The race started at 4am in the town of Leadville, Colorado. Leadville has an elevation of 10,200 ft. At the pre-race physical Ben's oxygen saturation level was 90 (fyi-in the hospital when your sats drop below 90 and you are hooked to a monitor the alarm will sound). Just so that you get an idea of the low oxygen levels at such high elevation. I was there as Ben's crew, along with his good friend Shane Martin. Shane helped me crew Ben the first 50 miles of the race, and paced him the last 50. We had a lot of fun together. Shane has ran several 100 mile races so his wisdom was very, very, helpful. The race is an out and back, meaning that they run out 50 miles and then back over the same trail for the second 50. Which made crewing the second half (in the dark and half asleep) that much easier.
He ran the entire race without sleeping. We were up for a total of 38 hours before we went to sleep. Well I did take a 2 hour nap. Between one of the aid stations I knew I had 3 hours until he would arrive. So I set my cell phone alarm clock and took a little snooze in the back of my Yukon on the side of the road in the middle of the mountains. I was a little bit freaked out, but really too tired to care. It sucks when you are still tired after 2 No-Doz, a red bull, monster java, starbucks espresso shots, and a dr. pepper. There just comes a point when the only way around being tired is getting some sleep. In a 100 mile race there are aid station set up the give the runners the things they need to keep going water, food, etc. I met Ben at all the aid station to give him the things he needed. Once he changed his shoes, because he had to cross a river twice. At one aid station I use a little back pack stove and had some hot potatoes cooked with loads of butter and salt. (I know what you are thinking and yes I am the best wife in the world!!!!! And believe me he knows!)
Let me tell you a little bit about the course. At almost the halfway point he had to ran over Hope Pass. The top of Hope Pass is at approximately 12,600 ft. That is a 1400 ft elevation gain in one pass (it is only a few miles, maybe 7?) HOLY HELL!!! Can you imagine going over that only to know you have to turn around and do it again after you just finished running 50 miles. I find it simply amazing.
Ben rocked the first 50 miles of the race. He was one of the first 50 (I think, maybe it was 70?) to come into the 50 mile aid station. After about 70 miles one of his knees starting hurting. So on top of a sore knee, sleep deprivation, and the fatigue of having already running 70 miles he was completely exhausted. But he had Shane pacing him, to keep him going. (A pacer is someone you can have run with you to keep you going. Also compliments to Shane for the photographic documentation of the race) Needless to say he over came all of the above and finished!!! I heard the race director say "You are better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can." I like that statement. I guess we never know what we are capable of until we try.
At the award ceremony after the race there were some people that could not stand or sit without assistance. Ben was limping pretty good, but he could at least walk unassisted. Although he did use me as a crutch from time to time.
Here are some of Shane's awesome picture. Thanks Shane!
Oh, and I should mention that there was a 70 year old man that finished the race (before Ben)
CONGRATULATION ON SUCH AN AWESOME ACCOMPLISHMENT BEN!!!
And no he is not drinking the water, just washing off his face.
(I almost shit my pants when I saw this picture, no pun intended, LOL)