My blog is almost exclusively reserved for sharing my race reports, but to be honest, I'm a bit bored while waiting on race day to arrive and I wanted to share some of the fun we've been having while acclimating and relaxing in Leadville.
I'll let you know right away that this isn't a particularly funny post. It's not really exciting either. But there are a few good pictures and a few funny comments. So feel free to skim along.
Downtown Leadville at Dusk
After running a tough mountain race is Wyoming, Jo and I traveled directly to Leadville, Colorado to prepare for the Leadville Trail 100. Running El Vaquero Loco a week before the LT100 may not have been the smartest move, but sometimes I just can't say no.
The plan was to rest, relax and recover as best I could so I would be fully prepared to tackle the double crossing of Hope Pass and still have legs to carry me back to downtown Leadville.
With that in mind, I decided to run the Leadville 10k as soon as we got into town.
The Leadville 10k runs out and back on the LT100 course. I know this section well and knew it would promise an uphill run to the finish. For obvious reasons, I had no intention of being competitive. I teamed up with my buddy, Cole Chlouber with plans to run an easy pace.
Me and Cole Pre-Race
Jo and Our Friend Alison Before the Race
My legs felt awful and my heart rate was amped up. Not good signs. Cole and I parted ways near the finish so he could beat some chick to the finish line. I thought about following him, but I sincerely didn't have the legs for it.
I finished in 51 minutes and felt like I had run a marathon. I'm pretty sure at this point that I'm going to die on Hope Pass.
I quickly put those thoughts out of my head and decided I wouldn't run another step for the rest of the week.
THE ROCK GARDEN:
Panoramic of LT100 Course From the Rock Garden
The Rock Garden is the most scenic part of the LT50 course and I wanted to take Jo up to the trail so she could see it for herself. There's no crew access in this area, so it was totally new territory for her.
We drove to a point where we could access the trail and hiked the course. We made an ascent that took us off the course and gave us a perfect aerial view of the entire 50 mile race course from 13,000'.
Hanging up HIGH
Working on Acclimation
We logged 7 leisurely miles and had a great time. I was happy to be able to share this with Jo because this place has always been special to me.
THE MTB RIDE:
I've been packing our mountain bikes around in my truck all summer with the intention to actually use them. I figured it was about time.
Not wanting to do anything too extreme, Jo and I decided to ride the Mineral Belt Trail. This is a 12 mile, paved trail that circles Leadville and tours through the old mining district.
We were able to take several little side trails along the way and explore beyond the mineral belt.
Me Showing Off my Incredible MTB Handling Skills
Jo Cruising the "Trail"
Like most athletes, I think I can do anything that requires athleticism and endurance. I will now freely admit that I'm a crappy mountain bike rider.
And I STILL have a sore ass!
THE TRANS ROCKIES RACE:
My pacer, Leon, and our good friend, Sean, were running the Trans Rockies Three Day Stage Race. This race begins in Buena Vista and passes through Leadville. Heading out to watch people run is the next best thing to running myself and it's also a great distraction.
Stage 2 Finish Chute at Twin Lakes
Sean Coming to the Finish
After Stage 2, Sean was on the podium and running well. Leon was just focusing on running well, but leaving plenty of fuel in the tank to pace me for 50 miles during my race. Both guys have ambitious plans.
Leon Soaking His Tired Legs in Freezing Water
Stage 3, and the final leg for Sean and Leon, starts in downtown Leadville, right down the street from our hotel. This leg is 24 miles and takes them to Camp Hale. Jo and I went down to see them off!
Sean and Leon
Running Through Leadville
After they were off, Jo and I went to packet pickup so I could get checked in for my race and get my race number. Then we headed to Camp Hale to great our friends.
Tent City at Camp Hale
Right after we arrived, Sean crossed the finish line, stealing 2nd place overall by 4 minutes.
WELL DONE SEAN!
Leon Finishing His TRR Adventure, All Smiles
A Beer? Cold Soak? Perfect!
It was awesome to be there to support these guys on their run. The Trans Rockies Run is a pretty cool event and I hope to run it myself someday. But not until I've beat the LT100 into submission.
THE BEER MILE:
The First Annual Two-Mile High Beer Mile was something that I couldn't pass up because it invokes a level of excellence in two skills that I happen to excel at. Running and drinking beer. Quickly.
Poor Leon had never even heard of the Beer Mile and I was eager to share this with him.
Me and Leon Pre-Race
For those that are unfamiliar with the Beer Mile, it's an actual event and it has real rules. We begin by chugging our first beer when the race starts. As soon as you finish your first beer, you run 1/4 mile, returning to your pile of beer where you drink again. This is repeated until the end of the mile.
The fastest known time (FKT) for the beer mile is sub 5:00. And no, I do not hold that record.
I was the first to finish my beer (I know) and I was OFF!!
Me Leading Early On
Practicing Levitation Skills
Leon Has a Drinking Problem!
Me and Bryon Powell Getting it Done
I had lost my lead and was falling behind. My drinking skills were stronger than my running skills today and I was paying the price!
Bryon and I kept swapping places, with him running faster and me drinking faster. But he was gradually pulling ahead.
Leon Avoiding a Penalty by Drinking Spilled Beer Off the Ground
Having Trouble Getting the Last Beer Down
I finally finished in 5th place, well off the podium.
Pacing Leon on His Final Lap
The Beer Mile Runners That Are Also Running the LT100
The beer mile was a blast and was attended by some pretty serious runners. But not so serious as to avoid running a beer mile two days before a 100 miler.
After the Beer Mile, Jo and I were invited to a pizza dinner hosted by Bryon Powell and irunfar.com. The dinner was attended by an amazing group of runners, including Meghan Hicks, Bryon Powell, Nick Pedatella, Ian Sharman, Sean Meissner and many others. The food was amazing and the company was incredible!
Seated With Some of the Best!
Ian Sharman Proving He's NOT Awesome at Everything
Our Pre-Race week has been a series of great times. The thing that really strikes me about Leadville and the running community is that it's actually very small and tight knit. I invest a lot of myself into these adventures and its sometimes more demanding than I can afford. But when I'm too old to do these things, I'll be able to look back on my life, my history and reflect on the amazing people I met, experiences we shared and places we left our foot prints.
Today is the day to finish preparations and get mentally prepared for the upcoming adventure. I feel good, have confidence and have never been so eager to get to the start line.
I hope my next blog post can reveal an incredible journey and will include a picture of the Big Buckle. The prize that has alluded me for far too long.
Thanks for all the support.