Leadville is a great race and the people involved are outstanding. I had a pretty hard time there. My stomach turned on me after about 40 miles and I was reduced to eating Saltine crackers during the last 30 miles. One Saltine cracker and then a mouthful of water to wash the pasty mass down. (Not as fun as it sounds.) T., who paced the last 13 miles, can probably still hear my grumpy orders in his head. “Give me a cracker! I need more water!” Thankfully, T. turns a blind eye to my grumpiness.
Lynnette Clemons, last year’s winner, set the tone of the day for me. I got to talk with her early in the race and she couldn’t have been more friendly. I said something clumsy like, “Hi. You have long braids; Are you Lynnette?”. We chatted for a bit and she even pointed out a tricky section of trail. Later, when I told her to go ahead and pass me because my stomach was giving me trouble, she said something like, “You’re doing a good job, honey.” It cheered me up. People were just fine like that all day.
There was a huge crowd of people at the Outward Bound/Fishhatchery Aid Station. My name had gotten passed around and it seemed like everyone was cheering it as I ran in. I felt like a famous basketball player. (I realize basketball players don’t run into outdoor aid stations, but at the time people were yelling, I distinctly remember thinking, “Wow, I’m like some famous basketball player.” So, chalk the analogy up to the long miles.)
The strangest thing that happened during the race was when a complete stranger handed me a tampon at the Winfield aid station. (I know!). I rolled into the 50 mile mark and T. handed me my water bottle and gel and this fellow next to him was holding a tampon — and then handed it to me. I am still uncertain how he got involved in that particular exchange. I saw him at another aid station later and, after confirming that I’d never met him before, I apologized that he’d had to participate in that hand-off. He was very gracious. Weird and weird, though.
I’ve got to hobble onto a plane to DC now. More stories after I give Asa two weeks worth of hugs.
Some race reports