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Western States Training Update- Less Than a Week to Go!

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011 | 9 Comments

Shelly and I just got back from our Boulder, Colorado trip (see some pics here.)  The trip gave me an excellent opportunity to run in some mountains to experiment with variables I’ll encounter at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run this upcoming weekend.

The major variable was elevation.  I have never run at an altitude above about 1000′.  Boulder itself is situated about 5,400 feet above sea level.  While there, I was able to run or hike to the summit of various mountains four times with the highest being Green Mountain (8144 feet.)  I was lucky to have allegedly temporary Boulder resident Jesse Scott to act as my guide on both Green Mountain summits.  We filmed the second trip with Shelly, Jesse, and myself- video will appear soon!  😉

We also summited Mount Sanitas (6844 feet) and Flagstaff Mountain (6978 feet.)  While neither were as long as Green, all four provided an excellent opportunity to test long ascent and descent techniques.  I’m usually pretty decent at running hills, and this trip affirmed that my Michigan hill running transfers to sustained climbs and descents lasting miles and miles.

This is a good omen for Western States.

I also experienced running in heat.  The temps on the day of our arrival reached about 95°.  Running in heat is also something I do fairly well.  Like running up and down hills, I was happy to see this skill transfer to altitude and mountain running.

Hydration was an issue for the entire trip.  This could be a major concern for Western States.  I found I had to drink at least twice as much water as I do when running here in Michigan.  This shouldn’t be a major issue as aid stations are relatively close together at Western States.  More importantly, beer didn’t dramatically affect hydration.  🙂

Lastly, the trip gave me the opportunity to test some gear.  Most notably, I gave me the chance to test my not-yet-released Sonic Gloves.  The shoes performed flawlessly over the 35-40 miles I ran over the four days.  I did develop one blister on the Flagstaff run because the shoe was too loose.  I was complacent and didn’t re-tighten the laces.  The blister will likely require super glue treatment before Western States.

I was even able to do a little speedwork at the Naked Foot 5k on Saturday.  I think my time was around 21:20.  FYI- the higher the intensity, the more pronounced the effects of altitude.  It was a fun experience, but I felt like I was breathing through a straw.

Today will be packing day.  Shelly and I fly to Reno tomorrow morning and will head to Squaw Valley Wednesday.  I’m looking forward to the race.  While I would like to have done more intense training, I have the base to finish and have tested about every variable I will likely experience.  I feel about as confident as one can feel heading into a hundred miler.

Let the party begin!



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  1. Dave
    June 23, 2011

    Good luck!! WS is a pretty big deal so have fun, if that’s possible.

    I’m assuming you’ll go with Trail Gloves for the race, so I’m curious to see how they make out. I wore mine for a very hilly, muddy, and ROCKY (!!!) Highland Sky 40miler this past weekend, and though I was wishing for a more substantial rock plate at times, my feet were in absolutely perfect shape at the end. No blisters or hotspots or black nails. Maybe a little pruned due to the boggy conditions, but that’s it.

    WS is definitely on my bucket list. I’ll be jealously following the event closely.

  2. krista
    June 22, 2011

    Best of luck to you, Jason! Hopefully they will re-route the course around all the snow. It only stopped snowing up in Tahoe about 2 weeks ago so its been a crazy winter for us over here. Sounds like you’ll be well prepared no matter what, though.

  3. Jesse
    June 20, 2011

    Since it looks like I’ll be pretty far from Squaw when the gun goes off, I consider my role as a crew member to the “pre-runner,” making sure you’re set to go! …that’s how I’m coping. Good luck, boss.

  4. Liz
    June 20, 2011

    Good luck Jason!!
    I hope you have a great race and an even better experience.

  5. BarefootNick
    June 20, 2011

    Best of luck Jason, I look forward to the race report!

  6. Chris
    June 20, 2011

    Good luck at WS100! You’ll do great.


  7. Rob
    June 20, 2011

    Good luck Jason. Altitude really shouldn’t be an issue at WS, really not high enough for long enough to matter. If it slows you down at all it’s in the first 30 miles which actually can be a good thing; keeps folks from going out too fast! It’s a really fun event, like no other US 100 miler.

  8. HeatherW
    June 20, 2011

    Good luck, Jason!

  9. Pictures from Boulder, Colorado
    June 20, 2011

    […] I wrote about the training here. […]