THE ADVENTURES KEEP COMING!
August and September were never ending adventures and memories!!! I have to start from the beginning of August since that’s when it all started. I’m just sitting down catching my breath and I can’t believe it’s over!
August 4th I received a phone call from my friend Judy after I had just finished up a hot run on the trails. She was asking how my run went and what was I doing in two weeks. My reply was I have a 10 hour long trail run that Paul had already put on my schedule. I knew she had her upcoming 100 in Leadville that weekend. She asked if I would be interested in going out to pace her. I was excited and said absolutely! Judy said think about it and let me know tomorrow. Two hours later Brian came home from work and I had a plane ticket bound for Denver! I called Paul and Judy to let them know my arrival and how excited I was to help Judy with her journey.
My training was kicked up a notch since I knew I would be pacing Judy at altitude and facing the demons that had kicked my butt the previous year. But, I was also excited to see how the crewing side sees things since I never see this side of races. The days ticked by but it wasn’t long and I was on a plane headed for Denver. I knew that once my plane landed I would hit the ground running and I wouldn’t stop until I came home for a few days. Since I knew I would be traveling back out there at the end of the month I took all my gear that I would need for the second trip as well and left it all out there ahead of time.
Paul and Judy picked me up at the curb and I was there! I was stoked to see my friends again and be back in the mountains! We had so many things to talk about and the chatter was nonstop! Since I had worked that day and gotten to Denver later in the evening I was tired and went to bed soon after we arrived at their house. But, not to say I wasn’t up the next morning and getting an altitude adjustment with Paul! Up and dressed the next morning we headed out the door to climb up Mt. Chitaqua. This was a steep trail up, up, up! My heart was screaming for oxygen! Once we made it to the top I could see everything! Even Pikes Peak! Oh… I love the mountains and immediately felt at home and happy to be back! We hung out there for only a few minutes and then began the steep decent back down, running! Talk about waking up and feeling alive! We made it back to the house got cleaned up and packed the car to head to Leadville!
When we left the house Paul said we are eating our way to Leadville! Cool, sounds like fun to me!!! The drive there we drove thru the Waldo Canyon burn area along Highway 24. Wow, is all I can say! One of my favorite trails will be closed for a very long time! Our first stop was the Donut Mill in Woodland Park. Now, this is a donut shop!! The donuts are HUGE here!! I will say yes, I ate my whole donut! As we continued on our next stop was in Buena Vista for lunch. I was still full from that donut! I had a cup of soup that was outstanding! We walked down to the river area where they have a kayak course but with the river low from it being so dry there wasn’t any action. Next stop Leadville!!! Paul and Judy rented a house to stay in close to the start/finish and town. Also they were sharing it with some others friends of ours John and his wife Wendy who was also running her first 100 miler. Amazingly Judy was super calm and relaxed! Friday was spent getting up and going for a run around Turquoise Lake with Paul and Judy walking. Leadville is at 11,000 ft so once again altitude training. Starting out I was sucking wind and struggling. I let Paul do all the talking. When we turned around to go back my breathing leveled out and I was able to run all the way back to the car. I just started feeling better. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and getting Judy checked in for the next day. I got to know Wendy much better on this trip. Judy and Wendy both seemed relaxed that is until closer to evening. I could tell Judy was getting nervous so I offered to take over the cooking/kitchen duties. I really enjoyed it!
We all headed off to bed early that night since we had to be up at 3 a.m. to get our runners to the start! Judy was nervous! I gave her one last hug at the start before she began her adventure. As the start gun went off the runners took off into the darkness. But, something was different. I wasn’t headed into the darkness with the runners. I was part of the crew. Okay so what’s next? What do we do now? I’m not used to this. Paul and I headed back to the car to head to the first checkpoint. John followed us to Mayqueen to crew for his wife Wendy. I couldn’t believe all the action that was going on! When we got to Mayqueen, oh my things were buzzing and the runners hadn’t even gotten there yet. It was also still really dark and cold! I grabbed what I thought were mittens but they happened to be my running toe socks! Crap, oh well they will work. As we waited I was shivering. It was cold! Paul and I dropped our stuff that we carried around for Judy and then wandered to where we could see the runners come in. This was cool! I was able to see the front runners come in! It wasn’t long and Judy was coming in just as it was getting daylight. I grabbed her backpack and water bottle. While she checked in Paul filled her backpack and water bottle while I walked with her to where Paul was after she checked in. She handed us her headlamp and took a layer off. She was off and headed to Fish Hatchery while we got back in the car to head to the next check point. As we waited at the Fish Hatchery, I saw so many things! I also saw people I knew come in and head back out. This was so crowded! Once again we got Judy in and out and back on the trail.
