Overall Rating
Overall Rating (2 Reviews)
5
(2 Ratings)(2 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
5
The legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run is where it all started back in 1983. This is it. The race where legends are created and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. You will give the mountain … MORE
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L (°F) 65 60 62 64 63
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    Solupia FIRST-TIMER '18

    Spoiler Alert: This review is modified from my original Race Report. A quick summary review is available near the end, Leadville 100 marks my 3rd attempt for 100 mile race … MORE

    Spoiler Alert: This review is modified from my original Race Report. A quick summary review is available near the end,

    Leadville 100 marks my 3rd attempt for 100 mile race and 2nd finish. It’s the hardest race thus far, yet best 100 mile race for me. Tho not my PR, I had less feet problem compared to Rio Del Lago 100, and I finished at a higher altitude as supposed to Bryce Canyon 100 (which I DNF’d).

    LT100 has a hard cutoff of 30hr as supposed to BC100’s 36hr. I came into the race knowing it will be tough with 14k+elevation gain at the altitude between 9000 and 12,600 above sea level. In order to ensure I don’t have the same problem as I did in BC100, I spent 5 days acclimating in the Rockies. Sure enough, I had no headache during the entire race! Hurray!

    The temperature was perfect. Though it’s cold in the low 40s before dawn, I had plenty of layers to keep myself warm. Maybe too warm … 😓 As I left the first aid station at mile 12, we ran up to Sugarloaf Pass. Though it started to rain, I began to sweat under my base layer. But worrying about the cold evening on my return, I kept under armor on till 3rd aid station at mile 29. This turns out to be a major mistake. I was originally on track with my pace for the sub-25hr plan, because of overheating, my time dropped significantly between Outward Bound and Half Pipe aid stations.

    Rain stopped. After taking off my under armor at mile 29, I started to pick up my pace as I traversed over foothill of Mt Elbert. I made up some lost time as I arrived at Twin Lakes.

    Knowing I will be heading up Hope Pass, the highest point of the race, 12,600 ft above sea level, I had been relatively conservative in my approach for this race. I took my time to scrutinize the scenery and took off towards the river crossing. The cold water felt nice on my slightly sore feet. But it messed up the insoles of my shoes. Once I got to the base of the Mt Hope, I began my relentless climb. I was making amazing progress as I passed many people on the way up without taking a break. I felt great with the cadence and progressed forward with a vengeance against my previous DNF. When I reached Hope Pass, the view was gorgeous. I am surprised that I didn’t have my usually headache. I knew then I can finish this race for sure. Trotting downhill, I came to a bottleneck behind a blind runner, Jason. He is an incredible athletes even though he is legally blind. He is officially a Lead man by completing the Leadville Race Series including the Leadville 100 MTB a week ago. It’s inspiring yet scary to look as he ran down the rocky mountain. I seriously don’t know how he managed that without spraining his ankles. Or he may have some amazing tenacity.

    After some delay before I got to pass Jason the blind runner, I made it to the Winfield the turnaround point. Upon arrival, I had less than 40min till cutoff time. I make a quick replenish of my gear and started heading back. That’s about 32 min before cutoff.

    As I heading back up the mountain, Jason the blind runner caught up to me. Instead of letting him pass me, I took it upon myself to start running up the hill with him by opening up the path in front. It actually have me great advantage to pass many people. Jason was running at a steady 11min/mile pace. Though I was running in front of him, he was really the one pacing me the whole time. We ran together for over 2 miles. But since I left the last aid station really quickly, I didn’t give myself enough time to go take care minor business. I said goodbye to Jason and off the bush I went. I didn’t catch-up to him until I have reached Hope Pass. There’s a long trail of bottleneck with people hiking slowly up the mountain. I took this opportunity to rest my body for the descent.

    Once the other side of the mountain, I began my speedy descent. Sun began to set, I wanted to head down to Twin Lakes as fast as I can.

    By the time I reached aid station, it was roughly 50 min before cutoff. I had gained some time I thought. But that’s when thing began to go wrong. In order to prepare for the night, I went to the portable potty to change out my gear. It was stinky inside, and I got really nauseous by the time I was finished. I needed I breather. I was thinking, I can’t throw up now and lose my momentum. After testing a little bit with some coke and ginger ale, I began my ascent. This was 30 min before cutoff.

