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Running in the Sun on the Western States Trail

We actually closed the ZombieRunner store on Saturday and took off to Auburn for two days of running. The training weekend on the Western States 100 trails has always been fun for us, but for the first time in a lot of years, we could run two days of it. The first day goes from as close to Robinson Flat (mile 30 in the race) as the buses can get, down to Foresthill (mile 62). There is often snow in the first section. This year, there was a bunch of snow. And we know for sure we’re going through miles of snow in the race, only 4 weeks from now. So, my goal was to be comfortable with it. If you’re timid about snow, you’ll go sooo slowly, and the trouble with the Western States race is that almost all the aid stations have cutoffs. You can’t afford to go slow! So I charged through some sections, just to practice feeling tough.

The weather was nice – still wore a long sleeved top, but I was comfortable. They don’t have as many aid station stops for the training runs as they do for the race, but the stops are most excellent! PB&J sandwiches, PayDay bars, watermelon, potatoes, potato chips, goldfish, Oreo cookies (yay), coke, V-8 juice, just to name a few things. Gets you thinking about what you’ll be eating during the race. Also, of course, the people are so great. My first ultra was back in 1999, so over all this time Don and I have gotten to know a lot of people. And everyone is so happy and friendly. How can you not be, when you’re out in such beautiful country? The uphills were fine, the downhills were even better, and the finish was very cool. The Monsters of Massage were there and do a great job, painful, but great. The elbow in the butt seems to be the best treatment for runners. I feel like it cured all my pains.

The second day’s run was from Foresthill down to the Rucky Chucky river crossing, with a 3 mile climb to get up from the river. Race director Greg Soderlund told everyone to “take the time to dip your feet in the river” so that’s what we did. A good runner follows directions well. The day got hot, and I experienced my first dehydration of the season. That felt a little bad, but replenishing with cold, cold GU Brew and water and Coke felt so good. And then, after that climb to the finish, we got hot dogs! And Sprite too, while sitting in the sun.

I felt good after the back-to-back runs (still feel good) and was a little sad we were leaving that day instead of staying for the third run, but it all worked out well. Monday was Zombie catch-up day, preparing for a nice busy Tuesday. And then on to more training!

Gillian

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