Monday, July 23, 2012

No Mas...My 2012 Hardrock

Wild and Tough for sure!

2 for 9? Really? Is Hardrock really all that difficult? For me, yes it is, obviously. For Deb, it went about as good as it could have and she said for the first time it didn't seem as hard as she remembered it.

Here's the Hardrock course description summary:

The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultramarathon of 100.5 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet. The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado's San Juan Range, USA.

First my story, then a brief summary of Deb's, but her whole story will have to be told by her. If I can get her to write a report, I'll post it.

Deb in the rear crossing South Mineral Creek

One thing that is a known...I'm getting old. I turned 60 last November and no, I don't feel 60, but when you start aging, things start to happen. With me it's vertigo. It's taken me out of the last three 100's. A fact that In know is my Mom has doc said it's genetic, but can be treated. I think if it affected my daily life now like it was a year ago, I'd be concerned and seeking treatment, but it's no longer showing up on a daily basis, so I'm not concerned. Short story is I'm done with 100's and feel good with that decision...

With Hardrock this year our plan was to run it together with her brother Drew pacing me the whole way. At Kroger's Canteen aid station (Virginius), we were going to re-announce our engagement on this 10th anniversary of doing that back in 2001 at that place. 10th because 2002 was cancelled due to a forest fire in Durango. The day was going well, when just before the aid station, as we climbed up through Mendota Saddle, I felt the first spin. Then nausea, which got increasingly worse as we climbed and I struggled to get down off of the peak in the loose scree. We sent Deb on down to Ouray to get fueled and to take a break and Drew was to catch her soon after that to pace her in. Walking down Camp Bird Road, I had to stop occasionally to stop the vertigo by pointing my flashlight on the ground and stare at that non moving object. About 2 miles up from the aid station, someone came up and gave me a ride in, with Drew continuing in order to run the whole 100 and to try to catch Deb. Within an hour of sitting and drinking Coke, the spins stopped and I got to watch Drew off. He didn't catch her until after Engineer (4 hours later) and the two of them continued on.

Drew and Deb on the flat spot before the climb up to Grant Swamp Pass

So I'm officially done running 100's....I've been running them since 1998 when I ran a 19:45 at Vermont in my first. Sue Johnston asked me what I thought, I told her it sucked...since that time I've run 8 more 100's and not many of them were positive experiences. I think maybe the 2004 Bighorn was OK, but was still a struggle. So why keep running them? I'm not. I'm tired of running into the night, I'm tired of getting sick to my stomach (all the time) and I'm tired of the struggles. Yeah, I'll still run ultras...mostly 50K's and certainly not longer than 50 in an official race. I'd like to someday get through the VHTRC Reverse Ring to complete that circuit, but that's a fat ass and no entry fee.  I'd also like to see if I can qualify for the Boston Marathon again as a 60 year old.
Life was good before I ran my first 100...I was running races that ended in the same daylight, I was faster, I would sometimes win! Then I got sucked into the 100 mile vortex and the rest is history. Why do we think that if you don't run a 100, you're not a "real" ultrarunner? Why 100? Why not the 24 hour race? I can't imagine those that run those 6 day races...My friend Dima showed up at Hardrock with a shirt that said "Life is Crap" and the image was of a hiker with poles in the mountains with rain and lightening about to strike him on the head. It was perfect...

So that's it, I'm done....and with it possibly this blog, which I also struggle to maintain.

Drew and Deb struggle through the boulders up near the top of Oscar's Pass

As for Deb's Hardrock, what more can I say than she is bad ass. She was the last finisher, coming in at 47:49 and the oldest female finisher in the history of the run. She has told me that she never really had any bad memories of this year, she just kept moving one foot in front of the other and got it done. One point in the run during the Pole Creek section, her back tightened up and she was having trouble breathing deep, but a chiro adjustment at Cunningham aid station fixed that and allowed her to move a little quicker and get in under the clock.

Deb cruisin' down the road through Bridal Veil Falls section

It was a nervous moment at the finish at 5:45am Sunday morning....all the finishers had come in but Deb and Drew. Many of the finishers were there to see the final runners coming in and Margaret Heaphy couldn't stand the suspense and walked up to the corner to look up towards the ski area to see if anyone was coming. We heard her "whoo!" and knew they were headed in, Deb and Drew turned the corner and ran like they only had a minute to spare, which made the whole scenario more dramatic. They ran into the chute and kissed the rock together. Deb for her 2nd official finish, this time in the "other " direction and Drew kissing the rock unofficially. No one was keeping him from kissing the rock ;-)

Heading into Telluride on the bike path

My final picture
The weather turned nasty with hail and sleet and I was beginning to get the spins.
Deb up ahead in the green jacket

Here is a video I took of them finishing...

Deb and Drew finishing
To view this on Vimeo go to 

I really love that video...Deb put everything she had into that finish and now she's a real Hardrocker having finished both directions. Will she ever get in again is the question!

