Monday, November 22, 2010

Western States Dilemma

The other day I randomly got a comment on my Hallucination post from "Doodlegirl" and she casually mentioned that her sister is a big runner who has done Western States, among other ultras. Well why did that little random comment start me thinking about applying for the 100 mile Western States' race next June?

I don't even know what Western States is...I've only heard its name pop up a few times and for some reason, I'm thinkin it's the Boston of the ultras (or is that Badwater or Barkley?). Well, since it's popular and since it's hard to get in, I'm intrigued.

So, there are a few ways to enter the race but the main way is by the lottery which just so happens to be open right now until 11/27. I guess only 369 runners can be on the field and over 1,000 usually apply to get in.

Here's the dilemma:
If I'm thinking about kids in the next one-two years, now is the time to try to run this race. However, after reading some things about the course (see below), I don't know if I'd be fully prepared for the completion of the race without having run on anything that even a tiny, tiny bit resembles the actual course conditions. So, would it be a waste of time and money?

Here are some risks/things to consider:

1) Everything's non-refundable. Since I was injured this past summer and took a few months off for PT and STILL am not movitated to stretch before/after running, who's to say I won't have the same muscle pull next year and be screwed?
2) The course has a few water crossings (and wet snow paths...yeah, part of the course is in 20 degree weather and part of the course is in 90 degree weather) so there'd be a chance that my feet would get jacked up again with a million blisters
3) No pacer/crew lined up = less motivation
4) I read that you could be running downhill for an hour at a time and that they recommend training on a hill that's at least three miles long. Huh? All I can find are little dinky .07 mile hills to run up and down. (Have they invented a treadmill that has a decline-grade yet to serve such a purpose?) (Oh my gosh: check out this cheesy downhill converter someone's trying to sell)
5)Uhh...why did I just read in Alan's race report that a runner was killed by a cougar on the same Western States' course some years ago? It's already bad enough running half-asleep through the night in the dark with other people, let alone by yourself in some crazy wilderness. I would be way too freaked out the whole time out there. Why do all of these athletes get eaten by animals in CA?



I know, I know....it's very unlikely that my name would even get drawn in the lottery but if it was, I need to know if I'd be ready for it since the drawing seals the deal; no backing out.

What do I do??

1 comment:

The Zoll Six said...

Western States is one of my goals but to get into that I want to use the Leadville 100 as my qualifing race. www.leadvilletrail100.com