Despite the fires in Colorado, we received a green light for Leadville. The air quality was perfect and it’s all systems GO!
We drove from Aspen to Leadville, picked up race packet and headed to dinner. Things went pretty smooth for this marathon. Until the marathon!
I have never run in altitude. Coming from sea level and arriving at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, only to climb another 3,000 to the top of a mountain was a little intimidating.
I dedicated this race to Sophia Callie Sipsas’s father, Spyros Anthony Sipsas, who recently passed away from pancreatic cancer. Spyros fought to live with all he had…all the way to the end…with faith, hope, love, and patience. 4/24/1941-3/22/2012. I knew this marathon was going to be tough. I have never run in altitude. I planned to fight with all I have in his honor and for Sophia and to end Pancreatic Cancer once and for all.
So with the angels guiding me off I go….. Bring on the Leadville Trail Marathon!!
I didn’t feel the altitude walking around Leadville, but when the race started, I kid you not, within the first 100 meters I was already tired.
I have never seen a marathon where the gun goes off and people are walking. Seriously there were more people walking that first mile or the first half I should say then running. Including me.
I enjoyed talking to people as we walked. I found out that miles 10-13 I needed to be prepared to walk at about a 20 min per mile pace. That works for me. As long as I make the cutoff and make my plane. It turned out to be over a 30 min mile. I didn’t even know that was possible.
It was a beautiful course though.
I met David at the half and I was still very full of energy. David is so awesome and supportive. He runs around with me at all these marathons and films me and greets me with so much love. I am blessed.
I believe I made a comment to David at mile 13 that this was easy. I TAKE THAT BACK! From mile 10-13 was another 2000 foot vertical climb, hike or crawl I should say. Actually I was having fun. Singing, since my ipod ran out of batteries. I am not so sure people enjoyed my singing or talking at that point. But I did. The guy who took this pic said I was the most animated person he had seen all day.
We made it to the top and look at this view. I also learned what the term “zombie runners” means. It means we all looked like zombies walking up that mountain. I actually felt pretty good. I was on top of the world!
The downhill was a little technical, I had to be very careful not to slip or twist an ankle. So I took it easy. I was sort of skipping down the mountain.
I loved the water stops filled with such nice people and good food. That is what I love about the ultra community,not just the food (although that helps) but the people are so awesome. They are right there asking you what you need and how can they help you. Beautiful support and very motivating too.
They told me I was on pace to finish at about 6:45 and I was excited. We would make our plane and maybe even have time for a shower. Think again. I felt like I was out there for almost an entire day. I was actually, 7 hours and 45 minutes. That is a long time and I wasn’t even last. That was a serious marathon. I think better than calling it the Leadville Trail marathon it is more like The Leadville Mountain Marathon. If I don’t see another mountain for a while, that will be fine, I mean look at this elevation profile. Nuts!
The last 10 miles took me almost 2 hours and 45 minutes. I thought I was done with the uphill. I was not, It was back up to 12,000 feet and back to hiking. That’s ok, I did well, I fought hard to keep going and not to stop. I had the angels out there helping me.
Once we got to the downhill I thought I would be home free, but it was actually really tough to run fast down hill. I needed to take care of my body, and just stay healthy. So I even walked some of the downhill.
It’s all good, we have success. The last mile I picked it up again and ran in for the grand finish, feeling really good, happy and not really sore at all. Honestly I felt like I could do anything. In fact I think I just did.
We did a quick video, jumped in the car ( not showered) and headed back to Aspen for a 6pm flight. Without a minute to spare we made our plane and headed home. I felt sorry for the person sitting next to me on the plane. Hi David. Lol
Here is the link to the video, enjoy:
I was really looking forward to the marathon that I did just yesterday, July 4th (more on that soon). I actually have 3 in 8 days. The Foot Traffic FLAT (quite the opposite of Leadville) and then another on July 8th in Missoula, MT. It is a lot, but I will take it slow to remain injury free. So far so good.
I met a great friend in Leadville, his name is Scott. He introduced himself and told me he was following my blog and how he was inspired. I was really flattered and humbled how this journey is touching the lives of so many. We are really starting to spread awareness. I am in awe. Scott is awesome, (Hi Scott). He prepared me for what was ahead, told me how to handle the hills and greeted me with the warmest hug at the finish. I wish we got a picture. It was such a beautiful moment.
I am very grateful to have completed 13 marathons in 12 weeks so far. I remember doing 12 marathons in 2009 and I thought that was a lot. It is, but now I realize there are no limits. Sponsors are getting on board and we are going global. I am determined to change the course of Pancreatic Cancer. I will do all I can. I mean I just learned of this beautiful young mother of two small children who passed away. Her name is OinYin and look at this picture. She passed away the day before this marathon. I ran for her too. It is so unfair.
Please help by spreading awareness of my cause and website to anyone you think may be interested in helping us make a difference. I appreciate anything you can do. With your help….. we can make a difference. We got this!!!