Editor’s Note: Below is an article from Hal Koerner, GU athlete, Hardrock 100 competitor and back-to-back Western States 100 champion.
The Hardrock 100 is a one hundred mile foot race through the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado. The elevation change for the event is just shy of 70,000 feet or the equivalent of 12 vertical miles. What may be more astounding however is the constant elevation summary of 11,400ft. To say this is no ordinary race would be a gross understatement. To understand what it takes to finish is to have complete focus for, on the best day, 24 hours and what could amount to two whole days.
I completed this race in 2005 in what turned out to be the longest time I have ever spent on my feet. I learned a lot of lessons on that day but none was more important than the effects of altitude on the body and subsequently nutritional performance for such an endurance event.
With a bad stomach you aren’t fueling your body and then you aren’t going anywhere.
With oxygen saturation in the blood being paramount there is no time or energy to waste what little makes its way into the blood stream or to keep it from starving muscles being contracted millions of times over. Additionally, taxing the body to work harder to convert sugars into power by not using optimal energy sources or by drawing blood into the stomach or kidneys to process byproducts that aren’t going to help with powering through a 13,000ft pass is race sabotage.
I will try to keep everything constant for HR 2012, and for me that includes supplementation of GU and Roctane gel as well as Roctance Ultra Endurance Drink. If packing and consuming 48 gels goes easily I’ll finish in roughly 24 hours, so it would be more probable to think of something in the range of 50 – 60 plus. Luckily I can combine that with Roctane drink to the tune of 300 plus calories per hour. Being able to do all this on the run doesn’t come easily and that’s why I appreciate the fact that Roctane gel was formulated by and around this event, over a dozen years ago. I have faith that this is ideally all I need to stay focused and energized for the long run.
There will be a bunch of variables on race day, I’m lucky to have one of those figured out because it’s the one I can control the most. Not the course, weather, competitors, or day comes as easily for me.