Maybe, but probably not. Especially when she's running one hundred and you are basically a tourist tagging along for a few miles. In 100 mile ultramarathons, runners are given the opportunity to run with a pacer (either chosen by the runner or, if you'd like, provided by the race staff) after a designated point in the race. Usually, some time after the 50 mile mark. As the 100-mile racer approaches 12-14 hours of running and is looking forward to another 12-14 hours, a pacer might join them for a leg or two of the race to guide them and keep them on track with regards to hydration and food intake. At another aid station, another pacer might jump in and run the next leg with the runner and provide the same guidance. Ideally, a runner might have a pacer at each aid station towards the end of a race and have a fresh person to run with to the finish. A fresh set of legs and a new point of view. Not a bad idea. Then, you have the over-zealous, ultrarunning newbie that just can't seem to get enough. Since Leadville allows pacers from the 50 mile turnaround, I enthusiastically agree to be Katy Taylor's one and only pacer for the entire return trip. I figure that it will be an incredible experience for me before I try my first 100, as I will be there first hand through the toughest hours of the race. Also, it is an excellent last long run for me before I run the Steamboat 50 next month. I will feel alot better going into that race knowing that I have a 50 mile run (at night, no less) under my belt already. Beyond that, it's also pretty important that I come out of Leadville fairly healthy so that I can continue running and training until Run Rabbit Run on September 18th.
I've determined that my Achilles pain came from me not breaking into my minimal shoes more gently. They were comfortable so I wore them too often and gradually stressed my Achilles tendon because it was stretching that tiny amount more than it was used to in my cushioned shoes. I noticed an immediate difference yesterday when I started go for a run wearing my Inov8 295s. My Achilles began to hurt to the point I wasn't sure if I should run at all. I switched into my Nike Free 5.0, which are my most cushioned shoe (I wear for road runs) and I felt so good I ended up running 8 miles. Today, I wore my Salomon SpeedCrosses and felt good. Hard to believe a few millimeters makes a difference but I felt it. So, I can still wear the Inov8s, I just need to train my feet to do so gradually.
I've been able to run short and light this week without much pain. Icing and stretching seem to be, at least, keeping my tendonitis and plantar from getting worse. Actually, better each day. I will run a day or two more this week before catching some rest before Leadville. All will be good to go by then. As Katy and I stood at Twin Lakes last weekend looking up at Hope Pass, it really hit me that you have to bring your "A" game to Leadville if you want to get up and over these mountains in under 30 hours. Lord knows what the weather is going to be like. (Probably rain and snow with our luck!) The two of us have been battling some injuries in the last couple weeks but have been cross training and we are both bouncing back strong. Physically, we will be prepared and a good and positive attitude will be no problem. I can't wait to see Kate finish her first 100! (F*ck, I'm nervous!)