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Up Topic General / Letters and Opinions / 2017 Western States 100 report
- By IB [us] Date 2017-06-30 7:39 PM Edited 2017-06-30 7:42 PM
How do I start this story? I suppose some history from my perspective would be a good way. Back in 2011 after having run Dick Collins Firetrails 50 our esteemed SNF suggested I get my Western States lottery application ready. At that time I was still pretty certain I didn't want anything to do with Western States. Too hot, too many hills, too prestigious, too tough, blah blah blah. That changed but honestly not until 2015 did I start thinking I was going to have to get into the lottery process. Towards the end of that year while planning my 2016 schedule I figured it was time to run another qualifier so that I could actually get a ticket count going. Lo & behold one ticket and I was in for the 44th Western States!

My training went really well for the most part. I was running strong on hills and took quite a few segments on Strava. I did have one minor setback, during The Relay on May 6th I either pulled or strained my left glute muscle. It was troublesome for a while. It tended to cause the beginning of my runs to be slow and a bit painful until a mile or two in. One night at yoga (May 23rd) we did pigeon pose and the next day I was able to start my run almost normally. This continued to improve along the way and honestly I'm not using this as an excuse for what ended up happening during the race. I have a much better excuse.  : pbbt:  I shall get to that just a little later.

I went up to the Lake Tahoe area a week before the race in an attempt to acclimate to the elevation. Not sure how much it helped but I wouldn't change having done so even if I could. I spent the first two nights in the minivan I had rented for the trip. Then Monday night I was invited to dinner at the tahoeblue household. He also extended an invitation to spend the night if I didn't feel up to driving back to Squaw Valley after dinner. That sounded like a good idea to me and I accepted. It was very nice meeting him & his lovely wife. He made a very nice pasta dinner for us. There was also homemade ice cream for dessert! We spent much of the evening talking about running, which I'm sure comes as a surprise. Before calling it a night they had me empty the vehicle of food items to alleviate the chances of a bear break in. That was the moment when it dawned on me what a risk I had taken the two previous nights. Spent the two days prior to the race in fan-boy mode, getting some autographs in my Western States program.

I got into bed later than I wanted to on Thursday and Friday nights but not too bad on Thursday. I think I got around seven to seven and a half hours of sleep Thursday into Friday but less than five and a half hours Friday into Saturday. The alarm went off at 0252. I got dressed, drank a glass of Naked brand blueberry smoothie and brought coffee to Whitney. She was going to just drive me up to the start and then head back to Tahoe City to get a bit more rest before beginning the long day of crewing. Her sister Sara and my pacer Barclay would be helping with the crewing until he was going to join me on the course at Foresthill. The plan was for them to meet me at Robinson Flat at 1120, that was based on the average 23rd hour runner over the course of the previous two years. I also had a set of more conservative splits based on Matt Keyes, a very consistent sub 24 hour runner. There was some concern on my part that I would take it out faster than that. So as a just in case they missed me type of plan I told them to wait until 1220. This will come up later so keep it in mind.  :wink:

Of course I listened to TOOL on the drive up to Squaw Valley. Originally she was just going to drop me off but we forgot to get a photo of me in front of the starting line the day before. So she had to make the journey up there with me. The sacrifices our loved ones must go through for us. Check back later, I might be able to figure out a way to share photos. There are some pretty good ones but I'm not going to try photobucket again. So after she took a couple of photos I gave her a kiss then she went back to the minivan and I went in to grab something from the continental breakfast. Found a sugar topped blueberry muffin that looked (and was) very tasty. While waiting for the start I had a few encounters I want to share. The first was wishing Cat Bradley a very good race. She kindly returned the favor pointing out that I was running it too. I responded "Yes but not as fast as you will". Later I saw the guy with bib 360 and since I had requested that one because it is my Marathon Maniac number I hoped to ask the guy that got it why he wanted it. Turns out he is 36 years old and figured he couldn't get that number. Unfortunately he was just ahead of me alphabetically or perhaps he got his request in before I did mine, either way he ended up with it and I obviously did not. He did run a very fine race, finishing just over 24 hours.

