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Western States 100 Race Report – Drew Meyer

Texas athlete, Drew Meyer, finished the Western States 100 (race day summary) in 29:39:42.

Enjoy his race report!

Drew (left) with friend and pacer, Buddy T. 13+ hours before the start.

The conditions were fantastic for “States”.  Long sleeve shirt to start.  I never felt hot the first day.  I was in direct sun for probably an hour, total, tops, and was apparently adequately heat-adapted (thanks to the 100+ temps in Ft Worth the prior 2 weeks!).  We had cloud cover for the canyons.  They re-routed the trail around the snow between the top of the lift and Duncan Canyon, because they could not get Red Star and Lyons Ridge AS setup due to snow.  We still got maybe 5-6 miles of snow early.  The reroute was a screaming downhill, probably cut 15-30 mins off my time compared to having to run the normal course.  (New course record by the winner).  I never felt hot until the second morning, though I did work up a good sweat during the night when the temps did not really drop as I expected.

Fred (Thompson) and I were mostly together until Devils Thumb. I benefited greatly from trying to keep up with his walking pace when walking was called for. Devils Thumb just really took it out of us all. Cindy (Melder) was well ahead of us all day. Her first 100 – it is incredibly impressive to have such a good race the first time. So many things have to be learned the hard way for most of us.

I stayed on about a 28-hr book pace the whole day trying to stay smart but still have a margin for problems.  I ran well on the downs all day and most of the night, using a straight-legged gait that preserved my quads. I would typically make up about 5-10 mins on the folks in my time bracket on each long down, then some would pass me on the next up. The downhills more than any other factor probably made this race work, because I was somewhat undertrained for this due to some hip and heel issues early in the year and frankly was lacking in confidence for most of the race. Not only the time savings on the downs, but the quad preservation that let me still run late, helped greatly.

I dunked my legs and self in a few snow-melt creeks – nice! I estimate I averaged about 50-60 oz/hour of water, carrying 50 and drinking extra as each AS. Even at night it took 2 bottles to go an hour. My weight was within 1 lb of starting at all the early medical checks, was 2 lbs down at the end. (It should have been 2 down all day since I lost that much with my stored glycogen, so I was actually up just a little all day). Salt was hard to figure out as always, got a tiny bit of swelling that would not go away. I peed about 30 times, so I guess I did it adequately.

Ate Gu gels and some powdered whey/gatorade until about midnight, then just didn’t really want more gels. Switched to GU Brew from the AS, which is their equivalent to Perpetuem and has some protein in it. It worked well, but they made it pretty thin so I was asking to have extra powder put directly in my bottles. That and my Gatorade mix got me home. I did probably 400 calories/hr until 3AM, then 250 after that (slowed too). Total 8000-9000 calories for the 100. Nothing on the tables ever looks good to me. Stayed on 50 mg/hr of caffeine all day until I switched to Coke in the middle of the night, helped my stomach too.

My pacer Buddy Teaster was absolutely fantastic. We met at Foresthill around 9:30PM. We developed a plan to run 16 to the river, leave it by 3AM, which should be enough margin to walk it in to save my legs. That would have meant 22 miles to go in 8 hrs, no problem if I could walk a 20-min mile. I did the Green Gate 1.7 uphill at a 25 min pace so I thought I was going to be able to walk it in, and tried just walking the next 5.5 to ALT. It wasn’t that bad a trail, but by the time I left ALT they said I was 45 mins from the cutoff (don’t think that’s right, but it scared us). So basically I had to continue running with some pace for the next 8-10 miles. Fortunately I could still run downhill and flats, and got back more margin quickly. I was very relieved to find I could still run that late.

My low point was definitely the river. We ran all the way from Foresthill, mostly downhill, to make that 3AM goal. It was still warm and I was often covered in sweat. (Humidity got up at night). My weight was good at the river but I was overtaxed anyway. After the boat ride (very competently done, guys!) I had a hard time eating. Buddy sat me down for about 15 mins to eat and drink. I was very sleepy, very stiff legs, could not imagine running anymore. I had had little sleep the night before and thought it was catching up to me. He got me up and moving and after a few mins I was OK.

Had to run harder than I had hoped, but was able to run when needed. Legs were sore but just for a couple of days. I have some blisters and a slightly strained right calf, but no problems (so far) with my hip or heel. We got a good read on the projection with 6 miles to go and I took it easy then, finished in 29:40. It is a great buckle – I highly recommend it!

A special thanks to Drew for sharing his race report with us.

One of the golden take-aways from Drew’s report was his honest assessment of his current fitness and creating a race strategy based on it. Work with what is, not what we wish it to be. A tip for us all.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

3 Responses to “Western States 100 Race Report – Drew Meyer”

  1. on 30 Jun 2010 at 3:43 pm Greg Luffey

    Thanks for the advice I’ll need a strategy for Tahoe in a couple weeks. -Greg

  2. on 30 Jun 2010 at 6:00 pm Phil Rice

    Glad to see all is well. I very much enjoyed following you on-line and even receiving a text or two on your status. Look forward to seeing you in Vermont next month.


  3. on 30 Jun 2010 at 8:35 pm buddy

    While I appreciate Drew’s comments, he did all the work. it was very impressive that when he had to run, really run, and didn’t want to he found the inner resources to make it happen. That’s the mark of an experienced ultra runner and tremendous person. when i grow up, i want to be like Drew!