Western States Post Mortem

A Day in the Life24 Comments

One week later…just a few thoughts before putting this race to bed.

1. Splits

Took a minute to go back to my spreadsheet that I had in my pocket for the race…the one I didn’t really look at because I was opted for the race signs. Those race signs were a little more aggressive as I noted on race day than my pace splits. Should have stuck with my data for less angst during the race. Oh well. So here is the sheet blown up with my actuals.

This view makes it look much more solid for the day in my opinion. This was well executed. Feels more like I wanted it go after seeing the data up close. I put a few notes markers with letters on the right side to mark up the interesting shifts.

A – First big gain of the day. This was because I was pissed leaving Duncan at having to work harder than I thought to hold pace. So I stepped on it a bit and ran all ups.

B – Dropped a lot of time here. This was when I paused for a dump. It was also the wettest part of day. Poured rain. No other great excuse.

C – Back to even! The Devil’s climb. I crushed it relative to the pace. Uphill is my friend.

D – I took my longest aid station of the day at Michigan and paid for it. Shoe change. Food. Needed the stop but it threw me behind.

E – Tim got me in gear. Crushed it to the river once we got rolling consistently. There were a few hikes in there. Passed a lot of folks.

F – We hiked hard up from the river and didn’t stop for wet gear change like most do.

G – Just cruising. Easy spot to just bonk and slow. Kept on a groove.

H – Passing people made for some excitement and something to keep moving towards.

I – I had stopped running downhill because of quads and confidence of finish time. Lost 6 minutes. Figured it was more.

2. Aftermath

Anybody else go through this mini-depression cycle after these races? Oh, its not that bad but I don’t know what else to call it. You eat, sleep, train, and think that race every minute and then when its over…its over. Back to normal. Hey, I was the star yesterday! It takes a bit of time to unwind yourself around the mission. Eh.

3. Ceremony

My biggest feedback about WS100 was that the ceremony of it sucked. I didn’t enjoy any of the briefings, awards, etc. All were late, long, boring, and not well produced. The pre-race felt like some atta-boy club meeting. There was no information exchanged. The crew briefing gave all the race instruction that was valuable. They really need someone professional to MC the event from the pre-race, to awards, to finish line announcing. Also, at the start there was nothing — we just started when the clock counted down. Weird. The medical director said 10 words. Weird. Leadville scores an 8 out of 10 vs. a paltry 1 of 10 here. It was a total letdown for such a legendary race.

4. Return

Will you go back to WS100? Probably not. I got what I went there for. Probably newer experiences to tackle instead and put my dollars to work elsewhere. But it seems weird not to let the lottery gods decide my fate. Hmmm.

5. Next

I keep considering whether to run Silver Rush or not. I sort of want to just because its a fun day and distance on a known trail. I would be encouraged to drop an hour off my PR on that course fixing the mistakes of last season. But do I have it in me? I don’t want to sacrifice LT100 for SR50 in anyway. I am on the fence if its positive or not. I feel like more experience with long days on my feet is better than anything. Thoughts?

  • mikehinterberg

    I’ll dig around for more science, but post-race depression (including marathons) is definitely a known phenomenon. There’s not too much ultra info on it because of the niche/small sample size, and also the “toughness” and/or ignorance of it. And it’s similar to other mild post- depression that’s observed after weddings, graduations, etc.

    Agree on some of your atta-boy and meeting observations. Woulda been fun to chat about it for a couple hours at mile 90 if you woulda slowed the f’ down!

  • mikehinterberg

    I’ll dig around for more science, but post-race depression (including marathons) is definitely a known phenomenon. There’s not too much ultra info on it because of the niche/small sample size, and also the “toughness” and/or ignorance of it. And it’s similar to other mild post- depression that’s observed after weddings, graduations, etc.
    Agree on some of your atta-boy and meeting observations. Woulda been fun to chat about it for a couple hours at mile 90 if you woulda slowed the f’ down!

    • I felt like the bolts that were holding the wheels on the axle might come loose at any moment. So I had to get within crawling distance of Placer High ASAP. Your gimpy-self inspired me not to slow down — if Mikey is blowin’ up….my time is coming!

  • I need someone to pace me at the 2017 race — interested?

    • Of course…but you have to get in first. The lottery isn’t kind. Except to me. Because I am fucking awesome.

    • I’d be happy to pace you, Eric, but I ain’t waiting no five years!

    • Wow, two offers with qualifiers. I guess I better finish that Couch to 5k program and pray to the lottery Gods.

  • I agree with you that there’s a letdown after the big event. There’s also the solid feeling that you accomplished something and faced a bunch of fears. I love the anticipation of racing almost as much as the actual participation. I call it the magical hour because anything can happen and anything is possible before you toe the line.

    And, good god, please, western states, let me manage the pre-race schedule and production. I actually blacked out at the announcements and thought it was due to fatigue when it was likely boredom.

  • I agree with you that there’s a letdown after the big event. There’s also the solid feeling that you accomplished something and faced a bunch of fears. I love the anticipation of racing almost as much as the actual participation. I call it the magical hour because anything can happen and anything is possible before you toe the line.

    And, good god, please, western states, let me manage the pre-race schedule and production. I actually blacked out at the announcements and thought it was due to fatigue when it was likely boredom.

    • Yes, the accomplishment remains and will live on. The rest will fade.

      Ken Chlouber might be crazy but he puts on a hell of a better show!

  • Glenn

    Pretty sweet “negative split” pacing. If I was you I’d throw all my chips on Leadville, now that you’ve cleared up the questions of pacing and nutrition. Get a good pacer and rip the return half. +1 on the racer briefing being an awards ceremony: crew briefing was solid.

    • Let us know if you want to come and see it play out again!

  • Eric

    Wow, pretty darn great! And you executed very nicely! Great job and even better result, and, in the words of Jorge, “YOU RAN WESTERN STATES!”.
    But… from your reports on previous races, this was not you. No secret goal to get below 20? No taking the lead at least once? So, couple of questions: 1) How hard was it actually to hold back in the beginning? 2) Do you feel that you left something on the course by not starting as aggressively as at least a part of you wanted to? 3) So how will this effect your Leadville strategy/tactics?

    • Good questions.

      1) Easy. Just start late. But then I felt like I had to play catch-up. It wasn’t too hard. Just took it out moderate instead of hard.

      2) Good questions. Hard to say. I had a lot to give late in the race. That might have not happened. So you have to figure out the miles per minute early vs. the miles per minute late. My thinking is that you might drop pace by a minute per mile maybe with more effort. But when you blow up late, you are going to lose up to 5 minutes per mile.

      3) I don’t know yet. I will probably try and relax my early splits a touch which should provide me more energy for mid-race. Which is where I have trained for the hike.

  • Good questions.

    1) Easy. Just start late. But then I felt like I had to play catch-up. It wasn’t too hard. Just took it out moderate instead of hard.

    2) Good questions. Hard to say. I had a lot to give late in the race. That might have not happened. So you have to figure out the miles per minute early vs. the miles per minute late. My thinking is that you might drop pace by a minute per mile maybe with more effort. But when you blow up late, you are going to lose up to 5 minutes per mile.

    3) I don’t know yet. I will probably try and relax my early splits a touch which should provide me more energy for mid-race. Which is where I have trained for the hike.