I get up, sit in the sun, think about the impending race, run on the trail, think more about the race, walk on the trail, rest and repeat...don't get me wrong, I am loving this schedule but it's like groundhog day waiting for the Western States.
Northern California is one of the most incredible places I've visited. It has it all: high country and mountain ranges, stunning Pacific coastline, blue as blue skies, wildlife, pine-scented trails, fresh local produce. It is a joy to have some relaxed time out here ahead of Saturday.
I've been out on 3 trail runs along the WS course so far, covering c40 miles total and around 30 of the course, including the Michigan Bluff to Foresthill area and Green Gate to the finish in Auburn, mostly during midday to late afternoon when the day is at its hottest. Temps have reached early 90's Fahrenheit with a cool 70 today and even a rain shower. The heat is hard on the sections with no cover, making steady, conserved running and drinking all the more important. I've been fortunate to have some local runners show me around, and we also covered the last canyon of the course, Volcano Canyon, after Michigan Bluff. The canyons are different to how I imagined (i.e. not smaller versions of the Grand Canyon!). They have more tree cover with the Volcano climbs and descent being partly on a road.
Tomorrow I drive over the state line to Nevada to stay with my crew Dan and do some easy hiking and a recce drive from the Squaw Valley end (just an hour away from Reno).
The race starts on 5am Saturday (1pm UK time) and I can be tracked through www.ultralive.net/ws100 using name or bib number 83. Think it will really help with motivation knowing this tracking system is in place.
I've also made final decisions on kit after trail testing. So the sunshine kit will be:
*Men's Brooks Cascadia in yet a half size bigger than normal. Needed for my boat feet after heat swelling, and so comfy!
* Injinji Run OW socks, tried and v trusted
* A couple of Buffs to alternate, for the chilly Squaw start and then for much-needed creek-dousing
*UltrAspire Kinetic double bottle pack: no bounce, light but with two large 26 ounce bottles. Thanks to ultra-runner.com.
*Accessories: sun cream by the bucket load, Sudo cream and Tiger balm. Oh and a really bad tan line which starts at the ankle, heads to the upper arm and is completed by some bizarre looking arm patches from long window-down highway journeys.
Huge congratulations to everyone who ran the West Highland Way Race yesterday, it's been inspirational following you all.