2011 LLTH

My feet hurt.

I've got blisters on top of blisters, and I'm losing three toenails.

My elbow hurts.  My shoulder hurts. My left forearm hurts.

Hey, it was a great run!

The weather couldn't have been better.  It was in the mid 20's when almost 200 runners assembled for the start.  An inch of snow covered the ridgetops.  A number of people were wearing shorts.  I saw fellow Balmrunners Nick Karem, and Don Summerfield.  Plus a number of friends: Ed Jerdonek, Henry Cubero and faces I'd seen before on previous runs.

Start slow, conserve your energy.  It's like a moving conversation.  Running single file hearing the people in front and behind you talking, some of whom you know, some that you don't know (thanks to D. Rumsfeld).  Conversations about running Leadville, Barkley, and other exercises in masochism.  Everyone is in a good mood.  The sun is shining and the ground is frozen.  Don Summerfield and I ran together.  Don had decided to run the 50 K in spite of my wussie admonitions.  Don's a minister.  Fortunately he had passed is Saturday night services off to a student minister, and similarly the Sunday sermon.  Now that's thinking ahead.

We do the first steep descent then the climb out.  The hill is covered in snow.  I'm reminded of historic photos of the Yukon gold rush with trails of miners looking like ants climbing to the pass.  The run continues on to the second and third descents and climbs.  Coming off the third hill I'm remembering how badly I felt the week before at the same spot.  Now I feel good.  I hear a female voice behind me say good morning.  I ask how far she's running and she says 50K.  "And you?" she asks.  "I'm a wuss, only doing 15 miles."  "No," she answers, "the real wusses are home drinking coffee."  She passes me.  She's wearing shorts, and has a very funny gait.  One leg is slightly bowed.  She's going to run to run 32 miles, and I'm sure she'll make it.

At the end of the Horine section (5.5 miles), there's a rest stop.  I blow through it and pick up the Mitchell Hill trail.  I also pick up about 6 runners, all behind me on the single track as we traverse the hillside.  The runner behind me says "Wow, I almost tripped back there." I trip, go down on the left side of the trail, rolling as I fall.  I lie there for a second,assessing my state of wellness.  The group of runners are gathered round.  There's pain in my shoulder and elbow.  Fortunately, I think, no pain in the legs.  I get up take position at the end of the line, and we run on.  I'm bleeding from behind my ear, and my elbow.  The head bleed is minor. I'm not sure about the elbow; it's bleeding through my longsleeve jersey and windbreaker. I'm hoping that it will stop on it's own.  But hey, my legs are alright!   can still run.

I make the bridge over to the Yost section and pick up a whole new group of runners.  Two women from Rochester NY, Don Summerfield again.  Lots of single file slow climbs and icy descents.  After my two training runs in Yost, I'm pretty familiar with it, and it doesn't seem so bad.  My legs are holding up fine. The bloody elbow seems to have stopped bleeding.  The headwound was slight.  It's my shoulder I'm worried about.  The movement is limited.  But then again, I'm not running with my shoulder.  Soldier on.

I blow through the rest stop at the end of Yost.  I'm thankful for the full Camelback, Hammergel, and Cliff Bar that enabled me to do this.  Three miles to go . . . time to pick up the pace.  Again, I'm thankful that I've been running these trails for the last month, and know what to expect.  Now, I'm passing people.  Having been passed for 12 miles, this feels pretty good.

I was able to keep up my pace, running most of the last hills, and finished a half hour faster than my training run the previous week.  And I felt a lot better!  3:39:37. Third in my age group (there were only 4 people over 60 running this race . . . the air is getting thin up here).  15 miles, 14 significant climbs.  2555 feet of climbing (and descending).  What a lot of fun!

Normally at the end of such a race, my legs would hurt for a day and a half.  After this race they didn't hurt at all.  Everything else did . . . and still does.  I'm wearing the loosest shoes possible, and am trying to minimize the pressure on my toes exerted by the quilt on my bed, and my shoulder doesn't work very well.

I can't wait till next year's LLTH.

Ted Wathen