10 Things I learned at the Leadville Trail 100 Race Series Training Camp.
Sports camps should not be just for kids. I never got to go to a sports camp as a kid. Until signing up for the Leadville Trail 100 Race and Run Camp I thought my days of attending a sports camp were like water under the bridge…gone. We work hard for our money; every adult should follow their passion and attend a sports camp of their choosing.
(My first crossing of Hope Pass, 12,600ft above Sea-level)
Going from sea level to 10,200 feet in less than 10 hours hurts! I first felt the headache when I arrived in Denver, by the time I got to Leadville I was concerned. That first night trying to get some sleep…I thought I might die! Now I’m no doctor, I have not attended medical school, and although I was once an extra in a movie (the Box) it was not in the medical profession. Alarmed, I Googled “Altitude sickness” and followed the self-treatment advice of hydration and over the counter aspirin.
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The town of Leadville is unlike none other. Whether it be in the tattered remains of the old west, or remnants of the glory days of the gold and silver rush the proud history and culture of Leadville is still alive and well.
People are Great. I met a lot of very supportive people at Run Camp. Whether it was other runners, race management or the residents, the Leadville Trail 100 is a major undertaking and I got the sense the whole town supports the race series.
They treated us like professionals. Everything needed to run 61-miles over three days at 10,000 ft was ready and waiting.
(The trail into the snow)
The course preview was invaluable. Prior to run camp and over the 2-years it took me to write a fictional story about this 100-mile race I spent a lot of hours researching the town, history and the course. I felt like I understood the challenge. NOTHING replaces shoes in the dirt.
(The climbs were taxing, but wonderful)
My lungs did not explode! Honestly, I was scared to death that I would be totally gassed in the first 50-yards of the very first run. I had many sleepless hours wondering what I was going to do if I could not complete the three scheduled runs. I’m not saying it was easy…but I ran strong, smart and not out of breath. I finished each of the three runs in the upper half of the pack.
The views were breath taking. Our world is made up of so many wonder sites. Sometimes I think while we live in the concrete jungle we forget how much natural beauty there is. Run Camp reminded me that we need to get out into the country, to climb a mountain, play on the beaches, hike a forest trail and simply be outside more!
The long-sustained climbs are no joke. Coming from the relatively flatland of Richmond, Va nothing could have gotten me ready for the climbs. Whether it be Sugar loaf, Power line or the double crossing of Hope Pass my legs took a beating. The view was defiantly worth the effort, it was breath taking standing on top looking back from where I came from.
(If your why is big, your how is easy)
The Leadville Race Series is family. I’ve been to events where I felt welcomed, but here I truly felt from the people who worked in the retail store to Quinn, Paul, including Ken and Merilee that everyone wanted me to succeed. Now I will say…they will not give you a second on the clock…but if you keep fighting, if you keep moving, if you DIG DEEP…they will do everything to help you reach that finish line and get your buckle.
(Race Founders Ken and Merilee love my book Running to Leadville)
The Leadville Race and the town of Leadville have a pull on me that I can’t explain. I first stumbled across this race while watching the film titled 1hundred where something called me. I enjoyed following the story of four runners as they took on the 100-mile challenge. At the same time, I had this story to tell, I had a character in my mind much like myself who needed to overcome some past hardships and he needed to find himself. I knew there would be no better stage to tell this story then on the stage of the highest 100-mile race in the country, Running to Leadville was born. A story that could only be told by a runner, but it is so much more.
Now, I’m Running to Leadville.