Except for Patrick and I, all the runners were competing in the LT100. So why go run with them? I've been kicking around the idea of running it next year and I haven't been able to wrap my head around the idea of running at night. Or should I say "through" the night. I figured this experience would give me a taste of that part of the challenge.
About 8 of us started around 8:30pm and cruised up the powerlines and over Sugarloaf Pass in about an hour. We came upon a few other groups and were way ahead of our expected 5 hour finish time. Then the first burst of cold rain hit. Since we were around 11,000', the wind helped make the rain chill us all quickly. It only lasted about 10 minutes and my body heat warmed things back up quickly. The second round of rain then came and lasted about 20 minutes while we were running a fairly technical stretch of trail. It's hard enough deciphering rocks & roots at night, but make them wet while raindrops filled the light from the headlamp and it became treacherous. I never quite recovered from that drenching and remained cold and numb for the rest of the run.
Overall, the actual running wasn't so much a problem for me. My trouble came when the time on the clock started approaching 11pm and 12am. I was tired and craving sleep and that became a huge mental struggle for me....well, I guess a physical one too. I walked most of the last two miles with a runner name Chris. We were both done for the night. We chatted a bit, but also walked in silence, letting our brains rest while soaking in the stillness of the night. We finished in downtown Leadville at 1:30am.
The run was great prep for Pikes in two weeks. It also was excellent practice for remaining sharp and focused while running technical trails. I feel like I've improved in this area over the last month or so. I also gained an immense respect for the task of running through the night. This run was invaluable to bring reality to this piece of the equation for making a decision to run the LT100.
Not much planned between now and 8/22. I want to get to the start of the PPM rested and ready. My goal is to drop my time to as close to 5 hours as possible.