Thank you to my wife Pam, daughter Kalinda, crew/pacers Joe Ziegenfuss and Dakota Jones, and crew Reese Ruland. Without them I would never be able to finish. Thank you to every single person associated with helping put on Hardrock, without them none of us would even get the chance to start or participate in the event…because it wouldn’t exist. Thank you to my parents who gave me the legs and mind to push on. Thank you to my brother who reminds me there are other ways to enjoy life.
|Crew Chief & Supervisor|
|Where is Joe Ziegenfuss? The rest of the crew...|
The last time I started Hardrock was 2010, two weeks after a dismal showing at Western States that put me in the hospital for two days with rhabdomyolysis. I made it 30 tough miles before dropping at Telluride and it felt like I had run 100. It wasn’t until 2013 that my name was selected again via the lottery and I wasn’t going to let any races leading up to Hardrock put me into that situation again.
In 2009 I finished Hardrock and was very happy with my time, 26:01. I used that as a 2013 goal of finishing under 26 hours. That meant creating a crude spreadsheet that compared day by day my 2009 training to what I was doing in 2013. Early in the spring my volume, measured simply in training hours, was consistently lower than 2009. Much of this was due to record
The two weeks leading up to Hardrock were spent in
Silverton to Cunningham (0 to 9.2)
It seemed that the second after the National Anthem finished Race Director Dale Garland said “GO” and we were off through the streets of Silverton. The first climb up to Little Giant Pass felt great and I made sure I did not push to keep up with Sebastian Chaigneau and Joe Grant. I know that I’m not running my own race when I run with the guys that start out up front, and Hardrock was no place to test that strategy. Scott Jaime and I came into Cunningham in just under two hours, about 5-10 minutes faster than in 2009. While I felt great, I was very aware that this might be a little too fast. I picked up my pack and hiking poles from Pam and kept walking through the aid station.
Leaving Cunningham I got my music going and my hiking poles set for the spectacular climb ahead. Knowing I was a little ahead of schedule I really made sure to stay within myself and focused on hiking strong. Scott Jaime pushed past and he was making it look like he was hiking on flat ground. I think we came into
The descent into
Grouse to Ouray (42.1 to 56.5)
Upon coming into Grouse I saw Scott leaving and figured either he stayed a really long time, or I may not have lost too many places and might still be running pretty good. I complained to my crew and pacers for a few minutes about my mishap but realized that nothing was going to change what happended and that I needed to put it behind me. I quickly changed packs and set off with Joe Ziegenfuss who would lead me to Telluride. Joe is a great friend who has run with me more than anyone else since moving to
The grind up
Bear Creek Trail to Ouray
Ouray to Telluride (56.5 to 72.6)
Initially out of Ouray you cross this amazing box canyon via a tunnel and bridge hundreds of feet up. Then you intersect on to
Krogers in the daylight
Telluride to KT (72.6 to 89)
In Telluride I was told that Seb was still about 20 minutes ahead of me. I also picked up Dakota Jones in Telluride. Dakota paced me in 2009 and back then it was the first time we’d met. Since then he has paced me at Western States and I paced him during his first Hardrock. When Dakota asked to pace me this year my biggest concern was whether he would suddenly be asked on an international expedition of some sort a few days before Hardrock. As luck would have it the expedition was the week before, and he held true to his commitment. Dakota was just what I was looking for in that part of the course. Someone who kept me on the course, made sure I was eating and drinking, and telling me about some of his experiences over the past few years. I could not have asked for anyone better for what I required this year. In my only real focused attempt at trying to catch Seb, I pushed the climb up to Oscars Pass. However, the last few miles up to the pass I know I really slowed down and that was where I had to stop in order to eat a gel. It became too hard to hike uphill, focus on the trail, and eat a gel at night all at the same time. At the top of Oscars it was raining, windy, and fairly cold so I put on my windbreaker and gloves and began shivering. Luckily as we descended to the Chapman aid station it got warmer, but was still raining. Shortly after leaving Chapman the rain stopped and I was no longer worried about not having enough warm clothes.
The climb up to
KT to Silverton (89 to 100.5)
From KT to the finish I knew I just had to be consistent and follow Dakota up the hills. I continued my “stop and eat” tactic, but other than that I felt relatively good heading into the Putnam aid station. I feel bad because they came up the trail about a mile to meet me and see what I might need at the aid station. At that point even one word was hard to articulate and I feel like I came across a little rude and unresponsive. If anyone from the Putnam aid station reads this please know that I was in no mental state to do anything but focus on the finish and that you all rock.
It was a very dark night heading to KT
I remember being told that from Putnam to the finish should take about 1:20-1:30. I knew that probably meant that I would get under 26 hours and was very focused on that. My time was around 1:05, although it seemed much longer. During that time I was hoping more than anything that my wife and daughter were able to get a few hours sleep and they would be at the finish. I was obsessed with being able to carry Kalinda down the finishing chute and kissing the rock holding her. I was happy to run the final few hills with Dakota and Joe, who had come out on a bike to ride in with me. Joe got a hold of Pam and let her know that I wanted to run in with Kali. We finally crested what I call “Jesus Hill” and was elated to run into town, make the left turn, see Pam and Kali, pick Kali up, give her a little hug (she’s only 15 months) and head to the kiss the HARDROCK with her.
Almost there - very low water
I was done. It took me a minute to figure out how to even stop my watch. Pam was there and I hugged her, I think I hugged Dale who was trying to put the finishers’ medal around my neck. Then I sat, drank a lot of coffee, and waited for Scott to finish. He wasn’t far behind and he also had a personal Hardrock best. The rest of the day was spent going back and forth from our rented house to the finish. Even when you are done you still feel the need to be connected to those still on the course. The Silverton High School Gym was the place for this. Each time a runner makes their way down the road Dale comes into the gym to announce a finisher is on their way. The gym empties and we all cheer them to the Hardrock.
Race Day Nutrition
This is very close to what I ate and drank during Hardrock:
60 GU Gels/Roctane Gels
3 GU Chomps
7 Accel Gels
3 Protein drinks
Mix of tropical fruit and grape GU Roctane in my pack
Shoes: Hoka Stinson Trail
Shirt: Team Diablo!
Hat: Headsweats, Buff at night
Poles: Black Diamond Z Poles, Backpacking Light Stix
See my post race interview with iRunFar's Bryon Powell here.