There are few things as exciting and intimidating as lining up for the HARDROCK 100. It is one of the hardest 100 mile races, and being surrounded by some of the best men and women runners in the world made this year that much more electric.
I was truly blessed to run last year after over 8 years of lottery attempts, and was even more grateful when I got in a second time for 2022. Running two years in a row meant I was being given the chance to run the race in both directions (each year they change the direction) which when accomplished, some suggest you become an “official” HARDROCKER. That was not something I cared about going in, but I did believe that I was going to have a better race than last year due to how well my training went and being familiar with the course.
It was the last climb of Hardrock, with night quickly approaching. I was filled with excitement and relief knowing we were getting closer to the finish. The wind was picking up, and sporadic rain drops began to fall as we approached 12,600’. Logan and I had taken out our headlamps when his phone rang unexpectedly.
His wife Caitlin was checking in to see how we were doing and to get an idea of when we thought we might finish. He relayed this to me and I suggested between 12-1am. My estimate was from my watch, which contained a GPX file of the course and suggested an “Estimated Finish Time” of 12:45am. I wasn’t paying attention to his conversation, as I was unsure of where we were on the course and was anxious to begin our final descent. Frustration and other emotions filled my mind since I had previously scouted out this part of the course and thought we should already be heading down.
The last thing I heard Logan telling Caitlin before he hung up was that we would finish on Saturday night between 11-12am. I asked him why he said that, and Logan told me that he had more confidence in me than I had in myself. He also told me that Matt, who paced me from Grouse to Ouray, told Caitlin that I probably wouldn’t finish until 2-3am….Game ON!
While I have finished strong at other races, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me this time. Fortunately, thanks to a little motivation and confidence from great friends, as well as a ton of faith in the Lord, I went on to have an incredible 6 miles to the finish!
Getting to the Starting Line Wasn’t Easy
My last blog post contains details of my injuries leading up to the Hardrock 100 (HRH) including my MRI report (click here to read). The condensed version is that on April 23rd, 12 weeks before the race, I could barely walk due to pain in my hip. After waiting almost 10 years to get into the race, lining up for Hardrock seemed highly unlikely. I was in denial and rather than worry about my long-term health, all I was concerned with was the fact that the 6-12 weeks prior to a 100 mile race is normally the most important part of training. I wondered if I’d be ready for the race, rather than if I’d be able to walk without pain. After an X-ray and MRI, I didn’t do anything for a couple of weeks. I began my initial recovery by getting massages from Geoffrey and seeing Dr. Johnny King-Marino from Advanced Sports Medicine.
Patience is not a strength of mine, and while I have asked the Lord for help with this before, this injury would help me improve this virtue more than other challenges I have faced. My recovery eventually included riding my Peloton daily, followed by walking on my treadmill, and eventually running on the road to avoid potential re-injury on trails. By mid-June I was hopeful that I would be healthy enough to run, but questioned my endurance. Fortunately, a business meeting took me to Whitefish, MT and after some runs on the Montana Mountains, I was finally confident enough to finalize my plan to head to Colorado.
The fact that I finished The Hardrock 100 has not completely sunk after a few days home. I wrote this post the day before the race, but I didn’t want to post it until after so it didn’t seem like I made excuses for myself if I didn’t finish. However, I must thank the Lord as the months leading up to this race couldn’t have made the outcome more uncertain. Stay tuned for my race report coming soon. I hope this helps convey how blessed I feel for completing this race I have been dreaming of for nearly 10 years.
I Could Barely Walk
On April 23rd, I went to Mt Tammany to do a workout that would include 8-10 hill repeats. Each loop at Mt Tammany is just over 3 1⁄2 miles with over 1200 feet of elevation gain. I had been struggling the days leading up to this workout with what I thought was some pyriformis pain, tightness in my adductors, and other little areas of discomfort. Unfortunately in less than 2 hours I knew my body was telling me to stop despite Hardrock 100 quickly approaching. It was frustrating, but the scary part happened when I got out of my truck and I could barely walk due to pain in my hip.
Life changing events are rare and often unexpected as I learned this summer. The pandemic of 2020 has been that way for all of us and the following is about an experience that would have never happened if it had not been for Covid-19. The HighFive 100 was the greatest challenge and most amazing 100 Mile Ultramarathon I’ve tackled. I hope you’ll enjoy the following story about this adventure and the many individuals who played a role in helping me along the way.
I wrote this in August 2019 on my way to Italy for UTMB (previous post is my race report). With the 2020 Hardrock 100 just over 20 weeks out and sitting at the top of the waitlist, I have been thinking about my training that has been going well and what I need to do. Overall I feel good but would love to try and do something as amazing as my experience last July. I hope you enjoy!
