I run happy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

LEADVILLE SILVER RUSH 50 MILER

This so happened.
Two days of driving one way,  Circle J's, Love's Rest Stops,  Rented Cottage,  Churches with crooked crosses, dogs that looked like wolves that looked like lions...

Leadville.

As we drove over 16 hours to get to the choosen land,  I couldn't help but remind Rock Star that THIS was his dream.  One that he had shared with me years ago.  An Ultra.  In Colorado.  In Leadville.  Dreams happen.  Lives change.  Strength grows.  Muscles perform and the elevation creates a drug fog that leaves a normal man weak and tired but deliriously happy.  Thrilled even.

Finished!
Coming in to the finish!
YOU did it!


Back on the trail!


The story:
We arrived in Leadville in the late afternoon.  It was pouring rain and as we drove through the highest mountains to get there,  I realized the "steam" coming from the rocks was really a group of clouds.  Yes, we were driving through clouds.  That's. how. high. we. here.  High as in way up in the Rockies.  I was car sick, tired, fed up with driving(oops, this is suddenly all about me-uh...)and couldn't wait to find our rental "cottage" and cozy up for the night.  It was a cottage...across from a church...with a crooked cross.  A scary little town on one hand because every single decrepid outhouse, barn and building was actually just left there to melt and desinigrate into the tall grass(or snow, depending on the time of year).  In this town,  time has stood still.  The downtown has WONDERFUL shops, restaurants and coffee houses.  We had a blast wandering through USED outdoor clothing and equipment shops and I scored a bike helmet that was originally $150!  However,  the quiet neighborhoods of Leadville want to keep themselves quiet.  Slumbering.  Aging in a normal way, naturally.  What IS...is in Leadville and that's the way THEY want it.  Once accepted,  the town became a little cozier.

The Race:
The reason we'd come.  RS was nervous for weeks leading up to this race.  Ailments abounded and sleeping in an altitude tent seemed to alleviate more nerves than boost his resilience.  Still,  RS was excited and probably the most confident I've ever seen him.

Race morning started around 4 a.m.  Coffee was made,  rain gear(well, a jacket)was tucked into the crew basket and we headed to the starting line about a mile away.  Parking was easy and as is NORMAL for the ultra crowd,  people chatted, fretted about the weather and acted like they were already tired...and as ready as they'd ever be.

If you didn't already know,  the Leadville start is a screaming, steep hill going straight up to Heaven.  It's rocky and at the top,  two people hold two large coins.  The first to sprint the hill,  win an entry to LEADVILLE 100 miler in August.  Cruel but also funny.  One coin for a man and the other for a woman.  This was amusing because once the coins were scored,  the sprinters all slowed down to a walk and there was a huge turtle traffic jam at the starting pad, just steps beyond the hill.  Most smart 50 mile runners chose to walk at this point not to be seen for 8-15 hours later.  The fast ones took off with an innocent confidence.

We moved from crew spot to crew spot...our screaming, exuberant selves.  My BFF since elementary school and her husband hoofed it with me and our biggest job was keeping RS moving through the aide stations,  focused and positive.  With four passes through 12,000 feet elevation,  this wasn't easy but he came in with  a smile and left with a smile so I think we did our job.  The details I won't forget are when RS would come in and shout out his needs which by the next aid station, proved to be the complete opposite of what he really needed.  We followed his "orders," his COACH included, and then we'd be chewed out at the next station.  We chalked it up to MOUNTAIN CONFUSION which in other terms could be expressed as,  LACK OF OXYGEN.  And...it was really true.  RS's personality was not his usual personality...so we just pictured a shrinking brain in his skull as he traversed the mountain side and all was forgiven by the FINISH.  He wasn't the only shrinking brain...SO many runners seemed to be overcome with EMOTION at the finish line. Whether it was the lack of OXYGEN or the flood of the feelings of accomplishment,  I must say that after sitting for four hours at the finish,  I'd never seen anything like it.  IT seems like we were all overcome with the Rocky Mountain High.  I shed tears watching women and men who had overcome the obstacles and reached their dreams.  It wasn't a performance but a process.  That. is. ultra. running. period.

RS finished the 50 miles and proceeded to do more funny things that were totally out of character which made me see another side of him and appreciate his "self" even more.  After 27 years of being married it's a TREAT to see your *LOVE* in a different light.

Finishing his 50 miles in 13 something hours,  was an accomplishment in itself but HIS RECOVERY has rocked even more.  He is already jogging and feeling fit but a little tired.  I know there is a storm of plans, new goals, new races and adventures brewing in that now-oxygen-filled brain and I'm FORTUNATE to be a part of it...sometimes these adventures unfold as surprises so for now,  we recover and wait!

Happy Running Friends and THANK YOU Colorado and the COLORADO running/biking community for filling us with such awe and happiness for the beauty and splendor that IS Colorado.  Everyone MUST visit at sometime in their life!

*Special thanks to JILL PARKER for letting me stalk her all around Leadville and on the course.  IT was FUN to see you, Colorado Girl!

xoxo




5 comments:

  1. Aw, congratulations to your Rock Star! Sounds like a once in a lifetime kind of experience. So glad you were able to achieve your dream MR! Love you guys xoxo

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  2. Great accomplishment!! Congratulations! I want to go to Leadville!

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  3. I'm so happy for BS and his amazing day! Was so good to see him out there and chat a little after the turn around when I walked up the road a bit with him; he was doing amazing, especially with 60% less O2 than you sea-dwellers :). You were the best crewer EVER, Megsie! Have missed you!!
    Hope to see you in my neck of the woods again soon!
    xo

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  4. Wow! What an incredible experience for him. And you as his wife...to be able to see him do this! My husband wants to do this too someday. I laughed in reading about the start and the sprint challenge...ha! And the innocent confidence...ah, that will be me my first ultra if I ever do one....an innocent confidence that comes back to bite me in the butt when I figure out how much it really takes to do something like this...incredible!

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  5. So cool, congrats on your finish!! I love it...the choosen land. :)

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