Monday, August 29, 2011


As pathetic as it may sound, I'm physically fine - except the skin is going to eventually fall off the bottoms of my feet. I never got to the point of physical exhaustion. I sure was tired, but we all were at 70+ miles, but I wasn't "spent". My muscles weren't even sore during or after the race.
I'm was kind of tired of talking about Leadville even before the race. There's a few noteworthy things though.

I screwed my race up by not changing shoes at Twin Lakes. That's the worst thing I did to my race. Oh, well.

I ran the Leadville 50 in my La Sportivas and got them very wet nearly the whole race, and there wasn't any hint of the troubles I would have in the 100. So that was a surprise. It's not like my shoes were untested, but I did forget a lesson from very many years ago. I seem to remember blogging years ago that shoes shouldn't be waterproof, but instead they should dry out fast. So uppers should be netting so that water drains out instantly, and shoes begin to dry out quickly. Lesson forgotten. Crosslites are great shoes, but I don't recommend them for Leadville unless you where multiple layers of socks - even panty-hose socks outside of Drymax could do the job.

My lungs are odd. They behaved as if completely healed at the Leadville 50, in spite of pushing too hard the first half of the race.
The lungs behave this way...
The stressor is the uphills, yet somehow the lungs are fine uphill. Even though the stress builds, it also somehow keeps my lungs clear. When I start heading downhill, the stress is off, but the stress has been loaded. My lungs start to fill on the downhills. If I hammer the downhills, which is what I've always been good at, then I manage to put some stress on down the hills and help reduce the lung-flooding. I can easily get through a 50 this way, or even a 100K, but there has always been hell to pay once I stop. When I stop, there's no stress, so my lungs flood quickly and I cough so hard I almost vomit and break a rib.

When I got to Halfpipe, they couldn't find my drop-bag. I thought they were going to keep looking, since I told them I needed it really bad. While I waited, I took off my shoes and socks and saw the state of me feet - bad. Then I ate some soup, put my shoes and socks on, and hobbled from tent to tent looking for my drop-bag.
Apparently someone somewhere gave the Halfpipe crew a list of bib numbers who had DNF'd earlier in the race. So they grabbed those bags out of the orderly line-up of drop-bags and tossed them into a disorganized heap. Whether they accidentally grabbed mine, or an entire list of bogus DNF's were given to them, the result was the same. When I stop, my lungs get worse, not better. So not getting my drop-bag was very bad at that point in the race.

Like a previous post on this blog, I mentioned that when in doubt about whether you're over-hydrated, dehydrated, hypernatremic, hyponatremic, just guzzle an isotonic solution. No matter waht, your pH will head towards the correct direction. This worked extremely well for me all day, as I had 20oz bottles of isotonic water in every drop-bag. I also had V-8 and Gatorade. On the return, I made it a rule that I would drink every drop of fluid in all my drop-bags before allowing myself to leave each aid station. The couple of miles after each aid station I always felt quite good.

If I had changed shoes and socks, I would have been moving faster when I got to Halfpipe. I wouldn't have taken off my shoes there. I would have impatiently demanded to know which tent had the drop-bags and I would have grabbed it sooner, instead of after stopping for 20 minutes. So I fumbled my race very badly from Twin Lakes to Halfpipe.

I have scarred the hell out of my lungs over the years. I love altitude, winter, mountains, and running long distances, but apparently I'm filling my lungs with fibrosis, and my lungs are becoming less and less capable of each breath. I really don't want to be one of those old people who has to carry around an little oxygen bottle everywhere I go.
So I don't want to ever let myself do another 100 mile race. I probably shouldn't do any 50's, but how can I resist?
Ultras are just so very much fun. We all run for different reasons. I enjoy the preparations, the drop-bags, logistics, "the plan", the execution. Unlike other runners, I don't get bored bored or lonely out on the trail for hours. I relish every step.
So I'm not going away from 100's with my tail between my legs, in spite of my horrible success rate. I need to stop doing 100's for my own health. I'm not sure I can stop myself, though. But that's the plan.


  1. You are amazing, period!
    I am finding that even with mesh top shoes, my bottoms will stay wet (not as wet as in waterproof shoes), long enough for blisters to form. Double layer of socks seems to help a bit.

  2. I never want to do Leadville 100 again. Didn't want before they changed hands, certainly don't want now, and with 1000 others to boot.
    I don't know how to stick to the word you gave yourself, and stop this madness. I promise myself lots of things every year. Your health IS precious. I simply get injured more and more often:) Anyhow, you don't need to run a 100 to be an ultrarunner - or to enjoy the trails. I keep telling it to my husband (who is not that particularity good at 100's and prepping for them for a variety of reasons). One day I will stop too. May be your day is today.


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