Category Archives: Adventure Racing

2014 Black Mountain Monster



I better write something about this race before I forget it all!   I don’t have many photo’s yet, but if more show up on the Inter-webs, I’ll update this post…

This would be my 3rd year running the BMM24.  The 1st year, I “came out of nowhere” (with limited training, to run 99.2. miles and get 2nd place.  Last year, I was training for Leadville, so I had a lot more miles on the legs coming in, but I did not want to hinder further training by running too much, so the plan was to stop when I felt like I was no longer helping Pb.  Which I did, 19 hours into the race at mile 87, again taking 2nd place.

So what would year 3 hold, again with limited “ultra training” on my legs?  (Due to training for a fast marathon this spring — well, fast for me!)

We followed the typical plan of setting up camp early on Friday, around 4:30, to get our favorite spot, headed into town for last minute groceries, donation food, and a quick trip to My Father’s Pizza, and then headed back to camp to hang out and chill until bed time.  Don’t forget your ear plugs!  The train tracks are right next to the camp site and can be VERY VERY LOUD!

Here’s the quiet camp site shortly after we finished setting up, maybe 5:30 p.m.  It would fill in more that night, and much much more in the morning!


Race day came, and I just love the 10 a.m. start.  Allows a leisurely morning of coffee, chilling, and waiting.  Oh, and going through gear one more time…

Ray K caught this picture of me chill-axing right before the start — the sun came out and it was nice so I thought I’d catch a few rays.  ;-)  (I was talking to the kid’s back at Grandma’s…)bmm1

I almost missed the start —  I had taken the GoPro up and recorded a bit, but decided to throw it back in my tent rather than carry it the 1st loop.  And then I heard “Go!” as I was walking back, and I had to run up and get going….




It got warm after the 1st loop, so I lost the shirt….


This one is later on — I can tell because I’m wearing Hoka’s.  I only made it 25 miles before switching, but more on that below.  (I thought I’d switch after 50 miles!)


Here’s a fast re-cap.  I went in without any real expectations or goals, and that can be a problem.  But due to the lack of miles, I thought anything north of 50 would be good, and didn’t want to commit to much more.  The 1st 10-15 miles felt pretty good, so I started thinking 106 would be reasonable, and even mentioned this to a couple of 12 hour runners when they asked me what my goals were.

By mile 22 or 23, I had lost the good feeling.  :-(   I’ll copy some of my notes from the race below in a pace chart/table, but suffice it to say that writing “too early to suffer” at mile 24.8 is not a good sign just 4.5 hours into a 24 hour run!

At 50k I was feeling even worse.  I decided a break  was needed, and sat down with some chips and guacamole — the Guacamole of Contemplation.   “Why am I out here?”  “What is suffering?”  That kind of thing.  I almost opened a beverage but decided to hold off.  After 12 minutes, I was back on the course.  “I’m not dead yet… I’m feeling better” (reference to Monty Python…) were my thoughts as I started a run/walk combo, trying to get in a groove.

I somehow trudged out another 55k before succumbing to the doldrums again.  At that point (68.2) it was 1 a.m. and I decided to crawl into my tent and go to sleep.  I opted not to set an alarm, figuring if I slept through and didn’t run anymore, that that was what was meant to be, and I’d be ok with that.   I didn’t fall right asleep, listening to the race going on, but eventually I did.

Sometime after 6 a.m. I woke up, walked to the port-o-pot, and felt quite good.  Barely any stiffness in the legs at all.  I decided to make another cup of coffee, and head back out.  My logs show I went back on the course at 6:54 a.m. and knocked out another 4 loops and finished by 9:45, for a total of 80.6 miles, tied for 3rd.  (Tied for 3rd with a 72 year old man — AMAZING!)

In hindsight, I’m happy with 80.6 miles + a 5 hour nap.  :-)  (It’s the least sore I’ve ever been after 50+ miles!  Naps are good!)

