Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 the wrap up

2013 the wrap up.

Here is the wrap up of the years results and races, no major breakthrough at any point. I did manage to keep training for the most part and start to get my weight under control. No longer going in the wrong direction at least. Setting myself up for further improvement next year after a good 2013. Of course 2013 was a big year for weddings and 2014 looks to have just as many big non running events, just have to tie some races in with them I guess.

January 13 Hot Chocolate Run 15K. Time 1 hour 42 m 23 seconds
A surprisingly warm day for this winter run with temperatures in the mid 60's.  Course was an interesting in town loop with plenty of the usual ups and downs of any Atlanta run. Very surprised by the size of the event, with 7,351 finishers in the 15 K and another 9,083in the 5 K this was certainly a mega-event.
Considering that I was only starting to get back in shape I was very happy with how this run went. The 15 K distance was a good challenge without over extending myself. This did reenforce my need to get training more regularly and to drop weight back to decent levels.

January 19 Hog Pen Gap 18 K. Time 2 hours 33 m 13 seconds
Again very nice weather for a winter event. Ran early section of the race with Ray Henry, also met Tim Roberson and Krazz at the race. A very enjoyable run even with the hills kicking my ass and my ass being way too heavy to push myself up them at any sort of respectable pace. The climbing is always the breaker in this event and continues to be my biggest challenge.

February 16 Sweetwater Creek Trail Half Marathon 13.1 m. Time 2 hours 45 m 50 seconds
Temperature around 40F not too bad although the wind did make it feel rather brisk. Managed my pace well throughout the race and was able to give a good kick during the last few miles. The course was changed a little from the previous year which made for a less congested start and a tougher finish, overall a good adjustment. Nice to run this race with Amanda as she shook off the flu to do this. Ray Henry did not have as happy a day and found the course a little too much for him. Of course Pete Eckman went out way too quickly and couple with a nasty bang on the knee had a rough day.
For me all went well and I considered this to be a good kick off for the year, better than I expected.

February 23 Thrill In The Hills, Trail Half Marathon, Ft Yargo, GA.13.1 m. Time 2 hours 27 m 58 seconds.
The course was extremely muddy for this after a few days of heavy rain, this only added to the challenge. That the course has no big climbs made for overall a fast run and for me it was a great run, really enjoyed it. Amanda had a brilliant day out and in her second trail race ever she came second in her age group and broke the 2 hours. Kieran Reynolds choose to do the marathon as his first attempt at the distance finishing strong and coming second in his age group. Ray Henry enjoyed this one a lot more than last week even if he did tweak his knee a little again with a few miles to go. Overall a great day out for everyone.

March 9 Dirty Spoke Off Road Duathlon 3.8 run, 10 bike, 2.1 run, Ft Yargo, GA 2 hours 21m 29 seconds.
My first time every doing any sort of a race on the mountain bike, I got talked into doing this by Ray Henry as he figured his running fitness and biking experience would really come together on this. Having not been my mountain bike much in the last twelve months it is not a surprise that I found the biking to be really tough and a hell of a lot of fun. The second run after the bike did seem to take forever as my legs really were not all that interested in running agian. A wonderful feature of triathlons and duathlons which I had not prepared myself for. Oh well a fun event and all the better because I managed to beat Ray by a few minuted with myself and himself being second last and last in our age group. Ah sure we can only improve, hopefully.

March 17 Publix Georgia Marathon 26.2 m Time 5 hours 26 m 53 seconds.
Well this was not exactly the way this race went this year, of course a look back at the events I have completed over the last few months paint a good picture of the path I put myself on. Following my training plan never really worked out as I expended way too much energy taking part in actual races and then needing some recovery time from them. Just to top things off I got a dose of the flu so along with a nice hot day coupled without the ability to breath well this was a very long and painful day. Happy to say I finished but it was five and a half hours of hard labor. Oh well maybe I will learn some lessons from it, number one of course being do not get the flu and as importantly do not over do it by signing up with too many events.

