2015 Leadville 100: Lessons Learned/Notes

So what I put together here is basically a collection of notes or lessons learned from the 2015 Leadville 100. The grammar is AWFUL. These notes I tried to put into coherent sentences as much as possible. I persevered and finished under 30 hours last year but it took every ounce of me physically and emotionally to complete that grueling task. Just when the physical pain goes away out comes the tiring toll that your body has to deal with. You learn ways to cope and you can really understand those famous words “You are better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can.” Nothing is truer on this day or day and a little extra for most of us. You find ways to overcome you deal with changes and ups and downs. You find a way to make it happen and carry on that positive can do spirit to the finish line where you get your medal and then later on get that coveted buckle! So enjoy the notes if you have any comments leave them below.


“The Buckle Ceremony”

 RUNNING: Well I initially started out close to the front when we took off in Leadville. I settled into a good 9-10 minute mile pace with my buddy, so I felt like it was but really turned out to be closer to 11 minute miles. We kept this up to May Queen. After like six miles on roads and trails it goes to single track around turquoise lake. You will have plenty of people fly past you and take to the front of the pack. People are worried early about time and once you get on turquoise lake you see why. It is mostly single track and tough to pass people but don’t worry about it or try to make that part of your major strategy. In the big scheme of things getting out fast matters only if you are ELITE. Being behind people, it really didn’t bother me as much I thought it would. Why? Because at the end of the day I ran my own race and I don’t know how many people passed me but I know that I was one of about 330 that finished from 700+ that started. Thats the only stat I care about. I would say I probably ran a total of 60-70 miles and walked the rest. I walked a lot of up hills and I walked if I was feeling my body not cooperating with heat, fuels, etc. I also ran every down hill and almost all of the roads, except last couple miles. I would think I probably ran 2-3 miles of the last 13 and walked the rest. Give yourself time. Know your cutoffs and plan ahead. Make a sheet before the race outlining your goals. Stick to it.

WATCHES:  My Garmin fenix and 220 both died: Recommend up to three watches if you are someone that needs a watch. The 220 is lighter, cheaper and works as well. Start with one at beginning and carry until Outward Bound, Swap again at Twin lakes on both outbound and inbound. Finally swap again at Outward Bound. Don’t forget to go ahead and stop your watch when swapping to watches.

MUSIC: Didn’t listen to music but I carried a iPod shuffle with me, wasted weight. With a pacer talking to you, after mile 50, your quiet time can be good or bad. After a while I shut down and was quiet and didn’t want to talk or anything. Might have been good time for a little music one ear bud maybe. But having someone to talk to is also awesome….someone I didn’t know well but after forty Miles I knew fairly well.

POWER: For your lights I would recommend you start with a light that has NEW batteries. You will or can carry that to outward bound (I wore it around my neck). There I gave to my crew. When I got to Winfield it was close to the cutoff and started to get dark. I didn’t have a light but my pacer did. He let me wear it a little of the way down when it got real dark. Need to have a light in the bag at Winfield or have one with your pacer for you. The only other power issues was the gamins mentioned above.

WEATHER: It rained between May Queen and Outward Bound, it could have been worse but turned out to be just a dusting. I was not ready for rain but had thermal sleeves. Lesson here is the weather shifts and changes quick. Later on early in the next morning between Half Pipe and Outward Bound it got freezing cold. I could not stop shivering. I was still running in a tee shirt and shorts. I needed a light layer this point. However I didn’t pick up a layer when I left twin lakes and that caused me to run a little faster, which worked out in my favor. I sent my pacer forward and when I showed up at Outward Bound I sat for a couple minutes in a chair with a poncho liner (Army Blanket). Put a light top on and pants then hit the road after I was warm.


Coming into twin lakes with ten minutes to spare.

