Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Moving Past Leadville

Several people have commented that either:
  1. I graded my Leadville experience on my expectations and did not revise for my illness
  2. I graded myself by section and but provided no overall grade, or
  3. I should consider my training as a success in it's own way

Based on this feedback and my own need to analyze, I decided some type of reflection was a good (maybe just fun) idea. I'm glad I waited until after my race result had set in so that I didn't make an emotional analysis.

Leadville SR Wrap

The Grade

Goal Time 10:00 (though I internally always want better)
Actual Time 10:07 (gun time), 10:05 chip time (difference is Dutch Henry)
Grade: A-/B+ (cannot decide)

The Explanation

The grade is very tough and extremely subjective. I am very happy with training and have come to the realization that it was a GREAT first ultra result. The conditions were extreme (heat, altitude, mountains, technical terrain, illness), much tougher than a flatland looping 50 miler. The only thing I am really disappointed with is that if you inspect the results, you will notice that I had fought back (from 129th) into the race and couldn't close the deal. At one point I was in 48th place and I let 30 runners pass me down the stretch. Bummer. If it were not for that detail, I would give myself and A. If I had finished in 9:45 or less, I'd likely give myself and A+.

Positives and Negatives

Positives that I took from my experience
  • Sharing this with my family (and friends)
  • An amazing experience that I will remember for a lifetime
  • A very respectable time for a first timer
  • Power walking
  • Mental resolve
  • Planning and attention to detail
  • I was unable to capitalize on my mid-race momentum and an easy finish
  • No clear understanding of what caused my stomach problems (not sure how to treat)

What's next?

Quite simply more. I loved my experience. It is difficult to explain to someone what a life changing experience an ultramarathon becomes. That said, I want to improve. Here are some areas that I think I can improve upon for my next ultra:
  • Hill Running, lots and lots of hill running. No more walking medium grade hills for me.
  • Hiking and altitude acclimation, which mostly likely means summiting some 14ers
  • More technical trail running. I'd like to double or triple the number of miles I spent on the trails next summer
  • Nutrition. I need to keep dialing that in. And I need to condition my body to go farther on less.
  • Hot weather running. More practice running in the heat of the day running.
  • Cross-training. I need more, particularly in the off-season.


As of the moment I have one more official race for the year, the Las Vegas Marathon. I plan to race that and put marathon "racing" to bed for a while. That doesn't mean that I'll never run another marathon, I just don't anticipate it being my focus over the next 12 months (or more). I haven't committed to a training plan for Vegas just yet, but I'm thinking about going away from a Pfitz-type plan and doing more of the same. That would mean lots of long runs, lots of hill training, and the addition of some speed training. I will probably dial my mileage back a touch from my peak (70+ miles on peak weeks). I have also committed to the Lead King Loop trail race in September.

As for races next year, here is a potential list of things:
  • Pikes Ascent or Marathon
  • A shorter race in the Leadville Series (Marathon, Heavy Half)
  • Collegiate Peaks 25M or 50M
  • Leadville Silver Rush 50
  • Some other 50 mile race
  • Golden Gate Dirty Thirty
  • Western States 100 (I qualified but would need to get in 10% chance lottery)
  • Leadville 100
  • Something I have yet to even consider

Training/Summer Wrap Up

I have kept detailed notes and could probably give you a monologue about each of my runs over the past 7 months. That said, here is a collection of dates and runs that stand out to me. Most of my friends and family shared in one or more of these days, which is the best part.