 March 23 Trillium Trek Trail Run at Elachee Nature Science Center, Gainesville, GA. 10K. Time 1 hour 13 m 21 seconds
The kick off event for Ray Henry's bachelor party. Ray, Shayne and I headed off to Gainesville despite the constant rain and sporadic lightning. A good race on tough trails and some challenging climbs late in the event, of course all of the mud made thinks a little more interesting. All of us finished in one piece. No great kick in me as recovery from the marathon is still on going.
The rest of the day was also a great success right up to Hurley breaking out of the yard but that's another story for another time.

April 1st Clonakilty, Ireland. 10K. Time 0 hours 59 m 59 seconds
So now time for a trip back home for my sister Frances' wedding and a chance to do a 10k down in West Cork in beautiful Clonakilty. Dragged all the Whooley  runners out for the morning. A great showing by all and a good fun race. Despite the extremely cold temperatures for early April. Very happy to have broken the hour. Followed up with a week of running in Ireland and all wrapped up with Francis' wedding. Good times.

April 20th Sweetwater Creek 50K. Time 8 hour 42 m 1 seconds
So following a great wedding and fun week in Ireland I arrived back in Atlanta to try and be prepared for the Sweetwater 50 k. Unfortunately a chest infection meant that it was a long slow day. Cannot claim that my training had been great but being sick was a killer. Completed under the offical cut off time but not the success that I had asspired to at the start of the year. Once again over doing things earlier in the year meant that I cannot get the results I want in what are supposed to be my goal events.Not very motivational for bigger things later this year, time to reconsider my plans for later in the year.

May 18 Twisted Ankle Marathon 26.2 m. Time 6 hours 38 m 18 seconds
Good weather generally after a wet week made for a nice day on the trails once I got passed the new fire trail section which was a brutal life sucking mud pit for a mile all uphill. Rest of the course is pretty rocky so no concerns about the wet week. The rest of the race went very well and ended up running the last 12 miles with two guys I met during the race, Wayne Shelton and Tom Jarosz. The conversation and company made for a very enjoyable day on the trail with the peak being the water melon at the 19 mile mark, very refreshing and helped put life back in dead legs. Generally felt good all the way though even if I was wrecked at the end. Amanda really kicked ass and won the women's half marathon. Ray Henry had to give the race a skip due the minor hiccup of a really weird stroke a few weeks before, he is planning on hitting this one hard next year to show that he is fully recovered. Tim & Katie Roberson and Pete & Kristy Eckman all really loved this so should be a good crew of us back up again next year.

June 22 Haw Creek Trail Race, Cumming, GA. 5.5 mile. Time 0 hour 56 min 0 second
A great two loop course with some quick pulls on a very fast course. Lil and Colm were visiting so it was great to get out and do a race with them. Amanda won her age group and Colm won his and Lil shattered her expected time coming 5th in her age group, I was delighted to break the hour, so fun was had by all.

September 1st Georgia Jewel 100 miler, not happening this year, I just never got my act together properly in order to do this. Going to be part of plans going forward, possibly as part of a build up to Leadville again in the next few years.
I did decide to sign up for the Pine Mountain 40 miler in early December so there is plenty of work to keep me motivated for the next few months.

October 12 Oakhurst Arts Run 5K. Time 0 hour 26 m 13 seconds
Been training hard, getting a lot of miles in as well as being consistent with speed work. All paid off this morning when I was able to push hard for the entire race and delighted to come in well under the 30 minute mark. Some very good positive feed back and affirmation that I am improving. Having dropped multiple pounds and keeping them off has of course also been a huge improvement and help. Very surprising how much this race took out of me given the short distance, training was certainly effected for the next week.

November 28 Atlanta Thanksgiving Half-marathon 13.1. Time 1 hour 59m 17 seconds
Well it was the coldest Thanksgiving day in Atlanta in 102 years which made for a very brisk morning. Rather cold waiting for the start and after the first mile and half I just had to push harder to change my pace which meant I disconnected from Ray. The result was a great race for me with my best half marathon time since late 2010. All the training for Pine Mountain really helped, of course the plan had been to take it easy today to save myself for Pine Mountain, hmm, hopefully I did not take too much out of myself and will be ready for Saturday week. All said things appear to be coming together now as I have shook off the cold that I had which sidelined Amanda for today. Just need to give my legs some rest time.
Ray had a great race also and finished much better than he expected, a great recovery from April.

