Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gore-tex Trans Rockies Run - 2010 Edition

Aaaaaaah, Trans Rockies. How I love you. Your sweet trails and high mountains. Your glorious and epic scenery. Your challenge. Your goofy songs. Your charisma. Your organization. Your ambiance. Your character. Your good looks. Your charm. Your people. Did I mention your people? I love your people.

You allow me to do what I love to do for 6 glorious days: run on trails, in the mountains with good people. That's what keeps me coming back.

Day 1, Aid station

This was Year 4 for me. Four! In case you're wondering, the Trans Rockies Run has only been operational for 4 years: that means that I'm 4 for 4. Four fantastic years, four fantastic partners and four unique experiences. Every year, the organizers have tweaked it. It's been getting a little bit better and better, ever year. During the 4 years, I've seen consistent improvements and fine tuning of the little event known as the Gore-tex Trans Rockies Run. So thank-you Trans Rockies peoples for running a kick-ass event, your attention to detail and your hard work is really appreciated from this runner.

Kendra and I, Start Line - Day 6

This year, was the Year of Kendra. She was and is, a Rock Star. Trans Rockies is a partner race, so you'd better be sure you choose a good one. For me, this race and it's enjoyment is directly proportional to your choice of partners. I'm amazed every year at how many people forget that. I've been extremely lucky to have 4 amazing partners and 4 incredible experiences. This year, running around the woods with Kendra was just plain good fun.

As a team race, you'd better be well and sure that you and your partner are clear on your expectations and your goals. With me, that's pretty easy. I have no expectations and no goals. I just want to take lots of pretty photographs and get to the finish line every day. I guess that makes me a pretty easy partner to get along with! This year, my goal was to finish the race happy and healthy every day. Maybe I do have goals, afterall. :)

Either way, that's my un-solicited advice for any of you thinking about running Trans Rockies next year: Choose your partner wisely, be clear on your goals and expectations and be prepared to be flexible. If you can do that, you will have a great race and a hugely rewarding experience.

This year, I was partnering up with my hubby Keith - when he was sidelined by injury less than a week before toeing the start. I extended the invite to a few people and Kendra was the one who jumped on it. She shuffled her work and life schedule, packed her gear and jumped on a plane all within 48 hours. I had met Kendra 2 years ago at the Trans Rockies Run and while barely knowing her, I can attest to her toughness and tenacity. I saw her out there on the trail daily, suffering and working hard.

Day 1 - High desert run at altitude. Fun!

On our first day running together, I asked how much running she'd been doing. I knew she'd squeeked out a couple of ultras over the winter and spring, but wasn't sure what she'd been up to all summer. I was surprised when she told me "Well, I haven't run further than 2 hours all summer." The town she lives in is flat and she hadn't done any hill training, let alone mountain running.

Fortunately, the woman is fit and strong 49 years old. She's been running and biking and this spring, has become a Cross-Fit Junkie. She's been doing a lot of strengthening work. Having run run the Trans Rockies before - she said "Yes!" to my invitation knowing full and well that she would probably suffer out there for 6 days. Now there's a woman after my heart. Someone willing to have a spontaneous adventure and challenge themselves.

Start - Day 2

Needless to say, we had an epic week and a great adventure. Surprisingly, I think Kendra got faster over the week. Her climbing and descending skills were rusty, but by the end of the week she had made some significant improvement. She was pretty quick on the flats and the rolling runnable sections. On Day 2 on Hope Pass, we were moving slow. But we were moving consistently and having fun! It was a beautiful day in the Colorado Rockies and I took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this place. At 12,580 Feet or 3921.4 Meters, there were plenty of people suffering all around us.

Hope Pass

Me and Kendra lead the Conga Line

It's All Groovy at 12,000 feet

Up and Over

Ghosts of the Leadville 100

The Leadville 100 Ultra was run only 2 days earlier and there were still visible signs leftover from this epic 100 Miler. I was thinking of friends of past and present who had been out there before me, enjoying (or not!) this beautiful place. I salute you my ultra friends!

Twin Lakes

One of the great new changes this year, was a sweet section of single track which took us along the shores of Twin Lakes and by a historic Ghost Town. It was fast, cruisy, gorgeous and enjoyable trail running.

And of course, every day would not be complete without a hug from Jean, who made us feel like we had our very own personal cheering crew. Jean is a friend from Calgary, who I always love to see out on the trails.

Kendra gets her Daily Hug

Tamara, Jeannie, Kelly, Michael

Go Tigger!

Roger and Caillie, aka The South Africans

As always, we spent lots of time with great people on and off the trail. At the 2010 edition of the Trans Rockies Run, we got to enjoy some sweet weather, with warm temperatures and blue sky days. We managed to cruise through Day 3 even quicker than Keith and I last year. Kendra sucked it up and got it done, hot, tired and exhausted.

Colorado Trail

Balancing Act


On Day 4, we had lots of fun climbing, climbing and climbing - and enjoyed the sweet views on a high ridge, on top of the world. We got to see Keith up on the ridge, who was walking this stage with Cynthia Amon of Gore-tex. He was her personal cheerleader and kept her moving and having fun. They started an hour earlier and got to cheer on all of the runners who came by.

Kendra has the ass of as 20 year old!

Houda Sucking Air at 10, 000 feet, but still having fun.

Kendra and Amy

This day finishes in Red Cliff, where we hit the river for the customary leg soak and Mangos for some socializing, good food and good times. I hung out for hours on the patio in the sunshine, got to cheer Keith and Cynthia to the finish line and started an impromptu dance party. That was a fun day. Aaaaah, good-times.

