving I said to myself but I was exhausted. I sat down for the first time of the day 47 miles in and 11 hrs gone. The aid station workers sponged me down. It felt great at first but then a chill came over me. I got cold and here it had to be in the mid to upper 80's!!! They actually put a blanket around me. One of the things they serve at this aid station is popcicles---for when hell freezes over I guess at devils thumb--after the chill's I wanted nothing to do with popcicles. Henry came by me again at this point as I set in the chair. Time to go. Thanks Henry!! I would have set longer but you were good motiviation to get moving again. I asked for salt capsules but they said they were out....not a good time to be out of S-caps but out of the aid station I went to chase down Henry again!!

Gary and Brian planning there next move!!

Down we went into the canyon of Eldorado Creek. I felt pretty good during this section but it was hot, hot, hot. The climb up out of the canyon to Michigan Bluff was a pain in the butt but I made it to see my crew of Erin, Ed and Gary once again. 55 miles done and I was cooked too. 13.5 hours in---6:30 in the evening and it was still warm out. The aid station workers were worried about me. I was exhausted. I gained weight---I believe I was up 3 pounds they said. I told them I just needed some salt and I would be fine. They were also worried about my sunburn. I wasn't worried about it as much as I was worried about time. I wanted to be in Foresthill at this time but I was still 7 miles from there. The crew pieced me back together getting much needed salt down and I was off to Foresthill where I would meet up with Danny to pace me. I needed that boost and it was coming soon.

Coming into Foresthill
My pit crew changing the tires on the race car.
Forest Hill----ahhhhh----FOREST HILL!!! I was so looking forward to Forest Hill. 100k into the race....gentle down hill for the next 16 miles and a pacer to boot. Unfortunately daylight was short when I got there. My crew gave me a much needed break and like a pit crew worked me over for the next big leg of the race. Down to the Rucky Chuck river crossing.

Heading out of Foresthill. The mental work begins!!
Danny was big help during the early evening hours. I actually picked up my pace for awhile. We rolled into Rucky Chucky in descent shape. We crossed the stream in a boat this year because of high water. Once across I met the crew again. At that point I was exhausted and it was getting close to 2am some 21 hours into the race. So I decided to sit down for a little while before the climb up to Green Gate. But guess who got me out of the chair and going?? None other than Henry from Oklahoma. He passed me again!!!
Rucky Chucky River Crossing

So this is what mile 80 feels like!!!

I don't look tired do I??

It was time to get moving again. This time it was Brian's turn to take the rains. At this point I don't remember much other than getting grumpy with Brian as daylight broke into a beautiful Sunday morning. I am not sure what I was so upset about....I was finishing one of the greatest races in the world. Oh, ya and Henry would have kicked my butt if he wouldn't have got pulled by medical with 15 miles to go. He was over weight and had to sit for 45 minutes before they let him go on. Also, I can not figure out how it took me almost 7 hrs to go the last 20 miles to Auburn. At some points I must have been really crawling. It did become a death march as it warmed up Sunday morning. I just wanted to get it done.

Brian leading the way. Boy was I grumpy!!

Mile 93.3--The wheels where coming off at this point.
Once I hit Robie Point in Auburn I think I slowed down even more. This time just to soak it all in and savor the moment. I don't know if I will ever have the chance to come back here and do it again. That's the thing about these 100 mile runs. They take a lot of work. The chances of getting in are pretty low too. A lot of effort goes into just the preparation of such a feat. So with that in mind I slowly made my way to the track. Would I like to come back and do it again? Sure. Will I? Probably not. I think if I make it out here again it will be to help someone else finish the race by pacing or to volunteer. It was an event I will remember forever.

Coming into the Track. 300 yds to go!!!

With that I will leave you with this quote. It is from -- Adlai Stevenson, What I Think (1954), delivered at Princeton University Commencement, 1953 and read at the conclusion of the annual Western States Endurance Run awards ceremony.
"Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don't forget when you leave why you came."
Kissing the finish line---how sweet it is to be home!!!


Got Buckle!!! YOU BET!!!

My crew...Solid as a rock!!!
Time to go!!!
<><><><><><><><><><><><>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>&lt;>Gary and Brian making a plan as darkness falls. &lt;>

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Leadville 100 Raceday!!!

Finally some time to update the blog with what you all came here for!!!

