Leadville Heavy Half Recap


Sorry for not getting this recap up sooner; my mom was here and my priority was having fun with her 🙂 But, let’s get to what I am definitely calling “The best race I have ever done”.

After scooping up my mom at the airport, then later Marc, we loaded up the jeep and headed to the mountains. Leadville is a little mining town about 2 hours outside of Denver.

We stopped about halfway there in Idaho Springs for dinner. IMG_0151

Then, we drove the rest of the way to Leadville, arriving just after dark around 9pm. We checked in and headed to our rooms. I laid out all of my race stuff for the next day and was in bed by 9:30.IMG_0154

I had a hard time sleeping (nerves) but managed to get in about 5 hours (I think). My mom and I got up and ready and then met Joe and Marc in the lobby for breakfast. I brought my own bagel with PB and chia seeds, but had a small cup of coffee as well.

Then, we checked out and headed downtown to pick up our race packets and shirts.IMG_0155IMG_0156

After getting our packets and, stripping some layers and applying sunscreen, my mom headed to the volunteer area while Joe, Marc, and I headed to the bathrooms by the start/finish line. Then, we took our places in line and waited for the gun to go off. IMG_0196 IMG_0199IMG_0163

It was a beautiful day- the sun was shining and it was about 55 degrees at the start. Music was playing and everyone was so full of energy and excitement. Finally the gun went off and away we went!!!!!!!! 00787-01-0092-thumbcourse mapMiles 1-3: The race started at an immediate uphill, and on pavement (first .5 mile). The full marathon runners (our friend Marc) split off to the right around mile 1.5 and the halfer’s continued climbing straight. Joe and I kept a really good pace, the entire first three miles were uphill with no breaks. We occasionally walked when it got super steep. We had a great system of reminding each other to drink from our camelbacks every 5-7 minutes. We both had water + nuun tablets for electrolytes.course profile

Aid Station #1: The first aid station was at mile 2.9. Joe and I were both feeling great so far. I drank a cup of cold water and grabbed a few M&M’s and we continued on.   IMG_0275

Miles 3-4.4: The 3rd mile was completely downhill which was a nice break on the legs and allowed us to pick up the pace a little bit. I ate 1/2 a cliff bar while running this mile. The course started to get narrower at this point and the runners started spacing themselves out a bit more. When we hit mile 4 we started to climb again, but only had .4 to go before the next aid station, so pushed on at a slow uphill run.    IMG_0273

Aid Station #2: This was the last aid station before the 3.5 miles to the top. I refilled my camelback and added a nuun tablet. Then we kept on moving.  IMG_0166

Miles 4.4-8: We managed to run (all uphill still) to about mile 6, when it got so steep that it was impossible to run. It was a hike from here up to the turn around at Misquito Pass. This was a long slow slog over big loose rocks and really tricky terrain. I ate a packet of sport beans while walking mile 6-7. The weather was perfect and the views were absolutely stunning. I had to jump off the trail and find a bathroom bush around mile 6.5.       00787-02-0952-thumb00787-02-0953-thumb (1)IMG_0175IMG_0279

It was really cool to see the front runners starting to come down and run past us. Everyone was supportive and cheered for each other. It was such a great energy and vibe. Finally finally finally we reached the top about 2.5 hours after we started.    IMG_0289

tired face!

tired face!


Aid Station #3: I drank some water and grabbed a handful of pretzels. I also took a mini protein bar to eat on the way down (but ended up just holding it all the way to the next aid station).               IMG_0281

Miles 8-11.6: Heading back down from Misquito Pass was trecherous. It was REALLY steep and the lig loose rocks made it really easy to roll an ankle. Plus, you had to share the trail with all the runners still coming up. We got moving at a pretty serious speed, but there were super steep turns we had to slow it down a bit for. These miles felt AMAZING after the uphill we had just come off. I felt like I was flying! And, we passed Marc on his way up!! My legs felt a little tired but good overall. And I was doing a really good job with fueling and hydrating.   00787-03-1970-thumb00787-03-1971-thumb

Aid Station #4: I used the bathroom (porta potty!), refilled my camel again and ate a little pb&j. Then Joe and I continued on.    IMG_0276

Miles 11.6-13ish: We may have stayed a little too long at the aid station before, because my legs felt a little dead for these miles. The first half was downhill and the second uphill. Before we knew it though we were at the final aid station!!

