Hardrock 100’s 2017 DFL finisher

Hardrock 100
Hardrock 100, photo by Meghan M. Hicks

The Hardrock 100 is a bucket list race for many ultramarathoners. A spot on the starting line is a coveted prize since only 145 runners get the privilege of lining up on race day, and the lottery receives around 2,000 entries each year.

As most trail runners know, the Hardrock 100 is an infamous endurance race in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Range with 66,100 feet in elevation change. The average elevation is 11,186 feet, which often causes problems on race day for runners who aren’t acclimated to running in the thin mountain air. Finishers must cross thirteen major mountain passes, scree fields, snowpack, river crossings and 13 climbs above 12,000 feet. They have 48 hours to get it done.

Hardrock 100 Robert Andrulis
Robert Andrulis

This year 126 runners finished the race and kissed the rock, a Hardrock 100 tradition. The final finisher, Robert Andrulis completed the race in 47 hours, 49 minutes, 20 seconds, with just under 11 minutes to spare. Andrulis ran his first Hardrock 100 in 2007, and according to Ultra Signup, this was his tenth year running the race.

Kilian Jornet, who won the race despite dislocating his shoulder at mile 14, greeted Andrulis at the finish line.

Continue reading “Hardrock 100’s 2017 DFL finisher”

Thumbs Up Runner Q&A

I first encountered Sean on Facebook in a discussion about Quest for the Crest. I had no intention of running it, but my husband and trail running partner had signed up, and he refuses to join Facebook, so I was doing recon for him. Quest for the Crest has a reputation as the World’s Hardest 10K, and Sean didn’t stop after 6.2 miles; he completed the 50K. He also posted a link to an article he’d written for Ultrarunning Magazine about his (almost) DFL at the Sheep Mountain 50 Mile in 2015. I wanted to find out what inspires a runner who DFL’s at one race to not only go on to finish Leadville and Quest for the Crest, but also return to Sheep Mountain the following year for revenge.

thumb_IMG_0001_1024Name: Sean Cook
DFL at:
Sheep Mountain 50(+) Mile Trail Race, Fairplay, Colorado.
Official Time: 15:21:00
Race director/organizer: HPRS (Human Potential Race Series) Sherpa John Paul LaCroix



Did you expect to finish at the back of the pack when you ran Sheep Mountain in 2015, or did your race not go as expected?

You should know this was my first 50+ mile race ever. I had never run longer than 10 miles, outside the army, in any capacity before 2015. After an ankle injury and a random lottery win to run Leadville, my running life was flipped upside down, and I had to start getting myself ready for Leadville. Sheep Mountain was a huge test and a difficult run! From the onset, the elevation gain was total to many 100 mile races. SO, all that being said my goal was to finish and that I did. There were 3 of us that ended up finishing Dead Last that day, and we quickly bonded the last 10+ miles as we dodged rain, stormy weather, bad backs, and nausea. One of the runners was a very experienced runner, and I learned a lot that day

How do you deal with unforeseen challenges on race day?

“You don’t know what you don’t know” is the age-old adage, and you should always be prepared for whatever may come at you. Over time, I have matured into a good short distance runner, for my age group, a decent marathoner, and an Ultra Finisher. I am still learning more and more each day. I try to read as much about fueling, taking care of your feet, recovery, and any other tips I can. This helps me craft a plan for a race to be prepared for that blister, wet socks, nausea, or anything else that may arise. I have a pack I carry with a couple small essential items needed to help me in a tough spot…..or at least get me to the next aid station to receive proper care. For Sheep Mountain, I was so under prepared and not ready it wasn’t funny. You can ask my buddy Steve Knox, seasoned runner and my pacer for Leadville 2 years, when I rolled into an aid station at Sheep Mountain he literally sold me a fireball shot, an ensure, and some food. They all laughed at me but I was buying anything and had no plan.

Continue reading “Thumbs Up Runner Q&A”

Too much of a good thing?

I’m a big podcast nerd with a taste for podcasts that are about the outdoors, running, and science. Even before I started running I got hooked on URP because my husband would listen to it in the car, and I got hooked on all the stories of athletes who set out to accomplish unimaginable goals.

Podcasts I listen to regularly include:

Sometimes I get a little behind on my podcast listening, especially now that I’m working from home and don’t have a daily commute. For example, I just listened to the Outside Podcast that came out two weeks ago on May 30th, called Drinking Yourself to Death. Outside Magazine has been experimenting with their format, and this is my favorite kind of episode- a Science of Survival episode. The episode explores what happens when you drink TOO much water.

I think we’re all familiar with the dangers of dehydration. This episode examines what happens when you err on the side of drinking too much water, a condition called hyponatremia. When you drink too many fluids, your sodium levels can dip dangerously low and cause symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Puking
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and confusion
  • Cramps and spasms
  • Seizures

You may notice that many of these symptoms are the same ones you’ll experience if you’re dehydrated, which can get confusing when you’re out on a run.

What caught my attention and made me think about posting about hyponatremia on this blog, was that Outside’s podcasters said that slow, endurance athletes, like runners who finish a marathon in 5+ hours, are more likely to over-hydrate and suffer the consequences.

Continue reading “Too much of a good thing?”

