Monday, August 20, 2012

leadville - no belt buckle for me

well, i didn't quit. i literally ran until they hauled my sorry old arse off the course. i ran for 23 hours and 22 minutes. i remember the time quite clearly - it was 8 minutes past the 3:15am cut-off. but i'm ahead of myself here...

i started writing a bunch of stuff about the weekend, but i erased it all. i should probably wait a few days to let everything sink in, but too bad, this is what happened, and this is how i feel ...

i went into this race as physically prepared as i thought i could be. the only thing i couldn't train for was the altitude, but there was nothing i could do about that. and mentally, i was in a pretty good place. i felt confident that if everything went well, i could do this. yes, i was worried about cut-off times, but again, nothing i could do about it until i got there.

the weather was perfect, trail conditions were perfect, i felt great at the start. i ran with steve for almost all of the first 50 miles. we made it to the fourth checkpoint with over an hour to spare. things went a bit sour as we went up and over hope pass - a really tough section which topped out at 12,600'. steve stopped eating and dropped back. i got to winfield, the 50 mile mark, about 15 minutes early.

one of my alaska buddies, ben, helped me with my drop bag and water, and sent me back out as quickly as possible. from this point my whole focus was just on forward movement and trying to beat cut-off times. climbing back up hope just about killed me but i wouldn't let myself stop. once at the top i had to turn on my headlamp as it was getting dark. oh and fucking great - i couldn't see?! my contacts were super dry, and i kept having to stop every 10 min or so to stick drops in my eyes. everything was all blurry, and how i managed to get to the bottom of the rocky descent without killing myself was beyond me. i crossed the river at twin lakes having no idea what time it was. as i got closer to the checkpoint, people were lined up along the trail yelling at me to hurry, as they were still letting people through. i muttered 'for gawd sakes' and started to run as fast as i could. i got to the timing mat and a woman grabbed me - i yelled, 'did i make it?'. she yelled back, 'are you okay?' and despite the fact that i couldn't really see her, and that my heart rate was over 190, i yelled, 'yes'. and she let me go - i was 3 minutes over ...

a friend of jason's - another alaska buddy who was running - joined me at this point. what a sweetie! heading out of this station, we immediately started climbing. he was great company and kept me entertained the whole next leg. i even managed to make up some time, and was not feeling as pressured. he said we were running/walking about 15 minute/miles. he eventually left me on the road section going into the fish hatchery, having to go pace jason who was well ahead. i was back and forth a bit with a few couples and this part seemed to go on forever. i had no idea what time it was.

i finally got to the checkpoint, only to find the lights out, and one of the girls sitting on the grass sobbing. i kinda mumbled, 'oh, are we too late?'. my immediate reaction was of relief, because i was tired and my feet were really sore. but when the volunteer put her arms around me and told me i didn't make it, i started to cry. fuck. i was so close. only 23 miles to go. i sat down for a bit and chatted with another girl who came in after me. she and her friends were nice enough to give me a ride back to leadville. i got to the hotel at about 4 in the morning - everyone else except carlos and jd were there sleeping. i told them what happened, got a big hug from jd when he came in, and then just bundled myself up in the blankets - smelly clothes and all - shoes still on - and lie there numb.

i don't know what happened. i trained hard. i made my legs strong as shit. but i just couldn't do it. granted, the race organizers did add 3 extra miles of rocky single track coming in and out of the half-way mark, but that's no excuse. my very raw thoughts - you know, those ones you get when you JUST finish something like this - were of never ever running a hundred miles again. i HATE failing. i HATE cut-offs! one more fucking half hour and i could have done this! FUCK!

so, there are no pictures. i was too worried about getting the job done. and i'm mad. i was concentrating so much on time that i didn't even stop to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. how bad is that?

so regardless of my shitty outcome, i owe everything to the people who got me to leadville. alex, i can't thank you enough. my legs were so strong they blew up the mountains. it was just the altitude that slowed them down. and derrick, i was able to book it at the 60 mile mark, and i was still running right up to when i had to stop at 76 miles. i never could have done that before you started helping me. i love you both.

and my friends, thank you for all your encouragement - i truly loved hearing from all of you. i must admit, this one from the booton was my favorite ...

Take this experience and run with special k are human and occasionally fate likes to remind you of that...great start training for your next adventure..

and what's next? like i said at the start, i probably should have waited a bit to write this, but it's me, and it's who i am. i guess time will tell.


  1. Amazing effort! You should be proud!

  2. As I said on FB, you ROCK. Cannot imagine doing Hope pass 2x, as once on TRR day 2 is sufficient for me! I know you will keep up the good work, and successfully tackle whatever your next adventure turns out to be!

  3. Amazing you did 76 mile from THE big leadville!!!! With hope pass! And i know altitude can kill you ! Good to write your stort directly it makes you stront for your next advanture! Good luck!!

  4. Ugh, late-race time-out. I know that disappointment all too well. As you're friend said, "take this experience and run with it," which is what we do whether we're successful or not. Nice work.

  5. Sorry to hear about the added miles that didn't seem to be factored into the cut-off times. (?!) I'm so impressed by what you did, coming from Ontario and going 76 miles at high altitude with 2x up and over that beast Hope Pass is incredible to think about. I'm in awe that you were still going strong in those later miles. Chin up! Loved your report, very honest.

  6. This year's woman's winner Tina Lewis barely finished under 30hrs in 2010 and she didn't have the extra miles to run that you did. I know "NEXT TIME" must seem like forever away but next time will be your time to take home that buckle. Congrats on a Great Run!!

  7. Great job, Kendra. That's one tough race.

  8. GREAT GREAT effort Dora, great race report. I speak on behalf of all Fat Ass Pylons who cheer you on whenever, wherever & whatever the result.
    Next up??? How 'bout a little R&R?

  9. Great effort,Dora. You should be proud.Stoopid cutoffs.

  10. You did great Kendra. The experience we gained this year will lead us to a solid finish next year. Stupid extra miles included or not.

    I mean you do know that you are running again next year right?

  11. hay chris - that seems to be what everyone is thinking ...
    thanks - you did awesome too! and kim is the BEST!

    to everyone else, i can't say it enough - you are the most amazing people and i am so so lucky to have you as friends.

  12. Firstly, I have to say how much I appreciate your raw honesty in this post; "the most personal is the most universal" and part of what makes your blog entries so great is that you BRING US IN.

    What stood out to me when reading this is when you said this: "so, there are no pictures. i was too worried about getting the job done. and i'm mad. i was concentrating so much on time that i didn't even stop to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. how bad is that?" I remember when I met you a few years ago, what inspired me most about you and what continues to inspire me is how much you enjoy the journey. I remember I wrote you an email back then and told you that your ability to live in the moment was a big factor in creating a shift in my perspective on training (amongst other things).

    I say this because I want you to remember what an amazing accomplishment it is to train for something like this and then give it your all FOR A SECOND TIME!! Enjoy the ride! You did it girl, belt buckle or not. You rock.

  13. You to will be stronger. Great report, rest, and dream bigger.