The historic starting of the race with a shotgun blast sent us off at 0500! The split will say that I didn't start out too fast but if I didn't start out too fast how was I hanging around / just behind women like Meghan Laws, Amanda Basham, & Fiona Hayvice? All of them played some part in that scenario at least through eight miles. I was hiking up the first climb at one point and Meghan ran by, but she was barely moving faster than I was and I was able to keep her nearby. With some spots when I would run I was ahead of her going over the top of the escarpment. She did pass me right around the eight mile mark and she arrived at the first aid station (Lyon Ridge = 10.3 miles) three minutes before I did. Amanda went over the escarpment just a bit before I did, I had been hiking much of the snow up near the top just behind her. She made it to the aid station five minutes before I did but ended up dropping out at the third aid station. When I got behind her I asked "Is that Fiona in front of me?" she replied that it was and asked who was behind her. I gave her my first name and wished her a good race. She would also make it to the first aid station three minutes ahead of me and went on to an F5 finish! My split to the first aid station was 2:28:14 according to the ultralive.net site, all times will come from there. Based on the conditions of this first section and I'll go into that a bit, I was okay with this. It was 16 minutes more than the avg pace & 6 more than the Keyes pace (Kp). So mentioning the situation out on the course seems like a good idea right about now. Particularly since this was the section that was truly problematic. So climbing up to the escarpment had some major sections of snow hiking involved. Once over the top and heading down the other side it was rather nice for a while. Then we got onto more snow. I did a butt slide down one spot, it was a touch more steep than I had calculated and I had a rougher landing on the dirt at the bottom than I had anticipated. Nothing serious, no harm done & very little embarrassment. I had been given an inside warning about miles six to nine by snf and they also went over it in the pre-race meeting. Well it was as bad as advertised if not a bit more horrific. Must admit that a time or two out there I thought 'This is some seriously adventurous fun'. I did state to anyone nearby at one point that "Not many Western Staters can claim an adventure like this". When I thought we were likely out of the mud bog I sat down at a snow melt creek. Took off my shoes, rinsed off my legs with the socks on and gave the shoes a good splash. Put them back on and got out of there. Can't recall for sure if it was before or after the first aid station. I do know that I stopped around mile nine to make some yellow snow.

On my way to the second aid station (Red Star Ridge = 15.8 miles) I realized I hadn't been eating enough. Unfortunately I didn't do much to change that situation, this was certainly one of my first / early mistakes. At some point either going into the first aid station or shortly after leaving it I wound up just behind Camille Heron. (Okay, looking at ultralive.net it shows me two minutes ahead of her at Lyon Ridge but it also shows me eighteen minutes ahead of her at Red Star Ridge. I am 100% certain she got there before me. Not sure how much faith to put into the numbers.) At the time I assumed she had recently gotten ahead of me after having actually gone out conservatively. Found out later she was the first female over the escarpment so I must have passed her. She was wearing a pair of short shorts, short enough that a bit of each cheek was hanging out. Just after cougar rock (where I paused to allow the photographer to get a good shot) she went by while I was stopped removing a rock from one of my shoes. Made it down to the aid station with 3:52:00 elapsed, a split of 1:24 for the section which was another +14 minutes on the avg pace & +10 on the Kp. So very early on and I'm already as much as 30 minutes behind = wow. Hmmmm, time to reassess? I hated the idea of giving in so early but I had stated all along that I would not do anything to jeopardize a finish. I HAD to finish no matter what. But I could also tell that the elevation was probably having an affect on me. I had a minor headache and felt a bit sluggish. So perhaps there was still room for things to turn around.

Nothing stands out to me on the way to the third aid station (Duncan Canyon = 24.4 miles). No split for this section, it will be included with the split to the next aid station. When I got to Duncan I believe it was Jake that took care of me. He noticed I was from Oakland (it was on my bib) and stated he was from Berkeley. I told him "I won't hold that against you" and he laughed. He topped off my fluids, I had been carrying two hand held bottles since the start. I ate a few things, was given a cold splash of water from the sponge bucket and got out of there. I do recall having given up even more time on both sets of my splits.

On the way to Robinson Flat aid station (30.3 miles) I took a nice dip in Duncan Creek. I had been wetting my hat early & often in flowing streams but this was my first soak, it was very refreshing. There was a photographer there, not too sure how that is going to turn out for me. I had been getting a little worried about making Robinson Flat by 1220. After the soak I started moving a bit better. As I was passing one guy he said "You're back". I told him that I was feeling better but also worried about missing my crew. The time of my arrival is set at 1219. When I made it in I was frantically looking down the throng of people for my crew. One of the volunteers asked what I needed and I told her that I needed my crew. She went out and found them as they had just finished packing up, told them I was in and to wait for me. Then she came back to let me know, all the while I was getting my bottles filled and eating some fruit at the aid station. Made it out to them and it was time for a gear swap, clothing change, eat some applesauce, let them know what was going on and try to get out of there type of stop. This was a very long break and in general I was really poor at aid station time management, particularly at the crew spots. I told them to hope for the best but I wasn't sure if I could make up any of the lost time. My split here from Red Star Ridge was 3:27 for a combined +30 avg pace for the two aid stations and +19 Kp. Knowing that I was already an hour behind the average runner I decided it was time to stop even worrying about splits.

