Hardrock: What will YOU Do When You Get In?

On Oscars. Photo: JT

“You will feel the worst when you are high on the passes so get off of them quickly, your condition will return to good quickly.  I know this.  I have sat there on the passes with death coming soon but just know it will be a matter of minutes before you feel better if you get down.”

This is just one of many pieces of good advice I received from Scott Jaime, multiple-time finisher and a 2nd place overall in 2009 at the Hardrock 100.  More fun quotes from friends may be found on my race report here.

The lottery drawing is near.  The entry form states “on or around December 1st” entrants will be selected.  Last year I applied and casually followed the lottery with faint hope I’d be among the chosen few (the proud, the brave, the insane?).  The starters emerged via Twitter updates one by one, groups of five, through to the final one.  My name didn’t appear but there was still the wait list.  I ended up in the cruel position of 29th on the wait list.  Of the 500 people I asked, some said I had very little chance of getting in, some assured me not to worry – that I had a good shot at it.  Most of them simply said I was “on the bubble” and may not know until race morning; the most difficult answer to swallow, in my opinion.  With that mix of advice, I was partly excited, fairly scared, but mostly just assumed I wouldn’t be on the start line in Silverton in July.  In that state of mind I never trained specifically for Hardrock but rather relied on my race schedule and regular training in between.  I did end up getting into Hardrock just two days before the race, finished, barely, and am now consumed with the event, just like veterans warned I would be.  Put it this way, in a sport where runners’ cars seem littered with race and product stickers, I have one sticker on my car, the “Wild & Tough Hardrock Endurance Run”.

This year will certainly be different if I get in.  My entire year of running and training will have the singular focus of July 13th.  In that focus lies the inevitable need for structure, so even though I normally shy away from structure, this year I say bring it on.

Descent to Chapman. Photo: JT

Several friends, who are Hardrock vets, offered their insight into training they did for the race.  What will you do if you get into Hardrock?  If this is your first time applying, what are you most concerned with about the race?  I ask because those concerns usually provide the answer to structuring training.  If you’ve run Hardrock before, what is it that draws you back?  What will you do for specific training to be ready?  Does your location/state provide you with ample terrain?  If not, how do you adapt to get ready?  How does Billy Simpson, six-time finisher of Hardrock, train at the low altitude and in the mellow hills of Tennessee?  Head to the Smokey Mountains twice a week?

What are your thoughts on Hardrock?  Do you have interest in running it?  Ever?  If you do and you get in, what will you do to ensure you kiss the rock?

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6 thoughts on “Hardrock: What will YOU Do When You Get In?

  1. Tim, I have to admit I am of the Hardrock obsessed. I first paced at Hardrock in 2000 (Sue Johnston) and have entered every year since, have only gotten in directly twice. To give an idea how difficult it is (as you know), I am 2 for 8 there. As for training I do lots of hiking during my long runs, but train as a marathoner during the week. Now living at 8200′, I’m hoping if I get in it will help. We have a 10K mountain in our back yard, but that is still not enough. We’ll be making the 4.5 hour drive up to Silverton a lot this Spring. Next July I can have a pacer the whole way but I’ve never used a pacer, so why start now? 😉 Best of luck in the lottery!

  2. HR is not really different than any other race (ultra or otherwise). If you want to do well you need to do specific training…in the case of HR since you spend 15+ hours hiking you obviously need to spend plenty of time hiking beforehand. Similarly, if you are going to run around on a track for 24 hrs you should probably do plenty of flat running in advance.

    • Yeah Nick, you showed me your little training circuit for HR, remember? I think HR requires a lot of specific training. You can make it through most 100s without specific work as long you have a good base of miles and decent fitness. HR will expose weaknesses or lack of training more than most any other 100.

  3. “If you’ve run Hardrock before, what is it that draws you back?” The San Juans are just awesome to run in. Beyond beautiful. The race is hard. No matter how well trained you are, that last 1/3 will still hurt. It is hard to answer this question in words, but if you run this race, you will know.

    My specific Hardrock training includes running hill repeats on Pajarito Mountain (if you have even run the Jemez 50, I am talking about that steep descent off the ski hill) and try to spend at much time at altitude.

  4. I just mailed my coffee soaked entry into HR.. not counting on it getting picked, but if it is, I’ll be sleeping on top of Mt Evans twice a week and hiking like a madman.

  5. What were the odds of someone getting in last year/this year with one ticket? You could probably write an entire story going through all of the permutations to get to that number…

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