CLOTHING: Never really looked into running gloves, need good pair. I think I could wear some light gloves that are easily tossed in a bag. I like my cheap black army gloves that are cotton and breathable but I need to figure out if I need them really or not. Maybe just take some throwaways. If weather shifts then what? If it is too cold in morning then start with them. Last year started with neck gaiter, hat, arm warmers, shorts, socks, shoes, small waist pack and one carry bottle. I had another bottle in my small waist pack. I also carried one bottle. First thirteen miles was straight water. My gaiters broke early….. Like 45 miles in. It was a cheap gaiter design that had a rubber wrap around the bottom of the shoe. They broke easily. You need a gaiter that is cheap and connects above the show (Dirty girl gaiters). Never changed shorts wore black Nike shorts. Wore bright yellow tee shirts so my crew could spot me. Wore cap and neck gaiter most race. I had two different gaiters and sometimes wore both or if not wearing on head would wear on my wrists. But they provided a little relief and warmth in the morning at the start and during the sudden cold rain at beginning of race up on power line. The hat I wore nonstop. I used it to scoop water form stream and block the sun.

SHOES: Hokas performed great both Challenger and Stinson. I wore my Saucony Ghost 7’s up and over Hopes pass. The shoes felt worn out and I rolled my ankle on backside of Hopes pass. No issues with Hokas rolling at all. Socks wore only the injinji socks medium and trail, no blisters. I really like the Injinji socks for this race. I wore two different pairs over the course of the race. Both were trail version low cut and wool. No issues with rub or hot spots. No issues with any blisters. Only other thing I did for my feet was twice I put KT tape on sides of feet for planter facitis issues.


My gear for most of the run, a pack, poles, hat, and a buff.

GEAR: Poles for Twin Lakes on sustain. I didn’t used them prior to and picked them up and used them most of the race until the finish.

Pick up your bigger pack at Outward Bound is a sustain. before that I didn’t need anything big. HOWEVER, if the weather was rough and hit me hard I was not ready.

FIRST AID: I rolled my ankle really bad coming down Hopes Pass into Twin Lakes and broke a bone in the top of my foot around mile 55. Next time I need better brace run in or a brace period. The issue was it was my surgically repaired ankle. However I doubt I can really run in a brace so maybe some good tape. I wore some knee bands occasionally. I used some bio-freeze intermittently. I take up the insides of my feet to prevent Planter Facitis. I didn’t take any pain pills. I didn’t really do much with medical minus taping my foot/ankle up at Pipe Line. I also used lots of sun screen on my face and arms and legs…like caked on white to help block sun and not feel burnt out. Aid stations had plenty of things like sun screen and Vaseline when needed.

NUTRITION: My food plan was bad initially. Need more soups up front. The fruit was good but needed more meat or protein rich items. The ramen was good and I had my first “meal” at hopes pass aide station on way back into twin lakes. I stopped and had a cup of ramen. Up to this point I was eating a mix of JUNK. I started off with some things I liked, melons and peanut butter cups, some chips, and some light food. I needed to really get something better and wholesome into my system earlier. I was taking in good tailwind and plenty of the knick knacks but it only carried me 50 miles. After that I was DONE. Recommend a outward bound maybe a cooked hot dog, bacon, soup, or something easy to make but more wholesome than chips, fruits, pretzels etc. No dairy. No cheese. Need to sustain taking in the Chia Seed drinks night prior. Those things were good and held fluids. Could probably do one in Winfield next time. Don’t go thru a Aid tent and eat whatever you think is good or are in the mood for. I did this too often. Stinger Honey gels are best I could find. Originally I got fixed on peanut butter and chocolate, like a peanut butter cup. After a while though the peanut butter was too thick for me to swallow. The honey stingers tasted just like honey and gave me a big energy rush. I tried to take one every hour or so especially later in the race after mile 50. At that point in the race (55+ miles or after twin lakes) I was doing a honey gel, salt tab, and a bottle of either water or tailwind every hour. Tail wind and Scratch labs were my two drinks of choice and use as needed. Mix with plenty water. No Gu drinks or supplements with FAKE SUGAR in them, crushed me once before.

PACKING: Need to scale back bag of extra gear my crew carried around. Need to focus on what I really need for 100 miles.

One Liners:

– Wore knee bands on and off last fifty miles

– Couldn’t chew bacon after mile fifty, was like Chewing tobacco

– Need some baby wipes, you know why

At the end you have so many lessons learned and so many different things that happened that you either planned for or didn’t. The key is you have to be mentally prepared and know your body. Listen to it and take care of it and when you are down your legs will keep going and you will be rewarded with success. Remember “You can do more than you think you can.”




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