Do you like running?

This morning I read an article from a Facebook Group post. The article: Why I won’t stop running due to COVID.

The question the writer posed to himself “Do I like running?

McConaughy’s story made me think about this year and how wacky my training plans were compared to a year ago. Last year my motivation was high to run a race that was way out of my league and at high elevation. [Leadville]

The challenge spurred me on to do my training plan every day, lose weight and created a new world for me in ultra running. I remember feeling excited about every run. When I knew I had to run 10 miles or 20 miles, I was looking forward to the run, planning what I would listen to and what I would eat for a meal after (I love a good post-run food plan).

However, 2020 started so different because I was injured and training for a 100 mile race I wasn’t super excited about. Training and motivation were nothing like a year ago. The weather beat me up and I didn’t follow the plan. I wasn’t excited about running and spent more time in the gym lifting weights.

McConaughy’s article reminded me of the feeling of being on trails. As soon as I hit a trail I’m suddenly feeling better and happier. While I am faster on the roads (and like seeing a faster pace on Strava) and sometimes do enjoy roads, I’m happiest when I am surrounded by trees, running past an occasional stream and see dirt under my feet. 

Like him, “I was captivated by the challenge of trying to run longer distances in more wild places.” That’s why Leadville was such a positive in my life last year. The Leadville 100 was long and wild. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. That’s what got me up in the morning and out the door to train. That drive and happiness drove my desire in all aspects of my life. I was so excited for whatever was around each new corner. 

McConaughy asks himself and readers, Why do you enjoy running in the first place? For me, I like the simplicity of running. Not much gear is needed and I can open my door and go. I especially love running to the top of hill, and when I’m fit, I recover fast and keep running; it makes me see progress and makes me happy. I love the days when I can run 10 miles and it feels relatively easy. 

There may be no races this year but somehow I will run 100 miles if I have to do loops around my house and ask friends to support me.

I had this poster on my bedroom wall during high school. It’s still true.

Leadville 100 Canceled, 2020

I just read the news about Leadville 100 Run – canceled. My heart sank.

While I’m not racing it this year, I know how I felt at this time last year training for the August race: I was tapering for my first 50 miler as part of my 100 mile training plan, I was close to race weight, I was laser focused on training for my first 100 miler. Leadville was my entire world.

And to think that I went through all those tough training weekends and then the race was canceled – I’d be devistated.

However, in ultra running and triathlon there are so many things that can go wrong in any training cycle: injury, sickness, weather. There are so many factors at play in training for an A Race. We have to remain positive and know that it will be there next year.

I’m disappointed for my friends who are in the middle of training and planning for Leadville. I know they are sad.

Leadville, Scoping out the course before race day

At the same time I get a reminder of one of the best things I did in 2019: train for my first 100, travel to Colorado multiple times, run with friends at 10,000 feet and strive to finish something unknown.

Leadville 100 Race Morning

Training was hard but I was so motivated. Race day ended early with a disappointing DNF. But I’m not done with you Leadville. I will conquer you. I will run that red carpet.

And some day. Some day. I will be a Leadwoman. How’s that for lofty goals?!

Monday Motivation, First Tracks in the Snow

Here in Concord we got about 6 inches of snow this morning. The roads around my house are plowed so I head to the Winant Trails with my dog and snowshoes.

Winant Park, Concord NH

The photo above shows how gorgeous it was this morning. Not a soul out yet. I could hear snowplows in the distance but other than that it was peaceful.

Last night I came very close to signing up for an Ironman and had thoughts of signing up for the Leadville Camp/Run combo. Very dangerous. But instead I walked to the store and bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s – Peanut Butter Cup.

I woke up with a sugar handover and still undecided about what races to do.

I’m signed up for the Houston Marathon and Umstead but am too injured to run. Okay, not much for Monday Motivation except for starting the day with a great snowshoe hike in the woods with my dog.

It was a Grand Adventure

I dropped from the Leadville 100 Trail Run at mile 38, at Twin Lakes. I really thought it was my day; that I would finish this race. I really wanted to experience the water crossings and Hope Pass and Winfield. But I just couldn’t do it. My legs and brain couldn’t do it. I wasn’t going to meet cut-offs and I stopped. 

The first section of the course was spectacular and I loved running at 4am. I met some cool people, particularly Ernie and Isaac who called me New Hampshire. Isaac talked to everyone and asked everyone where they were from. Every time I would see him, “Hey New Hampshire, how are you feeling”. He is still on the course as of this writing. Ernie dropped when I did.

That course was brutal; so many ups and downs. And then when it was flat road, which was a lot, it was hard to run because my legs were dead. I started slow, I never ran with full gait, so I felt like it was a good pace. But once I left Outward Bound my legs betrayed me. I tried to run, count to 100, and it worked for a bit but once I was through Mount Ebert aid station I knew I was done. I walked and then slowed even more once I knew I was done. My legs were dead. 

I tried to Jedi Mind Trick my brain with thoughts of seeing Hope Pass and using all my mantras but it was no use. 

Where I decided to call it a day. Then I snapped this picture.

I’m not sad or mad about the race. I feel badly that my pacers couldn’t run. I know Roger wanted to pace me and for that I feel terrible. I know Mark, Mary and Whitney would’ve been amazing. 

I just couldn’t imagine running at night feeling the way I was. I’m not sure I would’ve even made the cut offs. 

I know I have work to do. I like running for long distances but maybe 100 is too much or the Rocky Mountains are too much. I have to get leaner, stronger and I need to do more mountain running. 

Race 5 of 5 for the dream year is a bust. I told Mark yesterday as we drove back to the condo that it was a great adventure – this Leadville quest. It was fun to train and plan and execute despite the outcome. 

It turns out that 2019’s mantra is “It’s all about the adventure”. The adventures this year turned out to be a mixed bag. Some highs and lows for sure. I’m so thankful for my friends and family. It’s only August, so much can happen in the next few months. I’m determined that 2019 is going to be the best year ever for every aspect of my life. There is so much to try, to learn, to experience.  One of my favorite phrases to say after success and failure: What’s Next. Stay tuned for the next adventure. It’s going to be so good!

One day until Race Day, Leadville 100 Trail Run

I’m in Colorado getting ready for the big day tomorrow.

There is an athlete meeting, lunch and packet pickup/drop back drop off.

So much to do before race day because I was trying not to think too much about it so I stayed calm. This has proved to be a good strategy.

Tomorrow, all I have to do is wake up and run and eat. I actually feel really good about it because I know that my crew and pacers are helping me every step of the way. Their planning and tips have helped immeasurably and I’m not sure how to thank them.

50-100 mile pacers

My next post will hopefully be about the best day ever. It’s been a fun ride. I’ve learned a lot and changed so much from this experience training for Leadville. I’m pretty sure it’s not the end of Leadville and 100 mile trail runs. It’s always fun to see what’s next.