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Paul Terranova Pre-2024 Hardrock 100 Interview

A video interview with Paul Terranova before the 2024 Hardrock 100.

By on July 10, 2024 | Comments

In what can only be described as a wide-ranging and varied interview, Paul Terranova talks about getting ready to line up for his second Hardrock 100 as the fastest returning man from 2023. In the following interview, Paul discusses running-centric topics of running multiple 100-mile races per year, how his training and racing have changed over his career, advice about high-altitude running, and other random topics.

For more on who’s racing, check out our in-depth 2024 Hardrock 100 preview and follow our live race coverage on race day.

Paul Terranova Pre-2024 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Paul Terranova. It’s a couple days before the 2024 Hardrock 100. Hi, Paul. How are you?

Paul Terranova: I’m doing fantastic, Meghan.

iRunFar: This is your second time back at Hardrock. You’re here for a second year in a row, which means you’re headed in the other direction, which means you could become a traditional Hardrocker, two-direction Hardrocker.

Terranova: I am super grateful to have gotten in not once but twice, and to be able to go clockwise this year, just really, really grateful.

iRunFar: You have been running ultramarathons for quite a long time now. Are we going on 17 or 18 years type of time?

Terranova: Are these the questions my people sent you?

iRunFar: I plead no comment.

Terranova: Okay. Okay. It’s actually, this is my 13th year of hundreds.

iRunFar: 13th year of running 100-milers. Okay.

Terranova: Yeah. And this will be my 26th hundred. Not quite in the ballpark of Speedgoat [Karl Meltzer], but yeah, I’m pretty proud of 13 years and averaging about two a year. So last year was a big year with the Rocky Mountain Slam, and this year, Hardrock will be the only 100.

iRunFar: Hardrock is your focus?

Terranova: It is.

iRunFar: Now, from the outside looking in, when I look at your ultrarunning career, to me, I see an evolution. You started as a faster, flatter ultrarunner, living at low altitude in Texas, sort of optimizing leg speed and efficiency. And then in the last half decade or so, you moved to the mountains in Colorado, you live at high altitude. You’ve started really focusing on the bigger, longer, harder ultrarunning race and also adventure objectives. Is that sort of how you see the trajectory of your own career?

Terranova: Yes, certainly we should have moved to the mountains years ago, right?

iRunFar: That weird thing called jobs and responsibilities.

Terranova: That weird thing called jobs and responsibilities, but it’s been fantastic. The last four summers in Colorado have been amazing, and you nailed it on the head that when the Sawatch is right in your back door, that there’s so much good stuff to do between Nolan’s [14] and Collegiate Loop and Hardrock and High Lonesome just south of us in Leadville, and it’s been really, really fantastic. But yeah, there’s adventures to do, and I had a great run at Western States, what, 2012 to ‘17, so five straight years. That was great, and the times that they’re running now is unbelievable, low 15 for the men to go top 10 and mid-17 for the ladies. So that is incredible.

iRunFar: It’s an evolving universe, for sure. Your relationship with Hardrock, last year was your first year. You ran just under 28 hours.

Terranova: Yes.

iRunFar: Which is a great debut for a Hardrock. However, it was couched in the fact that that was the first race of the Rocky Mountain Slam, and it was just a couple weeks until you were racing Leadville 100 Mile. And then after that, I might get the order wrong, Wasatch 100 Mile and then the Bear 100 Mile.

Terranova: Correct.

iRunFar: Yeah. On race day here at Hardrock last year, were you thinking about those other 100-milers or were you just like, I’m going to try to do my best here at Hardrock and then recover and move on? Or were you couching everything in don’t wreck yourself, it’s a big summer?

Terranova: Yes and no. Yes, because the gap between Hardrock and Leadville, it was five or six weeks. So there’s good time to recover, but in the sense of it’s a long summer, and you’ve got to be healthy, you’ve got to finish Hardrock to get to Leadville and get to Wasatch and get to the Bear. So a little bit of both, right? Certainly I gave it everything that I had. To come under 28 was fantastic. That was a good milestone. And to be within sniffing distance of Jeff [Browning], and he passed me in the last bit, but that’s how he is, right? He rolls, and I got rolled up.

iRunFar: In the Browning burrito.

Terranova: In the Browning burrito. So I’m going to channel, channel Bronco’s peanut butter analogy this year as far as spreading your peanut butter on your bread throughout the course of the race.

iRunFar: That’s right, saving a little bit of peanut butter for the end of the piece of bread.

Terranova: Yes, 100%.

iRunFar: Yeah. Now a question that your people did send me.

Terranova: Yes, let’s get to those.

iRunFar: I have heard through the rumor mill that you might be trying to race a little bit faster, that you have more aggressive time and performance goals this year.

