Monday, November 19, 2012

Leadville Silverush 50

So this spring my wife and I decided we are going to visit our family in Colorado. So the first thing I did was look at the ultra running calendar for July aiming for a race in July. So I see the Leadville Silverush 50 on the calendar. So I signed up in June for the Silverush in July. I was excited, had always wanted to run the Leadville 100, but this would give me a taste of the altitude for the future. At the time of registering, I didn't realize how much support I would get. My brother in law Chuck in Denver, was super exited to crew the race. He had just read Eat to Run by Scott Jurek and was pumped up to experience an ultra. I was also extremely excited because it would be my first western mountain ultras. I had done Virgil Crest in upstate New York, which started at a ski resort but nothing at this elevation.

The race started early, and since it was July I wasn't used to seeing 42 degrees on reading. My brother in law Chuck drove me to the start. We took pictures, I grabbed my race # and gave them my information since they were out of shirts. Then we walked over to the start which was just one steep hill. Something that would be difficult to walk up, and probably would be scary to sled down in the winter. Also we were dealing with attitude of around 10,000 Feet.

The start, I got my trekking poles that I purchased just for this race. I started hiking, since I was not running the hill. They had little drones flying over head video taping the runner. The first person over the hill would get a free entry into the Leadville 100. As up the hill it was runnable for a bit.

This might be the last race that I loved my compression socks, they were giving shin splints for the first 4 miles. Anyway enough on that.

The first few miles was a lot of climbing, and some running. I stuck with my walk the hills, run the downhill and the flat strategy. It seemed to work for me.  Lots of runners, didn't get the memo about walking the ups, and they passed me easily.  Some of them I did see the last few miles of the race, which is always fun.

The first ten miles, was a slow and steady climb of almost 2,000 feet, going from according to my Garmin 10,023, 11,976. That was when a lot of people passed me. I hiked, and I am a slow hiker. I would of been even slower without my new trekking poles. Once we reached around the 10 mile mark we were around 12,000 feet and it was runnable, and then we got to run down hill for the first time and that was a blast. I love downhill trill raining.  But then we hit the 10,236 mark. This was around the elevation that we started at around mile 15. Then it was a long climb back up to 11,800 feet in 5 short long miles. Then around mile 20 it was time to go down again, it was pretty. Great mountain views.  Then it was time to do some running of rolling terrain till around mile 25 mark. It was tough but seemed a bit more runnable and passable. This was the turnaround point somewhere in this portion, and we headed back. I had my great crew of Chuck, my wife Susannah, and Lucinda. Who knew how good a 7 month old would be at crewing at an ultra.

From mile 25-30 it was some steep and steady climbing going from around 11,000 to 12,000 feet. This was probably the point in the race were you could feel the lack of air the most.  Then from around mile 29 to 32 there was some steep climbing. Then we arrived at the printer boy aid station for the second time. You felt relief that there were 16 short miles left. Ha Ha. This including another 1,200 feet of climbing within 5 miles. But you knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. Then it would be downhill most of the way till the end. That is how recalled it at least. Knowing how much climbing was at the beginning. Nothing like almost 2,000 feet of downhill running. I was excited because I was enjoying the downhill running so much. I started passing lots of people. I felt like nobody was passing me, and I was passing people. I felt good for the most part. The running was going well. No falling, the trekking poles were so light I could use them as guides.

I was a tad worried about missing the cutoffs, but I didn't miss any of them. Towards the end my legs started to feel it, the shuffle settled in. I kept thinking we were almost there. Since the race wasn't exactly 50 miles, I couldn't remember the exact distance. So at one point I thought we were almost to the finish. But then I realized there was one last hill and a steep downhill right at the finish. I slugged the last hill, it wasn't as long as some of the others, but it seemed worse. Especially when you really thought you were done. Then you arrived at the top of the final pass. And I headed down. Sitting on the side of the hill was Susannah, Chuck and Lucinda. I attempted to grab Lucinda and take her over the finish, but Susannah with held this. I don't think she knew what I wanted to do, or she didn't trust someone finishing a 50 mile race to hold a baby. I finally made it through the finish. I got my medal and my bracelet. Then headed over to the Beer tent which had my favorite beer in the world. The Dales Pale Ale tasted great. Chuck, Susannah and Lucinda joined me. It was a successful trip to Colorado. A great race, a great experience in Leadville. Hopefully next year or soon I can do the Leadville 100.

Sorry this was a little late, writing the JFK 50 race report last night inspired me to final write this one up.

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