Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Western States on the horizon...

Well, it's Tuesday morning before the race and I think I am ready to roll. After five months of my highest training volume ever I now feel rested and even a bit antsy. I am fine tuning my body during this last week with short daily runs and long spells in the sauna. As everybody knows, this year's race is shaping up to be outstanding with strong men's and women's fields, a great masters' race, and a weather forecast for above-average, hot Western States temperatures. In short, it has all the makings of a classic!

I, for one, am keenly interested in what role experience will play in the race this year. Obviously, some of the fastest runners in the field are those who have not run Western States before. However, some of the most consistent and steady runners in the field are those Western States veterans who come back year after year to get it done. As the race unfolds it will be interesting to see how experience impacts performance. From my perspective, no matter how we've done in other races, how hard we prepare and how intensely we train, performance under pressure in the midst of intense competition in this arena is ultimately how we are measured. This well-known quotation from Theodore Roosevelt rings true in this context:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Finally, I must say that Western States race day is the one day per year that, at least for the past five years, I have looked forward to more than any other. In the midst of the planning and the packing, the preparing and the prognosticating, I always try to savor the simple beauty of the day. How often, in this life, can we spend a full day totally absorbed in ourselves in a beautiful place doing what we love most? For me, that is what I love best about Western States and, I always will.

With that, I'll see you in Squaw!



brownie said...

Great post! Good luck out there!

Bedrock said...

Good luck AJW. This will definitely be a classic by any standard.

kate said...

Have a GREAT run, Andy! (I am a 55 year old ultrarunner in N. CA and I will watch you with awe)
I know you will do a good job...have fun!

Anonymous said...

Andy, good luck out there this weekend. Your blog has been a must read over the past few months. It will be interesting how the 'local guys' (Skaden, Cooper and you among others) will fair against the faster out-of-towners (Krupicka, Wardian). Throw in some heat and smoke from the fires and this has the makings of a real battle.

Brad Mitchell said...

Nothing more needs to be said - great post!
Best of luck - give em' hell!!
We'll be cheering you on here in the Wood River Valley and I'll be thinking of all you racers as I do my "short" twenty miler, in the heat, out Deer Creek on Saturday.
Remember - Run like the cops are chasing you!

AnthonyP said...

Andy, best of luck at WSER ! I'll be following your progress online.

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...

good luck man. Let all the greeat work you have put in since January flow on out on Saturday.


Anonymous said...


That's a first-class pre-race interview you gave at http://www.youtube.com/ws100video

See you at Squaw.


Ultra Steve said...


Best of luck this weekend! I've been following your posts since January, and look forward to meeting you in Vermont in 3 weeks.

Go get 'em!

Scott Dunlap said...

You're going to rock it, AJ. See you there!


kate said...

did you see the post on Scott's blog - he said WS may be canceled due to fires?????