Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Road to Leadville

My blog is now getting about 300-400 page views per day. That comes to about 128,000 page views per year from readers logging on from across the world. Through the power of analytics, I know that this blog reaches folks from the US and Canada to the United Kingdon, France, and far off and far out places like China, Russia, Australia and other areas of the world. When I started this blog in late 2007, never could I have imagined such a readership. This is both gratifying and humbling.


With the Eisenhower Marathon now behind me, my eyes are beginning to set on Leadville. But before I go into my return to "the Race Across the Sky," I'd like to confess that this week has been very difficult. I've been fighting something that has left my head congested, my mind foggy and my body weak. Maybe a cold or mild case of the flu? Maybe allergies? I'm on Claritin and hoping for the best. I went into the marathon well-rested, so I don't think this bug has anything to do with post-event exhaustion.

Until a few days ago, I was kind of down in the dumps about what went down in Kansas last Saturday. My initial reaction, when I crossed the finish line with the clock at 3:10 and change while Anne and Noah cheered for me, was, "The weather wouldn't allow for a PR today; I did my best." I remember saying to Anne as I crossed, "Don't worry, I'm not mad." And at the time I kind of meant it. She was surprised to hear this from me because I usually get really pissed at myself when I fail to achieve a goal. This is both a good and bad characteristic.

But then on Sunday and especially Monday, I started to feel really depressed and was beating myself up over not achieving a PR, much less breaking 3 hours when I'd broken 3 in my last three road marathons before Eisenhower. I convinced myself that I'd lost my mental toughness and determination and that the Wyatt of 2008 or 2009 would have overcome the heat, humidity and wind to set a new PR. All the while I felt like crap from this cold, flu or allergy problem, so really I was in a cycle of self-doubt and flagging self-esteem.

On Tuesday night I seemed to have made some kind of transition, because I started to feel much better and think about my next race. I have added the Cheyenne Mountain 50K on 4/23 in Colorado Springs to my calendar. This looks like a pretty runnable course and good practice, especially when I've spent much of my winter and early spring on the roads getting ready for Eisenhower.

For whatever reason, this reminds me: My foot is doing much better. I haven't felt any plantar fasciitis pain in a while. An injury that sidelined me for seven months seems to now be behind me. The key is avoiding a re-injury, because plantar fasciitis can end a running "career." My orthotics have served me well, as have yoga stretches, especially my resistance bands and the "Downward Dog" stretch.


So here's what things look like going backward from my next big goal race, the Leadville 100:

8/21: Leadville Trail 100 - The Big One. My Own Super Bowl.

7/2: Leadville Trail Marathon - Excellent practice for the LT100, but unfortunately not on the 100-mile course. This race is all at 10,000+ feet and tops out at 13,185 feet for 26.2 miles of ass-kicking action that hopefully I'll have done in less than 4:30, which is a pretty good time. This race, while not technically an ultra, leaves you feeling like you've just done an ultra.

6/18: Mount Evans Ascent - No time goals here except a quality effort between 10,000-14,200 feet on one of Colorado's greatest mountains. Planning to run back down for a total of 29 high-altitude miles on the day.

5/21: Jemez Mountain 50-Mile - 10-11 hours on my feet (the winning time will be between 8.5-9 hours--yeah, this course is beastly). I'm considering dropping down to the 50K option, but this will depend on how I'm feeling going into the race. My concern is that 50 miles on the Jemez course might severely trash my legs at a time when I need to be getting in some quality training for Leadville. If you want an idea of how hard Jemez is, click here for Lucho's report. By the way, Lucho finished top 10 at Leadville in 2010. But don't take my word for it. Here's the 50-mile course profile:

4/23: Cheyenne Mountain 50K - The goal is quality practice and some time on the trails. FYI, Cheyenne Mountain is in Colorado Springs and home to NORAD.

If time permits, I'm planning to venture to Cleveland in late July to pace my pal, Ted, at the Burning River 100. If there, I would go the last 30 or 40 miles with Ted, making for a great time and an excellent final long training run for the Leadville 100. Of course, it'll be wonderful reuniting with the old crew in C'town for a few days.

In between my races, I'll be running the trails here in the Front Range and up in the mountains. In June and especially July, I'll spend quite a bit of time in Leadville covering every inch of the course.

Challenge Yourself. Go Long. Push Your Limits. Discover Your Inner Champion.

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