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<p>You may remember my posts (none in a while, sorry) about my back surgery, my DNF at the Boulder 100, my DNF at CTPR 50 etc.....</p>
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<div>Well I am really going to try to not make this an entire book, but I had such a soul retching experience, I am not sure how it will turn out....<br><br>
Leadville 100, August 21-2010<br><br>
Start to May Queen<br><br>
I stood at the starting line with my brother Chase at 3:45am shaking and freezing my butt off, yet my heart and mind were blazing. I couldn't help but think of all the YouTube videos I have seen of people standing in that very spot getting ready to take the 100 mile journey to Winfield and back; my turn now.<br>
I had just a couple days ago celebrated my 5th year sobriety birthday and was choking back tears before the race even started. My brother Chase had just gone through an amazingly brave struggle with chemical addiction himself, so having him there with me made the day even more special.<br>
As the gun went off the Mayor of Leadville said "if you get back in 22 hours or less there will still be a bar open- I couldn't help but laugh and think of all the bars I closed myself over the years.<br><br>
I lined up close to the front to avoid the traffic jams around May Queen and it paid off. The crowds were there but they only slowed me to a pace that was probably helpful to be honest.<br>
I did have my first alarm bell of the day about 7-8 miles in when I started to get some Plantar pain in my right foot. I could only hope it would go away and was nothing serious.<br>
I hit May Queen without any real issue and saw my good friend Scott and his awesome wife Dawn waiting for me. I got in and out pretty slow on this my first aid station- but I found the groove later in the race and in was able to get in and out faster.<br><br>
May Queen to Fish Hatchery<br><br>
The next section to Fish Hatchery went really fast. My right foot was still bothering me but not so much that I was afraid yet; concerned, but not afraid. I rolled my left ankle too by now, so I thought that might offset my stride:)<br>
I went up Sugarloaf quick and down Powerline strong and fast, but not crazy. Once again I saw my buddy Scott, I slapped a quick high five and got out of the aid station as fast as I could. My crew chief Jeff OReilly was there and I was very happy to see him. I was very confident in his ability and thankful to have him around. Jeff told me I was really moving through the course well. I left FH around 8:30am.<br><br>
Fish Hatchery to HalfMoon<br><br>
I was cruising along feeling great and I was hitting my nutrition plan without a hitch; I felt strong -felt good. My foot was bothering me still but not slowing me down at all. I ran the boring road out to Half Moon trying to just keep things quick when it felt good; but overall nice and easy.<br>
Jeff was on the spot with all I needed and I made it out of HM at around 9:45am-10:00am.<br><br>
HalfMoon to Twin Lakes<br>
I fell into a nice climbing pace for the little stretch uphill out of HM until I hit the decent into Twin Lakes. I was feeling really great because I knew my family was there waiting for me and I hadn't seen them in 4 days.<br>
I ran the downhill fast but not balls out-It was hard not to really hammer downhill- but my foot was still tender and there was a long way to go.<br>
In my mind the race started at Twin Lakes; everything to this point was just a stroll.<br>
I left Twin Lakes high as a kite. Seeing my entire family and crew was awesome. I told them: my goal was to get to Twin Lakes feeling good; now my goal is to get back here feeling good.<br>
My Crew chief asked me if I was going too hard, I told him I wasn't- but I asked if he thought I should slow it down. He said I was killing it, but I looked completely fresh so just be smart don't hammer down the back of Hope Pass.<br><br>
Twin Lakes to Winfield<br><br>
I headed out to climb to 12,188 ft Hope Pass feeling great, I started to suffer a little on the climb, but I figured- this is the time of the race I am supposed to suffer :) so I kept going until I reached the Hopless station.<br>
I was in need of some sugar or something cause I was fading hard. They were out of Coke in the tent, so I ate a sugar cube and refilled my Perpetuem bottle and kept going up.<br>
I was in bad shape by the time I hit the top. Normally a good climber- Hope just kicked my ass.<br>
I went down the back side of Hope and felt like crap- foot throbbing now and I was severely light headed. I felt a little better half way down, and just ran as best as I could to the bottom....<br>
Thats when it got BAD- really bad.<br>
I started walking the Winfield road at about a 35 minute pace, staggering back and forth; angry as hell, confused and fighting back tears. Every time I swallowed I would get so light headed that I was afraid I was going to faint. My entire body kept telling me to lay down on the side of the road and sleep. I was also coughing and not able to breath real well. It took me well over an hour to walk the 2 miles to Winfield.<br><br>
Winfield<br><br>
I finally made it to the aid and saw my buddy/ pacer Nick. His huge smile turned to concern in an instant when he saw me. I also saw my Dad and brother Chase which was a huge surprise since we agreed that they wouldn't try to drive out from Twin Lakes due to traffic jams.<br>
We went into the tent and I again choked back tears as they dropped my drop bag by my feet. I told Nick I needed some Coke, or salt, or food, or something; "because I got nothing" I said something to the effect of "we better figure this out, cause I am NOT quitting at Winfield, and there is no way I can make it back up Hope like this"<br>
In my head I figured I would just go up Hope until I passed out, and then let the medical guys get my back to safety.<br>
Nick just kept handing me things to eat as I stared into space trying to figure out what happened.<br>
Finally, we got me up and I changed my shirt and grabbed some more coke as Nick loaded himself up with my pack, 3 bottles, and the kitchen sink.<br>
