One holiday down and one more to go..Then the official start of Western States 2010 training cycle begins. A friend will be coaching me through this and just getting her to take me on as a client in December has helped already. I have known her for years since I first came to California. Funny I started running with her in 2000 and could not figure out why her and her husband kept my lungs and legs busting as I tried to keep up with them...Well it turned out she was/is a very good runner in Sacramento area, run WS well in the 90's and now focus's on coaching cross country, and select clients in the area. That said she had me focus the month of December on a few things...
1)Take down the mileage and focus on buiding some leg speed on short 6 mile runs during the week.
2)Go to gym and focus on light weight and core build up
3)Enjoy December....January will start the ramp up...
With this I really started thinking about each day and make the most of it even as I travelled on business. So I end December being in what I consider my best overall shape for this time of year in a long time...No real injuries...
I have also been spending some time reading blogs on individuals experiences at Western States in 2009. I want to read more about what images people had about Western States from those that do not live in the area and train in different conditions. Granted there are the elite but I wanted to see the average runner coming in. Some of my observations:
1)Why does every runner coming into WS say that they will break 24hrs? This seems to be some kind of disease for the average runner on their first attempt at WS. Reality in the statistics is that only about 20% of all runners that finish come in under 24 hours. So right from the start many of these bloggers set themeselves up for FAILURE!
2)Expecations..One runner that finished in 28hrs had written for months that on that day she was finishing in 22hours..This from a runner that had never run 100. The training in her blog never reflected that it was something in her grasp. Be real in what is possible. For a first time runner that has never covered the distance...Consider finishing to be the goal and everything else past that is bonus. Granted there are exceptions but again...20% or less that finish get a silver buckle.
3)Training must be solid: I read many a blog where the weekly mileage, downhill and heat trainng where so low that these runners really did suffer out there by not being prepared. They finished but where not ready at all for what the course brings...HEAT and downhill.
4)Drop Bag items, food and crew review...Again I saw errors in reading that lack of time spent really reviewing these items leading up to race day...When the day hit there seemed to be a lot of failure here.
I may appear critical of these runners but Western States is still a 100mile race...Once the day starts you better be ready. For many of us this can be a one time shot. So listen, read, ask questions, have some input with a group of folks that have been on the course, have finished the race to give you honest assessment on what it takes to finish the race..have a coach that can get you to the line injury free and ready. After that anything can happen that day...I have a lot of friends that where ready, had trained, but something happend that made them dnf...I know that can happen I just want a chance to toe the line healthy and ready.