If there's one thing you can count on it's that, things rarely go as planned. For starters my plan for Waldo 100k was to be fully recovered from my hamstring injury that I suffered in April and had carried with me into Miwok 100k. After all Miwok was May 5 and Waldo was over 3 months away. It's just so difficult to avoid going out and running, when so many of your friends and your girlfriend are training for 100 mile races. With the many weekend runs that were planned up in the mountains at high elevations and the extremely scenic routes these runs involved, it's tough to stay away. Although Joshua Malpass with OC Rolfing did an amazing job of keeping the injury at bay, eventually I had to give in and give myself a 2 week break, problem was that it was three weeks out from the race, not the best timing, that should be my high volume weeks before I take a week of very low training if any at all. I signed up for Waldo with the intentions of trying to qualify for a spot into Western States 100, that meant finishing in the top two. A lofty goal but one I was hoping for. At this point I had no choice but to set my aspirations aside and change my plan to, just head out onto the trails for a day of playing on the best single track course anywhere.
Then the Wednesday night before the race, another monkey wrench thrown into the 2012 Waldo plans. Race director Craig Thornley sent out an email stating that a fire had been started by a lightning strike and was unsure at this time what implications it would have on the race, and that he would keep us updated as soon as he knew. The next day my girlfriend Keira told me that the fire was still smoldering, but still no word as to whether or not the race was canceled. As I packed for the race that night Keira being a race director herself, assured me that this was Craig Thornley race director extraordinare, and that he would figure something out. We were on our flight headed to OR the next morning still unsure if the race was going to happen. Whatever the outcome, we knew that we would at least get to run some big miles up there even if it was just for fun and we would still have a blast. As soon as we landed we had word that the plans for the Waldo 100k did indeed change and that the race would be rerouted around the burned section, making it now the Waldo 106k.
At the pre race briefing Craig was as cool as a cucumber as if the course change and the problem with the fire was no problem at all. We had our course description and an explanation of the many different awards that were up for grabs by co race director Meghan Arbogast, including the description of the Wheres Waldo Award.
Keira and I went over our crewing game plan as far as what calories and fluids I wanted at the selected aid stations she could get to. Little did we know that even this would not go as planned.
Race morning came early at 4am, but I woke up feeling rested and ready to go. After putting down a few calories we headed to the ski lodge around 4:30 am. I did a easy 10 min warm up due to the fact that the race starts straight away up a ski hill and I know no matter how much I plan on going out easy it rarely goes out as slow as I would like, and with two spots for entry into western states being given out to both the men and the women this race would be a fairly quick one.
After a quick hello to a few of the competitors that was hoping to get to run on the trails and a hi five from Meghan as she made her way across the front of the start line, we were off on our 66 mile journey.
The plan was not to go out fast, but as the lights from the ski hill faded and the headlamps took over and the group began to thin to what seemed to be a dozen or so runners, Jacob Rydman decided the pace of the group was not for him. As he slowly made his way off the front I guess Timothy Olsen was not willing to let him go or maybe it was just that Jacobs pace was exactly what he needed.
With the group dwindling smaller and smaller, I began to power hike and watch the two guys up front climbing away. With only two guys in front of me now sitting in third place maybe 10 minutes into the race, it wasn't hard to know who was behind me, as Yassine Diboun and fellow Rudy Project teammate is never short of conversation. Although I didn't really plan on being in front of him it was good to know that he was still right there as I was hoping to get to run with him that day. Not too long after I began to hike I could hear footsteps coming up on me with heavy breathing. Much to my surprise it was Joelle Vaught and Alison Bryant going step for step up the mountain. I practiced self-restraint quite a bit as I watched these two women jog their way up the mountain and away from me, but I wasn't about to destroy my race by going beyond my early race limits. I usually don't even start to race until I start to hurt, the first portion of any race is my time to just enjoy the trails. I managed to keep the two ladies in site by hiking like Keira would to save my energy for the latter portion of the race, a strategy that got her a win and ninth place overall finish at the Angeles Crest 100 mile back in July.
|coming into Charlton Lake aid station|
|Coming down off Maiden peak|