Friday, August 27, 2010

Lessons Learned at Leadville, 2010

Here is an article I wrote for Running Times.com this week that offers a little more reflection on my race at the Leadville 100 this year.                                                                                                                                          
                                                          
Not even to the top, yet: A pretty accurate depiction of the suffering that was occurring on Powerlines this year for me at Leadville.  With pacer, Alex Nichols.  Rob O'Dea photo.

26 comments:

Ben said...

I'm not trying to run a 100 mile race but this article summed up every setback I've had with my journey into distance running. Patience, humility and respect. Wise words mate. Thanks for sharing the lesson.

PunkRockRunner said...

Sometimes it’s the races we don’t finish that make more of an impact on who we are than the races we finish/win. A friend of mine suffered a DNF at a recent Ironman (with less than 10K to go). She was leading her age group but lacked salt, became severely dehydrated and her stomach shut down. Her mindset was “PR or ER” and on that day she rode in an ambulance to the finish. She has since registered for another Ironman has every intention of learning from her mistakes.

I have no doubt that you will return to Leadville for a 3rd victory and course record.

All the best,

Ron

Barry Bliss said...

Of course these lessons don't just apply to running, but any and everything.
Thanks Anton.
Another well written and honest account.
Keep it up, brother.

rlbrooks11 said...

The comments afore-posted are all true. Your honesty bleeds from the vivid descriptions of last saturday's race. I thank you and can only hopefully learn from your honest assertions. Take care Tony.

AJW said...

Tony, nice piece. Patience and humility are, as you note, more important in our sport than in just about any other.

And, aren't you glad you didn't schlep all the way over to Chamonix this week?

saucony said...

i dont focus much on those lessons before, but after reading it and mate explained more about it..makes me appreciate it more

brownie said...

Nice pic, you do a helluva jt impression!

ultraslowrunner said...

Great article. After recording a DNF at my first two 100 mile attempts (one due to injury second due to mental breakdown at 110K) I always explain it to my non-ultra friends like this:

When was the last time you did something for 24+ hours straight, then think about the last time you ran. Now imagine running for 24+ hours and think about how many things can go wrong.

Regardless of the pain suffering or disappointment at times there is nothing I would rather do then spend 100 miles on the trails dealing with adversity surrounded by mostly like minded people who share my love for nature and running. Hopefully everything will come together for you (and me for that matter) and 2011 you return to leadville better then every and I can finally get that first 100 behind me. Keep up the great writting and inspiring running.
Frank

Jacob said...

This doesn't have to do with this post but I have been curious and haven't been able to find the answers anywhere else. What is your height/weight? What is Kyle Skaggs' height/weight when he is competing?

Anton said...

Jacob,
6' and I guess I hover around 150 when in racing shape. I haven't weighed myself in the past couple years except for at 100 mile events and the weights there this year (at WS and Pb) have been from 147-154. Kyle is 6'1"; I have no idea what his weight was; i would expect about the same as me.

Frank Bott Running Log said...

Tony,
I am about to do my 14th or 15th Ultra (50 or 100 or 12 or 24 hour)race. This race, the Pony Express, kicks my butt every year.

Will i finish this year? Heck Tony I have no idea. It is the only race I have not finished. I almost died last year trying.

I agree with you failure teaches us so much about who we are and how we allow the world around us to shape our thinking and direction.

I can't speak for you but I know that these ultras have made me a better man failure or success. I need that and appreciate both the pain and joy.

As you know Tony I am 53.. and I am still learning from my failures..

keep doing, living, finding great music.. and being your best friend..

frank

John said...

...not that it needs to be put in other words; you said it well. If a person shows up at the start line with just willpower or just being well-fed, he or she wouldn't get as far as the person who shows up well-conditioned. The fact that you run 150-200 miles a week demonstrates the value of conditioning. Gas in the tank is important; I can step on the pedal with all of my will power but if the tank is empty the car's not going to move. Will power only overcomes the mental, not what is physically impossible.

Darin said...

