Y’all heard of this? Leadville Heavy Half?
Not quite the Leadville 100. But not just a standard half marathon either.
15.5 miles. At 10,500 feet. And climbing on up above 13,000 feet. In Leadville, Colorado.
As I’ve already mentioned. There is no oxygen in Colorado.
These people just surviving on weed and views.
We at least recognized that we should probably acclimate ourselves before taking on this challenge.
Obviously, that translated in Rogue’s brain to, let’s climb to the very top of Colorado.
The day before.
And apparently I was the only pansy ass in our group feeling any sort of muscle soreness from climbing a 14,000 foot half marathon the day before.
As I slowly lowered my screaming calves down the ladder. Of my bunk area. Saturday morning. I still wasn’t fully committed to following through on this race.
I mean, we did all the badass shit yesterday.
Why do I need to do more today?
Except I really need a new professional race pic. Since my ass has been too slow in any of my ultras this year. To catch the race photographers. Before they abandon the course.
And also, Travel Goddess is a travel genius. And found us a house just around the corner from the start/finish line.
So, we were able to sleep in. And enjoy coffee.
Before heading to the start line.
There were cutoffs. We had to get to the first aid station. Four and a half miles in. All climbing. By 11:20.
And we had to get back to that same aid station. 11 miles in. By 1:45.
So we had some concerns. About making that first cutoff. After the Mt. Elbert bullshit the day before.
But we rolled up to and on through the starting line anyway.
And I managed to run through the initial start. Where everyone was videoing.
And then shifted into a “just let my short little legs just manage to keep up with Rogue’s tall, graceful ones” pace.
Until I saw the first photographer. About two miles in.
Ran for him. And only him.
And once past him…
Well, that’s really all I needed. Let’s head on back to the house.
But Rogue was powering on.
And there was a nice downhill approaching that first aid station cutoff. So I managed to get there a little after 10am.
Well that’s a nice little cushion.
That means I can slow walk my ass up the rest of this mountain.
Because you could see. The tiny little ant line of runners. For miles.
But I somehow managed to maintain a relatively respectable pace. And kept trudging on up. The narrow, rocky Mosquito Pass.
And the wind starting kicking in. Like…wind. Like, any minute the entirety of the race field was going to be pushed right on off the mountain.
And about half a mile from the top. A dude almost did.
Started flailing his poles around. Kind of windmilling his arms. Falling backwards. Just barely avoiding going right on over.
I thought he was having a seizure.
Well, fuck. How do we handle this? Does one of us have to actually run the rest of the way up this mountain. To get help? Do I have to take my phone out of airplane mode? To call someone? What is our level of responsibility here?
But then I looked at his calf.
Oh, I see what’s happening.
You’re being a little dramatic there, Buddy.
Someone throw him a salt tab. And let’s get the rest of this shit done.
I’ve shoved two big headed babies out of my body. I am not impressed by your leg cramp.
And since he already had three young ladies surrounding him. Fawning over his over exerted ass. I felt ok continuing on.
There’s not room for anymore of us on this trail. I can’t help you…
Rounded the corner. At the top of the pass. Heard the beep of the timing mat. And turned my ass right on around and back down the mountain.
I did not care about any aid station.
I did not care if I was supposed to check in.
I wanted off the mountain. And out of the wind. And into some damn oxygen.
But you can’t really run down this part.
Pretty sure trying to maneuver those rocks was what took cramp boy down.
I did stop long enough to take a pic of the view.
And then finally hit some stable ground. So I could run the rest of this race out.
While taking in these mountains.
And somewhere near the finish line. I heard Travel Goddess. And Tiny Brazilian. Cheering me in.
So, that was challenging. I think. Ima be real. My brain processed precious little of what happened out there.
But hey. I got this mug.
And I passed at least four race photographers. So I’m bound to end up with at least one professional photo. That makes me look like I maybe have some sort of actual legit running form.
So I’m gonna go ahead and call that the most challenging vacation I’ve ever taken.
Thank goodness I’ve got work tomorrow. So I can rest.
And maybe figure out a way to work out this rigor mortis that has set into my body during this 18 hour airport day.