December 8 Pine Mountain 40 Miler. Time 10 hours 12 m 24 seconds.
So good it got it's own entry, click here

December 31 final day of 3 mile minimum since December 14.
Made it out every day once I let myself recover from Pine Mountain, felt good to have a achievable yet still a stretch goal to push on for the end of the year. Also helped to get through the holiday period with mandatory running to keep me somewhat in shape.
Recorded mileage for the year 1329 miles, will have to shoot for 1500 next year.
That said there is going to be a lot of work to do in 2014 which of course is good that is what will keep me going. Also going to try to stick to the plan of doing less actual races, takes too much out of me and prevents focus on a good training plan. I think I say the same thing every year, maybe I will use the lessons learned more in 2014, maybe.
Bring on the new year and the new challenges.

Pine Mountain 40 Miler, December 8 2013. Time 10 hours 12 m 24 seconds

December 8th 2013 Pine Mountain 40 Miler. Time 10 hours 12 m 24 seconds

Temperatures in the low 40's and lashing rain on the way to the start were not the most inspiring for the event that was to be my reward for training over the last few months and planned as the high point of my running year. Thankfully the worst of the rain passed before the start of the race and temperatures actually made it up to about 50, not the worst of running conditions.
7 am and head lights on and off we went, a mad rushing mass of 143 runners out to have fun for the day. The dawn quickly came and by the time the trail crested the road running the length of the park for the first time it was lights off and full speed ahead, relatively speaking. Having hiked here several years ago I was surprised by how rough the trails were, big difference when trying to push the pace in race. The trails are in great shape and it is constantly up and down so not a lot of rest or cruising. Early on I made the correct call to drop my pace back closer to my planned 15 minutes per mile even though it felt like I could maintain better, apparently I am learning from my years of over extending myself early in races.
Of course the fact the one has to at times scramble with both hands and feet in multiple sections will also "fix" any excessive pace aspirations quickly as well.
First 18 miles went very well, then I hit the lowest point on the course which turned out to be a series of very twisted paths back and forth in a heavily wooded river/stream area. The trail marking were not great here, in my opinion and after a few stumbles and wrong turns I was felt drained with a touch of panic as the cut off time crossed my mind for the first time. Pushing through this area and climbing up to the TV tower aid station was the hardest stretch of the entire race for me, amazing how the loss of mental confidence so quickly translates into physical distress. The fact that I hit this area on my own certainly did not help and connecting back up with some people on the way up out of the valley helped keep me motivated and on track.
Still it was with great relief that I put my eyes on Amanda and Kieran at the aid station jumping and hollering to cheer me on, coupled with some amazing chicken soup. The combination of Amanda's support and the heat of the chicken soup quickly kicked me back into the right mindset. The grilled cheese certainly helped also.

Heading out from the TV tower I was able to get back on pace and maintained pretty well for the rest of the race. Amanda made it to very aid station along the rest of the course and it was a huge boost every time I rounded a corner to see an aid station that I also heard her cheering as soon as I was in sight. She had chicken soup at the ready every time and updates on timing and how I was doing on maintaining my pace. The physical lift and the mental boost each time was immense, knowing how you stand when it's good news is a big weight of your mind. A big hand of M&Ms at the very last aid station, 3 miles from the finish was the final necessary sugar rush to make it to the end

The cumulative effect of the rocky ground certainly did take a toll on my feet and the last few miles into the finish area on the soft forest floor section was a great relief. As always the last mile in seemed to take forever, especially as it was in a very heavily wooded section which was totally different from the majority of the course, almost felt like I was in a different park. Thankfully this section was a reverse of the start so I knew I was in the right place and there was no need for the panic that can come when you think you are lost.
Cut off time was 10 1/2 hours and my plan had been to maintain a pace to make 10 hours so getting in at 10 hours and 12 minutes meets my criteria for success, a great race generally run as I had planned and without any major stress about making cutoff times.
Finally after many years talking about it I have completed the Pine Mountain 40 miler.

