Another successful Hardrock is in the books. For those unaware of this event, here’s the story in picture form:
Due to some property issues near Telluride, the course was a whopping 102.5 miles long this year, the farthest I’ve ever ran, and hopefully the farthest I ever have to run. The fastest guy ran just under 25 hours. The slowest runner showed up about ten minutes before the 48 hour cutoff. I was somewhere in between, finishing in just over 36 hours. 98 of the 140 runners who started finished the big loop that takes you from Silverton to Telluride, then to Ouray, then to Lake City, then back to Silverton.
There are lots of stories out there about all the suffering that goes on in this race, but this isn’t one of them. This was my fourth finish at Hardrock, and I’m starting to get the run dialed in to a point where I can train my ass off all year, then enjoy a great adventure with the minimal amount of misery required for a 1.5 day run/hike through the mountains. I treat Hardrock almost like a reward for not sitting around and getting fat and lazy all year.
It wasn’t all roses though. We had a nice bout of hard rain about 25 miles into the race. Some of the climbs are so long and so steep that no matter how slow you’re going, or how easy you’re trying to take it, life sucks. And trying to climb up and over Handies Peak, a 14er, after skipping a nights sleep isn’t my favorite thing to do.
As usual, several beers were consumed on the course. An old Austin friend of mine was running Kroger’s Canteen, an isolated aid station at mile 35ish, and he surprised me with a can of Lone Star (the National Beer of Texas!). I had my traditional meal at the Ouray aid station, approximately halfway through the run, consisting of a King’s Chef bacon cheeseburger and a PBR. I also had a surprise brew from some dude who had parked his van on top of Engineer Pass. It was nighttime and my new $65 flashlight was failing, so that brew really helped me deal with a lousy situation.
I picked up a pacer at Grouse Gulch, mile 55, and abused him until the final aid station, Cunningham, at mile 90. He kept me moving pretty well during the last few hours before sunrise, usually the worst part of a race for me. I stayed somewhat awake by telling him how I was never going to run this race again, something every runner says at some point. I also had a fantastic crew consisting of my girlfriend and our dog. I saw Katie several times during the run, and she was always ready with some food or some dry socks or whatever I needed. The dog just slept all day, which made me insanely jealous, but it was still comforting to see her.
Big shout to Jason Koop and Harry Harcrow, two other Pikes Peak area finishers. Local ultrarunner Carson Rickey was out there cheering us all on, and put together this video:
So Hardrock training finally comes to an end, and I can finally have a life again as the Ascent and NYC marathon, my two remaining races for 2012, won’t require so much time. Now that a few days have passed since the race, I’ve decided not to quit forever and will be throwing my name in the lottery for next year.
BONUS RACE REPORT!
I found myself in Boulder the Thursday after Hardrock. And the Boulder Road Runners were having an all-comers track meet. So I checked it out, and before long I was signed up for the mile and the 3000 meter steeplechase. I’ve run the mile as a race hundreds of times before, and managed to bull out a 5:21, not too shabby so soon after a hundred miler. I’ve never run the steeple before, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be allowed back after my 14:15 debacle. This pic pretty much sums up the race: