As part of the Way Too Cool 50k Media Weekend, Don and Scott thought it would be fun to introduce me to the WS100 trails before heading into our full day of Live podcasting. I couldn’t have been more excited at the idea and looking back now- I chuckle a bit because it also turned into one of the most wonderfully exhausting days I’ve had in awhile. Early morning wake up call, 18 miles of trail running and 8 hours of straight talking. Solid!
3:45am came quickly, but I was so excited about getting on those trails- it motivated my eyelids to stay open! I was a tad weary, having flown in the night before and grabbing a late dinner with Don and teammate Chris Vargo- and then meeting Don’s lovely family…I don’t think we turned in until 11pm.
4:10am and we were on the road- tired eyes but excitedly chatting away as we drove through dark streets. Once arrived, we stepped out of the car and I immediately looked up- knowing the clear dark sky would be plastered with millions of stars…I love spotting constellations and any chance to see a thick starry sky. The temps were much colder than expected and despite my gloves, my hands were frozen and would stay that way the entire run. I surveyed the area- looking up and down the streets…I took a moment to envision myself coming into the aid station…happy and feeling good. I got a little giddy at the thought, “I get to run Western States! WESTERN STATES!!”
Don had an extra Petzl headlamp for me to try and considering the only headlamp I have right now is one made by Energizer (yes, I bought it at Wal-Mart for $8 one year when I realized I had forgotten mine en route to the mountains) I was immediately impressed. It lit up the area around me so well, kind of felt like I was in my livingroom- no tunnel vision or obscure shadows- just incredible. Don also had me try Tailwind Nutrition. We talk about it on the podcast all the time and I had yet to try it. I’m still testing it out and so far…Love it!
The plan was to do 18 miles (starting at the Forest Hill Aid Station area where we parked); also the first place runners can pick up a pacer on race day. So we began our run to the trailhead- first a short bit through the neighborhood and then we hit the dirt. As we plodded along, I was treated to dozens of stories about the race, training, old friends and fond memories which make WS100 so incredible. Both Don and Scott have run WS so I was picking their brain and soaking in as much advice as I could. The miles began to chip away and soon the sun began to peek out; the morning fog began to lift from the canyons and the rays of light revealed the spectactular tree-lined trails we had been on for the past 90 minutes. It was absolutely gorgeous! I fell in love with those trails just on that small portion- I enjoyed a few fun descents and the terrain on that section was easy to run; I imagine if a runner is feeling good on race day, he/she can really haul! (Mental note taken)
The 18 miles went quickly- mainly because conversation was inspiring and the stories we shared were encouraging- I genuninely enjoyed learning more about Don’s journey and his sheer zest for life and love for people..as well as his passion for the trail running community. We were also able to “talk shop” about the podcasts we’d be doing later that day (which proved incredibly helpful as we brought up “our run” several times in the podcasts- ha!) As we made the last climb, Don pointed to a corner; “just around that corner and we’re done.” I laughed for a second because I thought he was joking, but sure enough, we turned the corner and there was Scott sitting in his red truck. “We’re already done?! No!” (side note: Scott was only able to run a portion with us…had to get work calls done, but picked us up on the other side..what a guy! Thanks Scott!)
I’m looking forward to getting up there again in May for the Training Weekend; my main goals for those three days are to simply get a feel for the course and log as many visuals as possible. I consider it invaluable for the opportunity to train on the trails you will eventually race; mainly for the mental side of racing. I realize it’s not always easy or even realistic for many runners to preview a course but if the opportunity presents itself, I say go for it!
Thank you Scott and Don for sacrificing sleep so we could get the run in; and for the incredible stories and advice you shared with me; I’m so grateful for both of you! Until next time…and as we like to say…“Run…Mas!”