On a side note, Ben Gray ran a great race again even if he did finally realize that constant events were taking a heavy toll on him. Still a 7:36:37 time is impressive.
Kieran spent the day popping between aid stations as one of the race support members and demonstrated what a huge part of everyone's success all the race day volunteers are.  Of course I had the added benefit of Amanda as a dedicated support which made my day all the better and sweeter. Thank you my love.

So the plan for next year is that Amanda will run this and I will be the support crew, I am looking forward to returning the favor. Then maybe I'll be back in 2015..

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wow two years gone by since I made a post. Quite the change from the weekly exercise I made of this while in preparation mode for Leadville back in 2010.
So now here I trying to get back in the game as the last two years have left their marks good and bad. Now I am ready to once again take control and work towards my goal - Leadville 100 finisher.
With regard to training and level of fitness the last two years have been a steady grind of going no where.
Injuries that I picked up from a combination of carelessness and excessive enthusiasm coupled with the ever plentiful ignorance have knocked me back and took me no where. Top that off with five months working out of town last year, eating poorly and with an excessive working schedule I have gotten my self to my current condition. January weight in of 216 lbs and delighted to break a 12 minute mile on a flat road course. Not good.

Yet rolling into 2013 in terrible shape, both fat and unfit, I felt the stirrings of renewal. Some basic activity since September had started to make me feel more mobile again so plans formulated in my head.
February do the Sweetwater Creek half marathon - sign up done.
March do the Publix Georgia Marathon - sign up done.
April do the Sweetwater Creek 50 K - sign up done.
May do the Twisted Ankle Marathon - sign up done.
September do the Georgia Jewel 100 miler - sign up to happen but the dates are now set on website so my excuses are running out.

My enthusiasm is strong, the reality check of completing the 50 K in April before committing. At least that is what I am telling myself now, no new excuses allowed.
August 2014 do the Leadville 100

Commitment to my craziness renewed now I just have to drop the unnecessary 40 pounds and knock 3 minutes of my current mile time.

Today was my first trail run of 2013 which had buoyed my resolve and lifted my spirits.
On I go, bring on miles and trails..

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Getting reved up again.

Well I've managed to sit on my ass for the last few months. Just about kept moving enough to complete a few half marathons since August.
Apparently major decompression was required after Leadville. Funny how the mind and body push each other. I certainly felt a change in purpose after Leadville, without the prospect of the big day in front of me there was no motivation to keep up the training and diet I had been following for the last few months.
So now with a few months taking it very easy and enjoying plenty of beers and good chats I'm itching to get back in the swing of training.
Step one of course was deciding what is that I want to aim for, so here now it is 2012 Leadville 100, giving myself this year to build a base again and to add some more long distance experience.
So a some point in the fall or maybe spring of 2012 I will complete a 50 mile race.
More certain for 2011 is the goal of running a minimum of 2 mile each day, regardless.
On top of that it is time to break the 4 hour time for a marathon, the goal being to do this in the Cork Marathon in June.
For an early in the year push I am taking on the SweetH20 50K again, the goal being to complete it in under 8 hours, a 40 minute improvement on last year. I do believe that my deeper experience with ultras will really stand to me in this event this year. Also the knowledge that I need to have much greater mileage under my belt before getting to the start line.

So 2011 will be a building year, working with a sense of long term purpose and also applying the hard won knowledge for the last 12 month.
Time to built a true base that I can maintain going forward.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Leadville 100 report from 60.5 - finished see September 1st post.

Ok so it only took me a month but it is now completed, bar some minor typos etc.
The Leadville 100 report from 60.5 is ready for your reading pleasure, see September 1st post for the full story.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leadville 100 report from 60.5

August 21st 2010 Leadville, CO.
Well it's kick off time after nine months of training time to put everything to the test.
Dry with a temperature a nice comfortable 40 F, could not ask for better conditions, forecast is good for the next 30 hours also so weather should not be a factor.
Amanda, Noreen, Angie and Heather are doing a good job getting a few photos of the kick off and keeping me entertained. Over the all the scene is rather peaceful with over six hundred runners and supports getting ready to head down the road. There is an air of anticipation but as more that two thirds of the runners have at least attempted this before generally people know what they are getting in to. Or so at least I thought. A best of luck kiss from Amanda and that's the end of my preparation. End of the road from signing up on January 3rd, does not seem that long ago.

