The Big One – Running the Leadville 100

We’re wishing ultra-runner (and ultra-front desk manager here at The Little Nell) Dylan Bowman oodles of luck as he competes this weekend in the Leadville Trail 100. The race features one hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. Dylan came in third last year (he started running just 18 months before that) and is a favorite for taking first this year. Win or lose, Dylan — good luck out there. We’re cheering for you!  

Dylan at the finish line during last year's Leadville 100.

Leadville is finally upon us. This wonderful occasion has utterly consumed me ever since I successfully crossed the finish line last summer in my first attempt at the 100 mile distance. To say that I am nervous would not do justice to what I’ve been feeling leading up to this historic race. The emotion is much closer to absolute terror. Physically I feel very strong, fit, and rested. Still though, I’ve had an inexplicable bad feeling about this weekend and my ability to perform at a level that would make me competitive.

This is not meant to be a sandbagging comment. I’ve had the exact same feeling leading up to both 100 milers I’ve completed and both turned out much better than I could have ever expected. Those experiences have helped me to grow as an athlete and as a person and have left me as prepared as possible for the effort ahead of me. I have never felt more capable as a runner. I have never felt more comfortable embracing imminent suffering. I have never been more ready to perform.

My brother and I had an email exchange this morning where I relayed my feelings of fear. Wise as always, this was his response:

“Expectation leads to disappointment. just run your race. let the wave of your training and dedication carry you…whether it carries you to the hospital or the finish line has no bearing on your ability to shred and rage life. practice is nothing without non-attachment. the two fuel each other so that the journey can become the destination, so that the fruits of effort are no more important than the effort itself. or something. im looking forward to a good rage. let me know if you need a pacer for like a quarter mile.”

The yoga of ultrarunning put in a beautiful perspective. There is a fire in my belly. All I can do now is rise to the occasion and enjoy every step of the journey. Fire it up.

To read more about Dylan and his running, follow him on his personal blog here. To follow the race and race results, click here.