The Western States 100 is getting close. As I finish my hard training, figure out my race plan, and finalize my training schedule I sometimes think about how I got to this place. What set me on the track to be running this race?
My Dad was a ski racer, he loves the mountains and would take the family up to ski on winter weekends. I remember one Friday night we rented a cabin at the mountain, this was pretty special because it meant we got to ski two days in a row. TV wasn’t really something we did as kids. We were allowed to watch the Summer and Winter Olympics and Oregon Public Broadcasting. We got back from night skiing late and the public broadcasting station was running a documentary of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Looking back at defining moments is always a bit surreal but I vividly remember watching those runners suffer over the course from Squaw to Auburn. Something in that documentary captured my young imagination. I remember going to bed knowing that at some point this race would be a pretty big part of my life.
Obviously there have been a lot of other factors that aided in me ending up on this path. These include, being born with a love of freedom, having a family who valued long distance running, having great coaches, moving to Ashland for college, and getting a job at Rogue Valley Runners.
15 months ago I got talked into running The Chuckanut 50k, that race was my first experience at the marathon plus distance and since then its been all uphill, or downhill, but rarely flat. I’v gone through 12 pairs of Nike Zoom Kigers, eaten 400+ GU’s, and spent more time than is probably healthy in the ice bath. In 23 days I’ll do what I’v done 100’s of times. I’ll pin my bib number to my singlet and lace up my shoes. I’ll spend a few precious moments in a dark porta-john and then I’ll start something I’v never tried awake before. I’ll run, hike, and hopefully not crawl, 100 miles as fast as I can.