Ready for action.

4:00 am
And off I go, a little nervous but feeling ready. A very short stretch of asphalt and then it's in to the dirt roads and trails of Colorado. The next 13 miles were a hell of an introduction to this race. Some nice cruising down a few forest roads and jeep paths followed up by some single tracks running along next to the beautiful Turquoise Lake. Of course the fact there was a kayak rescue crew waiting at a few dodgy points on the trail was a pretty good indication of what could happen. The water temperature of probably 40 to 45 F of course would make the kayak a rather necessary item. Lots of chat over the first few miles between friends and strangers hushed up as the more technical stretches of the trail were reached. A good test for my new headlamp while I was fresh and I was very happy to find that it did a great job. Big relief.
6:38 am 13 miles 2 hours 38 min
Into May Queen aid station right on schedule. Heather ready with her camera at the outlet from the aid station. Pity I went around the outside and surprised her, yes the picture on Facebook was staged. Amanda, Noreen and Angie load me up with water and GU then on down the road I head. A few yards on pavement and then into the woods. Pretty quickly it's clear that things are now getting serious. The trail has a very reasonable grade, even a little down hill - quickly learn not to be fooled by that. The fact that I had to pass a mountain biker because he was finding the trail a little too technical was a good indication of how rough things were at this point. This was the kick off to one of  the this race will kick your ass portions.
Some technical uphill to a forest road and then on to a jeep road for the climb up to the power line stretch. A very testing climb over the Sugarloaf pass which tops out at 11,071 ft. The term  jeep road is misleading, road would suggest a degree of engineering and maybe leveling - not so. It was a serious pull up to the pass along an extremely rugged trail. Of course getting over the top allowed me to open up a small bit and make time on the down hill. The downhill follows the before mention jeep road and then switches to running along under some power lines. As one of my fellow racers referred to it this section was like getting through a skate park. A steep grade supplemented by heavy water erosion made for a high speed trip down in pin ball machine style. A few rolls of each ankle were mandatory on this stretch. During one particularity painful roll I had the very amazing sensation of the pain shooting out my right hand via the finger trips, freaky but hey the ankle still works. As a reward for making it down the pinball machine the next few miles are actually on real road, yes such a thing does exist in the wilds of Colorado and I head down to the road to the Fish Hatchery aid station,
9:15 am 23.5 miles 5 hours 15 min
Into Fish Hatchery aid station meeting Angie to drop off my camel back before a quick pop into the porta john, yes such things are necessary when busy undertaking an event like this. Check in with race officials and off again thanks to the rapid reload by Noreen and Angie. Heather was off capturing the moment in pixels. Right on schedule and feeling good. Actually at this stage I'm very happy with how I feel, there is still a good pep in my step and spirits are high. That is good thing because it is a long drag from Fish Hatchery out to the Halfmoon II Aid Station. No big hills or great drama, initially just a long drag along the road and then cruising along some nice forest service roads, uphill all the way. As this is the most exposed section of the course it was great to actually have some cloud cover for these few miles. Mental motivation gets tougher heading for the aid station because I did not have an accurate distance. That data had not been finalized when the maps were planned. So other than a brief meeting with Noreen to swap out Garmins at mile 3  I  was not sure how far to the next break. Ah well, everyone else is going this way so it has to be here somewhere.
11:12 am 31.5 miles 7 hours 12 min
First aid station without having my crew to give me a pick up as Halfmoon II was deep in the wood, at least a 3 mile hike in, driving not allowed during the event. A little much to expect someone to drag a pack of stuff in. Quite the excellent spread of sugar charged refreshments were provided and of course some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Neglected to have my camel back reloaded which turned out to be an error. So four minutes after pulling in, off I go again heading for Twin Lakes. There was a lot of uphill to get to Halfmoon II and as I was now head for the lowest point on the course I had a reasonable expectation of some good favorable grades. Well that was a mistake, eight miles to the lowest point some how became pretty much seven miles of uphill. This was the next step in the ass kicking, I worked hard to maintain the schedule and pace as planned out last night.
Despite over nine months of training and almost two years of planning to do this event it was literally eight hours before hand that I took the time to put on paper what I thought I would have to do to finish on time. This was necessary so my support crew would have an idea when I would get to each aid station. The hesitation in doing so was that deep down I was afraid it would be too intimidating, better to be ignorant. Happily after doing it I was pleasantly surprised to find myself looking at a plan with pace settings that seemed reasonable and doable. Even after some adjustments considering the grade and difficulty of some sections to the best of my limited knowledge there was still a good bit of wiggle room and slack time overall, especially in the second half of the race. So there go the best laid plans of men and mice.
Along the miles to Twin Lakes was where I first started to encounter people that really looked like they were laboring with the time and miles starting to take their toll. At this point the prospect of the 2 pm cutoff to be out of Twin Lakes was foremost in my mind. According to my plan I would be there by 1:25 pm but there seemed no end to the hills so I was somewhat concerned. Finally I got to the stretch of trail that Amanda and I had hiked on Thursday, a big relief as I knew I should only be 2 miles or so from Twin Lakes and that there could not be any more serious climbs left. So I pushed myself to make up time lost on all the climbs, which worked pretty well even along the couple hundred yards that was basically a line scratched across the side of a cliff. Even the 500 runners before me could not beat it into a real trail. This will be fun coming back across in the dark tonight was the thought in my head. Just for the icing on the cake most of the drop to the lowest point on the course occurs in the last half mile before the aid station at a breakneck rate, going to be fun tonight getting out of here.

