Monday, August 23, 2010

Leadville 100 2010 Race Report

I've got my report from this weekend's Leadville Trail 100 up over on Running Times.  Hopefully it helps clear up some of the apparent confusion about what happened on Saturday.

Also, congratulations to 2010 champion Duncan Callahan who ran a patient, steady race and earned his victory through admirable, dogged perserverance, and to the 362 other successful finishers.  Leadville is a special one and you should all be proud.


dwd said...

After following the race and watching you come through Twin Lakes, I was surprised to hear about your DNF. It looked pretty smooth from the outside looking in.
Getting that shelled is a scary thing that, for good or ill, is somewhat quickly forgotten. However, at the time, when you're wobbling down a trail, it's hard not to be scared. Way to commit to finish, regardless of the time. That is the high road to take to honor the race and yourself. Speedy recovery.

Ben L said...

Thanks for that awesome report Tony. Good to hear you weren't actually run down by an ATV. But still you created a pretty scary picture of what it's like to push yourself over the edge.

Tucker Goodrich said...

Happy to hear you're well!

There's always next year, and what are the odds a DNF would happen three years in a row? ;)

papadangerous said...

Nice post. Enjoyed reading about going to the edge "safely". Glad to hear of your survival tale and a glimpse into the cliche.

However, you should have stuck with the "got run over by an atv" story. That would have made for some equally solid drama. Maybe would have gotten a movie deal.

Be well.

Sonja said...

I was sorry to see that you DNF at Leadville again. I'm always rooting for you. It is odd how two different approaches - and experiences in the race - can nonetheless lead to the same result.

It's amazing that you can look at this as a learning opportunity and not just shake your fist at the sky. Hopefully next year will yield a finish! Although, if so, it's hard to know if that would be because of your newly acquired knowledge or just because that's the way it played out in the end. After all, you finished twice (and won!) without the knowledge you've gained the last two years, so who knows what any of it "means."

Charlie said...

Just not fit enough Tony! You'll have to train harder for next year.

Seriously though, do you think there is any correlation between your course records at White River and your DNFs at Leadville?

That's Mr. McGoogly to you! said...

When I saw you screaming down Hope, I was impressed with how composed you were looking. When I saw Duncan on the other side of the pass, I thought you had the race in the bag. Needless to say, I was shocked when I heard you DNF'd. Sorry to hear you were feeling so bad out there, but thanks for the post. I'm glad to hear you're feeling fine. Take it easy.

l.d said... a "finisher" is never easy when you give your best (..of the present day) from the start line to the finish line!
the most of the time it is the dream to-but-not-too-cross our famous and so personal red line that we are hunted in it....the greatest goal of ultra-runners compé far ahead of the victory or record!
i agree with you when you're saying that the great gift on a course from the course crew of organisators is the opportunity to go beyond ourself!

mr everyday guy said...

Strong work on keeping the faith!

AW said...

i wanted to thank you for your blog and all that you have done for ultra running.

Two years ago i DNFd at Fish Hatchery on the return. This year i was able to finish in good time. A large part of that success is directly attributable to your willingness to share your thoughts, insight and experience with others. For that i am eternally grateful.

The fact that you are painfully honest and the humility that you show is the mark of a true champion. I hope that you keep all the good that you have done in mind while you contemplate your next race.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic piece of writing, Tony.
Many thanks for spending so much time and energy sharing your wholly unique perspective and insight.

Frank Bott said...

Tony, I love the idea of a sleeping bag.. Given you had trouble eating and your recovery is strong.. i am betting a simple lack of food / blood sugar did you in.. yes i have been there and yes it is a bitch..

One thing for sure Tony, you set a powerful example to all of us.. and most certainly you have my deepest respect as a person and an ultra runner..

keep running those trails..cause you never know when you will run into a skunk..


djconnel said...

First, thanks for the report! I share the view I'm glad you were okay.

I feel like an idiot even thinking about giving you advice, but from your report, I wonder if you used an electrolyte supplement like Endurolytes or similar (I see you have in the past). These are available at a large fraction of the supported endurance cycling events I've attended. It's hard to imagine doing a run of this magnitude on gel and water alone. Of course, you've been highly successful in 100 milers before, including at Western States this year, so....

Anonymous said...


forget this chemical gels, eat something more natural and you will not have this probles.

Anton said...


I use S! Caps diligently, and was doing so Saturday.

Collin said...

I've been there before. It totally sucks, but some times your stomach just won't take any more food, even if your body desperately needs it and that can end the strongest 100 mile performances pretty quickly. Do you think that your lesser time at 11 to 12k' before the race had anything to do with it? I'm sure you were still more acclimated than almost anyone else there, but when trying to run at such an extreme level of performance, it seems like anything not totally perfect in any sense could harm you after that many miles. I know that if I'm not well acclimated and try to run or ski strenuously above 10000', I can find my stomach having some problems and sometimes not wanting to take in much food. Just curious.

Rush said...

Dear Anton, UMTB come next year?

Anton said...

I was certainly far less acclimated this year compared to last year, and I think that definitely had at least something to do with me not being able to eat enough all day. Running at 5-8k' every day in Boulder is obviously nothing like running at 10-14k' every day in Leadville last summer and I could feel it.

jacob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PunkRockRunner said...

I must have read your Leadville race report three times and the only thing I seem to remember is “pathetic 9:00 to 10:00 minute pace”. Why do I remember this? Because it's my average pace for pretty much everything I run.

I’m confident that you will return to Leadville in 2011 stronger and wiser then ever.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

It doesn't take a Rhodes scholar to see where Tony went wrong---why all the mileage before a big race?Did he ever hear of the word taper? He crashed because he was depleted going into the race. I mean,that's Racing 101.

