Other Notes from a First-Time Western States Finisher

With the Western States 100 still fresh in my mind, I wanted to leave a few additional pieces of advice, both as reminders for myself and as tips for anyone else who could benefit from my lessons learned.

1. Carry an extra bottle of water from Robinson Flat through Michigan Bluff

Western States 100__June 23, 2018__119

Before I got there,  my crew poured half a root beer into a small, plastic water bottle for me to drink at Robinson Flat. As I finished it, my coach told me to hold onto the empty bottle, advising me that when I reached any creek crossing, I should fill the bottle and use it to douse myself on the climbs. He did made sure to mention not to drink the creek water — if I did, I would regret it in the following weeks.

I carried that little bottle for 14 miles before I finally put it to use — at one of the aid stations I was really tempted to throw it away, but I didn’t — and during the climb up Devil’s Thumb and up into Michigan Bluff, I was sure happy I hadn’t tossed it.

Continue reading “Other Notes from a First-Time Western States Finisher”

My 2018 Western States 100

western-states-100__june-21-2018__18.jpg

Last weekend I finished a race that — for me — started a decade ago: The Western States 100.

IMG_1741

This race meant a lot already, but this one had an extra layer because Sara and I headed out with a much larger group than we were used to. We had my son, my dad, Grandma T, Sara’s parents, and friends Kelley and Tristen. We’ve been racing primarily alone for a while, so having our friends and family with us made this experience even more special.

We arrived on Wednesday and spent Thursday and Friday soaking up as much of the Western States community as we could. We made it to the flag raising ceremony, the Truckee Food Truck festival, and spent a full day at the event check-in.

In those days leading up to Saturday’s 5 a.m. start we chugged as much water and tried to get as much sleep as we could. When Saturday morning rolled around, both of us were feeling pretty good as we showed up to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort for the start of the Western States 100.

The actual start was a surreal experience. After years of thinking about starting this race we were finally here.

It was going to happen, we were going to run the Western States 100.

Continue reading “My 2018 Western States 100”

2018: A Year of Focus

This is the obligatory, “It has been a while, but I am back” blog post.

Last year, I fell off in keeping up this site and contributing to The Endurist — my side project with Sara.

I enjoy reading the regularly updated blogs, such as Writer on Writing by Peter Clines and Macdrifter from Gabe Weatherhead. I was recently going through their archives and found myself wishing I had maintained this site a little better.

So here it is.

Continue reading “2018: A Year of Focus”

I Suck at Pistol Squats — And Other Reasons I Hate Not Running

15350561_10103104130843885_3885246570606762019_n

Last weekend I ran MGM, a local 50K. This is a big deal, because it was the first time I had ran “long” since the Bigfoot 200 in August.

This 50K meant a lot, because it’s been a long frustrating and road back to my regular running routine.

After Bigfoot I decided I needed to take some time to let a nagging ache in my foot get better — turns out I had been running all year with Insertional Achilles Tendinitis.

What does ignoring a problem like this for a whole year get you? Eight weeks of no running, six weeks of physical therapy, and a new found appreciation for cross training and overall strength.

Why did I let it go so long? Because not running sucks.

Continue reading “I Suck at Pistol Squats — And Other Reasons I Hate Not Running”

The 200 Project S1:E7 | The Bigfoot 200

Sara and I after leaving the Windy Ridge (31.3) Aid Station. I was feeling much more human after getting some real food back in my stomach.

The Bigfoot 200 was the culmination of almost two years of planning and training. In my head — finish or fail — my participation in this event was going to be my victory lap.

In November 2014, I found myself in the middle of a surprise divorce.

Shaken both emotionally and financially, I was forced to reevaluate my plans to run the 2015 Grand to Grand Ultra, a unique multi-day challenge that was going to be the farthest I had traveled for a race. Instead, I sent a painful email to the race director and donated the non-refundable portion of my entry fee.

When I hit send on that email, I told myself that I would stay local in 2015, and then in 2016 I would travel.

This trip was the culmination of those two years.

Continue reading “The 200 Project S1:E7 | The Bigfoot 200”

The 200 Project S1:E5 | The Bighorn 100

About 15 miles from the finish. Every step into the canyon got hotter.
About 15 miles from the finish. Every step into the canyon got hotter.
June’s Bighorn 100 wasn’t the race I wanted, but it turned into the training run I needed.

That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

Before I flew out, I had this romantic idea that I would write this amazing race report on the plane ride back. I also had some preconceptions about how well I wanted to run it.

Neither happened.

Continue reading “The 200 Project S1:E5 | The Bighorn 100”