Sabrina Stanley is primed for the 2018 Hardrock 100. In the following interview, Sabrina talks about what it’s like spending two-and-a-half months training in the San Juan Mountains, why she’s confident and how that could be dangerous, why she plans to hold back early during Hardrock, and what she’s excited for late in the race.
Sabrina Stanley Pre-2018 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Sabrina Stanley before the 2018 Hardrock 100. How are you, Sabrina?
Sabrina Stanley: I’m good. How are you?
iRunFar: You are not new to the San Juans.
Stanley: As of this summer I’d say I’m new, but we’ve been here since roughly May 1, trying to learn the course as much as possible.
iRunFar: How has that been?
Stanley: Good. There’s a 6.5-7 mile section I’ve not been on.
iRunFar: Which section is that? Sherman to Pole Creek?
Stanley: Pole Creek to Maggie—a little bit before Pole Creek. Avery [Collins], my pacer will be running that for me before Hardrock, so he’ll know it. Between the two of us, we’ll have been on the entire course.
iRunFar: You’ve seen a lot of it and probably a lot it more than once.
Stanley: Yes, the Ouray sections I know like the back of my hand for sure.
iRunFar: Is that where you’ve been based for this time?
Stanley: Yes, Camp Bird is easy, but we’ve been up Governor’s a few times, Kroger’s a few times, and then Grizzly Creek. That trail is probably the one I know the most.
iRunFar: You are well prepared in terms of reconnaissance. You’re acclimated. This is your first Hardrock. Is there anything you’re a little nervous or uncertain about?
Stanley: Not really. I’m super ready. I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready for a 100. I feel like my fitness is there. Mentally, I’m there. Nutrition is on point. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.
iRunFar: We were just talking… having been here awhile in the San Juans, there’s no FOMO two weeks before the race where you need to get out and see something or play. You’re tapering.
Stanley: Yeah, I’m full-on tapering right now. As I was telling you, I did eight today, and that will be my longest run until race day.
iRunFar: We’re eight days out, so you’ll be plenty well rested which should scare most people in the field because you’re really strong in these 100s.
Stanley: Thank you. I intentionally dropped Western States to come into Hardrock strong. I wanted to come in guns blazing and give it my all and see what happens.
iRunFar: That’s a hard decision to make. Western isn’t an easy race to get into, and you had a great race there last year.
Stanley: Yeah, I was really… this is just ego, but I was really excited to wear a bib F3. I thought that was really cool. I hadn’t really committed. Avery and I had talked about it, “Should we do Western and Hardrock, or just Western or just Hardrock?” Obviously, the chance of getting into Hardrock again on one ticket wouldn’t happen probably. I didn’t think I could do as well at Western as I wanted to if I was doing Hardrock training and vice versa. I just decided to give Hardrock my all. Then if I want to do Western again, the probability of me getting into Western again is higher than getting into Hardrock again.
iRunFar: The one 100 we’ve seen you race at was Western States last year. You’ve also raced Hurt this year, Leadville two years ago, Run Rabbit Run last year. Last year at Western States, you were pretty conservative, at least from appearances, and moved up a lot at the end. Is that normally your strategy for these things?
Stanley: It’s the strategy. It’s not always what happens. I would say I pulled it off really, really well at Western. I went into Western with the mindset that my training wasn’t what I wanted it to be, so I was just going to hold back as much as possible, and then at mile… at Forest Hill, I was going to let loose, and it paid off really well.
iRunFar: Is that going to be harder here because you’re so well prepared and confident?
Stanley: Well, so I went into Run Rabbit super, super confident, and that did not work out. I had a rough day at Run Rabbit. I think I’m just mentally more… I don’t want to say less confident, but more aware at where my body is at, so I think it will be easier. At Run Rabbit there are no pacers, and obviously Hardrock has pacers. So I’m really excited to get to mile… Grouse, whatever that is.
Stanley: Yeah, and pick up Avery. I’m going to conserve my body until I get to Avery, and then…
iRunFar: You’re not going to take somebody out of Ouray?
Stanley: I am. I’ll have somebody from Ouray to Grouse, and then Avery will take me to the finish. Once I get Avery, then we can kind of just roll together. We have so much fun running side by side; we feed off that energy.
iRunFar: Awesome. In terms of you saying the confidence thing being tricky, it’s also a really small race, and it’s very possible you could be that lead woman very early or from the gun.
Stanley: Yeah, I don’t want to. I really don’t want to be. I want to hang back. There are two other females I’ve been eyeing down. Hopefully one of them will set the pace, or we’ll just all go really slow from the get-go. I’ll be okay if I’m back by one or even two hours heading into mile 50 and then slowly start working my way up. I really don’t want to set the charge right off the bat.
iRunFar: That’s probably wise. You’ve been up at altitude for a long time. Have you had any trouble fueling during your longer efforts?
Stanley: No, I don’t want to jinx anything, but fueling has never been an issue of mine. I like to eat and my stomach is pretty strong. At Hurt I had some issues, but they were at mile 20-ish and they disappeared.
iRunFar: What is your nutrition plan for a 100?
Stanley: I’ll have Muir gels on me, and I’ll do at least 100 calories per half hour to 45 minutes. Then at every aid station I make sure to grab 200-300 calories of real food. Then I’ll have my Cranked electrolyte mix, and that’s roughly 100 calories per water bottle. I’ll go through two water bottles in an hour—one plain and one electrolyte.
iRunFar: So you’re always getting at least 250 calories per hour plus some big hits at the aid stations. You’re able to maintain that for most of your 100s?
Stanley: Yeah, I’ve never—knock on wood—had any issues.
iRunFar: Nice. Is there anything you’re most excited for being on the Hardrock course?
Stanley: I don’t mean to be all fou-fou and lovey dovey, but again, when I come into Grouse, I’m so excited to—Avery has been with me since my name was drawn for spot 5 on the waitlist. He’s been just as excited with me, every minute watching… literally every morning I woke up and would check the waitlist to see if anyone has moved. We’ve been training together out here on the course. I’m just so stoke to get with him in the last 40 miles. We did the same thing at Leadville when I ran there. He paced me the last 40 as well. There’s something special about running… when you have a male pacer as a competitive female, when you run up on other men and they just assume that the guy is the runner, it’s kind of fun from a female perspective to be like, “You got chicked,” and then keep going.
iRunFar: You’re going to feed off that a little bit?
Stanley: Yeah. My crew is awesome, too. Everyone that’s on my crew is as excited as I am. The whole experience is going to be pretty cool.
iRunFar: How has the experience been living here in the San Juans for the past two-and-a-half months?
Stanley: It’s been awesome. We wake up everyday and pinch ourselves because we’re staying in a little Scamp trailer. We have no water, no toilet, and no shower. So we have learned how to take advantage of… Ouray has some awesome hot springs, so we take showers there for $2 and go out for breakfast and use their toilets. It’s been a summer we’ll probably never forget. Every day we wake up and run six-eight hours if not more and bag all the peaks we can. We’ve done a lot of exploring in Ouray.
iRunFar: With all that training, when did your taper start? It sounds like you’ve done a huge volume of training.
Stanley: Yeah, probably the highest weekly mileage I’ve ever hit. Taper starts strictly two weeks out. My first week of taper is roughly every other day is rest day, and then those opposite days are 10-15 miles. The week before the race I dial it down to seven miles max.
iRunFar: You feel like your energy is there?
iRunFar: Great luck out there, Sabrina. Have fun.
Stanley: Thank you so much.