Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Leadmas" Season is Upon Us (aka Why I Love Leadville)

If you've been reading this blog a while, you know I have a love affair with Leadville. The whole Leadville experience has become, quite simply, a huge part of my life and the life of my family. It's not just me running the 100 miles; it's an epic effort that Anne and Noah, my mom and dad, dear friends and beloved members of my family all share in on one fine day in August. For me, though, the process starts much earlier as my training ramps up and I hit the trails--an experience that requires a lot of sacrifice on my part and my family's, too.

Leadville is so important and cherished to me that today at 11:00 AM MST I logged onto the race's website to enter the 2012 100-mile run at the very second registration opened. I simply could not fathom missing the LT100 in 2012, or being locked out of registration, and so I confirmed my entry at the earliest possible time. When my registration went through and I got my confirmation e-mail, I breathed a sign of relief. I truly believe the day will come when Leadville turns to a lottery system due to overwhelming demand, and by then I hope to have enough finishes to earn an automatic entry into the race--kind of like how they do it at Hardrock. Until then, my entry will come in the second registration opens!

Me running up Hagerman Pass. 2011.
Like many of us, the town of Leadville has endured its ups and down and continues to deal with a lot of pain to this very day. If you've been to Leadville, which is situated at 10,200 feet in the Rocky Mountains, you probably know all about the town's boom and bust story and what the closure of the Climax mine in the early 1980s did to its proud, hard-working people. Leadville came within inches of death. The creation of the Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run by out-of-work miner Ken Chlouber, followed by the Leadville Race Series (which Ken and Merilee Maupin created together), has helped breathe new economic life into the town, bringing thousands of visitors to Leadville and its glorious mountains every summer. We can only hope the new owner of the race series, Lifetime Fitness, continues Ken and Merilee's wonderful work.

I think we all in some way have dealt with pain and adversity in our own lives. I know I have. And so I find inspiration in a town like Leadville, which has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. In many ways, the town has come back from the dead and reinvented itself as the High Altitude Racing Capital of the World. Like many people out there, I have a special place in my heart for Leadville. It's one of the reasons why I wanted to move to Colorado in the first place.

As for the 2012 race, it feels good to have it penciled into my calendar. As of right now, it's my big event for next summer. If by some miracle I get into the Western States 100, my strategy will shift a bit to a strong finish at Western (sub 20 hours) followed by a "strong-as-I-can-muster" finish at Leadville. That would be two epic 100-mile efforts in a period of seven weeks. For some guys and gals (like this dude or that dude), such a feat would be a cake walk. For me, this will be quite a challenge. In 2009, I finished 1st overall at the Mohican 100 and then about 11 weeks later ran 131 miles at the USA 24-Hour National Championship--an effort that really took a toll on me. So it would be interesting to see how I would do with a Western States/Leadville double. That said, I'm well aware that my chance of getting into Western is very low, which would mean Leadville--and the sub-20 finish there I've been chasing for a few years--would be my only focus. That's just the way the WS100 lottery works these days.

Parting words: You are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can. That's the motto of the Leadville 100. Words to live by? Yes, indeed.

And, last, my personal Leadville 100 theme song:


  1. I am glad I found your blog as I am wanting to get into the ultra scene over the next year. Also recently watched the running man movie with Arnold but this blog appears to be a better use of my time.

  2. Steady Pursuit:

    Thanks for the great feedback. and welcome to The Running Man, where we all share a passion for running trails and road! I hope you get into the ultra scene because it's an exciting and wild ride.

    Also, The Running Man with Arnold was a great movie. I'd actually rank it as my all-time favorite Arnold movie. Then there's Predator, another great Arnold movie. "Get to the Choppa!"


  3. So when do you officially kick off a program for it (or is that now)?

  4. GZ: I'm also planning to do the Georgia Marathon in Atlanta on 3/18, which means my training will really start in December. But not until after the marathon will I really start to "think" and "focus" on Leadville (and hopefully WS). Right now I just want to base-build and recover from a lot of racing this year.


  5. I have been to your site a bunch of times, but only read archived articles because I am looking for something specific. Today, I was looking at your site and notice Mount Evans Ascent . . and I realized you were a local. And recognized you, we ran together on evens for a while, but I just couldn't keep the pace and ended up about 8 minutes behind you. I am a lot stronger now and want to chew off another 30 min off that time – wind permitting.

    We must have crossed paths here and there. I mostly train at Lookout/Apex area, Mt. Falcon, and for flat runs Bear Creek.

    Leadville 100, I too was waiting impatiently, freakin' excited, for registration. Did I beat your registration time? . . . This email confirms your registration for the Leadville Trail 100 Run, submitted on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:02:46AM MDT.

    This will be my first 100 and the training has begun!