At this point, Darcy Piceu is the example of consistent exceptional performance at the Hardrock 100. With her second-place finish at this year’s race, she’s paced first or second each of the seven times she’s run the race. In the following interview, Darcy talks about how running without pacers changed her Hardrock experience, when she thought Caroline Chaverot might be within reach, how she minimizes downside at Hardrock, and what’s up next for her.
Darcy Piceu Post-2017 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar with Darcy PIceu after her second-place finish at the 2017 Hardrock 100. How are you feeling today, Darcy?
Darcy Piceu: I’m good. I’m really sore, but I’m good.
iRunFar: More so than normal?
Piceu: More so than normal. I’m not sure why. I used my poles a lot, so my arms are really sore. My quads are really sore. Everything is kind of just sore today. Otherwise, I feel fair to okay.
iRunFar: Fair to okay… you were second in a Darcy-esque performance—running solid, not getting carried away early.
PIceu: Steady Eddy.
iRunFar: There was at the top of the field a more talented women’s field than has ever been here, and you just did your thing. Is that what it felt like out there early?
Piceu: It did, yeah, and this year was a little bit different because I didn’t have pacers this year which I feel like kind of allowed me to run with other people. I was really grateful for that. I got to run with Anna [Frost]. We brought one another into Ouray. I think we were both dealing with some low points. It was just nice to share the trail. I ran a lot with Ted Mahon who I finished with. It was nice.
iRunFar: You didn’t have a pacer, but you weren’t alone.
Piceu: I didn’t feel alone out there. I had moments. Camp Bird Road was a long, slow, solo effort. Then I came into Governors Basin and Scott Jaime and Grant Guise were there. So we all left together; we all went up Kroger’s together. It was like a little party up there. It was really fun.
iRunFar: Sounds like a pretty good Hardrock experience.
Piceu: It was overall. I definitely had low points.
iRunFar: What were those like?
Piceu: I had the high altitude late night sleepiness combined with nausea. It just makes for a long, slow night… what felt like.
iRunFar: Going up to Wasatch Basin?
Piceu: Wasatch Basin, I was so sleepy. I wanted to take a nap so many times on the trail, but I was solo, so I couldn’t really stop, so I was just trying to…
iRunFar: Is that normal for you to battle sleepiness?
Piceu: I used to, and that has gone away for years. I don’t know why this summer even in Peru I had some trouble with getting really sleepy and feeling like I needed a nap. I don’t know if it’s a sign or… I’m not sure.
iRunFar: Was it nice to run with Anna? You know her and all that, but you’ve had some battles with her here in terms of a competitor.
PIceu: It was really nice. I think I don’t often… I always find myself in no-man’s land in most 100s, so again, it was just so nice to actually be able to run… especially here… to run with another female. We came in and were psyched to come into Ouray together. I would have left with her, but she kind of needed a break there. I knew if I would have sat down anywhere I don’t think I would have gotten up for quite awhile. I would have gotten up, but I didn’t want to take that kind of time. I just kind of stood and ate and got myself out of there.
iRunFar: You probably had well under an hour of aid station time?
Piceu: I think so. I don’t think I took too much time in the aid stations.
iRunFar: It’s kind of a good predictor of how someone’s race goes at Hardrock. If you’re under an hour, you’re having a good day.
PIceu: I don’t know. I never look at my aid station times.
iRunFar: But you’re purposeful.
Piceu: Yes, I think I was this time. The only place I sat down was Telluride because I had so many rocks in my shoes, I’d been wanting to change them for so long. Finally, when I sat down in Telluride I said, “Okay, I’m changing my socks. I’m keeping the shoes—they’re wet—but I’m going to dump the rocks out and change my socks.” It helped.
iRunFar: Did you get any new rocks in your shoes up going over Grant-Swamp?
Piceu: A little bit. A little bit. Grant-Swamp is always hard, but I had a good run down to KT. Then I heard that potentially Nathalie [Mauclair] and Anna were only 20 minutes back. So my last nine miles were some of my fastest actually. Ted Mahon and I ran down from Putnam mostly together with his wife Kristy, and Ted thinks our split was 1:07 down.
iRunFar: From Putnam?
PIceu: From Putnam.
iRunFar: Wow, you were hauling.
Piceu: Yeah, we did not stop.
iRunFar: Then you come into the finish with Ted, a many, many time finisher and Mr. Reliable on the men’s side. I guess you guys didn’t talk about finishing together?
