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The Duel Trail Race

2013 Western States 100: Pre-Race Shake-Out with our TALON Tread

The 100 mile race that started it all 40 years ago with Gordy Ainsleigh participating in a one day, 100 mile, horse race from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California. The challenge for this horse race – travel this specific 100 miles in a day. Gordy completed the race in 23:42 – by foot!

This was indeed the planting of the seed that became the Western States 100 Endurance Run. An event that has grown into arguably the most talked about, high profile trail race in the United States. Runners have 30 hours to reach the track in Auburn.

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Photo: Courtesy skot.foto! @ http://flic.kr/p/bBjqbc

This weekend signifies the 40th annual running of the event with nearly 400 athletes looking forward to the 5:00am start Saturday morning.

Our TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) tread includes a mix of 16 Western States veterans and newbies. We have three states representing this year – Texas (11), Arkansas (1), and New Mexico (4).

Here are our athletes playing on the Western States trail this weekend! Also included are brief chats with a number of them.

Giddy-up!


Texas

Paul Terranova #24

paul_terranova_ws13pre

Many ultra lessons learned since your first 100 miler at Western States one year ago. What are a couple of these bits of wisdom you plan to bring with you on the trails this year?

Indeed, of the many lessons learned many miles ago, the biggest one is to not bat an eye at changing shoes even in the heat of battle. At last year’s Western States, I stuck with the same pair of shoes, despite my wife Meredith’s recommendation to the contrary, for the entire 100 miles – BIG mistake. My feet swelled quite a bit and my Achilles took a beating as a result. Four weeks later at the Vermont 100 , I made three shoe changes between two pairs of shoes, two insole changes (to a thinner pair), and one sock change (again to a thinner pair). Yes, my feet thanked me and carried me to a 4th place finish behind fellow Slammer Mike LeRoux. Fast forward four weeks to Leadville, and I widdled it down to just two shoe/insole changes with a single pair of socks. Finally, three weeks later at Wasatch, I started with one pair of shoes for 40 miles and finished up with a second pair for the last 60. Really, it boils down to just listening to your spouse and crew!! :)

Did you have a favorite key workout in your Western States prep?

Of course, doesn’t everybody??!! Meredith and I once again ventured out to Western States training camp over Memorial Day weekend, and I got in 113 miles over four days: 18, 31, 41, 23. The middle two days were MONSTER 6.5/7 hour days of climbing and descending, seeing as much of the course forwards and backwards as possible.

Following that, I commenced the heat training here in Texas donning a long sleeve, short sleeve, and beanie for every workout, even in the gym. My favorite of those workouts were a couple of multi-hour Friday afternoon trail runs in the heat of the day followed by another doozie of a run the following late morning: 2 hours + some track work (200/400/600/800/600/400/200). Good times!!!

I also got to kayak next to Meredith as her water guardian during her 6+ hour swim around Key West (12.5 miles) three weeks ago. She did AWESOME and I’m amazed and thankful at how well we work together as a team, especially when she listens to her husband! ;)

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

Photo: Courtesy Bryn Davies @ http://flic.kr/p/6UMika

Photo: Courtesy Bryn Davies @ http://flic.kr/p/6UMika

This year, I’m taking Western on like a mongoose: a threatened species known for being a nondiscriminatory hunter. Generally terrestrial, some are semi-aquatic. Easily overlooked, mongoose are also known to creatively hunt and boldly attack animals much larger and more dangerous than they. Grrrrrr….


Quent Bearden #87

Quent-B-trail-runner

Why Western States? This is not your first “go” at this course. What interests you in this event?

The initial appeal I had with running Western States was in the history and lore of the event, and I wanted to be a part of that. My interest in running Western States now is more about unfinished business. Lying on a stretcher at Michigan Bluff with two IVs is not a good memory.

Any lessons learned from your last run on this course that you plan to bring with you this year?

I would say not so much in regards to the course itself, since I only saw 52 miles of it. But in the preparation for the race, let’s just put it like this; overtraining is like prison, it’s really not a place you want to go, and if you do it’s going to be painful.

What was a favorite workout you used to prep for this race?

My Sunday workout where I would run long with a hard tempo of 10-15 miles in the middle.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

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

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

Wolf – calculated and patient.


