Tanya actually climbed to the top about five minutes before the gun went off and shot this video.
The first 10 miles were a gradual climb of about 2000' as we made our way up a gulch and to the base of Mt. Sherman. Having fresh legs & lungs, this was a perfect time to chat with other runners that were locked into a similar pace. I had a great time talking with Rob, Steve, Marc and one other guy whose name I can't remember. I love the camaraderie of trail runners. I definitely got the feeling that we were all in this adventure together.
The sun began to show it's face, but immediately dipped behind fast forming clouds. This was a huge bonus on the day as we were treated to plenty of shade in the morning. That would change later on.
Entering the Stumptown aid station was awesome. It was the halfway point and everyone there cheered you in and out. This was the first time I got to see my crew (Tanya & the girls). They had all my extra gear, food, and a chair. The good news was that even at the 24 mile mark, I was still feeling great and didn't want to linger too long before hitting the trail again. I took about three and a half minutes to give kisses to my crew, lather up with sunscreen, eat another PB&J square, grab a bunch of gels, dropped off the camera, and......What you see above was my critical mistake of the day. I'm chugging a bottle of Ensure. To my credit, I had tried this twice in training with no ill effects. Not so this day. I got in about 10 minutes of running before my stomach started to howl in pain. I suffered with cramping and nausea for about an hour as I climbed back around Ball. These 4-5 miles were the worst as I just willed myself to the next aid station to see what I could find to calm my stomach down. It didn't help that a slew of people passed me and then I encountered a random spectator sitting next to his car who said, "C'mon number 54, show a little life." Did he really just say that?
The Printer Boy aid station comes in the middle of a 5 mile climb back to 12,000'. I got to see my crew again and finally started getting that feeling that I was going to be able to finish this race strong. I grabbed three cups of Coke and a popsicle before heading into the final stretch. The popsicle was tasty and helped cool me down a bit. Every part of me was now sweating , so staying cool and hydrated became my number one priority. I only had one handheld bottle, but the 64 oz of water I had carried in my pack all race long, but hadn't touched, were key to getting me to the finish. I also had to re-apply sunscreen since my arms and hands were turning red.The final miles to the finish were a bit surreal. I kept laughing at my Garmin as the miles rolled along. I had never seen those kind of numbers on it before! The final 10 miles were almost all downhill or flat and I ran at least 90% of it! Don't get me wrong here, my legs were hurting. I had a weird thing happen where at the exact same time, both of my big toes started feeling painful blisters pop up. I had crossed that darn creek again and this time both feet got soaked. I guess I didn't have quite the spring in my step to leap across with only one foot hitting the water. The cool water actually felt nice, but I'm guessing this time my feet weren't in quite the position to avoid blisters.
My hat goes off to the organizers and volunteers up there in Leadville. They are first rate. The volunteers were attentive to every need at each aid station often coming out and walking you in while inquiring about how they can help.