My first half marathon, also entitled “Ouch.”

I’m not entirely sure what came over me. When I left the house that morning, I fully intended on cheering for my hubby as he ran the New Trail South Half Marathon. I had no intention of actually running the race myself.

I did have on running shoes, tights, and a tank top, and I had my trusty Nathan water bottle with me, but that was only because the U.S. National Whitewater Center, who hosted the race, was something of a mecca for outdoors-y types living in the Southeast. I wasn’t sure how I’d entertain myself while he was running so I dressed accordingly. This place is seriously amazing. There are rock climbing walls over pools, zip lines, obstacle courses, and a giant lazy river encircling lookout towers and a pub, except the lazy river isn’t lazy at all, it’s actually flowing really fast so that kayakers and rafters can practice navigating in rapids.

As I gazed around at all the fun ways I could spend the hours while my runner was out on the course, I thought to myself, “Or you could just run the half marathon with him.” Continue reading “My first half marathon, also entitled “Ouch.””

Bringing up the rear at the Lookout Mountain 10k- a Q&A with Dominic

I hope Dominic can forgive me for taking weeks to post this Q&A. I recently moved cross-country from Portland, OR to Asheville, NC with two Rottweilers, a cat, and my husband. We caravanned through Joshua Tree and Saguaro National Park, and all the way across Texas on I-10. Between driving, selling a house, buying a new house, and catching up with family in North Carolina, I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting this little blog.

Dominic has been covering most of his miles by bike in recent months, but he was kind enough to reminisce about his first 10K in Chattanooga, TN.

3d graph
A 3-D graph of the 2016 Lookout Mountain 10k course

Name: Dominic

Almost DFL’d at:  2016 The Lookout Mountain 50 Mile and 10K.  I did the 10K. 

Official Time: Time 1:31:04 (Place 101)

Race director/organizer: Wild Trails 

How did you choose this race?

If I’m being honest, I chose this race because I really wanted to get a trail race in before the end of the year.  I didn’t put much thought into the difficulty or that it took place in late December. I didn’t care, I just wanted a 10k before the end of the year.  I had trouble finding races that late in the year, so it was that or nothing.

How did you train for it? 

 July of 2016 is when I finally got serious about training.  Like everyone, I started with walking.  My wife had recently got a Garmin watch.  Obviously, I stole it.  It kept me honest and motivated.   I walked or ran everyday after work.  I still couldn’t run for more than a few minutes without walking, but I was making progress.  

Around this same time I also decided to ride my bike to give my knees a rest.  I have arthritis in both knees.  By late August I was putting in a total of 5k at a time with a combination of walking and running.  I was also doing longer rides on the bike.  One of my friends was doing a 50k trail run, so I decided I could at least do that on the bike in his honor on the same day.  When I hit 50k that day I realized that I could do more.  I thought to myself that I could do that again.  I signed up for a 100k ride a few days later.   Continue reading “Bringing up the rear at the Lookout Mountain 10k- a Q&A with Dominic”

Ordinary Marathoner Q&A

I’m super excited to post my first Q&A on DFLrunner. Scott and I connected on Twitter. He cracked me up when he DM’ed me “(I almost DFL’d once – pushed over an 8 year old to avoid it)”. I needed to hear the full story, and he was kind enough to oblige.

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-49-40-amName: Scott
Hometown: E Longmeadow, MA
Almost DFL’d at: Snowstorm Classic 5k, Forest Park, MA
Official Time: 34:11
Race director/organizer: Greater Springfield Harriers

What made you want to run this particular race?
I had never run a race before. I started training two months before the race, and at the time could barely run a quarter-mile. After a while I wanted to test myself, but it was the middle of winter. I just started Googling and found this race, which is part of a local “Winter Series.” I wasn’t looking for anything specific – just 3.1 miles of road. There aren’t many bells and whistles at this race other than some donuts and coffee. But that was all I needed.

How many races had you run before this one?
I had never run a race before. This was my very first. Continue reading “Ordinary Marathoner Q&A”

Fine, I guess I am a runner.

Growing up, I was not an athletic kid. I dreaded P.E., and I was always picked last for kickball. My mom was determined to find an athletic endeavor that I didn’t mind so that I could get some exercise and get out of the house during the summers. I was the little girl standing way out in the outfield during softball games, hoping and praying that each batter couldn’t hit very far because I had a snowball’s chance in hell of actually catching the ball or throwing it far enough to reach a teammate infield. I went to tennis classes, basketball camps, and dance lessons. I was gawky, half-blind, and uncoordinated with a tendency towards twisting my ankle.

Eventually I joined the swim team, which did not involve catching anything, throwing a ball, or running, and I happily splashed away the summers at our neighborhood pool. I was good enough at swimming to occasionally get picked to swim one leg of a four person relay, and I rarely came in dead last. The one time I received an award at the end-of-season banquet, it was for most improved. For me, that was the definition of athletic success.

When I was growing up, we had to endure physical fitness testing once a year, which meant “running” circles around a track until I’d dragged my panting, sweaty self a full mile. Running was torturous. I loathed and despised every step. I always got a stitch in my side, and I never saw the point of the endeavor. What were we running towards or from? Continue reading “Fine, I guess I am a runner.”