One of the things I did at Robinson Flat was to change into a new pair of socks and shoes. At this point my feet still felt and looked okay. I cleaned the feet off well and used a hand towel to dry them. These were the same shoes I wore for this section during the training weekend. I had no problems then so it seemed right to use them again. My best guess is that my right big toenail was clipped back further then or I had tightened the shoes a bit more. Because before I even made it to Michigan Bluff I knew that I would be losing that nail. I was at least hoping to keep it for the race and I got lucky there or maybe I didn't get lucky. Perhaps if it had fallen off the release of pressure would have made it easier for me to run downhill later in the race? Not sure, but what I do know is that I definitely began to struggle with downhill running and this next section had a lot of it.

Leaving the aid station I began to hike the remainder of the climb before it hits the predominantly downhill section. Can't recall his name but I spent this section with another guy. As we were coming down the back side of the hill I saw a sponge on the ground near a snow melt runoff spot. So I used it to wet down my arm sleeves. I had purchased a pair of Columbia omni-freeze zero sleeves and these things were awesome! The other thing which definitely exceeded my expectation was the ice bandana I used. I won it as a raffle prize at the Coastal Trail Runs Blazer Awards ceremony in February. It still had ice in it when I would arrive at the next aid station! Prior to this race I had always just used a regular bandana with ice rolled up in it.

Running down to Miller's Defeat (34.4 miles) I wasn't feeling any bounce back coming on. It was definitely looking like it just wasn't going to be my day. Fairly certain that my main problem was not taking in enough calories. I just wasn't eating much of anything in between aid stations and then only having a couple of small items at an aid station. This was in direct opposition to what I had preached to myself prior to the race. Not sure how or why I let that happen.

Someone that Whitney knows said one of her friends had volunteered at Dusty Corners (38.0 miles) and remembers me. I don't remember anything other than feeling very much unlike what I wanted to. In general I do recall thanking volunteers at pretty much every aid station. I'm getting the feeling that this race report is beginning to blow about as much as my race did. Unfortunately for all of you reading this I shall continue to trudge forward just as I did then.
- By IB [us] Date 2017-06-30 7:40 PM
I think it was on the way to Last Chance (43.3 miles) that I began to take notice of the fact that my feet were hurting. Of course I took that as another wonderful sign of how my day was going to play out. When I got to the aid station I saw that Bree Lambert was sitting with an ice pack on her head, she did not look good. The volunteers managed to scoot her out of there before I hit the trail. I left soon afterward, caught and passed her. Not too far out from the aid station I got to a spot on the fire road where we would turn onto single track trail. Standing there were three or four people and one of them was Ann Trason. She said "Nice work Troy", so very considerate of her to lie like that.  : pbbt:  It was very unfortunate that my feet were hurting so much. I had enjoyed running down this section during the training weekend and was hoping to improve my time. When I managed to make it down to Swinging Bridge I chose to go into the river, mostly in hopes of alleviating some of the pain in my feet. Thinking that maybe it would be cold enough to numb them somewhat, didn't work very well. Guess while I was down there Bree went by because during my hike up to Devil's Thumb (47.8 miles) I passed her sitting on a rock at the side of the trail. She is (at the very least) a local elite runner and was mentioned in the Women's Preview at irunfar. One thing that I do take away from my finish in this race is that I did keep going, I endured. With 33% of the field dropping out that is a badge to wear proudly.

As I was nearing the top of the climb to Devil's Thumb I heard his voice before I saw soundandfury. He was heading down to check on a runner that was having some difficulty, another semi-elite female whom I thought would end up dropping based on how she was looking but she actually rallied and finished well ahead of me. After he made his way back up he came over and talked to me. It certainly helped to fortify my resolve to finish this thing even if the day wasn't going to go the way I had hoped. After checking out of the aid station I went over to use the port-a-potty. Upon exiting it I was able to say hello to JennyO, then it was time to hit the trail.

Strava shows that my time on the segment Devil's Thumb to El Dorado is 1:11:12 which is 58 seconds slower than what I did on the training weekend. There were some steep sections of downhill that I was pretty much walking since my feet were feeling awful. When I got to the El Dorado Creek aid station (52.9 miles) my first thought was to go down and get in the creek. The cold water felt really good on my legs and I drank a couple of handfuls of it too. I remember they had blueberries at this aid station. As soon as I saw them I knew that I could easily get some of them down. Whitney was supposed to have gotten blueberries for me but she forgot.