HollyV said...

He didn't taper before White River either, and set the course record (again!). Far be it from me to question the ways of the gods. ;) What struck me in reading the report was the progression of "I wasn't eating enough" to "I didn't want to eat". In my (admittedly paltry) experience, low blood sugar leads to poor judgment, inevitably ending in "I don't want to eat" and the ensuing bonk. For this very reason I force myself to eat even (especially!) when I do not want to.
Anton, your report is very inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

David Hill said...

Dude, you are like 5 years away from hitting your prime in ultras (by conventional wisdom). All the lessons you're learning now are just prepping you for great things to come down the road. You're just getting started. Thanks for the honesty - now relax and enjoy being 26.

Sarah said...


You are a true mark of a champion and an inspiring human being. Over time, you will continue to make a difference the world of ultra running and we will all learn from it. So, thanks for taking the lead and venturing into unknown realms with your running.

As for the person who criticised for not tapering: Who are you to judge the training methods of another person? What works for one may not work for another.

Bobby said...

You da man Krupicka!

As Neil would say, it's better to burn out then to

I love all the chatter from the people with their advice, I hope to god they were all finishing in the top 10 or they probably shouldn't dish out advice.

If there's anything I've learned from Tony - he's got it, he's filed his mental notes on what his learning's were and he'll be back at it.

Looking forward to the next post, thanks Tony!

Anonymous said...

would you rather die like a lion or live like a pussy(cat)? admirable path sir.

Lisa said...

I enjoy reading your blog and I was most curious as to how you did in Leadville this year. I am an RN and just started trail running again after years of running here and there with no real commitments. I must say, the human body is capable of functioning under extreme conditions but your descriptions of your experience are worrisome to me. Yes, you are extremely well conditioned but please know that simple electrolyte disturbances can wreak havoc on the heart. Please, please be careful. And enjoy your life!

Lisa said...

By the way, what was your body temp and your blood sugar? Do you remember what iv fluids were administered?

Kris said...

Why do you say you weren't going for the record but you were running so fast?

Anton said...

It's a matter of mindset, intention, focus, and intuition. Last year, if I saw a split that I thought wasn't fast enough, I would intentionally speed up so as to be back under record pace by the next checkpoint.

THIS year, instead of doing that, I ran completely based off of perceived effort level with no attention (during the race) to the intermediate splits. For instance, my perceived effort on the double-crossing of Hope Pass this year was way, way lower than last year but was still only 3min slower than my double-crossing last year.

I knew I was equal to or faster than record pace for most of my race, but it just so happens that that pace happened to be right around what I felt to be the correct perceived effort level for me on Saturday. I'm not going to slow down just because I'm on record pace if everything except the watch is telling me that I'm on the "right" pace. I don't step onto a race start line with the intention of sandbagging. However, without enough calories, no pace is going to be slow enough.

Switching gears, I have the utmost respect for Matt Carpenter's race performances. Probably way more than most people even, considering the amount of time I've spent on some of the courses that he's raced on.

However, let's not kid ourselves here. "Racing" someone and "being in the same race as" them are not the same things. Matt--while an accomplished road racer, and much more so than I'll ever be--was never competitive with the likes of Arturo Barrios and Bob Kempainen on the roads or track.

And while you might argue otherwise, if you asked Matt himself, I think he might express commensurate respect for the trail racing abilities of someone like Uli Steidl, who you so blithely dismissed earlier in this comment thread.

Matt's record at Leadville is among the stoutest in the country among ultramarathons. However, it can and will be improved upon. I believe I can, but I know there are plenty of others capable as well. I can guarantee, that even if you asked Matt, he would tell you that his records will be broken some day.

Jacob said...

Thank you for the brief glimpse into your heart and mind. I truly appreciate -- whether intentional or not -- the unique way you inspire others and myself by simply being yourself and ultimately, letting your life speak. Looking forward to racing with you one day.

Shane said...

Anton: Again thanks for the candid report. Being from Indiana and having experienced the same stomach problems you did this year - while likely moving at a similar perceived effort for my ability - I think that there is validity to your belief that the high altitudes reached during the LT100 played a role. Because I experienced the similar feelings on Ball Mtn this year during the SR50, I was glad that the race ended after 50 miles. We've just gotta get high more often!

Paul Hopi said...

Anton -fall down seven times stand up eight. Your stirring up quite a Tizzy on the ole blog ! . Another lesson learned- you'll be back stronger and wiser. Best wishes and aloha

Nick said...

I watched "Indulgence" the day before the race for a little motivation. Although, it didn't prevent me from DNFing at Winfield. When we crossed paths at the river crossing you were flying. Sorry to hear about the DNF and hopefully we'll see you out there next year.

Sarah said...


In regards to your post to Kris who was questioning your intentions on the course record:

You are correct in saying that Matt C. would give due credit to other ultra runners such as Uli. You and Matt both are exceptional runners AND you both are respectful of the sport of ultra mountain running as well as repectful of those that are well accomplished in the sport. It is these traits that clearly set you both apart from many others.
Yes, one day Matt's Leadville record will be broken, but it will need to be a day when everything comes together for the right person and perhaps a bit of luck would a nice boost! Will it be you? Only time will cetainly have the talent....just need all the components to come together on the right day.....Hang in there; Leadville can be yours again one day, and perhaps with the record in your pocket.

Kris said...

I agree the Matt's record will be broken. Matt is a human. It will take more than just your average ultrarunner to break it. Maybe it will be a fast road thoner that breaks it or who knows. If you can to it more power to you. I know I won't be breaking Paula's marathon world record ever! How many men can run 2:15! I as a woman can't and will never be able to. Even if I ran 300 miles a week.