Where to start ? That is the question I find myself asking as of now. I have so many emotions running thu me as I look back at this race and the last year leading up to this. As many of you know last year I went out to Leadville with big goals and came up short dropping out at mile 70 for my first DNF in 23+ years of running. That DNF haunted me all year long. I let it eat at me and my confidence as a runner. It was not fun being me inside of my head at times.
As 2009 rolled along I knew my buddy Paul was going back as was two good friends Joe Z and Tony K for there first LT100's. I kept saying I was going but deep down I did not want to do it. Well for months I kept going thu the motions of acting like a guy going back to "that" race but knowing I was not going to do it when push came to shove. Then came this little 50 mile training run with Paul and TC Running store owner Adam. In that one run things had changed. I no longer felt like I needed to go back, but I wanted to go back !! This along with lot's of love and support from my wife Sonya ( for the last long year ) I signed up and was on my way.
Fast forward to race week. Me and the family ( minus Summer who could not be with us ) where off to Colorado and I was excited beyond belief. I drove like a madman nonstop to Boulder where we where going to spend our first night. After a good nights sleep we had a great day playing in the foothills of Boulder before we had to pick up cousin Jessica from Portland. From there it was off to Cripple Creek, CO. which sits at 10,000 and is on the backside of Pikes Peak.
The campground was so great !! We just chilled out, ran some trails, drove up to the top of Pikes Peak ( talk about a crazy drive ) and had a super time just hanging with the family. After two nights of that it was off to Leadville and to meet up with Paul and his family.
Once in Leadville it was beyond words. It was great to see Paul and be back in this great town once more. Heck I even got to meet many people I have met via blog land like defending champ Duncan to name a few. I got in a few easy days of running and before I knew it it was race day.
I could not sleep the night before and was up at 1am but the race did not start till 4am. Man this sucked. I listen to my ipod and got ready. Come 3am all the guys were up and we where ready to roll. Walking to the star line I knew it was going to be a good day. We all had different goals but where ready. Joe and Tony wanted 21 hours bad, Paul wanted sub 25 hours and the big buckle and well I wanted to rid myself of this monkey on my back and finish this race.
As the race started I felt good running with Paul and let him know that today he was to let me go if he was feeling it. After 20+ miles that happen. Coming off Sugarloaf I was having some issues and let him go. When I got to Twin Lakes aid station I got all set up and was feeling much better. I hooked up the ipod and was having fun on this hot day. I still had some things going on like a sore right knee as well as many #2 potty stops. But I got to mile 40 at Twin Lakes in good shape and still on my goal pace of 7 hours 40-50 min's.
I left Twin to climb the mighty Hopes Pass. Holly cow that is a long climb. On the way up I was doing my best and got passed by a few of the leaders who where coming back. Things went bad coming down hope and up to the road to Winfield at 50 miles. I wanted to drop so so bad. It was like last year all over.
I picked up my pacer Andy and went back out now more than 1 hour behind Paul. But something happen going up Hope once more as I started to climb pretty good and when I got to the top of the climb I was flying like a bird down the mountain. By the time I got to Twin Lakes once more at mile 60 I had gotten like 30+ min's back on Paul. I picked up Sonya and a pacer and we took off. It was here I made a big mistake but taking off my Drymax socks and put on some compression sock I had only run a little in on. Within 4 miles my feet started to blister bad. By the time I got to 70 miles I had very big blisters killing both feet with each step. I was being forced to walk. Man this sucked but I just kept moving. I was not stopping today !
After the final long climb up the power lines of Sugarloaf I got to the last aid station of MayQueen and I knew I was on the way home. I was falling asleep but kept moving. This was the longest I had ever been out running by many hours. As we got like 2 miles from the finish I knew if I could find a way to run some I could break 28 hours for a small victory. Sonya pushed and pushed me and I could feel myself going. I was moving hard down the final road uphill to the finish. I got in at 27 hours 58 min's. As I stood at the finish I new I did not get the wanted time wise, but got the race I needed mentally wise. This was a big day for me. I slayed my dragon.
I find myself now feeling more excited about running then I have for a long time. I do not know what I will do next but I do know I overcame something big within myself. Thanks to all who helped me get there. I love you all.