Another look at Strava tells me that I was again really close to my training weekend pace on the section from El Dorado to Michigan Bluff = 55:32 compared to 54:45. Arriving at the aid station (55.7 miles) it was really good to see the crew. It was supposed to have been six hours after arriving at Robinson Flat instead it had taken almost seven and a half. Almost immediately Barclay asked what I needed & I responded "I need to apologize to you, this wasn't what I promised". He was very cool about shrugging that off and told me not to worry about it. I'm glad I got it off my chest though. I had a volunteer fill my bottles and I grabbed some watermelon. As I continued on down the aid station line I saw some avocado and I used a couple of potato chips to scoop up some of it. The chips tasted way too salty to me. Decided to just head down to where they had set things up for me and plop into the chair. Pretty sure I ate some more applesauce but not sure if it was one or two pouches. I also had grabbed a can of Mt. Dew from the aid station and I drank that while trying to eat a Snickers bar which I had placed in the freezer overnight and had them keep on ice during the day. Managed to get through about half of it before deciding it was too much for me to finish. I think I was just overloading on sweet and couldn't get the whole thing consumed. There was a photo taken here and looking at it afterwards it looks like I was totally destroyed, ready to fall asleep. I thought I had put on a good show of being peppy at the time. After spending about 19 minutes here it was well past time to get moving.

The course follows a road out of Michigan Bluff for maybe a mile and a half then it turns onto a trail. Not very long after getting onto the trail and attempting to run my stomach began to give me the middle finger. Started to wonder if I was finally going to really puke during an ultra and then decided it was worth a try. Moved off the trail a little way and stuck a finger down my throat. Managed to heave a few times and would burp afterwards but nothing came up. I had become a major mosquito target and decided I was done giving blood so I started to move on just as a guy and his pacer came by. They asked if I was alright and I explained the situation. Then they invited me to walk with them and I accepted the offer of company. When another racer/pacer set came through running I decided to give that a go. The pacer that had invited me to walk with them said something like "Look at you running again" and I responded that if running was going to make me throw up, then so be it. I kept slogging along until I felt a crazy painful blister form on the outer edge of my right heel. That happened just before hitting Bath Road and I got lucky in regards to the timing of it. Not too long after sitting down to pop it a racer/pacer set were going by (maybe even the same two that invited me to walk with them) and the pacer said she was an ER PA. She had a decent stash of medical stuff with her and was able to get me bandaged up well enough to make it to Foresthill where I could get better foot care.

Made it into Foresthill (62.0 miles) at 2158, Barclay was there to greet me. Whitney & Sara were not far away and just outside the fenced off area. I told them that I needed my change of shoes and a clean pair of socks. They went down to where they had set up to crew for me, got what I asked for and brought it back to Barclay who found me inside the medical area in the school. As they were helping to remove my shoes and socks I had to stop them when the right sock was starting to go over my big toe. I then carefully took the sock off of that toe, the nail was floating on a huge blister. I should have pointed that out and had it worked on too but I did not. I'm assuming it was a doctor that helped me. He did a great job of cleaning my feet and then patching up the heel. The rest of the race it never came back to bother me. With the foot fixed up fairly well and wearing clean socks and shoes, I made it out of the medical area. Someone had asked if I needed any food & I requested a quesadilla. Took that with me and plopped back into a chair at the van. Opened a can of PBR only making it about three quarters of the way through it before deciding it was time to leave.
- By IB [us] Date 2017-06-30 7:40 PM
This next section was the best and happiest I had felt in a very long time during this race. I definitely had upbeat times and I was trying to be grateful for the fact that I was taking part in Western States even if it wasn't going as I had hoped. But this section was very easy to be positive on and most of that is directly related to the fact that I started moving well and passing people, quite a few in fact. The splits won't show it because there is no information relayed from Cal-1 aid station (65.7 miles). I probably passed at least eight runners but most if not all of them would pass me back shortly after Cal-1. I had commented to Barclay that passing people was making my stomach feel better. I can't recall what I ate at Cal-1 but whatever it was it did not sit well with me.

Started out of there still feeling okay but not very long into the journey to Cal-2 I sat down with stomach distress. Once again I was hoping to puke but the same thing happened as before, some heaving & burping only. So we moved on down the trail a ways more until I decided to stop again. This time I was going to eat a piece of candied ginger to hopefully help the stomach. When I opened the pouch to get it out I saw the gels & chews in there as well and I began to vomit. Mostly just liquid but a few chunks of something came out as well. I probably should have gone with a finger down the throat so that I could get a full reset but I did not.

I think I went with some veggie broth and ginger ale at Cal-2 (70.7 miles). I remember someone saying it was 'all downhill to the river except for one hill we call the six minute hill'. I knew this was not entirely true, there are some rollers as well but no serious climbs other than six minute hill. Very pleased to state that it took us less than eight minutes to get up six minute hill. Looks like on Strava the Bottle Hill Rd Climb segment is most of the climb but it doesn't quite go all the way to the top. My effort for that segment during the race is listed as 6:10, so not too bad.

