Zeke, Dylan, Mike at Duncan Canyon Aid Station
I would not classify myself as a "Western States Nerd", but I do find a lot of inspiration in my trips to watch, crew, pace in Gold Country. The course is the birthplace of mountain 100s, and a lot of similar/supporting races are built on similar terrain, so it almost feels like a cornucopia of terrain from Colorado, California, Oregon, and the like. The competition is fierce, but it is still at a level that doesn't include Olympic athletes or even a murmur of EPO or HGH. The media and corporate activity at the event is noticeable, but not encroaching on the runner and their journey. The planning and support by the race organization is thorough, and the energy level brought by crews, fans, and pacers is magical. Unbreakable uses iconic songs from M83, but they're completely fitting as those moments feel THAT magical when you're there.
This weekend, Tim and Ellie ran amazing times, and put out pure performances. Neither looked at their watch more than a few times, and they executed near perfect races. The weather definitely was beneficial, but they weren't very comfortable in the high country rain and sleet. They were just two of many runners that day that encountered a laundry list of challenges, and rose to the occasion to achieve their goals.
Though Hardrock has many contrasts I think if I can execute a similar OODA loop with a good attitude, I can have similar success for myself. I know I could go on for several paragraphs about the differences in Western States and Hardrock, but for now, I won't. I think I'll enjoy the simple truths that I've gotten myself in good shape, I have a challenge, I have good decision making skills, and I have an amazing race laid out for me in two weeks. This position is shared by many other runners this summer, but not every runner signed up for a mountain hundred. In that sense, I'm grateful to be where I am: inspired, moderately prepared, and a few steps from the start line of the greatest race of my life.
80 miles, 14,000ft.
Not quite as much training as I wanted, but WS happened, so I adapted and have had some really good runs this week. I'm going to Silverton in good shape with a little bit of confidence (before the altitude humbles me Saturday).
Never considered myself a big Jazz/R&B fan, but Robert Glasper's album is definitely lighting up my eardrums.