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Leadville Trail 100 - Oh my!

Training Journal

My journal of running, training and racing.

Leadville Trail 100 - Oh my!

Mark Junkans

On August 22 of this year, I will run the Leadville Trail 100. Here is a short description of the race from the [Leadville Race Series website].

The legendary "Race Across The Sky" 100-mile run is where it all started back in 1983. This is it. The race where legends are created and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. You will give the mountain respect, and earn respect from all.

There are a few things that should be noted here:

  1. I live in Houston where the elevation is probably 25 feet above sea level according to my watch.
  2. I’ve never done a mountain race.
  3. I’ve never run a true 100 mile race (RR100 DNF at 40 because I just didn’t feel like feeling nauseous all day)
  4. There will be pain and vomitting.

One great thing is that 2 nieces of mine live in Colorado, so I will have a crew, along with my sister Sarah who is coming out to help.

My main goals for the race are:

  1. Keep an easy effort for the first half.
  2. Make the double crossing of Hope Pass with some strength left in my legs. This section finishes at mile 60, so the race isn’t near over yet.
  3. Be able to eat the whole time (no eat = no finish)
  4. Smile
  5. Glorify God and remain thankful that I’m able to do this!

I'm a bit nervous about setting a time goal for this race, simply because it’s 100 miles (and anything can go wrong in a 100 mile running race), and because it’s at altitude. After spending some time at 8-10,000 ft this summer, I know that I can run fairly strong. I don’t, however, have any illusions about being able to escape the effects of being at or above the tree line, or navigating the steep ascents and without absolutely crushing my quads.

Training will be all about volume and hills. I plan to spend 5 weeks at over 100 miles per week, and get some serious back to back long runs, peaking at 35 Saturday/20 Sunday.

The other thing I need to work on is my nutrition plan for the race. Each week I’ll tweak my gel/solids mix to try and get up to 300 calories an hour. I’ve never been able to take in more than 200/hr in a race without puking, so my gut needs lots of practice here. I’m using 1 Cor 10:31 as my tongue-in-cheek theme verse for the nutrition part of the race - “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Hopefully, I’ll either be eating or drinking, because the “whatever you do” is probably going to be puking.

Overall, I’m up for the challenge, and hopefully my wife and family won’t get tired of me talking about the race, or training, or both.

I can’t wait for the experience. I’ll take all of it, the good and the bad. In the meantime, I'm really enjoying eating all of these extra calories throughout the week (about 90% plant-based).