April 9, 2019

Every year at the Leadville trail run and mountain bike races, one of my favorite moments are the pre-race meeting held the day prior to the races.  Ken Chlouber & Merilee Maupin, the founders of the Leadville race series, address the crowd of nervous smiling faces- racers, crew and supporters.   “Say it after me, “ Ken says, “I commit, not to quit.”   And you say it.. but sometimes, I found it, it takes longer than 30 hours to fulfil that promise.

After a medical pull delayed me last year at Hopes Pass (elevation 12,600’) and I missed the cutoff at mile 50, I found myself throwing my hat back in the lottery for 2019.  As luck may have it, both my husband (100 MTB) and I (100 Run) got drawn to go back to Leadville.  Over the next few months, I’d like to invite you along with me on “the trail to Leadville 2019”.

February 9-  Lovin the Hills 15 miler/50K-  one of the first local off road races, put on by Headfirst Performance.  This race is always the wakeup call for me and it sets the bar for my fitness, or sometimes lack thereof.   After some well needed down time over the holidays I found my long runs sticking around the 12-14 mile mark, which lead me to choose the 15 mile race this year.  Joined by fellow BSR’s Hannah Lyons-Cox and Ann Hall, team BSR put in some awesome trail miles in the chilly temps. Hannah’s BSR headband, which I picked up at mile 12, gave me the good luck mojo to pull 12th female overall.  

With a race time right at 3 hours, fueling is fairly simple.   Start off with a good breakfast 2-3 hours prior to race start, then I utilized Infinit, which I’ve used since my first Ironman in 2008.  Longer trail races, I always incorporate solid.  Word up… when racing in cold temps such as this race.. about 14 degrees at the start, always run your hose from your bladder in your hydration pack under at least 1-2 layers of clothing to keep the line from freezing.  I also sip at least every 10 mins to keep the lines free and clear.   

March brought with it another local favorite race, Land Between the Lakes in Grand Rivers KY.  This race is unique as it encompasses 4 different distances which all start together in a mass start.  20K, marathon, 60K, and 50 Miler.  The course is set up so the first 2 miles are run on a highway and park road which leads you to an 11 mile trail loop.  While this sets up as a drag race to get to the trail, as when you approach single track trail, it’s just what it sounds like.. single file line.  For those running a shorter distance or those wanting to run their own pace, reaching this prime real estate first, is well worth the single match burned.  What I LOVE about this race, is the RD lets you drop down or go up in distance without a DNF.   Once you finish a lap, if you choose not to go on, you can finish the next distance down and be counted a finisher for the distance you complete.  Why is this awesome?  Many would look at it as a quick way out.. however, on such a day as last March 9th, the weather called for 100% storms.. not just rain.  The already rain soaked trails that had been flooded only mere days before the race became a sea of mud.

As I reviewed shoes last month, the Inov-8 Mud Claw was perfect for conditions such as these.  The shoe not only has tall cleats for traction in the mud, they also have a grippy sole which helps you hang on when surfaces aren’t so favorable.

My longest run being 17 miles between these two races, I knew the marathon was the smart choice. And 3 miles in to lap 2, as we ran over the slip and slide and round 3 of heavy rain opened up, the choice was made.  I broke in my new  Onway BSR Run Singlet which was great (and not to worry the mud did come out).  Comfortable, cute and the longer length allowed it so stay put when running.  It can take a blow.. actually 2 falls and keep on ticking. Lesson of the day.. if you haven’t fallen yet, you ain’t a trail runner  ☺  If you fall twice.. well that just makes for bada** pictures.

8th Female Overall- Marathon  LBL 3/9/19

As the temp are starting to rise and the rain is finally receding, stay tuned next month as I review one the most essential products to a successful & happy race, Ruby’s Lube.  

Stay Tuned & Happy Trails!