Monday, July 22, 2013

One More Week of Leadville Training and Then the Taper Begins

First things first: I have a job! I'll be starting in early August. To say I'm excited would be an understatement. This is a great job and the work will be rewarding. It's been tough being out of work this summer, but I've tried to make lemonade out of lemons and spend more time with my family, (re)evaluate my career goals, and get in awesome shape for the Leadville 100.


It’s hard to believe, but I have one more week of Leadville 100 training and then the taper begins. I’ve fallen behind in regularly updating this blog…mostly because I’ve been focusing on getting ready for the big race. The week of July 8-14, I nailed 101 miles, 15.5 hours and 16,000 feet of vertical. That was my first 100-mile week in a few years (though I’ve had a few 100-mile seven-day stretches). The week that just ended saw 85 miles, 14.5 hours and 15,000 feet of vertical--a bit low but I had my reasons (more on that below). On Tuesday, I set a new PR at the Manitou Incline with a 26:04, and then ran up to Barr Camp and back down into town, gaining 4,200 feet. On Friday, I ventured to Grays and Torreys peaks, two notable 14’ers that aren't far from Denver and sit along the Continental Divide, and bagged both mountains in about 2.5 hours, logging just shy of 4,000 feet of vertical and battling through what was clearly an off day for me. Grays and Torreys sit right next to each other, with a runnable saddle connecting the two. The trails on Grays and Torreys are extremely technical.

View of Grays Peak, elevation 14,267 feet, from Torreys. I'm standing on top of Torreys and had just summited Grays. To get a sense of how big the mountain is and how small we humans are, note the trail to the top and the small specks of black (people) near the snow.
View from Grays Peak.
Spectacular view from Torreys Peak.

Unfortunately, on my way down from Torreys, I experienced some stomach issues stemming from a virus I “caught” from my son. This bug has been kicking my butt over the past few days. On my run at Deer Creek Canyon yesterday, I really struggled and didn't have a lot of energy or strength. Today, I’m taking it easy and may not run at all. I plan to be back in action tomorrow and will have the pedal to the medal through Sunday as I put in one final big week.
This week, I’m going to try to get up to Leadville and do the Hope Pass double crossing once again. It all depends on how I’m feeling from this bug. If I’m still feeling compromised but can run, I may instead do Twin Lakes to Pipeline and back--a fairly "easy" run. We’ll see. I’m planning to attend Brandon’s annual night run in a few weeks. That’ll take us from Fish Hatchery to close to the finish—a critical section that most runners complete amid exhaustion in the dark or early morning hours.
In working on my goals for Leadville, it’s apparent to me that I need to be strong on Hope Pass. It’s easy to lose time on Hope, especially the “backside” coming from Winfield. The backside of Hope is steep and has some rocky, technical sections that require careful navigation. It comes down to focusing and refusing to give up. A lot of people get fixated on the front side of Hope, which brings 3,400 feet of climbing, but it’s really not that bad because it’s not that steep or technical. The backside is without question the hardest-core section of the entire Leadville course.
I’m fortunate that I’ll have some great pacers out there. Chuck R., who just recently finished sixth overall at the Leadville Silver Rush 50-mile run, and Scott W., who has completed some 50Ks and 50-milers and is looking to eventually add the Leadville 100 to his list, will be helping me make progress toward my goals. My crew will consist of my mom and dad, Anne and our son, and AJ, who is a Leadville 100 finisher and one of the tougher dudes you'll ever meet (assuming AJ can be there).
As far as nutrition, I’m trying not to overthink that element of the race. All summer I’ve been training with water and the occasional Hammer gel and wearing my Camelback on every single run to get used to it. Unless I’m going over 2.5 hours, I mostly rely on just water. I know on raceday I’ll need more than just water. I’m planning to carry water in my Camelback, take gels on a regular basis, and properly refuel at the aid stations with whatever looks good. I may carry a bottle or two of Perpetuem (which my crew will have) or Coca-Cola. The larger point is that I’m not going to overthink nutrition and logistics; I'm just going to run and enjoy the experience.  The good news is that all summer I’ve responded well to altitude (versus last summer when altitude runs made me sick), and so I’m hopeful I can execute a good nutrition plan on race day.

My weight is holding steady at 159-161 pounds (which is 6-7 pounds below my usual race weight), even as I'm eating like a horse and enjoying a good beer every single day. I also just went over 200,000 feet of vertical for the year, which is insanely high compared to previous years. I may go over 300K this year. As far as mileage, I'm now over 2,000 for the year--similar to what I did last year at this time--only my total time on my feet is way higher. So, in a nutshell, I'm running good mileage, putting in excellent time on my feet and climbing a ton.


I don't care who you are; it doesn't get any better than Bob Seger! The man is as authentic and American as they come. No one has been able to replicate his sound
'cause they know it's untouchably unique. This has been my theme song for my Leadville 100 training this year.

Keep rocking!


  1. Congrats on the new job. Sounds like everything is coming together nicely... almost time to taper!

  2. You are going to do awesome at the race with the amount of miles and vert you've been getting in. Good luck on surviving the taper! Sometimes backing off is the hardest part for me.

  3. A job??? And you call yourself an ultrarunner?

  4. It has been a crazy summer for you, but you've been able to train hard and nail some races already. Let's hope it culminates in a great day August 17th. The way you are running, I might not have been able to hang with you anyway :)

  5. Everything is lining up perfectly for you to have a killer race Wyatt. Excited to be a part of it and to help you see your full potential.