Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Plans and Leadville

Well, now that's it's Jan 1st....wait...I mean Feb 13th, I should start laying out my plan for the year.  It basically revolves around Leadville 100, The Race Across the Sky. 

Back in December, I was tinkering with my plans for 2012 trying to decide what to do.  Last year I didn't make plans until the spring and by then all of the races I looked at were sold out.  This year I have bigger plans, so I knew I had to get on it by Jan 1st.  I had enough qualifying points for UTMB in France, but I thought I should get an altitude race under my belt first, plus this would be a huge expense.... maybe next year.  The thought of Hardrock briefly crossed my mind, but it's a little over my head (not that that would stop me).  Then I noticed the lottery and registration closed in early December, so that was out of the picture.  Back in November I put my name in the lottery for Western States, but didn't get in.  So 2 other races on my list are Leadville and the Canadian Death Race.  CDR is only 125km, but it's got some altitude and is a tough race.  The problem is, it's a logistical nightmare.  It's in a small town about 6hrs west of Edmonton, with all hotels already sold out (there's something like 1300 runners, and like 3 hotels).  Leadville is about 2.5hrs west of Denver, has something like 300 runners, plus this is way higher on my list anyway, so we have a winner!

Here's weird part:  Once I made my decision, the first thing I did when I got up on Jan 1st was sign up for Leadville.  Actually, first I peed, then signed up for Leadville.  I might have had breakfast first too.  Well, sometime on Jan 1st, relativily early, I signed up for Leadville.  I had emailed a bunch of hotels in the weeks prior, so I'd know if there was even any space to book a room as everything seemed sold out.  On Jan 3rd, I called a B&B that had room and grabbed one.  I wanted to print up a logo for Leadville as a motivational reminder, so I went to Google images to look for one.  When I saw a Leadville logo and clicked on it, I was taken to a blog, which turned out to be Chris' blog!  Chris was one of the runners I went to Oil Creek with in Oct.  I checked his blog to see why he had a Leadville logo, turns out he, Steve, JD and others had all signed up for Leadville back in Nov!  This was great, I was totally planning to go alone and now these guys would be going too.  I emailed Chris to let him know that I was going and where I was staying.  Then a few minutes later JD sends Chris an email to say he just got a call from a hotel they were waitisted at and they were now confirmed, it's 1 block from where I'm staying.  A weird series of events; I went from going to Leadville by myself staying at a B&B to now having a bunch of others I know there, 1 block away.  In addition to Chris, Steve and JD, also going will be Carlos and Kendra.  I haven't met them but I'm sure we'll recognize each other from the OUS races. By Jan 5th, the race had sold out.

 LEADVILLE 100 Trail Race:

Leadville has always been at the back of my mind since I got into running.  Before I'd even run a 50 mile race, I read the book 'Born to Run', and in the mille of the book there's a recount of running Leadville and I was smitten.  This is a race with lots of history going back to the beginning of modern ultrarunning (notice I threw in 'modern', I'm sure people ran great distances to escape sabre tooth tigers and invading aliens thousands of years ago). It's starts at 10,200 feet in the town of Leadville Colorado, drops down to a low point of 9,200 feet before climbing up to 13,600 feet.  It's an out-and-back course, so once you're done the first 50 miles, you get to do it all again in the dark!


Oh shit. I need a plan.  Basically, I'll likely run a 50 miler at either Seaton or Sulpher in May, then Mohican 100 in June, then I'll have 2 months to recover for Leadville in August.  I thought Chris, Steve and JD would be running Mohican 100 also, as some of them have some unfinished business there from last year, but they have switched to Laurel Highlands 70 mile instead.  Doing Laurel would be the smarter choice, so I'll make the dumber choice.  Laurel is 1 week earlier, so it's an extra week to recover, plus it's 70 miles as opposed to 100 miles.  Mohican is hilly and I'm told can get very hot (as it did last year).  My son's birthday is the weekend of Laurel, so no choice here.  I am a little worried about recovering enough or getting injured, but really I could trip off a curb and get hit by a rickshaw tomorrow, so I'm not going to worry about the race or rickshaws.  I'll also do the usual Ontario Ultra Series races, mostly 50kms, during this time.


Better start!  6 months sounds like a long way off, but Mohican is only 4 months.  Unlike Oil Creek last year which I was grossly undertrained for, I plan to be in top shape for Leadville.  If not, this race will kick my ass and I won't finish.  I'll revert back to my HURT training, lots of hills and stairs, weight training and maybe a little running here and there.

As usual, my schedule makes any high mileage plan a challenge, so my shorter runs will be much more intense to make up for the lack of mileage.  I'll stick to mostly trails with lots of hills.  I'll need to get some interval and tempo runs in to increase my V02 max, as this is really the only way to prepare for running at altitude when I'm at sea level.

The race reports and blogs I've read on Leadville have me dreading the big climb up Hope Pass, lots of stairs are in order.  I'll do like I did for HURT, I'll progress to carrying weights up and down the stairs with me.

Strength Training:
I'll step this up big time.  Basically 2 upper body sessions per week, 1 leg session (or 2 if I missed any stair workouts).  Core gets thown into both workouts.  Untracked will be lots of pushups, pullups, squats and crunches thrown in during spare time.

Cross Training:
Lots of stationary bike when I have the kids, I'll start using the pool at the gym, mountainbiking once the snow melts, hiking, and soccer starts in May.

NEPA (non excersise physical activity):
Do everything the hard way.  Take the stairs, lots of time on my feet, stay active.  My daughter hasn't walked up the stairs recently, she just stands at the bottom and says 'Leadville', then I carry her up.  She turns 8 this week, keeps getting heavier!

I had a combo at Harvey's the other day, consisted of a grilled chicken burger on whole wheat bun, salad as the side and apple juice to drink.  Need I say more? A little while back I started to look into superfoods, this was more in an effort to just eat even better than I already do, mainly for health reasons.  Each day is filled with lots of fruit and veggies, lean meat, green tea, healthy nuts, Acai juice, fish oil, flax oil and a multivitamin.  I've even stopped drinking diet soda, because really what the hell is aspartame anyway?  Lots of juice and water instead. As usual, protien shakes after each workout or run. I don't plan to be carrying ANY extra weight up and down the mountiains in Colorado if I don't have to.

Not a problem, I'm super excited to do this race.  I just finished re-reading 'Born to Run', now I want to do this race more than ever.  My kids know all about it and are excited too.  They have been trained to just say 'Leadville' whenever they think I'm being lazy.  I've printed Leadville logos for the fridge and at work.  I've got a Leadville course map on the wall at work along with an elevation chart.  I've also printed a huge 4ft high course map which I hung in my living room, my girlfriend is not impressed with my decorating taste.

Well, let's do this!  I know when I trained for HURT, I was SO focused and determined that I was mentally done a few weeks before the race.  That was only for a few months, so I'll have to be careful not to burn out as I've still got 6 months to go.  I'll enjoy it, get some runs in with the other runners.  It will be nice to chat about training for the same race, never done it before alongside other runners, should be interesting but also we can motivate each other.

My main concerns that I'll keep researching more are running at altitude, the water crossings, and the drastic temperature changes.  I'll chat with others about it to get their perspective.

Take care,


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