Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Few More (inevitable) Leadville Thoughts

I've been noodling a bit on the whole Leadville 100 experience (probably a rookie thing). A few additional thoughts have been popping up now and then, so I thought I'd document 'em here.

1. Over the 100+ miles of the course and 26+ hours, I never fell down. I saw a bunch of guys and gals with bloody legs. I guess that's a benefit of moving relatively slowly.

2. I ran the whole race wearing the same pair of Hoka Stinson Evos. I stayed far away from these shoes for months and months, but finally decided to give them a try when I found a great deal. The shoes aren't perfect for me. They are a bit wide, but their plush ride was what sold me.

For a couple years, I've dealt with chronic plantar pain in my right heel. After that long run at Leadville, I had no pain. None. That's amazing given my past experience. My heel typically hurts after an easy six-mile run in my usual shoes (whatever pair they are).

During the race, the shoes felt fine. Never felt like I wished I had something else on.

That said, I had two problems.  First, I did get four blisters, three on different toes and one on my right forefoot. I distinctly remember feeling a couple of them pop during the race. Second, I still think they are incredibly dorky looking, especially on those of us blessed with skinny-ass legs.

Post-race, I'm back running in a pair of Saucony Peregrines. Haven't put the Hokas back on, but I will at some point soon.

3. Next time I run this race, I think I'll change socks after the water crossing just beyond Twin Lakes outbound and definitely change shoes after Twin Lakes in bound. I didn't make any shoe or sock changes this year. My feet suffered for it, at least I think that was the problem. No doubt the Hokas caused some issues, but the bottoms of my feet were pretty wrinkled and tender. Pretty sure that's due to running with wet feet.

4. Pacers are valuable. Leadville was my first experience using a pacer. I said a bunch in the race report about how important my two pacers were to me during the race. One thing I didn't mention is how valuable I think pacers are for safety reasons. I was thinking about that when Dave and I were ascending Powerline in the late night darkness.

Not too far from the top, we came across a woman without a pacer. She was struggling...moving slow and not looking too well. We walked with her for a bit, asked after her and encouraged her to move with us. She waved us on, but I was anxious for her. There wasn't much we could do for her at the time. She was plodding forward and probably doing just fine, but it was a reminder of how important a pacer can be to us novices (or anyone, really) should one get into trouble, especially in the wee hours of the night out there in the middle of nowhere.

4. Other runners can be annoying...way annoying. An hour or so after Steve and I broke out headlamps, somewhere on the Colorado Trail between the Mt. Elbert water stop and Treeline, we came across a woman pacing a male runner. The woman was counting out at the top of her lungs 20 running steps, then 15 walking steps for the guy...over and over. I was in powerhike mode, so they would move on ahead on the 20 running steps, but come back to us on the 15 walking steps.

So, there we were on a beautiful night, on a great trail moving from glow stick to glow stick, catching occasional glimpses of an amazing star-filled night sky, all to the soundtrack of this woman yelling out the numbers 1-20, then 1-15. It drove me crazy.

The good thing, though, is that it finally got bad enough that it got me running. I had to get away from that cacophony and back to some nighttime peace and quiet.

Sometimes its better to suffer in silence.


  1. Hey Jim, I don't know if you saw or not but I took a few minutes to calculate your place at each aid station:

    Congrats again on a great race!

    1. Really great data to have. Thanks, Andy! I haven't yet taken the time to look at race splits, let alone calculate places. I've been meaning to do dive into the numbers a bit, but haven't yet. I want to calculate my actual splits againstWeber's 24:30 pace chart to see how I was doing before the meltdown (and after).

  2. Drink more brew. It helps get those skinny ass legs into better proportion with the Hokas.

    (and yes, I LOVE over analysis)

    1. Good thinking, GZ. It would be much easier and quicker to modify the body to fit the shoes. On it.