Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Leadville Marathon Race Report

I definitely went into this race worried about how much pressure I was putting on myself. Its hard not to think about the fact that this is your last race of the season if you don't place. That's it...over before it really even begins. 
Ball #1
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're telling me I have a chance? Girl 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!

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Ever since Quad Rock I've felt like I've been in a tailspin. I had kinda forgotten that the week after a 50 you really can't get back to hard training without really risking injury. So mentally I was frustrated that I wasn't really training. I was running, but it was all easy recovery runs. No matter how much I told myself this is just how it is I was still frustrated...exactly why you need to remember this upfront. 

As soon as my legs started feeling better the kids started dropping like flies...stomach bugs and strep ran rampant through the house and it was really a week of just trying to survive. 

I went to Meyers one day to do a time trial and see where I was at fitness-wise. Every step felt harder than I thought it should be, I was breathing hard, my heart rate skyrocketing and my time 2 min slower than my PR. Dan reminded me I was less than 2 weeks out from Quad Rock and still probably not fully recovered, but my mind instantly went to Mosquito Pass and if I'd be up to snuff to get my ass up the pass. About an hour later I found myself sitting in the Children's urgent care listening to what I already knew...James had strep. Really the only reason we even went to urgent care was I knew it was strep and didn't want to wait until the next morning to get him on meds. I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and with lymph nodes that could have passed for watermelons. I guess that might account for the terrible run. That pretty much shot any chance of real training for the rest of the week. 

Finally three weeks out and I feel like I'm back in the groove. I didn't do any structured training but tried to get the mileage up. I got in some great runs, saw two rattlers at Apex, marked the North Fork 50 course (well nearly 23 miles of it) and cheered on Dan at the NF 50k. All with Dan in NYC for the week and playing single mom. We all survived the week so mostly if call it a success! Oh and Dan rocked the 50k especially for having just got off a flight the night before and a week of a lot of work and not much running. He's in much better shape than he gives himself credit for right now so we'll see how it goes at Never Summer but I predict a huge PR. 

One more week of hard training before LTM and then we'll see if I was able to do enough. There's only one way to find out and soon enough I'll be in Leadville ready to prove if I got what it takes to run hard, throw down and give it my all and hopefully in the end walk away with a golden coin!