Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Leadville 100 Mile Race

The morning had come after a night filled with saxophone, thunder, rain, and lightening. The former was a short lived nuisance of a Grandma in an adjacent apartment telling her grandson to play… at 9:00 pm. Duncan and I stayed with legendary Bill Dooper who graciously housed and cared for us.

I towed the starting line awake with a small touch of grogginess overwhelmed by nervous excitement, I was ready to race. We were off running at a steady yet easy conversational pace. By Boat Ramp I was leading a small troupe of runners: Ryan Burch http://ryanwburch.blogspot.com/ , Dylan Bowman http://dylanjbowman.blogspot.com/ , Ryan Sands http://ryansandes.com/blog/ , Duncan Callahan http://strategicendurance.com/ , Neal Gorman http://nealgorman.blogspot.com/ , and Jeff Browning http://www.gobroncobilly.com/ . About 100 yards in front of us were the 3 leaders: Mike Arnstein, and two others.

At Mayqueen I zipped through pausing just long enough to top off my bottle. Dylan flew through faster. I caught up to him on the Colorado Trail up to Haggerman Pass Road. Unbeknownst to us we were now in 2nd and 3d place behind Mike as the other two ‘leaders’ had paused longer at the aid station. Once on Haggerman we were certain that we were now 2nd and 3d. I picked it up a little to catch mike who was throwing down. I soon caught mike and we chatted. Then about halfway down Sugarloaf, Dylan, Burch, and Ryan Sands caught up to us. This was the pack I was expecting.

We ran together but Mike kept putting on surges. I would follow suit simply because our pace was right on for the goal half of 7:50. But at Fish Hatchery Mike ran through again without so much as a pause giving him a 40 second lead. I kept at it. By mile 33 I had my first low point in the race forcing me to slow up and give up my chase of Mike. He was now 3 minutes up. Dylan, Burch, and Ryan Sands caught up back up to me (I only had a 30 second lead anyways), and they lead exchanging the lead down to Twin Lakes. Finally at mile 37 I started to roll again and actively participated in the chase peloton. We rolled into Twin Lakes in a pack an estimated 2 minutes back from Mike.

At this point Dylan, Burch, and I casually ran over the marshes and through the river to Grand Hope Pass’s base we went. Sands was only a minute back from us. I started the climb going a little faster than my compatriots. By half way up I was 1 minute up on Dylan and Burch, yet surprisingly there was Sands 15 yards behind me. He was patient, methodical, and looked strong. I had been having some salt issues and cramps going up Hope so I took a few salt tabs. The cramps increased, mostly in my quads, so kept taking the salt tabs. I ended up taking 12 salt tabs the hour prior to the Hope Pass aid station. Each tab was 340 mg of sodium and 21 mg of potassium. This equaled about 4,000 mg of sodium and 260 mg of Potassium.

With all this salt and potassium I would think my cramps would subside, which they would in 5 minute interludes only to return with full force. At the Hope Pass aid station I knew I had to break and get my electrolyte balance back under control. I stopped letting Sands trudge on solitarily. 3 minutes uphill I could see Mike in the lead. I drank 12 oz of Coke and had the most amazing half cup of instant mashed potatoes with salt. Actually, they might have been salt with a dash of mashed potatoes. Normally I might have gagged from the high potent salt mixture. This time I devoured it. With the proper salt I set off in 5th place in hot pursuit of Dylan and Ryan who had passed through.

They crested and pass about 1 minute up on me. I descended after them with a static and nonthreatening pace. I would take it easy down hope so as not to destroy my quads. Yet, there at the bottom of hope, to my surprise, I ran into Ryan and Dylan. We trudged up road to Winfield. The road is hot, dusty, and beckons one to go loony. I made a quick pit stop and continued in hot pursuit. Nearing Winfield I knew I was sitting pretty. Sands was 5 minutes up in first place, then Mike was 4 minutes up, Dylan was 3 minutes on me, and Burch was about 1 minute up.

I stopped at Winfield for a quick break eating and drinking. My difference in weight was negligible. I had neither gained nor lost weight. I left Winfield ready to start racing. Grant, my pacer, carried all that I needed. Going up Hope we maintained a consistent non taxing hike, walk, jog. By the summit I had drained two 16 oz bottles one of water, the other electrolyte. Grant soon filled up at the aid station while I kept trudging downhill. Burch also had to stop at the aid station propelling me to 4th place. We kept a solid pace but did not kill it (indeed Duncan went over 4 minutes faster than I did). Soon we overcame Mike who seemed to be having a rough time and going through a low spot. I was now in 3d.

I ran into Twin Lakes, mile 60, feeling confident, strong, and ready to chase down the 2 remaining leaders who were now 5 to 15 minutes up on me respectively. Sully, my next pacer kept me going and eating as we trudged up out of Twin Lakes. The next couple hours went by quickly. I kept running really never feeling all that bad. We kept getting reports that we were 15, 20, 25 minutes back. I figured we were still on 17 hour pace, which was where I wanted to be. I started to slow but not dramatically… I was still good. I went through pipeline and was confident.

Between pipeline and Fish Hatchery I started to falter. I think it was a lack of electrolyte. I had been drinking mostly water and craving salt. I ended up slowing more and walking the mile into Fish Hatchery. Meanwhile, Neal Gorman passed me and Mike would pass me in the aid station. I stopped in Fish Hatchery drinking the much needed Coke yet really not eating that much.

I left Fish Hatchery feeling horrible. Slow, tried, drained, worthless. All of which were not true. Brian, my pacer did a fabulous job of negotiating my eating. He got me to eat, to jog, to drink, to go. Over Sugarloaf my energy came back as Brian made me eat 3 goos,2 gels, 12 oz of coke and 14 oz of water. This was perfect, I was rolling again.

At Mayqueen I drank some hot Romen soup, and then got going with Scott Drum who took over for Brian. 5 minutes later I puked up the Romen. From there, for the next hour and a half I could not keep any liquid nor food down. I finally resolved to run the last 7 miles without food or water. Towards the end I was able to take the smallest sip to wet my parched mouth. At times I trudged on stopping only to puke. During one of these ‘breaks’ Ryan, and Jeff Browning passed me. Scott got me through. I trudged up the last few miles of the course on Boulevard, trying to maintain and finish, which I did in 7th place in 19 hours 2 minutes 4seconds.

Sands had gone on to win in 16:46, with Dylan Bowman in the fastest non-winning time of about 17:19.
Complete results are here: http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/document/0020/6737/LT100_Run_Overall_30_Plus.pdf

Overall, solid run even with some stomach and electrolyte issues. It was great getting to race with friends and great competitors. I want to come back and challenge Leadville yet again.

Special thanks to SportHill http://sporthill.com/ and their continued support, my support team and pacers, and old friends, teachers, and coaches who showed up. I appreciate all the support and fellowship that you extend. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Tough day out there. I, along with MANY others picked you to go top 1-2. Look forward to you taking another shot at it.
    Tim Long