Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Newbie Road to Leadville 100 Trail Run - Part 1

It's official.  I'll be in Leadville on August 16th.  It was touch and go using a cell phone with patchy coverage on the east coast at 2am, but the email came through and the spot is secured.

I had to ignore a lot of the bad publicity the race picked up last year (2013) due largely to overcrowding and congestion problems. Hopefully Lifetime have sorted it out with capping the entrants a few hundred lower and limiting the stress on the race.  I've had good experiences with their multi-sport events and am going in with confidence they are putting any wrongs right.

The Leadville 100 journey has been a long time coming.  I was entered back in 2001 when it was a lottery and you had to go up to Leadville and look at the list on a shop window to see if you got in. I did. I wasn't an ultra runner then, just a very naive marathon runner who didn't really grasp what I was jumping into.  The Snow Mountain Ranch Double Marathon put paid to that with a combination of being sick on the day and totally unprepared, which led to dropping out at 35miles after some rather incredible hallucinations.  My buildup was in tatters, I was wrecked and unready to even toe the line that year.  Talk about unfinished business.

Now, years later we come full circle.  Ultras are now part of my DNA and with years of Fell running and mountaineering from my youth providing a base to draw upon, all the components are now clicking into place.

Pacing our friends Craig and Paul in 2011 was the first step in seeing the race first hand and I was blown away by the feelings and emotions of that very long day.  Even as a pacer it ranks as one of my best race experiences I have ever had, so what would it feel like to be the one participating?

Training in Boulder the tales of running 100 milers has become so commonplace that it's easy to think of the distance in a complacent sort of way.  I'm trying to remind myself of just how big a challenge this really is and to not take anything for granted in the journey to the start line.

The course profile (out and back)

I'll try and document my preparation over the upcoming months as I get closer to August and outline the good, bad and ugly of getting ready for the race. There is so much to consider in terms of training, nutrition, altitude, race day logistics, pacing/race strategy, and beyond.  In the meantime, to get you excited about the event, have a read of the following article posted by a spectator at the 2012 race. The author does a very good job at capturing the event and all its emotion.

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