Martin T went for 103 and took 2nd place, and Baki ran an amazing 108 for 1st.  Mostly amazing because he came out to run 50 hard, and play it by ear after that.  :-)

Gear:  Sport Kilt, Saucony Viratta (too small!), under armor compression shorts, a couple different ice breaker tops, buff, Hoka Stinson, injinji toe socks and Luna sock + Altra Superior for the last few loops.

Food:  The Guacamole of Contemplation (saved my race!), corn chips, 2 or 3 VFuels, hard boiled eggs, fruit from the aid stations, boiled potatoes and salt from the aid stations, pizza from the aid stations, coffee with heavy whipping cream made at my tent X 2.   Espresso Beans.  My normal mixture of 1/3 grape juice, 2/3 water, sometimes with a squirt of honey, sometimes without.  MAPs (BCAA’s) at just about every loop.  I know I’m forgetting something…  Oh Bacon — I didn’t care for the thick cut stuff I had brought.  A gluten free cookie.

I had other things in my cooler that never sounded appetizing — sweet potato/coconut oil mush, pemmican, sliced turkey, cheese, salami…

Here’s the table I kept during the race…


  • 10 a.m. start
  • I really wanted to avoid vitamin I — but still had 2x600mg during the 24 hours
  • a couple of times I forgot to write down the times when leaving, those are denoted with a ?
  • I had to take albuterol at mile 27.9 as my lungs just could not get enough air
  • I started, from the first, walking all the big hills, and walking the big steep paved downhill; later I switched to a  run/walk pattern, sometimes as low as 1 min run, 1 min walk, when I was feeling bad, but always tried to build back to 5 run 1 walk
Lap Number Mileage Time In Time Out Notes
 1  3.1  10:29
 2  6.2  11:00
 3  9.3 11:31
 4  12.4 12:03
 5  15.5 12:37
 6 18.6 13:09 ?
 7 21.7 13.44
 8 24.8 14:24 too early to suffer; hoka
 9 27.9 14:59 albuterol
10 31 15:38 15:50 Vit I, chips, guacamole, rest
 11 34.1 16:32  a little better; run/walk
 12 37.2 17:13
 13 40.3 17:52 pizza, took the go pro out for a loop
 14 43.4 18:39 espresso beans
 15 46.5 19:24 espresso beans, rested 5 min
 16 49.6 20:08 Vit I; [ some gibberish I can't read]
 17 52.7 20:54
 18 55.8 21:39
 19 58.9 22:22 22:3? coffee
 20 62 23:15
 21 65.1 0:03
 22 68.2  0:51 6:54 5 hour nap; coffee; etc
 23 71.3 7:36
 24 74.4 8:18
 25 77.5 9:03
 26 80.6 9:43


Photo’s added after initial writing:


2014 Black Mountain Monster “preview”

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. — Forrest Gump

So on Saturday, for no particular reason, I’m going to run a little 5k loop affectionately known as the Black Mountain Monster.  Ok, it’s not a monster because it’s a 5k loop, it’s a monster because it’s a 24 hour run.  And when I finish that 1st 5k loop, I think I might just run another.  And another…

This will be the 3rd year I’ve run this race, as it truly is AWESOME!  :-)  Great Atmosphere, great race directors and volunteers, great course, etc.  In past year’s I’ve had preview posts, so here goes again…

2012 lead-up included the Uwharrie 40 miler in February, and then not a whole lot of running after that.  I signed up for BMM24 sort of at the last minute, just to see what I could do.  And I ran 99 miles before calling it a day, with maybe 90 minutes left on the clock…


2013 lead-up includes Uhwarrie 40 miler in February, Umstead trail Marathon in March, and the North Face 50 miler NY in May.  I.e. much better lead-in than 2012, but I was training for Leadville.  My goal at BMM was to have one heck of a training run for PB, and not go too far or too hard so as to jeopardize my Leadville training.  I ran 87 miles and stopped with nearly 5 hours on the clock, when I knew I was no longer helping my Pb cause.