Gerardo Moreno #291

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

I’ve been running since my freshman year in high school(2000). My first ultra was in 2003, the Sunmart 50km. In 2011, a friend and I jokingly decided to run Rocky Raccoon 50 miler and I was hooked.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think), what interests you in this event?

My former high school cross country coach finished the race twice. He always talked about it to the team. How great it was to run it. The scenery. The atmosphere. So it was always in the back of my mind. To me Western States 100 is the Super Bowl of ultra running. It was only a matter of time for me to run it. Fortunately, my name was drawn this year.

Did you have a favorite or key workout in your prep for Western States?

From reading blogs and talking to my former coach, to prepare for the race I did a lot of 1Km repeats and tempo runs. Once a week I would do 15 X 1km repeats, switching between running uphill and downhill.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

Photo: Courtesy of Aurélio Vinícius @ http://flic.kr/p/34sZqu

Photo: Courtesy of Aurélio Vinícius @ http://flic.kr/p/34sZqu

An Arabian horse. I’m going to try to tough it out and make it to Auburn.


Neil Smith #371

neil_smith_ws13pre

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

I ran while in High School. Then, I started running again 11 years ago, when I turned 30. I’ve always done a bit of training on trails, so trail running ultra was a natural extension a few years ago.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think), what interests you in this event?

Western States is a run that I have known about since I was a kid. I watched the ABC Wide World of Sports special when I was 13 or 14. Since then, I have been fascinated by it. After running marathons for several years, I decided to try trail running and ultra distances. When I ran my first 50 miler in 2010, my goal was to run it fast enough to qualify for Western States. I’ve been entering the lottery every year since then and finally made it in.

Western States is the mother of all trail runs. It is the race that started it all. One day in 1974, Gordy Ainsleigh decided to run in a 100 mile horse race. It has this awesome history and it is an unbelievably difficult course.

Did you have a favorite or key workout in your prep for Western States?

My favorite workout while training for Western States was a combination of stair climbing and intervals. I’d run up to the track and repeat 800 intervals and sets of “old fashion” bleacher running. It helped with recovery times.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

bad-ass-trail-running-tips

Jackass – Slow, surefooted, and stubborn.


Tim Steele #308

tim_steele_ws13pre

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

Started around six years ago; we decided to have kids and I needed to get in shape. I had been carrying some extra pounds for years, and when I quit smoking I got up over 200. I dropped nearly 50 pounds by doing some moderate lifting and using this $199 crappy elliptical we bought at a box store.

I had it in my head that a man should be able to run a mile to say he’s in shape and figured I could do it. I think I made three blocks on the first attempt. After a week or two, I went out one day and finally made the mile, and felt so good that I kept running for almost two before realizing ‘oh s***; now I have to get home. I’ve never forgotten that first runner’s high.

As far as ultras, I started three years ago at the Cowtown 50km and progressed to trail ultras from there–I had begun running in Waco and spent more time in Cameron Park than the roads. I never quit hiking and backpacking, so trail running was more of a goal than marathoning to begin with.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think), what interests you in this event?

Regarding Western States 100, it’s funny; it wasn’t really on my radar because it seemed like Boston–something I would never get to do. I qualified at Rocky Raccoon 50 last year. I was at a weird crossroads when the Western States lottery opened, and discussed putting my name in the hat with my wife. She was very supportive, considering she had just dealt with my first real ultra training season. I had a funny feeling when I clicked ‘submit’ and told her so. Lottery day, we were at a graduation party for her cousin and I was the jackass in the back room glued to my iPhone. I got drawn like sixth from the end, walked out, and laid the phone in front of Meredith without saying anything. I’m fairly sure she used a word she doesn’t normally use in front of her mother. That said, she is crewing me at Western States and is totally thrilled–she knows what the race means to the ultra world and to me. There is no way I could do this without her support (and REALLY good food–she is a professional recipe developer) and it’s huge motivation to finish.

You ran the 50 km and 50 km adventures at 3 Days of Syllamo in mid March. Any lessons learned from that experience, you plan to bring with you to Western States?

