Dan's Quad Rock 50 Race Report

Cheering for Dad
I love Quad Rock, so as we were planning our race schedules this year this was a tough one to let go. But I knew it would probably be a struggle for me to get through even the 25 in May, much less at the re-scheduled June date. And as much as I hate running in the heat it was still a bit sad to watch everyone else run these beloved trails. So needless to say this year was Dan's turn to run Quad Rock...and what a year for that.

We knew it would be hot, everyone knew it would be hot, its Fort Collins in June...that just means hot. But I'm not sure how many people were really prepared for the heat. It has been a crazy spring and went from snow to 90 seemingly overnight. But we knew what to expect. We got up to Fort Collins Saturday afternoon, took James on a short hike around Horsetooth and packed Dan's gear. The early 3:00 am wake up call came Sunday morning and Dan was ready to go. Sandra picked him up, I waved goodbye and hoped I could catch a few more minutes of sleep. Being left to watch James all day by yourself is no easy task, pretty much a toss up between running Quad Rock and being on toddler duty...Quad Rock easily winning the quiet, peaceful side of that argument. 
3:45 am gearing up

James must have known what the day was bringing because he was up and at 'em early and ready to go. We headed to the Horsetooth AS at mile 10 to go meet Sandra and Dan. Sandra arrived about 1-2 min ahead of Dan and both were looking good. Granted it was only mile 10 and 60F...everyone was still pretty much looking good. James was in heaven cheering for every runner that came through. And by the time Dan left and we were packing up he was in full blown toddler tantrum mode that we were not staying. After Horsetooth we headed to Arthurs at mile 17.5. James was ready with his cowbell making sure no runner was missed as he ran up and down the trail cheering. Dan came through still on a great pace; we loaded him up and promised to see him at the turnaround. By now James was getting the hang of it so no tantrum leaving.

As we waited at the start/finish, mile 25, James shoveled sand into the fire pit, through a fit when he wasn't allowed to play with the charcoal, and the temperatures rose. Dan came through at 5:25, basically right on his target, but with the heat there it was going to be tough to keep up that pace. We covered Dan in ice, down his back, in his pack, his hat, literally wherever you could get ice we tried to put it. We refilled calories and fluids, James gave lots of hugs and kisses and cheers and then Dan was back at it, heading up into the mountains. 
25 mile turn-around

While Sandra and Dan headed out into the heat of the day James and I headed back to the cabin for a nap...well according to my plans we were going to nap...according to James a 20 min nap on the ride was sufficient. This was about the time the day was turning for all of us I guess. After a failed attempt at getting James back to sleep we were back waiting at Horsetooth. By now it was really hot and runners were much fewer and farther in between. In case Dan stayed on pace we got there early, but as expected he had fallen off so we were waiting awhile. 

Of course this ended up being the highlight of my day as we met a young girl, Margo, waiting for her mom. She was immediately taken with James, I mean  how could you not be. But she was in love and James loved playing with her as well. At one point James was on her lap and just looked at her and asked where Dad? I was ecstatic that he had verbally asked, he signed Dad as well, but it was a verbal question. It took her a couple seconds and then she said he's coming, he's coming from up there and pointed up the trail. James smiled and kept looking for him. Margo looked at me and said you know he's kinda hard to understand, but if you just listen you can totally get what he's saying. I knew she had no idea how the impact her innocent words had on me, but it was all I could do not to cry and hug her. If only all kids and really adults for that matter, could take the time to listen and get James and what all he has to say. I was never sure if Margo knew James was delayed at all or how to explain Down syndrome to her so I just let it go for the day. Just let them have fun and be innocent kids without any of the extra labels. 
Arthur's TH the finish line is in sight

When Dan finally made his way down the trail James was ecstatic showering him in hugs and cheers! Margo was amazing as she immediately became the babysitter in charge, making sure James didn't run into the parking lot or throw rocks at any of the dogs while I geared Dan up for the last 10 miles. I can't tell you how much easier she made things by spending a bit of time with James so we could get Dan in and out. Dan was definitely looking a bit more ragged as the heat had taken its toll, but he had 10 miles, there was no way I was letting him quit now. While we waited it had been a steady stream of reports on people who had dropped and what I was hearing was the drop rate was somewhere around 40-50%. The AS was littered with runners dropping or debating dropping so I just wanted to get Dan back on that trail. 
Guess I need to find some toddler
Pear Izumis!

Then it was back to Arthur's, at mile 48, where James pet his first real horse. He was definitely taken aback at how big it was, but not too scared. We listened to more numbers being called out over the radio of drops and the rate was now definitely about 50%. I got a message from Sandra's sister that she had  just finished in 3rd which was totally amazing! She had pushed hard all day and deserved a podium finish for her effort! Dan came through and we pushed him off toward the finish line you could see in the distance. He seemed less than pleased that this wasn't already the finish line, but it was at least in sight. 

The finish line was crazy...there were so few people left. Normally at this point its full of weary runners drinking and the music kicking into gear. But there were so few runners finishing even James wasn't too excited by the finish...there was no one to cheer for. Dan came through a few minutes later, about an hour behind where he had wanted to finish, but that was what seemed par for the day. Nearly everyone that had finished previously was an hour behind their times which tells me Dan was right on where he wanted to be. And regardless finishing a race in those conditions with a drop rate that high is a huge accomplishment. And really the heat wasn't anything a little hamburger, beer and a nice shower couldn't fix. All in all it was another great Quad Rock, easily one of the best run races I've every ran or crewed. I can't wait to be back next year. It also got me really excited to be able to get back to training soon. Some 14 weeks until RRR100...time to step it up and get excited about racing again.

Week June 14 - 20

Miles Running: 28.5
Hours Hiking and Running: 6
25 mile turn-around

Heading back out for the 2nd lap


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