2014 I ran the Tobacco Road Marathon in March, and that was about it.  No ultra runs (training or races) since Leadville last August!  I’m treating this year’s BMM as the start of my ultra training, as I have the World Championship Rogaine’s in August and Hinson Lake 24 in September.   But I’m hopeful that I have a pretty solid outing, even with the lack of miles the past 8 months, and can perhaps push Sho a bit in his attempt at a new CR.   Time will tell…

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 1.10.55 PM




Lucho on HR training/racing

  • Uses terms interchangeably –Base, MAF, zone 2 – all kind of the same thing

  • Depends on the type of athlete and if his athlete is using threshold or not

  • Lots of his athletes are just MAF based
  • But Triathletes use zones, ftp, threshold tests


  • Base = zone 1 / zone 2 / threshold -20 (+/- a few BPM)

    • Wide range

    • MAF is well below 50/50 fat/carb burn

    • Very moderate

    • Without an RQ / metabolic efficiency test, it’s a bit of a guess, but you have to assume the MAF formula is good (if doing MAF)

    • (really fit athlete could have MAF = zone 3)


  • Tempo = roughly MAF + 10 or threshold -10; zone 3

    • But this is different based on the type of athlete

    • Ultra-runner vs. Olympic distance triathlete

      • Triathlete should have a wider zone 3

      • Triathlete may have a 15 beats below threshold

      • Ultra may be 5 beats below threshold (b/c threshold is low)

    • If an athlete only does MAF, nothing else at all, then threshold will drop, closer to MAF

      • You’ve closed the zone 3, 4 window – and zone 4 may be eliminated

      • E.g. MAF was 5:50; dropped to 5:40 in marathon and went above threshold, so MAF + 10 was “blow up”

      • Big negative for marathoner and most other athletes like sprint and Olympic distance triathletes, but not so bad for 100 miler…

      • Trying to keep a theoretical space between what you can hold for 1 hour vs. 3 hours

      • Example of elite marathoners dropping 20-30s/mile for a short burst (mile) and being fine, but if you don’t have that window, you can’t do it…

      • Having a high end is important

      • Doesn’t take 6 months of speed work

      • Short periods of vo2max, speed, threshold work will bring it back up

      • E.g. 7 weeks, 1 speed session per week, is adequate

  • Tempo vs. threshold

    • Threshold = 98-103% of LT

    • Tempo = can hold for over an hour, or up to 2

    • A “feel”

    • HR will drift over the hour+

    • (so ignore HR)

  • Lactate threshold/FTP – zone 4, a bit into zone 5

  • Zone 5 – VO2Max

    • Close to mile repeat efforts, but no HRM on mile repeats

    • But if you max mile is 8 minutes – that’s too long

    • VO2Max cut off is 5 – 5:30 minutes


  • Mile

    • Close to vo2max, or just under, depending on actual duration

    • VO2max is 5-5:30 minutes

  • 5k

    • Start at threshold, or just under, or you start to fast

  • Half Marathon – threshold

    • But again depends on speed

    • 2 hours = zone 3/aerobic threshold

    • 1:15 – 1:20 zone 4

  • Marathon speed is zone 3

    • May start at MAF, drifts to z3 by mile 6 or 7, drifts to z4 at 15-20 => no single marathon HR as it changes during the race

    • Marathon pace is “aerobic threshold” (Canova) – 50/50 fat/carb burn

  • 50 miler

    • mostly MAF or lower for most runners

    • but those going really fast (6 hours)  – moderate tempo


  • 100 miles

    • MAF, but with fatigue and cardiac drift, HR isn’t that useful

    • Use for 5-6 hours then don’t bother

  • Notes on terminology

    • If using “zone” based training, it’s not MAF

    • Zones are based off of threshold, MAF is not

    • Can make educated guess

    • E.g. MAF+20 = threshold – just a guide



  • Just need to be close – it’s hand grenades – these are big ranges

  • Take the calculators with a grain of salt – it’s the type of training you do that indicates what you are capable of…

