After coming back from Hardrock, one can't help but feel optimistic about the sport and the raw power of the amazing runner's high found in the San Juans. The race involves some questionable risk taking in some big mountains (which accordingly attract some big storms), but the way the race supports runners and the way pacers/crews and runners work together make the dream a little more possible each year (despite some cold and wet storms, only 23% of the field dropped). There's some inherent vice to be expected: worn out lungs, crushed quads, sleep and oxygen deprived brains, and frozen/soaked bodies; but the scenery is so inviting, and the way the race organization and volunteers go the extra mile(s) to make the race happen is so inspiring that the optimism for the sport's potential to live up to lofty ideals seems realistic.
At 7am, Katie and I drove over to Cunningham Gulch to be greeted by a surly parking enforcement volunteer (that also happened to be an amazing runner), Mr. Dakota Jones that was volunteering just for the race. He could've been hanging out and watching the race like everyone else, but instead he took it upon himself to do the worst job in ultrarunning to give something back to the race so that the BLM Officers couldn't find fault with the race. This was just one of many volunteers that came from all over the world to contribute to the race (see The African Attachment's "Kroger Canteen" episode July 14th).
At any rate, I got to run and hike for 10 hours/25 miles with Matt Hart. Traveling and my soleus pain limited my training elsewhere in the week, but I felt great at altitude and enjoyed my time in Silverton. More stretching and strengthening to happen this week to get a little confidence before I go to Snowbird for Speedgoat 50k next week.