Why I need to finish a 100 mile race

I need to finish what I start. 

If my history has proven anything this may take years. However, I hope to finish a 100 mile trail run in 2021. College took more than four years; many starts and stops but I finished. 

Finishing triathlon and Ironman races took a more traditional path; I finished what I started right away.

I’m not exactly sure why I am compelled to race long. Maybe because I’m not fast. Maybe because I need to push myself and be out there longer. I don’t want to run Badwater or a 200 mile race – now that is crazy, but I’ve always liked a physical challenge. I’ve always needed a goal that was out there.

Where does this come from? I’m not sure. 

Growing up I always played team sports. Once I graduated from high school I started hiking and biking, I started doing individual sports. When I started running in 2004 while living in Steamboat everyone I knew had a training plan. Since then I’ve always loved a training plan even if I didn’t follow it exactly. I knew I needed one when I started running marathons and later training for my first Ironman.

I now think going long was a way to exhaust my over-thinking brain. Somehow running and biking long distance calmed my tendency to be high strung and anxious.

Ultra running and Ironman did the trick. 

I just feel better when I’m in the process of training for something I’m not sure I can do. 

Case in point: Leadville Training. 

Two years ago this month I started my 100 mile training plan with a goal to finish the Leadville 100 in August 2019. Nine months of training in the snow and cold, trail running, mountain running, a little mountain biking. I got to my race weight and felt like a million bucks. I finished a 50K, then a 50 miler and was ready for the 100. On race day at Leadville I DNF’d at mile 39. 

I don’t regret any of the time training for that event. I only regret letting my mind tell me to stop running. I want to fix that.

I’m ready to start training again and do it even better, which means mental training, running at night, waking up at 3 a.m. and running. It means weights and mountain biking. Laser Focus. I’m not even sure I’ll get into that race or a race, or if a race will even happen, but I’m going to try. 

Why do I need to finish a 100 mile race? I’m not content not to. I want to know what it’s like to cross a 100 mile finish line. I want to understand what my body must do to finish one. I need to finish what I started. I want the buckle.

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?!

Leadville Training update, Week 2

It’s taper time. Week 2 – unbelievable. Race day is almost here and in one week I fly to Colorado. Last week was very emotional; I was making bad decisions and not thinking things through – typical taper. And that has never worked well for me. But the good news – it was all reparable. I think things are finally turning in my favor. Perhaps I’ve outlasted it all. I keep working at it, keep coming back and keep getting back up after falling and failure.

However, there was some good – some good hiking, an off-road triathlon and a few good runs. This week will be all about running 20 miles for the entire week, some mountain biking and stretching. 

Here is the next 2 weeks

Also very important is mental training; knowing that I can do it. Knowing that all my nutrition planning, gear preparation and training will get me to the finish line.

Countdown to Leadville – 37 days

Oh my gosh – 37 days until race day!

Every day I’ve been reading my race plan and I thought I would post an inspiring sentence from my race plan document. I’ve been adding to it for the last six months and now that race day is so close I want to remember these motivational quotes from past racers that are part of the race plan.

I’ve kept a blog since 2005. Thanks to my friend Tim, who has always helped me keep my domain name and WordPress CMS up to date so I can blog. This is my third blog.

While I love sharing (sometimes over sharing) stories on my blog, the main reason I write these blog posts are really for me to remember everything that happens. I love reading the posts over and over in order to stay motivated. I read my blog several times during the day from work and on my phone. Over the years I’ve deleted pictures or lost phones with photos so I read the blog posts to remember friends, places I’ve lived and visited, and re-read race reports.

Here’s today’s motivation so I finish Leadville 100 Run:

It only takes one positive thought to keep moving.