  • Definitely likes athletes to at least use an HRM for a while – coach and athlete need to get on the same page w.r.t. terminology…  Also need to agree on perceived exertion…


Lucho on the marathon

Lucho’s last words to me before the marathon last week:

I guarantee that there is going to come a moment where you do not like the race and you’ll want to slow. This moment will be a moment of choice. You’ll need to choose between slowing down and not running your best or suffering through to your best race. After you cross the finish line you want to be able to look back at the race and be happy with your decision.

So true!  Not that I felt like I had much of a decision at the time when I did slow, but how much of that really was mental, and how much was physical?   How do you work on mental toughness for intensity?  (Not for endurance/duration, which I think I’ve got down… I can always put one foot in front of the other, it’s just a question of pace!)

Tobacco Road Marathon

When I 1st started training for the ATT marathon, I had a goal of 3:15.  (ATT = American Tobacco Trail, which is what I tend to call the marathon, even though that’s not its name!)

I knew 3:15 would be a big stretch for me, but I thought with Lucho coaching me, I might have a chance.  However, throughout training, it seemed like 3:20 was going to be more realistic.  But I never fully gave up on the 1st goal.  Even when, about two weeks out, my legs felt a bit achy and tired on every run, especially when I bumped the speed to under 8:00/mile pace.  And even when, a week out, my lungs started feeling congested and wheezy.  Two days out, and one day out, I was definitely on the upswing.  So what was in store?

I’ve not got a lot of pictures — only the ones Kelly and the kids took of me at mile 19 or so, and at the finish.  But here I am at 19, still looking happy!

mile 19

I came up on Tom, who has an amazing story as a brain cancer survivor.  I was really surprised to see him, as I figured he’d be under 3:15, but there he was.  We didn’t run together long as he was struggling a bit with too fast of a start, but still finished in a BQ time of 3:22.


So, what happened to me?  The splits tell the story…  I put the mile splits from my GPS next to the perfectly even splits of a 3:15, and show the time difference…

Now this isn’t quite fair — the mile splits are from my GPS, which was slightly off.  It showed a total of 26.44 at the end, not 26.2.  But this shows I had a conservative start (negative difference for the 1st few miles).  In fact, I jumped in behind the 1:40 half marathon pace group for the 1st couple of miles — until they split off south on the ATT and the marathoners headed north.    And then the differences pick up, where I’m fairly far ahead of a 3:15 as much as 2.5 minutes!

At the point the half marathoners turn south and the marathoners turn north, it’s a slight downhill — if you can call any rise or fall on the ATT a hill!  As an old railroad bed, it’s never more than 1 or 2% grade max.  But I let gravity pull me along, and even tried to hold back a bit.  I wasn’t wearing a heart rate monitor, but just ran by feel.  And the pace felt solid, but good.  I know come mile 18 or 19 or 20, that pace would no longer feel so good, but it’s at that point when you have to rise and hold it..

I did have the GPS on so I could use that as a pacer, and I steadily saw my average pace go down, down, down.  All the way until about mile 21, when it was 7:18/mile.  And I thought “I’ve got 3:15!  Unless I have an epic collapse!”

I even thought briefly at that time that 3:10 was within reach, but I wisely decided not to push it at all.  In fact, I thought I’d back off a touch, to preserve the 3:15.  But little did I know that the “climb” at mile 22 – 25 would do me in…  It got really hard to hold the pace, but I was doing it!