For the rest of my photos go here :

For Hardrock results, go here:

So that's up is the Silverton Alpine Marathon on Aug 25th and after that the Mt Taylor 50K south of Albuquerque last weekend of September. That weekend I was planning on running the Bear, but withdrew rather than waste yet another entry fee. Mt Taylor will  be more fun and we'll be done sometime in the afternoon ;-)
First up though is this coming weekend where Deb is running the Speedgoat 50K while I volunteer there.

Hope everyone is doing well and continues down the path of their choice...
Steve and Deb

12/12 update:
After talking with Deb, she convinced me to enter and leave it to fate whether I run Hardrock again. I did get in and will be running ;-) Life is funny that way!


Jason Halladay said...

That video of Deb finishing gave me the chills. So fantastic! Congratulations to her for her finish to make her the "true Hardrocker".
As one that has realized 100s aren't my cup of tea, I don't blame you at all for not having interest in future 100s. We can still enjoy 50k and 50 mile ultras and go up to Silverton each July to spend time with "the family" in some fashion. Do what's true to your heart and have fun!

Sophie Speidel said...

LOVE THAT FINISH!!!! so many hugs and congrats to badass Deb!! Way to go!!

And Steve, my MMT buddy...who says that you have to run 100s to be a true ultrarunner? Hell no! You come back east and run Hellgate and you will get all the epic-ness of a 100 without the feel of being hit by a truck. Seriously. The Reverse Ring actually feels more like a hundred, so beware... Anyhow, I am totally with you. 100s basically aren't good for you and you are free now to run fast for Boston, run 50s, 50ks, whatever you want! There are not many folks who can say they are a two-time Hardrock finisher. So, be at peace. You have had an awesome 100 career and now it is time to have fun!

Miss you guys and am so happy for you BOTH!


Johann said...

Unbelievable achievement by De and congratulations to you as well. I understand exactly how you feel. I'm 49 now and hope to still do a few big races, but I have been choosing more and more carefully and not go for everything possible any more. Hope to read more from you in the future.

Run Home Pam said...

Honest post from the gut, Steve. Thanks for that. I'm still stuck in the romance of running 100 miles despite near constant injury from the training (which rarely leads to an actual race!). I need to get my head where yours is.

Beautiful finish for Deb. Amazing!! I was so thrilled when I woke up early Sunday morning and saw that she was still in the race. I cried through that whole video. I really do want to run Hardrock someday...

Steve Pero said...

Thanks, all...
Jason, yes the plan is to still enjoy Camp Hardrock, but without that damn race at the end of the fun!
Sophie, that Massanutten run we did together with Mike is an unforgettable memory and yes, if we move back to NH Hellgate is on my radar. ;-)
Pam, Hardrock isn't for everyone, as several of my running friends found out this year. It's a tough, graduate level 100 and is easily 10 times more difficult than even Massanutten! Don't go there ! ;-)

Randy said...

Great job Deb.Well Steve,i've had many close calls out there,(mostly stomach ones,this year altitude with my ashma and tendon problem),but i'm sure that vertigo would have stopped me cold.I can't turn around more than a few times without getting sick,forget merry-go-rounds.I had surgery once to replace the stapes bone in my ear,i had to stay in the hospital way longer than the doctor wanted me too,room was spinning around like a top,ugg,so i can clearly see your tough decision.Hardrock will exploit any and all weakness in your health or training,damn that run!!But plenty of very fun shorter runs out there,enjoy.

Olga said...

I loved it for the truth of it, for Deb finishing with a bang (Deb, tell us honestly, did you sit out for some time to have everyone get nervous and then extra-excited?:)), for the brother who went the WHOLE way and become a Hardrocker in a process...and for Steve coming out with final clear decisions. You're right, we get lulled into "you ain't an ultrarunner unless you check out a 100 or few a year" mind set, and then no matter we like it or not, good at it or suck, we do them. Well, I like them and am good at them, but eventually, too, am coming to conclusion my body would appreciate less damage, and my family - more time with them, and my brain - more challenge while doing shorter ultras at hopefully faster efforts. All is well:)

Steve Pero said...

Randy, all I can say is you are the man!

Olga, Deb had her moments, which will be all told in Endurancebuzz.
If you remember, I was telling you this same thing at the Grand Canyon last Fall...this time I mean it! ;-)

Bedrock said...

Awesome video Steve and big congrats to Deb. Good luck with the marathon and 50K. Talk soon.


Bedrock said...

Awesome video Steve and big congrats to Deb. Good luck on the marathon and 50K. You will ALWAYS be a "real" ultrarunner.


Anonymous said...

Great report, Steve. I wish you the best in the next phase of your running journey. I'm sure it will be just as inspirational as the past 14 years have been. Congrats to Deb on a fine finish. --Jimmyb

Anonymous said...

Great report, Steve. I wish you the best in the next phase of your running journey. I'm sure it will be just as inspirational as the past 14 years have been. Congrats to Deb on a fine finish. --Jimmyb

Steve Pero said...

Jimmy, good to hear from you! R U still on RA? I moved over to DM several years ago after a friend of mine who was one of the founders asked...I still check in on the LHR forum from time to time.