Leadville Trail Marathon Weekend

Father's Day rock hunting
I love LTM weekend! Even though I wasn't racing its got to be one of my favorite weekends of the year. Typically its our first weekend in the big mountains and marks the real beginning of the season. This weekend I witnessed a lot of extraordinary efforts by ordinary people. These are the ones that inspire me the most. Sure its awesome to watch the Jim Walmsley's and Killian Jornet's of the world, but to watch the people just like you challenge themselves, set goals and crush them...that's what's really fun  to watch. I don't know what it is about Leadville, not everyone likes the race series and that's fine. But there's something about these races that gets me. Leadville doesn't pretend they're something they're not. These are big races by trail race standards, yet somehow you really do feel a part of the Leadville family when you're standing there. There's an energy, an electricity that most races I've been to don't have. Its an energy that makes you want to be a part of it, that makes you want to keep coming back.

So this weekend I pushed the boys in the Beast through a packed swarm of runners making sure to give well wishes to everyone I knew before the national anthem started. And before I knew it I was basically alone in the street with the boys watching the last of the runners head up into the hills.

Photo: Elizabeth; Elizabeth and I pre-race
I had given Dan and Elizabeth some rough goal times for getting to AS B so after a rough Safeway trip, quick diaper change at the camper we picked up Ben and headed for B. Literally making it with just enough time for me to race a tube of Aquaphor up to one of Ben's friends, because let's be honest as a runner with a diaper bag you can be sure I will have something for just about any ailment a passing runner might have. As I was racing back down Dan was cresting the turn onto the road, right on time and looking great! Honestly better than I expected as I knew he hadn't gotten in the best training and had no idea how his day would go. We had just enough time to get up to the actual AS, soak ourselves in a puddle when Elizabeth came through. Exactly on the time I had given her. Ben and I gave her a few instructions for the climb, got her food and fluids and sent her on her way. It was an insanely windy day and I knew all the runners were in for a treat on the climb up Mosquito. The boys were absolutely done with the wind and knowing I couldn't keep them occupied and settled for 45 min or so until Dan came back down we had to get back to camp.

Dan pre-race
After naps, and waking James up from his so we could get to the finish to pick Dan up...I was pretty sure there was no way we were going to make it to the finish in time for him, but was hoping to catch Elizabeth...we finally made it back into town. As predicted Dan had finished and absolutely crushed it! I know he may have wanted to be faster, but with the minimal amount of training he had done he had thrown down a crazy good time! I think it was a course PR for him as well! Seriously impressive when your only long run is an 18 miler pacing someone on a relatively flat course.

I was keeping a close eye on my watch 6:25, 6:26...and finally found Bill and Peggy casually enjoying some beers. As calmly as I could I said you know I think Elizabeth should be finishing any minute. They kind of looked at me a bit shocked and I said I was racing up a couple blocks to see her come down. After an hour of not finding her I was beginning to panic...certain the only explanation was that I had pushed her to run to fast and she fell and was in a medic tent somewhere. Just then I turn around to see her and learn she had finished in 6:30 on the dot! A huge PR for her! I'm fairly certain going into that race I believed...I knew she could run a 6:30 a hell of a lot more than she did. She thought I was crazy to say she should be shooting for sub-7. So when I casually mentioned...after a Rio marg...that I thought she really should be aiming for 6:30 I'm pretty sure she thought I had fallen off my rocker! Watching her take on this challenge, year after year, putting in the hard work to get here, doing it all at sea level on flat roads, and then pushing herself mentally to run faster and stronger than she thought she could...that's what Leadville is all about. That's where the magic is. That's the inspiration that sets the tone for the rest of the season. So a week into my RRR training I got to experience the magic and I know that's going to set the tone for a great race in a couple months. Sunday I got out onto the 100 course and found myself grinning ear to ear as I threw down some crazy fast miles. That's what this year is all about...every step with a smile!
puddle jumping

ice cream social at Sugarloafin'

swing fun

enjoying the views around Turquoise Lake

hill repeats up 'mini powerlines'


See ya soon Leadville!


  1. Hi Siobhan -- I like your writing; your tales from the trail; your family reflections are also inspiring. I just wanted to share a thought -- although at your level you are racing the clock, and other elite runners, in reality you are just running with the person you are that day. The clock doesn't tell you how well that person did. Other times you might have earned for that event and/or distance are times recorded by a different person -- younger, older, more or less tired or injured -- whoever you were on that other day and race. As an older runner (60+) all my old PRs are behind me...or not. Because I'm a different person than I was. Every run and race you complete is sui generis. We compare times because it's harder to compare feelings. That's what I like about your blog; you put your feelings out there. In the end that's all it's about.
    Nick L
    Nyon Switzerland


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