7 Questions with Hardrock Veteran Betsy Nye - Page 2
3. Each year the Hardrock course changes direction, and this year it will run clockwise. Do you prefer covering the route clockwise or counter-clockwise?
I actually feel better counter-clockwise because then I go over Handies Peak sooner [at mile 36] and during the day. When it’s clockwise, going over Handies [14,048 feet at Mile 64] is tough for me—it always has been, because of the altitude, and it’s nighttime, and you’ve already done so much during the day.
4. Do you use special gear or clothing for Hardrock?
I typically don’t run with poles, but after I broke my leg [in 2012], I used poles for Hardrock, but just for certain parts. They help keep your balance. For hydration, I use a pack because it’s nice to have your hands free, but in the old days I just had water bottles. For clothing, I don’t like being cold, so I normally have a long-sleeve shirt, gloves, a hat, and you want a good rain jacket. Since it’s at 13,000 feet, it can snow on you any time. Last year we got hailed on, and it was painful.
5. What’s your advice for someone training for an ultra with extreme altitude and terrain if they cannot mimic the altitude or terrain during training?
In order to acclimate properly, they say you need a month [of being at the high-altitude destination], but not everyone has that time, and altitude sickness can happen to people in the best of shape. … There’s something to be said for just showing up and running. I also try to run through creeks—you definitely want to get used to running with wet feet.
6. What are your favorite foods to eat along the Hardrock course and at aid stations?
GU, turkey avocado sliders, miso soup, beef jerky, potato, pasta and watermelon.
7. What other mountain ultras do you hope to run someday?
Ronda dels Cims and Tor des Géants, but they’re both expensive and in Europe. [What about the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc?] UTMB, not as much. I did Western States once, and I prefer lower-key runs that are not as popular and with not as much hoopla. I’ve always been a backpacker-hiker kind of girl, so the more hiking, the better.
Sarah Lavender Smith, a Contributing Editor to Trail Runner, blogs at TheRunnersTrip.com and lives in the East San Francisco Bay Area town of Piedmont.
Want more stories like this?