The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

…Leadville Trail Marathon


I’m all settled in Canberra now, so it’s high time I get back on this blog-wagon!

I have to play some catch-up with a very real, very serious marathon I ran nearly a month ago…

When I was considering my Colorado race schedule early this year, knowing full well I’d be moving out of the country in June, I had this wild idea to run the Leadville full marathon as my send-off race. I considered it a “goodbye gift” to myself before heading off for foreign lands. Interestingly enough, the majority of my training would fall in the three months Nick would already be in AUS (he had to start work in April) and the marathon would fall the weekend before our wedding.

At the time, all of this seemed SO well planned. I would have uninterrupted training time and I would be in fit shape for the wedding! And yes, I did have uninterrupted training time. But I was so consumed with finalizing wedding plans, finishing my school year, packing up my classroom, packing up our apartment, and preparing to leave the country, that my mind was in a million different places. Constantly. Scattered. And my heart was in Australia with Nick.

Despite all of my distractions, I did stick with my training plan; I just didn’t get the mountain/elevation workouts that I had hoped for. I had run the Heavy Half in 2012, and I knew what would be expected of me. X2. So, I was uncertain how I would fare once on the course. A course that had to be rerouted due to snowpack still on the mountain. A course that once rerouted, increased in difficulty. Good thing I knew about that after-the-fact!

Original course profile:

But, this was a race to be run. Not to be raced.

If you know anything about Leadville, CO, you know that it’s a historic mining town in the Rocky Mountains, that it is the host town of a huge run/bike series in the summer, and that it is situated about about 10,100 feet elevation. And the race course just goes up from there, capping out at just over 13,000 feet. So, I started slow. I paid attention to my body, yet also others around me, getting subconscious tips from them, and stopping at every aid station. I felt that with the elevation, combined with the distance, I needed to ensure that I was fueling, despite the time cost. I race enough with time constraints placed on myself, so this was a nice interruption from my usual MO.

During the first half of the course, I really wasn’t feeling the high elevation. My lungs didn’t feel any different than they normally would when running in the mountains. There was a lot of climbing/hiking, but I took it in stride, knowing that hiking up the mountains was just as efficient as running. Or more. For me.

This was the view on my way up Mosquito Pass (the second and main climb on the profile above):


A very windy climb to the 13,185 foot summit of Mosquito Pass and despite the smile, I was freezing!


I felt great on the way back down for my second half of the course. I was still keeping it easy. Drinking a lot of fluid. Eating what I needed to. Taking in the scenery. I was blessed enough to have Nick there, who had arrived into town the night before; he would be there to support me from beginning to end. Oh how I had missed him… Nick and Chase showed up around mile 17. It was so great to see them at that point! When I was tired, the hardest part was done, and I just needed a little boost to get me through the rest of the race.

But those final 9 miles were harder than expected. More climbing, combined with my trashed legs, presented a true challenge. This race was not for the faint of heart. I think I had to dig the deepest in these final miles. Not because I wanted to stop, but because I wanted to finish.

I ran the downhills, hiked the climbs, and cried a few tears as I rounded the corner to 6th street in downtown Leadville, that would take me to my red carpet finish.


Time: 6:39:15
Overall: 272/435
Female: 57/103
AG: 19/34

It was done. I had earned my mug and medal. But the best part of all, was having Nick back in town to be my cheer squad.


After this, it was all wedding business.



10 thoughts on “…Leadville Trail Marathon

  1. You go girl! We crossed paths on Mosquito pass (I recognized your Oiselle singlet!). I couldn’t agree more that the back half of that course was SO much harder than I was anticipating. I was telling myself after the turnaround it would be an easy run home but those climbs hurt!! Me legs felt too trashed to even really run the downhills well… Good luck settling in in Oz πŸ™‚ can’t wait to see what it has in store for you

    • I just looked up your results! Holy Moley! You killed it!!! That was one tough race. Wish we could have run together before I moved. But I plan to be back in CO after our Oz stint, so we’ll make it happen eventually. πŸ˜‰

      • Yes! I would love to run together when you’re back! πŸ™‚ my sister lived in Canberra for a bit (her husband is from Melbourne originally) and they loved it. She’s much more into cycling than running, but she said it was a pretty active community which they enjoyed. They really loved where they were living beforehand in the Blue Mountains which looked gorgeous! Psyched for you guys to start exploring πŸ™‚

  2. Awesome job!!!! You killed it with that time too…I am still registered for the 50 this coming weekend, but won’t be going because of this injury I haven’t run since March. We wanted to do the full instead of the 50 this year, but had to be out of town for a wedding. Hopefully I will get back to Leadville next summer.
    Looks like you are settling right in down under! So happy for you and Nick!!

    • Ugh. The hip, right? What is the prognosis? Leadville will be around next year, and the year after, so you have plenty of time to ramp up and tackle whatever distance seems right at the time! πŸ™‚

      • The hip 😦
        It was SI joint disfunction. I did about 10 weeks of PT and got a cortisone shot into the joint. It’s doing waaaay better, just weak now so trying to strengthen it up!
        Training for NYC starts in about 2 weeks, so going to slooooowly ease back into things.

      • 10 weeks?! Crazy! Good luck with training. Going easy is never a bad thing. Excited to read about the progress!

  3. That course is such a beast! Love the pics – it’s so pretty!

  4. yah. girl! so proud and happy for you! NOT an easy race by any means!

  5. Two words: HOLY SHIT! (Followed by two more: YOU ROCK!)

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