When I decided that I was going to do a 100 mile run in 2011, not only did I have to defend my sanity but I also had to do my research. What race was going to take up all of my time, soak up most of my money, and potentially rip out my soul? Believe it or not, there are multiple 100 mile races throughout the country, which made me feel like a kid in a candy store! Some races claim to be hot, some cold, some rocky, some hilly, some at high altitude and some at low altitude; call me Goldilocks but I wanted a race that was “just right”. Leadville it was!
The Leadville 100 takes place in Leadville, Colorado in the end of August. Not only is the race known for it’s grueling terrain, the fact that only 50% of the field finishes, but also the fact that the average race elevation is around 10,000 feet! Did I think that this might be an issue considering that I am from Wisconsin and I live at just around 800 feet? Sure, but there is time to figure that out, right?
So again I am doing my research and find that I could buy a chamber to put around my bed that simulates high altitude while sleeping, but I did not think my husband would buy into that idea! I even considered doing all of my runs this summer with a clothes pin on my nose while breathing through a straw, but then I thought that might attract the wrong attention! My final solution came when I was talking to a mountain climber from New York who said, get to the race early and be in the best shape of your life… I like his idea the best!
Just recently, when I told someone I was running Leadville they said, “Shouldn’t your first 100 mile race be on an easier course?” The logical, sane person might go that route but I have a little different philosophy. I chose Leadville because if I only have one shot at doing a 100 mile race, I wanted it to be a big one! I just hope that my eyes are not too big for my stomach!