I was so excited, we were going to Leadville! Home of the Leadville 100, when we first got into ultra running we read the book Born to Run and Ultramarathon Man and fell in love with the idea of running Leadville, and although the race has changed since we read either of those books I for one would still love to run it one day.
The town is tiny but has a store solely selling race merchandise, the first thing you see when you walk in the tourist office is a big map with the Leadville route on it. We were there about a month before the race but overheard conversations at the grocery store about “the runners” who were already filing into town.
So of course we had to go for a run, we considered doing Hope a Pass, the tough climb that you go over then turn around and go back over half way through the race, but thought better of it, we weren’t really acclimated yet.
We chose to run around Turquoise Lake instead, the route profile made it look almost flat, we thought we’d just run out 10km and then turn back….let me tell you about running at altitude, it’s hard.
We set off at a very conservative pace, then continued to slow dramatically. My legs felt like lead and my breathing sounded like I was running sprints. Yet I was moving very very slowly. Our flat course turned out to be more like undulating rolling hills, at sea level it would have been awesome, at 10,000 ft they may as well been mountains.
We had chosen to do 20km because we wanted to see how we’d feel doing a long training run after really only doing short stuff he last couple of months, we were actually toying with the idea of running a 60km ultra in a few short weeks, that idea was tossed out the window as we turned at 7.5km. Dan didn’t like the idea of suffering for sufferings sake and I knew I would just be frustrated by my performance (or lack there of).