Bryon Powell’s 2013 Western States 100 Race Report

My go at the 2013 Western States 100 was bittersweet. In the end, I learned that I got myself into my best-ever 100-mile fitness just six months after being in my worst fitness in 20 years. I’ll take that. On the other hand, I exposed some significant weaknesses and, more important, DNFed at mile 80. Whatever the positives and however comfortable I am with the outcome, it’s still a failure. Failure sucks.

Rather than a blow-by-blow, I’ll take this chance to flesh out and share the self-assessment that I’ve compiled in my head over the past week. I hope that folks can learn from some of the positives… and help me patch some of weaknesses.

What Went Right

  • Bryon Powell - Rory Bosio - Escarpment - 2013 Western States 100Joe McCladdie

    An easy climb up the Escarpment. Photo: Joe McCladdie

    My Fitness – Holy moly. Six months ago, I couldn’t have imagined being as fit as I showed myself I was at Western States. I ran up the Escarpment at conversational pace with the dudes (and Rory) I write about on iRunFar. I felt that same way through the first 25 miles. In addition, I had plenty of legs for miles 40 through 70 and even ran up much of the Green Gate climb after too much time in the cot.

  • My Heat Training – I don’t think I broke a sweat until the climb up Devil’s Thumb at Mile 46 and first felt hot on a few exposed sections heading down to El Dorado Creek. I didn’t feel hot again until a decent way down Cal Street. Officially, it was the second-hottest States ever, but I felt as if it were much cooler than the ridiculously hot 2006. Two weeks of focused heat training in the sauna was enough.
  • Heat Management – In addition to nailing my heat prep, I actively kept myself cool almost all day. I focused on it even when I felt I didn’t need it. I was dousing myself not long after sunup and both my shirt and hat were nearly continuously wet all day. I filled my hat with ice every chance I got and it’d often last nearly to the next aid station or at least until I used my hat as a dipper at pools and stream crossings. I sat and soaked for a minute on the descent after Duncan Canyon and spent six minutes laying mouth-deep in El Dorado. I doused myself with cool water at nearly every spring and stream. I took advantage of cooling stations at aid stations. However, I let all this slip once I entered Cal St. I stopped asking for hat ice. I didn’t take the time to douse myself at stream crossings or aid stations. I didn’t take any dousing water in my second bottle. In other words, I deviated from the plan. Fail.
  • Quad Training – Western States is a quad breaker. Always has been. At my first States I walked down to No Hands due to dead quads before running most of the Robie Point climb. Despite not focusing on “vert” this year I’d say my quads were at 98% at the river. The only two times I noticed my quads all day were about ¾ of the way down to El Dorado (I’m pretty sure I’d notice my quads out of the gate on that descent) and briefly walking downhill shortly after Cal 2. The quads were fine as soon as I started running again. I’m now confident I can flawlessly fast track downhill training. My recommendations: (1) Run half a dozen focused downhill sessions. We’re talking a continuous vertical K (or two) on [email protected] terrain (think 3k’+ in just over 2 miles) on mild- to moderately-technical footing. In other words, blow up the quads hard, recover, repeat, and be confident; and (2) learn to run downhill smooth and fast. Too many folks don’t think at all about how they run downhill. Those that do, might think about form, but, in my mind, not about form – it’s all about the flow, folks… but there’s enough there for an entire article. In short, pick lines and run fast enough (but not fast enough) that you’re never noticeably breaking.
Bryon Powell - 2013 Western States 100 - Michigan Bluff Photography