And then we left the ATT and hit the roads.  And there was this little hill, but this killer head wind. And I had to walk.  Twice!  You can see it in the elevation profile and pace graph below the splits.  And you can see in my splits… I began to really suffer, and the buffer I had built faded oh so quickly…

Mile Split Cumulative 3:15 Marathon Splits Difference
1 0:07:45 0:07:45 0:07:26 -0:00:19
2 0:07:27 0:15:12 0:14:52 -0:00:20
3 0:07:17 0:22:29 0:22:18 -0:00:11
4 0:07:15 0:29:44 0:29:44 0:00:00
5 0:07:04 0:36:48 0:37:11 0:00:23
6 0:07:23 0:44:11 0:44:37 0:00:26
7 0:07:05 0:51:16 0:52:03 0:00:47
8 0:07:16 0:58:32 0:59:29 0:00:57
9 0:07:01 1:05:33 1:06:56 0:01:23
10 0:07:09 1:12:42 1:14:22 0:01:40
11 0:07:12 1:19:54 1:21:48 0:01:54
12 0:07:16 1:27:10 1:29:14 0:02:04
13 0:07:29 1:34:39 1:36:41 0:02:02
14 0:07:28 1:42:07 1:44:07 0:02:00
15 0:07:18 1:49:25 1:51:33 0:02:08
16 0:07:03 1:56:28 1:58:59 0:02:31
17 0:07:20 2:03:48 2:06:26 0:02:38
18 0:07:31 2:11:19 2:13:52 0:02:33
19 0:07:06 2:18:25 2:21:18 0:02:53
20 0:07:42 2:26:07 2:28:44 0:02:37
21 0:07:19 2:33:26 2:36:11 0:02:45
22 0:07:37 2:41:03 2:43:37 0:02:34
23 0:08:04 2:49:07 2:51:03 0:01:56
24 0:08:08 2:57:15 2:58:29 0:01:14
25 0:07:52 3:05:07 3:05:56 0:00:49
26 0:08:31 3:13:38 3:13:22 -0:00:16
27 0:03:07 3:16:45 3:15:03 -0:01:42 26.44 vs 26.2

That last line shows the unfairness of using the Garmin mile splits, which were steadily increasing past exact mileage.  Otherwise it would imply I lost 90s on the last 0.2 miles!

See those two jumps on the blue line?  Just a few seconds of walking…  You can see after I stopped kicking myself for walking I did pick up the pace back to sub 7:30, at least on the downhill, but it was too late…


Ah, it was so good to be done.  The last 2-3 miles, I was hurting.  Not a bonk — nutrition was solid, but I was so tired.


So, was I mentally weak?  Or was the body really done?  I feel I’m strong mentally — when it’s just about keeping going.  Paddle for 38 hours straight?  Sure.  Run 24 hours around a 5k loop? Sure.  But hitting that last 800 on an 10×800 interval session?  That is hard!   Or fighting through the pain and fatigue on mile 25 of a marathon at sub 7:30?  Ugh.  So I will be working on that aspect of my running!

Here are the official numbers.  I’m quite happy with all the placings!official results 2

And official splits:official splits 2

Now I am in no way disappointed with a 3:17.  3:15 was always a big stretch for me.  And yeah, to almost get it, only to fade so quickly — bummer.  But I am happy with 3:17!  An 11 minute PR!  And such a great run for the 1st 2:50 or so.  :-)

(I really did want the cool BQ shirt, though!)

kelly kids

My feet are (apparently) broken…



Went to the VivoBarefoot in London, like I normally do when I am there.  They were a bit slow, so I jumped on the pressure pad, and what did we see?  No toes!IMG_2921


Next is a one legged balance – there are some of my toes!



Vivo says this means my feet are broken.  :-)  I don’t disagree — my feet still get sore and tired after 40 or 50 miles of tough trail, even in shoes, while other folks I know do not have that problem.  They gave me some exercises to do, so I’ll give them a whirl.

They also had me run on the treadmill, and said I run from the hip flexors, and barely use my hamstrings to lift…  It looks a bit like a pendulum.   I hope to get a copy of that video and if so I’ll update this post…  They slapped the bottom of my feet while I was running, and it really makes you lift the foot off quickly.  The before and after videos were quite distinct!



