My Wishlist for Western States

Western States is still six months away. However, I took some time to put together a holiday wishlist for it. Here are the top ten things I hope for in relation to Western States:

(1) A great training lead-up to the race. I briefly toyed with getting a coach. I think this is a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity so I figured it was now or never. I decided on never. I think there are some great positives to having a coach, I’m just not sure it works with my training and schedule. With that being said, I will primarily be utilizing the wisdom of Jason Koop. His book is brilliant. However, stick an asterisk next to it, because I will also be utilizing downhill training, which Koop frowns upon.

(2) A healthy diet. This one is definitely in my control. I have a bit of a penchant for comfort food. Sandwiches, chips, burritos… you name it. While I won’t be going cold tofurkey on the comfort food, I will definitely be nixing some of it and replacing it with fresh fruit and veggies.

(3) A healthy body. I’ve generally been injury-free for several years in a row (knock on wood). I haven’t missed more than two or three days in a row due to any physical issue. I’ve found a sweet spot in my training where I can produce quality races without overloading during training. With that being said, I am going to push the envelope a bit here. I usually max out around 70 to 80 miles per week. For Western States, I’m going to produce at least a few 90 mile weeks. I think my body can handle it now even while I still emphasize quality over quantity.

(4) A low-key trip to Squaw Valley. Believe it or not, traveling from Syracuse, NY to Squaw Valley, CA is not the easiest thing in the world. I did it about six months ago, and it may be as exhausting as running 100 miles! Well… almost.

(5) A solid stomach. I really want a solid stomach on race day. If the stomach goes, everything else goes. I rarely have issues (knock on wood). I’ve found a formula that works well for me. Huma Gels, Tailwind and the occasional ProBar or Picky Bar. Vegan power all the way! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

(6) Ryan Sandes and Stephanie Case. Of all the elites, I’m definitely looking forward to stalking, I mean meeting Ryan Sandes. I think he’s super inspirational and he seems like a really nice guy. I also hope to meet Stephanie Case. Stephanie is the founder and president of Free to Run, an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Stephanie is a good runner and an even better person – hopefully we cross paths!

(7) No Hands Bridge. By the time you get to No Hands, it’s basically a done deal. I’ve only experienced it once, but I can tell you that it’s an amazing feeling when you can finally smell the barn in a hundred miler.

(8) A silver buckle. Break 24 hours, get a silver buckle. It’s as simple as that.

(9) A positive experience. Big races are challenging. So much goes into them – time, emotional energy, money. I’ve run the Boston Marathon – disaster! and the New York Marathon – brilliant! I tried the Zion 100 – disaster! I think that means I am due for a good one!

(10) A strong message to spread. Last weekend, my friend Laura Kline ran the North Face 50 (and was awesome!). Before the race, I texted her, “The entire east coast and vegans everywhere are counting on you. No pressure.” Yes, I’m a smartass. But in a way, it’s also true. East Coasters never get any love in West Coast races (despite the fact that the East has brought you Zach Miller, Rob Krar, Geoff Roes and others). In addition, there are still so many skeptics of a vegan diet. While I am not the athlete that Laura is, I still hope to represent as best as I can!