There were a few nice moments along the way. Photo: Michigan Bluff Photography

What Went Wrong

  • Hydration Plan – My hydration “plan” was actually fine, but I diverted from it too abruptly on Cal St and that was an issue. More or less, I never drank more than one 26-ounce bottle between aid stations with a few small cups in most aid stations and that was enough to remain within 1.5 pounds of start weight at every weighin through mile 62. (Usually within a pound.) Starting at Cal 1 I don’t think I drank anything other than soda and not enough of that. I went from maybe a pound down at Foresthill to 4 pounds down at the river. My stomach turned by Cal 2 and I was puking five or six miles later. I should have taken on ice water and eased my (stomach’s) way through the end of Cal St.
  • Heel Blisters – Any time I’ve ever run over 100k I’ve ended up with ridiculously painful blisters that originate under the callouses on the outside of my heels. Despite this fact, I’ve never seriously searched for a solution. They appeared again at Western States with the right blister becoming extremely painful. I did try to file down the callouses before the race, but started at 10 pm on Friday night… not a good plan. Right now I’m actively searching for solutions. Much more filing and some taping are on tap for my next go at a long race. I’ll also try to keep my feet drier after keeping them sopping wet most of States.
Bryon Powell - 2013 Western States 100 - heel blister

Two-and-a-half-inch horizontal sub-callous blister = ouch!

  • Negative Grit – I’ve never identified with machismo or toughness. I’d rather be trained and race smart. (To each their own.) Still, as I told AJW on Little Bald Mountain, I think I’d gone into negative territory on the grit scale in the mile either side of Robinson Flat this year. Nothing was wrong, but I was tired of running and I collapsed mentally. I spent two or three minutes in a chair at Robinson, then sequentially spent a few minutes each sitting on a stump, a dirt pile, and a stone (with a woods break in there) in the mile after Robinson. It’s more or less the same place I cratered in 2006. If it wasn’t for AJW coming by when I was on the rock, I’d likely have walked my way to Dusty Corners for a drop. I plan on doing some reading on the mental side of running later this year and, sometime, work with a sports psychologist on this.
Bryon Powell - 2013 Western States 100 - Robinson Flat - Gary Wang

Entering Negative Grit Territory just before Robinson Flat. Photo: Gary Wang

  • iRunFar – I need to accept that I can’t run another all-in coverage race while I’m still heading iRunFar… at least not until circumstances change significantly. I was working at 2 am Friday morning, interviewing folks (and processing and publishing those interviews) Friday afternoon, and still working until 10 on Friday night. I must accept that I’m too committed to what iRunFar provides to step away from it sufficiently to be fully vested in my own run.
  • Bryon Powell - 2013 Western States 100 - Little Bald - Michael Lebowitz

    Rolling through a dark patch with AJW. Photo: Michael Lebowitz

    Forgot About Mile 20-40 Blues – While there were a few negative mental issues early, I also forgot that I inevitably have a long low patch somewhere between miles 20 and 40. I think it’s happened in every 100 I’ve run and I’ve faced it in shorter races, as well. I doubt I’ll ever have a way to eliminate the problem, but (1) I might be able to push my way through it if I remember it’s coming and (2) I could try to find a mental crutch, whether it’s teaming up with another runner, some music, or something else.

  • Laying in a Cot – Frack! I should never have moved from a chair to a cot at Rucky Chucky Near Side. It was my death knell. I did it again at Green Gate. Double frack! In both instances, I was far too lucid and energetic to hit a cot. I can’t say I’ll never use a cot again, but only if I can’t possibly move forward and a few hours of shuteye might save my race. There are no quick cot visits. I won’t beware the chair, but will remember not the cot!
  • (Not) Keeping It Simple – It’s indicative of some of my failures that I failed to give my iPod Shuffle to my crew during a pre-race meeting on Friday afternoon. I’d unrealistically hoped that I’d customize the content with more positive music before the race and have someone pass the Shuffle off to my crew at an aid station. Predictably, that transfer didn’t happen and I missed out on music when I could have used a boost. I should have just handed it off as it was on Friday… I could have used the skip-song option when a negative song cropped up.
  • Possible Misdiagnosis of Nausea – I’ve previously vomited in a 100 and have always felt markedly better within 15 minutes. Around mile 76 or 77 I was actually hoping for a “stomach reset” in vomititous form. A handful of bittersweet American River blackberries took care of initiating the expulsion. At Near Side, I took on two cups of Sprite and one of broth in quick fashion… and vomited again. After that, I continuously felt nauseous for many hours… or so I thought. In retrospect, my esophagus may have been badly irritated from the couple bouts of vomiting. The “nausea” I experienced running up to Green Gate might simply have been discomfort. The next time I don’t feel well after vomiting (especially multiple times) in an ultra, I’ll try harder to fight through what I perceive as nausea until its effects (either time puking or resultant dehydration) force me from the race. (Realistically, I suppose there’d be some upper bound to the number of times I’d puke and push on, but it’s more than two.)

