Tuesday 27 May 2014

Final Western States Build-Up

View down the initial climb out of Squaw at WS100.

I felt a little sad to miss the 70 miles of Memorial Day weekend training runs for Western States, but have been in the UK for a couple of days in transit to Comrades in South Africa. The whole year so far has been about preparing for that classic trip from Squaw to Auburn and I've even decided to take Comrades easy (relatively), despite the fact I love the race and have given it my all five times already.

I've been getting in more vertical than previous years and heading up Mt Diablo as much as possible. Plus working on speed since there are so many ridiculously fast guys on the trails now that 5-minute mile pace isn't particularly quick to them. Lake Sonoma 50 was a good example of these speedsters really performing on hilly trails.

A week ago I took part in the Bay Area carnival that's Bay to Breakers, although I did a bit too much speed work during the week and didn't have much in my legs on race day. Still better than the last time I ran it, so the 43:41 for the 12k course wasn't a disappointment. However it was slower than the some of the other local guys who'll be racing WS100, given one of the centipedes (12 runners leashed together) had Matt Laye, Brett Rivers and Alex Varner...in fact Alex managed to jog 5:30s in a Daft Punk helmet. Scott Dunlap wrote it up very well with plenty of photos of the drunken costumes, plus those with a lack of costume.

With Comrades just five days away I'm planning on relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere without caring too much about how the race goes. I've always wanted to do it purely for fun and that should work better as a quality training run with a lot of downhill pounding. Instead I can live the race through Mike Wardian and Ellie Greenwood, both aiming to win after coming back from injuries. Once I get the last long haul flight out the way I'll be excited like a puppy being fed (trust me, I see that level of excitement twice daily).

Then it's just four weeks 'til the Big Dance. Plenty of time for a few more Diablo summits and also one on Mt Tam with the SF Running Company boys.

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