Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Going Back to Leadville; Dispelling Some Myths About Leadville

Well, 2018 is off to a great start on many fronts for me, including getting a ticket to this year's Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run!

As is evident from this blog, Leadville is very special to me, and I'm thrilled to get the opportunity, yet again, to answer the epic challenge of racing 100 miles up in the Rocky Mountains this August. Last year's race was such a bummer on many levels, including my bad knee, and I am eager to get back at it and get another hard-earned finish.

My goal all along has been to finish the Leadville 100 ten times and earn the 1,000-mile buckle. At this point in my life, I am more inclined to take things year by year versus making big personal declarations. I would love to earn the 1,000-mile buckle one day but I would rather focus on the journey instead of the destination. Right now, I'm focused on finishing Leadville in 2018, which would bring me six finishes.

This is going to be an especially busy year on the work front, so I don't anticipate being able to get to the mountains a whole lot to train--definitely once a week and, if I'm lucky, twice a week. I will do what I can and make do with what we have here in Parker, hills and all, along with life at 6,200 feet. That said, I am confident my mileage will be very solid (as it always is). In the end, if I'm limited in my ability to get to the mountains more than once a week, I will compensate for it by running more miles and keeping a good focus on quality.

Speaking of quality, I have continued to hit the mile repeats every week. I am finding that I can run in the 5:40s range for my first and second mile repeats but then lose some steam on the third. I know in my head I should back off a bit in the first, allowing me to hit the second and third repeats with 100% effort. I am working on that. It's not easy to hold yourself back when you're feeling fresh!

In the early spring, I will start to incorporate tempo runs into my routine, so every week I'll be doing mile repeats and tempos. All of that should set me up well for my core Leadville training during the summer months.

The schedule for 2018 as of now includes the very down-home, old-school-feeling North Fork 50K on June 2 and the Leadville 100 on August 18. Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the Leadville Trail Marathon or Mount Evans Ascent due to family commitments. I would like to add another event or two--potentially the Colfax Marathon. I might also pace a buddy at the Western States 100 if I can pull it off schedule-wise (big if at this point).


A few days ago, I read a disparaging Facebook comment about the Leadville 100. Someone didn't get into the race and another poster commented--opined, I should say--that it's not a great race anyway since it's "corporate-owned." While it's true the Leadville 100 is currently owned by Lifetime Fitness, the race does not in any way feel "corporate-owned" to me. For starters, many of the aid stations are staffed with volunteers who have been a part of the Leadville 100 for years and, in some cases, decades. These volunteers help make Leadville what it is: an epic race with 35 years of rich, colorful history.

Plus, the race is always well-attended by thousands of supporters, many of them there to crew for runners but others on hand just to take it all in. All of these supporters add an electric feel to the Leadville 100. Unless you have been up to "Cloud City" on race weekend, you cannot imagine the electric atmosphere

Then you have Ken and Merilee, who started it all in 1983. They are still intimately involved, ensuring that the experience remains authentic. For example, just as she always has, Merilee is still there at the finish to hug every runner crossing the line. Ken still gives the always-powerful pre-race pep talk and you learn all about how the Leadville Legacy Foundation is tangibly benefiting the community and especially graduating seniors at Lake County High School.

Also, the town.... What else to say about the town of Leadville except that it's as authentic as it gets. It's the anti-Aspen (not that I don't like Aspen; I do, especially the Maroon Bells) in that Leadville puts on no airs and is the opposite of elitism (though the views of the Sawatch Range are elite in my book). You go there to enjoy a real mountain town with real people...along with world-class coffee and pizza (among other awesome things).

In a very real sense, at least to me, the Leadville 100 today is still just as authentic as it was ten years ago. The cheap skepticism of some because Leadville is "corporate-owned" and the 2013 race had some issues (that have since been addressed) is just that--cheap. Leadville continues to offer runners a very unique experience that they will never forget. It is a world-class race that oozes history and will push you to the very edge of your perceived limits.


Here's to a great 2018! 


  1. Congrats? Anything you expect to do different in this go around at Leadville or in training/lead up?

    1. Thanks, GZ. I have come to accept the fact that I tend to puke a bit when running up in Leadville, so going into this race I will accept that fact and just go with it. This year, as it'll be busy on the job front, I am going to do what I can. I am positive my mileage will be very good. A big change this year is that I am very committed to mile repeats, which for me build a lot of strength. I am sure it'll help me come Leadville time. Plus, tempos, hills, etc.

    2. Any consideration to changing to something on the stomach that might help with the puking? It seems it takes a bit for people to find it but that is an element that makes or breaks a race for a lot of folks.

    3. I had a bit of an epiphany on your Slog run and that's that I should do more to train my gut. Eat heavy meals before long runs and eat a lot on my runs to train my gut. I have tried almost everything I can think of. I do think UCann came the closest as far as working the best. My big problem in Leadville is that my gut usually shuts down around mile 50 so whatever I put in comes out. I know for Bob Tailwind worked. I have tried Tailwind and had mixed results. I could see how many it might work well with UCann (alternating, that is).