What I Know I Can Improve

  • My Ability to Run at a Quicker Pace – My “effort” was well within my fitness through the High Country, but the pace to that point was likely too much for my running muscles, particularly as my gait’s become much more neutral over the past year. I train slow. That’s partly to do with the elevation at which I live (7,200’), my home terrain (rarely flat), and my preference (I like cruising at an easy pace). I don’t regret mostly training slow as I rebuilt my fitness this year, but next build up I’ll mix in a few more up-tempo long runs. In the end, for a 100, I’d still rather have my fitness outpace my speed than the other way around.
  • Leg Strength – I sure do hate running with extra stuff, mostly because that means extra weight. Unfortunately, in the High Country, I learned that I had difficulty running with two 26-ounce water bottles due to the weight. Even though I’d planned on carrying as much as 78 ounces of water at points during the race, I ended up not wanting to carry more than one 26-ounce bottle and a little bit of water in a second bottle. I’m ok with not wanting to carry more fluids in this race (all that worked out), but I’d like a bit more of a buffer in the leg strength category. I’d actually intended to log all my June training with at least one, if not two bottles… but couldn’t get myself to suck it up. I will next time.

Thanks

Countless thanks to my partner in life and iRunFar, Meghan Hicks. Without her support I wouldn’t have had the fitness nor would I have been able to step away from race coverage on race day. Thanks to Dean and Hillary for graciously giving me your raffle spot in the race, driving up from LA to crew me, and for the friendship we’ve built – I look forward to seeing one of your round the Placer High Track next June! Thanks for Mom and Dad for crewing me all five of my goes at Western States. Thanks to the Mauri P, Patrick M, Ellie G, Marc L, Nick T, and the others who aided with iRunFar’s on-course coverage, as well as to the iRunFar Live Coverage moderators – from what I’ve heard, all of you created iRunFar’s best race coverage yet. Thanks, too, to AJW for keeping me in the game on Little Bald, Ashley Nordell for switching me back running on the way to Last Chance, and to Topher Gaylord for the repeated encouragement on Cal Street. Finally, a huge thanks to everyone who made the 2013 Western States Endurance Run possible… with a special thanks to first year RD Craig Thornley – let the motivation to improve come from inside rather than the detractors.

Bryon Powell - 2013 Western States 100 - Duncan Canyon - Tonya Perme - 1

Getting a little encouragement from Meghan and my dad in Duncan Canyon. Photo: Tonya Perme

Moving On

With the knowledge that I’ve got strong 100-mile fitness and the reality that I can’t train over the next three months due to race-coverage season, I’m eager to give the 100-mile distance another shot in quick order. As such, I’ll be toeing the line at Spooner Summit in less than two weeks to take on the Tahoe Rim 100. I’m thankful that my weaknesses from Western States aren’t training based. I’ve recovered well and I’m physically ready to run. That gives me a very short window to eliminate or at least minimize as many of my other weaknesses as I can. Time to find some 60-grit and get to work on my mind and feet!

There are 57 comments

  1. Tahoe Pete

    Great write up Bryon. I will be toeing the line with ya at the trt 100. Best of luck on this next adventure. Sounds like you figured a lot out. As you know the trt course is beautiful and it should be a spectacular run. Thanks for the info

    1. Bryon Powell

      Thanks, Pete. One of the things I'm excited about for TRT100 is that I don't think I've ever stepped foot on the course. I've run south from Spooner Summit while pacing Kilian on his TRT FKT, I've been at the TRT race start/finish on race day, and I've been on the trails south of Kingsbury, but this'll all be new to me… and I get to run it all twice (or four times)!

      1. MS

        Good luck at TRT! You are going to love the trail and the aid stations are equally as good at WS … Last year on loop two I had a BBQ cheese burger and strawberry smoothie … Oh and you talk about the blues on loop one last year at TRT100 I was "done" at about mile 15 after just completing the Red House loop but then I realized at the Tunnel Creek aid station they had beer! I had a beer while taking in the scenery and was good to go for the rest of the hundo!