The next stop was on the side of the road. After this stop it would be a long time before we saw Judy come in at Twin Lakes. Talk about crazy! We waited for quite a while, taking naps, reading books and people watching. While taking a nap at one point someone asked us to back the car up a bit so they could park in front of us. I had to wake Paul up since he was on the driver seat. When we thought it was getting closer to the time Judy would be coming in we walked over to the check point and waited some more. I chatted with a few people I knew while waiting. Paul was a nervous wreck and was pacing back and forth waiting for Judy. The realization started to hit me that I would be pacing soon and I would have to face Hope Pass once again! But, things changed when Judy came in. She was having severe back pain. We got her sitting in a chair. We tried stretching her back out. As she checked out we walked with her and not knowing what was going to happen. As she left I followed behind her down the trail. My thoughts were I have the wrong shoes and no water, I felt Judy really needed a spotter. As we got out of sight I caught up with Judy who was bent over in pain. As she stood there for a minute she decided that if she were to get up Hope Pass she might not be able to get back down since going downhill was very painful. She turned around and decided to call it a day. I carried her backpack for her to relieve some of the pain. As we came back Paul was waiting for us. We all walked back to the checkpoint to let them know she dropped. We headed for the car and talked with a few people along the way. A decision was trying to be made do I have Paul drop me off at Wynfield and I try to pick up another runner to pace or do I do something different tomorrow. Wynfield is craziness to get to and it takes over an hour to just get there. We decided to hold off til the next day. We headed back to town to get cleaned up and relax a bit.
We went to the finish line later that night to watch the first four runners come in. This was something I have never seen before and it was exciting. We chatted with people we knew while waiting and I have to say Scott Jaime’s puppy Livvy is so cute! I talked with Scott and his question was why aren’t you out there pacing someone else? Paul’s answer was “she’s doing the Leadville Marathon course tomorrow morning” for a long run.
The next morning we were up before the sun came up so I could go for a run. I was all set Paul and Judy drove me to the start line and I set out power hiking the all uphill trek that I had. As I was doing this they were driving the car ahead of me while I followed them. They would drive up the road and stop to wait for me to get to them. When we reached a point on Mosquito Pass that the car couldn’t go any further Paul ran with me to the top of the pass. We turned around and ran back to the car. At this point I refueled and Paul got back in the car and drove to the next spot. The miles seem so much longer out there!!! The second half of the run we were supposed to run around Ball Mountain. Again, the car was parked and Paul ran with me for this stretch. We made a wrong turn and instead went up and over Ball Mountain! It was pretty cool! It was just tricky on figuring out how we were going to get down. Once we reached the car again Paul got in and drove away while I ran behind. This time the running was all downhill! I had my Ipod with me and was listening to my music while running. As I came into town I thought we were supposed to turn but we kept going straight. I ended up running back to the house and almost ran right by! Luckily Paul yelled at me to stop! I was tired but it was a good run.
The next day we were leaving to head back to Paul and Judy’s house but decided to do Mt. Sherman before heading out. This would be my second 14’er that I have done and I was excited to do this! This climb was fun! Even though it was hard work and super windy the views were incredible! Luckily Paul yelled and pointed out the mountain goats in the saddle. It was a cool sight! The wind was so strong there were times I thought I was going to fly away! Reaching the top of the mountain was a feeling of accomplishment!! We took pictures and headed back down. Running of course! I worked on my downhill technique. As we got off a majority of the mountain Paul had ran ahead of us, while Judy and I stuck together. With about a mile to go, we had a boulder field to hike thru. I was just telling Judy about how I was going home without doing major damage to myself. Just as I said that I got my foot hung up on a rock and went down! It felt as if it was slow motion!!! When I fell I hit my head on the rocks. My first reaction is that’s going to leave a mark! Judy freaked out asking if I was okay. I said yes but wow it really rung my bell! She had me sit for a minute. We laugh about it now referring this from a scene out of Tommy Boy. She was trying to get me to put pressure on the spot that was swelling. I’m lucky I didn’t hit my temple! I just missed it! As I went to put pressure on it I kept missing the area saying here? And Judy saying NO up/over! We walked back to the car, as we got closer Judy was yelling at Paul to get some ice! Paul was whooping it up and saying Live Action! As we got closer Judy was saying Dusty hit her head get some ice! I kept saying I was okay. We got some ice out and hit the road to go back to Palmer Lake. It was a quiet ride and we were all tired! I had a nice shiner to take home with me. It felt like a whirl wind non-stop trip! That next day I was back on a plane and headed for home. But, only for 10 days and then I would be back to Colorado!