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Learn : Marathon Story  

Running Background:

I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for hobby.

Training:

I trained for 4 months and I averaged 40-65 miles per week.

Race Day:

The 2008 Leadville Trail Marathon was better than expected. I traveled to Leadville a week before the marathon to acclimatize. This was my first true marathon at elevation (I had done a few btw 4000ft & 6000ft). This marathon started at over 10,000ft and topped out at over 13,000ft so I was a little apprehensive of how my body might react to the elevation. I did some hiking the week before the race which may have helped or hindered - not sure. My goal was to finish under the 8.5hr cutoff.

Race started well. I expected the uphill, but I didn't expect the climb around a peak at 12,000ft the first 6 miles then a drop to 11,000ft at mile 10 before ascending the last 3.1 miles to Mosquito Pass at 13,188ft for the turn-around. I took plenty of walking breaks as you can imagine. The final 3 miles to the halfway point turned essentially into a hike/struggle. The trip down wasn't much easier because of the grade and loose rock and talus. I wrapped both ankles for added support. The aid stations were well stocked. They resembled an ultramarathon aid station rather than a marathon aid station which is understandable given the difficulty of the race. The trip from mile 17 to the finish was a mix of walking and running. The last half mile or so was on the road as for me that was the toughest part of the race. I saw the finish line and tried to pick up the pace because I wanted to break 6hrs. I made it about 200yds with the faster pace and had to stop to catch my breath. That was honestly the first time my whole trip I felt the impact of the elevation.

I did break the 6hr barrier by a few seconds and limped back to my car and tried to make a few phone calls to tell family I made it, but my voice was gone because of sucking wind at altitude.

Recovery:

I didn't have any problems with my recovery. I took about two days off and the weather helped because it was cloudy and showery. If it was nice out, I would be tempted to climb a few more 14ers before I left which would have hurt my recovery. On the third day I ran a short mountain race at Breckenridge to help loosen up my legs a little and it helped.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Montrail Continental Divide Trail Shoes
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Moeben Sleeves
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Take it one step at a time and train like your going to run. Don't try anything new on race day or even a few days before the race. Routine is key.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to continue to run marathons because I'm addicted.

For my next marathon, I'll concentrate on the taper and don't do too much before the race.

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