Leadman – Silver Rush 50 – 2 Down, 3 To Go

I had plenty of nervous anticipation leading up to the Silver Rush 50 race.  After the massive cramping I had at the marathon, I was unsure how my legs would respond.  I had numerous good training runs since the marathon, but was still nervous.  I spent the week of the race getting out on the course to see the remaining miles and resting up as much as possible.  Saturday was the Silver Rush 50 Bike.  I went to watch the start and then back to see the finish.  It was great to see local Wasatch SkiMo team member Tom Goth come in 6th.  Utah took 3 of the top 6 spots. 

I have started the liquid diet that has been working so well for Emily for the last couple years on the day before the race.  So far after using this diet for 2 races, I have had great luck with limited GI issues while racing.  The challenge of the diet is that you are eating (rather drinking) non-stop all day, but you just don’t feel fulfilled.  Since a liquid diet takes a lot of planning in order to get enough (and quality) calories, I included my liquid calorie intake for the day before the race below.  The beer was critical as I really feel that it relaxed me and allowed me a good night sleep.

Race morning I enjoyed my first cup of coffee in 2 weeks, a quick bowl of oatmeal and was off to the starting line.  It was a cold morning (low 40s) so standing around the starting line left me cold, shivering,and worried I would not be able to get my legs warmed up.  Luckily as soon as the race started we quickly warmed up with the climb up Dutch-Henri hill and the fast pace the lead group set once we started running at the top of the hill.  I was feeling really good and the miles were clicking away quickly and I was running on a sub 8:30 pace.  I was ecstatic with this since my goal was 9 hours, but I knew I needed to go sub 8:30 for my overall Leadman time and to keep from dropping more places in those standings.  I was able to move in and out of aid stations in only the amount of time it took me to fill my water bottle and felt like I was being very efficient.

I reached Stumptown, the 25 mile turnaround, in 3:54, I quickly refueled from my drop back (new gel bottle, Roctaine powder for my water bottle, chugged an Ensure, and chased it with a Red Bull.   My calculated 8:30 split was 4:04 and I left the aid station at 3:57.  I was really happy with this split, but I knew I had a long way to go and had to keep it together.  It was a long climb from Stumptown back up to Ball Mountain and I settled in for a mixture of running and steep hiking.  I don’t know why, but for some reason after dropping down off the back side of Ball Mountain, I started to feel a little bit of cramping.  This was the exact same spot I started cramping during the marathon, only I was at around 30 miles instead of 21 miles.  I increased my Endurolyte intake and kept pushing the pace.  After circling Ball Mountain, I know I had 2 long descents and only 1 climb left.  I was worried about the final descent knowing that it would be a knee and quad trasher since it was a rolling 10 mile descent.  Everything went great, I had a good last climb and started the descent carefully knowing I had a long way to go.  For the most part I had been running mostly alone.  At this point in the race, I was getting passed by a few people who were very strong descenders, but also catching some of the people who had gone out too hard and were fading so I had figured that I was maintaining about 20th place.  In the final 3 miles, the wheels were starting to come off.  My left knee was starting to hurt quite badly, my sesamoid bone issue on my right foot hurt, and my quads were trashed.  I slowed more than I would have liked at this point (probably about 45-60 seconds/mile), but kept pushing it and was able to catch 1 more person during this time and pass 1 person who had passed me at around mile 45.  I didn’t know if I had it in me to ‘race’ to the finish, but luckily, it seemed like no one else did either.  When I knew I could finish in under 8:30, I was hoping to make 8:15, but I just couldn’t push the last 10 miles hard enough for that.  I came across the finish line in 8:24:45 for 18th out of 479 racers.  In my age division I was 10th out of 134.  I was extremely happy with my race since I was able to set a PR by over an hour, felt great for almost the entire race, and fought off the cramps when they started to rear their ugly heads.

I drove back to Park City after the race and am glad to be home for 11 days before heading back to Leadville for 2 weeks of acclimatization and training before the next 3 races of the series – 100 mile mountain bike on August 11, 10K on August 12, and 100 mile run on August 18.

Silver Rush 50 Elevation Profile

Final Silver Rush 50 Results

Silver Rush 50 Photos

And as part of a past post, here are some links to photos from the Leadville Marathon.

Leadville Update – Tour de Mt Massive

I focused last week on recovering.  My recovery seemed to be going slowly at high elevation so on July 3 I drove to Salida to get to a lower elevation for a day of recovery.  The lower elevation definitely helped and I felt much better on Wednesday.  I had a couple of great mt bike rides on Wednesday and Thursday, then ran from the Winfield road over Hope Pass to Twin Lakes and back on Friday with local SLC speedster Jay Aldous.  I was hesitant about the run due to my calves, but after 9 miles, the lactic acid seemed to move out of them and they felt very good.  Saturday I rode a section of the LT100 Bike course (Half Moon Road to Twin Lakes).  It was good to get out on the course.  I was hoping to see the entire course last week, but that didn’t pan out with  my recovery so I will need to do that on my next trip out prior to the races.  I will have a busy 2 weeks before the LT100 Bike and run as I will want to see ~60 miles of the bike course and ~30 miles of the run course.

