Kristen Lodge: Running down a 100-mile dream
September 2, 2011
Alyssa Wildeboer finished the Leadville 100, a grueling race with extreme terrain and elevation gain, on Aug. 21. The race starts at 9,200 and climbs to 12,600 feet.
Alyssa is 32 and lives in Winter Park with her husband Travis, who also is an ultra runner and hiker. She signed up for the race on Jan. 1 and started ramping up training and miles. She has been racing ultras for longer than 10 years and is finishing faster than ever thanks to her sponsor, theaidstation.com, her family, and friends.
Here is an excerpt from her Race Report finishing as the fourth female, second in her age group, and 23rd overall.
“In preparation for the longest and most important race of my life, I consistently added mileage to my training schedule up until two weeks prior to race day, Aug. 20. The month of July was my high mileage month with 400 miles. My race crew/pacers included Travis, Ryan Fey from Fraser, Kyle Klingman and Guy Willey from Iowa and Nancy Citriglia of Fraser.
“On race day I woke up at 2:30 a.m. Surprisingly, I did not have butterflies. The energy at the start was unbelievable. The crowd was going crazy. Flashes, headlights, and music playing down the street of the start. Neighbors were cheering us on in their pajamas. I ran past them with a huge smile. This was going to be an amazing day.
“Being in 10th place within the first 13.5 miles told me I needed to slow down. I ate more watermelon, a boiled potato with salt, and a hardboiled egg. At this point, it was nearly 30 miles into the race and I had no pain in my legs.
“I was looking forward to having a pacer the next 50 miles. I got into Winfield (halfway point of in the race) in 10 hours and six minutes – one hour and 20 minutes ahead of my goal time of 25 hours. I was okay with the faster pace because I felt great.
“Travis was constantly motivating me. I can’t thank him enough for pushing me up Hope Pass. This was my toughest section. Later, as we approached the parking lot in Twin Lakes, I saw Nancy Citriglia cheering me on. She was going to pace me the last 13.5 miles.
“Nancy kept telling me how awesome I looked. All day I was in the game and I didn’t let one negative thought cross my mind. I wanted Nancy to pace me because she’s a pusher. Nancy is my female running friend from Winter Park and we have put a lot of miles in together.
“Close to the end, I couldn’t believe I was going to break 25 hours. I couldn’t believe I would be among the top five females. When I crossed the finish line, I couldn’t believe I was the 23rd overall finisher. When I stopped running, I couldn’t believe I had no pain. I had just run 100 miles in 21 hours, 35 minutes and one second. I thought I was dreaming.
“Alyssa Wildeboer, fourth female, second in my age group and 23rd overall. I was done, the race was over. My goals and expectations were far exceeded.”