4 Keys to Hardrock Success

4 Keys to Hardrock Success
The concept of the “4 Keys” comes directly from the Endurance Nation Podcast.  This is their “keynote” address for success at the Ironman Distance. The Coaches generally give the Endurance Nation members this speech before Ironman races. I appreciate the wisdom in their speech, I have used this before, as “4 Keys to a MMT Success” and I thought I would apply their keys, their four points,  to my Hardrock success.
Four Keys of Ironman Execution
From the EN Talk: Execution, not Fitness. All you’ve done  is build a vehicle. Ironman racing is about how you DRIVE that vehicle, it is NOT about the vehicle. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and energy of the day, but creating and sticking to the right plan for you is the only thing that will lead to the best possible day.What shape I am in on race day is not relevant now. I’ve driven the vehicle to the starting line. I need to have a plan ready for me. I need to be able to modify that plan, on the fly, if things change and Plan A no longer works.plana
From the EN Talk: The Line. Nothing on race day really matters until you reach The Line on the run. The Line is the point at which continuing becomes very, very difficult. You define success as simply not slowing down at The Line. EVERYTHING before The Line is simply about creating conditions for success for when the Line comes to you.

I could define success of staying to the positive side of the 48 hour cutoff bubble. Everything that I do on run day is to allow myself to continue on to the next aid station. Aid station to aid station.

 The Line, in the EN talk, is mile 18 of the marathon.

There are many lines at Hardrock. Continuing becomes very very difficult early on at Hardrock-that’s why it’s called Hardrock.  You need to split it up into mini sections.
This is the same way I run all my ultras. Aid station to aid station. Hardrock can be even more specific, each time I summit one of the climbs.
Dives. Green Mountain. Buffalo Boy Ridge. Etc. Repeat.
From the EN Talk: The Box: All day long you are going to race inside a box defined by what you can control. Ask yourself “What do I need to do right NOW to create the conditions for success at The Line? Is what I’m doing right now counter to this goal? 

  • Keep the box as big as you can for as long as you can.
  • Keep in the box only the things you can control. Let go of the rest.
  • Exercise this decision-making process inside your box: Observe the situation, Orient yourself to a possible course of action, Decide on a course of action, Act (OODA Loop).
What do I need to do, right NOW to create the conditions for success?
Keep a positive attitude. I might be last person on the course. Just keep going. You did great with the cutoff in 2012. You are far better trained and prepared here in 2015. You know most of the course. You know what you did wrong in 2012 (got behind in eating/calories which led to poor decision making skill.)
Stay in the box. Keep only the things I can control, in the box. Stay focused on the climb in front of you. Stay cognizant of course markings and any turns you may need to make.
Eat. Make sure you have food when you leave the aid stations. When you get to the aid stations sit down and drink a full bottle of water right there. Make sure the hydration bladder is refilled.
Make sure you EAT at each aid station. Make sure you take your carefully packed foodbag out of your dropbag with you.
Make your list for each aid station regardless of whether you have a dropbag there or not. “Get rid of trash. Drink bottle of water. EAT. Sunscreen, bugspray? Move gels/food around in pack if need to.”

 From the EN Talk:

  The One Thing. If you swallowed the Kool-Aid we’re serving you here, you will show up at the Line, in your Box, ready to git’erdun and simply not slow down. But we’re not done yet. There is still some psychological stuff you need to address. During the course of your race day, expect your body to have a conversation with your mind:
“Look, Mind, you’ve had me out here slogging away for 132 miles. This is really starting to get old and very painful. You need to give me a good reason to keep going forward. If you don’t have one, I’m gonna slow down and you can’t stop me!”

The One Thing-why do I want to complete the Hardrock? Because it’s there? Because I want to prove to myself that I can manuever myself around the toughest course in the United States? Because I love a challenge and I am stubborn and determined and will not quit this time? To be able to experience the most beautiful course in the country and successfully finish the race?
Another point I got from the podcast, not one of their 4 points, but very worthwhile:  Your racing self owes it to the training self.
Racing self needs to respect all that the training self did, to set up the racing self. Racing self needs to suck it up and embrace the hurt to honor the training self.
Training self put itself out there always-ran in cold weather, cold downpours of rain, icy windy ass days, sloppy slow mud days, early early morning runs; cold clothes changes in parking lots; runs endured on treadmills.  You owe it to training self to get out there and endure on racing day, racing self.
That’s my 4 Keys to Hardrock.

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