        I can relate to your blues … I've noticed for myself that I often go thru a blues state during a focus race (but never during a race used for training) because I realize that the dream/anticipation of the race is over … I find that I have to convince myself to get into the moment and realize the fun of what you've been anticipating. I have this same issue with vacations and Christmas too … I've actually mentioned this to friends before and I think it's common for people to have more fun with the anticipation leading up to an event than the event itself ….

        What did your two week Sauna training consist of for WS?

        1. KenZ

          I second for the call on your sauna training, basis, and why you selected two weeks. I've been following the Badwater plan (you know, for Badwater) and am curious how your method varied.

          http://www.badwater.com/training/webbonheat.html

          The few heat training studies I've read do it with cyclists, generally 10 day heat training protocol (active, not passive) and they allegedly see performance boosts in both hot and cool temp performance, likely to the increase in blood plasma levels for the latter (?).

          1. Bryon Powell

            How did I select two weeks… well, I had planned to do it for three weeks or a bit more, but I couldn't get myself to start going earlier. It turned to to be a full two weeks as I didn't feel ill effects from the sessions and felt comfortable going through Wednesday of race week. (Not recommended)

            Other than that, I was in a REALLY hot sauna for as long as I could stand. Readings at the head-high thermometer were 190-205F. Generally I could take 30-40 minutes for an initial session and then would do one or two additional sessions after a 3-5 minute break outside. After a few days, I started sitting on the slightly cooler lower bench after the initial segment.

            No "science." No technique. Just did what I could and that was enough! :-)

            1. KenZ

              Cool. So here's the big question: based on a) your experience that sauna training did help in WS; b) I believe both you and I are in agreement that core temp can be one of the major limiters as ruled by the central governor in performance and; c) some (limited) studies that indicate that heat training can help with cold/normal weather performance (again, my postulation that this is likely more due to the increased plasma volume than the sweat rate/content)… given all that…

              …will you heat train before every important race, regardless of temp? It seems to me that the relatively minimal amount of heat training required (<1 hour for a few weeks prior to the event) could be a pretty good way of significantly increasing performance. It's the inexpensive version of altitude tents (albeit with a different physiological adaptation).

      2. Tahoe Pete

        Ahh cool for some reason I thought I remembered you had paced threw that section with Killian. You are in for some treats at Marlette peak and of course snow valley peak. Only a very small section are you on 4 times. That is from the top of diamond peak across to the hobart aid station where we head up to snow valley. Of course we get marlette peak 4 times so that is a treat.

  2. V!

    Get over yourself in your low patches, open your arms up and accept that you cannot control the entire run BUT you can control your experience- erase bad with beautiful scenery or by buddying or by singing or by laughing…when your arms are open remember all of the aid station volunteers, all the crew, all the families, and any positive person you have ever encountered, remember friends and family members that have overcome challenges that were thrust upon them while you have the good fortune to choose yours…now open your fingers like roots and suck up all that positive energy they are sending you and let it pull you through!

    Enjoy the run and make it work for you at TRT!!

    1. Bryon Powell

      V!, I hope to add focusing on the beauty and the good to my mental toolbox going forward. I was fully absorbing the good around me in the High Country and that certainly eased my perceived effort during those miles. Time to refocus on the beauty of Tahoe! :-)

  3. Christian Johnson

    Great report Bryon. You touched on many of the reasons why ultra's end too soon and many will profit from it, especially you. Let me know if you want to get out for a run, I'll try and keep up.

  4. Phil S

    Bryon, do you feel your progression from poor to excellent fitness in just 6 months allowed you to feel so strong at WS100? Personally, I’ve found that my most surprising performances come a few months after a period of forced downtime, due to injury or other circumstances. Do you think you’ll try to “peak” rapidly for races in the future, rather than maintain moderate-to-high fitness year round at the risk of greater cumulative fatigue?

