Leadville 100 Training

December 2022, I threw my name in the hat for the Leadville 100 lottery. In early January 2023, I learned I had been chosen on my first attempt, especially knowing quite a few people who have submitted their name year after year and still have not been selected. Here I was with an entry to my ultimate dream race…I guess I need to start Leadville 100 training!

Oddly enough, I got into every lottery I applied for – Tahoe 100 (which I had to drop for Leadville), Leadville 100, and even Tahoe 200WHAT was I thinking!? The running gods were pushing me to run longer distances. 

Creating the Training Plan

I’ve always been a little lackluster with training plans. A casual, mid-pack athlete who occasionally screws around and ends up on a podium. Sure I know how to build training plans – I can absolutely build one for you! Just apply here. So, I knew I needed to approach one of the oldest 100’s a little differently.

I decided to keep a physical Leadville 100 training journal. I wanted to write down my daily workouts or rest days and any emotions that coincided. The race was in August so lots of time to prepare and journal and very little time to slack off.

Living in Florida is quite a bit different than one of the highest cities in the United States. About 10,000 feet different if you want to talk numbers. But one thing the south has that Colorado doesn’t do quite as well is hot and humid summers. I’ve heard if you can’t get vert, your next best bet is to get hot and humid. We’ve got that in abundance.

If you’ve never run in the summer in the south, just imagine trying to run with a wet washcloth over your nose and mouth. Some might call that waterboarding, but we like to call it a typical summer long run. So, gasping for air is a little different in humidity than altitude, but generally the same physiologically responses.

But still while training for the Leadville 100, I needed to climb. Sure, you can do all the lunges, Bulgarian split squats, and stadiums you want but nothing beats running up and down some mountains. I decided to look up some races in Colorado that might make for great training runs.

If you want to race in the mountains, you need to train in mountain races, so party of my Leadville 100 Training was to head to the Colorado mountains! In May and June, I did 2 weekend trips to Colorado to run Aravaipa’s Ram Party 55K and Ring the Springs 100K, both in Colorado Springs.

Training Races

Ram Party 55K turned into a 50K with so much climbing – roughly 4200′ of climbing to be exact – due to snow still being present at the higher altitudes. Surprisingly, it wasn’t my slowest 50K and I didn’t have a single altitude issue.


running in the Garden of the Gods during Ram Party 50K
Ram Party 55K turned 50K in 2023

The same cannot be said for Ring the Springs. I legit fell within the first half mile of the race resulting in a pretty bloody knee that all the medics wanted to clean at every aid station.  Almost immediately on the first climb I felt lightheaded. I continued, slowly but still forward progress. I was pushing electrolytes, but the headache still came on with a fury. Managing to make it to the highest part of the course – extremely lethargic and lightheaded I made the decision to go back the way I came with the pacers and take a DNF.

As we were coming out of altitude, I could feel my body change for the better. I was happy to know it was only altitude sickness vs anything else, but still disappointed in my dismal attempt. Yet, I was also proud that I attempted this course. I battled altitude, cold winds, and even hail and made it 29 miles. I needed to remind myself, this is training for Leadville 100. To test my mental fortitude and my physical abilities.

my busted right knee after a day of running through the mountains at Ring the Springs as part of my Leadville 100 Training
All guts, no glory. My knee at the end of my day on the mountain.

Regardless of successes or failures in May and June in Colorado, I took with me lessons from the mountain. Before Ram Party I had man days in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy tank, I did not do the same for Ring the Springs. Could very well be why I had issues with the altitude at that event. 

The goal for these 2 events was to see what I needed to tweak in my Leadville 100 training plan to prepare for the unknown. The month of July was used to build more a little more strength and stay injury free to prepare for the August taper. Hopefully all this training and preparation would get my to my 100 mile buckle in Leadville. 

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