15 August 2012

How to Run Leadville 100 Part 2: Pray to God or Train

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, do so here.

Since finding faith in God isn't likely, nor is the chance that he may accept your belated and misguided faith, you need to figure out how to actually train for Leadville.  I'll eventually release the "How to Run a 100 Mile Race" guide that's already written (and pretty damn awesome), just not down in physical words yet, so for now we'll focus on the overview of training for Leadville specifically.

The next six months of your mountainous high altitude training.  Good luck.
See, Leadville is an odd race.  It's an incredibly runnable course yet offers two obstacles, one obvious and tangible (Hope Pass x 2) and one unseen (altitude).  Many of the participants come from Colorado. When I ask them why they run Leadville (when there are so many other badass 100s in the country, I get the obvious(?) response "Because it's convenient."  I've run a few 100s and I can assure you that no 100 mile run is "convenient".  Whatever.  The point is that these Coloradans are used to both the climb of Hope Pass and the altitude of the entire race.  I'm assuming you're from some sea level handicapped, humidity saturated town.  You know, a place where only a tool d-bag would wear a Leadville Big Buckle (we'll get to that distinction eventually) to a cocktail party.  Wear that thing to a party in Colorado and you'll be ostracized to the living room off the foyer (hall/entrance) -you know, the room where no one has ever spent more than three minutes, much less sat down and relaxed.  The sort of room your grandparents would have plastic all over the furniture so if you did sit on it, you'd make constant farting and squeaking noises and smell like a new beach ball the rest of the night.  Wear that buckle to a party in New Mexico and you'll get shot and have the buckle stolen only to be sold for scrap metal with an old radiator and random fence material and your scalp will be spray painted pink and dangling from the rearview mirror of a lowered 1982 Chevy Silvarado.  Regardless, we'll say you're from a coastal state or, sadder even, a midwestern state where you have no idea why the air is so fucking thick and your house is ripped up by a tornado every two years.

Xenia, Ohio tornado.  I lived through this bitch when I was a kid. photo Dayton Daily News
Anyway, you need to figure out how to survive at over 10,000 feet, as well as how to run continuously uphill for 3,500 feet (a couple times), just to impress chicks who probably won't care much because your arms are skinny like a malnourished spider and your feet look like you've been spending nights with Kathy Bates in the movie "Misery".  Whatever, at least you're interested in trying to impress the ladies.  It's a start.

If you're one of those dumb rich guys with a shitty marriage, you could buy yourself a high altitude tent to sleep in like the bubble boy.  Your kids will start doing drugs out of sheer embarrassment.  Or (since you obviously have no sense with your cash) you could fly to Colorado and spend some time in the mountains learning how to breath air with like 2 molecules of oxygen per lungful.  At least there are nice views (and you're not encased in plastic watching your family live like normal people).

Aside from acclimatization, you'll need to run a lot and run uphill a lot.  Easy.

Let's assume you've done all the proper training.  You'll know whether you have if you've lost all your friends, you are so skinny you look like you escaped from a concentration camp, and you are tanner than a lifeguard at a nudest colony.  Now you're ready to race Leadville.

Mining competition, circa 1900-1910.  These guys would kill and eat an ultrarunner.  photo Denver Public Library
The scene in the town of Leadville surrounding the week of the 100 mile run is, well, odd.  There's this town full of mostly unemployed, deep fried food eating, cigarette smokers, who look like they'd just as soon kick your 2010-model-Subaru-driving self in the teeth, than say hi to you.  And then there's you and the other thousand quinoa and kale eating, sinewy appendaged, Patagonia wearing, hipster wannabe, bleach white toothed "health nuts" wandering around the main street shops like you've never seen a silver necklace with a bear claw pendant before.  It's like two worlds colliding in some time warp.  It's really fascinating if you step back from your terribly important life and just observe it.  I often hope something will spark a massive brawl between the townsfolk and the tourists.  I envision the fit runners slapping at the tree trunk fore-armed and walnut knuckled Leadvilleans like five year old girls.  Then they get killed and dumped into Turquoise Lake.  But I digress.

