Anton Krupicka, a world-class trail runner, writes a nice blog (here). His impressive running resume includes a win at Leadville in 2006 and 2007, a win at Rocky Racoon in 2007, and a close second at Western States this year, where he and winner Geoff Roes both broke the course record. A favorite to win at Leadville this year, he unfortunately took a DNF after running the majority of the course.
One passage from his race report jumped out at me: "Dakota [his pacer] and I crawled along at a pathetic 9-10min/mile pace with the only thing keeping me from walking being sheer shame." This after running at least 60-70 miles among the front runners of a race that attracts the best ultramarathoners, and shortly before dropping out of the race. I know I shouldn't even begin to compare myself to a world-class runner like Krupicka, but that "pathetic 9-10 min/mile pace" sounds blazing fast at Leadville!
Krupicka around mile 60. This photo appears at his race report on Running Times's site.
He added, "Dakota let me walk for a few seconds as I ate a gel (poor, weak, weak excuse)." That's an excuse I frequently use during a race! And yeah, I guess it is pretty poor and weak. . . .
Closer to reality, I also read Drew Meyer's report. He's an experienced trail runner who ran an impressive race. In spite of a bit of nausea and some blisters, he finished strong, just under 29 hours. To finish at all in a race with a 46% finishing rate is impressive. I liked his account of his stomach issues: "I had a little stomach problem [at Halfmoon aid station]. About 100 feet beyond HM I asked Mark [his pacer] to go back for more Coke (to replace that which was now on my shoe along with the soup) and resumed walking." Fun times on the trail.
Thanks to both of these runners for the inspiration! Next time around look for me on the trail!