Western States 100 Training Weekend

Over the Memorial weekend I got a chance to preview some of the last 70 miles runners will have to conquer at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.  Christy one of the co-founders of RunningSkirts will be running the 100 mile race on June 28th. Christy along with twin sister Cindy ran the last 70 miles of the course. 32 miles Saturday, 20 miles Sunday and 20 miles Monday.  Having only seen live streams of the race in the past, this weekend I have an ever greater appreciation for the beauty and toughness of this course.

They started the first two days of training from the Foresthill Elementary School about 16 miles off i80.   I was able to meet up with them at a couple of the aid stations, the first was Michigan Bluff, I hiked in about 1 1/2 miles, I didn’t even get to the bottom of the canyon and this was apparently one of the easier climbs. The scenery is incredible, I can see why participation in trail running is growing so fast.  Being a city slicker raised for the most part in concrete with a few accents of trees and greenery, I was constantly looking for the mountain lions, bears and rattle snakes (ha ha).

They finished day 1 back at the school and ran 32.4 miles according to their Garmin’s.

Day 2 started again from the school and the first aid station I was able to meet them at was Rucky Chucky. I was told we could drive down the canyon into the park and the road was a little rough.  I was happy I had the SUV, it was an amazing 3 miles drive down an old fire road, barely enough room for 2 vehicles to pass.  The views were amazing!!

This aid station was right along the river, the runner’s were able to soak their legs in the American River and get cooled down for their 3 mile climb up to the finish of training day 2.  This was also where I saw my first ever rattle snake. Thankfully, the ultra runners that have a little more nature experience than me were there to give me the 411 on rattle snakes. I snapped some pics and is slithered back across the trail into the grass.

Day 3 was another perfect day, the runner’s were bussed out to Greenwood, CA for their run back to Placer County High School, the finish of the Western States 100.  I followed the buses to the start, had a great breakfast in Cool, CA (home of all the cool people) then camped out around “no hands bridge”  The river was packed with locals and tourists basking in the sun.  This bridge I was told is a major landmark for the runners as they will be finishing on the same side of the river and only have a few miles to go.

Having finished Ironman Lake Tahoe last year, I can’t even fathom running 100 miles, yet alone 18000 feet of climbing and 22000 feet of descending in hot conditions.  Huge respect for all the runners that have completed this race and are started the WS100 this year.  We’ll be there cheering you on!  Below is some video we captured and some clips Cindy and Christy took while out on their training runs.

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