"Admin" note- This interview has been done by Altra NZ team members Sarah Douglas and Becky Nixon. They got to reverse the rolls and hammer me with the questions for once! Thanks so much Becky and Sarah!
Grant Guise recently raced the Hardrock 100, a brutal 100 mile race (with some serious vertical ascent and descent) through some of Colorado's most stunning backdrops. Grant finished in an outstanding 8th place against a high quality field. Becky and Sarah decided they would interview Grant for a change!
The Hardrock 100 is a bucket list race of yours, did it live up to your expectations and how does it feel to have kissed the rock?
- Hardrock really did live up to all my expectations! It was amazing in every sense. Later in the race, whenever I was asked how I felt, my response was “I have never been so happy to feel so shit”. It is such an amazing place, all I had to do was look around and remind myself how lucky I was to be there.
At different times, but especially rounding the last corner and running towards The Rock was pretty emotional and surreal. I have looked at so many photos and videos of Hardrock, to then be doing it was really special- I was living out a dream I guess.
You arrived in Colorado a few weeks before the race to acclimatise, do you feel your preparation went well or are there things you might have done differently in hindsight?
- I feel like my training for Hardrock went really well. Over-all my prep was great, but if I had gotten out 3-4 weeks before, rather than 2, it would have been better, but that was never going to happen. The 2 weeks I had before where great. I camped at Cunningham Gulch, the last aid station in the clockwise direction, which is at 3100 masl. I got to see a bunch of the course and run with many good folks and camped with a total legend, Craig Wilson. Craig first did HRH in 1997 and has 5 finishes, as well as more Barkley “Fun Run” finishes than anyone else. Craig would have a fire going and coffee ready pretty much every morning.
Craig Wilson at the start of Hardrock.
How did the race compare to other bucket list races you have done, such as UTMB?
- It is like nothing else I have done. I guess similar to UTMB course wise (big loop, big terrain), but it has an atmosphere similar to the Great Naseby Water Race. It is so low key and casual, but at the at the same time a massive deal.
What parts of Hardrock 100 went well for you?
- Getting picked in the lottery! That is the hardest part of Hardrock. The start to Telluride and the night was good.
Did you hit a wall in any parts of the race?
- After Telluride I started to struggle above 12,000ft, especially going uphill. I was still moving OK going down. The section from Ouray to Engineer kicked my arse- it was hot and I struggle in the heat at the best of times.
With pacer and HR legend Peter Bakwin, just below Engineer.
How did you pull yourself out of those low moments?
- I think I did a good job of managing myself during the hot section out of Ouray when I started to struggle. I just really backed off and went easy on myself. I was running with arm sleeves and a buff around my neck that I was keeping wet all day, which helped a lot. At the aid stations I made sure I ate and drunk lots of good, real food. I would stop and eat on the up hills, as I was having to work so hard with the altitude, this was the best way to get food down. Early in the race this was not the case, but the accumulated altitude was making everything hard!
Pole Creek in the early morning- I was struggling here!
100 miles is a long way for a pair of shoes. How many pairs did you go through?
- I started in the new Altra Lone Peak 3.0 (arriving in NZ next month!!), but changed at Telluride. The course is so rocky, I decide to change into the Olympus, which has a little more cushion. My feet were also really wet at Telluride and I wanted to make a sock change anyway. I did another sock change at Grouse also.
Rolling into Telluride.
How often did you get on facebook during the race?
- Just once. Taking photos was a great distraction and a way to keep relaxed and make sure I was taking it easy early in the race. It made me look around a really appreciate where I was and how lucky I was to be there.
With Mr iRunFar, Bryon Powell.
And what's next? Other than beer and recovery!
- Mostly beer and chocolate. I would love to return to Hardrock and/or UTMB. 100mile races are like a big problem solving activity- there is so much to learn and figure out and I feel like I am just starting to figure things out, a little. There is also a new 100miel race in Australia, the Great Southern Endurance Run, and I am really excited to do this is 2017.
And a bonus question..... What was most challenging, the distance, the heat, the altitude or the vertical ascent/descent?
- The accumulated altitude. Going up over 13,000ft so many times without recovering really worked me!
I just want to say thank you for all the amazing support I had for Hardrock. Mostly to my amazing wife Jane and kids, and to my parents and parents in law. Also all those that helped in training and then the crew in Silverton- Jason, Maggie, Jeff, Anna, Bryon, Megan, Craig, Charlie, my pacers Clark and Peter, Blair and Bryce at UltrAspire, Kevin and Brain at Altra, David and Cluade at Julbo. And all those with messages and comments of support! Thanks team!