Monthly Archives: July 2007
At 70 bucks for 26.2 miles, this race had a lot higher dollar per mile quotient than the longer races I’ve been doing lately. I really wanted to do this one because, despite living in Colorado for 9 years, I had never been to Leadville. There are a lot of running and mountain bike events held up there and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I wanted to get a taste of racing in the Colorado high country, and see what it was like to put in a hard effort at an elevation of over 10,000 feet.
I was a little worried on Friday night when I could feel myself getting winded just walking around the grocery store. I really thought I was going to be in trouble come race time! The marathon starts in downtown Leadville (10,200′), and after a short mile or so of pavement, hits the dirt and soon becomes a very steep and rugged jeep trail. After some ups and downs, the trail makes a huge climb up to the high point of the race before turning around and going back to Leadville. Mosquito Pass tops out at 13,186′ and is the highest unpaved through-road in North America. Yikes. The total climbing for the race would be around 6,000 feet.
My 3 oldest kids and I ran our first race together this morning. This was the biggest race by far that I’ve ever run in – I don’t know the total number of runners, but I think it was between two and three thousand. We could see about 20 hot air balloons that had taken off just before the start, and a news helicopter was circling overhead. It was really cool for the kids because we got to run along the parade route and had lots of people cheering and clapping for us. Dad, Elizabeth, and Jessica made the trip over to cheer for us as well. We saw them at the halfway point and it gave us a great boost.
The kids did great, especially considering we haven’t run much lately like we were doing in the spring. After a 12:00 first mile, Natalie started to fade a little and we had to take some walk breaks. She kept up a strong walk and then we would pick out landmarks that we could run to before taking the next break.
With a little less than half a mile to go, I sent Malcolm and Lindsey ahead and they ran to a strong finish. I’m impressed with how well they did, making it look easy with no training. I stuck with Natalie until she just about left me in the dust with 200 yards to go. I told her to sprint for the finish, but was caught off guard when she ramped up to an 8:00 min/mile pace. Where did that come from?!? She flew!
The finish was lined with people 3-4 deep on both sides, a huge banner, digital clocks, and a timing mat. It was really cool, and the kids got a thrill from it all. Malcolm and Lindsey finished in 44 minutes, and Natalie and I came across a minute later. They were very happy to collect their shirts and finisher medals, along with a goody bag. It was a great time, and something they (and I) will always remember.
I was so proud of them, especially considering how tired they were from our big day on the lake yesterday. Everyone was sunburned, dehydrated, and had sore muscles from all of the tubing/skiing/boating, but we survived. This vacation stuff is hard work!!