This was a pretty awesome event. It wasn't on my schedule or radar until my coach mentioned that it'd be a great training run for me. I've already entered Possum Kingdom 52 miler on April 11 to get a long run in for Cruel Jewel 100. I thought why not? Go and try a few things and take care of the legs plus it was a qualifier to get me in the lotto for Leadville 100. They were giving out 25 slots for this year but I really just wanted a quality run and get out unscathed. I tried recruiting some local runners to enter but no one would so I headed out Saturday am. They had a qualifying race for the mountain bike race in Leadville and I got to watch that. My coach hooked me up with Brian who had a camper for me to crash in. Thanks Brian!!!
Race morning started at 5 with packet pickup. Afterwards I kinda browsed through the entrants trying to find someone I knew but most were from out of state. This was the only race I've ran that I didn't know anyone competing at my distance but it was cool meeting runners from all across the United States. It was a great group of athletes assembled. The race started at 6am and I ran my zone 1 & 2 pace. In preparing for Cruel Jewel 100 I kept the same pace regardless of hills or flat. Just a nice easy run enjoying bluebonnets and pine trees. 1st loop was very uneventful running with a lady from Golden,Co who had rode the 100k the day before. I finished in 3:10 and was spot on with my pace and decided to drop my vest and run loop 2 with just a handheld. I know- DUMB!! Loop 2 started out perfect. I put my nutrition in my pockets and just rocked along. It was great until between mile 6 & 12 and I ran out of water. At that point I had 3 miles to the next aid station and it got hot. Tailwind is a great product but if I don't have water it gets bitter fast to me. I pushed on and after passing a couple of people suffering I backed off and finished the loop running the downhills and hiking the uphills. That little episode cost me 40 minutes on my lap time and I finished in like 4. As I came into the start line I saw a few people suffering so I made a quick decision to load my vest with water and power hike loop 3. I know at Cruel there will be plenty of hiking and if you don't practice it, you will suffer later so off I went. Vest,Salt tabs, some Gu and a handheld water bottle. By now it was close to 85 with a strong wind. Wind dries me out so I just tried to maintain a 16:30 pace. I really thought my chances for a Leadville slot were long gone and I just was trying to get done without a setback in my training. Nothing was to be gained by pushing hard. I hiked on and at aid stations I used my handheld to soak myself with water. My clothes would dry out in 15 minutes but it was sure nice. I kept moving and finished in 11:28. 1/2 mile from the finish a spectator told me a Leadville slot was waiting on me so I sprinted in and was just overwhelmed. The founder of the Leadville series- Ken Chlouber was waiting with my coin and envelope to this years race. Wow is all I can say today.
My journey running has been short compared to so many people I know. I'm not a super strong runner and somewhat know my limitations. The people who have came into my life during this journey are just awesome. One day I will sit down and name every one but there is just so many. I appreciate each and every one of them and without them I wouldn't be writing this today. Sometimes it seems like yesterday that I was on cloud 9 when I ran 10 miles in a week. I guess what I take away from it all right now is that if you put in the work, try to be a better person, remember who you are, be thankful everyday and never say you can't then good things will happen to you. I personally Thank God every day for the new lease on life he has given me. Leadville100 isn't until August and I've got to get back to work on Cruel Jewel 100 asap 1st. Til next time- Run Strong