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2011 Western States 100: Our Louisiana Trail Runners

Likely the flattest state in the TALON region, Louisiana had two athletes on the start list for Western States but unfortunately only one will be making the trip.

Louisiana State Flag - "The Pelican State" (one of the nicknames)

After missing the 2010 Western States 100 due to breaking his ankle six weeks before, Sam Landry is healthy in 2011 and ready for his first attempt at the adventure.

Unfortunately, Jerry Sullivan, member two of the Louisiana duo, broke his foot earlier this Spring and will not be starting. Happy healing to Jerry!

Sam was kind in sharing a bit about himself and the upcoming Western States experience.


Sam Landry #255

[EB] What is your running background and how long have you been playing in the world of trail/ultra running?

I wasn’t much a runner until I had enough booze and cigarettes at age 29. A few years later, I ran my first marathon, 1993. Boston seemed an unattainable goal until recently, as it turns out, because I didn’t know how to stay hydrated.

My first ultra finish was in 2006 (Rocky 50k), where I got some advice about salt. After a couple of 100-milers, I found I was able to finish a marathon strong and so made it to Boston in 2010. The 2009 Cascade Crest Classic 100 was just about the most thrilling 32 hours (!) I’ve ever had. I’d do again in a heartbeat. Have to say the Pinhoti 100 (27:40) was great too.

[EB] In February you ran a sub-24 at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in Texas. How did that adventure play out for you?

The 2011 Rocky was the big come-back from the broken ankle. It wasn’t the first post-ankle ultra. That was the Cajun Coyote (40 miles worth). At both events I was very nervous about how the ankle would feel and whether I’d lost a lot of strength and endurance. For the Cajun Coyote, I had been off crutches for less than 4 months, and the Rocky 100 was three months after that. I was pretty happy to make it under 24 at Rocky, but still a little disappointed that it was slower than my 2008 time of 22:27.

[EB] How is the body and mind feeling one week out from the Western States 100?

With one week to go, I can’t help but feel that I should be training harder, but the mind is telling me to chill and rest even more than a taper suggests. I feel good, like I want to sprint down the hall at the office. Perhaps I’m lucky that the weather outside is not so running-friendly. Yuck. Last weekend’s planned 50-miler became a 30-miler. Just so hot, I could not stay hydrated unless I walked. What is normally an 11-hour run would have become a 14-hour run.

[EB] What did a typical training week look like during your peak training? (weekly mileage, longest run, any back-to-back long runs?, weights/core, etc)

For the month of April, I averaged 63 miles per week and about 3000 feet of climb and descent. The descent is the hardest thing. How do you do that in New Orleans? This year it’s the levee. Last year, it was the parking garage. See what that got me? A broken ankle. The treadmill just don’t cut it. The downhill in the mountains is the quad-killer. I suppose you can do some weights, and I did a little bit of that, but I think a couple of hours on the levee is way better. Up, down, up, down, 20 or so feet at a time.

A typical week included two trips to the levee (2 hrs, 5 hrs, about half of that on the levee) and a 3-hr run including a jaunt in the middle with a group that runs a little fast, two 5-mile days, one day off. At the end of that month, I ran a Fat Ass-type 100k that I organize myself. I usually do some very light dumbbell weights with the upper body and core exercises a couple times a week. But this year, I blew out my shoulder skiing in March, so I’ve been doing high-rep feather-weight training on every machine that doesn’t hurt too much.

[EB] Did you do any Western States specific weight training?

No I didn’t do any WS specific weight training, pretty much just lots of up an down the levee, as many as a hundred reps.

[EB] During the course of 100 miles the stomach can develop its own personality and require some adaption to make it happy. With that being said, what is your start-line fueling strategy? Sports nutrition? Regular Food such as bananas, etc.? Combination?

My nutrition strategy is water, salt capsules, Hammer Perpetuem, and little bits of aid-station food. I seem to be good-to-go on Perpetuem every two hours. After a day and night, my mouth is getting yucky, but I’m not having trouble keeping it down. At the Pinhoti, they offered a toothbrush and paste. What a concept!

[EB] Besides the finish, what specific section of the course are you most looking forward to running or experiencing?

The Canyons sound like the big challenge. We were supposed to see them at the Training Runs, but the snow kept us out. Looks like it’s going to be hot.

[EB] Fun bonus question: Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

Photo: Courtesy ibm4381 @

Migrating swallow, light as a feather, short fast turnover, swooping through the canyons, carrying on from one continent to another.

Best of luck to Sam in the upcoming weekend adventure!

Special thanks to Sam for sharing with us and to the Endurance Buzz community for submitting athlete questions.

To see the complete list of athlete profiles so far, check out the 2011 Western States 100 TALON Athletes article.

Twitter TALON race coverage – I will be providing Twitter updates for all of our TALON athletes throughout the day. Simply,follow Endurance Buzz on Twitter.

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.

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