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Ben Woodbeck Friday, 18 November 2011 11:08 TWEET COMMENTS 2

Pacing Diana

In 2010, Diana Finkel led the brutal Hardrock 100-Mile Endurance Run for over 45 miles, eventually taking second-place overall. But her phenomenal performance came at a cost: Two days after the race, she lay in a hospital bed ... 

Photo by Shaun Stanley

We awoke the morning of the race at 3 a.m. Outside our hotel room, Silverton, Colorado, was asleep. If you have run 100-mile footraces, you know how the towns they go through, the aid stations, the climbs and descents take on mythic qualities. So it was for Diana Finkel and me at the famous Hardrock 100-Mile Endurance Run.

Diana ate. She didn't want to, not that early, but she forced down some oatmeal, some berries, coffee, water. Dawn in the San Juan Mountains, just above freezing, normal for July, the dusky glow of streetlights, the felt presence of high mountains around us. Silverton's quiet was like the silence of an empty arena the morning of a big game. Expectant. Before "The Event." You never know what you will learn when you set out on such an endeavor. Things you never considered.

This was the third year we had woken up before the race at 3 a.m., the third time Diana would be attempting to run the Hardrock 100, attempting her third straight win—the first female to finish the 100-mile loop, with its 33,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, its wildflowers, its singletrack, its constant steep hills. It had become special to us not just because of the race itself, but rather the rhythm it had given our lives. A seasonal definition: committed training for the event begins in February with skate skiing, then trail racing later in the spring, races used mostly as long training runs.


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