It was this time five years ago (2008), when I was arguably in the best ultra running shape of my life (2nd at Miwok-8:24) when fires engulfed the WS course and forced the cancelation of the event.
Ironically enough that marked the beginning of my running decline. My summers from 2008 to 2009 were filled with 100 mile DNF's. I only finished 1 of 5 hundred mile races in that stretch.
And with "death march" runs at TRT in 2010 and 2011, even though rewarding, psychologically were damaging to the ego. Enough so, that I decided no more mountain 100's.
Well, that was until December of 2011 that Peter Defty asked me to participate in his medical study at Western States. I didn't want to turn down the opportunity to run in this historic event in my own backyard. R(2 hours driving distance)
Fast forward to today....six months removed from the decision to run WS. What a difference six months makes. I have two ultra victories (Rocky Road 100 mile and the NorthCoast 24 Hour) and I finished 7th at the 100k World Championships helping the U.S. men take home them the silver medal. My WS expectations have changed even though I have had only two weeks of hill training. There is something magical about this year and I am going to ride it out as long as I can.
I look forward to seeing everyone at WS this year and what the next chapter of this years running season will read. Whatever it may be, it will be memorable for sure.