Today: Run – Leadville course, ~30 miles
Tomorrow: Bunny cages, COHRS, 3 hours
05:45 – I have been up for about 1/2 hour and am gathering my stuff to head up to the course to run roughly the first 21 miles of the course and then back to Leadville. I’ll be doing some food tests, getting a feel for this portion of the course and seeing how well things are going in general. I’ll provide an update later today.
17:45 – 12 hours later… I am home and showered. The jury is still out on what to think of that effort. The following is a full report:
I arrived in Leadville about 8:15 and, after using the second filthiest restroom in Scotland, donned my gear and started running about 8:30. It was a gorgeous day and already warm when I set out but I brought along some ballast for the hell of it (jacket, cell phone, etc.). Note to self, bring the bare minimum during the race. Let’s just say that my pack was pretty heavy.
I followed the course with relative ease to Turquoise Lake and around to May Queen Campground, the site of the first checkpoint during the race. I arrived a little early, about 2 hours in, giving me a somewhat speedy 10-minute mile pace. I ran the majority of this section and believe that come race day, I’ll want to back off a great deal.
I filled my water bladder at the available faucets, took a brief rest stop, and headed out to hit the Colorado/Continental Divide Trail just outside the May Queen limits. At this point, I wasn’t feeling horrible but definitely wasn’t feeling great. I had been eating fairly well but feel that I actually may have been drinking too much during this first leg. Hard to tell but my stomach had a sloshy feeling that was a little disconcerting.
The Continental Divide Trail gains a fair amount of altitude quickly – deceptively so. By now, I was starting to run/walk cycle and was definitely walking any uphill sections. I have had a recurring issue with muscle pain in my middle back and it was back with a vengeance along with some serious hamstring tightness/soreness in my right leg. I’ll have to ask Shirley about that on Monday.
I finally made it to the Hagerman Pass Road (supposedly a mile but it seemed much longer) and headed west up this gradual climb. Normally, I would run something of this grade but opted for a run/walk mix to the Sugarloaf Pass cutoff. The north side of Sugarloaf (whatever side I was ascending) was actually much more tame than I expected and I made the summit without even realizing it. The back side, however, is another story. This was rough going on the descent and I do not relish the thought of having to climb back up after roughly 80 miles. It is loose, trenched-out and quite steep in spots. I’ll be hitting this at night as well (unless something goes particularly awry). It seems longer than the front side too. Bonus.
I actually still felt okay when I hit the pavement at the bottom of Sugarloaf (~22.5 miles in) and deviated from the course to complete my loop back to Leadville. During the race, I’ll bang a right and run along this road about 1 mile to the Fish Hatchery aid station. Today, I went left to complete the loop around the lake. This is where I started feeling quite poorly.
It was definitely warm and running on pavement is neither my forte or my preference but I suddenly felt like hell. I kept up my run/walk cycles, tried to choke down food and liquids and keep moving. the 1.3 miles back past the golf course felt like an eternity and the .8 back north to rejoin the race course was worse. My back was killing me, I was having problems running. Not so good.
I rejoined the course at about the 4.5-mile mark and headed east. I was just trying to keep up the run/walk action but found myself stopping from time to time to try to stretch out my back. My hamstring was feeling a bit better at this point but I was still unable to sustain any semblance of a run as I headed back up the Boulevard and back to Leadville. I had hoped to be able to run the last mile back to my car but only managed to run about half of this section and made it back to the car in just under 6 hours and ~29.1 miles. Hmmm.
So my goals have not really changed: Primary – finish in under 30 hours, secondary – sub 27, tertiary – sub 24. I managed roughly a 12-minute pace for today but am a little concerned about how to keep this up for about 3.5 times the amount of mileage. Given, I don’t really have to but based on how I felt today, I am not encouraged. I think I’ll be fine, just a little troublesome.
They say there is no such thing as a bad run and even given today’s trials and tribulations, I have to agree. I got out for 6 hours, familiarized myself with the course, got up to altitude, experimented with food and whatnot and learned some more about pacing and how my bod reacts to this type of pressure. Good times.
I took a couple of shots during the run
which I will try to post later. (View the full album here.) Right now, I am going to put my feet up for a bit and relax.
See you out there.