Following the Leadville 100 and my month long stay in the small mountain town of Colorado I returned to Ohio and used the following months to plot out my future. I took the GRE for graduate school, ran a few races, traveled with friends and …
LEADVILLE 100 2013 Pre Race This year I moved to Estes Park, Colorado in January so I had over a year of living at altitude and training in mountainous terrain. I believe I did roughly 30 mountain summits including 8 of which that were 14ers. …
Left hometown Tiffin, Ohio on July 18th with my roommate from college, Tom Wilkin, his friend Pete Brown, and a college running rival and friend John Gogle. We arrived in Leadville, Colorado late July 19th. John and I got in an easy 10 miler and the next day I ran a little over a marathon from the hotel to May Queen and back. It was safe to say living at 10,200 feet had little to no effect on me. Training went well in Leadville, some big mileage weeks, a few trips up and down Hope and summits of Elbert and Massive.
May 20 to 26
May 27 to June 2
June 3 to 9
June 10 to 16
June 17 to 23
June 24 to 30
July 1 to 7
July 8 to 14
July 15 to 21
July 22 to 28
July 29 to August 4
August 5 to 11
August 12 to 18
May Queen and Fish Hatchery It is safe to say that I did not sleep at all the night before the race as I walked down the road to 6th street to toe the line. It was a surreal moment for me to be at the start of the race that had been camped in the back of my mind for over half a decade but I was not nervous but anxious. The race started much quicker than I anticipated but I remained fairly controlled, I believe the first half marathon was around 1:55. I cannot more eloquently state what has already been said about this trip around the lake, so much like I did in the race, I will blow through this station onto Fish Hatchery. Running up Sugar Loaf was relatively easy and the trip down was a lot of fun hoping down the switchbacks along power lines. I entered Fish Hatchery at about 3:38 (23.5 miles) and was feeling settled into a pace.
Half Pipe/Twin Lakes/Hope Pass I trucked along the road section and found a solid pack of 3 other runners to tackle the rolling terrain into Twin Lakes. This was a beautiful section yet uneventful, and as I entered the small town of Twin Lakes I was met with a tremendous positive energy and my loyal crew consisting of my dad and John. I was surprised to learn that I did not need a coat or anything for Hope Pass so that was positive considering the weather on top was looking good. It was a nice change of pace to hike the pass and get a break from running. I got to the aid station and sat for about 10 minutes and took in some calories, a finally reached the top of the pass in about 8:19.
Winfield/Twin Lakes/Half Pipe
The “run” down to Winfield was a disaster; I was feeling the effects of 45 miles under my legs and was sluggish and clunky as I stumbled down to the aid station. I was rejuvenated, however, when I finally reached the half way point and met up with my crew and pacer, Tom Wilkin. I hit the halfway point in 9:47 and Tom and I started back up the pass. I had a very difficult time reaching the top again that included me on my hands and knees on the switchbacks near the top. But as if that never happened I started bounding down the other side in decent pace. Getting into Twin Lakes I was feeling confident with my position in the race and probably started back on the coarse a little too over confident. At around mile 68 that confidence was replaced with a slow stride and quads that were seizing up on me. My pacer Pete did an exceptional job keeping me motivated and even letting me lick some salt from his hand. However, I lost a lot of time on the way into Fish Hatchery and I thought my race might be over.
Fish Hatchery I am a little fuzzy on the details while I was passed out in the Leadville Fish Hatchery but I will try to recall the memories here. I got into the aid station sat down, could barely move my lower extremities and every time I tried to stand would syncope. My dad tells me that my eyes rolled back in my head the doctor said that it was probably over for me and I lay down in a cot. My crew with the exception of my dad headed back for Ohio, which left me without pacers. At some point after being out of it for over an hour I popped up and started back onto the course. My dad put in an effort that I will be forever grateful for but had to head back as we started up the powerlines. However, on the way up I ran into Jay Smithberger and Shaun Pope (who I was passed out next to in the Fish Hatchery) and luckily they took me under their wing and helped me get up the pass. I believe Jay described this as my moment of overcoming the turning point that every first time ultra runner experiences.
May Queen to Finish I continued on with Jay and Shaun, dropped them for a few miles then they passed and dropped me, as I got to the Boulevard I was all alone in the night. However, as I came out onto the street I saw my dad standing at the intersection at 4 and he started walking with me. After all the preparation, we did not have a headlamp that was our own, I was using my dad’s socks as gloves and we had no food or water left. I was moving in a modified walking shuffle into the finish, but my dad stayed by my side and we somewhat poetically finished the race side by side on his birthday. I collapsed across the line in 26:05:47 and spent a good bit of time in the medical tent.
It did not sink in until I was over the excruciating pain, but when I had some time to take it all in I would consider it the greatest accomplishment in my life. When asked why I would ever want to do it again people think I am crazy for answering, absolutely… about 29 more times if I am able. In my mind I would be crazy not to do it again if I am capable putting one leg in front of the other.
I started running as a sophomore in high school after my freshman basketball coach convinced me to run track. I believe the motive may have been to get me off the basketball court more than get me on the cinder but that is beside the …