Thursday, June 26, 2008

hardrock, this year and last year

hi folks

sorry again for not posting but i'll do what i can to improve.

i thought i'd take a second and let ya'll know that i'm now officailly in hardrock, actually it happend with a phone call from dale garland(RD) on monday. that's a whole 17 days earlier than last year when i got in off the waitlist the day before the race. speaking of last year i accidentaly wrote my race report for last year's run last nite so i figured i'd post it below. i'm leaving for silverton via portland sunday nite and hope to make it there in time for the trail work party on tuesday. this year the race will be held friday the 11th, you can follow my progress on their website at

anyhow here's the report:

last year i was running great and 72 miles into the race i was in 3rd place and had run basically the same speed as karl and jurek for the middle 3rd of the race after taking it really easy for the first third. my plan had been to take it easy for the first 2/3 to 1/2 of the race and then try to move up into the top 3 by the end of the race but i changed plans on fly.

at the 28 mile aid station i ate too much too quickly and soon found myself throwing it all back up just a 1/2 mile past the aid station. lots of folks passed me while i was regrouping and as soon as i felt better i commited myself to passing the doazen or so runners who had left me behind. i felt really good and had passed all but one by the time i had made it to the next aid station. i soon passed him but now i was in race mode and set my sights on the next runner and the runner after that one and so on until i reached mile 56 in fourth place after passing about 20 runners.

here i decided to ease up and just hold 4th and wait to see if the battle between the top three would create any carnage. i soon found out it would, just after the next aid station i passed former winner mark hartell who was walking back to the aid station to drop out. but soon after that i started seeing the lights of runners below me not far behind and by the time i made it to the next aid station one runner was just 100 yards behind. not wanting to get passed so soon after moving into 3rd i flew down into telluride and hurried to get out of the aid station before that runner arrived. in my haste i neglected to eat anything at the aid station and mistakenly thought i had enough food in my pack to get to the next aid station-- i was wrong. i had 2 gels to get me to the next aid station 10 very hard miles away(those 10 miles took jurek 3 hours and others in the top 10 as much as 5 hours).

it's an understatement to say i bonked. i fell into a deep, dark, cold hole and never came out, perhaps you could say i black holed. i eventually arrived at the next aid staion and despite walking nearly every step of the way ther i was amazingly in a 3 way tie for 2nd place. karl was there and not looking good, he was in a sleeping bag and barely aknowledged my arrival and jared campbell had caught up to me just as i entered the aid station. the first runner out would be in 2nd place but i was no longer thinking in those terms, i wanted to eat and sit and get warm and nothing else mattered anymore... except finishing. eventhough it was only 18 miles to the finish it seemed nearly impossible to just get out of my chair where i was covered in blankets and surrounded with food, finishing became this dreamlike thing that one day i'd get around to doing.

thankfully the runner who had paced krissy to this aid station still wanted to run more and she dragged me back out on to the course. but despite the 75 minutes i spent at chapman eating and resting i still was in the blackhole energy wise aswell as emotionally-- after feeling so good and doing so well and being so close to running the race of my life i was now lethargic, unhappy and absoloutely unconcerned about my place or time. this combination of loss of motivation and vigor made for a painfully slow death march to the finish, i walked every step and often had to sit down every 10 minutes. the last 18 miles took me nearly 11 hours(the first 82 took me just over 23 hours). as i got to the last couple miles my spirits did brighten a bit but my energy levels never rebounded.

not having adequate food for the section between telluride and chapman definitely was to blame for a good portion of my problems but i feel like there must have been more to my plummet from 2nd to 25th than a lack of calories. and i think it boils down to two big issues: starting to race too soon(especially for my level of training that year) and my lack of control of my emotions. even though i was running fast and feeling good it was probably too much too soon and so i when i did bonk it hit me harder than if had been running much more moderately up to that point. and then combining that physical situation with my preponderance for big mood swings made for a "perfect bonk" of hollywood blockbuster proportions. earlier in the race i was euphoric as i picked off runner after runner later i was choking back tears as i approached chapman afarid i would quit and later still i non-challantly bid runner after runner good luck as the passed me during one of my many sit-down breaks as i made my way back to silverton totally demoralized. in hindsight i see that if only i could've stayed positive i could've regrouped in the aid station at chapman and still finsihed possibly in the top 5. instead my first running of the hardrock i'll remember as the run that i let slip away but hopefully learned a hard earned lesson or two.


Michael said...

Hey James,
I know this is completely unrelated to this post, but I wanted to congratulate you on your second place finish at Cle Elum last Saturday. Great job mate!

Steve S said...

For the first mile down the road I can see you up front as you bounce along. The next time I see you it's 6 1/2 hours later as I come rolling in. When I asked hwo you did, you simply say, "I had a good day". Well, congrats on a "good" day. Do you have to set a CR for it to be a great day? It's a good day for me when I finish in 1 1/2 times the winner's time (and can still stand up). Cheers and "good" running.