Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Western States - Pregame

Everyone who attends Western States 100 has their own unique story. Runners, pacers, crew, family members, aid station workers - everyone is looking through their own lens.  This is mine.  Some written on the spot and some after I could get a little perspective.  
Perspective is (in fact!) at the crux of all of this... how does a 66 year old man who has somehow survived terminal cancer get out and run 100 miles in under 30 hours?  How does he cope with the fact that last time he ran it, he was 9th overall - before the cancer?  How does it change my life to see people accomplish the seemingly impossible?  I’m still grappling with it all but for now, the following musings will have to suffice.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 7:30 a.m. - Bridgetown, Barbados
So here we are... on the plane and on our way to the Western States 100!  
Don't be alarmed that I haven't blogged in over a month for THIS is why!
Running, running, working, training, running, recovering, watching videos, studying maps, running- everything leading up to getting Wayne across that finish line.  The entire country of Barbados must be breathing a collective sigh of relief - the crazy girl is outta here!
Hoping for some beautiful California produce tonight and a good night's sleep.  Wayne is taking me out for a run tomorrow on some local trails to "see how I move".  Sounds like an audition to me but I'm ready to tackle anything at this point. Bring it.
We'll leave for Tahoe on Friday morning to get Wayne cleared through medical, attend the mandatory runner's meeting and I'll get checked in as an official pacer. 
Before I get too far along in this journey, I just have to raise up thanks to Rachel Corbin, Poonam Lewis, Dawn Arriola, Hillaire Campbell,  Angie Gerber and Alice Nielsen for providing the kind of support and encouragement that only your running girls can provide.  When people ask "Why the hell would someone run 100 miles?" - your girls know why.  You're in my heart every step of the way.
Thursday, June 21 2:06 p.m. - El Dorado, California 
Had a great 13k run with THE Wayne Miles around a beautiful green water lake at 3500 ft.  Beauty abounds.
The run was a little faster than I anticipated for someone who was supposed to be fully tapered for a 100 mile run but I could keep up. Can I keep up for 20 miles? THAT is the question!  Mark assures me that Wayne won't be running anywhere near that fast by mile 62.  I also need to remember that trail running isn't my norm. What I lack in trail experience I will surely make up for in adrenaline!
Friday, June 22, 2012 4:00 p.m. Squaw Valley, California 
Walking up to the check-in station my heart started pounding in my ears.  If I was checking in to run 100 miles, I think I would've had a heart attack.  I looked at Wayne and said "wow, I'm nervous!" he smiled at me and said "I'm scared to death!". So, I guess it doesn't matter how many times you do it. Duly noted.
When we entered the check-in area the reaction was instantaneous - WAYNE MILES!  So many people came up to wish him luck, ask about his health and some just kind of stood around with their mouths open... What is HE doing here?  I quickly noticed that all of Wayne's running buddies were working the race. Not running it. Hmmmm.
The medical check-in began with the emergency contact card and race photo. Easy peas. Then we moved onto the stuff that matters - weight and blood pressure.  If you weigh in heavy, the medical officials might pull you off the course on race day for losing too much weight between aid stations. If your blood pressure is too high, they might not even let you start the race.  Wayne weighed in five pounds over his normal weight which he planned for but his blood pressure was sky high from nerves.  The med staff let him calm down for a few minutes and tested him again - borderline at 152/100.  Much higher than his usual blood pressure but they cleared him.  Lord knows if they had slapped a cuff on me they would've called an ambulance!
I had a couple of people to try to find at WS... One of them was Nick Triolo.  He's a friend of my friend Alice in Portland.  Nick is a young gun (and a great writer) who won a 50 mile race prior to arriving at WS.  I had tried to find a bigger picture of Nick on his blog to no avail but I was keeping my eyes open.  As I accompanied Wayne through the medical check-in he introduced me to his friend Lisa who was doing the weigh in, the guy behind me said "Lauren?"... Of course, it was Nick. Cuz that’s how things work.  We had a minute to chat and the light in Nick's eyes was undeniable.  That cat was ready. 
After Wayne's check-in was finished, we walked over to the pacer tent and I signed my life away to get my bib.  It seemed like peanuts in comparison but my heart was pounding and my eyes were tearing up nonetheless.

The last item of the day was the mandatory runners gathering at Squaw.  Here we got to hear about the course conditions, meet the race directors and learn a whole bunch about how to properly poop in the woods.  Enlightening.  That aside, the people watching was fantastic and it was pretty awesome to see all of those crazy people gathered in one spot.

Wayne, Me and my precious bib...

Under the world famous Western States time clock

Runners meeting at Squaw

Oodles of crazy people
Strangely, Wayne has no pre-race rituals, meals, etc. so we're off to dinner at the restaurant here at the Resort at Squaw Valley.  Is there any chance of sleeping tonight?  Odds are low.

1 comment:

  1. I hope to experience this in some way, some day. Perhaps I should be reading up about pacing. ;). I am so thrilled you were there Lauren!