Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I am running Western States. Awesome.

Training in the High Country - Duncan Canyon
In March, I completed my first race back post-surgery.  It went well.  I was happy.  I had a mental breakthrough of sorts, and I had a lot to say about it.  Then I went silent.

I did this not because nothing of value occurred - I thought about numerous topics and even still have a half-finished Miwok race report sitting here.  It's just that I guess I kind of made the subconscious decision to spend my time listening.

There's nothing I can tell you about Western States or my ability to run it.  Because quite simply, I haven't run it before.  Others have, and they have quite a bit of information and inspiration they're freely dispensing.  Hell, they're downright excited to give it to you!  There are movies, there are photos, there are race reports, there are course breakdowns.  Jesus.  I even watched a special on the history of the trail during the Gold Rush.  Now if I'm hurling my guts out down in El Dorado Canyon, I can say, "hey, at least I don't have dysentery."  

I could sit here and tell you what I'm going to do.  I could compare myself to other runners and previous times.  But truth is - it's all arbitrary.  Every last bit of it.  I made a spreadsheet in Excel, but I don't even know what it means.  All I know is that I have somehow arrived on this eve of my Squaw departure uninjured, healthy and ready to run.  I've trained hard on steeper, longer, nastier terrain.  I've run every single inch of the course and have committed it all to memory.  Was it enough?  Who's to say?  What happens now is that I run strong, I stay within myself and I remain focused for 100.2 miles… however long that takes me.

I say "somehow arrived," because there have been multiple spots along the way that I doubted myself to be truly ready on June 23rd.  The first step was getting my knee back, and that hasn't been easy.  When I ran the course back in January, it all but destroyed my leg.  3/4 of a way through a double crossing of the canyons left me limping and I didn't think there was any way I'd be able to run swiftly down a hill by the summer.  Maybe even ever.

Then, most recently, I somehow inherited a kidney infection.  Right after Miwok.  Right during the time I should be training hardest.  As soon as I was over that (and the horrendous reaction to a crazy dangerous antibiotic), I strained my soleus during one of my last long runs.  OK.  Really?

What I can say is that through it all I adapted.  I did what I could. The exact way I plan to run the shit out of the 2012 Western States 100.  And if you'd like to give the obligatory, "are you ready?", I have an answer for you:


Hiker love in Granite Chief. Amazing energy I've been saving for Saturday...


  1. Can't wait to see you out there! I will be borrowing "At least I don't have dysentery" as my mantra. :)

  2. so excited for you!

  3. Katie- thanks for the nice comments. Congrats on running the shit out of WS and getting that silver buckle! -pam

  4. Congrats Katie! It was a pleasure hiking out of the canyons with you. I'm glad that you made it under 24hrs like you said that you would. That was by far the most difficult race of my life. Enjoy your recovery!