My fast pace at least kept me from missing the cutoff, because even with the lost time we left Winfield about 30 minutes ahead of cutoff.<br>
As we walked down the Winfield road to the base of the Hope climb, Nick and I talked about life and I started to feel better. I saw a ton of people who passed me on the inbound, just to turn around after getting part of the way up the pass and return.<br>
I felt good as we started the climb so I told Nick " think we should get up this bitch as fast as we can before the wheels fall of again" he said "let's s rock"<br>
And an amazing thing happened; as my heart rate rose, and the climb began, I started to feel stronger and stronger. We were really picking the pace up and we began a steady journey of passing people up Hope. I felt like I had just started the race! I actually was feeling guilty as we passed so many runners struggling.<br>
We hammered up the back of Hope in an hour!<br>
We made it to the top and Nick said "say goodbye to Hope, Dave" and we did. We ran- Fast- down the front side and all the way into Twin Lakes at about 8pm.<br>
I saw my wife and kids and crew and felt like I had an injection of adrenaline.<br>
I grabbed my brother Chase and screamed "thats how we do that mother fucker, man!" everyone smiled and we settled in for the night.<br>
I said goodbye to my wife and I told her I would see her in Leadville for the finish.<br><br>
Twin Lakes to Treeline<br><br>
My climbing legs stayed. Nick and I hammered up the climb out of Twin Lakes and and all the way to Halfmoon with a purpose. We passed people almost the whole way, encouraging and laughing with everyone we saw. I was keenly aware with my body, energy and my state. I ate everything asked of me. We arrived at HM GAINING more and more time on the cutoff as we went.<br><br>
TreeLine to Fish Hatchery<br><br>
My next buddy/ pacer Nico picked me up at Treeline (where he was waiting for 5 hours, what a dude) oh, and My brother Chase had a surprise for me.. MT Dew..... Simply awesome.<br>
Nico and I headed out for the Halfmoon road with the Powerline climb in front of us. Nico was awesome carrying all my gear and staying in top of the fueling. We had the plan in place; move forward fast as humanly possible in my current state, keep a determined focus and keep drinking Coke ;) oh yeah, laughing- lots of laughing.<br>
We kept playing the "steps game" we would power walk forward at like a 15:00 pace until someone yelled "steps" then we would run 100 steps and repeat forever.<br>
By now my right foot was pretty messed up and my left was almost as bad. My knees were really inflamed too but, hey its ultra- its supposed to hurt, right?<br>
We hit Fish Hatchery with the Powerline climb looming in the distance. I told Nico- I hope I have one more good climb in me- we were 80 miles in at this point.<br><br>
Fish Hatchery to May Queen<br><br>
As it turns out I did have another good climb in my legs. We ascended Powerline pretty fast gaining more and more ground on the cutoffs. As we hit the top we turned around and saw a long chain of head lamps stretching out for miles. It was breath taking.<br>
Each runner in his own battle; each a link in a long chain of personal and collective transformation and struggle.<br><br>
May Queen to Finish<br><br>
We hit May Queen and I was feeling pretty good considering I had already gone 87 miles. My final friend/ pacer Kelly was waiting and ready to go- I did take some time to rest for a second and attempt to entertain the group :)<br>
I got something to eat, changed some gear, thanked Jeff for being the most awesome crew chief- and then we hit it. By now I was experiencing a significant amount of pain so my steps game became somewhat rare: each run session seemed to cause more damage then do good.<br>
I knew we had plenty of time so Kelly and I just moved forward as fast as was possible with my jacked feet and knees. Jogging and shuffling along.<br>
I was glad to see May Queen behind me and get into a slight uphill instead of the rolling trail around the lake.<br>
We saw the sun rise and now we were ready to just cruise the last 4-5 miles of uphill into Leadville. I am not sure if Kelly noticed but I was very emotional underneath the surface for the last stretch. We stopped to talk to almost everyone we saw, and I felt connected to almost everyone there. I saw my close friend Jerry around mile 98 and we embraced and agreed to see each other at the finish (love that guy)<br>
As we hit the final hill top and I saw the finish line, I thought of all the pain and heartache and struggles that my family has endured- and how we came out on top- with each other, strong in love, courageous in commitment and faithful that we are in control of how we rise to life's challenges.<br>
I never told my brother Chase until right now- that although I run for many causes- I dedicated -my effort and personal commitment to not quit- to him personally in my mind before I towed the start line. I ran for him, in honor of his commitment to endure, his incredible honesty and immeasurable courage.<br>
My wife Heather is my anchor to the world, my best friend, and she has perhaps endured more than any one person to see me finish this thing. All I really wanted to do at this moment was get to the finish to see her and the kids. But I had one more thing to do....<br>
I looked for my Dad and brother who stayed awake all night with my crew chief Jeff, driving almost 400 miles back and forth as taxi and support.<br>
I saw them waiting ahead and found what I was looking for; my Dad was holding our family's American Flag. If you know me at all, you know I wake everyday and thank God for the USA and the amazing people who fight and die to protect our freedom- I ran to them, we embraced. Then I picked up that flag, looked up and ran over the red carpet that has danced in my mind for almost three years now.</div>
 

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<p>GREAT report! So glad you shared and congrats on your finish. I gotta remember that steps game!</p>
 
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