The Time is Upon Us
It’s one race; five laps equaling 100 miles of volatile single-track trails through the rainforests of Hawaii. The conditions of which can range anywhere from fast, dry, and technical exposed tree root to miles of knee deep, think, suffocating mud. With 24,500ft of cumulative elevation gain – likewise for cumulative loss – and twenty river crossings; it is yet a fleeting notion one can be prepared for everything hidden amongst the tropical terrain of Hawaii. Not to mention, all of these physical and mental hurdles must be conquered in humidity stricken 80 degree weather, with the sun beating down and all within the 36-hour time constraint. So how the hell do you even begin to physically prepare for something like this?
The Hurt 100 will again challenge two elite Ultrarunners; Yassine Diboun and Nickademus Hollon both who have a strong history with this devious race. Being named one of the world’s toughest ultramarathons the Hurt 100 has had their bib numbers for one year to many. Follow their story to find out what is motivating them to come back to what should be the most competitive starting line ever for HURT 100 and a shot at redemption.
“Aggressive, yet controlled..”
For Yassine it’s more of an aggressive, yet controlled approach. He knows what he’s capable of based off his past performances; first place has been just out of grasp. With last year’s DNF weighing down on his shoulders he has taken time to reflect on performances from years prior. Now armed with his leg quivering training regimen and 20/20 hindsight; Yassine comes ready to toe the starting line with an invigorated mind and body.
Following a 19-hour 2nd place finish at the 2015 Cascade Crest 100-miler in late August I scheduled a month of down-time. During this time of what I like to call “de-training” I give my body (and mind) a break from the intense training. I also have found that giving my entire system (endocrine, lymphatic, central nervous system, etc.) some down time is also necessary in terms of longevity and maintaining high performance in this sport. With this extra time on my hands I am able to start planning and scheming of what I’d like to do next. Obviously after a 100-miler there needs to be ample time to recuperate. Plus, my family appreciates it, and I love spending more time with them!
“I focused on increasing my mileage incrementally, but with an eye glued to the elevation gain.”
As I got back into more regular training I focused on building gradually adding shorter, faster races specific to HURT (i.e. Elk-Kings Traverse 25k in October, and Quad Dipsea 28-miler in November). I also knew from my two attempts at the very rugged HURT 100, I wanted to focus on improving my technical running and climbing skills. October was a solid month for me laying a great foundation to my training; ended up looking like:
- 254.7 mi (Miles Ran)
- 47h 54m (Time Running)
- 49,376 ft (Feet Climbed)
I felt that my body responded very well to my “de-training”, and bounced back nicely from October to tackle November which was one of my best months I’ve had in years. This month I really wanted to hone my focus in on tallying up the elevation gain. I focused on increasing my mileage incrementally, but with an eye glued to the elevation gain. I noticed the benefit of all the climbing (80,000ft ± of vertical gain) as I raced to a 3rd place finish at the Quad Dipsea. The Quad Dispsea added a little more excitement this time as part of my training program; helping me finishing off a strong 90-mile week. The month of November tallied up to:
- 300.1 mi (Miles Ran)
- 56h 50m (Time Running)
- 83,596 ft (Feet Climbed)
December I backed off the intensity a bit but still wanted to focus on my efforts racking up the elevation gain. I organized a local event in Portland Oregon on a route called the “North Nasty” – The idea was to mimic the “lap mentality” of HURT 100. Each North Nasty Lap is 11 miles with 3,000 feet of climbing. I ended up doing 4 laps – 44 miles, 12k of gain – and again I felt very satisfied with how this training run went. December’s running totals looked like this:
- 308.1 mi (Miles Ran)
- 54h 53m (Time Running)
- 63,769 ft (Feet Climbed)
Three Wise Men
Nickademus is ready to come back to the HURT 100 this year and take back 1st place. It was his; well it was, until the 47th mile. In the – 80 degree – heat of the moment when 2nd place runner (Michael Arnstein) came bolting into the aid station refueled, and ready to head out; three crucial mistakes were made. With his next opportunity to hold on to 1st place is only hours away. Nickademus has taken a deconstructed, refurbished approach to his training leading up to this year’s HURT 100.
“Working Smarter, not Harder”
This year’s training “unofficially” began back in late August after I finished up a full recovery from the Fat Dog 120 miler in Canada. For the first time in my career I had begun training with a coach. We started back in February of last year; he really helped me by scheduling and balancing out hard traning days with supplemental lighter ones to make sure I wasn’t over training. The result at the Fat Dog 120, was enough proof to me this “smarter not harder” approach to my training was precisely what I needed.
Last September, I teamed up with a professional in gait analysis and worked tirelessly to deconstruct and refurbish every minute flaw found in my running form. After several sessions, I realized something; this should have done years ago! Seven years of “un-coached & un-monitored” trail running had wreaked havoc on what I thought was good form. Not to mention the Vo2 test came back disparagingly average.
The positives? There was lots of opportunity for improvement; and that’s really what I’ve been focused on during my training for the HURT 100 this year. Properly measured and scheduled workouts, improvements to running form, along with a combination of metabolic optimization and the integration of Tai Chi and other bodily awareness exercises into my daily routine. I feel confident in stating that I feel stronger, more experienced and with better rest than I ever felt going into the HURT 100.
‘Aole Makou E Ho’Ohkiwale Kela’
Here stand two separate athletes with different, yet similar training regimens and a singular goal remains constant between them: redemption. With another year of experience under their belts adjustments have been made and their focus has been sharpened. After leaving last year with bruised egos and asking “what if?” this year, prior mistakes become learning experiences from which to grow from. Nickademus and Yassine are ready – physically and mentally – for the challenges that await them come race day.
Both Yassine and Nickademus’ in depth blogs about the upcoming HURT 100 can be found here
- Yassine – HURT 100 Training
- Nickademus – HURT 100 Training