The first thing I would like to do is thank my wonderful crew and pacers!!! YOU GUYS ROCK!!! To Ben and Sophia: Thank you both....you got my butt out of Winfield when I looked totally cooked. You paced me and listened to me complain about how far I still needed to go. You were there to encourage me when I needed it!!! THANK YOU!!!! To Erin, Danny, and Hayden: YOU GUYS WERE AWESOME!!!! Hayden.....I felt so bad for you at the restannt the night before...they were out of milk...I wanted to go get you milk at the gas station 2 blocks down!!!....Thank you for putting things in prospective for me Hayden. I felt the same way the last 25 miles....I wanted my finish and I wanted it now!! Sometimes the milk comes later than you would like but hey.....it tastes that much better when you get it. Erin!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!! THANK YOU!!!! When people were asking me questions 24 hours into the race at May Queen.....I didn't have the answers. Do you want pb&j, a ham sandwich, pickles, ramen, coke, water, salt??? I don't know?? How in the hell do I know?? I just want to finish!!!! NO, I don't want that, No not that, not that either, M&M's...no!!!! Ok, maybe M&M's....WOW those are good!!! I will take all of them!!! You knew what I needed. Thank you!! Bailey and Kristen!!! I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! You guys had to put up with this goal of mine since you met me in April!!! Thank you for your sacrifices...the long hours of waiting for me to get my training runs in before you could see me....KRISTEN...the BIKE RIDES in the heat of the day that practically killed you!!! I can not repay you enough for your patience and understanding throughout this training and race period. I can only hope that I will be able to return the favor in your lives someday. Bailey, as I have told you many, many times.....you get one shot in this life. Give it your best. If people tell you that you can't do something PROVE THEM WRONG!!!! Only you can decide what you want to do with your life....don't let anyone get in your way. Shoot for the stars sweetheart. If you miss the first time...try again....don't give up....never give up!!! Just do it!!! And if you fall there are plenty of people that LOVE YOU and will support you and prop you up so you can try again. We are here for you Bailey!!! We want to see big things out of you over the next 5-10 years!!!

LEADVILLE: August 22nd 2009

The alarm went off at 2:25 am on a beautiful Saturday morning August 22nd. As far as the weather goes it couldn't get much better than this. Highs in the high 70's may be low 80's for the day....lows in the 40's....maybe a small chance for rain. The locals were complaining it was going to be too hot out there during the day....they are not used to high 70's-low 80's in the mountains around Leadville. This made me laugh having to deal with the extreme heat and humidity of Kansas on a day to day basis. The weather would be perfect as far as I was concerned.

I ran into Paul Schoenlaub at the pre-race meetings the day before. Knowing his expertise in finishing this race I had decided ahead of time that I would like to hang with him for at least part of the race. I discussed my idea of going out at a fairly fast pace for the first 13.5 miles into May Queen (around 2 hrs and 10 min. or 10min/mile pace) and he said that was what he usually went out at so it was set. I was to meet Paul at the starting line and run with him to May Queen.

As planned I met Paul and we were off at 4am with 504 other runners determined to beat these mountains. The pace was brisk but it felt good after 3 weeks of taper, and the altitude never seemed to bother me too much. The course is fairly easy to May Queen. I compare the trail to the Clinton North Shore trails...the only difference....this was running along side of Turquoise Lake at around 9000 feet altitude. I made it to May Queen in 2:05 or 5 minutes faster than I would have liked but right where I needed to be. I lost Paul at the aid station...he was in and out quickly and that was the last I would see him for the day. Thanks, Paul, for the help on this first part of the race. You gave me the confidence to go out at that pace and to not worry about it.

The next section is from May Queen to the Fish Hatchery. This is a difficult section due to the climb up over Sugarloaf Pass also known as "Power Lines". I began my climb up from Turquoise Lake on the Colorado trail. This 1.5 mile stretch of trail was not as difficult as I remembered. Lots of sections to run on. It felt good to do a little climbing since the first 13.5 miles were fairly flat to down hill. My plan was to get to Fish Hatchery in 4:15 or so....As I approached the top of Sugarloaf pass however my stomach started to go south and I started to worry a little. Two years ago I had stomach problems and a lot of difficulty in taking in food. This ultimately lead to me missing cut off at Winfield (50 miles). The other little issue I had at this time was that I fell on Hagerman Pass Road (the smoothest section of the race). I tripped over a rock and put a pretty good cut into my knee....I bled out like a stuck pig. I told myself "I need those red blood cells to carry oxygen at this altitude. They are not doing any good running down my leg!!!" My worries subsided as I decended down the power line side of Sugarloaf and hit the road section right outside of the Fish Hatchery. I was able to eat again...and I decided the stomach problems were due to the altitude (Sugarloaf pass is at around 11,000 feet). I came into Fish Hatchery (mile 23.5) at 4:10 or 5 minutes faster than predicted....and I was feeling pretty good about things at this point. It was 8am and the beautiful sun was beginning to light up all of the mountains around us.