Syllamo taught me three things. One: water crossings require preparation (this cost me the stage race; my feet were split wide open after the 50 mile). Two: you CAN, in Hal Koerner’s parlance, “unbonk.” I had an awful meltdown halfway through the first day because it was the first heat I had seen all year. I sat on a rock until I could muster a toddle to the next aid station, where I took in a bunch of caffeine in various forms to re-open my bronchial passages, gave myself permission to sit for exactly five minutes, and power-hiked out. Within a few minutes I had my legs back. Knowing I could come back from rock-bottom served me well the next day. Three: Do NOT EVER start bombing downhills because you feel good at the halfway point.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

tsteele_jack_ws13

Jack, my Lab mix (who I run with nearly every day). Realize when you need to slow down and pant. Also realize that when you feel good, it’s okay to sprint with your tongue hanging behind your ear. Finally, realize when you need to stop and pee on something.


Paul Tidmore #385

paul_tidmore_ws13pre

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

I competed as a distance runner in high school and college. I finished my eligibility in 1991 and did little more than try to stay in shape for the next 10 years. A chance meeting of a North Texas Trail Runners member while running on the grass under some powerlines got me interested in running trail ultras. Neil Hewitt was training for the Pikes Peak Marathon, while I had spent a few summers bagging 14ers in Colorado. Talking to him for just a few minutes got me pretty interested in races like Leadville, Hardrock, Wasatch and many other western mountain races. With my sights set on the 2003 Leadville Trail 100, I ran my first trail ultra, the Arkansas Traveler 100, in October 2002.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think) but experienced 100 miler, what interests you in this event?

Besides being a western mountain ultra that I’ve not yet run, this is where it all began with Gordy Ainsleigh’s run in 1974. Lots of history, lots of great runners–kinda like going back to Athens for the Olympics.

Did you have a favorite or key workout in your Western States prep?

While battling some foot issues much of the Spring, I spent less time on my legs and focused on quality runs and less “junk” miles. About 75 percent of my mileage was on runs over 10 miles, and some of those turned into pretty good tempo runs. Another workout I like (and hate) is power-walking on a treadmill on 15% incline for an hour; going outside to run for an hour; then back on the treadmill for another hour.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

Photo: Courtesy of Rohit Varma @ http://flic.kr/p/e4EwNE

Photo: Courtesy of Rohit Varma @ http://flic.kr/p/e4EwNE

Wow–great question that I’ve never really thought of. When I think of animals running, I think of predators. I love to watch videos of cheetahs using their great speed to catch their prey. That definitely is not the way to run a 100. I would think an animal like a wolf or hyena might be suited for longer chases, and I need to be sure to save my legs for some solid running after Foresthill (mile 62).


Chris Barnwell #71

Photo: Courtesy Michael Friedhoff / LeaveTracks

Photo: Courtesy Michael Friedhoff / LeaveTracks

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

In 2002 I started walking to lose weight. I weighed 245lbs and smoked. As I started to lose weight, walking slowly turned into running. I ran only for fitness for the next few years. Nothing over five miles. In 2009, a friend convinced me that I should run a marathon. I ran White Rock that year. The move to ultras was prompted by my friend Ed with whom I trained for White Rock in 2010. He moved back to South Africa the next year and invited me to join him in running Comrades in 2012. I ran my first ultra at Palo Duro in 2011.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think), what interests you in this event?

Western States is the first race in the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. When I first learned about the Slam, I decided that this was something that I wanted to attempt. With the number of people entering the lottery for States growing each year, I knew that if I ever wanted to make a run at the Slam that I should start entering now. With a 7.8% chance, I really didn’t expect my name to be drawn. I am very privileged to have been given this opportunity.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

Photo: Courtesy Adam Foster @ http://flic.kr/p/7jJXZi

Photo: Courtesy Adam Foster @ http://flic.kr/p/7jJXZi

I’m not very good at these kinds of questions. But considering this seems to be shaping up to be a hot year, I hope to be like a camel and stay hydrated.


Miguel Montealvo #289

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

So… I guess you could say I am a Born to Run inspired runner. I grew up playing lots of soccer but stopped most of my physical activity in my later years of high school for an early start to my party years. It wasn’t until the week of my 21st birthday (when I was well partied out and really looking to start a better and healthier lifestyle) that I was gifted the book and suddenly became fascinated with long distance running. It began with nine months of irregular, self taught, road running, completing three halves, and one full marathon (at a mere 3:30). Then, in the first week of July last year, I stepped onto a trail to begin training for my first trail race that would be the Colorado Bend 30km, just a month later. By the time I got done running it, in a night with raining asteroids, my full allegiance had turned to the trails.

So upon my decent finish, I began dreaming up my future schedule in the trails, and since feasible, I laid out a plan for a shot at Western. Which was, the last Capt Karl 60km, followed by the Cactus Rose 50 with a qualifying time finish. And so it went. Application period was just a couple weeks after Cactus, I registered, and come December 8th, my singular ticket and its 7.9% chance proved to be enough to get me into the race. That’s when my real playing in the trails began. Since, my knowledge and time on the trails has grown exponentially, and so has my well being and overall happiness. Not to mention, the friends I’ve made out there are many and all incredible individuals. Love everything about this sport.

At the end of May, you ran Quad Rock 50 mile. What was that adventure like? Any lessons learned you will bring with you to Western States?

Ah, Quad Rock. That was my first mountain run and it definitely kicked my butt. Yet those same mountains made for my most humbling run to date. So what did I learn? Respect for the mountains and patience. Especially in the start. The unfortunate truth is that there are no mountains in my backyard, while I think that my training is solid with good hill work incorporated, as a rookie I can’t get overexcited to approach 3-5 mile climbs with the same intensity I approach the 1/2 mile hills I train in. Besides, it’s a 100 miler, I expect a whole different ball game, one predominated with patience and more hiking than what I’m used to. My goal is to make it through the canyons to Foresthill as fresh as possible and then let my awesome pacer, Brandon Ostrander, push my limits through the ‘easier’ part of the course to the finish.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think), what interests you in this event?

The words Western States have been there from the beginning of my running days, and since then as I get deeper and more invested in the sport, I’ve come to see how special and historical the race really is. I’m sure there are many runners who can agree with me that it is not the hardest 100 miler out there (and I say this not by experience, of coarse, but purely by the heart-spiking looking course profiles I’ve looked at such as Hardrock) , but it simply is the “oldest and most prestigious”, and for many, a once in a life time deal. I truly feel lucky to have made it into the race and for it to be my first 100, yet, it being a very unique time in my life for many reasons outside of running, it feels just right that it’s happening for me now. Asides from that, having ran some California trails earlier today, I am super stoked to run on the pristine, rock-less, pine full trails that predominate Western. AND, to run alongside (which by that I mean behind) the super stacked field, that should be a real treat.


Texas tread I wasn’t able to hunt down:

  • John Martinek #272
  • Suzanne Stroeer #377
  • Mark Ulfig #391

Arkansas

Tim Harrington #213

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

My running background was really non-existent until 2008, I was mostly a cyclist before then. I became inspired to run a marathon after my nephew was struck by lightning and killed. He was training for a marathon, so I wanted to do something to honor him. I had run a few shorter trail races put on by Arkansas Ultra Runner Association (AURA), and found a 50km on the calendar, so just decided to jump in.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think), what interests you in this event?

Western States, from the beginning of my running ultras, has always been that run that I always wanted to do. Just the history and stories that I read definitely made it a goal race for me, not to mention the difficulty of getting in. I only had one ticket in the lottery this year (from running Rocky Raccoon in 2012), which was about a 7.9% chance. I really wasn’t expecting to get in, so I feel very fortunate to be here this year.

Did you have a favorite or key workout in your prep for Western States?

My key workout for Western States was doing hill repeats at Mt. Nebo, which is about 1300+ feet of climbing over 2.5 miles. I really tried to concentrate on the downhills to get my quads ready for the 23000+ feet of descent at Western States. I was lucky enough to run Nebo with Stan and Chrissy Ferguson and PoDog on a few occasions, so I got lots of great Western States knowledge from them. Also my run at the Ouachita Trail 50 mile was key.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

 

Photo: Courtesy Jennie Rainsford @ http://flic.kr/p/6Q8dmH

Photo: Courtesy Jennie Rainsford @ http://flic.kr/p/6Q8dmH

I guess an owl. I’ll try to be wise about how I manage the run, heat, hydration and nutrition. Just wish I had the wings!


New Mexico

Ken Gordon #118

ken_gordon_ws13pre

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

I have been running ultras since my first at Crown King in 2002. I have finished Leadville nine times and Hardrock times times.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think) and experienced ultra runner, what interests you in this event?

Excited to see a new course and the one where it all started. This is my first Western States after striking out many times in the lottery. I got in with just a 7% chance. Amazing how difficult it is to get into popular races anymore. New Mexico has a great group of runners heading out with Eric Pope, Katrin Silva, Ian Maddieson and myself. Excited to have my sons Josh and Alex, fiance Margaret and friend Richard to crew and pace me on this course.

Did you have a favorite or key workout in your prep for Western States?

Circumstances led me to have to cram my training a bit but I got some decent workouts in before they closed Sandia mountain and got some good work in on Mt Taylor trying to toughen up my quads for the downhills at Western.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

Photo: Courtesy Pat Gaines @ http://flic.kr/p/7NbLaS

Photo: Courtesy Pat Gaines @ http://flic.kr/p/7NbLaS

Definetly going to try to run as a Coyote – laying low in the extreme heat of the day, howling when the sun goes down and trying to cruise like I own the place in the dark.


Katrin Silva #367

katrin_sliva_ws13pre

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

I never thought of myself as an athlete and did not start running marathons until I was in my thirties. Running ultras never crossed my mind until I was almost 40, when I ran the BlueSky 50km in Fort Collins in 2009. I was hooked after that.

Why Western States? As a first-time starter (I think) and experienced ultra runner, what interests you in this event?

I worked as a professional horse trainer for twenty-plus years, and love the idea that Western States has a connection to endurance riding. And of course, this race is the Boston of ultras. It is an honor to compete. When I complete it, I will no longer feel like a newbie.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?

Photo: Courtesy Adam Foster @ http://flic.kr/p/7jJXZi

Photo: Courtesy Adam Foster @ http://flic.kr/p/7jJXZi

It will be a scorcher, so I plan to channel the steady pace and desert-adapted physical characteristics of the camel.


New Mexico tread I wasn’t able to hunt down:

  • Eric Pope #132
  • Ian Maddieson #70 - Ian is attempting to be one of two other runners that have finished the WS100 within 30 hours at age 70 or older! Go Ian!
Ian, wisest Western States 100 finisher in 2010!

Ian Maddieson, wisest Western States 100 finisher in 2010!


Want to get an idea of the course?

Check out this sweet video by Steve Emmert from the 2010 Western States 100. Still one of my favorites!

2010 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run from Steve Emmert on Vimeo.


Live Race Coverage

Here are a few options for live race day coverage.

  • ultralive.net – Updates for all runners.
  • iRunFar – Pointy-end. Top 10 male/female. They also have a great collection of pre-race goodies on those racing at the front.

All the best to our TALON tread, and a safe and memorable weekend for all!

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.

7 Responses to “2013 Western States 100: Pre-Race Shake-Out with our TALON Tread”

  1. on 27 Jun 2013 at 11:53 am Jonathan

    Congrats to those that got in for this weekend’s adventure. Run smart and be safe during your trek. Hope everyone makes it to the track in Auburn to collect their buckle.

  2. on 27 Jun 2013 at 12:54 pm olga

    Good luck to all! Especially those who are crewed by a spouse:) Wink!

  3. on 27 Jun 2013 at 12:58 pm bp

    Great write-up. Will be watching the live feed for all our TALON runners.

    Another Texan to add to the list is Miguel Montealvo (bib 289). It is his first 100.

  4. on 27 Jun 2013 at 1:02 pm David Hanenburg

    bp – Good catch! I had Miguel noted, and then he slipped by during the write-up process. I will update!

  5. on 27 Jun 2013 at 4:15 pm olga

    You ate my comment! Miguel ran his first ultra last Fall at Captn Karl and almost dropped until he was dragged to me and I shamed him and talked him into finishing. He went on to run a 50M later, qualify and got into WS100 on his first try. Brandon O. will be pacing him – and they better do me proud!

  6. on 29 Jun 2013 at 4:56 pm Jonathan

    Paul T is in 11th at Foresthill – mile 62 at 5:49 our time.

  7. on 02 Jul 2013 at 9:24 am David Hanenburg

    Olga – I think Miguel and Brandon did you proud!!

    Jonathan – Yes, Paul crushed it!!

    What a day!

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