Terranova: Yes. I think that this direction, as Roch [Horton] says, you’re going up the walls and down the ramps. And knowing that, I think I left a little time on the table last year, that there’s certainly opportunity to go faster. And now I’m in a different age group, so 50 to 59. And yeah, you look at some of the course records and the people that have run really well here, Jeff and David Horton, right around that 50 to 59 list. So yeah, there’s some carrots that are out there. And yeah, staying right in the same zip code as some of the top ladies that are up there and the top men. It should be fun.

iRunFar: What is the age group record for 50 to 59 at Hardrock?

Terranova: 26 low

iRunFar: 26 low.

Terranova: Jeff.

iRunFar: It’s a Jeff Browning time. Got it.

Terranova: Yep, he’s got the top two, and then Dr. David Horton.

iRunFar: Is the next one after that.

Terranova: And I think Meredith [Terranova] thinks he might be out here somewhere.

iRunFar: He is out here.

Terranova: Okay.

iRunFar: Yeah.

Terranova: That’s great. Well, I found some change, so he’ll be thrilled that I dropped some change, and I did bring it up to the shrine up there. And did you know there’s an IHOP gift card in the shrine donation bin? Who would? Why? I don’t know.

iRunFar: So backstory, we’re filming this interview underneath the Miners Shrine here in Silverton. It’s a shrine dedicated to prayers and thoughts for keeping the miners healthy and safe during the mining era. Now, it’s common for people who are going out to do big adventures who have the ilk to go up and leave a candle, leave a penny, leave a something.

Terranova: Yes, IHOP gift card.

iRunFar: And asking whatever gods that you look to for a little bit of health and safety assistance. That’s fair to say it like that?

Terranova: It is.

iRunFar: So you went and left your own?

Terranova: I did.

iRunFar: Not an IHOP gift card.

Terranova: Not an IHOP. Where is the nearest IHOP? Is it Durango, Montrose?

iRunFar: I’m not an IHOP connoisseur, so I don’t know.

Terranova: I had my Dairy Queen Blizzard in Montrose as we came through here, and it’s been a while since I’ve had a pre-race Blizzard, so I was pretty happy about that.

iRunFar: I can offer you pastries and little burrito wraps at Elevated Coffee or Coffee Bear down in town, and really good breakfast at Kendall Mountain Café. We’re a town of non-chains, so IHOP, I don’t know. They should have left a Kendall Mountain Café gift card up there.

Terranova: Right. Well, maybe somebody took it and they used it.

iRunFar: Nothing like a side conversation in the middle of an interview.

Terranova: This is serious stuff, Meghan.

iRunFar: This is very serious stuff. My last question for you, you’re now a sort of a high-altitude expert. You live at the base of the Sawatch Mountains in Twin Lakes, Colorado. You climb up to high mountains all the time. This course is fairly familiar in that aspect. Have you figured out, cracked the nut, let’s say, of high-altitude racing and how to be able to feed yourself and stay at and below lactate threshold for the course of the race? Have you cracked the high-altitude nut, long question short?

Terranova: Let’s hope so. We’ll find out Friday, Saturday, and see how that plays out.

iRunFar: Do you have any tips for people who are coming from not quite as high altitude as you?

Terranova: Stay hydrated. That’s the number one. If you have a filter flask, obviously bring that, and scoop water and stay hydrated. Eat and drink as much as possible. Those are obviously long-standing tricks of the trade.

iRunFar: Honor the lower lactate threshold, heart rate levels of high altitude.

Terranova: I’m not a heart rate monitor person, so I’m not necessarily looking at that.

iRunFar: By now you can probably feel your exact lactate threshold in your body.

Terranova: Yes, yes.

iRunFar: Yeah.

Terranova: If you can breathe through your eyeballs, do that. Bring your third lung in your pack. Make sure to pack that.

iRunFar: So yeah, we’re now deviating from being the human species, but cool.

Terranova: I am happy to help with any nuggets of-

iRunFar: Yeah, that was really helpful, Paul. Best of luck to you. Thank you. Best of luck to you in your second lap around the Hardrock course.

Terranova: Thank you. And to everybody else who’s still trying to get in, it took me 10 years to get in, so keep trying, keep after it. Do all the 100 qualifiers that you have to do, and it’s worth it, so keep after it.

iRunFar: That’s awesome.

 

iRunFar: All right, so usually the bonus questions are bonus questions, but Paul has a bonus statement.

Terranova: Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad. Love you.

iRunFar: He’s never been on TV before or something.

Terranova: My mom just got an iPhone. So right now she could look at these things and do all of this.

iRunFar: Hi, Paul’s mom. Hi, Paul’s dad. Bye.

Terranova: Hi, Snickers. That’s her dog. She just turned 11.

iRunFar: I thought that was your mom’s name.

Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.