Shortly after going over the top of that climb we arrived at Cal-3 (73.0 miles) and I don't recall a thing about being there. Not sure exactly when it was but at some point on the way to the river crossing I did tell Barclay that I had not paid any attention to cutoffs before the race. It had never occurred to me to study them since I didn't expect to be challenged by them. There is no time information for Cal-3 but I do see that I made it into Cal-2 almost an hour and a half ahead of that cutoff.

Vaguely recall that I began to move better on the way to Rucky Chucky aid station (78.0 miles). What I know for sure is that getting there was a mental relief. Prior to getting there I remember someone telling us that once we cross the river the cutoffs become 'softer'. One thing I felt certain of was that once I made it past Green Gate I was going to finish. I assumed correctly that this would be the last time I saw Whitney & Sara until the finish line. Prior to the race I had told them that they could go to Pointed Rocks aid station if they felt like it or they could just go to the finish line. With me being almost five hours later than I had planned to get here they chose wisely to get some rest. Sat down in the chair and started knocking back a Rock Star energy drink, might have finished off half of it. Towards the end of my time sitting I began to shiver horribly but knew that I would be fine once I started moving again. It wasn't cold that is for sure. One thing we all got a chuckle out of was when I stated something like 'Okay, only 32 miles to go. I can do that'.

Crossed the river in a raft and the guy rowing the thing worked it like a pro! Hit the ground on the other side and I grabbed the long sleeve technical shirt I had in my drop bag and tied it around my waist where it stayed until removing it as I began to enter the stadium. I didn't really think I would need it but since I had been shaking so much while in the chair I figured it was better to take it and not need it than the other way around. We held a good hiking pace up the hill. Told Barclay that I recalled there being some sections that I could run but I was likely to hike the entire thing. The 39 minutes it took me from checking in at Rucky Chucky to checking in at Green Gate (79.8 miles) is only one minute more than the avg pace I had charted out. Of course I had no idea I had done that well at the time.

Heading to Auburn Lake Trails (85.2 miles) we got into a convoy of runners and I didn't push myself like I probably should have. I was okay going at whatever pace the front person was setting, looking back I do regret that. If I had enough energy to catch him I clearly had enough energy to pass him. Decided before we got there that I was going to sit down and eat a pancake. My stomach had been grumbling at me a few times on the way there. I told the volunteer that was getting it for me to make sure there was lots of syrup otherwise it wasn't likely to go down very easily. Shortly after he handed it to me a different volunteer asked if I wanted some pancakes with my syrup.  :roll:  We had arrived at the aid station at 0536 (in 199th place) and the sky had been getting lighter. That probably helped some but getting in some solid food definitely felt good. On the way to the next aid station I started feeling quite a bit better.

At Quarry Road aid station (90.7 miles) something really clicked. Got there at 0706 in 194th place, I ate a bunch of ginger cookies and I might have drank some more Mt. Dew. As soon as we got out of there it was on! I felt like I was putting on something of a show for other runners. I was flying (at least it felt that way) up hills, running them instead of hiking. At one point Barclay asked "Were you just faking being tired back there?". I told him that this often happens at the end of 100 milers, I find that I have a reserve of energy that I didn't tap into prior and I begin to move really well. We continued to move past people with relative ease and from this point on (in spite of what ultralive.net shows, because nobody passed me between Robie Pt & the finish line) I was only passed once or twice on downhill sections. I set quite a few Strava PRs in the last ten miles. One spot in particular that I remember was going up after Walmsley's turn. I felt like a mountain goat, bounding over rocks and running uphill. Near the Hwy 49 crossing we caught up to another runner and his pacer. Guess we freaked the runner out a bit, his pacer reassured him that it was just people and not an animal chasing him. He then told us that his runner had been 'seeing animals' for quite some time. The runner did decide to step on the gas pedal a bit and so that led me to a different tactic. I let him go and actually slowed to a walk on a relatively flat section. Barclay didn't say anything but I could tell he was wondering what was going on. When we got to the base of the next climb I looked up and saw that they were hiking so we began running.  :grin:  Didn't take long for the predators to pass the prey. Even when things haven't been going particularly well I can find a way to compete at the end of a race. Believe I passed one more runner before getting to the next aid station.

As we were approaching Pointed Rocks (94.3 miles) Barclay asked what I wanted when we got there. I told him that I hoped they would have ginger cookies.  :laugh:  The best he could do were chocolate chip cookies. I also ate a popsicle which I think was pineapple flavored. Spent a bit too much time here having arrived at 0808 (in 189th place) & we left eight minutes later. The one problem I was still dealing with was going downhill. There is a one mile downhill segment on the way to the next aid station that Strava shows me at 15:30 per mile. Fortunately there isn't much downhill after getting to that next aid station.