    Thank you for the superb race coverage, again and again, that irunfar provides.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Phil,
      If I wasn't in as bad a shape as I was on January 1 for another 20 years I'd be happy. As one who doesn't feel a compulsion to run and especially not to over train, even in the best of sequential years I have prolonged periods of time when I'm certainly not "training." And, even when I'm on, I'm not a high mileage guy (except for a random fluke week when I'm having fun), so I rarely dig myself into a hole that way. In short, after Tahoe Rim I'll switch my focus to trying to run faster as a means of changing my mental focus and the resultant stresses. I hope that keeps me sharp and, after an easy month or two last in the year, allows me to switch back to longer stuff early next year with MUCH more fitness than I had on Jan 1 this year. :)

  5. Dane Rauschenberg

    Great stuff, as always, Bryon. Very much like the part about not identifying with machismo. I still have the email I sent to you 8 years ago about attempt a 100 for the first time and your advice has always been topnotch.

  6. Ken Gordon

    Thanks for sharing Bryon, it is inspiring to see you so fit after so much downtime. You have many great finishes ahead.

    1. Charles Moman

      At the Indiana Trail 100 in April, I found a product that just might be what you need for the heel blister issue. BTW – I have no connection to this company. The product is Blister Shield from 2Toms and it has totally eliminated foot blisters for me. It is a powder with silicone of some sort – no blisters from running in constant water and mud. Just works, I use it all the time now and, so far, it has never failed me. Enjoyed your report – as usual.

  7. olga

    Ice-cold water after vomiting or during any stomach distress is my best solution. I love running free downhill, and now that I don't have ability to train for it the way we should (and you described) – heavy rack squats is what helped me through last few 100's since I moved out of OR. Had no quad bust or after-effects. Then again, I got pretty naturally built quads too. Calluses and blisters…I find I get them in 2 instances (blisters under calluses that is): when dehydration is coupled with walking. Something about my walking gait throws it in. If I am able to run late in a 100, I get none of those (last SD100 was a great example). You had no walking, but may be your running gait is such that it causes them? Yes, filing is awesome, but I (sigh, lame excuse) don't get around it. Mental let-downs: mile 30 and mile 70, a must. Finally, many 100's later, I know ahead of time signs they are coming, and get ready. Last year at Blackhills I failed to fight the 70M one and walked way too much (and yes, got callus blisters). And YES! like you, I got myself in shape this year in 5 months after a total break-down and official adrenaline fatigue, when I couldn't shuffle 4 miles at 12min/mile pace. Now, honey, go and kill it at Tahoe Rim! I'll be rooting for you!

  8. Jim Skaggs

    Brian,

    Great report and sorry to hear about your DNF. You'll be back I'm sure. Another foot item you might try is to get your doc to prescribe 6% salasilyc (sp) acid in petroleum jelly. I've been putting it on my feet at night and wearing socks to bed and the calluses seem to just disappear after about a week. No blister issues for me at all.

  9. Jay M

    Bryon, great after action report! When it comes to experience being the best teacher, nothing is wasted, especially with the way you critiqued your run. It's a journey completed, a lesson learned, and definitely further inspiration for many of us. Have fun at TRT!

  10. Scott

    And don't worry so much about irunfar….all of us fans aren't going anywhere. I struggle myself with separating work and play…but we must get better at it. I would have never noticed 25% less coverage, as this years coverage was amazing. Get out there and know we'll be here waiting for you on the other side. (I 2nd your comments, M.Hicks rocks the house).

  11. Scott Vosburg

    Bryon, thank you for your honest reflections and lessons learned. I was working the aid station at Green Gate and witnessed your hard choice to drop – I also helped you out of the cot and back onto that nasty blister! I was very impressed with your gracious conversation and ability to smile even when things were looking down. I'm sure you'll rock at TRT, see you there.

  12. Jeremy

    Bryon,

    It was a joy conversing with you for a while at the river in our times of weakness. It was nice to pass the remaining minutes around the race scene before my crew scooped me up and whisked me back to the real world. That was some impressive full body arched retching- bested only by my cat working a hairball. It was a tough day and we will be stronger for our efforts. Best wishes at the TRT.

