I’m sure my five readers are wondering how I did this past weekend with my back-to-back races. Considering I didn’t exactly train how I thought I should, I think I faired pretty well. And by “pretty well” I mean I finished both. Here’s how it all played out…
The boy, Erika, Danielle, and I headed up to Leadville on Friday night. And I really do mean “up.” Leadville is the highest city in the USofA at 10,430 feet elevation. On Saturday morning, Danielle and I prepped as usual (or as best you can when you are camping) for the big race. We all rolled into town around 7am for packet pickup and eventually made our way to the race start.
Danielle and I knew this would be a tough one, climbing to 13,185 feet at the top of Mosquito Pass.
With nothing to prove and no time goals, we started the race at a slow, conversational pace. Of course, the route began on an uphill. And as you would assume, there really wasn’t much relief, save a brief mile or so down hill, before the final, brutal ascent.
I had read that the average finish time for the half was 4h and 14m. So, I guess I was going for 4h and 14m. Or at least a minute faster. To be honest, I really had no idea what to expect. At least it was beautiful.
We ran until about mile 5.5 or 6, when the only choice was to hike. Everyone was hiking.
One of the best parts was watching all the frontrunners coming down the hill. Seeing the lead men and women was such a rush. They are some of the most encouraging people, too. Good job! You’re almost there! Keep it up! Nice job! It was like having a personal set of cheerleaders. You couldn’t help but to return the favor and encourage their pace and stamina.
When we finally summited, at the top of Mosquito Pass, at 1h and 55m, it felt like a huge accomplishment.
Now for the fun part and the faster part…downhill.
The rock field on that last mile or two before the summit was hard enough to maneuver hiking up, much less trying to run down it, avoiding the runners still ascending! There were a lot of little slips and ankle rolls along the way. Once we finally made it past that part, I was beginning to feel queasy. I recalled the same feeling from a previous run I had not two months prior. Uh oh. I tried my best to keep my mind off of it.
The hard part of this race for me were the final few miles. The small downhill we had on the way up (about a mile) was now an uphill on the way back. And although is was SO minor in comparison to the hike up to the summit, it felt much worse! Over 7 miles of uphill, followed by 5 miles of downhill, my legs were revolting. But I pressed on, each pink and black flag that marked the course were my points of contact.
With only two miles to go, my stomach began to revolt. I knew I had been doing a lot of jiggling around, coming down the pass so quickly, but this felt mulitcolor yawn worthy. I tried to ignore it as much as I could, especially since I was now only a half mile from the finish.
Finally, with just a few hundred yards to go, I had that feeling. That feeling that something is going to happen and you just can’t stop it. Since there were no porcelain gods on the course, I frantically made my way off the course to unswallow everything in my stomach (which wasn’t much). Sorry, town of Leadville.
Naturally, not one to quit, I kept running and even passed someone on my way to the finish. Danielle and I crossed in 3:11.
Before even getting my medal, I made my way to the side of the finish and wished there were trash cans there because I cried Ruth one more time. Sorry, Leadville. Now, I just feel like I owe the town of Leadville some community service.
*Note to all Race Directors: PLEASE have trash cans at the finish line so queasy people like me, who can’t figure out why they are getting queasy all the time at races now, can vurp in a contained area, as opposed to streetside.
After I assured the volunteers that I did not need a medic, nor a phone call placed on my behalf to 911, I cleaned up and laid down for a while. I’m lucky to have a boyfriend who isn’t totally grossed out when I readjust my fluids. Or if he is, he just doesn’t say anything, but helps me anyway. I really need to figure this out.
Once I was feeling better and smelling better, sans the runner B.O., I returned to the finish to finally meet Courtney! What a cutie! With her lulu shorts and fancy camera and easy conversation, I knew I liked her right away. Can’t wait to run with her soon! She was waiting on her main squeeze who was running the full.
This was a really tough course. Really. Not for the faint of heart. The incline alone was difficult; coupled with the elevation and this was a bear of a race. On one hand, I would love to do this race again, knowing exactly how to train now. On the other hand, I don’t ever want to do this race again!
I would be completely remiss if I didn’t say a big thank you to all of the race volunteers. Everything was very well organized and the aid stations were well stocked with great snacks, plenty of liquids, and fabulous people! They were happy and encouraging and it felt as though they wouldn’t imagine being anywhere else!
Because I had another half marathon the next day, I knew I needed to eat and take care of my legs. We headed back to camp to load up. Danielle would be going back to the Denver area; Erika, the boy, and I would head 2.5 hours north to Steamboat Springs, where I was looking forward to sitting in a hot tub.
AG (30-39)- 12/73 (apparently, this is a really competitive AG; especially in trail running; I mean, 12 of top 21 women were in my AG?!)
Next up: Steamboat Mountain Madness Half, the 2nd race of the weekend, and a huge bonk!