Saturday, June 16, 2012

One Week to Western States

I've decided to keep updating this post throughout the week as I have more to share.

Race coverage: 
Live Webcast during the race
Twitter Feed for #WS100

Not much more to be said.  I'm as ready as I'm going to get.

I just came across some last minute motivation. posted the group think predictions from their prediction contest.  The masses have me pegged at 11th.  I want to be top 10.

3AM wakeup call.  5AM PDT start.  That means 8AM for you folks on the east coast.  Check the links above for the live webcast and look for @iRunFar on twitter to follow the race.

Wish me luck. 


Sorry I didn't post yesterday.  I was just too busy packing after a regular workday to have time to update the blog.  No big deal, I didn't have much to say anyway.

But, I'm in Squaw now...well, staying in Truckee actually.

At the starting line.  The mountains look really big.
So, my travel went as planned today, but my parents who are coming out to crew for me had some issues and arrived in Sacramento about 8 hours later than scheduled.  I went ahead and drove out to Squaw though.  And on the way, I stopped at Drivers Flat (near the WS course a few miles from Auburn, CA) to do my little shakeout run for the day.  Everything felt really good.  I've been really nervous all week planning and packing, but as soon as I set foot on the trail I had a sense of peace.

From there, I headed to Truckee but the traffic was a nightmare for reasons I don't understand, so I diverted and went straight to Squaw to hear the expert panel discussion.  Got some good advice, said hi to a few friends, and just oriented myself with the starting area.  Afterward, I headed back toward my hotel in Truckee and stopped at a burger joint for dinner.  Not a fast food burger place, but a nice burger place where you can get avocado as a topping and a side of sweet potato fries.  Plus, I ran into WSER President John Trent while I was there, so it must be the place to eat 2 nights before the race.

Everything's good.  Weather feels great.  Legs feel great.  And hopefully I can get a good night of sleep.  Check-in and medical evaluations are tomorrow.

Just get me there!

Today I put in another 5 miles that included a mini 4x800m workout just to keep the legs feeling sharp. Everything is feeling good, I just can't wait to start running.  Speaking of starting to run, want to see some video from the first 30 miles of the course?

So, I'm ready to start talking about the weather now.  It was hot today again in Cincinnati, but it doesn't look like I really need the heat training anymore.

If that forecast holds it will be the 2nd coolest day in the history of the race.  I know some people would like to see it really hot to make things interesting, but I have a feeling that a really cool race could be quite exciting as well.  I wouldn't be surprised to see some folks adjust their strategy a little bit and the finish times could be really fast.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Even if the heat is not as bad as usual, there are plenty more factors that I will need to figure out to run well in my first 100 miler.

The weather here in Cincinnati is getting quite toasty, and I finally feel like I'm starting to acclimate to the heat.  Or maybe I'm just not running far enough this deep into my taper to really feel the effects. Who knows?  But if the current forecast holds for Auburn, CA then the heat may not be a huge concern anymore.  I'm not going to say anything else, because I don't want to jinx us.

I had a good run yesterday and got caught in a torrential downpour during the last mile.  That's always fun and refreshing this time of year.  I just did 5 miles really easy today at lunch and felt good even though is was warm and muggy.

Most of you reading this probably already know by now, but an accomplished ski mountaineer, Stephane Brosse, was killed in a fall this past weekend while attempting to cross Mont Blanc with Kilian Jornet.  Kilian was the Western States champion last year and was the clear favorite again this year.  As a result of the tragedy though, Kilian will not be racing WS100 as he mourns the loss of his friend.  Please keep Stephane's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers in this difficult time.

With Miguel Heras announcing he's going to miss the race due to injury, and now Kilian being out under tragic circumstances, that leaves Ryan Sandes as the only Salomon international team athlete that will be competing as WS100.  The US contingent for Salomon is going to have to really step it up now.  Keep your eye out for Aliza Lapierre, Jorge Maravilla, and myself.

One other bit of news that you might be interested in is my pacer situation.  Some of you may have heard that Andy Henshaw was planning to pace for me, but he had to back out a couple of weeks ago due to a nagging injury.  Luckily, I had already recruited Dink Taylor to help my parents crew for me.  Dink's in great shape right now, is an experienced Western States runner, and jumped at the opportunity to run the last 38 miles with me.  Hopefully we can make it interesting.

Stay tuned...

We're a week out from Western States today.  I don't really have a lot to say, but I thought I'd do a quick post to let you know how things are going.

After the Western States training runs I did one more long run the following weekend.  I jumped in a local 50k that I've done the past two years.  It's mostly trail, but very flat and not technical.  Plus, Another Dam 50k is also a 4 loop course, so it was a great place to get in a supported long run.  I kept the pace really relaxed the first couple loops, making sure to stick to my plan and not get caught up in the race.  I picked it up a bit the last two laps, but never caught the leader, and was able to go straight into an additional lap.  It wasn't hot enough to really get in any heat training, but I was happy with my 38 miles for the day.  And in the 8 day period that included the WS training camp and AD50k I ran 163 miles.

After AD50k, I immediately went into my 3 week taper leading up to Western States.  It's tempting to want to sneak in some last minute hill training, and I heard a bunch of folks were also hitting the sauna to get some heat acclimatization.  But, on the advice of some very experienced ultra runners, I decided to shut it down, avoid the sauna, and just let the body get completely recovered.  

After a week of tapering, I expected to feel great on a little trail tempo run to keep the legs loose, but I didn't.  I actually felt awful.  I felt sluggish and the legs had absolutely no pop on the (small) climbs.  That seems to happen quite often during my tapers, but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow when it does occur.  If I've been resting a week, I think my legs should feel good.  But the more times I go through this process, the more I realize that it takes more than a week.  I think this is because the taper period usually follows a very tough phase of training, as was the case this time.

But, a bad run like that allows doubts to creep into the mind, and I didn't want that hanging over me heading into the race.  So last Wednesday, after a few more days of recovery, I went back to my favorite trails and tried again.  Much better this time.  I felt great, and was climbing as well as I ever have before.  I just had to try the workout again to keep my confidence high going into Western States.

I'm really shutting down the mileage this week, but I'll keep a little of the intensity just to keep the legs feeling fresh.  Mother nature is providing some free heat training in Cincinnati this weekend with high temperatures around 90 degrees.  I'll be heading to California Thursday morning.  Wish me luck!


  1. David, all the best at Western States. I believe you have what it takes to win that race. Enjoy the racing; enjoy the ride!

    Doug Brandt
    Columbus, Ohio

  2. We're rooting for you, David!

  3. Looking forward to spectating the race from the web and rooting for you, man!

  4. Good luck David!

    Run your race buddy and let it rip out there!

    It's going to be fun keeping track of the race...Run hard!

    I am heading to vacation this week and I'll be thinking about you while I'm on the beach, eating lunch, dinner, having a beer...

    Kyle F

  5. Awesome run, man. Congrats.