Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Leadville Silver Rush 50

Last week I ran the Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile race. I knew going into the race that I had to run a smart non-taxing, or at least not too taxing, race. I wanted to treat the race as a longer training day. That being said I knew I would be a contender. I planned on seeing where the chips fell. The race started at the base of Dutch Henry Hill on the south side of Leadville at CMC. The gun went off and I started walking. Granted it was straight uphill for first 80 yards but it felt weird to walk so soon in a race. Others raced up the hill as there were 2 entries into the Leadville 100 to be earned by being first male or female up the hill. Without the pressure I walked up and started jogging, quickly passing out of breath individuals who had tried unsuccessfully in their bid to be first up the hill. I understand their goal and applaud them for it, I was just happy to be starting a nice 50 mile training run.

By mile 3 I had moved comfortably into 2nd place with 1st only 25 yards ahead. We ran along through the trees on jeep roads slowly gaining elevation as we ran up Iowa Gulch.  At mile 7 I caught up to Ethan Linck. We continued up Iowa gulch taking in the breathtaking beauty. What a climb! The trail continued up to nearly 12,000 feet before we gained the Iowa Gulch road and started our decent. The Iowa Gulch road ends at the base of 14er Mount Sherman. Ethan and ran comfortably down the road perhaps pushing the pace a little but I can usually use some downhill pounding. We continued rolling in a controlled manner up to Ball Mountain and around it. Both of us felt comfortable and neither of us tried to drop the other. We ran into the Stump Town aid station, the half way mark. Our time was 3:25. Not bad for a leisurely stroll of a training run.
We turned around ready to repeat our steps. We had about a 20 minute over third place and we both seemed confident yet patient of our running ability. That being said, I started to notice confidence rise in Ethan. It was his day and he was ready for a race. We continued to run as I started to look for crack in Ethan’s demeanor. I was content not to push the pace and just keep a steady pace. Meanwhile I stayed patient and hoped eventually to wear down my opponent. Alas, it was to be the other way around.
We sent back up Iowa Gulch matching each other step for step. At the top we turned back onto the rocky jeep trail and stared our fast pace decent. Within a few minutes I started to cramp up. Ethan must have seen my obvious straining because he instantly took off. We came to the last aid station with Ethan leading by a measly 10 seconds. He blew through the aid station and I stopped for some much needed ice, liquid, and substance. I was there for no more than a 1 minute before I took off again.
I figured I was only a minute back however I never saw Ethan again. He was running scarred and therefore quite fast. I followed the course feeling decent and half expecting Ethan to show up around the next bend. I kept up my pace and finished 2nd in a respectable 7:13:08. Results can be found here: http://results.chronotrack.com/event/results/event/event-6402?lc=en
I was pleased with my run. It was a solid training day that boosted confidence and made me think of how short a 50 mile race really is. A mentally tough place to be, and right where I want to be.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

48 hours in New England

Two weeks ago at the last minute I decided to go race the US Mountain Champs at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. I found a decent ticket, made reservations, and schemed. As with any trip I decided to make the most of it and figured I’d go climb Mt Mansfield, 4,395 feet, in Vermont after the race. I flew into Boston at 8:00 am, Saturday morning. The race was scheduled to start the following morning.

Saturday: I hopped on the subway and took it out to the east of town. I had a rental car reservation in which I had to pick it up east of Boston… not at Logan Airport. A little weird but it was a whole lot less expensive. I did not know where the rental was so all I had to do was go off of my directional instincts. When doing so I know that I am either right or wrong. It is kind of like playing the age old game in which you hide something  and have someone tell you if you are hot or cold. I had a ball park idea of where the rental station was and at least I knew a street number. I got off the subway where I hoped the rental station would be asked a cop for directions and he directed me 2 blocks to the station… Perfect!

I drove north to Lincoln, New Hampshire and Loon Mountain where I did a quick shake out run and then drove over the Kancamagus Highway ( http://www.kancamagushighway.com/  ) to where I stayed with Rich and Sharon near Conway, New Hampshire. Thank you Rich and Sharon! I had a great time!

Sunday: Race day. Woke, ate, drove, got packet, warmed up, ready, started. The race went out fast! I held back so as not to go too hard too soon. Within ½ mile of the start I found myself in 30th place… wow I felt a little slow. Finally 1 mile in I felt solid and passed several people. The race was on. There were 10 people all within 20 seconds in front of me.  This was a stacked National Championship Race! I ran over the challenging terrain continuing to push myself. Overall the race runs up Loon mountain including several sections of steep ski runs that you run straight up… well you TRY to run straight up. One mile prior to the finish is the false summit upon which you then drop 200 vertical feet and then ascend up a 40 degree black diamond ski run for 600 feet called Upper Walking Boss (befitting name) where you top out and finish the race.  I finished in just over 59 minutes. A solid effort but only enough to give me 28th place.

Sunday afternoon: I drove over to Mt. Mansfield in Vermont (my 40th state) and hiked up to the top where I was greeted with fantastic views of the Green Mountains to the south, the Whites to the east, and the Adirondacks to the west with Lake Champlain nestled at their eastern terminus. Instantly I thought I should drive over to them and hike up some of the Adirondacks… but alas time was not on my side. I drove back to Boston, a 4 hour drive, instead.

Next up Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile run…