    Jer

    1. Bryon Powell

      Joe,
      Part of the beauty of running the 100-mile distance is that success isn't guaranteed and there's always something to learn. In hindsight, I'm remarkably happy with my preparation and most of my race day plan. In a 100 miler, there's lots to learn at the fringes and that's where I hope to find the takeaways this time around.

  13. Harri

    Best of luck at TRT! And the book is great, I still find myself browsing through it almost weekly. Lots of good stuff there…

  14. richard

    See where your coming from joe but…..if usain bolt wrote a book on how to win a 100m (metre) race it doesn't mean he'll win everytime yet his insights would still be valuable. Or take kilian- he dnf'd in south africa 2years ago…

  15. Jim

    Bryon, I won't go into the mental side of things as I certainly have lots to learn on that front but a couple quick tips I like for my feet. I like Wright socks(thin double layer). The close layer stays in contact and outside layer moves with the shoe. The second, deodorant. Just plain old deodorant without the antiperspirant. Much better than any sort of skin lube in my experience. A little on toes and heels and good to go. Feet smell pretty good too! Good luck at TRT 100!

  16. Pavel

    Thanks so much for this report, Bryon. It's far too rare that an honest distillation of challenges moves toward making positive change for races to come. I'm only just starting to push my distances / hours in the mountains, and much of what you share already rings true. The smallest of changes indeed can make the most significant of differences.

  17. Andrew

    What a great article, really enjoyed it

    Any chance you would follow up with your training record prior to the race?

    1. Bryon Powell

      Andrew,
      I'd have loved to put together an article on my WS training, but never got around to it and, to be realistic, that's just not going to happen during our summer race coverage season.

  18. Rick Hecht

    Thanks for the refreshingly honest reflections on your WS100 experience! I enjoy the stories and interviews about race winners, but your DNF tale was even more engaging- and more useful! The nitty-gritty of what did and didn’t work is great to hear and think about- and your account definitely brings home the real challenge of a run like Western States. I hope TRT goes great for you!

  19. Andy

    It's a potent combo when the Editor-in-chief writes about an epic event: Even a DNF report is eagerly awaited and highly valued. Thanks for the many insights – We do indeed learn more from failures if we choose to.

    As for TRT, it was my first 50m in 2010, and the course is boldly emblazoned on my short list of life's highlight images. I agree with others about the course and aid stations being peerless. Even red house isn't that bad! Sorry not to be there this year, but will be toeing the line in Vermont that weekend. Go get 'em!

  20. Dan

    Thanks for the great article and all of the interviews, great stuff. I have been training for my first 100 the Pinhoti 100 on Nov. 2nd. I am using your book with the 70 mile a week plan. I will be doing the NorthFace 50 in Atlanta 5 weeks before the 100. I live in flat land on the Beach so very hard to train for hills. Do you have any suggestions for hills?

    Good luck on your next 100 I will be following on twitter.

  21. GFarris

    Great write up Brian. I enjoyed meeting you and chatting on our way up Michigan Bluff together, and then felt pretty bad when I saw you suffering with nausea/vomiting through Sandy Bottoms after Cal-3. Good luck at TRT–hope you have a great race! (and especially get those blister problems solved!)

  22. Alex From new haven

    Lots of good suggestions.

    This year I focused really hard on "process" , "enjoyment" and "avoiding mistakes". I set my watch to go off every 15 minutes and ate, did scaps and assessed hydration and effort on that schedule with only a few minor slips. I just kept thinking "what do I need to do now to feel good 30 and 60 minutes from now?"

    Given the heat took an extra minute at many aid stations to take a deep breath and double or even triple check that I'd done all my tasks and really was ready to do anger 60-90 minutes self supported. I'm sure I left 10-15 minutes out on the course… But it felt like an investment. I think unless you're fighting for the win or top 10 leaving a few minutes "out there" is totally worth it for a variety of reasons.

    Thanks for sharing and for all your coverage!!

