Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sideline view of the 2013 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.

A few weeks I was sitting on the Beach watching the surf after a long run.  I got a message from my buddy Luis Escobar come up to Western States I think I got a ride for you . 
This was the first year out of the last five that I didn't put my name in the the lottery to run in it. Even though I had entered the lottery 4 times prior I had didn't really want to  get picked, not because I didn't want to run but because the race is expensive and I hate signing up for anything more than a week in advance.  I finally started to realize that it wouldn't be right if I got picked and didn't want to run while others dreamed of being part of this event.

I had seen the documentary "Unbreakable" which documented the 2010 race but that was after a few IPA's  All I really knew is that it started and finished somewhere North of Los Angeles and East of San Francisco.
"It starts in Tahoe?"
I had no clue. 
(I ever been to Tahoe)
It turns out the ride Luis had lined up for me was in Santa Maria 3 hours North of my place.
Better than nothing right?
Thursday Night at 11 p.m. I was off to Santa Maria 2 days before the race.  Unfortunately the 3 hour drive was a little out of the way and I was now only 45 mins closer to Tahoe.  I met up with my new buddy Bo 
After driving all night we were now at the starting line in Squaw Valley.

I had various friends crewing or running in the race and was curious how difficult it would be to find they. Apparently not very difficult!
With in the first 15 minutes of my arrival I had ran into about 30 people I knew 
(This is gonna be a fun weekend)

Sleep deprived and gasping for oxygen in the thin mountain air.  I kind of wanted to hike the first few miles of the course.  That's when I found out their was a 6km race, that does just that and it started in less than an hour. 
Best of all it was free!

I grabbed some dates, a cup of jet black coffee, followed soon after by my morning constitutional, put on my shorts shorts,  laced up my Luna Oso sandals and was ready to go.   
 Ready as could be under the circumstances.
Photo by Glenn Tachiyama
The field was pretty stacked with awesome trail runners, most of them rejects from the lottery I'm sure.
                                                                                         Photo by Glenn Tachiyama
I wanted to go out strong but I could really feel the altitude so I just moseyed up the hill taking a slow and steady approach nipping off runners along the way 
What a Dumb Ass!
I was feeling a little loopy after driving all night.  I wanted to take pictures up at the top so I ran with my camera. Well since I had my camera in my hand I snapped about 20 pics along the way as I raced.
 The course was tough, pretty much straight up the mountain.   I finished near the front but not even close to the win in a time of just over 34 mins. I think somewhere between 10th and 20th out of 250  (they only kept track of the top 3) I thought the course was gonna be longer I conserving energy and still had 90 % percent of the water left in my bottle. If I ever do this race again i'm sure I could shave a few minutes off my time.

It was before 11 a.m. and the temperature was pushing towards 100 degrees  as much as I would love to run in the Western States 100 the following day I felt fortunate I only had to run 4 miles.
First place in the sandal Division
It sure is pretty up here! and I was pretty glad I only had to run 4 miles and that I would have beer in belly by noon
Look out Jimmy Dean there's a Coyote behind you
Dude, Luis was flying in his sandals
That's my travel buddy Bo who finished 3rd in the sandal division in his Luna Mono's just seconds just a few seconds behind Mr. Escobar
Shortly before the race I was approached some pretty fit foreign dude with a funny accent. It turns out he was the founder of " Hoka One"  He asked if was Patrick Sweeney and told me he was fan and I thought that was pretty cool. He was pretty nice guy and posed for this picture with me after the race.
I can't wait for those royalty checks to start coming in

Posing with some Mas Loco's at the top of the mountain
Cherokee or Tarahumara?
Tha outfit once belonged to the great Arnolfo Quimare Luis originally wanted me to wear it but it looked much better on Maria.
Relaxing at the pre race briefing that more exhausting than some ultras I have ran.
I like to thank the Stone Brewing Company for helping me get through it.