    Getting some fresh air in my system, I was able to regain my energy to move forward again. I got to Half Pipe with 45min from cutoff. I thought I was going to regain some time little by little.

    Lo and behold, things didn’t go as I planned. It started raining again upon arrival at Half Pipe. Fortunately, it was a quick shower. After leaving mile 71, my stomach began to shut down. I threw up all that I ate at the previous aid station. This is the first time I experienced over nutrition. I have heard of it, but didn’t know it will happen to me. Previously, I had been consuming Bolthouse protein shakes as my main source of fuel during this race. However, this is where the mistake comes in. Though protein is great to combat bonking, it’s far harder to digest than carbohydrate. As a result, my body was unable to suggest all that I had consumed thus far. Now it just decided to reject anymore intake. In fear of wasting more energy throwing up, I stopped ingesting any food as much as I can. But the nausea didn’t go away.

    From Half Pipe to Outward Bound was relatively flat, I was able to jog along without losing much time. I left the aid station without eating or drinking anything. This was 45 min before cutoff. I thought I will forsure to finish now as I am still progressing in a good pace.

    However, I made a 4th mistake. I ran off the course. Instead making a left turn onto the dirt road up Sugarloaf Pass, I ran straight along the road for an extra quarter of a mile. I thought it was weird that I haven’t seen any course marking and no one was following as I slowed down to a stop. I started to worry and took out my phone to check the map. Unfortunately, Google map doesn’t show the trail up Sugarloaf Pass. I was unable to confirm my location relative to the course. After some debates, I backtracked until I could find the course marking. Of course, I missed the turn!

    Without knowing how much time I have wasted and how far left to go, I started scrambling up the mountain. Reaching to the top, a floating aid station was created by some volunteers. Folks at the aid station claimed that there’s only 4 mile downhill to May Queen aid station. Since I had 90 min till the cutoff at the time, I thought I would have plenty of time to spare to find the race. Unfortunately, the 4 mile was a lie. Running downhill after an hour later, I still haven’t seen any sign of the aid station. I began to worry again. I was being extra cautious of afraid being lost. Every time I haven’t seen a flag for more than 100ft, I started to doubt myself.

    At the same time, my nausea hadn’t improved. I was still unable to ingest anything without throwing up. A fellow runner had offered me some mango ginger candies. They helped, but only lasted for 10 min. I was slowly getting worried about bonking, though my body is still feeling okay for the meantime.

    Thank God, I reached May Queen 10min before cutoff! Without stopping for a moment, I ran pass the timing mat and moved on even though I needed to use the restroom. Half a mile later, there’s a bathroom. Now, it’s 3hr 30min to finish cutoff.

    In order to finish in time, I must maintain an average 16min/mile pace. That’s not a causal walking pace, especially not over a rolling hills stretch of the course. With my body slowly depleted of calories, I can sense the bonk was coming. I prayed really hard that God will give me strength to finish this race with it knowing how much I had left in my tank. I had been going on without any food or drink for 20 miles now and about 6 hours now.

    As I make my attempt to let gravity pulled me on the downhill and power walk the uphill to speed up the process, I could sense the empty tank light lit up in my body at about 7 miles before finish.

    Not knowing what I should do, I decided to chuck half of my protein shake down. Every time I was about to puke, I gulped in a bit more protein shake to counter the body reaction. Not sure if that would work, I managed to intake some Calories. That’s huge.

    To be energy efficient, I must move quickly. I start power hike and jog as quickly as I could. Taking advantage of the “non-empty” stomach, I made the best out of it with the downhill. But of course, the last 4 miles of the race was mostly uphill. Grinding my teeth, I pushed forward. Little by little, I regained my momentum. I was able to pass back people passed me from earlier during my bonk. However, I could began to feel the impact of the long pounding of the miles.

    As the last mile was in sight, for the first time in any race, I became emotional. I choked up in excitement, knowing that this was a miracle to I could even finish in time after all that went wrong. I was crazed with excitement because it was yet the best birthday present I have ever received. God is gracious to me. This race was hard, but full of memories to savor upon as my best birthday race yet.

