2010 Hardrock Ultramarthon Report
July 24th, 2010
David Coblentz, Los Alamos, New Mexico
"Time, time, time look what you've done to me ...."
11am, Sunday morning, The Silverton High School Gym. Dale Garland
comments on the 40th place runner while handing out the finisher
awards: "... there weren't many desserts out there but this next runner
found a piece of humble pie..." a good summary of my Hardrock
2010 effort. This Hardrock finish was by far the toughest - not
of tangibles (the course or the weather or the feet) but due rather to
the intangibles or let's call them the "idiopathic maladies of
Sometimes it's hard to articulate just what, or when, or where it goes
*thought* I was in control, I *thought* I was running a "coyote
I *thought* my mind was in the "right space". The weather was
great, my fueling seemed good, I knew the course.
OK, so I made that wrong turn just 4 miles into the run - looking down
and back (!) onto Mineral Creek and seeing other runners crossing the
stream far below. Spent the climb up to Putnam Basin regaining my
position. A bit of stress. But I was moving well through KT
and Grant Swap Pass and the descent into Telluride
was under control. I was feeling strong. It was shaping up
to be a fine fourth running of the
Mile 28: All's well
heading out of the aid station and ready
for the climb up to Virginus Pass. Fully supported by my crack
team of Hardrock crewing veterans.
I was a bit behind my splits climbing up to Kroger's Canteen (mile 33)
where I was running with Garrett Graubins. Cresting Mendoza Pass
I comment to Garrett that we were 'slipping' a bit in our predicted
splits (he was running with my 2008 splits in mind). Laughing a
best he could in the thin air he commented that we had long ago and
that we should forget the splits. He, in fact, was running
without even a watch. Wise.
little push down the 8 miles of dirt road dropping down from Govenor's
Basin into Ouray I was back on track. I was feeling particularly
at this point and even passed Betsy Kalmayer with a good surge. A
in my mind that I was getting a bit
dehydrated and maybe pushing the pace a bit too hard -- should have
paid more attention to that little voice. But Ouray (mile 44) was good
fun - was
great to see the crew and pick up my pacer Brian Crone who would be
with me for the next 56 miles. Night and day. I
didn't spend much
time in the aid station; I was chopping at the bit to get back to the
task. With just a bit more pushing I could be back on my 2008
Ouray, Mile 44. Still having
fun. A little help with getting the tuna down from my
But just a few hours later I found myself under a blanket at mile 52 at
Engineer's aid station mumbling to Blake Wood to tell Kristine to leave
my down jacket and a chair at Grouse and to go back to Silverton to
trade off the kids with Tari. I'm still amazed and more than a
bit bewildered at how fast my run went south. By the time I
dragged myself into
Grouse (mile 58) the wheels had come completely off. On
reflection I was only 15-20 minutes off my 2008 splits but at the time
I had convinced myself that I was crumbling. It's such a mental
game; but every year I forget.
Engineer's aid station, Mile
52. Blake Wood offers condolences.
One big problem was that this year I *knew* what the climb over Handies
in the wee hours of the morning would be like. And then the rest
of the 13+ miles into Sherman. And then the climb out of Sherman
and over to Pole Creek. And, and, and.... If only the
cognitive mind could be shut off.
It's hard to
recall exactly how bad I felt, but I was convinced the only way to
salvage the run was to sleep until dawn and try again with a new
Hey, it worked for Sherrie Kae Mahieu - twice. Happily, with a
coaching and motivation and 'tough love' from Kristine I put it back
together with only a couple of hours rest in a chair. I wonder
I should have left Grouse as soon as possible and sought to recover
with a slow hike over Handies - it worked in 2007 at Telluride after
all. But then again many things that make sense in the light of
day and the comfort of the chair are at odds with the reality of the
moment mid-Hardrock. In response to such comments Kristine only
give me *that look* and reminds me of what I did and said at
Grouse. Happily, as a general rule, "what happens at Hardrock
stays at Hardrock."
Runners I had leap-frogged over the first 50 miles were now coming into
Grouse. I was trying to warm up with a cup of chicken soup that
tasting surprisingly good. Things were getting better. And
runner began vomiting into the trash barrel inside the aid tent.
to ignore. The soup was threatening to make a return
Stockton arrived, with fire in his eyes. When he left I gave him
hearty a cheer as I could muster, convinced it would be the last time
I'd see him until Silverton.
Dawn, Saturday morning at 14,000
atop Handies Peak - A new day, a new run!
Actually, I was feeling a bit better now
that the splits were out the window and I was giving myself permission
to run in the mid-pack. Well enough to rouse myself out the chair
hit the trail over Handies right around 2am. I know the sun would
just as Brian and I would reach the summit and it made all the
difference knowing we would only have the climb in the dark. The
descent into Sherman (mile 72) would be in the daylight - and with the
dawn would come, presumably,
And sure enough, as we entered Sherman, there was Tom and Jason and
Roger Jensen -- hey, maybe things were going to be alright; I wasn't
moving as slowly and my mind had convinced myself.
90. Back on
track. Crew in Blue. Hard-boiled eggs and a cuppa espresso and I'm
ready for the last climb!
And somewhere between Sherman (mile 72) and Pole Creek (mile 81) - my
run indeed transformed. I was running with Blake Wood, Kirk Apt,
Tom Stockton. We shared stories and admired the scenery. We pass
some, some passed us, but it didn't matter any more. The race had
morphed into a run and all was good again. Somewhere in the
marshes of Pole Creek I awoke to a new attitude about Hardrock - I
started to understand what Kirk meant by it being the journey that's
important or Roch Horton's observation that Hardrock is about living
your life in a day.
I move well over the final climb to the top of Little Giant and into
Silverton. 37:44. Not my fastest Hardrock but my deepest
Hardrock experience. After past finishes I had a strong feeling
of individual accomplishment. After Hardrock 2010 I had a strong
feeling of community. Indeed humble pie never tasted so
good. I wonder what will be served up at Hardrock 2011....
Silverton and the rock. With my patient and hardcore Hardrock
pacer, Brian Crone.
Hey, it's still light out. Victory without winning.
37:43 -- 40th place out of 100. With all thought of the long dark
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