Mile 56 after a second Hope Pass summit, headed back to Twin Lakes on a long, rock-strewn downhill. The hardest part was over.


In her mind she probably heard “on your left” because that’s where 90% of the passes occur on most runs. But this was not most runs. On this trail, you pass where and when you think you can find a sliver of space to get by. Opportunity trumps protocol.

So she instinctively moved to the right . . . right in my path, as we tumbled down this section of dusky trail made for deliberate picking even in full daylight. The sun had gone down and we were all at the mercy of our headlamps and grace.

It happens so fast. One moment you are feeling indestructible and the next your face is bouncing back in slow mo from the large rock it just slammed into.

Dizzy. I don’t think I ever lost consciousness. Not quite sure about that. When hazy focus returned, a few runners who had been lost in their own race stopped and were now looking at me like gawkers passing an accident scene where the bodies have just been covered. That collective look was worrisome enough to spark something deep in my adrenal glands which fortuitously responded with a double shot of epinephrine.

I was back. My nose was broken.

A Tarantino-worthy waterfall of blood marked the trail and my concerned LT100 compatriots, despite whatever GI tract issues they may have been facing or had contemplated, instantly and in unison extracted the Ziploc-ensconced toilet paper they had stored in their hydration packs and swiftly shoved it up both of my nostrils.

It was another awful, terrible, beautiful 29+ hours in Leadville. And I can’t wait to do it again.

Next time in bubble wrap.

Thank you: Tami, John, George, Leslie, Dan, Linda, Zach & Suzanne.