Year in review from DailyMile

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 8.13.11 AM

There was a bit of biking and hiking in there — about 70 miles on a quick scan.  So that is 1600+ miles of running, by far my biggest year for running.  (But I may have put more time in in prior years when I was bigger into Adventure Racing…)

Highlights were:

February:  Uhwarrie 40 miler (for the 4th straight year, did not get in in 2014)

March:  Umstead Marathon

May:  North Face 50 miler in NY

June:  Black Mountain Monster 24 hour

July:  Leadville 100

For 2014 it’s looking like:

March:   American Tobacco Trail Marathon

May:  Black Mountain Monster 24 hour (hopefully!)

August:  World Rogaine Championships

September:  Hinson Lake 24 hour

And maybe a 100k or 100m for a WS100 qualifier — but there aren’t many to choose from!




Leadville – My Thoughts

Ok, I better write something before too much time passes… But with Kelly having written the race from her perspective, there’s not much for me to say about the race itself.  Her account was much more interesting, as I just ate and ran.  :-)


First, I have to give huge thanks out to Kelly, Riley, Reece, Dad, and Gordo, for spending 30+ hours allowing me to achieve my goal of running (finishing!) Leadville.  Without them, it would not have been nearly as fun and perhaps not possible.  (I would have had to run unsupported using drop bags with no pacers…)   And not just 30 hours, but the time surrounding the time in Leadville too.

And beyond race day, Kelly, Riley, and Reece put up with a lot of training for me over the past 6 months.  While I did my best to keep up with all family commitments, and scheduled my long runs to be as least impactful as possible, I was still off running an awful lot.  (BTW, this account of “why do you run so much” is a fantastic read.)

Pb in the future – breaking 25 hours?

Next, I’d have to say that right now Pb is not high on my list to run again (but that’s not to say it won’t creep back up there!).   It’s a beautiful course, a great atmosphere, has great history and tradition, and is tremendously challenging.  But I think the race has gotten too big/crowded, and the resulting issues need to be addressed before I’d consider going back.  (I won’t address those issues here, they have been addressed in many other places.)

What would draw me back?  Well, assuming the issues are resolved, the lure of a sub 25:00:00 Pb would definitely do it!  It’s sort of like a sub 20:00 5k, a sub 40:00 10k, a sub 3 hour marathon (or just a BQ).  It’s some arbitrary line in the sand between the “good” and the rest of the field.  And yeah, that challenge is of interest to me.  :-)

BUT, look at the splits below:

(Note MQ2 is not correct…)   I was nearly on a “Peterson pace” for 25 hours up to TL2, which is not quite even splits, but much closer splits than most people are able to manage.  I ran to TL1 in under 8 hours, and had just over 9 hours to run from TL2 to the the finish, to break 25 hours.  What’s an extra hour on the last 40?  :-)  Even if I’d been able to run more than the 3-5 miles I was capable of that last 40, I could have easily taken off an hour to get to 27:00.  Two hours is still a long ways from 25, so what would it take?  (And yeah, you read that right — I power hiked most of the last 40. And the last 3-5 were more of a slog than a power hike!)

Training – not sure I could find more time to run, or if I’d want to.  But all I did the last 6 months was run.  I had a few 60 mile weeks, which is not a lot for ultra runners, but is a lot for me!  No weight lifting, no biking, etc.   Lots more work on the legs — lunges, squats, etc., would have helped.  More downhill running would help (my legs were shaking coming into TL1 at 40 miles, and the 2nd climb up Hope on the return took a lot out of me…)  Here are my weekly running miles the weeks leading into Pb…  The 65 in week 18 was the week of the NF50 in NY and the 96 on week 22 was the week of the 24 hour where I ran 87 (and stopped just over 19 hours in, in order to be able to continue Pb training…).