On to Halfmoon Road and Box Creek Pass. I didn't have a time set for here as the crew was not going to meet me at this aid station. Of all the sections at Leadville this is my least favorite. It is mostly on roads (paved roads at that) and you know exactly where you are the whole time because you can see for miles around. It was starting to get a little warm already on the paved roads out of the Fish Hatchery. I decided to impliment a walk run strategy during this stretch. It would be too easy to run this whole section and burn myself up. It worked out well, although the section seemed to move by pretty slowly. For those familier with Leadville, you are probably wondering about Box Creek Pass: normally, the course goes to Halfmoon Campground at the base of Mt. Elbert. Well this year the course was diverted due to a helicopter crash on Mt. Massive on the Wednesday before the race. The military closed the area off for recovery efforts, thus the course change. Four military personal died in the accident. As I said in a previous post, I dedicated this run to the military personal overseas. I added these 4 people to my dedication prior to the run.

Box Creek (mile 30.5) to Twin Lakes (39.5) is a beautiful trail. If you ever get a chance to make it to the area this is a hike that you should not miss. You get beautiful views of Twin Lakes from above from the north. I felt good along this stretch and had a goal to get into Twin Lakes by noon (8 hours). Things were going well for me at this point up until about 2 miles outside of Twin Lakes. I think I was at this point getting nervous about climbing Hope Pass at mile 45 and wanted to conserve energy. Also I figured out from my watch I was going to get into Twin Lakes around 11:30am or 7:30 (1/2 hour faster than what I predicted). So I did a lot of walking until the main downhill stretch into Twin Lakes. Even with the walking, I made it into Twin Lakes in 7:33 (just under 11:30 pace per mile).

The hard part of the race was this: the next challenge was getting from Twin Lakes (39.5 miles) to Winfield (50 miles) and back to Twin Lakes (60.5 miles). This is the most difficult part of the race as you have to climb up over hope pass at 45 miles and 55 miles. Hope Pass is at 12,600 feet and there is not much running on parts of it -- much less walking!!! Twin Lakes is at 9,000 feet so there is some major climbing to do. I had in my mind that I could do the round trip in around 7 hours. Well it took me 3:40 just to get to Winfield...I was pretty tired and beat up and walked most of the road into Winfield. Plus, when I got there, the medical check told me I was 7 pounds under weight. That worried me as I felt like crap....I was tired and I needed fuel. Lucky for me Ben and Sophia were there to get me fueled up and on the road. Another plus....I didn't have to run another step of this race by myself. Pacers were with me the rest of the way, starting with Sophia at Winfield...her job was to get me back to Twin Lakes. As we started down the road out of Winfield I started to get my strength back and was ready for the big climb back up Hope Pass. As we started up Hope Pass I found out quickly that Sophia still had her "Sea Legs!!!" I was powering up Hope and Sophia was my mule (she had my pack of water and everything). Suddenly Sophia was exhausted and needed to give me my pack back. I took it and carried on and for a minute there thought I had lost my pacer. Fortunately she began to feel better and caught back up with me. I am glad she did...she would have missed out on the beautiful views of Hope Pass. From Hope Pass you can see the whole course laid out before you and it was a beautiful clear day!!! I was a little grumpy on my way up Hope, telling Sophia she needed to scold me for not drinking and eating enough food, but we stopped briefly at the Hope Pass aid station and refueled and then powered down the north side of the pass to Twin Lakes. I made it to Twin Lakes in 15:16 minutes (60 miles down) and it was still 7:16pm....lots of light left for the next trail section. This meant that it took me 4:03 to get back over Hope Pass....round trip time of 7:43 for 21 miles. 43 minutes slower than I wanted but remember I came into Twin Lakes 30 minutes ahead of schedule so I was only around 15 minutes off of what I wanted to be at. Not bad for being 60 miles in. (15:08 min/mile pace)

The rest of the race I did not have any predicted times to get into aid stations. I just wanted to maintain pace as long as I could and see what would happen. At Box Creek Canyon (69.5 miles) I was in at 17:35. Pretty good still but I could tell the miles were starting to catch up with me at this point. Through the initial 69.5 miles I basically maintained a 15:10 pace per mile. I was still close to 25 hour pace!!! Could I maintain??