39.5 miles 1:18 pm 9 hours 18 min
Right on schedule into Twin Lakes. Check in with the officials and a reload of the camel back. I had ran out of water about three miles back. Had to bum some water from another runner at one stage. Yep should have reloaded at Halfmoon II, well now I know. Out of the aid station and across the road to a great reception by Rick and Nicole Roland with Nicole's parents. They had journeyed up from Denver for the day, complete with Gatorade and the best peanut butter sandwich ever. Great to have a few minutes of familiar faces again. Having them here also allowed the rest of the gang time to make the lovely drive up to Winfield along 11 miles of dusty and very bumpy forest road. A quick photo with Rick and Nicole, then off across the marsh heading for Hope Pass. Right on schedule but no idea what I was about to get into.
Just as I was making my way across the marsh, racing toward me came the lead runner, skin, bone and Jesus beard, no shirt required. His pacer was working hard to keep up with him. At this point he was on track to break the course record of around 16 hours, unfortunately he collapsed due to dehydration at the 80 mile mark. A reminder to always to continue with fluid replenishment. Said by the guy that allowed himself to run out of water.

Continuing across the marsh I came to surprise number one of five. In the back of my mind I had wondered if there were bridges or what across the river, that would be no. And it's not one but five rivers/streams of various depths. The final one being mid thigh and flowing so fast that the use of the safety rope in place was an absolute requirement. Oh well at least now my feet are cool and refreshed.
My one saving grace being that I had previously learned the lesson of gortex shoes which keep water out and in. So my current mesh shoes let the water out and the air into dry my socks. Wet feet was about to be a minor issue.
Two miles across the marsh I reached the bottom of the climb to Hope Pass. 3 1/2 miles 3300 feet to go. This is a major ass kicking. Wow this is a lot more than I had expected and a lot steeper and longer. Maintaining pace was no longer an issue, keeping walking started to become a challenge. In my mind I had never conceived that the climb would be this tough. Very steep, very rough, very constant. Focusing on the time did not help as it became clear that I just had to keep moving best I could and then try to make up time on the downhill, after all my pace goals were an average. A few runners came down on the way back, all skinny and bouncing along - bastards. A brief conversation with a guy that had turned around at the Hope Pass aid station did nothing for my state of mind. His claim that it was another mile and a half to the aid station sounded ridiculous to me, he was right - bastard.
Getting to the Hope Aid station I looked up at the remaining trail to the pass, snaking it's way up through a collection of switchbacks. That does not look too bad. Officials tell me it's a half mile to the top, hmm does not look to be that far. So off I headed, damn this is a bitch. Steeper that previous sections, like I needed that, complete with slippy gravel and now lots of runners coming down after making it to the turn around.
Reach the top, no way that is only half a mile. On cresting the pass I almost lose my breath, the view is stunning. There is a ring of mountain peaks surrounding a valley which is just phenomenal to behold. Worth the price of admission. A quick five seconds to take it in and then I plunge into the downhill run, I have an average pace to correct and a deadline to make at Winfield. At this point I am now more than an hour behind schedule, cut off is now a serious concern. It's five miles to Winfield, 2.7 of which is downhill, the drop is 2700 feet. The trail is nothing but rocks. My Garmin is now useless as the battery is dead, should have made sure I had a backup, like Charles had advised me. Well if I was one to take advice I probably would not even be here. Not that it really matters now the goal is clear get down the hill and make it to Winfield before the 6 pm cut off. Looking back I'm now amazed that I made it down the hill in one piece, I think I just bounced from rock to rock all the way down. No time for views or scenery. Bursting out of the forest at the bottom onto the forest road is like entering an alien world. There are cars going both ways with the air laden with dust as this is the only way in and out of Winfield Aid station. Of course it is also uphill to the aid station. My legs are shot now all the bouncing and jumping has wiped them out. Well still 3.3 miles to go and a little over an hour to the cut off. The lack my Garmin was now praying on my mind as I started to get very worried about the cut off time and had no confidence in how far the volunteers along the road were telling me I had to go. I was also painfully aware of how slowly I was progressing. Such a gentle hill relative to what I had just come over but there was no go in my legs. People in the cars heading out kept offering shouts of encouragement and support but mentally I could not appreciate them and I do believe that the best I managed was a few grunts back with a pathetic attempt at a wave. Not willing to expend the energy on a decent response or acknowledgment. There was some physically  rougher stretches to come but this was certainly my low point emotionally and mentally  for the race, the lack of information and my snails pace were just beating me down.
Finally I can see the aid station, cursing the fact that I could see it for 10 minutes before I got there, seemed to take forever.