Part 3 of "How to Run the Leadville 100:  Choice, Buckle or Death?" Here


16 comments:

  1. Tim: Do I take it you're not fond of Leadville?

    "Let's assume you've done all the proper training. You'll know whether you have if you've lost all your friends, you are so skinny you look like you escaped from a concentration camp, and you are tanner than a lifeguard at a nudest colony. Now you're ready to race Leadville." That's good stuff (and very true, actually, which is kind of sad).

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  2. Wyatt, nowhere in this piece do I say or hint that I don't like Leadville. It does irk me that they allowed other runners to register recently, yet refused my request to register, especially when they have a big photo of me on the main 100 mile page. Otherwise, it's a lovely event...

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  3. Time for you to get away from the keyboard and out of Shad's basement.

    Good stuff.

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  4. I think the comment about the hipsters is pretty right on but knocking the locals was a little harsh. As for getting into the race or not maybe they didn't like your Wow-wee blog/commentary from last year?

    http://footfeathers.blogspot.com/2011/11/leadville-100-wow-wee.html

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    1. Again, it's a humorous piece. Relax or move on.

      I stand by my criticism of LT100. It is too crowded. The crew vehicle management this year was a mess (putting it nicely). They still had no volunteers at key sections/road crossings. It smells of corporate greed. It's "convenient" for people living on the Front Range, so, if I'm living in the area and have nothing else planned for August, I'll run the thing.

      Sign your name.
      Tim

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  5. One would think that a "coach" would be more respectful to their prospective client base, no?

    "thousand quinoa and kale eating, sinewy appendaged, Patagonia wearing, hipster wannabe, bleach white toothed "health nuts" wandering around the main street shops like you've never seen a silver necklace with a bear claw pendant before."

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    1. Did it occur to you that this is a humorous piece and that perhaps I'm poking fun at myself in the comments about "us" ultrarunners? Lighten up, dude.

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  6. As always these are great reads. As flat lander (Iowa) that dreams to the 100 mile and getting the shiny blink around my waist I was hoping from somthing on the actual training above the 10's of 100 mile programs that you can find vai Google. Still looking forward to the next article.

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  7. I paid off Ken to not let you in so you could pace me.

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  8. Sweet read! At least you can pace Lucho, and dream of next years race with the, "bleach white tooth health nuts."
    Keep up the entertaining posts.

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  9. Reading this has left me unsettled. I'm fat (at least in my mind), I still have a few friends (at least in my mind), and I'm as pale as any old person who sits at a desk all day (at least in my mind). Clearly I'm not trained for Leadville!! But wait, I am from Utah - where I arguably have some connection to a higher power. Given my current state of unpreparedness (read lack of training) I'm going to opt for the "pray to God" strategy to hopefully get some bling (and accompanying attention from virgins on earth - and in heaven).

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  10. "dumb rich guys with a shitty marriage"
    "your arms are skinny like a malnourished spider"
    Gold.

    "There's this town full of mostly unemployed, deep fried food eating, cigarette smokers, who look like they'd just as soon kick your 2010-model-Subaru-driving self in the teeth, than say hi to you."

    We spent some time at the bowling alley last year, and some locals who had seen better days were getting smashed on Jager (celebrating that the bar had some more in stock, after running out earlier mid-week). The guy who got us our rental shoes was mulletted and in his own world. And don't even get started on the Golden Burro owner...

    I used this observation to come to the conclusion as to why (re-)opening a brewpub there would continue to have challenges: you can sell $5 microbrews in July and August to the endurance crowd. Only.

    But I love that colourfulness as much (but in a different way) than the homogeneity of the ultrarunning cult...ure. I think you do, too, given the blunt and self-effacing humour.
    Awesome.

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