Once I got to the No Hands Bridge aid station (96.8 miles) I didn't spend much time there at all. Might have grabbed some Mt. Dew and took off. Picked off quite a few runners on the trail to the last aid station on the course. I did choose to make a minor stop at the waterfall but only to dip my hat in the stream leading away from it. When I did that, one guy got back in front of me momentarily but I ran up the trail on the other side of the bridge while he was hiking it. Kept the hammer down for the most part. I did hike a couple of the steep trail sections up near the top. Just before Robie Pt (98.9 miles) there was a bicyclist standing with his bike and talking to another spectator. As I was going by he commented that I was still smiling. I took off my hat and said "I'm smiling because I'm about to win the mohawk division at Western States". Split shows me here at 0924 and in 172nd place which is not correct, as mentioned previously. Looking back at the average 23rd hour finisher pace I was nine minutes faster. That was after having been only one minute slower on the section to Pointed Rocks.

Even though I didn't need the water I stopped at the fountain on Robie Dr which the owners of the house have placed there for runners. In the vein of honoring their gift by partaking. Then it was all business to the finish line. As we were making the turn onto Lubeck Rd there was an older couple spectating and the gentleman stated "You're the first one to come through here while running". Clearly he wasn't out there twelve hours earlier. All the same I nodded my head and thanked him. I also took the boost it gave me and started working a bit more. There was one guy back there that I had seen arrive at an aid station or two as I was leaving. He wasn't that far behind me, he was looking pretty strong and I didn't want to be passed.

As we were approaching the gate to the track I took off my hat and the shirt tied around my waist. I hit the track and some serious emotional response hit back. I chose lane 4 for my trip to the finish line. Not long after getting on the track I was being cheered by tahoeblue! That was a huge surprise. I remember his wife was there too. They had talked about maybe meeting me in the afternoon on Saturday but I wasn't too concerned that they hadn't shown up. I wasn't surprised that they hadn't either since it is way out of the way to the spot where they might have been able to see me. So now I'm just cruising around the track and soaking up the feeling of it. The fact that I was about to finish the Western States Endurance Run was very overwhelming. I'm not in pain in this photo, that is one of those half laugh, half cry in joy moments. I absolutely love this one.

I crossed the finish line and barely managed to keep it together. I remember being ecstatic! It felt so very awesome to cross that finish line. I recall someone putting a medal around my neck. Then I was pretty quickly ushered into the medical tent because I was taking part in the research study and they needed to take some blood. The young lady that was to do the deed took a long time to ascertain my very prominent veins were not my artery. Since we are at the end of the story and things are a bit blurry right now, I'm going to wrap this up. Sort of, anyway...

28:40:12
I finished 177th out of 248 overall on a day when only two thirds of the starters finished. "So yeah I beat Walmsley."
This being the 44th Western States it ranks as the 4th hardest since 1986.

Buckle

One of the autographs I had gotten before the race was that of Nikki Kimball. At one point during the race on Saturday she saw me and stated that I was still smiling just as much as I had been the day before. One of my goals was to enjoy the experience as much as possible. I did do that and tried to respect that attitude as much and as often as possible. At one of the aid stations in the afternoon someone had asked how I was doing. I responded that the day wasn't going the way I had hoped but I was happy to be doing what I was and that there was nowhere else I would rather be.

I had told my crew not to let me in on any race knowledge they might pick up. If I heard something while out on the course or at an aid station, so be it. Otherwise I wanted to find out as much about it as possible afterwards. I think part of that decision was an emotional barricade of sorts. So that if things weren't happening up front the way I hoped they would then I wouldn't be 'wounded' by that. I recall hearing about the race in only two instances. The first was right around three miles in when a spectator/friend told a racer that Walmsley had come by three minutes before Olsson. Then it must have been either Devil's Thumb or Michigan Bluff where I heard that Walmsley had gone through Robinson Flat just about even with his 2016 pace but had gotten through the aid station I was at faster than the year before. I could research that but I've been working on this report for far too long. It is time to get this thing posted.

