Monday, May 4, 2009

Leona Divide 50 was a little warmer than it has been the last few years. That being said, it was Bob's first attempt outside the 50k distance and so the weather was not the focus at the start. Friday we went to the pasta dinner/pre race briefing in Lake Hughes and then scouted out the road crossing, 42 mile aid station, where Lisa, Holly, and the kids would meet us on our way to the finish. I was extremly proud of Bob for taking on the race in the first place. At Sycamore Cyn 50k two weeks earlier he was not feeling stellar at the end...It was Friday afternoon when Lisa told me that Bob had contacted Glenda, the RD, Monday to see if he could still get in even though the cut off had passed and registration was closed. "What!! He's thinking about doing Leona??" I immediately called his house and Holly told me, yep you guessed it, he was out on a run!! I jumped in the truck and and proceeded to track him down. A brief conversation and he was getting a ride back to his house. "Let's do this thing!" After the pasta and a promise to Glenda to not put her through this next year, he was signed up.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. I remember my first 50 miler and the thought that I don't belong here! Look at these lean animals and their Western States 100 shirts!! I am out of my league! Bob had a few of the same thoughts, but I reassured him that he was a great runner, no doubt he trains harder than me! Lis and the boys drove us to the start which was awesome! The weather was perfect, not too cold. With hugs and kisses and some well wishes we were off. We maintained a great pace(nice and slow!) through the first climbs and were running the downhills and flats comfortably. As the sun rose you could tell the heat was going to be a little more of a factor than in years past. I ran into Jeff Stevenson and got the latest news on the house in Leadville and what he's been up to. We also ran with Conrad Daniel and Donnelle Stevenson for a few miles which is always a treat! At some point I started asking Bob if he'd peed yet? No...Okay, no need to panic start drinking.
The aid stations were great as the miles ticked by. After mile 32 every step was a new distance PR for Bob which is exciting, but I could tell he was starting to slow down a little. Are you drinking? No...uh ohh! We made the climb to the turnaround at mile 35 and not long after Bob's legs started locking up on him. He drank two bottles and took some more electrolytes but by this time the damage was done. He'd gone 8 hours without peeing and it was getting hotter with a brutal 4 mile climb that is totally exposed awaiting us at mile 42. At mile 38 he made a tough decision to drop. He was satisfied with 38 miles and walked away with a great lesson learned about what it takes to tackle the longer distances.
I left him at the Luau at mile 38 in good hands and bombed off the mountain, excited to see Lis and the boys. I passed 3 or 4 runners on the downhill and got to the 42 mile aid station at 4pm. I tried to get cooled off a little, got my fuel out of my drop bag, got my bottles topped and hit the trail trying to focus on the climb ahead. It was hard! The heat and endless switchbacks were demoralizing. I caught up with a Marine Officer who flies helicopters and we hung together until the down hill finish. I left him with about a mile to go and ran in to cheers from those at the finish line. Bob was there, feeling better, with the family and it felt great to sit down! Thanks to all the volunteers and especially Lisa, Shane, and Ryan who are always there to support and care for me!