Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Western States 100

Saturday was the Western States 100.  The WS100 is an annual event where the most seasoned and adventurous ultrarunners brave a brutal course of snow, heat, streams, trails and climbs from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA.  Those finishing sub 24 hours earn a coveted belt buckle and those who finish in the less than 30 hour course time limit are glad to finish!

Being located in the Sacramento area, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this year's event.  Although this was the event's 35th year, I had no concept of what such an event entailed.  After reading various accounts of those brave enough to complete this venture, I knew I had to see what it was all about!  I was able convince Lara to attend (wasn't too difficult).  One of my other friends was also supposed to attend but had a change of plans and couldn't make it.  Boy, did she miss out!

After completing a 9 mile training walk earlier that morning in pretty hot weather, I really just wanted a nap!  Race officials predicted the first runner would come in around 9PM, which was the 16 hour mark.  We made sure we were there by 9 and got a good seat on the bleachers which were in front of the finish line located on the Placer high school track in Auburn.  The first place runner arrived about 24 minutes later.  I can't explain the chills I felt when the audience saw him entering the other side of the track and stood up with applause.  I couldn't believe how good he looked after completing 100 challenging miles in a little more than 16 hours.  He was definitely still running faster than I could on my best day.  Watching him make his victory lap gave me a sense of inspiration and motivation I maybe have never felt.  It truly was one of those "you had to be there" moments.

I originally wanted to attend the race to watch a well known ultrarunner cross the line.  Unfortunately, due to medical issues he did not complete the race.  Although initially disappointed, it was such a blast to watch the first 20 or so racers finish, which included three amazing female athletes.  At about 2AM, as a runner from Tanzania with amazing form crossed the line, we called it a night.  Next year, we know to bring snacks (although they sold food at the snack bar to support local boys/girls activities) and to prepare for an all night event because I definitely want to attend again.  Hopefully, the runner I originally went to follow will be there and achieve his own dream of completing his 12th WS100.

I know I will never run the WS100 but I also know I can achieve my own goals and dreams by continuing to walk and train for more half marathons and some day a marathon.  It is being in the presence of great athletes that you want to make yourself the best you can be!

Training for the SF half marathon is going well, and I set a PR in a 10k a few weeks ago.  Life is good!

No comments:

Post a Comment