If you are interested in seeing any other photos you can always check back later. I'll add them as a new post to the original thread. Of course that is assuming I haven't totally screwed up all of the facebook links in this thing. EDIT BEFORE POSTING: Okay, I did a preview and most of the facebook photos did not work so I took out all of those links. I left the text as is & maybe I can quote it later and add the photos.
- - By IB [us] Date 2017-06-30 9:24 PM
link to photos

You can figure out when or where they are especially if you actually read this insanely long report. The two of you who may have read this but aren't on fb (thank you TheBeard & adamswims) I'm sorry for being lazy.
Parent - - By Tommeke Date 2017-07-01 7:18 AM
congratulations! :cool:
Did read the whole thing :wink:
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:08 AM
thanks
Parent - - By Xtreme Taper Date 2017-07-01 7:43 AM
Made it through the whole report, just like you did in the race. I was tracking you on/off over the weekend, and somehow thought you had made a surge at the end. Must have been the pancake with the syrup. Always impressed how you manage to find that gear late in a race of this distance. Good stuff. Hot day out there from all accounts, or was it pretty much normal conditions. The year I crewed out there, it was crazy cold until Michigan Bluff. I froze standing around at Robinson Flat. Anyways, so glad you got that finish and that buckle. Hearty congratulations to you and well done! Great perspective on the race.
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:10 AM
It might have been a touch hotter than usual but I believe my heat management was pretty good. I commented at one point during the afternoon that maybe it hadn't gotten as hot as projected and someone replied with something like 'I don't know, it is pretty hot though'.
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-09 10:07 PM
This much I am quite certain of, nobody was freezing at Robinson Flat this year. It was already quite warm even there.
Parent - - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-01 1:08 PM
Parent - By Tommeke Date 2017-07-02 6:45 PM
I like the "oooooh" face in the water :laugh:
Parent - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2017-07-03 9:49 AM
You look so happy in most of those pics, even though I know you were suffering, you can tell you were just happy to be there and taking it all in. :hug:
Parent - - By tahoeblue (spamkiller) Date 2017-07-01 3:06 PM
It was great having you visit and then being able to watch you finish!  Well done.

I'd also like to commend you for the proper use of the "Post" button in this thread.  If only The Beard would take note.
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:10 AM
Thank you.
Parent - - By swandive Date 2017-07-02 9:00 PM
Congratulations! 

Not sure if you remember me, but I just happened to be over here to report in on the weekly mileage challenge.  We met briefly in SF back in 2011.  Anyway, just wanted to say hello and nicely done. :cool:
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:11 AM
Yes, I do remember you and thanks for your kind words.
Parent - - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2017-07-03 9:46 AM
I read the whole thing and loved it! I especially love the pic of you on the track, so joyful. Wow, what a story. Thank you for sharing. :hug:

Also, I've seen people with arm panties on in the middle of the summer lately and was all wtf? but maybe they are cooling arm panties? And I'm going to order that cooling bandana you linked to, thanks :laugh:
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:11 AM
Glad you enjoyed it.
Parent - - By cowboyjunkie Date 2017-07-03 12:55 PM
I'm so happy for you, IB! What a day. Well done!
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:13 AM
:grin:
Parent - - By runnertype [us] Date 2017-07-03 6:16 PM
Amazing. Congratulations. :cool::cool:
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:13 AM
:cool:
Parent - - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2017-07-04 5:18 PM
Entrancing as always, both the report and your race, but this one is special! And not just because it is WS. Major major congrats, and thanks for carrying us along in your head. Oh, and for meeting and talking to Cat Bradley...I'm sure she got an experience meeting and talking to you too.:laugh: Congrats on the race, the experience and the buckle.:cool::hug:
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:16 AM
I was getting worried that this one was a bit too tedious. Certainly is one of my longest ones. Thank you very much.
Parent - - By soundandfury (100 mile stud) Date 2017-07-05 8:31 AM
Well done, IB. It was good to see you mid-race. Glad you got through one of the toughest years in a long time. A 2017 buckle comes with bragging rights.
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-06 10:48 PM
Trust me, it was far better to see you I am quite sure. The surprise factor alone was a great boost.

>A 2017 buckle comes with bragging rights.