50 miles 5:45 pm 13 hours 45 min
Angie and Heather  were out ahead of the station to guide me in, good job as things were a little chaotic here as the reality of the cutoff time was setting up panic in the racers and the support crews.
The panic and pressure were somewhat contagious especially in the check in tent where the dead legs and stretched emotions were plenty full. This is the first point where I was weighted to check that I was not at risk of dehydration, happily not a problem at this stage. Quick reload of the camel back and stuff down some snacks and chocolate. At this point pacers are allowed so Amanda was jumping in for the  ten miles back to Twin Lakes. Alan was lined up there to drag my ass on to Fish Hatchery, good to have plan. Knowing that I would have company and support from this stage on was a big motivation in getting this far. My hope being that the support would be the lift to get a second wind and have the speed to get back before the time cutoffs kicked in.
5:50 pm back out the road again heading for the hills once more. Having Amanda was a great boost, not that I was able to speed up a whole hell of a lot. At least this time I was heading down hill for awhile. As it was now late in the evening with the 6 pm cut off fast approaching a lot the traffic had gone and the road was much quieter and less dusty on the way back down to the trail.Chatting to a few of the other runners heading back the cut off at Twin Lakes was looming as a concern, especially as there were no illusions about what was ahead. The three miles back to the trail head were anxious but at least downhill and then left turn and back into the heavy uphill climb. Pretty quickly it became apparent that I was not going to have an easy time getting back up to Hope Pass. A pattern of push with a quick walk for a few minutes follow by a breather resting on my knees became the slow crawl back up. As time when on the "few minutes" started to get shorter and the breathers longer. The tank was empty and not reloading. Amanda talked things up and despite some miserable whining by me kept pushing me on. Her patience and tolerance was amazing, I was not particularly pleasant to be around at this time. She took my back pack and kept making sure I took water and GU to keep me rolling. Slowly we edged up along, passing one or two but being passed by more. Everyone was on a deadline and had their own race to run, no hanging around to support someone else, thus the huge benefit of a pacer. The last half mile to the top was torturous, no matter how I tried I just had no push left in me. My legs were dead and at over twelve thousand feet there was not a lot of recovery. Looking at the clock and knowing the mileage left as well as how fast I would be able to move on the other side I had to face the fact that I would not make the deadline. A rather overwhelming moment for me, it was hard after working for the one hundred for the last  twelve months always being confident that I would be able to do it this a dreaded moment. A few tears coupled with a minor rush of feeling I had let down everyone that encouraged me and wished me luck and that was it, no more I can do about it. I'm still a quarter mile from the top and over 5 miles more to Twin Lakes, there is no bus to wait for when you pull out. Taking a few minutes extra to pull myself together Amanda and I pushed for the top, taking the pressure of the cutoff off of me did help but certainly did not speed me up. Top of Hope Pass for the second time was just as inspiring, darkness had set in fully in the last few minutes and the sky was clear and huge, Twin Lakes looked a long ways away and  long ways down the hill.  Oh well not going to get there looking at it. On with our head lamps and down the trail we snaked. The half mile to the check in station is a lot easier going down hill but still rather taxing.
