What was I supposed to expect? Two weeks prior I had completed a loop at the Barkley in Tennessee. In a little over a month I was to run the Western States 100. Of all the goal races I'd ever had on my list, the top two fell as book-ends with this race. After struggling to cross the finish line at Western States, I raced the clock in Vermont and finishing that race for the 4th time, except for the 1st time in over 24 hours. By the time I got to Leadville last year, I was a beaten man. I was tired, trying to complete the Grand Slam of Ultra-Running on little training and a base of a hodge-podge of races to limp through the miles at over 10,000 feet. Leadville worked me. It was more running then I expected it to be. The cut-offs were tough and I fell flat. I left Winfield with 10 minutes to spare and arrived at Twin Lakes 2 fifteen minutes late. I DNF'd.. and it stung.
After Leadville I returned to New Hampshire and started resting. Wondering what was next. I had planned my annual October Project and I even failed in my attempt to run that. After 62 miles and 25 hours on my feet.. I called that adventure done some 60 miles short of my finish line. Then the thinking really set in. Do I keep going? Do I stop? What's next? I've done everything I've set out to do. I have nothing to prove to anyone.. not even myself. I withdrew myself from the running life, ran mostly when I felt like it which wasn't often, and buried myself into my schooling at UNH with it being my senior year.
I'm having a hard time predicting how this weekend is going to go. This is a tough race for sure. What I learned in my DNF last year is that you need to be ready for it both physically and mentally. For the first time in my years of running, I have no idea if I'm even close. All I can do is show up in Leadville and hope for the prefect day, and trust my training. Hope for my plan to play out and everything to go right.. so I can make it back to town with a buckle in hand. I'm terrified. Mostly because I go back to last May.. thinking about if I want to keep doing this. I feel like this race is going to define how my ultra journey plays out.. and what story is told. I'm nervous.. and scared.. in Leadville again. This is one of those moments.. where something or someone kicks you down.. and you show your ability to get back up. I'm gonna need a big hand... This is for redemption.
2011 Race Goals:1.) Finish2.) Sub 29 Hours3.) Sub 27 Hours
Weather reports are calling for Highs in the Low 70's and low's in the upper 30's. Afternoon Severe Thunderstorm are poised to carry winds in excess of 50 mph and hail. I would't have it any other way.