I love Leadville. There, I said it. Some may think that is a crazy statement. I can think of few places better suited for ultra-endurance training during the summer. The altitude is fantastic… perfect for us guys who go slow anyway. The temps. are almost perfect, and the scenery cannot … cannot … be beat. Heck, there is even an abundance of flat running… which can not be said for many mountain towns in Colorado.
I made my second trek this summer to Leadville this past weekend… it was great. Annie let me jet right after work on Friday. My plan was to get in a short run on Friday night.. car camp, and then run one of my last long runs of the summer on Saturday. The weekend was like clockwork. I rolled up there, and was running by 7:30pm Friday night .. around Turquoise Lake (see pic below)… a great 8.5 mile; 1 hr run on the Turquoise Lake Trail.. it was amazing.. I caught the great sunset and actually felt decent for a change… the run was “up-tempo” for some of it.. and I carried the camera. I camped just next to the turn off for the Tabor Boat Ramp, (not a real camp site) (all the campgrounds were full). After a pasta dinner and listening to K-love on the hand-crank radio, (thanks Dad), I was ready for a good night’s sleep.. and I really did not get it. The mosquitos were brutal, so I had to sleep with the hatch to the Subaru closed, and thus I was wedged in there really tightly. I woke up to a fantastic sunrise, and a strong desire to go run for 6 hours.
I did just that… I ate and threw everything into the car and drove into town to begin my run at the LT 100 start line. I got there and decided to run with two hand bottles and my pocketed shorts to carry the requisite food (gels, bar, and sharkies.) This system seemed to work out well for me and I planned to fill up my bottles at the Mayqueen Campground water spiggots. I ran out and made it to Mayqueen in 1 hr. 45 min… and then headed up and to the top of SugarLoaf.. in just under 2hrs. 45 min and proceeded for a few minutes toward the Fish Hatchery.. and then I turned around and ran back in essentially the same time. I felt “off” during the first 1 hr. of the run.. and amazing from 1 hour until 5 hours.. at which point I started to slow down back up the “Boulevard” climb. I ran everything at just under 9 min. pace and felt really good doing it. A total of 38.5 miles at sub- 9 min. pace for a total run of 5 hrs. 39 min. This is what I needed to feel. I have been feeling so “off” all summer and this was absolutely the best I have felt since the very beginning of June. I think with some brains this next couple of weeks I can really hit a good race on race day. I believe the race is wide open. I believe in my fitness.. and I am confident in my race plan and my preparation. I can’t wait to get to that point of no return…. I look forward to that point of “going to the bottom of the well.” This race will be a test of character. I will be ready.