Coach Rachel: Hardrock 100 and a new Pup

On December 3rd my husband and I drove from NC to NJ and adopted a dog after our 15 year old shepherd mix passed in May. Just as we were meeting the new pup, my name got pulled for the first slot on the HardRock 100 lottery waitlist! A short explanation of the HRH waitlist if you don’t know: the lottery was cut into 4 parts; men/women and then men who have finished/men who have never finished, women who have finished/women who have never finished. I am first on the women who have never finished list, which means there are 18 women in this group, if one drops I get in.

This also means I will start preparing as if I am in the race, in the past they have gone at least 3 deep into the waitlist.

This will be a challenge I am excited for; not only getting ready to run the hardest 100 mile in North America, but also train a herding dog to run with me, and not destroy our home along the way

I am writing about this because in the next few months I hope to record all the things I do to prepare for Hardrock and the things I do to train Jackson. Perhaps, also, some of this will resonate with some of you reading.

A little background on what we know about Jackson, he is a (probably) 10 month old pup, found in Mississippi, dropped in a shelter. A herding dog non-profit found him and took him to NJ where he stayed for several months with half a dozen other herding dogs in a private home. So far he is very sweet, doesn’t know a lot of boundaries, is learning that he’s not allowed on our furniture, allowed to eat my shoes, or my dental floss…yes he chewed up a roll of dental floss, fortunately he didn’t swallow any of it. He has been in our home for 4 days now, we are learning sit and wait and look at me because he is an escape artist who will sneak out any open door and he needs to learn not to bolt, though the one time he did, he didn’t know where to go. He mostly just looked at me on the porch and then came inside when he saw the treats. Also the sit wait and look at me commands help him learn to look to me for guidance, which is important in teaching a dog good leash running manners. That way if they can pay attention to the runner, they will be more likely to be running along with you…rather than dragging you down the street following their noses, or the nearest squirrel.

In terms of starting HardRock training, much like Jackson I will be laying the groundwork for training by looking at trails and elevation that may be helpful for the terrain of HRH…yes I know, this is laughable as I live where the average elevation per mile is, well, FLAT! Its about 100 ft/mile if I just run without planning ups and downs. 30 min away there is a short 2.5 mile loop that if you run it repeatedly you can get probably 250ft/mile. Anything better than that is a solid 3-4 hour drive west or north. Instead I will work on getting fit, hiking with a weight vest, working with a PT and lifting heavy weights, making sure to pay attention to my upperbody for a heavy pack as well as poles and lots of step ups. I did the bare minimum for HiLo last summer and, while it was not my finest moment, I did finish the race.

I hope to write here once a week, so if you are interested, come back next week for dog updates and HRH notes as well.


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