Photo: Brandon Yonke
I didn't go in feeling like I had peaked or was even really that well trained. Since Quad Rock I really hadn't gotten in much quality running...maybe not really anything of any real quality. But now it was go time so I just had to trust that I had it in me somewhere to be able to go top 3 and get that coveted gold coin.
Dan and I decided it would be too tough to try camping with the boys the night before and probably still too cold for them. So I drove up first thing in the morning. You know when it's already 50F in Leadville at 7:30 in the morning its going to be a hot day. I was about as mentally prepared for the heat as I could be but I hate running in the heat. I found Elizabeth before the start, gave her a hug and wished her well as I headed to the front of the starting line. I also hate starting that far up, but I knew I needed to line up further ahead than I'm comfortable.
As the gun went off and I felt myself start running I knew I honestly had no real game plan for the race. I think it was about 20 seconds before I thought oh shit this is WAY too fast! I didn't even want to look at my watch, but a quick glance told me I was at 7:30 pace and getting passed. Let the halfers go I thought, it'll sort out at the turn. I turned off the pavement and onto the dirt road in 6:30...I was already 2 min faster than Rob's time and I was pretty sure that was not because I was going to be that much faster overall than him. Once I hit the dirt though I was able to settle into the gradual climb up to Ball. As I climbed I began to remember the miles and my previous times. Aid A...1:15 I think...3:00 to the top of Mosquito...I hit both those times perfectly.
|Ball #2 |
Photo: Brandon Yonke
I felt like I had climbed well to the top of Mosquito, but I was already back to around 15th I think. I was behind in nutrition despite feeling great at altitude. I got a little dizzy in the last 1/4 mile up Mosquito, but my stomach was hanging in there great. My hands were swollen so I started doubling up on the Nuun and that helped immensely. Coming back down Mosquito though felt like a total cluster. I was passing people coming up, passing people going down, I just couldn't get a rhythm going at all. I have no doubt that my superman expedition in 2014 was playing with my head and holding me back as well. Still I managed to pass a couple girls on the way back to B. As I came up on B I saw Sandra running toward me and was super excited to see she, Dan and the boys had made it! I gave a few quick kisses, filled bottles, and gulped down a few cokes before heading back out toward A 1/2.
I was really still feeling good. Maybe its because I was now starting to move at an obnoxiously slow pace...well at least for where I should have been. I don't know it just really felt like I was moving well, but I look over my times and I just wasn't. I turned off the road and then made the sharp left turn to go back up that damn climb around mile 20/21. Its miserable and was way longer than I remember it being. I held my place pretty well and stayed close to a couple girls that I knew I'd catch on the downhills. I got to the top and was finally able to let it loose. I picked off a couple more girls on the downhill and was pretty confident I wasn't going to see them again. I remember one guy on that climb turning to me and saying ah last climb I laughed, maybe a bit too much and said oh no there is most definitely one more climb that will make you want to cry, it's not long but its cruel. He found me after the race to let me know I was most certainly correct about there being one more brutal climb. I felt like I actually managed that one well, but again, my Garmin told a different story. By the last downhill I knew I wasn't going to PR, I wasn't going to catch any more girls and none behind me were going to catch me. This is a hard place for me because I just can't find the motivation to push it all the way in. I ran well I think my last mile was a 7:34 pace, but I crossed the finish line knowing full well I could have gone out and done the course again.
Now it was time to wait. I finished 10th and 5th in my age group. I had come to terms with the fact that I wasn't going to get a coin, but you never know unless you show up right? And so I did. The 3rd place girl in my age group accepted the coin and I accepted my fate. And then I hear oh we have another coin for this age group, lets see who else is still here...you're telling me I have a chance? Girl #4...no response...lets see if anyones here, ah how about a...s...sio...I'm pretty sure the words weren't even out of their mouth before I was racing up to grab my coin. In the end it wasn't pretty, but my A goal was the coin and I'll tell you what...that coin is just as shiny!
Gear: Pearl Izumi Trail M2 V2s; Pearl Izumi Fly Split shorts
Nutrition: Vanilla Gu, Nuun lemonade, citrus and triberry, coke
Hydration Pack: Ultimate Direction UltraVesta
Thanks to Dan and Sandra for the babysitting!