Thursday, August 29, 2013

Leadville 100- We are gonna have a good day!

Selfie picture of Scott and I

“All mountain landscapes hold stories: the ones we read, the ones we dream, and the ones we create."
-from the Editor's Note, The Alpinist (April 1, 2010)

― Michael Kennedy

Check out these links to Leadville 100 pictures by Runnerpics: 
Link to pictures by runnerpics

The summer went by so quick! My son studied ballet at the American Ballet Theatre and I used his time away to spend quality time with my daughter on a mother daughter road trip spent camping and traveling. My last big adventure would be heading out to Leadville 100 with my good friend Scott Laudick. He is an amazing photographer that shoots trail running races around the country.  I was so excited to help him shoot this 100 mile ultra classic.

I packed us a big cooler of food for the road trip. I'm pretty good at this. I like to eat healthy and not spend a fortune on food while traveling.  I made my favorite Kale Salad (recipe is here). It holds up really well in a cooler and was a summer travel staple for me. I also made a pesto potato salad, spicy tuna salad with rye bread, cooked apples and I brought some beef sticks. We had enough food to last us for quite a few meals.

The road trip just flew by. Scott and I are both chatty and during our drive there was not a minute of silence. That added up to 15 hours of non stop talking and laughing. We solved the problems of the world and discovered we both laugh at the silliest things.

View from Winfield Aid Station

We arrived at our first photo scoping location- the Winfield Aid station and Hope Pass trail. We took a hike part way up the Hope Pass trail. It took us about 50 feet and the elevation effects hit us like a truck. Talking and breathing at the same time was no longer easy. This was when we quieted down for the first time. Silly as we are, we stopped and laughed at the fact that it took a mountain to get us to finally shut up. We are fit people and feeling the effects of elevation first hand gave me even more respect for this course.

We still had  many places to scope out so we decided not to hike to the top of Hope Pass. Hope Pass would be really busy on race day so it would be hard to get good pictures. We drove to our other planned locations. On a course full of beauty it was easy to find picturesque spots to photograph the runners.

After we had our race day plan in place we drove into Leadville. This is an adorable mountain town that I never wanted to leave. We met up with friends Shelley Cook, Alec Bath, Dave Zeisler and their families for dinner at a charming little restaurant Tennessee Pass. I had the goat cheese and spinach enchiladas which was delicious!  Shelley and Alec were so generous to invite us to crash in their hotel room (thank you!). So we had a nice dinner then headed back to the room to go to bed early and get a few hours of sleep before race day!

nice little tidbit: we stayed at the Leadville Super 8 and they had a sign up that breakfast would be served at 2:30 am . I love when businesses take care of there customers. Now if they could have just done something about the nearby barking dog...did anyone else hear that? 

Race morning we were up and at the starting line by 3 am. We were some of the first people to arrive. I watched as the streets quickly filled with runners and crew. I looked at them knowing this race is something they have been working at for months, or even years to be prepared to finish. There were people of all ages, sizes, male and females. Everyone looked peaceful, excited and thankful to be there. I know I was. 

Me on race morning trying to get my phone camera setting correct so I could get a picture of the race start. Pic by Scott of runnerpics

After the runners started we headed off to our picture spot. We wanted to be sure to get pictures of the leaders. So we set up our little camp for the day and waited. 

We sat there looking at the most gorgeous mountains trying to figure out where Hope pass trail was. There was a trail way up there above tree line that the runners would soon be following. We felt very small in this massive land. It was amazing to think the runners would be going up this mountain at mile 40 then turning around and coming right back. For me personally it looked like a nearly impossible challenge. Although at the same time being there, soaking in this pristine land I had a strong desire to run this race one day.  I sat there planning how I could prepare myself to accomplish this. I've been inspired by so many strong minded people that I  allowed myself to believe I can do this. So I decided to come back next year and camp with friends and family for a few weeks, maybe even a month before the race. This would help get me acclimated to the elavation. Then pace a friend, Craig Branaghan would be awesome if he will let me. This would give me a chance to learn more of the challenges that would face me at the race. Then 2015 come back and go for a Leadville 100 finish. My dream team will be having Holly & Royal crew, Tim pace me, and Scott from Runnerpics photographing. 

Helping Scott photograph the race was a 30 hour day of joy. I am in awe at the strength, determination perseverance of the runners I saw. There is a kindness and camaraderie in the ultra-running that brings warmth to my heart. Leadville 100 will be a day that will brings a smile to my face for years to come. This is "the good old days". 

Scott setting his camera up while we wait for the runners

My amazing view, watching strong runners for hours

This is heading into the Twin Lakes Aid Station

Tents set up on trail near Twin Lakes
Trail views
The tiny town of Twin Lakes had so many cars. The police directed traffic all day and cars were packed along the edge of the street for as far as you could see. I've never seen so many runners and crew.

Scott Jurek coming through Twin Lakes Aid station. Heard it was an amazing sight to see Hal Korner  & Scott bomb the downhill at Hope Pass just before this.

Ashley Arnold finishing 1st overall female at Leadville 100!

The pictures above are all the ones I took with my phone.

Be sure to check out all the great pictures and video that Scott Laudick of Runnerpics took. The bravery, fight and strength it took for these runners to run this race is captured and will surely bring tears of happiness to you. 


  1. What a great experience! Glad I got to see you there.

  2. I'm glad I got to see you too Scott. I hope we get to do the same race one day soon. You are such a wonderful positive force in the ultra-running world! I'm glad to know you.