Great article, Tony. I to had a simular problem with calories. And would not listen to my crew or pacers instead opting to keep moving. In the end it cost me a ton of time and in hindsight if I would of just listened, sit down for a minute and took in some calories my race would have been a lot better.

laurent.d said...

so...i'm glad than you keep faith on your way of training and than you've admit the rules of to run like you're running each of your competition... run like you're running will be ever a challenge whatever you could think the countrary because of your common results!

but be sure than you're a fantastic example for the biggest part of us...by example:yesterday i reached a very good place on a big trail of my country (21th over 700 runners,among and crossing throw tree big montains on my island) and a big part of my progression is due to your approach of training and being running in nature...
so...thanks anthon!

ashby said...

I find your honesty about the struggles and failures far more inspiring than anything I've read about running. I admire you as an athlete, but because I know how rough the path can be for you as well, the way it is for the vast majority of the rest of us at the back of the pack, I somehow feel less embarrassed by my own struggles.

Eric said...

Great RR one again.
Where can we see more of Rob's photos? Looks like he was right there during the bonk.

laurie said...

I know I've been guilty of not stopping to take care of my body during races. It's definitely on my mind for my first 100 in October.

Tony Mollica said...

Tony:
Thanks for the honest RR! I was rooting for you because us Tony's have to stick together!

Good luck in school this quarter and in your training! What is next for you?

Charlie said...

"Respect the distance or the distance won't respect you! It will eat you up, spit you out and make you beg for mercy" - Unknown

Wency said...

Hi, Tony.

Your post was just what I needed. I just recently finished a 43-miler (I know, small compared to Leadville). And it was my first brush with a DNF. Nauseous, dizzy, no urge to eat or drink. Hands felt numb and cold - though weather was humid and in the 80s. I'm still trying to evaluate what went wrong, and reading your post made me feel that I can bounce back from my horrible race. I guess I also got bitten by hubris because I had finished a 100 km race a few months back. And this 43-miler kicked my a**! Thanks again!

Omangoon said...

Sorry for the bonk. You looked freaking amazing for a while though! One thing I wanted to point out though is humility. You're inspirational but pls consider what happened to Scott Jurek after he got a big shoe contract and did an interview blasting Karnazes for no damn good reason. He lost his mojo. I think he broke a cardinal rule of trail running, he became too self aware essentially, and treated it as a race as a sport instead of this relationship you guys all seem to have. I think your RT article is a great. Good luck.

Robert said...

IMHO, to be humbled is the greatest thing to achieved. It makes us see deeper who we really are. Realizing that we do not got it made. In these kinds of events, when the body tells our minds "no more". In reality, it's OKAY to feel this way. It reminds us we're still human. This experience will only make our character and foundation of our core being built stronger and better than ever before. Unstoppable! Unshakable!

Akuna said...

I love the way you can remember your race.
always an inspiration for me

Anonymous said...

I know this article was a while ago, but I met you (way briefly) during a Salt Lake Running Company run just before you headed off to race at Leadville and wanted to thank you for your race report . . . recently at Wasatch I started to feel like everything was collapsing (I was certainly in the midst of losing all hope of running my goal pace) and just told myself to make it to the Brighton aid station so that I could regroup and focus on a new goal of survival. Having read your report definitely helped me keep it mentally together and enabled me to finish after regrouping. Thanks and good luck with the rest of the year. . .

MichaƂ Roszka said...

It was obvious that you would get deeper into that topic to think it through. I bet it was not only me who was wondering what kind of conclusions could you come up with. So great of you to share them with us! Great writing, Anton. Valuable and encouraging, really.

I am sorry you did not make it to that finish line. But you certainly made it to another: the one of your limits. And that required guts too! No doubt about that! The beauty of humanity is that we are in fact fragile. That we are subject to inexorable laws. That we do have limits. Both mental and physical. Truth is most of us have no idea on how to measure our fragility; on what the laws would be; on where our limits would lie. You have just faced those of yours. With passion. Without fear. This is something, Anton. May this add joy to your running and to your life. And may this help the rest of us to conquer our fear of facing our true limits :-) Take care!

Lisa Hayen said...

I hope you come back to run Leadville again in 2011. I'm considering make this my first 100 mile race. It would be fantastic to know you're in the same race, not that I'd see you beyond the gathering at the start line. I'll likely be one of those fighting the cut-offs.

--Lisa