Sunday, July 12, 2009

Leadville Marathon Report

Leadville Marathon Start

Leadville Marathon. Ouch! I forgot how tough this marathon is. So far just about all the training I’ve been doing has been up to 10,000 feet. The Leadville starts at 10,000 and goes up from there. It has five major climbs with the biggest one topping out over Mosquito Pass at 13.100 ft. The scenery is incredible. So much so, I took a camera with me and took pictures along the way. When I got to the top of Mosquito Pass I even stopped and had a picture taken with Ken Chlober, the race director.
CRUD was there in force and we were all off for a great adventure. I couldn’t believe how good I felt right from the beginning on the long climb out of Leadville. I continued to feel great over the first three climbs including the long steep rocky climb to the top of Mosquito Pass.
Feeling Good Loving It!

However, Roswitha and I had a bit of a logistical screw up and I didn’t get any food at the 10 mile aid station, which I paid dearly for later. Although I didn’t know it, at the top of Mosquito Pass (13.1 miles) I was leading the 50+ age group and somewhere in the top 20 over all.
Mosquito Pass with Ken
I had only one gel since the start and it was 3 miles downhill to the next aid station. The descent from Mosquito Pass is steep, rocky and treacherous. It takes total focus and concentration to run it down at a decent pace. About 2 ½ miles down I bonked hard. And it was immediate. I instantly went from feeling great to terrible. I made it into the aid station cramping and incredibly hungry. I was able to get a little bit of Hammer Gel from Roswitha and a Power Gel from the aid station. The Power Gel gagged me and I almost puked. Leaving the aid station is a bit of a climb and I was really feeling bad. I kept telling myself its only 10 miles to the finish and I could tough it out. A couple times I got so light headed that I was reduced to walking and staggering. I kept catching my toes on rocks and tripped and fell pretty hard once while going uphill. It seemed like hundreds of people where passing me. I started getting negative thoughts and feeling sorry for myself, thinking I could DNF the Leadman on the first event. I finally made it to the next aid station and sucked on 4 – 5 oranges and ate some watermelon. I sat there for a few minutes thinking I had to keep going even if I had to be medically evacuated. So I headed out to the 5th and final climb, up and around Ball Mountain. At this point I was trying my best to trick my mind in to thinking everything was fine by being thankful to be out in such a beautiful place and how lucky I was to be in these incredible mountains. If anything, this was a good because it was a good lesson for the 100. Never take in too little (or too much) calories on such an arduous undertaking.

Bonked an Barely Moving

I eventually made it to the last aid station and had some more watermelon and oranges. I was starting to feel better and it was pretty much all down hill to the finish. Some of the descending was very steep and loose, but it seemed things were coming back and I was racing again. After finally coming off the trail and on to the dirt road that led back into Leadville I was pretty much fully recovered and even caught and passed one of two people before crossing the finish line in 34th place overall and 3rd in the old guys category.


Despite the bonk this was an incredibly fun race. The atmosphere, the scenery, and the magic of the mountains can’t be matched. I made some serious mistakes during this race that caused some pretty serious suffering. But just like life, serious mistakes are the ones we learn the most from. It’s much better to make these mistakes the marathon than the 100 mile race. One down, four to go! The adventure continues!



1 comment:

  1. Congrads on your come back finish! I thought of you while I was up there this weekend showing my friend Jane the mountine bike course. Let's all ride together soon!