Leadville Heavy Half & Marathon!

Here is a wrap-up of our whole race weekend! I was going to make this two separate posts, but decided to share all of our awesome weekend fun in one – so it’s a little lengthy! This weekend was incredible. I loved every second (minus the 20 minute run on Friday…that I did not enjoy.) Everything else was perfect!!

On Friday, we spent some time walking around the race store – there is so much awesome gear out there! I got a new soft water bottle, the ones that came with the pack I have have been giving me fits when I try to take the lids off. Not great during a race…eye-roll. 
Then we grabbed an early dinner. We all shared this pizza, it was AMAZING. I also had a beer – I always have a beer the night before a race, I’ve been doing it for years! I think it helps. ; )
After our early dinner, it was back to the room to get ready for the morning! These two cracked me up the entire trip. They definitely made the trip fun! Also, I totally failed to get a picture of our room. We stayed at the Leadville Hostel and it was incredible. I had never stayed in a hostel before, and to be honest, I was expecting it to be dirty and loud. This was nicer than a lot of hotel rooms!! We also had a private room, which included a bathroom, for the three of us, so that was super nice. The owner of the hostel, Cathy, is the most adorable, sweetest lady. We also got to meet a bunch of other racers, so that was fun! I think the bar has been set VERY high for hostels. I know they won’t all meet my expectations now.  If you’re ever near Leadville, definitely stay here. You won’t regret it. 
Here is what Jake and I used during our races! His is on the left and mine is on the right. I ended up just taking the hard water bottle and leaving the soft ones in the room. It worked perfectly. 
I was so excited to use my new pack in a race. This was the first time I had carried a pack during a race, so I was anxious to see how I felt. I LOVED it. I carried my phone in one of the front pockets, so I was able to get a lot of pictures during the race. 
Our races started at 8 am, so we got up at 5 to make breakfast, drink coffee, and get ready! I had two mini bagels with almond butter and honey and a banana. It was the perfect amount. I never felt full or sick to my stomach. The guys had steel cut oats/oatmeal, almond butter, honey, and bananas. 
Then it was outside to get some pictures! I didn’t bring my sunglasses…Jake still made me stare into the sun. This is what happened, ha! At least the guys look good.
Much better! I thought my eyes were going to burn out of my head. I immediately went back inside to get my sunglasses. I would’ve been miserable if I had forgotten them!
Time to walk to the starting line! They were ready…and probably tired of me taking a million pictures. But look at that background! How can you not take a million pictures? It’s gorgeous. 
We got to see Vanessa and her husband before the race started! She took this picture of us. It was SO good to see them both. They own Ames Adventure Outfitters, check it out HERE – Jake is an ambassador for them and LOVES all of the gear they carry. They’re the reason we are so obsessed with Altra! 
Just before the start gun went off – ready to get started! I am always so anxious for races to start. I don’t like waiting around, I just want to get going. Luckily, this race was so fun. They entertained you right up till the start, which I loved. All three of us started together, even though the guys were doing the full and I was doing the heavy half. Our courses split from one another after about the first mile. 
I did a lot of walking the first half of the race. It was mostly up-hill, so I told myself that whenever I was having trouble breathing, I would slow down, walk, and enjoy the scenery. That’s just what I did! I didn’t go into this race with any expectations, other than finishing it, so that was really nice. Sorry for the sweat mark on this picture, gross. This is the first picture of the mountains I got! This was probably 3 miles into the race. We finally came into a clearing, after going ALL up-hill (woof), so I took a moment to enjoy it. 
Came across these two at one of the aid stations. I didn’t have any Fireball, but I HAD to get a picture of them!
Then we started climbing Mosquito Pass. Wow. I had no idea how tough this would be. It’s a 2 mile climb up a mountain. 
This is maybe one of my favorite pictures from the race. I was about halfway to the top, the wind was crazy, but it was so pretty. I have honestly never experienced wind like I did at the top of the mountain. It was 50-60 miles an hour and I felt like I was going to be blown off. Since the races are out and back, as we were climbing up this mountain, people were starting to reach the turn around and come back down. So there were groups of people going in opposite directions on this little trail. In 50-60 mile an hour winds. Talk about crazy! I think my mantra the whole way up was, “Don’t look up, don’t fall,” and my mantra the whole way down was, “Get down. Get down!” It was such an incredible, yet terrifying experience. 
When I got to the top, all I wanted to do was immediately turn around and get the heck out of the wind, but I knew I would regret not getting pictures. So, I snapped this real quick to show the elevation. 
Then I got a selfie before booking it as fast as I could down the mountain. The dirt was hitting us so hard up there, I was thankful I had stuffed my jacket and a buff into my pack. I was lucky to find two girls who were about my pace, so I followed them the entire way down. 
Shortly before I took this picture, I saw Jake as he started to climb the mountain! I was SO excited. He had told me I would see him, but I had forgotten. He looked SUPER strong, but once he finished, he told me he had been having some serious stomach issues that started at mile 11 and lasted until pretty much the finish of his race. I felt so bad for him. He didn’t quit, though, and pushed through some pretty serious pains. I was and still am SO dang proud of him. As I got toward the end of my race, I started thinking about how John and Jake were running TEN more miles than I was. My hips and quads were pretty well done for by mile 12 out of 15.5 of my run, so I couldn’t imagine running 10 more miles after I finished. I was very impressed and SUPER proud of both of them. I got this picture after I got off the mountain and was headed back toward the finish. 
I finished!!!! I crossed the finish at 3:39. And man was I glad to be finished!! 
Here are some of my Strava insights. 
I rushed back to the hostel to get our recovery shakes, change my shoes and hat, then it was back to the finish to wait for the guys! My stomach did NOT feel good at all. I ate a couple pieces of watermelon and that helped a little. I was pretty nauseous, so I know I didn’t refuel like I should have. I don’t think I moved from my spot on the asphalt for an hour and a half…it was fun watching everyone finish!
Every time someone in a neon green/yellow shirt or a blue shirt would get close to the finish, I would think it was John or Jake. I was just so excited for them to finish! John came in around 5:38, so I cheered him on and snapped some pictures. 
Jake came in around 5:58. I could tell by his face that he was not feeling well, but he finished strong! I couldn’t wait to squeeze him. Not usually what a racer wants as soon as they cross the finish after a TOUGH race, but whatever! ; )
I love this picture. 
Everyone was finished!!! I like their short tan lines in this picture. So proud of both of them. 
Then it was back to the hostel to clean up and head to awards! We had to get a picture with our medals. ; )
I loved experiencing this town and this race with my favorite guy. I get why he loves this!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Leadville Race Series, check it out HERE. Jake and his Dad are both doing Leadman, so we will be in Colorado a lot this summer. They both have four more races to complete by August, with the next being a 50 mile mountain bike race in July. I can’t wait to watch them. 

