We love sharing stories that illustrate how deeply “we live this stuff”. Hopefully you caught Kara Henry and Stephen Gartside’s pre-Leadville 100 interview. Their results and post-race comments are a source of Newton pride.
Pre-race Dinner The Night Before Leadville
Newton: Describe your experience at the Leadville 100?
Kara Henry: Looking back, I’ll tell you I had a blast the whole day…but during the race it was a different story.
I definitely had a few moments of ‘WHAT AM I DOING??’ but luckily those were few and far between. I had an awesome crew who bullied me out of every aid station and never let me sit down. It’s because of that alone that I ran an hour faster than my goal.
Stephen Gartside: For me, the Leadville 100 has been a new challenge after years of road marathons. You can’t beat the big open country that makes up the 100-mile route. It gives you some road and plenty of trail, with all kinds of elevation. I find that quite the challenge.
The day unfolded with 50 miles of pretty easy running, then the 50-mile trip home with pacers, which goes all night. It’s kind of like a party with everyone out there running, pacing and volunteering. My kind of party and it takes more mentally than just about anything else you can cram into a day.
What was your highest high?
KH: Absolutely hammering the last mile when I realized I could get under 24 hours. Actually, the reason I started pushing was because I saw what I thought was another female racer in front of me…I even made my pacers be super quiet so I could sneak up on ‘her’. When we got close I realized it was a dude with long blonde dreadlocks. I was bummed but at least it got me moving.
Kara nearing the top of Hope Pass
SG: The highest high is when you know you are done with Hope Pass. Or, anytime a good song hits the iPod as you down some fresh caffeine. Of course, seeing that finish line is pretty sweet.
Stephen running down Hope Pass
What was your lowest low?
KH: I hate climbing Hope Pass at mile 55 more than anything ever. HATE IT. I told my pacer to stop talking and ‘get me off this f**#$ing mountain.’ (Sorry Thom)
SG: The lowest low for me in 2013 was losing everything in my stomach at mile 63. Thank goodness I bounced back pretty fast, which is what you learn running ultras. You can come back from a low point!
What would you tell someone who is thinking of running an ultra?
KH: Don’t. Just kidding…I would tell them to find a training partner. I had so much fun training for Leadville this year because I had a great group to run with. Last year I trained on my own and too many hours on the trails alone is NOT good for your social skills.
SG: If you are starting out with ultras my advice is slow down and you will be amazed at how far you can travel. Find friends that share your interests and thus the journey. The Leadville 100 for me each year is more like a 6-month journey of getting ready, leading up to the actual race day.
If we asked you the day after the race, would you have said you would run it again?
KH: Yep! Because I’m a dummy and apparently a masochist.
SG: After 3 straight years at the Leadville 100, I may need a few years off which means probably returning as a volunteer or pacer for at least 2014-15.
What about now, two weeks later?
KH: Now I’m thinking that I definitely won’t run it next year, but I’ll definitely do it again. I’d like to try a 100 closer to sea level.
Kara Henry with her pacing team
Editor’s Note: If Kara has lead you to believe that her recovery is all about pizza and beer, she has you fooled. Kara is currently running from hut to hut in the Alps in preparation for the U.S. 100 Mile Champs this winter. Shhh…don’t tell her that we told you!