Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hardrock &/or Western States

I'm fortunate enough to have the 'problem' of having to decide which of the two most sought after 100's I should run this coming summer.

Borrowed from HR website

Many people are thinking, what problem?  Just run both.  Others might say, "States is the oldest, most competitive 100, how could you pass that up?"  Others, "Hardrock is the hardest to get into, you could try to win your way into States again via a Montrail Cup race."

States Start - Borrowed from Scott Dunlap's blog

A lot of people quickly point out that many people have done WS and HR back to back.  Nick Clark even got 3rd at each event back to back.  I kept thinking, yeah, but he had more time to recover between the two races, there are only 13 days between the two races this year.  No one has done them that close together...  Then I chat with AJW who corrected me, and talked about his running of both in '09 when only 13 days separated them.  And of course he did very well and it wasn't that big of a deal (for him).

I'm leaning towards 'running' Hardrock, and only Hardrock.  Sure, part of me REALLY wants to run my ass off at States, see if I can crack top ten.  Running with that caliber of athletes is very inspiring, and the buzz of the event is something I long to experience.  BUT, Hardrock is more my type of race.  I love rugged mountains.  I grew up in the Sierra Nevada's of Northern California.  Racing in them at States would be special, but after visiting the San Juan's of Colorado at Hardrock last summer I haven't been able to stop thinking about the race and the giant scale of everything out there.

I would hate to run States, then show up at Hardrock, only to DNF.  Sure,  I might slowly slog my way to the finish line.  I don't want to risk dropping out of Hardrock.  Right now, a solid effort at HR is more important that a solid effort at WS.  It wouldn't feel right to not give that race 100%.

Furthermore, I have other, more important things going on in my life.  One of my best friends is getting married the weekend between the two races and I am honored to be one of his groomsmen.  I am contemplating going back to school to earn a Master's in the Science of Nursing.  Doing both races could easily put a strain on more important things in my life.  I love running in the mountains, but it is a hobby.  Maybe a hobby that gets a little out of control at times, but it's just a hobby and means to keeping me in decent shape.


What do you think I should do?
      - Race Western States 100 only.
      - Race Hardrock 100 only.
      - Race Both!
After being selected for both races via lottery, I did go out and buy a lottery ticket.  If I do win millions of dollars, I think I'll do both races.  I could buy an altitude tent, seriously focus on recovering.  Flights to and from races wouldn't be an issue for me, family and friends.  Other wise, I think I'll just stick to the race with the saw-tooth profile below:


  1. Will you have enough time to acclimate to the elevation? If not, I think you should race Western all out for the top 10 and then just enjoy Hardrock with a relaxed attitude.

  2. Valid point Michael. It's nearly impossible to train to race both. WS is all about speed, more gentle mountain terrain that requires a fast pace throughout. Heat training would be crucial as well.

    HR, on the other hand, would require elevation training, and the ability to hike up steep stuff would be important.

    If I am to do both, I would train 100% for States.

  3. What a weird decision:) Personally, I think if I was a Hardrock Vet, I'd do both - but if It were my first attempt at the gloriousness they call Hardrock, I'd probably save myself for that. Also - super motivation to earn a spot at States via Montrail cup in the future.

    That said, it is YOUR decision, and yours alone. Follow your heart and know that you have my support & Elissa has a friend for whatever you need for either/or/both races.

    1. Nice insight. I especially like the, "super motivation to earn a spot... in the future," bit.

      I have your support for whatever I need? Great! Can you please give me an altitude tent? Thanks in advance.

  4. Do what feels right. Von

  5. You know how I feel.

    Run WS really really hard and give me your ticket into HR.

  6. Hardrock. 100%. All in. My 2 cents.

  7. BIB#1 AC :)

  8. I would recommend HR on the assumption you can take the time to show up early and acclimate, and spend some time on the course. Spending a week or two at HR before the race is like summer camp and a great community vibe. You have earned the privilege to do both so pick the one that follows your gut instinct.

  9. You'll have all summer/fall to run in the Sierra Nevadas with Mammoth Lakes as your base camp...race Hardrock! KY Smooth

  10. You mentioned top ten at WS... but just envision the grueling effort, the rigorous training and the unparalleled victory of top ten at HR. Now that is a feat. WS is a wild party and HR is quiet dignity.

  11. Chris,
    I am in the same situation as you...(btw I believe 9 persons were picked both both races this year).

    I have finished WS before, and have run much on the course in general, but only have a DNF at HR from a few years back (at mile 90 due to lack of sleep). Thus my priority will be to go back to HR and take care of unfinished business. But then again, it would be great to also go to WS...

  12. If you have to ask, the answer is both.

  13. I think if you can take enough time off work do both, WS 100 and Hardrock 100 are two very different races one very fast and the second slow with a lot of elevation. You could run a solid race at WS and get top 10 easy ( entry for next year) then recover well for hard rock. Nick Clark has the record for the double and I believe Karl is going for it, but you could get it as well.

  14. Hardrock ... Beautiful & an amazing challenge!!

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