Acclimating — more time at elevation would also help, but again, not sure I could find the time.  I spent 7 days in June in the NC mountains at 4500 feet, another 10 days in late July at the same place, and arrived in Highlands Ranch (6100′) on 8/5.  We then went to Twin Lakes (9200′) on 8/13.  Training was a bit limited those last 12 days as I needed to taper, and it takes a lot longer to recover at altitude.  I did get a couple of 60-90 minute hike/runs in at 7500-8500 the 1st week, as well as two 14’ers.  But I think that was about all my body could handle.

Some random photo I found on another blog — with me in it!  :-)

What worked:

Shoes – Suacony Virrata (road shoe) the 1st 40, Alta superior the next 20, Hoka Stinson the last 40.  This was all fine.  My feet were about done in the road shoe around mile 38-39, and I was ready for the Stinson at mile 50 but my crew was not able to get into Winfield (assuming Gordo would have carried another shoe across Hope for the river crossing).  But this was all fine.  The only thing I might consider in the future is to *start* in the Hoka, but I’d still change shoes at TL1 and TL2 to ensure dry shoes the rest of the race.

Nutrition – base of vfuel and diluted grape juice (1/3 juice, 2/3 water).  Mixed in some perpetuem.  The hard boiled eggs and nut butters, while they worked in training, were not great in Pb.  I think it was the fact that the 1st hard boiled egg I almost choked on, and the 1st nut butter I had was plain almond butter and was very dry.  The almond butter + honey, or the hazelnut + chocolate, worked better.  I also used the broths and noodles at the aid stations, ate some ptotatoe chips here and there, a couple of small boiled potatoes, half a hamburger at inbound/hatchery, etc.   Nutrition was pretty good throughout the race — there were times I just didn’t want to eat, mostly on the climbs up Hope and Powerline, but I was always able to force a vfuel down and those seem to sit very well in my stomach.

Gear:  Love the new Ultimate Direction AK pack!  Used under armor compression shorts under go lite shorts the entire race, and a 200 weight short sleeve ice breaker body fit T.   Had arm warmers and a hat.  I did get chilly after midnight, even with a 320 weight icebreaker “sweater” on, and had to borrow Gordo’s down jacket a bit.  Started in injinj toe socks for the 1st 60, then switched to a dry pair of thin smart wools.  Lights – might consider a new set up in the future — mine are now a few years old and it shows — lights have come a long long ways!  Used bodyglide and runners guard for chaffing, which was fairly minimal.  (A lot less sweat in CO than I’m used to on the East Coast!)

What didn’t work:

Nothing really jumps out as not working.  Even the wood sticks I picked up to help me over Hope Pass were mostly ok, though I’d consider trekking poles in the future, at least for the big climbs.

Leadville — One post to glue them all…

Ok, with so many posts, I figured one post with all the links would be useful in the future…

Leadville – Race Start

Leadville – Start to Pipeline

Leadville – Entering Twin Lakes

Leadville – Winfield and Twin Lakes inbound

Leadville – Racing, Pacing, and Crewing

Leadville – Wrap up

Leadville – Gordo’s thoughts

Leadville – My Thoughts

Note the “finish” on my arm…  The other arm said “be patient.”

Leadville – Gordo’s thoughts

Next in the Leadville series are thoughts from Gordo, posted to the Google minimalist group shortly after the run…  Gordo paced me up and over Hope on the return, as well as up and over Powerline, both tough sections.  In the photo above he’s carrying my bottles (muling) and generally telling me to keep moving.  :-)

From Gordo:

