all at more than 10,000 feet in elevation? Well, why not? It is, after all, the Leadville way. Ninety-nine athletes attempted the beastly competition, one of the toughest in the United States. Thirty-five completed it. Molly Behunin came out on top!
Molly Behunin (Ogden, UT)
Total time: 46:15:16
Why Leadman? What was it about this particular challenge that made you want to do it?
My friend Chad Carson took first at Leadman last year. He invited me to do the mountain bike (Leadville Trail 100), and I'd never really wanted to mountain bike, but I had always wanted to do a 100-mile run. I'm not really a mountain biker -- I just started in March. But I thought Leadman was a good goal. I didn't really know what I signed up for, but then I figured I had paid for it, so I had to do it! It was so much harder than I ever thought it would be! Chad paced me for the last 30 miles of the run. He was the only pacer I had.
Have you fully recovered yet? Any lingering aches and pains?
I have no lingering injuries. My hips are a little sore, but I was back running and biking 10 days later. I've found that post-race nutrition -- what I eat right after a race -- helps lot with recovery.
What are your secrets for recovering between back-to-back events?
Definitely eat within 30 minutes after an event. I did a protein-carb combo and that worked really well. Chad knows the science of nutrition for training and racing -- how many calories per hour, how many electrolytes. It saved me. When training, I did a 60-mile mountain bike ride one day, then the next day went out and did it again, no problem. I never bonked in any races. I never got sick.
What are your workouts looking like right now -- are you running and mountain biking regularly? Or are you mixing it up with something different?
I'm not mountain biking, but I am road biking and running. I didn't run very much until this summer. I was so afraid of a hundred-miler because I'd had a knee injury during a race in Utah. But now I'm probably running 35 miles a week and biking 60. I enjoy that.
I haven't been on my mountain bike since the LT100. I would like to mountain bike again soon -- the leaves are changing up here and it's so pretty. But I'm working so much that it's hard to get out there.
Which race was the toughest? Any favorites?
The hardest was the 100-mile run, but it was my very most favorite. I hadn't trained on the course, but I had done the mountain bike race on it, so I was familiar with it. I liked the run the most because I had my Leadman number on, and everywhere people would cheer, “Go, Leadwoman!” They would ask me how I was staying so positive, and it was partly because they were sharing their positive energy with me. I really liked the people competing and the run provided an opportunity to visit with them. You don't really get that on the bike.
Ogden, UT, isn't very high in elevation. How much time did you spend in Leadville over the course of the 50-day period and were you worried about acclimatizing at all? How did you do with the altitude?
We spent a total of about 29 days up there. We stayed 10 days for the Leadville Trail Marathon, stayed four days for the Silver Rush 50 Mountain Bike, including riding afterward. And we went up to train during several weekends. It was a long drive, about seven to eight hours, but I enjoyed all the people there and the race directors. The people in Leadville are just really fun, and it's a charming little town.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to attempt Leadman in 2013?
Run like hell! I would say train as much as you can in Leadville. Acclimating yourself and getting familiar with the course is important. Get time up there. Get your lungs adjusted. Rebuild those red blood cells.
What's your next big athletic goal?
I would like to do Leadman again! I would like to get the big buckle for the run. I got one for the mountain bike, but I need to go back and get one for the run. It's such a fun experience, one that really makes you realize the strength you have inside yourself and the strength you get from others.