I registered for Run Rabbit Run 100 on the fourth of January with the sole intention of just doing a race this year that would help me to maintain my qualifying status for the Hardrock 100 lottery since they dropped Leadville as a qualifying race. Back then the decision came down to Run Rabbit Run in September or Bighorn in June. The more I thought about it, I did not want to be staring down a 100 in less than six months, having to train through the winter, and with all of the upcoming life changes that were developing... Bighorn just did not fit the bill.
Since I did not get into the Leadville 100 MTB, I ended up doing Leadman again but that information, the lottery result, was not available until March, at which time I decided to do Leadman. That meant that after the LT100 run I would only have three weeks and six days between the races.
Run Rabbit Run was not a total unknown to me. I had paced my friend Ben there in 2012 from Dry Lake to the finish. My opinion after that experience was that no way would I ever go back and do the full race. Ever. But as outlined above, necessity dictated otherwise.
In July, during the middle of training and racing the Leadman series, I found myself, quite to my surprise, becoming excited about the prospect of doing Run Rabbit Run. The more I studied the course and tried to visualize a plan for it, the more I looked forward to it. I had a total shift in thinking. Yes, Leadman finished in August but it wasn't the end of my summer. Twisted enough, that last week in Leadville was my last big training week for Run Rabbit Run in my mind. Afterwards, I recovered, got the legs moving again and started getting serious about going to Steamboat and doing well.
To spice things up, I was going to do this one without any support or pacers. I decided to have three drop bags on the course at places that I would go to at least twice and that was it.
Then things really got interesting. On August 22, I was working out my plans for the race and this picture pops into my news feed on Facebook.
So the goals for this race are starting to shape up in varying degrees. Get the race done to stay in the HR100 lottery was goal one. Pull off a 100 so close after Leadville. Do the race solo, sans crew and pacers. Then finally run my ass off the best that I could to get that pretty and shiny gold buckle.
That's a pretty big order right there...
The race... I loved it. I don't know if I will do it again myself, but I highly recommend it for anyone who is in Colorado or close to Colorado who runs 100's. The field size is small'ish, the aid stations are awesome and the volunteers are just simply amazing. And the course? It's pretty damned challenging. (As a side note, I don't necessarily agree with the decision that dropped the LT100 from the HR100 qualifying race list, but I definitely believe that RRR100 is more appropriate of a qualifying race than Leadville.)
Running the first 40 or so miles of the course I felt great and really enjoyed running it. My mantra for the day was "it feels good to feel good!" Seriously, this is the best I have felt in forever. Nothing hurt, I wasn't tired, and I wasn't dogged by the fatigue that had plagued me all summer. It was also fun to run with and meet a lot of new people.
The late night hours though things started to change some. I think that I experienced some weird slow down between Summit Lake and Dry Lake and I was also starting to slip into some low point without realizing it. When I got to Dry Lake I was rather done. I had to hang out a few minutes longer to eat some real food and regain my composure. Not long after that though I started to feel a lot better.
The sun came up when I was almost back to Summit Lake which would leave me with 20+ miles to finish. I knew it would cost me time but I took a break there after dealing with my drop bag and ate a ton and even sat for a few. I was behind schedule but I thought that I could come in under 30 hours if I really pushed it and when I left Summit Lake, that is exactly what I did.
I had a great run from Summit Lake to Dry Lake but then started to struggle again between Dry Lake and the Mt. Werner Summit. I had not realized just how much climbing there was in that section and it just seemed to go on forever. I was still on pace to come in under 30 hours but just barely. What I really wanted was a nice time cushion to jog down the steep Mt. Werner service road and take it easy but that was no longer an option. So I did what I had to do and hammered down the best I could the last 6.5 miles telling myself to keep going and that I can feel good some other time. I pulled it off and crossed the finish line in 29:43:09.
This race seems like a total game changer for me. Going into it I believe that I put to use all of the years of ultra experience and knowledge that I had gained and there is no way I could not have done it without relying on that. The same goes for the actual execution of the race. Being out there solo, you have to have a high degree of self-awareness as to everything that is going on, both external and internal. Self-care becomes even more critical too, such as knowing when eat more, or back off just a little, or push just a little harder. There is so much more that I wish I could explain.
Now for some rest! No running for a while but I will probably get on the bike in a week or so for fun rides only. I will run the Golden Leaf Half with Melissa in two weeks but I am running that solely to help her. After that I might start looking at some smaller races through the rest of the fall and early winter.
And of course, I will be putting in for the HR100 Lottery!