Sometimes we need to make the best of a situation that’s less than ideal. That is what I did last July when I had a business meeting on JULY 4th and 5th in Stevenson, Washington. Traveling on a holiday is something that is extremely rare for my job, but fortunately my kids are all older and missing Independence Day wasn’t as big of a deal as it might have been a few years ago. Continue reading →
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”
― John Muir, Our National Parks (1901)
It’s amazing to read this quote from over 100 years ago. I can’t imagine what John Muir would think of the world today as I often struggle to make sense of all that is going on. Personally I crave the awesome and transforming power that going high up into the mountains can have on my well-being. Running above the clouds and surrounded by the Lords amazing creationcan bring a new perspective to all areas of my life. Running 100 miles in this setting serves as an opportunity for me to hit reset, refocus, and prepare for whatever lies ahead.
The following is my race report (or mini-novel) from the Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB) race. It is an amazing race that goes around one of the most beautiful mountains in Europe and impacted me in ways that I yearned for and in other ways that were unexpected. It was my second time there and I was quick to write down as much as I could after the race. The good and bad news is that I had lots of notes. As a result, it is rather long and so I decided to break this into 3 parts . The first part is a reflection of my experience in 2016, my journey leading up to the race in 2019, and some personal reflections from this year’s race. That is followed by a more detailed review of my race by aid station that may benefit someone looking to run this race or for those interested in hearing every detail that I could remember. The last section is the shortest and contains some general thoughts about the race, what I would have done differently, and plans moving forward.
Finishing at UTMB is an amazing experience
PART I: 2016 and general reflections from 2019
Reflection from 2016 – Would I do it again?
After finishing UTMB in 2016, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to get back to Continue reading →
I was disappointed after dropping from the Bear 100 at the end of September. It was the right thing to do as I wrote about in my last postbut it’s never easy to get over. Part of what made it especially difficult was that it was the only 100 mile race I planned for in 2018 and as a result, the only opportunity to qualify for Western State 100 in 2019. This is one of the premier events in ultra racing and the only way most people get in is to enter the lottery after running a qualifying event. Each year you don’t get selected for the race, but have run a qualifier, they basically double the number of your lottery tickets. After 4 rejections, I had hoped my lottery ticket count would go from 8 to 16 but it looked like I might have to start the process over in 2020 with 1 ticket.
Immediately after my DNF at the Bear, I took a shower, had a decent meal, and could only relax enough for a short nap. Since I couldn’t sleep, I went online to see if I had any options for another race in 2018. It was then I saw a familiar race that would take place in four weeks, the Javelina 100.
I expected 2018 to be a challenging year and it has not let me down. One event that I didn’t expect was having to drop from the Bear 100 around mile 70 due to difficulty breathing… a good reason to stop if ever there was one!
When I wasn’t selected for the WS100, Hardrock, or UTMB lotteries at the end of 2017, I felt like it was blessing since I expected my wife Alison would be having her ankle replacement surgery sometime during the summer. I chose the Bear 100 since it would give me the lottery tickets to re-enter all of those races above , it was a race I had never run, and it was late enough that I could get some great training in August/Sept once Alison was up and about.
Getting ahead of myself- First half of 2018
All things considered not a bad race for me
In January I was running down Squaw Peak, the second highest mountain in the Phoenix area, with my friend John when I tripped fell hard enough to tear my rotator-cuff. The pain immediately after the fall and after surgery was nothing compared to the recovery, Continue reading →
Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. This law is one that most of us would not apply to what we do as individuals. However, we can relate to how difficult it feels to start or stop doing something in our lives… especially those routines or habits that are good for us. The idea of starting something new may be difficult at the beginning but hopefully it gets to a point where it becomes easier overtime. This is especially true when achieving positive results that act as reinforcements such as loss of weight, compliments by others, a stronger connection with the Lord, or more energy.
It can be a real struggle when we then stop doing that healthy activity or practice for a while and then try to get back to what had been working. Continue reading →
After over 7 months, I have finally decided I needed to get back to the blog and provide a long overdue report of my last race. To be honest, this is less a race recap and more a reflection of the 2017 Grindstone 100 after all this time. I included the link (2014 Grindstone 100) to my first DNF if you want to read about the first time I started and never finished.
After 3 attempts, I finally got the job done on October 7th. This is the only course in over ten 100-milers that resulted in a DNF. Unlike my previous two attempts, where this was the third race in the same year, I had decided that this would be one of only two 100-miles races last year. I wanted to focus on this race and give it my all. While I successfully completed the course and received my belt buckle, it still took more from me than I had hoped, including my wedding ring! Continue reading →