My race was going exactly as I had planned until the altitude crushed me on Hope Pass. I had run practically the entire course back in June when I attended the Leadville Training Camp. When planning out my race, I used the exact data from Leadville Training Camp and then built in additional time allowances to account for the fact that I would be running all of the distance at once. I created a chart that had my target pace/target arrival time at each aid station as well as the cut-off times at each aid station.
Leaving Twin Lakes Aid Station to head out over Hope Pass, I was right on schedule. I felt wonderful! I had just crushed the downhill section of the course coming into Twin Lakes. I was taking my Vespa, Base Salt, Gu & hydration exactly as I should be. I had ZERO issues.
On the ascent up Hope Pass (up to 12,600 ft) I began noticing extreme difficulty breathing. The altitude was definitely affecting me. Every step I took felt like I had just sprinted for a mile. I was panting and gasping for air. I still made the Hope Pass time cut-off with plenty of time to spare but I was now behind my planned schedule. I became concerned as I knew from having been on the course before that the climb back over Hope Pass to Twin Lakes was WORSE. The dizziness and shortness of breath continued & I was definitely not moving as fast as I had planned. I made it in to Winfield Aid Station around 5:30pm (a half hour ahead of the cut-off time) but I knew that making the journey back over Hope Pass to Twin Lakes before the Twin Lakes 9:45pm cut-off would be tough.
I pushed as hard as I could back over Hope Pass. A pacer (whose runner did not make the Winfield cut-off) joined me. I was sort of a disaster as my breathing was getting worse and I was having to lean hunched over my mountaineering poles every few steps. When we reached the Hope Pass aid station we stopped by the campfire to warm ourselves. It was apparent that making the cut-off at Twin Lakes was no longer humanly possible. Nothing like having several more miles to go (including back across a river in the dark) when you know you’ll be pulled from the race upon arrival there anyhow. I thought about how having your own private helicopter would have really come in handy as there is NO OTHER WAY OFF THE MOUNTAIN.
Arriving at Twin Lakes (the 60 mile mark) after the cut-off time, I was disappointed but knew that I had done the best that I possibly could have. My crew and pacers were waiting. It was amazing how much better I felt once I got to a lower elevation.
Kudos to all of the athletes who crossed the start line AND the finish line. It is a brutal race and even with the best planning, you never know what can happen – especially at a high altitude! I am very fortunate to not have injured myself. My toenails were all still pretty & I went for an easy shake-out run two days after. I plan to run the Leadville Trail 100 Run again next year – as I want that belt buckle! My next 100-miler is Rocky Raccoon 100 in TX in February.
– Andrea Carollo, Wahoo Fitness Ambassador
We are so proud of Andrea for giving this race her all and so happy she is a part of our wahooligan family! Leave a comment below to congratulate her for her accomplishment.
Learn more about Andrea’s training with the TICKR X heart rate monitor leading up to the Leadville Trail 100 in our last blog post – Wahoo Ambassador, Andrea, Runs the Leadville Trail 100 Part 1.