The highlight of my trip so far has been Tour de Mt Massive with Jared Campbell on Sunday.  Jared and Mindy came through Leadville Saturday on their way to Silverton for Hardrock 100.  We hung out on Saturday, had a great meal at Tennessee Pass Café, then watch the movie “Race Across the Sky” which features the 2009 LT100 Bike.  It was fun to see the movie again, it had some great course footage to help bring back some of my memories from when I road the race in 2004, and it helped to get me excited about the race.

Jared and I wanted to get in an adventure run on Sunday.  Mt Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado at 14,421’.  It has 5 summits over 14,000’ on its 3 mile ridge plus another 2 summits over 13,000’.  The mountain truly is massive with there being over 1/2 square mile over 14,000’.  It has the largest area over 14,000’ of any peak in the continental US.

   Mt Massive ridgeline as viewed from the Silver Rush 50 Course East of Leadville

Jared and I wanted to hit all of these peaks.  Since we had the luxury of a car shuttle (thanks Mindy), we put together a route up the North Ridge from the Windsor Lake Trail Head and down the South East Ridge.  In total, our run was 11.5 miles and 5,300’ of climbing.  We were only on a trail for ~1.5 miles which made it a great run.  Since we both have races next weekend, we did the route at a very easy pace, not running any of the climbs, very little of the ridge, and keeping the pace easy on the descent.  The run turned out to be fantastic.  It was great to have a running companion for this trip, we spent a significant amount of time over 14,000’ which will pay us back for our races, and we got to do a full ridge traverse of Mt Massive which is looked at from Leadville everyday.

Starting at the ridge, we hit the following high points

  1. Point 12,875’
  2. Point 13,125’
  3. Point 13,801
  4. Point 14,169’
  5. North Massive: 14,340’
  6. Massive Green: 14,300’
  7. Mt Massive: 14,421’
  8. South Massive: 14,132’
  9. South, South Massive: 13,630’
  10. Point 12,381’

Here are some photos of our run.  Click here for full size images.

Chad at Windsor Lake.

Picture 1 of 10

Chad at Windsor Lake.

Mt Nebo Traverse & Loop

On Independence Day Emily S, Mindy, and I ran the 3 summits of Mt. Nebo and made a loop running back to the car on the Bench Trail. We put this run together very quickly: Jared showed us the trail on Google maps, we found a couple rudimentary maps and descriptions and decided to go for it and knew we could find our way as we are very capable women who love an adventure.

Tuesday night we ladies set out for Maple (to meet up with Brent) to camp and enjoy a nice night out under the stars and get closer to the trailhead for an early start. We enjoyed dinner and a beer at the campsite. We woke up to wonderfully cool weather which felt very good with the hot weather we have been having in the valley.

We hit the trail just a few minutes after 8a (elevation 6,670’). The trail up to the South Summit was a great trail but steep enough that there were very few runnable sections. There were also several sections that were super steep. After we made it up to the South Summit (elevation 11,851’) we proceeded on what we could see of a “trail” to the Middle Summit (elevation 11,814’) and on to the North Summit (elevation 11,933’) of Mt Nebo. There was a lot of scrambling and route finding in this section and we ventured a little too far down in a scree field between the Middle and North Summits which added some time to our adventure. The information that we read about this part stated that it would take ~2 hours and it was ~1 mile and it took us a little over an hour even with our bonus vert during this section. There wasn’t anything that was sketchy, just lots of places where we had to be cautious of every move as a slip could have big consequences. This section was super fun and challenging.

     Mindy and Emily S scrambling between summits

     Mindy and Emily S scrambling between summits


   Emily S and I on the Middle Summit with the South Summit in the background

     Mindy and I on the Middle Summit with the North Summit in the background

The trail down from the North Summit was very well defined and although steep and scrambling in a few sections the majority was very runnable so we were able to click away a few miles faster than the first 9ish miles up and across the summits. From the North Summit Trailhead (mile 12.32 and elevation 9,260’) we ran the dirt road for approximately 1 mile before we hit the Bench Trail. The Bench Trail is a 12 mile trail which would take us back to the car at the South Summit Trailhead. We thought this would be an easy 12 miles as we had read that there was only 800 feet of vertical gain (which actually ended up that from the Trailhead to the highest point on the this trail was 800 feet of vertical gain and the actual vert gain was around 3,000’) and we thought it would be a very well defined trail.

We cruised along for a number of miles stopping at a few springs and small snowfields to fill and cool off our water supplies. The hardest part of our run was miles 17-20 in which we affectionately named the “Magic Trail” because one minute we would see it and another minute it would be gone and we would have to search for the trail, see it in the distance, and make our way “cross country” to get to it. Once we hit the main trail we were able to run the whole way down back to the car (with the help of Emily S magic jelly beans for energy).

