Defining Determination: Leadville 100 Mile Run Race Report

Claudette Crockett set out this summer to finish her first 100 mile ultra trail run. Thanks for letting me be a part of your inspiring journey! Below is an interview regarding her experience. Enjoy!

What was your main reasons for wanting to run Leadville 100?

I crewed my husband during Leadville 2013 . After pacing him the last section and sharing the finish line with him, I fell in love with this race, the town and its mountains.

After having my first child, she became my motivation to complete the goal I couldn't complete many times when I took all the free time for granted. 

I was done making excuses and I knew by the time she turn 1 year old , I wanted to cross the 100 mile mark with her in my arms. 

How did you feel about attacking this beast as your first 100 miler?

Some days I had my doubts, especially at the beginning of my training when my body still showed signs of postpartum. As a Personal Trainer I know the importance of accountability. I had my strength and conditioning plan layout. I had my husband help but I needed another expert perspective to avoid overtraining, undertraining and injuries. So I hired Joe Sulak. 

After 2 months of training with Him, I never felt so strong and positive to complete Leadville. My running program was going strong. I made a few mistakes along the way that caused a calf injury but patiently with training modifications I was able to recover quickly and continue the plan. 

How did you train for a race that starts at 10,200' when you live around 800' elevation?

Most of my training days happened in my garage treadmill at 4am in the morning. I was still breastfeeding at that time so getting up early was the best way to utilized my energy while taking care of baby. Some weekends were tough spending 3-4 hours in a 100º garage. Other days I had to keep a 15% incline while wearing a 20lb vest, while very few weekends I was privileged to get out on the trails. 

I had planned a 10 day trip to do a course preview and get a 50 miler run the month prior race.  Joe suggested the Hypoxico training which help me speed up my physiological adaptation to a high altitude. I trained with the Hypoxico a couple weeks prior the trip. I believe in technology to help athletes reach their goals and Hypoxico is a very important one if you training for a high altitude race. During this trip I was able to get out and train without much problem, we covered 60% of the course. I was fortunate to climbed Mt. Massive 14,000ft by my 9th day I never had any elevation issues running the 50 miler. I came back home for a few weeks and I continued with the Hypoxico just for one week knowing I was going back to Colorado for 3 weeks. My body adapted really well the second trip. I was able to continue my scheduled runs without any hesitation, I had never felt stronger. 

This was a once in a lifetime experience, exploring and climbing Colorado's San Juan and Isabel mountains. If I ever have the opportunity again, I would make this a yearly summer trip. 

Were there any emotional highs and lows during the race? 

Many emotions but more highs the lows. Never any lows lows that wanted me to quit. I was determine to cross the finish line unless something really bad happened that will slow me down and miss the cut off times. 

The first 10 hours of the day were excited to hold and kiss my daughter and every aid station. I took my time and I never let the "competitive me" come out. 

I started my race very conservative, I didn't want to blow up my cardio and not be able to turn around, not knowing what to expect. 

1st low point nutrition : Mile 30 I got behind calories and hydration, the hottest part of the day that slowed me down. 

2nd low point was desperation: I coming down Hope pass the Colorado trail it's so narrow , you have to stop to give the right away to runner coming back, the clock is clicking all my friends were already passing and some one said "45 more minutes "  they felt like hours. It was time to push if I didn't want to get cut off. Finally made it mile 50 with 30 minutes to spare. The high seeing my husband with a delicious chicken sandwich and my favorite mango juice. 

Mile 50-60 Hope Pass Determination: It was getting dark and cold, chasing the cut off time was the highlight of my day and I was getting tired of it. Digging deep inside I had to run most of down hill from Hope pass to Twin Lakes. 

Mile 60-75 The Twin High-High: 9:45 pm after changing into warm clean clothes and dry shoes. This part of the course was my favorite so I decided to give my legs a go. The energy level was so high, excited from finishing the toughest part of course and my body was feeling good. My running came down to 13:30 min/mile. I had the chance to bank time and forget about the cut off. 

Mile 77-85 The Power line Hight to Low: Many will think once you do the double Hope Pass you have secure a race finish but the Power Line doesn't give mercy of tired quadriceps. Before starting the climb my body felt ready, head down and pushing the aggressive steep 26% climbing. I keep reminding myself to relax my face and shoulders and take in a lot full energizing breaths. Towards the end of the last beast my body was done from all of the max efforts.

Mile 87- The Mayqueen: I had no running in me. I felt cold and sleepy. Part of me wanted to sit down and enjoy a warm noodle soup but I made a promise to keep moving no matter what so I grabbed my soup and hot chocolate and head out for a brisk walk around the lake. 

The sunrise high came out with 6 miles left. My legs had no running left but a shuffle/power walk. 

Mile 96 quick turn into the road and my morning brightened up . My husband was waiting for me. We both shared tears of joy. Remembering the last time we shared that road together but now it would be me getting that beautiful buckle. He walked with me the last mile along with my wonderful friend and pacer Melanie. We did it together! 

Do you feel this experience changed you and if so, how?

I believe in me much more. I feel any goal is reachable weather you single or a busy working mom. Just have to make the commitment and know there are ups and down but if you do the work no matter how hard your training days, it will pay off. 

Tell us about your crew and pacers? How important were they in your success? 

My husband Jason crewed me the entire 29 hours and my friend Melanie Rabb paced me at the turn around point for 50 miles. I'm so thankful for both of them. They both worked so hard to get me across the finish line. The advantage of having 2 experience ultra athletes, I feel this race could not be done without them on my side. They knew exactly what I needed before I even got to the aid stations. I was able to keep walking past the check points. I only stopped to kiss my daughter and my husband, while Melanie stayed behind refueling calories. 60 miles inbound, my husband had a layout change of dry clothes and shoes, that was the only 5 minutes I spent sitting down. 

What do you feel was the biggest secret to your success with regard to how you trained for the LT100?

Of course being diligent with the running schedule but integrating a strengthening and flexibility program was fundamental.  

What would you do different next time?

I feel satisfied with all my accomplishment for this event. Just a few thing to tweak but all that comes from experiencing the event. 

I will trust my training and feel confident.  The first half, I failed following my nutritional plan. I got caught up in the emotions of preserving energy and slowing down every time I knew could run harder.  

Any suggestions for LT100 future runners? 

Altitude: Take the time to train in or try hypoxico 

Running the 50 miler is a great test to what to expect. 

Course preview to run the tree major climbs . The power line, Twin Lakes and Hope Pass. 

What's next?

Keep Working on my strength and conditioning training. Eat and sleep "no more 3:45 am alarm" Maybe another 100 miler before getting ready for my next race called "Baby number #2".