My heart weighed heavy as I walked to the starting line on 6th Street. I wished Rob was there telling me how great the extra vertical on the course would be. I thought of Fiona and Ryder, two awesome little grommies with Ds who had lost their fights this week. I knew Rob was holding their hands sitting on a mountain top watching us as we prepared to run. I thought of Annie, another beautiful lil grommie with Ds, who was fighting a courageous uphill battle, but never stopped fighting. As the national anthem played I looked to the bright sun in the clear blue sky, wiped a tear from my cheek and vowed to fight for every mile today.
Dan and I were lucky enough to get some inside tips that there was a course change and a copy of the new route on Thursday. Of course we had no idea how much elevation this would add to the course. At the expo the guy going over the new route mentioned a pretty steep section on part of the change. Ready or not we were off and running down 6th. I felt surprisingly good running down 6th. Last year I began to worry as I was already feeling out of breath. I kept a pretty steady pace uphill for the first 2.5 miles and then we started going down. I was expecting a short downhill here, but instead it kept going for about 3/4 of a mile. While I enjoyed it I knew it would come back to haunt me in a few hours. Then we were back to climbing and I was pretty sure that would continue to the first aid station 6 miles in. I finally arrived at 1:15 which was right on pace and I felt pretty good about it. It was super windy and I was starting to get pretty cold so I filled my water bottles quickly and then headed out.
There were some awesome views of ball as we headed around the trail. I was trying to keep a pretty fast pace hoping to drop down out of the wind quickly. Soon enough we were on a pretty steep and technical decent. I had a hard time keeping much of a pace here with the loose rocks and unsure runners. I knew I was losing time, but was more concerned with not losing my teeth on a rock. Somehow in my head I told myself this downhill was the part we weren't doing on the way back. Oh how that would turn out to be a lie! We came out on a forest service road that quickly joined up with the heavy half course. From there it was a short 1.5 miles to Aid B before the climb up Mosquito. I had vowed to run as much as Mosquito as possible and so far I had maintained a good 60 hike 30 run on the steep sections. So I continued this for about a mile up Mosquito before the trail got too steep for me to maintain that pace and I resorted to primarily hiking. Near the top of the pass I was able to resume a 90 hike 30 run pace and was feeling pretty good. I passed Elizabeth, Peggy and Bill and we exchanged hugs and kisses. Then I saw David heading down and was amazed at how well he was doing. He was really looking strong. A few minutes later I hit the summit and paused to take it all in. You never reach a summit without taking a minute to appreciate it...that's just a rule no matter how much you're racing for a time.
Half a mile down the trail my hand and elbow began to sting and I realized I should maybe take another quick peak. Another quick assessment revealed blood was now completely running down my left arm, both knees, both hands and a significant chunk of skin was missing from a knuckle. I still didn't think anything was more than a surface scrape but figured I'd have a medic take a quick peak at Aid B. I arrived at B looking quite haggard covered head to toe in mud and blood. A medic was quickly called as someone else began to fill my bottles. I told the medic I just wanted to be sure none of the scrapes were too deep. He confirmed my suspicions that everything was surficial, but started insisting on cleaning me up. I grabbed my bottles and told him I would get cleaned up at the finish.
|Run for Rob|
I finished with a 5:11 and in 7th for the women. I was definitely disappointed with my time and place, but I had ran my heart out and I can't be disappointed in that. It was a hard day on the trail, there was approximately 800 ft of extra vertical, a superman crash and emotions were running high. But it's the Leadville Marathon, this is what you come for and it's exactly what I got.
Week June 9 - 15
Miles Running: 47.8
Hours Hiking and Running: 9
|Ball Mountain a week before the race|
|new course map|
|Fun at Mountain High Pies!|
|Supporting National Headache and Migraine Month|
|Family recovery run along the Mineral Belt Trail|