    I wasn’t quite sure if I could jog up the finish line due to the series of hills, instead I power hiked the last quarter mile with confidence and excitement. I had finished my 2nd 100 mile race! My official time is 29:38:45.

    Now to the recovery! To my surprise, my recovery is quicker than I could ever expect. 2 days after the race, I was able to run again on my feet. This is by far my best experience of 100 mile race. Though not a perfect race still, I had a consistent strong performance throughout the race despite the repeated setbacks. Now I can finally say that I get the 100 miler bug 😂

    * * * * * * * * * *
    Review Summary:

    OVERALL Production and Race Swag 5/5
    Excellent Production. I love the Finisher Jacket, custom printed with your name and finishing time, available in post race party 2 hours after cut-off!!! The race director has it down! Not to forget the shiny buckle. This is a special one, carefully carved and well-designed.

    Course Marking 4/5
    For runner who gets tired and delirious after so many mile, they should make it even more obvious, especially when it comes to me. I am the worst in following the course. I can easily go astray but following an opening in the forest or the animal trails. Since I managed to ran off course at one point, I guess there’s still improvement to keep my weary eyes on course.

    Course Difficulty 10.5/15: Altitude 4.5/5; Elevation Gain 3/5; Trail Technicality 3/5
    As I am learning more about ultra and course type, This course is quite manageable for some seasoned runner, and elites. Though it is recognized as post-graduate course, majority of the course is fairly runnable including many jeep trail and occasional asphalt. The 14k+ elevation gain with some rocky terrain in the mix at an Average HIGHEST elevation 100-mile course in the USA make it an above average difficulty race, However, here are definitely race out there with more technical terrain, 20k+elevation gain and higher altitude at the highest point. Therefore, I didn’t max out my rating at this time.

    Course Scenery 5/5
    From lakeside to mountain view, I love nature!

    Lesson Learned:
    1) Overnutrition is Real! Though protein is good for you and great to keep your stomach from growling, readily accessible carbohydrates are crucial to fueling during a race.
    2) Ginger Chew/Candy is your friend during mountain trail race. It helps nausea and relieves upset stomach.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Feb 18, 2019 at 10:01pm

    One word, Solomon: EPIC. Though maybe not what most people would consider their ideal birthday present 😂. Seriously, I loved reading every harrowing, intense line of this recap, and I hope you've allowed yourself time to step back and appreciate what an amazing feat this was to conquer not only the Race Across the Sky, but every challenge you faced along the way. And just imagine doing all that without your eyesight! Jason is likewise one inspiring dude. Well done too on the 5-day acclimation, that clearly was a huge arrow in your quiver on race day. Which leads me to ask — were you able to do any altitude training for Leadville other than Bryce Canyon? CONGRATS on digging (very) deep to notch your second 100, and thanks again for sharing it here — can't wait to see what you do for an encore! 🙌

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    Solupia Feb 18, 2019 at 11:22pm

    Thanks. I didn't get tons of altitude trainings before my trip to Colorado. But I did make 3 impromptu mountain trail run trip within one month of Leadville 100. I did a day trip to summit Freel Peak near Lake Tahoe, then another day trip to Sonora Peak, and finally did a 30-hr trip to complete Rae Lake Loop in Kings Canyon NP 2 weekends before race. Since I was only in the high altitude for a few hours at a time, the acclimation never really kicked in till I went for hikes daily while in Colorado.

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    M_Sohaskey Feb 19, 2019 at 1:20pm

    Which makes this even more impressive! Well done, Solomon.

     
    Profile photo of Mark Stodghill
    St0dghill FIRST-TIMER '00

    A worthwhile challenge and accomplishment. One of my running highlights. Come prepared and enjoy the day, and in my case, the night. I don't have a comment worth the 150 … MORE

    A worthwhile challenge and accomplishment. One of my running highlights. Come prepared and enjoy the day, and in my case, the night. I don’t have a comment worth the 150 characters this answer requires.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Mar 31, 2018 at 5:57pm

    Congrats on one of the most impressive accomplishments in running, Mark! I can only imagine the euphoria/relief of finishing a race like Leadville. Would love to hear more about your other racing exploits, since running all the Canadian provinces (as well as the 50 states) is on my list as well. All the best, and thanks for sharing here on RaceRaves!

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