Western States 100: The Build
Adam Kimble and Jeff Brown, Tahoe Mountain Realty’s Athlete-in-Residence and Broker respectively, are chronicling their journeys toward the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run in June. Western States, commonly referred to as the ‘Super Bowl of Ultrarunning,’ is the oldest 100-mile trail race in the world and runs 100 miles from Olympic Valley to Auburn, CA.
Less than two months to go until the Super Bowl! I’ve had to remind myself a lot this year that it’s all about consistency, even when everything isn’t going according to my “perfect” plan. That’s life, isn’t it? Most journeys don’t look exactly the way we envision them, and often we learn more and have more success because of our ability to overcome the obstacles along the way. There are a lot of things that are outside of our control, so it’s important to take the things that are within our control and do what we can with them. For me, that has been getting in quality cross-training, heat training, and consistently running quality miles even though my lower back has still been causing some minor issues for me. I would have hoped to be completely pain free at this point, but if there’s one thing I know from my training cycles in the past, it’s that my best performances were born of consistency more than anything else. Smart training accumulates over time, and that is what I’m building at the moment.
With about eight weeks until race day, now is when the foundation I’ve built will support the mansion I’m working to complete by June 25th. What does that mean? It means that although I’ve already put in plenty of hard work, the hardest work begins now! The fitness I build over the next six weeks will sustain me as I run through the Canyons in Auburn and make my way to the Placer High School track, hopefully in a Top-10 overall position! My volume is going to steadily increase in the coming weeks, as I ask more of my body and put it through tougher situations to mimic what I will see on race day. My longest training race leading up to Western States is coming up next weekend. I will race the Wild Wild West 50-miler in Bishop, CA, which is sure to be a great opportunity to practice heat training! Then, from there, I will be focusing on getting in as many course-specific runs as possible and tacking on longer and longer time-on-feet efforts. Living so close to the course, I’m fortunate that I will be able to get plenty of runs on the course itself, while others will simply mimic what I expect to see on race day.
While a mere two months may not seem like a lot of time, the most important work remains. These coming weeks will lead me into June feeling more mentally and physically fit than I have ever been before!
The end of ski season and rapid approach of summer illustrate just how early in the running season Western States occurs. Having just put away the ski gear, only to receive the biggest snowfall since the first week of January, feels like jumping directly into the deep end of a very long pool. Fortunately, long back country hikes and Nordic ski sessions gave way to training days on dirt in Reno and Auburn creating a nice foundation for peak training season.
Endurance levels were challenged in recent weeks at Canyons 50k, a difficult and technical ultra-marathon that covers nearly a third of the Western States course, albeit in reverse. A cool April weekend is no proxy for the intense heat that we’ll be facing in June however the chance to refamiliarize with the rolling terrain inspired confidence in basic fitness. 7.5 hours of sustained effort was at least manageable though by no means fast. This also revealed the need for training in some of the less obvious facets of a days long race, namely nutrition. The ability to stomach calories during sustained activity and heat is the key to successfully navigating Western States and is not something that can be experimented with on race day.
May will bring the most significant month for both intensity and training. In addition to weekly, early-morning track sessions at Truckee High School, hill training and increased distance will be layered in. A 4th and likely final shorter ultra-marathon, Silver State 50/50 will be one final opportunity to push distance and test fitness in a race environment before tapering in mid-June.