Sharing the amazing journey of my friend US Army Captain and Physical Therapist Captain Samantha Wood.  We are here together learning and sharing at Low Carb Breckenridge.  Congrats Sam!

Here is a short of a much longer race report from

It was 3:58 in the morning in downtown Leadville.  There were roughly 650 runners standing near the starting line liked packed sardines…but living, breathing, nervous sardines.  I stood at attention in my running sandals as the national anthem was sung.  The race began immediately after the singer finished dancing with the word brave. My only thought early in the race was to maintain an easy effort all the way to May Queen campground (the first aid station).  I soon settled into a comfortable pace and verbally rated other runners’ burps as I ran around Turquoise Lake.  Sadly, the best I heard was a 7/10.

At May Queen I made a quick stop at my aid bag and attempted to eat a half-frozen Snickers bar.  This was literally and figuratively hard.  It was taking forever to eat and it didn’t taste remotely appetizing. What was happening to me?  Having given up on the Snickers, we began climbing a rocky section of single track up to Hagerman Pass Road.  As my group reached the road intersection there were volunteers yelling at us to get off the trail.  I was confused at first until someone said, “there’s a wasp nest up here and some runners were attacked!”  We gladly diverted ourselves.

Getting into the Outward Bound aid station at mile 25, I found my crew for the first time that day.  I had been occupied with pacing but now my fear of food was resurfacing.  Would I be able to eat anything without feeling sick?  I looked desperately at my friend Lisa who has crewed at Leadville for several years. “I can barely eat anything, I’m a little worried,” I told her as I opened my aid bag.  Lisa looked me in the eye and calmly said, “This is normal.  Everyone feels this way here.  Your stomach will settle soon.”  So I took the only thing that sounded remotely appetizing, two pouches of apple sauce.

It was amazing how my energy bounced back after so little food.  Coming into Twin Lakes at mile 40 I sat down for the first time that day.  My immediate area became a Nascar scene but without all the mullets.  My pack was off and being replenished, food was brought to me, my sandals were getting changed, and someone was putting sunscreen on me.  My Garmin watch had died and Scott handed me his giant GPS watch.  It will last the rest of your race, he said.  Eating wasn’t easy but I managed watermelon slices.

I was able to tackle Hope Pass with the help of a few additional pieces of fruit the llamas packed up at the Hopeless aid station.  Unfortunately I rolled and pinched my right ankle joint coming down the backside of the pass.  When the trail finally dumped me into Winfield (mile 50) at 3pm my crew was once again there to pamper me.  I grabbed two cups of ramen and sat down so Joe, a physical therapist, could unstiffen my ankle and foot.  I realized then it would be challenging to run another 50 miles on a stiff and sore ankle.  Thankfully I picked up Melissa as a pacer to help me; she would take me to Outward Bound at mile 76.

We made it to Twin Lakes in good time and I managed to mash a few salty, boiled potatoes around in my mouth before heading out again.  Melissa tried so hard to get me to eat until Chad picked me up at Outward Bound.  By this time I had been reduced to speed limping, much like a pirate, grunting and limping, and really, really dirty.  When Chad picked me up he began to carry my reservoir.  I was so set on moving forward that each time I needed a drink, instead stopping to drink from the reservoir on Chad’s back, I would make him walk slowly beside me as we took tiny, micro-steps.  Leadville can mess with you like that.

I limped into the May Queen medical tent at mile 87 to see if I could get help stabilizing my ankle.  “Do you guys tape ankles or have anything for compression?”  There was a lone medic who looked eager to help.  I was excited until he opened his mouth.  “No, we don’t really do that here.”  My eyes fell on a clear plastic container sitting on their table.  It was full of various kinds of tape, athletic tape.  Clearly his message was, I don’t know how to do that.

For the record, Scott’s GPS died at mile 90.

My crew was waiting for me at the top of the final hill near the finish line.  Now I could see with my eyes what I had envisioned for months.  My crew and I crossed the finish line together and I ran straight to Merilee Chlouber.  She gave me a huge hug, a medal, and a rose…cause why not, it’s 100 miles, you deserve a flower.  Ken was there to congratulate me as well.  Tears formed as the last 28-plus hours flashed before my eyes.  I was so dehydrated I didn’t think I could make tears.  Clearly I should have pushed harder 😉