It was so amazing to be surrounded by such incredible athletes. It definitely inspires you. I’m ready to hit the ground running (literally) and start training for some upcoming races. 
The best recovery: free beer! ; )
After awards, we chowed down at one of the guys’ favorite restaurants – Tennessee Pass. I had a buffalo burger with fried egg plant as the bun. Holy yum. Also, those flash fried brussels. Double holy yum. 
We headed back to the hostel to hit the hay so we could get up early and hit the road. We went to bed about 8:30/9. I never fell asleep. Ugh. I finally moved to another bed around midnight hoping that would help. It didn’t. About 1 am, I accepted the fact that I was wide awake and wasn’t going to get any sleep. About that same time, John got up, then Jake got up. I heard them talking, saying they couldn’t sleep anymore. I piped up and said that I had never fallen asleep! We all looked at each other and immediately decided to just hit the road. So, we packed up, made coffee, and were on the road by 2 am!

We took turns sleeping and driving, and it ended up working out really well. Sometimes you need to rep your high school! This is one of my favorite shirts. It’s SO soft, probably from being almost 10 years old. HA! 

We stopped for lunch at Qdoba. He loves when I take candid pictures of him eating. ; )
I usually get the kids nachos because they’re the perfect size. I have them put the chips on the side and then I can just dip them. It’s my favorite from Qdoba! 
As we were driving home, I got this text from a friend. I love getting messages like this! Sometimes I feel silly sharing so much about our lives, but then I get things like this and I’m reminded why we do it. My friend also let me talk her ear off about being so inspired by the athletes in Leadville. : )
I was sad I didn’t get to see my Dad for Father’s Day, but we are getting together tonight for dinner to celebrate him! He’s the best! <3 I get my love for books, education, and athletics from him. He’s a constant source of knowledge and support, and for that, I am extremely thankful. 
We got home yesterday around 4:30. We unpacked, then met Jake’s family for dinner. I love that we live so close to our families. It was so good to see them and catch up! Then it was home to go to bed early, but we got caught up chatting and before we knew it, it was past 10. Whoops! I think we are both going to be a little sleepy today. But oh well! It was nice to chat about our trip, our races, and our plans. We have decided to do a race together in every state! I’m so excited. I think we will get to do some amazing races this way. 

Had eggs and a mini bagel for breakfast this morning. I LOVED our trip, but it’s so nice to be home. Also, HUGE shoutout to Aunt Chelsea for taking care of our babies while we were gone – they both sure do love you!

I’m going to go do a short, easy run just to shake my legs out. We are all still pretty sore! Some of my family from Iowa is in town, so I cannot wait to see them tonight! We don’t get together enough, and since we were racing this weekend, I didn’t get to spend time with them. 
Happy Monday, friends! Get out there and be awesome. 
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