Wednesday, June 30, 2010

8 mile morning run and June totals

I think it is finally summer around here. It was heating up even at 7 am this morning. I got in a solid 8 miles from my house to Marie Kerr Park and back on Rancho Vista. It was nice and calm on the way out but got breezy on the way back. I finished the run in just over 63 minutes (avg sub 8min pace). That pace still feels harder than it should but I am trying to be patient.

The run this morning gave me 105 miles for June, up from 85 in May. I hope to be closer to 140 in July. With 4.5 weekends I should be able to do that. Total miles for the year (half way through) is 745. I am on pace to exceed last year's mileage of 1402.

I broke two blog record this month. My post on USATF Championships on June 25th got a record 15 comments, although some of them were me replying. That day I also got a record 165 visitors on my blog! I usually average around 20 visitors per day.

Western States 100 was this past weekend. It is one of the most prestigious 100 mile races in the country. It starts just west of Lake Tahoe at Squaw Valley, CA and ends at Auburn, CA. This year was the 37th running. It is the Boston Marathon of ultramarathons. There is a lottery to get in and there are qualifying standards:

a) 50 miles in under 11 hours

b) 100 kilometers in under 14 hours

c) completion of any OFFICIAL 100-mile trail race

d) completion of three 50-mile runs, completed within the cutoff times of those races, but in not more than 12 hours, and during the qualifying period.

There is also a service requirement of 8 hours of trail maintenance or race volunteering.

The race is limited to 369 but they accept 400 due to some no shows. The number of applicants to the lottery has been as high as 1,200 in the past. In recent years it has again been bumping 1,000 applicants. Odds of getting selected are a function of the number of applicants, the number of automatic entrants, and the number of total runners accepted. For the 2006 race, for example, the odds of getting drawn in the lottery were approximately 37%.

The Western States 100 course is not to be taken lightly: heat (it is not unusual for temperatures in the canyons to exceed 110 degrees), the possibility of snow, altitude, elevation changes (18,000 feet of elevation gain and 22,000 feet of elevation loss), rocks, dust, river crossings, nighttime running where temperatures can drop to below freezing, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, bears, dehydration, hyperthermia, hypothermia, kidney shutdown, bee stings, and so on. See the course map here. Sounds like fun huh?

Anyone who completes the course in under 24 hours receives a silver belt buckle. Why a belt buckle you ask? Well they used to have a 100 mile horse race on the same course and in 1974 people started joining in without horses to see if they could complete the distance in under 24 hours (which was the goal for the horses). Read about the history of the race here. Many other 100 mile races have followed the sub-24 hour belt buckle prize.

So I did qualify for Western States at the LD50 with my 8:55. Don't worry Andi I won't be applying for next year. Some day it would be fun though.

This year Scott Jurek's course record was broken by 34-year old Geoff Roes from Alaska. He broke the record by 29 minutes, covering the 100 mile course in 15 hours 7 minutes and 4 seconds. AMAZING! The second place finisher also broke the old course record. There must have been great conditions up there.


Chuck said...

Enjoyed reading about the history of the Western States 100 race. Thank you for another very interesting post.

Daniel said...

Great post, Karl.

I'm sure you saw the Solinsky record 10k online, but did you hear the flotrack guys' commentary? They were completely freaking out! It was pretty awesome. I saw it finally on the Q&A w/ Solinsky page on RW. Fun stuff.

Karl Stutelberg said...

I was watching it live on Flotrack when he broke the record and their commentary was awesome! They make watching 10k so exciting. If Ryan was doing color commentary on TV the track and field ratings would be much better. I bet we see Ryan on TV sooner than later. He is so knowledgeable, he has a great sense of humor, and his personality and comments are totally entertaining! If they keep it up you won't hear spectators say, "Oh man, not another distance race again."