The whole day was filled with our expressions of gratitude for the perfect weather, wonderful scenery, and beautiful wildflowers, and excellent company.

This was an amazing run and a great day with fabulous girlfriends!\

     Gamin Connect route of the run

Leadman – 1 Down, 4 To Go

The first of the Leadman events has come and gone.  The Leadville Marathon was on Saturday.  I was planning on this race being a high intensity training run so I only tapered for 5 days before the race knowing that regardless of tapering or not, my time would be within around 20 minutes.  My goal was 4:45 and 4:30 if I was feeling really good.  This was the first race where I attempted the liquid diet that has been working so well for Emily the past few seasons.  I found it difficult to feel fulfilled, but I was always full and was able to take in close to 2800 calories.  It seemed to work well for race day as I didn’t have to make any restroom stops during the race (I don’t think that has ever happened during close to 5 hours of hard running.

The race started at 8AM so I was up at 6 in the cold, 35F morning, for breakfast and was in town by 7.  It warmed up quickly once the sun was up.  There were just over 500 marathon runners and 400 half marathon runners.  The starting line was quite congested, but I lined up in the third row and felt great running the first 7 miles in the top 20.  Just before the mile 7 aid station, a group of around 12 missed a corned and lost 2 minutes and at least 10 places as we backtracked to get back on course.  I quickly go this out of my system and moved on.  At this point I had been enjoying the course of single and double track past numerous abandoned mines and lots of mine relics.  The mile 9.8 aid station was at the foot of the Mosquito Pass climb,  Here is where I made my second mistake (I hadn’t realized my first mistake yet).  I had my bottle filled with Gu Brew.  I assumed it would be mixed half strength (since this is how drink is mixed at most every race I have ever done or helped with).  It wasn’t and it did not sit well in my stomach.  I toughed it out on the climb up to 13,600’ Mosquito Pass (see previous post) and quickly turned around to descend not wanting to spend time at the crowded, high elevation aid station. I was hoping to make up time on the descent, but there were so many people still ascending that it took longer than I had planned.  I reached the aid station at the bottom of the pass still running on close to a 4:30 split.  Sean Meissner and I had been running together and leap frogging each other all day.  He convinced me that the climb back up to the next aid station was runnable and it would be the only way to stay on pace. It was a hard climb (over 1,000’ in 2.8 miles), but he was right and I was able to run it.  I was feeling good, but definitely getting tired.  I had been running in the red zone a long time (my final average heart rate was 157 which is very high for me for that long), but I knew there was only 7 miles to go and only 1 small climb.  Everything was good until mile 21 at the start of the climb when my calves and hip flexors started to cramp up.  Here is where I realized mistake #1.  I had not brought any eCaps with and it was hotter than I had planned  and now I was behind on electrolytes and cramping.  As the guy behind me caught me, he was kind enough to give me his last eCap.  It definitely helped and I figured that with only 1 mile to the aid station, I would get more there.  Unfortunately, they had no salt so I took in a cup of Coke and a Roctain gel and kept moving hoping for the best.  the last 3.3 miles was all downhill and I was planning on doing it in 25 minutes which would have me finish at about 4:37.  I was moving good on this last section and was slowly catching the runner ahead of me.  at mile 24.5, both calves seized up with my feet pointed straight down.  I dropped to the ground screaming in pain.  Luckily a mt biking came up on me as this happened.  I couldn’t even sit up.  He rubbed each calf for 30 seconds or so and I said I needed to get going.  I stood up and started hobbling down the road eventually moving into a jog of 7:30-8:00 minute miles.  This section was supposed to be fast (6:30 minute miles at the slowest) and it was all I could do to jog a 7:30.  When I was on the ground, I got passed by 1 more runner, then another runner passed me with 200M to go and a third runner with 20M to go.  There was nothing I could do, had I pushed it any harder, I knew my calves would seize again and drop me.  I just had to hang on and cross the  finish line.

I crossed the line in 4:42:58.  I made my goal, but was disappointed at how poorly I felt during the race and for making 2 rookie mistakes.  I was 25th of 509 racers, 11th of 128 racers in my age division, and in 8th for overall Leadman.  My real goal for the summer is top 5 Leadman.  At 8th, I am only 21 minutes back from 3rd after what I consider one of my weaker events (I do not consider myself a good marathoner since it requires more speed than I have).

I spent the rest of Saturday stretching and icing my calves and eating.  I was hoping they would recover well, but on Sunday they are very sore.  Today, I did an easy 20 mile bike to stretch out the muscles and iced for about 30 minutes in Half Moon Creek.  I will start running again tomorrow as it is less than 2 weeks until the Silver Rush 50 and I want to get out and run the course.

Official Race Results