Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a long-time is a longtime ultrarunner who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She teaches for NOLS Wilderness Medicine, coaches, directs the non-profit Band of Runners, and drives her kids around in a minivan.

August 2014
« Jul   Sep »


Leadville Planning, No Coffee Taper and Graves


I usually do a pretty good coffee taper before 100-mile races.  But with the internet access located in a coffee shop, I have given up on that.  All the up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-with-the-precious-baby exhaustion training should help out when the caffeinated gels don’t.  I suppose I could drink decaf here and still make my hourly donations to the coffee shop…  Crazy talk.

My mom and dad took Ruby to bed last night, so I could get some sleep.  It was wonderful.  Until about midnight, when I woke up missing the little chunk-bucket.  We snuggled for a few hours after that and then I downed some beet juice (secret weapon) and headed to town to work.

I realize I made noises about posting my Leadville plan yesterday, but I’d forgotten about a trip to Breckenridge to see my parents’ friends.  They were all stationed in Berlin and Saudi Arabia together, and now the Harrison’s run the hostel in Breckenridge.  (You should stay.  It’s lovely — and so are they.)  We had a wonderful picnic at the town park, and then we endured an impressive Ruby meltdown all the way back to Twin Lakes.  It was all I could do to open a beer, shove half a jar of peanuts in my mouth, and go to bed afterwards.  (I lie; There was actually some excellent sitting in a big tub and starting at the bathroom wall before I crawled into the kid-free bed.)  You’ll notice there hasn’t been any mention of Asa.  The boy is ensconced in the land-of-cousins and I feel like I haven’t really seen him in the last few days.  He did ask me to inspect how blue his tongue was after he had his first gumball and he shot me with a stick — but that’s been about the extent of our interactions.   I guess we’ll have time to catch up during the 16-hour car ride home to Texas — and during his Sugar and Chip Detox.

OK, Leadville!

Nutrition:  Tailwind and EFS Liquid Shot to supplement

Tailwind flavors du jour: Caffeinated Raspberry Buzz and Naked Unflavored

Look at the nice postcard Tailwind sent with my order.



(The postcard was less wrinkled before Ruby tried to eat it.)  I’m very hopeful Tailwind will treat me more kindly during the second half of the race than other race fuels have.  It certainly has been great on training runs in the Texas heat.  I can’t use it exclusively because I’m prone to hyponatremia, and I just can’t drink enough water up here at altitude to keep up with my caloric needs — when my calories are all liquid.  Trying to drink all my calories is what did me in the last time I ran Leadville.

I really like the Kona Mocha EFS First Endurance makes.  Mmmmm Mocha.

Gear:  I’ll be wearing the UltrAspire Spry

Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 11.51.46 AM



The pack has enough room for extra warm gear and my fuel and sits comfortably on my shoulders and back.  I won’t have any water in it — so no red hose.

I’ll also be carrying one of UltrAspires 20oz bottles.

Socks: Drymax (of course!) with the RWB Eagle!

Plan:   Well now, ya know, this is going to be anti-climatic, but I’m just going to run at a comfortable (no heavy breathing) pace until I get to the top of Hope Pass inbound.  Then I’m hoping to fly back down the trail off Hope to Twin Lakes.  That is my favorite part of the whole course.  It’s really why I run Leadville.  Then I’ll start pushing harder (some heavy breathing) if I can.  I’ve made up some time windows to be sure I’m carrying enough fuel with me — and to make sure my crew is around –, but I won’t be looking at my watch for pace or splits.  Not after it runs out of batteries after the first six hours anyway.  (Stinkin’ Garmin 410!)  I’m aiming to PR, which might be straightforward if I don’t get hyponatremic or suffer an asthma attack since I’m planning on cutting way down on vomiting my guts out this race.  My last vomit-filled time was 20:44.  Surely I can break 20 without the vomit — and if the weather, my 42 year-old body, and the trail gods cooperate — and all the stars align.  We’ll find out soon enough.  A nice new belt buckle and a happy crew is all I need.

More tomorrow Ruby permitting.

PS. Has anybody else noticed this grave on the Twin Lakes side of Hope Pass.  It’s on the right about three quarters of the way up.




Comments 1
  • angela @texassky
    Posted on

    angela @texassky angela @texassky

    Reply Author

    You did great! It was so fun to watch your progress and the other runners through Twitter updates. I wish the runs were televised! (even though, it would be a really long show!) Anyhow, congrats on your success at Leadville and I am looking forward to your post race post 😉