You know I dream of Western States 100 right?
So far, I have qualified to enter the race and have been in the lottery twice – not made it in yet. Third time may or may not be a charm. I guess we will find out in December.
Anyway, as part of my TRT training, I decided to partake in the Western States training runs. I would get back to back long runs, and I would get some solid hill training. Plus, I would get to see part of the course that seems to draw me to it.
Day one: The plan 30.6 miles. Runners met at the Foresthill Elementary School, Because of snow in the high country, the course had to be changed. The bus dropped us off at a place called Drivers Flat, where we ran down to the river – probably dropping 1000' – then we joined the WS course and worked our way back up to Foresthill. A lot of climbing. Some descents, but mostly climbing. From Foresthill we then went up to Michigan Bluff, then turn around and back to Foresthill. I did manage to miss a turn adding an additional mile or so. I think my favorite part was crossing Volcano Creek twice – in both directions it came after a pretty long descent (and was followed by a pretty long climb) – so I took the opportunity to soak my quads, it really did seem to calm down their anger. The crossing needed a rope to get across, and the current was pretty violent, but it was a lot of fun.
It doesn't look much - but it was a pretty treacherous crossing
I really felt strong toward the end. Only thing was the cold, it started raining in the last mile, and this warm blooded body of mine that has just started heat training really suffered! I finished strong.
Day Two: The plan. 19 miles. Basically follow the WS course to Rucky Chucky which is about 16 miles, then a 3 mile climb out up to where a bus picked us up and took us back to Foresthill. Seemed to be mainly descents today, (well at least until the climb out). I definitely started to feel the effects of yesterday run after about 10 miles and my pace dropped of quite substantially. There was one spot on early on, a particularly nasty rocky gnarly descent, when I just threw myself down the hill in an effort to gain some confidence – I didn't fall, so perhaps that's what I should do. I did enjoy the views as I worked my way down to the American River – it looked so small from 3000 ft. When it came to the climb out I got a second wind, and ended up finishing strongly.
Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed both runs, and having now been on the course, nothing has been done to dampen my enthusiasm, I still really want to do the Western States 100.
I have said before, as someone who typically runs at the back of the middle of the pack (or the front of the back of the back),, when it comes to power hiking up hills, I am decidedly front of the middle of the pack or even back of the front of the pack – I am very proud of my hill climbing ability
Lunchtime heat training or hill repeats or speed work in 90 degree weather at Umstead, or skipping round the Angle Breaker trail at Jordan Lake especially in the heat, really helps to prepare for this kind of thing.
Enjoy some pictures: