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2012 Western States 100: Interviews With Our Texas Tread

Texas has 13 lucky athletes registered for the dirty dance at this weekend’s Western States 100. This tough group of runners include Western States veterans, 100 mile newbies, Western States first-timers, and a slammer…0r in our case, a kona-slammer!

Texas State Flag - In 1993 the official flag description was created. Up until 1993 manufactured Texas state flags varied in color and dimensions.

Let’s meet and hear from some of those ready for the 100 mile point-to-point journey along trail formerly used by gold miners during the 1850s!


Martin Guthrie #204

Photo: Courtesy Martin Guthrie

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

I ran track in high school as a half miler and miler. Ran for an intramural team my freshman year of college, but running took a back seat until 1997 when a work colleague invited me to a 10km in North Carolina where I was living at the time. I ran my first marathon in 1998. I immediately decided Boston Marathon was my next goal. I ran Chicago and bonked. I ran Ocalla in Florida and qualified for Boston with a 2:59. I stuck to 5 and 10ks until I moved to Houston in 2005. I started running in Memorial Park and fell in love with the trails and grew to hate pavement (must be my advanced age). My first ultra was Palo Duro in 2006. I ran my first 50 miler in 2010, Rainer to Ruston in Washington State. the only other 50 I have done is Cactus Rose in 2011 where I qualified for the Western States lottery. Western States will be my first 100.

[EB – Why Western States? As a first-time starter, what interests you in this event?]

I was probably in middle school at the time, when I watched ABC’s Wild World of Sports coverage of the Western States 100. I was immediately captivated by this event. I kept a little note pad of “Things to Do” when I grow up. I wrote down Western States 100 and stuck it in my chest of drawers. Fast forward to the year 2000, I found that note pad with Western States written down as something I needed to do. At the time, I wasn’t trail running or running ultras. However, my running buddy started doing ultras. I told him that if he ever made it into Western, I would pace him. He made it twice and I paced him both times. This year, he is coming back to pace me.

[EB – In April you ran the 40 mile race at the Free State Trail Run in Kansas. How was that event? Any strong memories?]

I was slated to run the 100km at Free State as a training run for Western States. However, I had been struggling with a calf injury and dropped down to the 40-mile event. The course is surprisingly rocky and hilly for Kansas. It was a well-run race and it was a good prep for Western States.

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

I am not high-volume runner. I typically run about 20-25 miles a week, four days a week. I’ll usually run a few days during the week and a long run Saturday and Sunday. I also do some light weight training and yoga. However, due to that calf injury, my training has been chaotic. I’ve been challenged to do more than one long on the weekends and have stayed off pavement. I did attend the Western States training camp over Memorial Day weekend, which happened to be my peak training week.

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

Milestones for me will be leaving Forest Hill (mile 62) because I know what’s ahead (this is the section I have paced) and getting to the river crossing (Rucky Chucky 78). The river crossing is my place where I can regroup and recharge and focus on the last few miles.

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

(Photo: Courtesy wanderflechten @ http://flic.kr/p/6dA7mH)

Mountain goat. Hills are a strength of mine. I won’t be running up those hills, but I’m strong power hiker. Otherwise, I plan to be very conservative and take the first 60 miles at a comfortable pace and hope that I can run most of the last 40.


Liza Howard #18

Bandera 100 km: Liza heading out of Cross Roads with 10 miles to go. (Photo: David Hanenburg)

[EB – As an athlete that had made the journey to Western States the last couple of years but unable to play due to injury, how does it feel to be heading to Squaw Valley knowing you will be lacing up the tread to start your first Western States 100?]

I am so grateful to be healthy and able to run.  The joy of not having to lumber around in an immobilization boot in June in Texas and not having to aqua jog for workouts eclipses any nervousness about the race itself.

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

Work, life, and trying to be careful not to incur injuries kept me to about 70-75 miles during my peak weeks.  My longest run was about 6 hours.  I did about three core workouts a week and was religious about rolling on a PVC roller.

[EB – You shared a great reflective thought in your Rocky Raccoon 100 report, “But running ultras is not about how fast you can run. They’re about how hard you can work.” With all the fast female tread lacing them up, the pace will be spicy and consistent with the lead 20+ women. Do you plan to run your own race from the start or will you look to integrate yourself within this top group?]

I’ll do my best to run my own race and concentrate on working hard throughout.  There are some wonderfully fast, talented, and experienced women racing and I’d be setting myself up for a long, frustrating day if I got too wrapped up in their plans and places during the first 80 miles.

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

I’ve heard the river crossing is pretty wonderful.  I’m excited to see how that goes.

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

I’d like to be like some sort of unflappable bear, but I’ll probably end up more like that frenetic little squirrel from “Ice Age.”

Sponsors and Partners: New Balance, Drymax Socks, GU, and Ultraspire

http://www.lizahoward.com/ – Where Liza shares her many musings on running and life.

More Western States goodies with Liza:


Glenn Mackie #266

Glenn Mackie at Grasslands 50.

[EB –  As a very accomplished ultra athlete, including multiple Hardrock 100 finishes, what draws you to come back to the start line in Squaw Valley, California?]

I gave up my automatic entry to Hardrock as a five time finisher to let someone else take my place and enjoy the pain. Instead, I’ll be there working the Telluride aid station slinging HEED and later pacing a first time Hardrocker the last 40 miles. Western States was my first 100 miler back in 2004 and I’ve wanted to run it again, but I generally prefer more mountainous races.

[EB – In May, you ran within the hilly Marin Headlands of California at the Miwok 100 km. Any strong memories from the day?]

I had a busy work schedule and got sick the week leading up to the Miwok 100K (5 May) and nearly stayed home. Friday morning before the race I felt better and flew out to San Francisco. The Miwok course changed this year, making it slightly longer and adding another 2,400 feet of climb, for a total of about 12,400 feet. I came in 42nd. I was sort of socializing on the trail all day. I felt good after mile 50 and hammered it home to move up about 15 places before the finish.

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

Mostly weights. Right after Miwok, I got a foot injury so I’ve been avoiding running and doing non-traditional training at the gym instead. It’s not a big deal for me since I’ve run several 100’s without doing any run training (Hardrock and HURT). I turned 50 years old this year, so I may be out of free passes – we’ll see. I’m hoping I can still bring some game to Squaw.

[EB – Besides the finish, what specific section of the course are you most looking forward to running or experiencing? Is there a particular section you look forward to getting behind you?]

Western States is mostly a downhill course which plays to the one strength I have as a runner. There are two long downhill sections in the first half of the race I’m looking forward to. I do poorly in the heat, even when well acclimated, so I’m really not looking forward to the canyons if it starts to bake.

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

Photo: Courtesy Matt Elsberry @ http://flic.kr/p/5af7wo

Hmmm…I’ll be looking for shade anywhere I can find it, just like my neighbor’s Siberian Husky during the summer.


Nick Polito #319

Photo: Courtesy Nick Polito

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

I have been running about six years. But only a little over a year on trails and ultras. Before that I was just a road marathon racer. Once I broke three hours I felt I had topped out my speed and needed to find another challenge.

[EB – In May, you went back to the Jemez 50 mile. What did you think of running up Pajarito Mountain twice? Any strong memories from the day?]

I thought the second time up Pajarito was totally different. The first time up we had some switchbacks and we ran that same area last year. I was ready for it this year and I felt very strong in that section. That second climb was a beast. It was all about that one mile – 36. 1200’ of climb according to my Garmin and a 38 min mile. I felt very strong and I passed a ton of runners either resting or going very slow. But after that hill I was done for the day. I couldn’t get back to sub 12 minute pace till the last 5 miles.

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

My training for Western States 100 has been a little different. I try to change up things each time I train. This time I moved to more single long runs on the weekend instead of the weekend doubles. In the last three months I have 11 runs over 20 miles,  five runs over 30 miles and one 50 mile run. I averaged about 75 miles per week and peeked at 92 miles. The goal was to go much higher but I struggled with a foot injury that appears to be getting better now. I mixed in tempo runs an never got on the track. I lifted weights twice a week. I went to yoga 10 times and mixed in core once a week.

[EB – Being your first Western States adventure, is there a specific section of the course are you most looking forward to running or experiencing? (besides the finish)]

I guess I am excited about mile five coming off the mountain. Looking forward to getting through the canyons and seeing what I can do from mile 62 to the finish. Also I look forward to crossing the Rucky Chucky.

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

Photo: Courtesy Horia Varlan @ http://flic.kr/p/7FqMY1

I don’t know much about animals but guess a horse, like this course was designed. Steady the entire way.


Paul Terranova #370

**Kona Slam (The ultra slam plus Hawaii Ironman Triathlon Championship in October!)

Photo: Copyright Josh Baker @ AzulOx.com

[EB – You are going after a series of ultra endurance event finishes never before attempted. First, the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (Western States, Vermont, Leadville, and Wasatch), followed by a Hawaii Ironman World Championship finish in October – the Grand Kona Slam. With Western States being your first 100 mile race, how did the epic string of adventures become an actual journey you were willing to go after?]

The seed was planted after observing from afar other recent Texas ‘Slammers (Doug Gimenez & Joe Constantino, Drew Meyer) take on the Slam, and I told Meredith that if I ever put in the time and training to get ready for one 100-miler, I’d like to take a crack at all four. And after qualifying for Hawaii a third time last year in Cozumel, it all seemed to fit together nicely with Kona being five weeks after Wasatch.

[EB – You recently were out on the Western States course to explore a few sections of it. Were there any insights you learned that you will use on race day?]

The course is beautiful and challenging all at the same time. What I learned the most is where to expect to hike, especially on the steep canyon climbs. Hopefully I got my sightseeing out of the way and can concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and staying upright.

[EB – As a fast dude amongst fast dudes at a historic event, I can see the magnetic pull to push the effort and see what happens. Are you treating each event as a stand-alone race and going after it, or will you take a more high-level approach and be more conservative to support your Gland Kona Slam journey? I find this especially interesting because you likely have the option of either, whereas, many of us mid-packers or back-of-packers would simply be looking to survive each race.]

I have nothing but the upmost respect for the caliber of runners at this event and the experience that they bring not just of this course itself but of other big mountain races, so I’d be naive to think that I should be mixing it up with them from the get-go. Plus, I have the 540.8 mile journey to think of over 16 weeks, and I’d hate to jeapordize that with a stupid mistake early on in the first hundred. That being said, if an opportunity late in the race presents itself to take a crack at the top-10, I may take it. Either way I will run smart and hard and do my best to represent!!

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

The thing I’m most proud of about my training is its consistency. I’ve been blessed to be injury and incident free this whole year, and take care of the little things to make that happen. I also like to think that “working keeps me from over-training and training keeps me from over-working!” There’s definitely a symbiotic relationship going on there. My mileage is probably on the low-end of the scale for ultrarunners, as I still like to get in a bike ride outside (or morning spin class at Pure Austin), swim once a week, hit the gym & sauna once or twice a week, and/or an easy spin on the bike trainer which is equipped with PowerCranks. 50km and 50 mile races about once a month since January and then Western States training camp provided nice opportunities to have “peak” weeks on a regular basis. At camp I got in 83 miles over four days, which put me right over 100 for the whole week.

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

I absolutely can not wait to get down to see Duncan Canyon (mile 24), which is one part of the course we were not able to get to over training camp, and of course to cross the American River at mile 78 and actually ford across it!!! Last year when pacing Ian Sharman we crossed in boats due to the high snowmelt, as has been done the last couple of years. The Rucky Chuck crossing will be a great opportunity to get wet, cool off, and recharge for the last 22 miles!!!!!

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

Photo: Courtesy Tambako the Jaguar @ http://flic.kr/p/6qw8eS

I’ll definitely be conservative out of the chute and will take my time working the first 62 miles before picking up my pacer Matt Crownover at Foresthill, with my sister Nicole taking me in the last 7 from Hwy 49. If wolves do their best hunting when the sun goes down, than that might be me on race day Lord willing. Plus I need to earn my “bitchwolf” shirt from my Team Rogue coach John Schrup for a gutsy performance/race effort!!!

