2011 Annual Leadville Group Night Run
I had the good fortune of being able to attend the annual group run in Leadville for the 3rd year in a row. Brandon put out the word via RUNLEADVILLE.com and plans were made. The purpose of this run is to get together with a group and do the final 20+ miles of the course at night from the fish hatchery back to the finish. This was incredibly valuable the first time I did it, but now is more of a social event and final long run at altitude since I have been on that part of the course so many times.
A dozen of us started out at just after 8:00 PM for the trip into the night. It was great to see old friends and acquaintances, and to meet a few new ones. As you can see by the elevation profile, the first order of business after a short rolling stretch of pavement is to get up and over Sugarloaf Pass via the Powerline trail.
Hitting a climb like that early in a run spells big trouble for me. I have problems with my calves tightening up with the workload and this time was no different. 10 minutes into the climb and my feet were already going numb due to the lack of circulation caused by my calves. Combine that with a knotted-up stomach and I was hurtin’. I slid backwards through the group for a while before finally popping off the back and being on my own about the time we needed to turn the headlamps on. I was frustrated and discouraged to say the least, but holding out some hope that things would get better once I hit the downhill after the pass and could let the legs loosen back up.
Thankfully, the group very nicely waited for me at the top to drag/stagger my sorry butt up there. Things improved quite a bit after that and we all mostly stayed together pretty well for the rest of the night. I still fought with some huge stomach problems for most of the run, but took advantage of some times when it would calm down to run a little harder and feel like I was actually getting some work done. Kind of an up and down night for me this time.
The weather was perfect unlike the cold rain we endured last year, and finishing up and hanging out at Brandon’s sweet digs were the icing on the cake. Thanks, man! It was great to change into something dry and warm and get some tasty food and drink before making the trip back home.
Less than two weeks to go now, I’m feeling good about having a nice run with 799 other fools and just enjoying the experience and taking what comes. No plans, no crew, no pacers, no splits. Start slow and easy, then keep it there. Jog to Winfield, turn around, come back. Eat and drink along the way. Simple.