NO!! I couldn't maintain!! The wheels came off.... The next section....Box Creek Canyon to Fish Hatchery was brutal. As I said before...you know exactly where you are the whole time. I lost focus at this point mentally and never did get it back. The survival walk begin. Ben was my Pacer from Twin Lakes to Fish Hatchery. He was impressed with my running until Box Creek...We walked out of Box Creek and continued to walk. Even with all the encouraging words by Ben to try to get my butt moving I just didn't want to do it. I knew in my mind I still had 23 miles to go when I got to Fish Hatchery and it was becoming a daunting task. I walked my butt into Fish Hatchery exhausted. It took 2 hours and 20 minutes to do those simple/easy 7 miles!!!! I suddenly had dropped to 20 min/mile pace!!! Yikes!!! Looking back I knew in my mind that I could walk the sucker in at that point and basically shut down mentally. Kind of makes me mad looking back at it. I just got tired of playing the game and wanted it to be over with!!!

Next up....Fish Hatchery back to May Queen (miles 76.5 to 86.5) and up over Sugarloaf again. This is a brutal section of climbing back up Powerlines, this time with my wonderful pacer Danny Miller. He got me up that pass at a pretty good clip; unfortunately the walk fest continued on the downhill side into May Queen. Total time for this 10 mile section was a pedestrian 4:07....WOW!!! almost 25 min/mile pace!!! Probably could have walked backwards faster!!! At least it was an absolutely beautiful night to be out there!!!!

May Queen to Finish: 13.5 miles.....I kept complaining to Danny how slow I was and that I was running out of time again even though in the back of my head I knew I had plenty of time to finish. I left MayQueen at 4am (24 hours into the race...wow...I have been up for 24 hours straight now on my feet...no wonder I am moving this slow!!!). Danny kept me plugging along and before I knew it I was back on Pavement with 5 miles to go. That is when my final pacers took the reins....Bailey and Kristen. I talked them into walking in the last 5 miles with me to my grand finish. I complained to them too, but they wouldn't listen to me. They told me to just keep moving and I did. Pretty soon the town of Leadville was in view, and then the last hill before the finish line. At the top I could see everyone waiting for us to arrive. As I got about 1/3 of a mile out I began to run again. The legs actually felt pretty good after all that walking!!! The first thing that crossed the finish line was my lips as I knelt to the ground and kissed the line that I had run away from some 28 hours, 51 minutes, and 21 seconds before.

It was a beautiful sight!!! and one that I wished that had come quicker. People that know me know that I am not a very patient person. I want things to happen now...fixed now...done now....over now. This race has taught me patience....it takes a lot of time to train and a lot of time to finish!!! This was my first finish at a 100 mile race. The farthest I had been prior was 62 miles. What did I learn? I could have used some longer training runs. My body wasn't prepared (mostly mentally) to continue much past that 65-70 mile point. That is okay though, as I never have to do this again. One of the reasons I did this event was to prove to myself that I could go that far. I know I am a talented runner. Always have been....so why shouldn't someone with my talent be able to finish 100 miles. It was just a matter of putting it all together. And it came together on this one glorious day in August in Leadville, Colorado.

One last point. Leadville will never be the same to me now. When I go back in the future (to pace it for Danny!!) it will have a different look to it to me. I don't know how to describe it and I don't think that I will try here. You can't put something like that into words...it is just a different feeling. A special feeling about a special place to me. I guess you would just have to do it yourself to understand what I mean. Time to get on the running shoes again. There are more miles to go!!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wow what an experience!!!

Well, I made it to Leadville....My taper consisted of a 45 mile week, a 30 mile week, and a 15 mile week before the race on August 22nd. The taper weeks went by pretty fast. The weekend before the race I surprised Kristen with a trip out to Leadville. I figured I needed to get out there at least a week before the race and I wanted the company for the ride out. So, I arranged to work the 50 mile aid station of the Leadville 100 mile mountain bike race on the Saturday before. Kristen knew we were going out of town but didn't know where. She is a huge Lance Armstrong fan and since he was in the bike race (he won it easily) I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to win some major points by taking her out there for the race. It ended up being a great day and we got to see Armstrong whizz by us...we just barely got pictures. The day was exhausting but fun none the less. Sunday went by fairly quickly as I needed to get Kristen back to the Denver Airport to fly her back for work on Monday. I almost didn't get her to the airport on time due to traffic coming down out of the mountains.....stressssssssfullllllllllll!!!!
The week before the race went fairly quickly....I ended up camping at Halfmoon Campground on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. I camped with Fast Andy!!! The new superstar of ultra running. It was fun hanging out with Andy and getting to know him better. As Wednesday rolled around I decide I wanted a warm hotel room since we were within 72 hours of race time. So after having lunch in Leadville with friends Andy and I headed back out to the campground to get our stuff packed up. Turned out to be a good move. A blackhawk helicopter crashed on Mt. Massive Wednesday afternoon and if we wouldn't have packed up and moved out we would have been kicked out by the military as they shut down that area due to the crash. Worse case that we heard were people who couldn't get back in Wednesday evening to even get there stuff due to military activity.
Thursday came and it was time to go pick Kristen and Bailey up at the airport and prep for the big race on Saturday morning. We ended up staying in Frisco on the way back out to Leadville and got up Friday morning for medical check in and race meeting. My Aunt and Uncle came out to Leadville on Friday from Denver and I got a chance to visit with them. I enjoyed catching up with them on their recent trip to Europe. As Friday evening approached the nerves started to kick in. What in the hell am I doing for the next 30 hours!!!???? WHY am I doing this again??!!!!
Stay tuned as my race report will follow soon.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Taper Time!!!!