Indeed it does. Which makes this the perfect place to mention (for those not quite as aware) that this was ranked on the Western States site as the 4th most difficult since they began tracking that in 1986. There's that number 4 again.  :grin:
Parent - - By kelly_v Date 2017-07-05 1:29 PM
congrats! I'm amazed at your accomplishment and the level of detail you remember
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-06 10:50 PM
Thank you. I do pack a lot of detail into these things. Must admit that within a day or two I usually remember a handful of other things I wish I had put in it.
Parent - By jennyO Date 2017-07-05 3:51 PM
I've been looking out for this report for a while and am so glad to see it!  Can't wait to read it on my train ride home.  (I did peek at Whitney's pictures, though!  So cool to see how happy you were.)
Parent - - By foggydoggy [us] Date 2017-07-06 12:34 PM
Congratualations IB  Well done!!!!!
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-06 10:51 PM Edited 2017-07-06 10:54 PM
Thank you very much.
Parent - - By LDR (100 Mile Stud) [us] Date 2017-07-06 7:04 PM
I love your competitive spirit.  Regardless of how you're feeling, it permeates your performance from start to finish.  Congrats on your hard-earned victory.  From your report, it never seemed in doubt, despite the attrition that was taking place all around you.  Well done, sir...
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-07 9:32 AM
Thanks, I am very pleased with having gutted this one out.
Parent - - By Mickeyd Date 2017-07-08 8:29 PM
Congratulations!  That was an amazing read.  I am in awe, of course about the finish, but mostly about how you were able to stay so positive on such a rough day.  Very well done!  :cool:
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-09 10:14 PM
Thank you. I just tried to remain grateful for the opportunity to do what I was doing. I can not deny the fact that there were low points. Even times when I was rather on the negative spectrum of thought processing. But overall, I was a happy camper.
- - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2017-07-01 6:07 AM
Congratulations. It sounds like it was a great race for you, I'm not seeing any of the "and I thought I was going to die" type comments that are common in reports from 100s. You did exceptionally well. :cool:
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-05 8:19 AM
It really was a great experience. I just kept trying to remind myself that no matter how bad things got (and it never got that bad for me) that I was taking part in Western States.
- - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-01 12:18 PM
One additional thing I meant to comment on. From their website: Western States is now a cupless race. Bring your own cup or use your bottles if you wish to drink at the aid stations. There will be hot cups available for soup. There will also be a few shared plastic “community cups” for cold drinks.

I was very disappointed to find a few aid stations were using disposable cups to serve drinks. I had my UltrAspire 6oz cup with me. Seems that if you continue to offer cups after stating you are cupless will only lead people to expect cups. I mentioned my disappointment at one of the aid stations and was told "Not everyone is as conscientious or prepared as you".  :meh:
Parent - - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2017-07-03 9:48 AM
I've noticed that around here too, "cupless" but then there are cups anyway. I got a new foldable cup this weekend at my race (I lost my ultraspire one:cry:) and will keep it safe forever!
Parent - By LDR (100 Mile Stud) [us] Date 2017-07-06 7:01 PM
I'll have to recheck my "goodie bag" to see if I got a foldable cup too...
Parent - - By LDR (100 Mile Stud) [us] Date 2017-07-07 10:50 AM
I did :happy::happy::happy::happy:
Parent - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2017-07-07 11:23 AM
yay! :cool:
- - By jennyO Date 2017-07-06 11:40 AM
Your report did not disappoint!  We knew you were going to kick ass.  You were in incredible shape and would have had a much faster time in a kinder year.  This year's conditions were especially tough.
Parent - - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-07 9:34 AM

>...would have had a much faster time in a kinder year.


You're probably right about that. Through the middle of the race when I gave up on time goals it definitely became all about the finish. Nothing can be done to change the weather or the trail conditions, the combination made for a tougher day than I was hoping for. Glad you enjoyed reading the report.
Parent - - By soundandfury (100 mile stud) Date 2017-07-07 10:30 AM
You take what the day gives you. Folks that can't make that adjustment often don't finish at all -- a certain frontrunner, for instance, and many behind him. You adjusted and got it done.
Parent - By cowboyjunkie Date 2017-07-08 8:45 AM
This. I've read a few accounts now from both front runners and mid/back packers and it seemed the extra effort required to get through high country went unacknowledged to some extent and folks carried on with their plan not realizing perhaps how taxing those opening miles were. Hard to gauge all that in the middle of the experience sometimes, but those who did, like IB, fared well.
- - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-06 10:41 PM
Just wanted to add a really cool youtube video I found.
Parent - - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-07 11:26 PM
My three seconds of fame = 1:28 to 1:31 courtesy of Run Steep Get High.
Parent - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2017-07-09 6:37 PM
Yay!
- - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2017-07-09 6:35 PM
I ordered the cooling bandana you mentioned you used and deployed it today, it worked great! Thanks!
Parent - By IB [us] Date 2017-07-09 9:57 PM
:cool::hug:
Parent - - By jennyO Date 2017-07-10 12:36 PM
I ordered a cooling bandana last week, too. :shocker!:  Was it the one that supports USATF 24-hour team?
Parent - - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2017-07-10 1:52 PM
:shocker!: I don't know, I just followed IBs link and pressed "take my money" :cry:: pbbt:
Parent - By jennyO Date 2017-07-10 4:05 PM
:laugh:
- By JimGo1 Date 2017-07-10 7:12 PM
Wow what a race and a report !   I really like that you gutted it out when things weren't going well and still had a positive experience.   Nice job IB !  The pictures were great too.
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