Finally, you will undoubtedly have a moment between Cal 2 and Auburn Lakes Trails when you feel like you need a Quad Transplant. I got news for you, everyone feels this way. The downhill pounding you put your legs through at Western States grinds the muscles in your quads into sausage. Don’t let it bother you. Yes, one can experience excruciating muscle damage at Western States, but if you have damage that bad, you’ll most certainly know it will feel like Ray Lewis is thrusting two ice picks into your quads with each foot plant. Assuming the pain you’re experiencing is less severe than that, just slow down, stay hydrated, and shuffle on. —An excerpt of a letter from ultrarunner Andy Jones-Wilkins to competitors in the 2012 Western States 100
Some of the best ultrarunners in the world will line up in Squaw Valley, California, tomorrow morning for the start of the Western States 100. If they finish, they will climb more than 17,000 feet, descend more than 22,000 feet, and have at least some moments on relatively flat ground as they run, walk, or crawl in the summer heat over the course of 100.2 miles to Auburn, California. This all started as a horse race, but in 1974 a guy named Gordy Ainsleigh decided to see if he could run with the animals. Below is an excerpt of his account.