After a night of driving followed by a race and then an afternoon of  Stone Ales I was exhausted.  Luis had a hotel room in Truckee.  Lights out by 11pm followed by a 2:45 a.m. wake up call so that we could position ourselves out on the course  to take pictures at sunrise
5am hanging out at mile 5
San Diego 100 Race director Scott Mills.  This dude's in his 60's and still very capable of busting out sub 24 hour 100's like it's nothing
Catra Corbett always looks good out on the trail.
The Legend himself
40 years ago he horse went lame before the Western States 100 and he became the first man to run the race on  foot and he did in in less than 24 hours.
You can even buy a fancy Ink N Burn shirt with his likeness printed on it.
I wonder if I will ever be on an Ink N Burn shirt?
Where are the leaders you ask?
I was manning Luis Escobars camera with one hand.
Taking pictures like this.  While snapping a few shots with my point N shoot in the other hand
Lets fast forward to mile 48 to see the leaders.
(video has nothing to do with anything other than time passing but you got to admit it's pretty F'N sweet)

After a lengthy drive Bo Luis and I found ourselves deep in the forest  pounding beers and listening tunes as we waited for the leaders to arrive.
First to arrive the Defending Champ Timmy Olsen.
But then out of nowhere 
 Luis Escobar takes the lead.
Timmy barely edged out Luis 1/4 mile later and went on to defend his title
Followed by Hal Koerner
 other runners to pass by included
Dude with beard
Mike Morton
and Jesse Haynes.
Where the ladies at?
First place.  
She didn't look fast but man she was killing it!

other women include
cute young chick
Apparently I had picked her to win
! ended finishing tied for 48th place out of the over 800 people who entered the pool at
and the female version of James Bonnet at least from the ankles down

Fast forward to mile 62
Luis, Bo, and Sweeney on a routine expedition. I really hope that song gets stuck in your head.
We were one of the first boats to cross the river our gondolier (for lack of a better term) lost control of the ship and we went on an unexpected 1/4 mile trip over the rapids. (It was still pleasant unexpected mini adventure)
Time to take some pictures
Me  "Hey Ian aren't you supposed to be running?"
Ian  "I'll give you $5 if you get the boat to run over Nick Clark"
(Ian went on to finish 4th just as I predicted and is 1 hour ahead of record setting pace for the grand slam. Good luck dude!)
Easy Money?
Sorry Nick!
(No the boat did not really run him over, he is just cooling off)

Local SoCal boy Jesse was killing it in his first hundred on his way to a 7th place finish
I just including this pic because the girl in the red was pretty cute
By now the level of water in the river had dropped low enough to allow runners to cross without the aid of a boat.

I missed the lead woman come through because I was getting a battery for my camera
(Well that and I was pounding a Stone IPA back at the truck)
I watched from a distance 
Luis got a little closer
Fast forward to the finish line
Why is that music so sad?

We got to the finish line just as the first place woman came in.
Followed by my buddy Yassine Diboun who rounded out the top 10
Way to go dude!

I farted around for awhile  congratulating runners before passing out on the field in a sleeping bag just before 1 a.m.
Rise and shine

Early the next morning Bo Luis and I went on about 7 or 8 mile jog back out on the course to get some pictures of the runners who had been at it all night.
We ran into a pack of coyotes
My Best Friend Dan Westergarrd whom was pacing another runner.
I'll  be pacing Dan for the 5th time next week as he attempts his 7th consecutive Badwater finish
I wonder if the view loks as pretty to a runner who's been going for 28 hours?
I didn't think there was any chance of a flash flood but just in case this chick was prepared
Luis was working hard the whole trip.
That's the oldest concrete reinforced bridge in the United States.
(or maybe I'm just making that up)
How cool would that be if all had to do is run for a few hours and I could pee IPA? Would it then be called an IP IPA?  I hear that's how the Angels make beer in Heaven.
Shortly before the leaving Auburn I finally got to congratulate Mike Morton on his amazing 3rd place finish. 16 years after he had won the race he came back to set a new master record.
Way to go Mike!

After a hand full of hour of sleep the entire weekend it was time to jump back in the car and drive 10 hours back home.  Thanks to Bo and Luis for putting up me with me.  Congratulations to all the runners and yes I am most definitely putting my name back in the lottery next year.


  1. Great report Pat. I personally have Wasatch 100 as my 100 miler goal. A soft goal, but man it's gorgeous up there.