Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Next Up - Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run

Time For Leadville!
Burning River 100 is over and done with.  Now it's time to focus on Leadville.  1 week of recovery, 1 week of taper and now it's race week.  Let the fun begin!

Day 1, Saturday August 14, 2010
I arrived in Denver Saturday mid-day after an easy flight beginning at 7:30 AM in Burlington to Chicago to Denver with fellow VT ultra runners Joe Carrara & Mike Weigand.  We're here a week early in hopes of acclimating to the high altitudes.  We grabbed a rental car and headed off to Boulder to visit a college buddy of Joe's for an afternoon lunch BBQ.  Had an excellent time and great food.  This started race week off with some serious carbo loading.  Afterwards we headed to the mountains.  For the beginning of the week, we'll be staying in Silverthorne, about 25 minutes from Leadville.  And from Thursday through Monday, we'll be right in Leadville.  On the way to Silverthorne, we stopped at Loveland Pass, altitude 11,900 for training run # 1.  We planned on doing an easy 4 mile run going up the trail to some peak with an elevation of 12,500.  4 miles is usually no big deal but get 3 flatlanders running uphill at over 12,000 feet, just 12 hours from leaving home with an elevation of 400 feet,  and it can be quite the experience.  As soon as I got out of the car to put on my brand new Mizuno Wave Cabrakan 2's, even bending over was a challenge.  I felt a bit light headed and was moving rather slowly.  As soon as we started out, the run became more of a run/walk.  The lungs were feeling odd and the head was on another planet.  I could barely run/walk a straight line.  Finally we arrived at this unknown peak only to continue on running down the ridge a bit further to get in the full 2 miles out, as according to Joe's Garmin.  On the downhill, I was starting to feel better.  Only to turn around and run back up this peak before the long descend back to the car.  The head was in and out of the clouds and the lungs were working harder than usual.  We all survived but all got a reality check about the altitude.  Afterwards, we arrived in Silverthorne and checked in to the hotel.

Day 2, Sunday August 15, 2010
I got to finally sleep late and then it was breakfast time.  Free continental breakfast and they have a waffle maker, my favorite!  Pastries, bagels, fruit, muffins and of course the waffles, yes I had all of that.  A great way to start the day and prepare for the days run.  Today we planned on running the first and last 13 miles of the course.  Being an out and back course it makes it easier to preview as you only have to run half the distance to see the entire course.  We started the run at the May Queen Aid Station area, elevation about 10,500 and were running the course back to the finish line.  The first half of the trail runs along side Turquoise Lake.  A very nice single track trail with incredible views all around.  I was feeling great at this altitude with no problems, or so I thought.  Immediately at the start of the run, my lungs were not feeling right again and I was getting dizzy.  I did some "power breathing" and relaxed, slowing down a bit.  After about 2 minutes I was feeling much better.  Onward to enjoy the run.  We ran at a decent pace without pushing too hard and the trail was in excellent shape and only slightly rolling.  Very Nice!  I can handle this. 

Joe & Jack
Mike & Jack

After running around the lake, it was on to some power line trail then a combination of paved and dirt roads towards Leadville in the hot sun.  I took it easy on this gradual climb back into town enjoying the scenery along the way.  The final 1/2 mile was a slight uphill climb to the finish in downtown Leadville with some amusing remnants of the bike race held the day before visible on the road.  Chalk writing on the road said, "Lance is a wimp".  (Lance backed out of the bike race at the last moment and the town of Leadville made it well known).  Afterwards we met up with Charlie from Lake Placid and a bunch of fellow ultra runners from Texas for some pizza at the local pizza joint.  After lunch we spotted an establishment on the main road offering a 2 for 1 special.  2 PBR's for only $1.  How could we turn that down.  And they were ice cold and tasty! A great way to end the day in Leadville.

Enjoying the PBRs
Downtown Leadville

Day 3, Monday August 16, 2010.
Breakfast and waffles again after sleeping late.  A great way to start the day!  Today we planned on running Sugarloaf, the second highest peak of the race at an elevation of 11,100.  We had planned on running this with some of the fellow Texans we met the day before and with Charlie but the rains had come in and it was pouring.  Everyone bagged it except for Joe, Mike and myself.  Charlie helped us drop a car and then headed for the hot springs.  It sounded like a good idea as we sat in the car preparing to step out into the rain for this 7 mile jaunt.  Once we got going the rain was not a problem and it stopped within the first mile. A bigger problem were my lungs, that strange feeling again deep in, but again after a couple of minutes, they felt fine.  After about a mile on a road, we headed onto a trail and up the power lines to climb to the top of Sugarloaf.  Nothing too technical but a good steady climb with many false peaks.  But there were also some plateaus and small sections of downhills on the way up.  I took it rather slow and steady sort of race paced as this will be the climb from mile 78.  Once we reached the peak it was another 2 or so mile downhill to the car.  Nothing too steep but a good solid downhill effort with some tricky footing near the end.  We lucked out with the weather and it turned out to be just right with cooler temps and overcast skies.  Afterwards we headed to Leadville and had lunch with Charlie at a local spot in town.  For excitement after lunch, we got to watch Joe get his hair cut at a local barber in Leadville.  Her name was "Mud" and she was a biker chick so she and Joe got along just fine.

The Gear:
The new Mizuno Wave Cabraken 2's arrived on my doorstep Friday miday.  Just in time for Leadville.  Have run in them since Saturday on all kinds of terrain.  Very Nice!

New Mizuno Wave Cabraken 2


Derrick said...

Good luck Jack!

Unknown said...

Thanks Derrick. It's been a fun week so far and it's always an adventure to travel to new areas for races.

Zeke Zucker said...

Give 'em hell Jack! Zeke

Anonymous said...


Nice race report. Thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to the next one.