Thanks to Vasque for this great video from the finish line. So cool to run in with my brother! Then of course Annie was there along with the whole crew to celebrate another victory for Gunnison. There are some pictures below too. The really good ones are from Rob O’Dea. Rob is a tremendous photographer and a tremendous human being. Check out his photos from the race. There are a few other shots in here as well. Thanks again to everyone who made this race and victory possible. I am humbled and honored.
This video shows just how crazy it was at the finish line this year. There are few things in the ultra world more exciting than running down the red carpet at the Leadville Finish Line. Thanks again to the trillions of volunteers who make this race happen.
Coral, Annie, Myself, and Mandy. Coral and Mandy, along with their co-worker Angie are the PR folks for Vasque and they are the ones that have to suffer through my 14 e-mails per day. They always respond within 4 minutes. They are the best. I throw some ridiculous requests their way every week, and they never fail to try and make those ideas happen. Thanks for a great season Coral, Mandy, and Angie!
The good folks from Vasque along with Annie and I. Julie and Mark do a ton of behind-the scenes work for the product, the company, and the team. Brian Hall (on the right), who finished Leadville last year, is the product design guy that I deal with. He too, gamely puts up with my outlandish requests on a weekly basis. I always have good shoes on my feet thanks to Brian. Brian will be racing in three weeks at the Lake Superior Sawtooth 100 miler. Good luck man. So cool that the guy who makes the shoes runs 100’s!
My brother Bill and I. My bro flew out from Rochester, NY to be here for this race. So cool to have him out here. He is the guy that dragged me out on my first real run of 5 miles about 15 years ago. I was hooked. Now? I like running. Thanks for getting me out running bro.
My wife… seen here at Twin Lakes ‘whipping up’ a Turkey, Cheese, and Avocado Wrap for my consumption. Annie too, must put up with my whining, not only on race day… but every day and night! She is the best. Period. Thanks for getting me across the finish line in 1st place again babe. She has now crewed for Leadville victory 3 years in a row and 4 total podiums at Leadville.
Here is a shot of Scott Drum and I at Twin Lakes, mile 60. Scott has taken me over Hope Pass for four straight years now. He is da man! Every year, he knows what I need, when I need it. We are to the point now where words are not needed. Scott also took me in from Boat Ramp to the Finish this year. He has paced me to both Leadville victories and also paced Timmy Parr to victory last year. He is a winner and a huge reason why Timmy and I have won. The kicker?… He doesn’t know it yet, but he could take me down at the Leadville 100. He is a super talented and tough runner. Look for Scott to make his ultra debut this September at the Run Rabbit Run 50-miler in Steamboat. He is good… Thanks for the help buddy.
Here is a shot from the Finish line. My brother takes in the ‘hip-spectacle’ as I hug my wife. This hug is a huge reason why I run so fast. The finish line was insane this year with seemingly many more spectators and cameras than normal. Pretty cool that this race has been taken to another level by the Born to Run book and the ‘mystique’ of Tony Krupicka.
There were 700 people on the start line this year. Epic indeed. 365 or so finished. That is a fairly high finisher’s rate at Leadville. Congratulations to all who finished. Here is a great early AM shot from Rob O’Dea. Rob is one of the best. He is also one of the most genuine and sincere guys I have met. Thanks for caring Rob. Rob is also the guy who rushed to the aid of the fallen Krupicka when he became ill on top of the Power-line climb.
I will have more shots from the finish in the next couple of days. This one is of part of my crew, along with the Lifetime Fitness CEO: Bahram Akradi. Hannah is on the left. Hannah is one of the athlete’s I coach on the CBNT. She is a ridiculously good skier and person. She has come up to Leadville the past two seasons to help crew me to the finish. Her specialty? Making highly visible poster-board signs that I can see from a mile away. Her energy is great and she helps Annie out tremendously throughout the entire day of crewing. Thanks Smith… this race is a good sign for your season to come too. I know it.
Here is a shot from Rob O’Dea. This pic is taken at approximately 6:00am up on Hagerman Pass Road. This is about 16 miles into the race. At this point I am taking a mental inventory of the body to see what I need to do to finish this race. This year, as I mentioned in my previous ‘long-winded’ post, I was taking stock of my ‘tweaky’ and tired legs, my toe-nails, and my slightly bloated stomach. I don’t quite have an answer why the stomach was not perfect. But…bottom-line?… Because of my crew and a sound nutrition plan, including Vespa and First Endurance, my stomach came around and gave me only minor trouble a couple of times. Stoked to mostly have my nutrition system dialed for the first time during my 4 years of ultras.
Another great Rob O’Dea pic. I think this shot is just after the river crossing prior to Twin Lakes at mile 60. Here, I had moved into 2nd place and was really rolling ‘in-the-zone’. The body was holding up, the legs were strong, and Scott Drum really helped screw my head on straight by reminding me to: “stay in the moment.” From here, Adam St. Pierre would pace me to Fish Hatchery. Adam had the unfortunate job of having to nurse me through my low point of the race. With his background as an exercise physiologist at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, I believed every word Adam told me. I trusted his wisdom on salt, hydration, and eating. He kept me rolling. Adam kept me confident despite adversity. Adam saw me suffer… and forced me, through tough love, to not give up. Adam was a gigantic part of this victory. Thanks for the help man.
Despite not looking it, I am feeling pretty good here. This shot says it all: IT’S 100 Miles! There will be periods when the running is effortless. There will be times when the mind is ‘on fire’ with confidence. There will be times when the over-riding thought is:”QUIT.” Through it all, all you gotta do is move forward as best as possible. Cope with the sore legs. Cope with the tired legs. Cope with the ‘off’ stomach. Cope… Cope… Cope. Deal with it one second at a time. As Scott Drum says: “stay in the moment.” I love running 100 milers due to their simplicity, but… I need to learn to cope more on a daily basis. Any advice?
I had to sneak another Vasque plug in here. I ran in the Transistor the whole way. They never came untied. They were never uncomfortable. My feet did not hurt. I had zero blisters. I did not change shoes. I run in the Vasque Transistor because I like them. My feet were solid the whole way and I am thankful for shoes that allow that.
I will be training very minimally over the next 10 days in anticipation of the Grand Teton 100 coming up on September 4. My expectation is that I can bounce back in time for another 100. Between now and then I’ll be running minimally, swimming a bit, stretching a ton, and riding my mountain bike with Annie. I love the autumn here in Gunnison. I intend to enjoy it. Looking past the Grand Teton race, I will be racing the Golden Leaf 1/2 Marathon in Aspen, CO and then building toward another awesome season of ski coaching with the greatest team in the division. Stoked. I may be silent on the blog for a bit, but look for an update prior to Grand Teton and post Grand Teton.
Thanks for reading. Live well. DC