Really stupid...

If an idea is good, it's on the verge of being stupid. ~ Michel Gondry

I have always had this theory… get a group of people in a room, throw out a bunch of ideas and at the end of the night, look at your list to find the most idiotic and that's the one you should do.

This blog was spawned from one very stupid idea - run the Leadville 100. I gave that a shot in the summer of '07 - completed 73 miles - and survived. The blog lives on...

RunStuRun has moved to

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back in the saddle, again...

Oh no. The problem. The problem, Pansy! It's started again! I must have fruit! ~ Vincent

Yesterday: Singlespeed Ride - Neighborhood trails, 1.5 hours
Today: Run - Hope Pass (North side), 3.5 hours
Tomorrow: Bike ride - Nederland trails, 3 hours

Well... the last two days have seen markedly different experiences. Yesterday's ride was a blast. I felt strong the whole time and even discovered some singletrack to which I had previously not been privy. Good stuff. I headed up to the standard route but didn't really want to swing down the flume on the rigid bike so I jammed down a trail I hooked up earlier this year and then started exploring. I tried a piece of singletrack I hadn't gone up in years and happily discovered it to hook up with some roads northeast of my house. Blasted back down the the Beav' and rode home in good spirits. Absolutely no pain in my lower extremities and power to spare.

Today's adventure was less happy-inducing. I got up early to take care of stuff around the house then headed up to Leadville to run the last remaining segment of the course I have not yet seen, Hope Pass. This starts in Twin Lakes and heads up 3400 feet over the Pass and down a similar elevation to the ghost town of Winfield. My plan was to run about 7 miles up and over then back. I guess you know what they say about the best laid plans...

I arrived in Twin Lakes around 8:45 and headed out by 9:00. Route-finding was tricky, to say the least but I finally managed to get moving in the right direction and on-course, even. I had some problems crossing the river as it was running strongly and was murky from a recent storm but I managed to get across without dousing myself or my camera. I am guessing the crossing is only about a mile and a half or so along the route but it took me nearly an hour to finally reach the south bank. Ugh. This is why I have been reviewing all the parts of the course... so come go-time, I'll be familiar with each section and the challenges therein.

After the river, I headed up, up, up. I felt okay, actually, mostly power-hiking up the well-traveled trail. There were other runners that I passed or who passed me heading the other direction. I definitely could have run some of this section but wanted to simulate race-pace so kept the uphills to a brisk hike. Around tree-line things took a turn for the worse when I experienced an excruciating jolt of pain in my left shin. The problem had come back with a vengeance. Worse than ever, actually. Nausea-inducing type pain. Not good times.

I stopped and stretched for a bit and then decided to see if this was an isolated incident (it wasn't) then experimented with different techniques to try to deal with it. I was able to come up with a couple of tricks to keep going but this is not something I believe will work for 100+ miles. Eventually, I used my handkerchief to compress the area and that seemed to offer a bit of relief. I decided the full trip was a bad idea but wanted to "summit" at least so trudged on the additional 1000+ vertical feet to the top of the pass.

Upon turning around after a brief stop to get some food and change shirts, I couldn't believe how painful the leg became. If I were the panicking type, I can assure you that things would have gotten silly. I limped down the top section then tried running a bit once the pitch became less steep. This seemed to work and I was able to keep a fairly steady pace back down Hope to the valley below. Once the trail leveled out, I alternated walking and running back to the river then back to Twin Lakes.

I have put in calls to Mark to see if he can squeeze me in next week and Ben, a friend of mine who is an experienced athlete and who has finished Leadville at least once to see what to try next. I am thinking this will involve switching all remaining training to the bike until the last week or so, when I may try a couple short runs. Not really sure right now the best course of action. I definitely also want to see if there are any tricks I can employ to help get me through the race (ice, compression, booze) and, at this point, am pretty much game for anything that might enable me to get through it. 27 days until the start. That should give me plenty of time to get this figured out.

I'll post some photos in a bit. I only took a couple as the day was a bit gray and will get them posted ASAP.

Think shin-ey thoughts.


Edit: I spoke with Ben last night and he provided a different insight into my situation. With less than four weeks until the race, I really don't have much more intense training to accomplish. His take on the situation is that I can jump on the bike, finish out the month with less abusive training that will maintain my current fitness levels and give my body a rest prior to the race. Going in refreshed and healthy is much more important than any incremental fitness gains I might achieve at this point. Great advice.

Leadville tip: Two tips, actually...

Tip 1: Many people take off their shoes while crossing the river. My experience is that with good socks, they dry quickly and there is no need to waste time swapping them out at this juncture. I plan to swap shoes at Winfield and then again after crossing back over in Twin Lakes.

Tip 2: Bug spray is most welcome during the first couple miles out of Twin Lakes. This marshy section is rife with mosquitoes and keeping them at bay is a good idea.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails