When I dream, I dream big and so should you. No race is too hard. You just need to believe in yourself and get to work.
Like many others I started putting in the Western States lottery planning to get in 4-5 years later. Which would work great for my family because my wife is working on her masters. Well, as luck would have it, I got in with only two tickets. I had a few friends tell me that I stole their spot, but I was definitely going to take full advantage of this opportunity to run the oldest hundred miler in the United States. Training would be hard and time consuming. I was ready to put my heart and soul into making this race amazing.
I drove out to California with my daughter Thursday. We had a blast rocking-out to tunes, making the time fly by. As we passed through Truckee I told my daughter this pass coming up makes me hungry every time we go over it. She looked at me very confused as to why it would make me hungry. “Just wait till you see the pass and you’ll understand why”, I told her. We got to Donner pass and I had to explain the joke to her. She didn’t find it very funny but I laughed my head off. Had to tell the joke every time we drove up and over Donner Pass.
We stayed the night at my brother-in-law Jim’s house, just outside of Sacramento. Got up Friday morning and ran an easy 3 mile shake out. Jim made us this amazing oatmeal for breakfast with berries and nuts. Then I took my daughter clothes shopping. She had this money burning a hole in her pocket that she had won from a Chalk art competition. I don’t know how she convinced me go shopping with her but she did it. (Wife insert-he did it because he loves her and he’s a great guy.) I had fun with it. The rest of the day was busy. Drive to start for pre-race meeting which was about an hour and a half away from Sacramento. Then drive back to pick up my gorgeous wife Laurie and my awesome pacer Eric from the airport.
“5,4,3,2,1….go” the race starts at Squaw Valley Ski Resort at the base of one of the lifts. 4.5 miles of climbing to start off. Loved it. Took it easy and slowly passed a few people. I was hoping to see some of my friends that are running the race to start with them. Luckily I ran into them in the first 10 miles and we chatted it up. Cool temps were on my side. I did more heat training for this race than any other. By Duncan Canyon mile 24.4 It starting to heat up. I cooled off at the aid station and was good to go. The climb to Robinson flats mile 30, I would say was my lowest point of the race. It’ss warm, my legs feel tired, and stressed from the hill climb. Then the mental game started. “If I feel like this now there’s no way I’m going to run a sub 24 hour race.” I knew right then at that moment I had to change my thought process. In every race there are ups and downs. I was not going to let one climb, a small point of the course, or thought that I was inadequate determine the rest of my race. The mind can tell the body it’s not tired and it will respond.
Over the course of the race there is 19,000 feet of climb and 23,000 feet of downhill. I never thought I could get sick of running so much runnable downhill. But I thought to myself I could use some uphill about now, I want to walk. I love to run downhill and fast. I have to consciously back off on the down hills to not blow my quads early in the race.
There was a ton of river and little stream crossings. One river early on had water almost knee deep. My feet stayed wet for a while and I wasn’t able to change my socks to get them dried. I paid for it later. I got some big blisters on the bottom of my feet. I knew they were there but kept running through the pain.
Got to see my crew at Mission Bluff and again at Forest Hill. They were on top of things. I was able to get in and out of aid stations fast. My brother-in-law Jim and his girlfriend Kim showed up at Forest Hill also. It was great to see them there to support me. It meant a lot to me. I am so blessed to have a ton of support on the course. I was able to run all the way to Rucky Chucky mile 78 without turning on my head lamp. This is where I picked up my slave driving awesome pacer Eric. The river crossing at Rucky Chucky was in a boat this year. Normally you wade through the river in chest deep water to the other side. I was ok not to do that this year. Once on the other side Eric was ready to run up every hill. I get how it is when you start pacing. You have all this energy and ready to run. Then you start on a hill and my 78 mile deep body says no way we are running up this. With Eric leading the way and doing the math, he envisioned us coming in under 22 hours. I did the math later and don’t know were Eric learned math. With 15 miles to go, if we ran at a 5 miles an hour pace we would be closer to 21 hours. The last 10 miles I feel were the hardest. Every step my feet hurt and even more stepping on rocks. I didn’t care about the pain anymore. I had blocked it out and focused on the finish. With 3-4 miles to go I ran some of the uphills and pushed my pacer.
As we ran the final mile on the paved road of Auburn, I could hear the loud speakers at the track finish. This was it, I was almost done. My sweet 15 year old daughter met me at the gate to the track to run the final 300 meters. I was happy to have her there to share my big finish with her.
I finished in 21:35 and 50th overall. It was now 2:35 am. I have never finished a 100 miler in the dark.
Krash report: I krashed 4 times during the race. My goal was under 5. I had 2 on the snow early that didn’t hurt and felt good because of the snow. Number 3 was at mile 32 on a slight down hill. I tripped on a toe biting rock and automatically went in to a ninja tuck and roll. Was back on my feet in seconds. The last one was in the final 6 miles. I wasn’t moving that fast and got my hands out in front of me. I was upside down to my right uphill in a bush. I am was so happy it didn’t hurt.
I know I couldn’t have done it with out the support of my family and friends training with me, nutrition advice, course tips and encouragement. My wife is amazing. She is my biggest supporter. I love you Sweetie more than my running.A big shout out to Coach Stazza. The last 12 months have been amazing and better than I had hoped for. Building me up and pushing me to a new level. I am a stronger and smarter runner because of you.
Where will my dreams take me next? Where ever they take me, it will be BIG.
0-6 hours – Maurten drink mix
6-14 hours- Maurten gels
12-21 hours- water, fruit, quesadilla, PB&J, pickle juice, potatoes, Mt. Dew, warm tater tots
1-2 Salt pills every hour depending on how hot it was