Well I am down to less than 3 weeks left. The horse is in the barn as they say on the farm. The training is done....now the rest begins! I made it 69 miles last week getting me within 19 miles of Leadville. Now it is time to taper. During the taper period (if I get time) I will try to describe each part of the course on my way to Winfield. This will also give me a chance to visualize my race from start to finish. How does my taper work you may ask. Well it is a 3 week taper. I average close to 60 mile weeks over the last 11 weeks. So my taper will go like this: 45 miles this week, 30 miles next week, and 15 miles the last week. I am ready to store energy and to get my legs feeling strong. I feel good about my chances of finishing this year. But you have to respect the distance especially at Leadville. Plus you have to respect the altitude in Leadville too. I will give it my best shot I promise you that!!! More soon as we creep closer to the big day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Almost time to taper.

Well, hello again from the blog world!! Didn't get as much mileage in last week as I would have liked to. Planned on long back to back runs on the weekend but it just didn't happen. That is ok. My legs needed the rest. Where am I now....well I did 54 miles last week. That basically puts me in Golden Colorado on the west side of Denver...home of Coors Beer....I am not really a big fan of Coors. Tastes pretty watered down to me!! 517 + 54 = 571 miles from home and only 88 miles from Leadville. Wow, 88 more miles....Not far now. I need to go back and see what my weekly mileage average is since I started this...that way I can figure out a proper taper over the last 3 weeks. I am ready to rumble!!
My leg speed has been a lot better since I started running roads more than trails....it has helped to improve my trail speed by a lot....The proof is in my racing finishes of late. Last Saturday I did the Rock Creek 30k night run. It was a blast. I couldn't believe that I was in first place from around mile 10 thru mile 15. It was weird being in first place and having people chasing you down...I haven't had that happen to me in a while. The wheels started to come off at around 14 miles (maybe due to the 5 mile warm-up prior to the start). I held onto second place and I feel pretty good about that. So I got in a pretty hard 24 mile run in Saturday....Wanted to do the same on Sunday but just didn't get myself motivated enough to get out and do it again...I will try again this weekend I guess and see where it leads.
Leadville looms in the distance....only 3.5 weeks away....Lets do it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dog days of Summer

Down to less than 5 weeks!! Hard to believe. But the race can't come soon enough....I am ready now and want to get this thing started. I am getting tired of training. My legs are shot....I am tired....and mentally done!! Taper only 2 weeks away and it can't possibly get here fast enough. 65 miles last week. Not bad considering I took 2 days off after the 50k last week. Didn't feel like my legs got back under me until Friday. Did my first 2 a day on Saturday...10 miles on Saturday morning and then 16 miles on Saturday night. To top it off I did another 9 miles on Sunday morning. Was going to do more Sunday night but mentally wasn't in it so I didn't. Took Monday off (today for good measure). Back at it tommorrow....I promise!! So with 65 miles down that puts me at 517 miles from Lecompton and 142 miles from Leadville. This puts me at Byers, Colorado. Getting pretty darn close to Denver now. I am getting there. Time to get my mental focus in check!! Catch you next week!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another week down!!!

Back to the grind! Last week was a full one. Tried to get a semi taper in for Psycho Psummer but also wanted to keep the mileage up. Ended up with 73 miles for the week. Partly due to the 17 miler on the day after Wyco. As for the race....I was pretty happy with my results. (5th out of 50 finishers). The hard training in the heat paid off. People were suffering out there. Me....I felt pretty good for the most part. At the end I felt like I could have went another lap if I needed to. So just over 5 weeks to go now to Leadville. Time flies when you are having fun!! I have now ran to a small town called Arriba Colorado just east of Limon. This puts me 452 miles down the road from Lecompton. (207 miles from Leadville). Going to try to push the mileage thru the end of July and then it will be taper time.

Dig Deep!!!