A Lil’ Leadville Love

Tuesday. My first day of CLASS pre-k training to learn to assess teacher-child interactions via live observational coding for future research projects at the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy. I stood behind my chair at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Denver rather than sitting in it nearly the entire day. Marathon training never stops!

Nerd (in running shoes) alert!

Nerd (in running shoes) alert!

Tuesday. As excited as I was for a grad school throwback, I was growing antsy as our trainer kept us right up until the 5:00 p.m. as scheduled. My work day had ended, but my running day was about to really begin.

Thanks to our awesome peeps at Runner’s Roost, this was to be no ordinary Tuesday, but a Tuesday spent among trail running royalty – a panel of previous Leadville 100 male and female winners and – none other than the man himself – Ken Chlouber, founder of the Leadville 100 and fourteen-time Leadville 100 finisher.

The Leadville Race Series now includes not only the legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run – ranging in elevation from 9,200 to 12,600 feet – but also the Silver Rush 50 Run, Leadville Trail Marathon, Heavy Half Marathon, and Leadville 10K Run. Aaaaand I have merely begun to ponder – and I can’t emphasize the word PONDER enough – the Silver Rush 50 at some point. Stay tuned. . .

But before any serious thought went into anything, we had a four-mile group run; and I got a big hug from Salomon-sponsored runner Tina Lewis, 2012 Leadville 100 women’s champion and bad arse du jour, whom I had recently had the pleasure of meeting. I was all sweaty and gross once we got back and told her, “We can wait for a pic until I dry off a bit.” “Nah, just take one all sweaty!” Gotta LOVE this girl!

I wanna be like this chic when I grow up!

I wanna be like this chic when I grow up!

The party finally got started, and I was psyched.

Leadville 100 deity. I'm not worthy!

Leadville 100 deity. I’m not worthy!

“Do you cross train?”

“Should you do depletion runs during training?”

“How long is your off season, and what do you do during that time?”

“Do you do speed work during training?”

The questions – and the great running advice – went on for about an hour before concluding with one final query:

“What is each of your favorite beers?” I liked Tina’s answer the best: “I like tequila.”

Perhaps two of the best pieces of advice – in my opinion, at least – came from Ken – da man – himself:

“You have to be stubborn. Just decide you’re gonna be tough enough. You just have to make the decision to be ready, and you have to be unwavering.” He was talking about the Leadville 100 specifically, but I think this advice applies to many, many other things running and not.

And, finally perhaps the best lesson of the entire night: “Don’t be afraid to fail. Life would just be horrible if we did not fail.” So simple, yet so much truth.

A man who can speak such words of wisdom surely has had his share of life experience. I haven’t had quite as much life experience at this point, but I do have his autograph and a new running mantra:

Another fine addition to my running memorabilia!

Another fine addition to my running memorabilia!

Tuesday. The panel at Runners Roost – and my new trail running sister in spirit Tina – are the closest I’ve come to a Leadville race thus far. Maybe some Tuesday in the future that will change.

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy and practice at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.


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