Our trip to Colorado in July revolved around my husband’s dream race. While most of us are thrilled to finish a 5k, my husband dreams of the hardest races in the country. Hardrock 100 in Silverton, Colorado is one of those races. This year he was picked to be one of the lucky few that got in through the lottery.
He had been dreaming of the race forever, his name was picked a few days before his 30th birthday. When he found out we were expecting Little A, one of his early requests was that he still be able to run Hardrock.
The Hardrock 100 is not for the faint of heart. It’s famous because it’s a difficult race. At a distance of just over 102 miles, the course goes over the 14,048 foot Handies Peak. Over the course of those miles, the runners climb a total of 33,992 feet. They also descend an equal amount. For reference, Everest is 29,029 feet tall. Runners need grit, determination, and an ability to tolerate altitude.
So he headed out to Colorado for two weeks. He spent the first week training, exploring, acclimatizing to the altitude and not showering. I joined him the second week. I was thrilled when he used our hotel shower. “Showers in a Box”, aka wet wipes, just don’t do it for me.
We made our way to Silverton, Colorado, which is just a charming little community. A lot of the restaurants there were actually vegetarian friendly. It was a real treat to be able to get veggie burgers and veggie breakfast burritos almost everywhere in town.
The race was incredible in it’s organization, but there were so few places I got to see him. It was actually really stressful for me (because of course I’m not going to talk about his suffering, only mine). It’s so hard to tell how he’s doing, he could have slowed down significantly since the last time we saw him. Some of the aid stations were on narrow mountain roads with huge drop offs. It was a little nerve wracking at times. My in-laws were there to help out and provide company. So it was pleasant enough to make the huge drives and wait the long waits. But I still had a break down late in the race and decided to sleep in my rental car at the last aid station rather than in town. I just needed to be out there for him. The months of training, the cost of the trip, the time away from me, so much hung in the balance. But he performed amazingly well. He finished 8th in a very deep field (lots of very talented mountain runners in the group). And we live at 250+ feet above sea level.
May I mention that 8th in this race took 28 hours and 55 minutes. The last person finished in just shy of 48 hours (the cutoff point for the race)
I think he’s already dreaming of getting into the race again someday. He had that much fun running and the community surrounding the race just makes the race special. If anyone is interested, here’s the report he wrote shortly after coming home. I was glad to have an excuse to not run 100 miles