Piceu: Well, I really admire both he and Christy and everything they do. They’re such amazing athletes. He’s so consistent and steady here. I know if I’m anywhere near Ted, this is good. I’m doing good. We were actually only maybe a mile away and he said, “So, I think we’re 10th and 11th. How do you want to do this?” I said, “I don’t know. Do you think can we finish together?” So we just kind of had a mutual respect. “Yeah, let’s see if we can finish together.”
iRunFar: But then he pulled up a meter short of the rock.
Piceu: We were like, “You go first.” “No, you go first.” “Ladies first.” That was really sweet. It was nice.
iRunFar: Ahead of you all day was that Caroline Chaverot woman. Did it ever feel like she was vulnerable and within reach?
PIceu: The only moment that I thought so was I was on the top of Kroger’s Canteen and Roch [Horton] pulled me aside and whispered in my ear, “Look, she just got lost down in this basin. It’s not over yet.” But you still have 50k to go from there. I just didn’t want to get overwhelmed with trying to chase and chase. I just tried to keep doing my thing and running my race. I feel like I gave it my all.
iRunFar: You finished second. You’ve run seven times here, and you’ve won or finished second every single time within a pretty narrow time range for most of them.
Piceu: Yeah, I couldn’t believe that. Ted and I both said, at sunrise if you would have asked, “Do you think we can go under 30 hours?” I don’t think either of us thought we could. We were 29-something.
iRunFar; You had those really strong finishes before on that, “Oh, am I going to be under 30 hours?” I remember for years or six years ago you racing in to try to break 30. When are we going to have the Hardrock Manual According to Darcy? How do you eliminate the… there’s such a potential for things to go sideways here. How do you prevent or manage that so well?
Piceu: Even when I don’t feel good or am nauseous, I always focus on drinking constantly and eating constantly throughout even if it’s just little bits here and there. Even when I don’t feel good, I’m still looking at the food at the aid stations, Okay, what looks good? What looks like something I can actually get in?
iRunFar: It really is just a what you can consume? There’s not, I need to eat simple sugars or whatever?
Piceu: I think so. Yeah, I don’t know if it’s a science, but the avocados were so amazing in the aid stations. Everybody was talking about the avocados. I was putting them on saltines and in tortillas with cheese. That was really tasty.
iRunFar: The avocados were really good at the finish line aid station.
PIceu: They were great, yeah.
iRunFar: Drinking, are you a water-only person, or do you have sports drink?
Piceu: I use that First Endurance, EFS, and it’s pretty diluted with water. I do that and water, yeah, low-strength. I actually carried a small soft flask of Coca-Cola pretty much the whole race. I was sipping on coke pretty much the whole race.
iRunFar: Nothing wrong with that. It’s fuel.
Piceu: Well, and I was so sleepy that I thought anything kind of caffeine I could get in, I was trying to…
iRunFar: Did you pump that a little more later on in the race?
Piceu: Definitely. Yeah, I don’t start it until later. I didn’t do it the whole race. I’d say maybe like ginger ale and things like that earlier on and then I switched to caffeine later on.
iRunFar: Are you getting that from the aid station in a little soft flask? Does it fizz all over you?
Piceu: Well, it was funny. I’d put it in the soft flask, and then it would expand. I was having to release all the pressure every time.
iRunFar: What do you have next, Darcy?
Piceu: I don’t know. It’s hard to think about. I really do want to try the JMT. I’m just not sure if my body will cooperate this year, but I’d like to try.
iRunFar: What would you think of the timing—September?
Piceu: Late August? I didn’t get permits. We put in for permits several times. Gina Lucrezi, who was my crew, and I put in for permits and neither of us got them. So we’re… I don’t know, maybe winging it and going in in the morning of and trying to get permits the day of.
iRunFar: No race plans coming up?
Piceu: No race plans… not yet.
iRunFar: JMT. This was a good training run for that.
Piceu: We’ll see. Yeah, definitely.
iRunFar: And you had the great run in Peru, so it might be a nice year to go take a shot for it.
Piceu: Yeah, maybe.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations, Darcy.
Piceu: Thank you, Bryon.
iRunFar: We’re going to have a bonus question because I’m going to have a guest interviewer. Can the member of the press known as Sophia come over here? I think you should ask your mom a question or two.
Sophia: Do you ever get sick in races?
Piceu: Sometimes I don’t feel good and my tummy hurts and I get nauseous. So, yes, I do sometimes. Do you have any more questions?
Sophia: Have you ever gotten an injury?
Piceu: Nothing that stopped me from running. So, that’s good.
iRunFar: Nice work, Sophia. Nice work, Darcy.
Piceu: Thank you.