Sunday, August 25, 2013

Leadville 100 Lessons

Well, my recovery from Leadville so far has been incredible. I have zero muscle soreness and feel fresh as a daisy. My knees are still a little achy but otherwise I'm A-OK. I think this is all due to the big volume I put in over the summer. When you're in good shape, you recover quicker.

In thinking about what went down last weekend, I'm really just so glad I finished the race. A time of 22:40 (even as I still believe I was in sub-20 or at the least sub-21 shape) is quite good--all things considered--and I'm glad I was able to battle through some tough spots, including my horrible puking episode at the Hopeless aid station. Mostly because of cramps and stomach distress, I spent seven hours on the Hope Pass double crossing--an hour and fifteen minutes more than I should have. I felt pretty awful for the first 65 miles and then broke through and had a strong final 35 miles in which I passed probably three dozen runners and literally ran up the Powerline climb (something very few runners do that late in the race). While I'm still pretty competitive at heart, I'm thrilled to have finished Leadville, because I know how painful it is to DNF your A-race.

In thinking back to the race, I realize my nutrition strategy at Leadville is still far from perfect. It's very hard to eat at 10,000+ feet! After four races there, it's ridiculous that I still haven't figured out a good nutrition plan. Whereas Perpetuem seemed to work well for me in 2011, this year it was a disaster. I'm really intrigued by GU Roctane and will give it a try this fall. It may be the ticket for next year--I hear it's packed with calories (240/serving), good-tasting and fairly light. Whatever the case, I simply have to find a way to get 300 calories in me every hour.

So, going into 2013, I'm adding "figure out nutrition" to my to-do list. It's a huge need.

As for what I may do for the rest of 2013, I'm seriously considering the Rock 'n Roll Denver Marathon in October. If  not that marathon, then maybe the half. Other races that cross my mind are the Run Rabbit Run and Bear Chase 50-milers. I would pick just one of those three races. I'm most certainly doing a local 5K in a few weeks--it's an annual tradition for me and it's for a good cause (raises money for soldiers). I know my speed is lacking right now, so I won't go into the 5K with huge expectations (sub 19 would be nice). I'm also going to hit the weights soon and work on my hips, glutes, hamstrings and quads. I think the weight training I did last winter had a huge payoff. Plenty of skiing this winter will provide some needed cross-training benefits and a bit of rest.

After Thanksgiving,, I'll probably transition back to Maffetone Method training and stay with that for four months or so. I'm definitely entering the Western States 100 lottery and, if I get in, that'll be my goal race in 2014. If I don't get into Western States, which will probably be the case, then Leadville or maybe some other mountain 100-miler will be the focus. One of these days I'll tackle two "to-dos" that continue to stay on the list:
  • Fast 100K road race (Mad City?)
  • One more crack at 24 hours - did 131 in 2009 and would like to go for 140
In closing, I want to send huge congrats to Scott Jaime on setting the fastest known time on the 486-mile Colorado Trail. Scott lives in Highlands Ranch and is a tremendous runner, completing many Hardrocks and finishing third there this year (he finished second behind Kyle Skaggs in 2008). Scott finished yesterday (Saturday). Here's a short video of him after he finished his eight-plus day trek on the CT.


  1. So, was the big volume this year worth it? You upped your mileage considerably and tripled your vertical, but you finished slower than in 2011. Would you do it the same way again? Just curious.

  2. Jeff: Good question. Not quite sure what you're getting at, but I will say this: I have zero regrets about how I trained. I was out of work for 3 months this summer and training pulled me through a difficult time. Something was wrong with me in the first 65 miles--I puked at least 25 times in the race--but then I came alive and was strong in the last 35 miles. I did have a puking spell at mile 86 that slowed me a bit but oh well. It was a great experience and I look at it more as a journey than as a result. That said, do you know how hard it is to earn the big buckle at Leadville? I know guys who have tried for years to get the big buckle but who have fallen short. I have three. It's amazing that I finished in 22:40 when I was in such rough shape at mile 60. So, no regrets. On the contrary, I'm super proud. But I do want to dial in on nutrition.

  3. I agree about having a Tabor aid station, especially if they don't cap it to 1000 runners next year. I hesitate to take much from Hopeless as they always seem pressed for cups. Running up the powerlines is tremendous man, great race!