I did the first leg, from Winfield to Twin Lakes. With a really miserable warm up. There was the mother of all traffic jams going up the Winfield Road. We thought that we left plenty of margin, but sat on the road just watching it erode. We expected Sean to hit the turnaround at 3:45. At 3:15 we hadn’t even gotten to the Hope Pass trail head, which is still 2.5 miles from the aid station. I couldn’t stand it any more, jumped out of the car, grabbed some food for Sean, and took off running up the road. After maybe a half mile I passed the point where they were doing traffic control, only letting more cars in as cars left. That was at the trail head. I’m looking at my watch and thinking about how screwed we were. Another half mile uphill in the hot sun breathing clouds of dust raised by exiting cars, and I hear cars behind me. They’d let another group of ten or so through! I had my thumb out before they even got around the corner. The first two cars were packed full, but the third car picked me up. We picked up two more pacers on the way, and had three big(I was the smallest by far) sweaty guys jammed into the back of a small compact car. It turns out that the two women that picked us up had completely missed their runner and that their pacer had done what I did and they were just going up to see whether or not their pacer had made it or needed a ride back down. Anyway, when we hit the traffic slowdown in Winfield, where the runners were running a bit of the road down to the new trail, we all jumped out and ran for the aid station, which was maybe a quarter mile farther. I’m watching for Sean all the way. At the entrance to the AS, I asked the woman who was checking runners in if 228 had arrived. She said that she didn’t think so. WTF? (He had and was actually about to leave again.) I sprinted to the tent, sighed a waiver and grabbed my pacer tag. I’m sweating like a pig and thirsty already. Great. Ran to the food tent, looking for Sean, grabbed a cup of water and ran for the check in point again. This time I found a woman with a clipboard that had a list of numbers written on it. I look over her shoulder and see 228 near the bottom. So I say, “228 just got here?” and she says “No. 228 left three runners ago.” Crap. Sprint back down the road through Winfield, dodging cars and runners. I caught Sean just before he cut into the woods onto the new trail that runs over to the base of Hope Pass. We got into Twin Lakes about 7:45.

I jumped back in again at the Outward Bound AS and went through MayQueen and on to the Tabor Boat Ramp with Sean, so I got to do Powerline too. It’s a good thing that I used to like hills. LOL That was the midnight to 5:30 shift. We didn’t do a whole lot of running on that stretch, but it wasn’t particularly easy, either. Sean power walks a 15 minute pace on level ground at 10,000 feet in the middle of the night when he’s tired. My Trail Gloves had gotten wet in Twin Lakes crossing the river and I didn’t want to risk the Vapor Gloves or wear wet shoes, so I wore my Tough Gloves. They took some hits. Trying to make time on rough trails by headlamp is harder than it sounds. I was really happy to have full toe coverage a couple of times. I was wishing for real cleats most of the time(Merrell, are you listening?) but managed to keep the rubber sides down, although it was close a couple of times. But the time we got to Tabor, I was done. Sean is still going like the energizer bunny at this point, locked onto that 15 minute pace. Sean’s wife took over from me at Tabor and took him in the last 7 miles.

I had a blast. Sean has a great family and they were all really nice to me. As to me trying 100? I don’t think so. I might try a 50 someday though. I’ll need to get into a lot better condition ;)


I can think of maybe a half dozen things that someone focused more on winning than having fun could have yelled at me about. Things I would do differently next time, mostly on the crewing side. It’s scary how many times we almost dropped the ball through inexperience only to recover at the last second. A couple of times we did drop it and managed to snag it before it got out the window. I’m glad you were good with flexible, because that’s what you got. ;) That took a lot of pressure off me and let me relax and have fun. Thanks. I learned a ton. You can read about this stuff, but until you do it, you won’t really understand it. I thought Ben’s binder was a little OCD, but when your crew has been awake for 24 hours straight off a bad night’s sleep, I can see where the step by step instruction sheet and detailed map lets them just execute mindlessly. Then they can focus on being flexible because you’re off plan rather than because they are. You were so solid on your plan that it let us get away with a lot of errors. I’m glad that none of them cost you the race. The only significant error(that I noticed) with my pacing was not being pushy enough about the jacket when we got to MQ. But then I’ve got more experience than I’d like with midnight epics. ;)