Monday, June 15, 2009

Taper Madness and the Western States 100

Reduced running time with the Western States 100 only being about a week and a half away is driving me a bit nuts. The legs are raring to go, but what is more maddening is that I can't get my mind off the race. I can't go a few minutes without thinking about it and not being able to run as much to rest the body and mind is driving me a bit nuts.

I've taken the past few days off from running to let a sore ankle heal. It's no big deal, and I'm just being overly cautious. It's already feeling much better (not that it was that bad to begin with), but may give it another day, maybe even two, just to be sure. No point in being banged up with the race this close. The hay is in the barn, so I want to make sure every squeaky wheel is getting the grease and am paranoid about aggravating anything.

I've been thinking a lot about my goals and my mindset lately, which echo those from around this same time last year:

The big goal is to break 24 hours. I think I'll need everything to go right in order for that to happen though. This course, while not the toughest out there, is still considerably tougher than the Vermont 100 course where I have finished in 22:09 (37th place) and 22:26 (33rd place) respectively, the latter being slower but having a higher finishing percentile thanks to extremely hot and humid conditions.

If you follow the equation that the WS course is 16% harder than the VT course, that'd put me in well after 24 hours. However, if you go by finishing percentile (typically around top 20%-25%), than I should break 24 hours. So which one wins? Well, analyzing others' results has shown many runners who have beaten my time at VT have not broken 24 hours at WS. Plus, one has to take into account that going by finishing percentile might not be accurate since there are typically more hot shots competing at WS than VT each year.

I am definitely not the most talented runner out there. Many of the friends I train with are far superior ultra runners than I am and would have no problems breaking 24 hours on this course, of that I am confident. But still, I don't exactly suck either. I still think I can do it and I'd be stupid not to make that the goal and try. While it won't be as easy for me, I still have a chance and rest assured, I plan on giving it absolutely everything I have. Of the two 100s I've done, one thing is I felt I've ran really smart and didn't do anything substantially stupid. I knew when to push and what to do to get out of rough patches, and it's worked well.

I'm also happy with my training and have a lot of trust in it. Several great months this late winter and spring that have yielded quite a few runs over 30 miles and also a 100+ mile week. It's all gone well, considering the plantar fasciitis problem I was having over the winter which is now a non-issue.

So that's where I'm at mentally and physically. Always helps to type things down to organize one's thoughts.

While I'm at it, the WS folks have the email notification is up. In addition to tracking on the website, you can also get updates emailed to you whenever I reach a checkpoint. I'd recommend adding a few of the top guys (Jurek, Koerner... I'd say Krupicka but unfortunately, rumor has it he's out of the race) as well:

Western States Email Tracking

Happy running!


mindy said...

Tapering blows. You're ready and that's all that matters. No wildfires on the horizon, just clean air and the trail before you. You're going to ROCK!

Anonymous said...

relax. you'll be great.

Laurel said...

Don't we all hate to taper! It gives us too much nervous energy just when we don't want it.

middle.professor said...

I thought that guys were supposed to think about sex every 3 seconds or so. You're thinking about running. Seems like a simple solution to me.

Runner Tammy said...


I know you have what it takes to do a sub 24 hour WS100. You've really trained hard, are being smart about your ankle and are a super tough competitor.

I will be sending you lots of positive vibes during your race and think you will have a great race.

olga said...

Put your mind into it. First half - make no mistakes. Second half - go for suffer and focus. You can do it.

Richard said...


I have followed your blog from afar (Ireland) and although I am not at ultras I am a similar sort of runner - late 30's top 20-25% and never a winner but not bad either.

I am reading James Shaprio's 1980 account of running across America at the moment. As you will know already you have to focus on is 'being the running'. Once you can find that groove and can trance out of the immediacy of what you are doing you can accomplish anything.

I ran a 5k PB tonight and it felt really good (as far as flat out 5Ks can feel good) and at around mile 1.5 what I was thinking was: this is a job of work and you can do it.

You will succeed in the WS. Believe. Run it in your head.

pathfinder said...

I lokk at it this way, If one of the trail monsters told me Jamie was going to beat 24 hours at the 100....knowing Jamie and how smrt he runs, I would believe it questions asked

Love2Run said...

You're going to do awesome Jamie! You've done the work, now just race smart and earn your reward.

Garry said...

Good luck!

Dr Andy said...

Good luck. I'm a runner of similar talent and just made it in sub-24 two years ago.

There are some old posts at my blog about advice, but the biggest thing I'd say now is not to go out too hard or to worry two much about your pace early in the race. The altitude early is tough and it is easy to fry yourself going out too hard
Good luck