I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired.

– Richard Wagner, German Composer and Wannabe Ultramarathoner

$7872 raised to help cancer patients through the Life & Hope Fund.  You are AWESOME!  Click HERE to learn how you can help.

And on with the blog . . .

Tami and I had a chance to spend five days out in Colorado last week over the 4th of July holiday.  Her main goal was to get our new house set up in Breckenridge — unpack boxes, meet with contractors, scrub a few floors, etc.  I had ulterior motives; the siren call of Hope Pass on the Leadville 100 trail was luring me inexorably to get my oxygen-deprivation on.  I needed to feel my lungs desperately clawing for traction on a 22%-grade climb with 40% less oxygen than back in St. Louis.  My quads were itching for the kind of pain that can only be replicated by wrecklessly barreling down a boulder-strewn mountain path for miles at a time.  My confidence needed to be shaken by the cold, hard reminder that I am not yet ready, not yet good enough to toe the line.

Mission accomplished.

It’s been three days since that Leadville run and my quads are still relatively shredded . . . and I only went 26 miles.  The plan was to do the 50-mile route from the ghost town of Winfield (the turnaround point for the Leadville 100 Trail Run) all the way back to downtown Leadville.  I believe I could have made it but decided to stop at the Fish Hatchery (26.5 miles later) when fast-building storms and lightning-decimated trees on the mountain reminded me of my own mortality.   Truth be told, if this had been the actual race, I would have kept running . . . albeit after I found a running partner taller than me.

Running part of the LT100 trail provided a number of lessons that will come in handy in 40 days; invaluable experience that could only have been gained by either running the actual trail or jumping on the treadmill at a 20% grade while wearing a plastic bag over my head.  The former option was significantly more appealing.

Alright, so let me share some photos, comments and the following video . . . can you count how many times I say “alright”?  It would have been a lot more if I hadn’t done some editing.
 Wasn’t that fun?  It was a decent run and I think I would have made it all the way to Leadville if not for fear of getting fried.

Here’s a shot from the 50-mile mark of the LT100 at about 7:30 AM on July 7.  Mostly full of confidence . . . more concerned about bears and cougars (thanks for that tidbit, Bob Brennan) than the climb or lack of oxygen.


And here’s my crew: the Amazing Tami Strand.  Hauled my rear end out there, fed me, gave me Gatorade, schlepped my butt back to Breck and did not complain once.  I ignored the constant eye-rolling.


Todd Rowe, a friend of Cousin Susan’s, has graciously volunteered to start pacing me at Mile 50 . . . this is where you start to carry me, buddy!  If any of you are heel-strikers and want to develop that coveted forefoot strike that is the envy of all distance runners . . . I suggest the climb to Hope Pass.  At upwards of a 22% grade, you will never have to worry about your heels touching the ground!


By the looks of the marker at the top of Hope Pass, the National Forest Service is either a) commissioning highly creative contemporary artists gifted in minimalist techniques, or b) exceedingly cheap.


Heading back downhill after that climb was amazing . . . and there were some beautiful vistas along the way.


And, if you are looking for a visual definition of bucolic . . .


This was one of numerous reminders that carbon-based life forms exposed to lightning will become even more carbon-based.  Running with scissors? OK.  Running in lightning? Not so much.


This is the “stream” that was only supposed to be ankle-deep.  I was pretty sure Apple would be counting my money from an iPhone purchase necessitated by me not packing waterwings.


The day before the run this ethereal view of Twin Lakes presented itself . . . God pointing out to the cougars and bears where I could be found the following morning.


And for those of you scoffing at the color of my shoes . . . you are scoffing at nature itself.  Take it back.


And, finally, the pretty, fluffy clouds that soon boiled into thunderbolt-laden cumulonimbus.

I learned a couple of important things on this trek:

  1. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  I’ll tell you what it means to me.  This is a very tough, potentially brutal course.  It is one thing to say you are going to do the Leadville 100 . . . anyone can pony up the $$ and enter.  It is quite another thing to actually do it.  I can readily understand how only 50% of the starting field actually finishes.  It will take a tremendous amount of work on my part and support from a multitude of others to make that 30-hour cutoff.  I am not afraid of the course, but I am more respectful of it today.  Much more.
  2. I still cannot grow a beard.


Training Update:  1773.5 miles YTD.  Thinking about a 50-mile run this coming Sunday (in St. Louis — flat, with oxygen).  Tami suggested 75 miles.  Hmmm, what’s she got going on?  Planning to head back out to Leadville for another training run on the trail later this month.  No major issues physically other than sore legs.  I wouldn’t be doing this right if they didn’t hurt.

Life & Hope Fund Update: Thanks to your awesome support, we are up to $7872 donated to help cancer patients and their families! YOU ARE ROCK STARS!!!  Special thanks to Pat Caspar, Dan & Cathy Flynn and Christie Pink, Scott & Susan Vickerman and John Danilenko-Dixon for your support this past week.  Want to learn more about the Life & Hope Fund and how you can help?  CLICK HERE!  Do it, it feels good! 🙂

Here’s a few bonus shots from this past week.  First, a funny looking dog in our front yard at Breck . . . obviously a need for tighter control of leash laws.


And our awesome new Breck friends . . . Denny & Jane (neighbors) and Larry & Elaine (former owner of our home).  Thank you for making us feel so welcome!!!

OK, that’s all . . . gotta run.


  1. Beautiful. I’ll take the mountains and the rain any day. It has been dry as a bone here in S.E. Missouri (except for a brief shower Sunday). Thanks for the update.

    1. Hi Trev – It was really tough being up in the mountains with temps in the 50s knowing how much everyone in Missouri was enjoying the 10+ days of +100 degree weather. Eric

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