Leadville Trail 100 – My Leadville Diaries


The Leadville Trail 100 has captured my attention for a good part of three years. Prior to discovering this race running was mostly about getting to the finish line as fast as I could.  To run faster I avoided races with hilly terrain.  At that stage of my running career there was little adventure in my runs.  I was simply logging miles…some very flat miles.  Then I watched a movie call 1hundred and was captivated that people sought out and ran up mountains.  I also discovered the story of this sleepy little mining town high up in the Rockies.  I was hooked…

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If I was going to seek out a mountain, if I was going to run up a mountain I wanted it to be a big one.  Leadville may not offer the highest crest but with the majority of the race over 10,000 ft I felt this was the mountain race I needed to run.

“I will run and I will complete the Leadville Trail 100.”  Became my calling card.

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Fast forward to Aug, 2018.  The miles are done, the hay is in the barn….only final touches are left in my preparation.  Come along with me as I spend a little over a week in Leadville getting ready to run the biggest race of my life.

My Leadville Diaries:

Aug 9, Day 1 / 8 days till race day:  I drove out to the site of the May Queen aide station.  This site would serve as the first and last stops on my way to the Leadville belt buckle.

In this video diary I talk about why Leadville, how I’ve amp’d up my training for this race and my race goals.

Aug 10, Day 2 / 7 days till race day:  Facebook is great.  During my day 1 dinner (Pizza) I received an instant message from a FB friend asking if I wanted to run/hike Hope Pass with him.   At first I second guessed myself when I accepted.  Did I really want to go up Hope?  Did I really want to hang out with someone I had never met in person?  WOW….so glad I went.

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In no other sport/community do you meet as strangers (FB friends) and in the span of 3 hours and 3,000 feet you feel like lost souls. On this run we laughed, I learned, we told stories and shed a few tears.

In my day 2 diary I talk about why 100-miles, and what I do for nutrition on race day.

Aug 11, Day 3 / 6 days till race day:  I spent my third day in Leadville volunteering for the 100-mile Mountain Bike Race.  Instead of a video I have a few pictures from my adventure.  My first assignment of the day was to work the starting corral (4 a.m. until 6 a.m.) in the gold corral…with all the elite level bike riders.  Being this up close and personal with such talent was humbling.  The start of the race was impressive and inspiring.

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After the 6 a.m. start I got reassigned with two friends, Stacy and Sho to help with traffic management on the north side of Twin Lakes Dam, aka “parking duty.”  All my experience marshaling aircraft in the USAF came in handy.  Not one signal parking indecent, but I’m here to tell you parallel parking is a lost art.

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After the parking rush was over I was able to get out on the course to watch as a few of the riders made their return trip back to Leadville, mile 60.

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Once done with parking Stacy drove us around to each of the locations for the run aid stations.  An experienced Leadville crew member she pointed out helpful race day hints/tips for crewing.  I’ll post this information in my upcoming videos.  After our site survey of the run course we headed back to Start/Finish line.

Back at the finish line we were able to watch a few of the riders come home.  This time at the finish line really inspired Sho and I for our adventure, running the Leadville Trail 100.

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Aug 12, Day 4 / 5 days till race day:  I could not be in town and not run the Leadville Trail 10k…it would be un-American, right?  But I wasn’t here to race the 10k.  I simply wanted to get a feel for my race day intervals and/or work on my race day plan for the first leg of the 100-mile race, Leadville to May Queen.  I completed the race in 1:00:53, good for 169/435 overall.  Best of all I felt strong the entire 6.2 miles…

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In this installment I talk about the Leadville 10k, how I plan to handle the two rivers crossings during the race and the use of hiking poles.

Aug 13, Day 5 / 4 days till race day:  Today I linked up with three friends and toured the locations for the aid stations along the Leadville race course.  I also asked Mike and Jim “Why 100-miles and why Leadville.”

Check back for my next installment of my Leadville Diaries.