El running in from Hope Pass to the Twin Lakes aid station at mile 60.
Let’s see, it has been awhile since my last post and that’s not due to a lack of things I wanted to say. It has mostly been due to a lack of computer and a little bit from being too busy to borrow another computer.
Anyway, a few weekends ago I paced a very dear friend of mine in her first attempt at a 100 miler. Elinor has been training all winter, spring and summer for the Leadville 100 and was ready to give it a go. Elinor’s training partner Joy, had already raced and finished her first 100 miler earlier this summer at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100. Unfortunately Joy could not pace Elinor as planned so I opted for a slightly longer section of the race to make sure that El had someone with her every mile from mile 50 to the finish (no pacers allowed until mile 50).
Moving slightly faster than her projected times, El’s husband Rob called me letting me know I needed to get on the road and over to Twin Lakes for the drive into Winfield. Rob had an amazing aid station set up for El when she arrived at mile 50 hurting a little more than expected. I was extremely thankful I had made it in time as I think it would have been very difficult for Elinor to turn around and go over Hope Pass alone at that point. As difficult as it was to witness my friend suffering, I continued to encourage her to keep moving despite being a bit overwhelmed at the time. We made it over Hope Pass (which was absolutely beautiful for me) and into Twin Lakes at mile 60 to have a quick visit with Rob, Reed (their one year old), El’s parents (in from Canada) and Todd (a Leadville veteran and pacer for later in the race).
Despite stressing Elinor out at the time, Reed’s crying was a blessing in disguise as she was too overwhelmed to deal with him so she got up and kept going. We continued on together into the night, me attempting to keep her eating (one Honey Stinger chew at a time) and not falling asleep and El just concentrating on moving her feet forward. As with all races, there are good and bad times and Elinor made it out of a slump and had some great miles of running (and running fast) between Twin Lakes and Fish Hatchery. Even though I have been through these cycles in races as well, it was really interesting to witness them from this perspective.
After about 27 miles, I left Elinor at Fish Hatchery where she continued on with Todd and up the Powerline climb passing people the whole way. I know she had a few more low points before she made it to the finish line but she pushed through and showed some amazing will power. One of my motivating speeches for El was to finish this one so she would never have to go through this again but of course it sounds like she’s already considering another 100 miler.
Elinor will have a full recap of her race experience in the November issue of Trail Runner magazine.
As for me, I have been working on my running threshold thanks to Lindsay Hyman at CTS. Intervals with some great trail runs and mountain bike rides mixed in have gotten me back to a point where I’m starting to feel fit again. I have a little further to go but am looking forward to testing my fitness at a few races in September and October.
Summer’s finally here both by the calendar date and the weather! I had a busy week of training with lots of intervals running and riding. I’m slowly starting to feel stronger during these sessions even when I pushed both kids in the Chariot last Friday for some running hill repeats. That was a tough session!
I am racing in the Mountain States Cup Crested Butte 40 next weekend so I had to get out for at least one long mountain bike ride beforehand. I set out early Saturday morning and headed over Cottonwood Pass to Gypsum and then up into the Eagle maze of amazing singletrack. At about three and a half hours of riding, I came up on the tail end of a cattle drive and ended up driving about six cattle back to the group. Just a little smelly. Despite being slowed down by the cowboys, I was able to really enjoy four hours and fifty miles of riding.
Sunday was Father’s Day which meant I left early again so Ian could be a father on Father’s Day. Isn’t that what the day is for? Oh well, but it was great of him to let me get out for two plus hours of trail running with Elinor before he enjoyed a long ride. I was amazed how great my legs felt after a hard week of training which gave me more confidence the CTS coaching has been a very good investment.
I’m a little (okay, a lot) nervous for the race this weekend. The CB40 is technical and therefor not a fast forty miler. My ride on Saturday was the longest in ten months (and the longest I have left Axel so far). What if it takes me six hours to finish? Will I be able to make it without stopping to nurse? I raced for five days when Juniper was five months old but hadn’t done a race this long this early in the game.
The Golden Leaf Half Marathon certainly lived up to its name this past Saturday. The aspens leaves were at the peak of their fall color and it was a beautiful, bluebird Colorado day.
Over 600 people showed to race on the spectacular 13.1 mile trail from Snowmass to downtown Aspen. The race starts with a brutal two mile climb up Snowmass mountain. I was feeling good and quickly moved past many runners as I tried to maintain a steady uphill pace. After that initial climb, the trail is rolling and pretty technical, and a fresh coat of slippery yellow leaves on the ground made it extra treacherous. I tried to stay light on my feet and before long I was racing all by myself. It was really beautiful to be cruising along with just the sound of my breath huffing and the soft ground beneath my feet.
I finished in first place with a time of 1:45.47.2.
Full race results here. This was a great race for me. I trimmed 17 minutes off my time last year and it was a great confidence booster going into next weekend’s XTerra Nationals at Tahoe.
My good friend Elinor Fish, who is the managing editor at Trail Runner Magazine and is 16 weeks pregnant had a pretty exciting race too. About three miles from the finish she tripped and superman-ed onto the trail. She looked down to find her knee filleted open and gushing blood. The bad ass that she is, El decided to keep running and to the horror of some people at the finish area, came across the line with blood-spattered legs. The medical tent got her bandaged up and then a trip to the hospital earned her three new stitches.
On Sunday, my friend Joy and I rode up to the Maroon Belles with the Juniper in the Chariot.
Read more here.