Every year I get lazy and just don't want to run but that usually happens around late September/early October. The routine has usually been to train for HR all summer, run HR, and then coast through August and September with a good base. Since no HR and WS being in June I have a feeling my mind has slipped into coast mode a little too soon. That is until I caught myself this morning while watching a replay of Ironman Hawaii. NBC knows how to produce stories that become tear jerkers. I love the will power of the human spirit. NBC needs to come and do a piece on Hard Rock, I guarantee there are stories that will inspire. So after watching and feeling inspired, I decided to get some uptempo/hill work in. It was a little test to see where my LT was sitting and I gotta say I'm a little disappointed. Check out the stats here. I usually make it up the hill (0.75 myles with 5% grade) in 5:10 at least 5 times. I started to feel that lactate build on the 3rd set so there is work to be done. I've got some big races coming up: Sierre-Zinal - which is considered the biggest mountain race in the world, UTMB - by far the biggest 100 mile race in the world, and before all that fun in Europe the sadistic SpeedGoat 50K in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can burn the legs and lungs at SG50K to get ready for the lung burning that will happen at SZ.
Before I move onto my week, I just want to say a few words about my pacing duties at HR last weekend. What an honor. Hard Rock is such an extraordinary event and to get the opportunity to crew and pace a good friend and teammate Nick Clark was an honor. This was the first time I was involved in the race and not racing, which meant I had the time to spend with some quality people. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of work crewing (driving around) but it's going around in a caravan of people that are doing and thinking the same thing. Besides we are right smack in the middle of the San Juan mountains - it doesn't get any better. I chatted with so many people for quite a while whom I normally only get to see during the race. So to all those people I chatted with - it was good to catch up with you! And to those I met - it was nice to meet you and hope our paths cross again.
Enough about that, more about Nick. He was stellar all day. He looked a little haggard coming into Grouse Gulch but he didn't complain, just changed his shoes, and ran up Engineer road with his pacer Brendan Trimboli. Speaking of which, Brendan is a young guy who will be one watch in the coming years - talented and motivated. I waited around Grouse for while longer for Darcy to come through and cheer another PI teammate on, she was right behind Diana and the race was on. Because I waited at Grouse I had to race around to Ouray to catch Nick, made it just in time, laid out his clothing options and got him on his way. Note: I learned that crew should not give options to the runner to make decisions but rather the crew should give them what they need for the journey ahead. I made the mistake early on of giving Nick options and could tell he was not making decisions very quickly or decisively.
Nick and Brendan leave Ouray and I make the long drive over to Telluride where I think I have some down time to get myself ready for the 30 mile journey back home to Silverton. Not so, Julian came in to Telluride just after 11 PM with Dakota and Nick to follow about 1/2 hour later. From here Nick's report gives you a very good detailed report of what happened on the trail, I'll just add a few things.
What makes Nick so extraordinary is that he was hurting but he kept moving forward, not once did he stop to sit on a rock. I really believe that is the key to doing well at HR - keep moving forward. I did a lot of pulling on Nick, not saying anything but just picking up the pace here and there (sometimes into a jog) and Nick would follow. I remember some of my best pacers would do that to me and it made me so mad at the time but in hind sight that's what a pacer is for - to keep the runner on pace (and not lost). We caught glimpses of Dakota and Troy's lights every now and again and that was enough to keep us going. When day broke we were surprised to see Dakota and Troy just leaving Putnam and we got a little fire in the belly. We made a strong -I mean strong- push up the 3 climbs out of Putnam and when we finally got in the clearing and saw how far up Dakota was on the ridge, my heart sank. I know we both powered up that hill with a lot of running stints but Dakota was not gonna be caught. He could smell the barn and was hiking/running strong. Nick still powered home strong and in the end carved out a nice little record for himself - the WS/HR double. This record will stand for quite some time. Congrats to all who finished! And as far as the shoe thing is concerned.... I could not believe when I heard Nick say "uh oh" and watched his shoe tumble towards a cliff. It's funny now but at that moment sliding on my butt towards the cliff I was scared shit less.
Now. Back to my week. Like I said before, very UNmotivated and lots of travel. Not to mention, my quads were sore through Wednesday - Nick worked me over!
Monday - no way too sore
Tuesday - 6 myles Bluffs
Wednesday - 6 myles KC Indian creek trail
Thursday - too lazy but did play a bit of soccer in Seward, NE
Friday - 8+ Matthews Winters
Saturday - 10+ myles HR backcountry
Sunday - 10+ myles Bluffs loop
Total - 42 myles, 5 hrs 32 mins, 5778 ft of climbing (60 myles the week before)