Cold Water-A-Phobic

Kendra and Michael

Mark, Doone and Tim

I *heart* Redcliff

Dance Party!

Cynthia and Keith

They need their own category, Doone and Tim are so amazing!

On Day 5, we saw lots of people suffering out there. I felt pretty darn fortunate to be moving strong, feeling great and enjoying a beautiful day. The lovely Kendra, was a stud. Here she was, 5 days in to a tough 6 day race that she had not trained for and the woman continued to impress.

Attagirl, Dora!

Aloha Spirit

Watermelon Toasts

We got to share some trail time with Aaron McConnell, the bestest-race-director-of-all-est. As the principle organizer and one of the owners of Trans Rockies, Aaron decided to get "out of the office" for a day and spend a day running on the trails. He's a great guy and I've got to say, he does an amazing job at keeping the wheels of Trans Rockies rolling so smoothly.

Flowers and Fun at the top of Vail

Daily Hug #5 - Jean MacNaughton aka the Cow Bell Lady

It was great fun to roll in to the finish line in Vail and have Keith on the microphone, calling in all of the runners. As we descended, we could hear his voice in the distance cheering all the runners in.

Keith, as Announcer Boy

When we finally hit the start line of Day 6, the last day - there was an air of excitement, to Get 'er Done. On the last day, people are tired. They've been running and camping for 6 days. They are dreaming of the bed, the finish line, the beer and the party. But first, they have to run. For most people, it's a long, hard, last day. Fortunately, it's also a beautiful day. Yet another beautiful day running the mountains in Colorado. Sigh.

Quad-Off: Leslie vs. Kendra

Quad-off: Leslie vs. Dean Karnazes

Cindy - my favorite kind and generous lady.

Single track descent in to the town of Avon

The Other Leslie - by Day 6 she had her pants down.

I was so proud of Kendra for reaching the finish line. I had no doubt that she would do it, but she finished 6 days strong, tough and happy. I was so impressed. The best part of this years run for me was getting to know Ms. Kendra and discovering what a kind, gentle soul she is. She's a great lady and we had an awesome week together.

In no particular order, here are a few high-lights of my Trans Rockies Run 2010 edition:

-good times socializing at camp
-starting an impromptu dance party
-seeing my husband in action on the microphone
-margaritas with Nicky Kimball and Anita Ortiz in the baggage truck
-incredible scenery and great weather
-re-connecting with the old Trans Rockies family: runners, volunteers and organizers
-making some new Trans Rockies friends
-a week running on trails in a beautiful place
-getting to know Kendra
-Post-race Party to end my running holiday on a damn fine note.

So, to all of you who shared in this years Trans Rockies fun - thank-you! It really is the people that make this event such fun for me. It's always a damn fine way to wind up a summer's worth of trail running fun.

Run On.


Jill Homer said...

Looks like a fabulous adventure, and a fantastic "training run." Good luck in the TDG! Can't wait to hear all about it.

Leslie said...

Howdy Jill! Thanks for a great "Team Pit-stop" in Missoula. Caffeine-ate and GO!! Naturally, I'm looking forward to the Next Big Thing, but I had to give Trans Rockies it's due diligence. Another great year at TR and yes, a fantastic "training run"!

Gretchen said...

Awesome!! Simply awesome.

I've been talking with some friends about getting this one on the schedule, and this post just fuels the fire.

You have the best attitude. Of COURSE you had an amazing time! You also have quads to rival Dean, which is saying something! Daaaaaamn, girl!!

Danni said...

Nice! You're much hotter than Dean. :-)

Leslie's Keith said...

Gretchen...if you actually do round up some troops and go, we're going to have to go back again! (That's a good thing...)


Deanna Stoppler said...

Sweet! I love the quad off. Man, Karno eh? Awesome.

Leslie said...

Hi Gretchen! Hope you had a fun roadtrip. Keith's right thought, if you were going that would be enough to convince us to come again!

Aaaah, Danni. Yeah, he's funny looking with all those lumpy bumpy muscles. And he's wee. And my legs were waaaay bigger!

Hi Deanna! Happy Wedding Congrats to you. DK is super-nice. But check out Kendra's quads!! Now those are impressive.

JeffO said...

LMAO! What an awesome time!

Leslie said...

Hi JeffO!
What a great surprise that was to meet up with you, although for a brief time. Thanks for making the effort! Yes, fun was had....

Anonymous said...

love the race report. looks like a "must do" at some point. you have leg of steel, girl! good times!

Nicola Gildersleeve said...

You somehow always leave me laughing my ass off outloud, with Peter wondering what the hell I am laughing at. Wish I could have been there, another year. Instead we were in the rockies ourselves soaking up the lake louise sun. It was fun seeing all those climbers in L.Louise when we ran there and then months later being one of them! Good luck in Italy. Bring those compression tights.

Leslie said...

Hi Naomi, Hi Nicola! Glad to keep you entertained. I'm thinking the European adventure is going to be the adventure of all adventures. I'm equal parts scared shitless and stoked!

Unknown said...

Great job Leslie! You are making me think I should consider doing this. What fraction of the course is single track?

I'm thinking of doing Coyote Two Moon again. Are you in?

Meghan said...

Yippee! Another year in the books! You rock!

Stuart said...


Great photos...love the quad off...I am off to the gym now!

Pano said...

Hi Leslie! I loved your photo essay and have posted a short excerpt and link to it from my site: www.trainharder.com. Thank you very much.

zbsports said...

Great adventure, I love the place, the view and the people. Nice run there!!!

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