Sponsors and Partners: Many many thanks to Ruth at Rogue Running, Jack and Dan at Jack & Adam’s bicycles and High Five Events, Bob at Drymax Socks, Dr Z and his team at Advanced Rehab, Beto at Pure Austin gym, Chris at Bonk Breaker Energy Bars, Craig at Soleus watches, Kevin at thinksport sunscreen, all the gals at Lululemon, Liana at Mauro Pilates, Allan at RunSmart, Lisa my masseuse, and of course my ever-supportive and inspiring wife and dietician Meredith at Eating & Living Healthy, without her NONE of this is possible!!!!

http://grandkonaslam2012.wordpress.com/ – Follow Paul’s Kona Slam journey.


Joshua Witte #406

Photo: Courtesy Joshua Witte

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

I first started running distance when I met my wife, in 2003 (she was training for the Columbus OH marathon at the time, and I had never even done a half; I quickly determined I couldn’t let a girl outrun me!).  I ran my first marathon in 2006, in Chicago.  I didn’t start running trails/ultras until 2010, when I ran my first ultra, Capt Karl’s Inks Lake 60K (this is all Jeremy Day’s fault, as he was the one who convinced me that 1)running trail was the way to go, and 2) running ultras isn’t as crazy as it sounded at the time).  I’m currently up to almost 30 races of marathon or greater distance, with a number of 50 milers in there, and almost all trail over the last year and a half.  Western States 100 will be my first hundo.

[EB – In May you ran the marathon distance at Pandora’s Box of Rox and finish top 10. Any strong memories from that adventure? Did it provide any insights you would use at Western States?]

Pandora was a great run for me.  The one thing it did teach was that I needed to work on my heat acclimation a bit, as I suffered some the last five miles or so, and that I need to watch my hydration more carefully.  It also helped confirm my leg strength was back, as I handled the rocks, ups and downs without a problem (I had a tibial stress fracture earlier in the year, and I was a bit worried going into Western States about my ability to recover from it fast enough).

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

Training was unfortunately anything but typical for me leading up to Western States.  Back in October 2011, I tore my soleus muscle in my right calf, right after Palo Duro, and had to take six weeks off recovering.  In the process of coming back from that, I develped a tibial stress fracture on the same leg that really impeded my training a bit (it came to a head on day 2 of 3 Days of Syllamo, when I had to drop at mile 25 due to the pain in my leg…of course, I had already run Cross Timbers Marathon, the Cowtown 10km and 50km, and the 50km at Syllamo before figuring this out!).

[EB – How is the body and mind feeling one week out from your first 100 mile race and first Western States?]

Everything is feeling great.  Physically, I haven’t felt this good since before Palo Duro (another great race for me), as my miles and pace are now coming easy for me, and I feel fairly acclimated to the heat.  Mentally, I’m stressing a bit, but not overly so.  I feel confident in my ability to handle the distance and the rigors of the trail, but I worry about the X-factors (freak injury, altitude related issues, heat, bears, lol) more than I should.  Normal pre-race jitters, I would think.

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

I can’t wait to get out of Robinson Flat and into the canyons!  I’ve come to love big climbs and descents, and I handle them very well from a mechanical standpoint (Syllamo and Santa Barbara taught me this), so I’m really looking forward to the long downhills and the steep ascents…probably the first time you’ve heard that.  Of course, going across No Hands Bridge will be pretty sweet too!

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

My running partner, and pacer for Western States, Jeremy Day, has introduced me to a concept called “beast mode”, where late in a race you just throw it all out there and hammer down.  So, to answer your question, for the first 80 miles I will run like a fox, stealthy and deliberate, and then, when I go into beast mode after Rucky Chucky, I will, in a nod to my daughter, run like a Dinosaur (T-Rex would be her preference)!!!!

Of course, this is all predicated on the supposition I will not merely be in survival mode by this point, in which case I’ll run it like a Donkey…slow, dumb, and with stubborness!


The Texas Western States tribe I couldn’t hunt down.

  • Denise Burley #114
  • Robert Kemper #241
  • Ronald Lepine #261
  • Kyle McQuire #275
  • Mike Munoz #289
  • David Reasoner #109
  • Nick Shoemaker #350

Safe travels and the best to all our Texas athletes!

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

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.

One Response to “2012 Western States 100: Interviews With Our Texas Tread”

  1. on 20 Jun 2012 at 4:47 pm Steve Bernhardt

    As a 2X WS100 finisher I know all of you are in for an awesome experience. Good luck and enjoy the day!