At Hope Station the place was in full party mode as the volunteers were relaxing now that most of the runners had passed through with only the stragglers like me wandering in. Some hot soup and snacks and off we headed for Twin Lakes. Even not pushing the pace as there was no hope of making the cutoff it was still a very arduous trek back down. Getting back to the treeline the darkness of the deep woods closed around us, moving quickly on the trail even with good head lamps was not an easy task. Down the trail we met a few other runners that were in the same predicament, cutoff missed, legs dead but still got to get back to Twin Lakes. The joy of trail running. As we headed across the marsh at the bottom back out of the trees it was head lights off and take in the amazing sky. Crossing the "freezing oceans" was just what Amanda needed to round out her Leadville experience. Thankfully she survived, at this point the cold and wet meant nothing to me. No feeling of any note in my legs at this point anyway so no matter if they were now wet and cold.
Finally there were the lights of Twin Lakes and into the parking lot to head for the check in station. Nice to let them know I was alive and going home for the night. Noreen and Angie were the reception committee with the others after heading into Leadville courthouse, center of operations, to see if they could get any information on my location because Hope Pass information was not available at Twin Lakes.
Checked in, weighted in and that was it I was done. Time to go home and recover.
60.5 miles 10:45 pm 18 hours 45 min

I was wrecked but happy. My intention had been to make the one hundred with no doubt and in my soul I knew that I had put in everything, both on the day and during training. I had done everything I could to prepare as best I knew and put all I had into on the day. There were no logistical or weather problems, I just had no concept of how big the hills are or what that they would do to me. Next time I'll be ready.

This has been an amazing journey for me and my limits and horizons have been expanded more than I could every have imagined. A million thanks to everyone that encouraged me and wished me luck, even if you though I was crazy and told me so, all that goodwill does push you on when having doubts. Those doubts occur more often in the training than on the big day, no choice then. 

A very special thanks to my Colorado crew Amanda, Noreen, Angie, Heather, Carol, Alan & Nicole. I would never have even made it half way without you. Love you guys.

Best support crew at Leadville 100 Run in 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quick note - made it to 60.5 and survivied.

Well I made the 60.5 mile mark but missed the time cut off. Getting over Hope pass (12,600 ft) twice was more than I was ready for. I certainly would never have made it over the second time without Amanda's encouragement, support and listening to my whining.
Thanks to all the crew that supported me on the day  - Amanda, Noreen, Carol, Alan, Nicole, Angie, Heather, Rick & Nicole (makers of the best PB&J ever) . I could never have done it without you, really appreciate all the effort & running around and sorry for being a bit snappy.
The body is recovering quickly now that I'm back in the ATL, there does not appear to be any permanent damage, maybe mental.
Thanks to everyone for all the encouragement and only occasionally telling me I was crazy for trying the LT100.
Brings to mind one of my favorite quotes,
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters...compared to what lies within us".- Emerson
Over all an amazing experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.
During the week I shall try to finally get the blog up to date and record my state of mind, such as it is/was.
Of course that was the plan last week also but apparently not having to train has not magically give me any more time.
Not sure what's next.....