Aid Station #5: This was a quick one. I grabbed a couple M&M’s and we kept moving. It was time for the final (all downhill!!!!) push to the finish.

Miles 13-16: The downhill felt good at first, and we got a pretty decent pace going (around 8:30), but our legs were definitely starting to feel it after all the up and downs. We could tell by our pace that we had a chance at coming in just under 4 hours and got pretty excited, but as we got closer, it was just a little too rough to push that hard on the legs, so we slowed up a tiny bit. When we hit the pavement again, the finish line was in sight and I could not have been happier. Joe and I grabbed hands to run across the finish at 4:02 and my mom was there to greet us with hugs!!                                                         00787-01-1392-thumbIMG_0194

For some reason this year they decided (for the first time in 40 years!) not to give medals. So, instead we got mugs when we crossed the finish line…kinda disappointing, but, what can ya do?…the mug is actually pretty cool 🙂IMG_0270IMG_0184

After finishing, we hung around a bit. My mom still had to work the finish line, and Marc was still out on the course. Joe and I watched the runners come in and walked around town a bit. Then at 8:34, Marc crossed the finish line!!!IMG_0200

The volunteers for this race were absolutely incredibly. The aid stations were so well stocked and everyone could not have been more supportive and helpful! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all the volunteers for this race- including my mom who was rocking it out at the finish line greeting runners with their mugs, clipping their timing chips and cutting tons and tons of fruit all day!!

It started to rain right after Marc finished, so we all jumped in the car and headed to get some food.IMG_0191

When we got back to Denver, Joe, Marc and I all managed to shower and go out for another celebratory beer. This is by far the hardest, but most incredible race experience I have ever had. Joe and I have already committed to running the full next year…and of course we are looking for more trail halfs to do over the summer now 🙂         IMG_0203

14 responses to “Leadville Heavy Half Recap

  1. ahh this was so awesome and exciting to read!! I would LOVE to one day do the Leadville! That is truly an achievement! So proud of you two! Congrats! you inspire me!!! Have a great rest of your evening!!

  2. This is SO AWESOME! The setting is absolutely stunning. Have you ever read the book Born to Run? He writes about a huge, notoriously tough race out of Leadville. I wonder if your route overlapped with that one at all?

    Love the finish line photo. You guys are such champs 😀

    • That’s actually one of my favorite books! And The Leadville 100 race is the last in the summer series of races (there are 5 total)…the start and finish for the courses are the same, but obviously that goes for 100 miles so it travels over a couple other areas as well…totally nuts!

  3. You did amazing! I have been thinking about you and I am quite proud. Did the watermelon help with the hydration? lol. – enjoy the weekend!

  4. Just like I thought… you did awesome! So proud of all three of you for finishing this tough (hello hills) trail race 🙂

  5. Way to go girl! Trail runs are so tricky esp with the technical terrain. I did a 25K trail run a couple of yrs ago and it definitely was not easy but such a memorable experience. You guys rocked it!!

  6. What gorgeous views! Congrats on your run!

  7. Lish. This is seriously the coolest race I’ve ever seen and I’m so excited you loved it and it was your favorite! I will have to come do it next year – I am seriously all about this kind of a challenge. It makes for such an amazing natural high! Good job for staying on each other and remembering to drink water! I just got a camelbak backpack and am so happy about it! You guys are super cute, glad the weather was perfect and glad it opened a can of worms for future trail races!! 🙂 🙂

    • It was so exciting!! I’m glad you are loving your camel…it’s pink right? I’ve been putting a watermelon nuun tab in mine on longer runs lately so I get some electrolytes too – you should try that in the sweaty hot Atlanta weather!

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