  23. astroyam

    I think the work hours leading up to a long event impacts the late stage Mojo left a lot. Low stress 7.5 hour days for 5 days prior to a long day would be great…

  24. Justin

    what shoes did you go with? and any gear issues besides the blisters? just wondering cuz you have your pick of the litter on gear. right? :)

  25. Ben Z

    Hi Bryon –

    After seeing pictures of your heels I really think you gotta work on filing down those calluses. In ‘Fixing Your Feet’ this is exactly what the author describes as what he has witnessed to be the biggest foot problems facing endurance runners – the painful blisters that develop under calluses. I am having very good success with filing down my calluses with the Sof Feet Callus Reducer (http://www.footsmart.com/Bunions-Toes-Calluses). It works much better than a pumice stone for only a few dollars more I feel.

    Then to repair I am using either the tried and true Aquaphor or Podiatrist’s Secret Foot Recovery Cream they sell on the same website above. Apply liberally and then throw on some thin socks before bed.

    This will only help treat your current calluses though as I suspect there is something about your gait that needs to be altered to prevent future problems.

    On long runs or races I am using a combination of Body Glide Skin Glide (the newer stuff in the white tube) and Aquaphor under Injinji socks. And like you said – trying to keep your feet as dry as possible. Which will likely mean spending an extra minute or two changing socks / shoes every 25 miles (possibly every 50 in a 100 miler but I’ve yet to run that far).

  26. George Harris

    Bryon,

    Great report. Hey you are tougher than I am what a blister ouch is right. Just to be on the shoe geek side what were you wearing to do this epic run?

  27. Jesse

    Great Article! I was surprised to hear you dropped. I dropped (started with a sprained ankle) at the Far side of Rucky, well the near side I guess. Since I had to go back across. However you sat down next to me and the first thing you said to the aid station captain was "I need you to get me moving again". That really seemed like you were really still in the game. Sorry to hear it didn't come back together. Also I agree, Failure Sucks.

  28. Ken

    Great report Bryon! You looked strong coming into Michigan Bluff and asking "Are we having fun yet?!?". Failure is worth more than success, don't forget that.

    And that "easy" climb up the escarpment must have had your head on a swivel, between the views to the East and the view you were chasing, an easy climb indeed ;)

  29. Chris M

    I appreciate the honesty and introspection underlying this piece. And the words of wisdom. Many thanks, and best wishes for TR 100.

  30. Jay kelly

    Bryon, Thank you for the sacrifices you are making to produce the content for irunfar.com. At times it must suck to have to sacrifice your running to produce the content for irunfar.com. However, this sacrifice is devoured by countless ultra runners and fans of ultra running. Your book, I believe, is one of the main catalysts for the influx of new blood (like mine) to the sport. Keep smiling, find balance, and know that you are making a huge difference to the sport of ultra running! I know I would not be running ultras if it hadn't been for you (RFP and irunfar.com) and in the running club I am in, the first resource suggested to any new runners is RFP. Cheers.

  31. Andrea

    Thanks for your candid thoughts on your Western States race this year. It's often helpful to learn from what didn't go well in a performance or race. I enjoyed reading your race report and know you'll do we'll at the TRT. Enjoy the day and the wonderful scenery! We'll be rooting for you!

  32. Dean G

    Seeing how hard you were working before the race, I'm amazed you could run 10 miles…

    It is now well established that work "stress" hours are as hard on certain body systems as physical "stress"….

    So I feel like you ran 3 50 milers in a row leading up to race day…

    And that damn shuffle… We were trying to get that sucker to you after Foresthil by passing it back and forth like a hot potato.

    Word to all to future crews out there… MANY parts of the course are MILES away from cell service… Don't ever assume you will be able to reach one another.

    You are a hero, BP. Plain and simple. Can't wait to hear about the TRT

  33. Brian Otten

    No way. Not a failure. You kick ass in all you do.

    Running in the heat is just so tough. Great rundown in this blog post of all the things you can get right. Focus on that. I'm taking heart from your words – I just DNF'd for the first time this weekend in a 100km race at mile 40 due to the heat here in England(!). It is a heart-wrenching experience but you know you'll be back out there. We just have to keep running … far!

    BTW – I have done two ultras in the past 3 months in Brooks Pure Grit with Drymax socks and have had no blisters. Not a one! I think I've found the blister-busting combo!

    Lovin' all your great stuff Bryon – keep the podcast interviews and posts coming. You are one of my inspirations. Stay strong, dude!

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