I just wanted to share a few thoughts on my luck in the lottery and finally getting into Western States and after this I won't be talking about it again until the Spring. I have other important stuff to focus on for awhile with the training before I can even start to plan on WS training.
I know a lot of you share my excitement but a lot of others don't. The race certainly has it's detractors and there is a lot of criticism of the race for various reasons. Yes, the entry fee is very high and a lot more than than any other ultra I have every done. Yes, I have done many races a lot cheaper that offer a great value and even some FA events are fun and have great organization.
And yes there are more scenic races but WS is still a beautiful place. It's certainly not thetoughest course but it is a very difficult challenge. And yes getting in is difficult but with so many people wanting to get in and the restrictions on the number of runners it is the best way to insure that as long as you qualify that eventually you will get your chance. It is what it is.
So why is it so important to me and why the excitement to get in ?
I began to run in June 1977. In September of that year I found a copy of Runner's world magazine and it had a short report of the race. Keep in mind that at this time my longest run had been 3 miles and I had never known that average guys like me could run in road races. I was almost in dis-beleif that anyone could run that far but I was intrigued with the idea of ultra marathons. A few years later and after a lot of miles and my first marathon I was reading more about ultra's. The old Racing South magazine would cover some Southern Ultras including Strolling Jim and several others and I learned of the now legendary Ray Krolwiecz. And in 81 or 82 a new magazine called Ultrarunning started and I subscribed to it for a year. And I even sent a SASE to David Horton for an entry into the first Mountain Masochist 50 miler ! Good thing I didn't enter because I would have had no clue what I was doing.
But after that first marathon I decided to stick to the shorter distance stuff, 5k to 10 milers but I still loved to read about the marathons and ultra's. I remember that ABC's Wide World of Sports actually did a special for two or three years covering Western States.
Well many years passed and then I found myself with an ACL tear playing soccer in 1998. I had not been doing a whole lot of running in the decade of the 90's and had lost my comptitive fire a long time before. But after the injury I realized how much I missed running and all I wanted was to be able to run again. Fast forward a few years and the knee was doing great. On a whim I entered the 2002 Holiday Lake 50k thinking that I had always wanted to run an ultra so why not now. I caught the ultra bug an did my 1st 100 in 2004 and put my name in the lottery hat.
I finally got in for the 2007 race and as you that know me are aware I blew it. There was no reason I should not have finished that year other than I made stupid mistakes. I didn't run another 100 for another 4 years as I felt I needed a break from the longer ones until I entered and finished at Tahoe Rim in 2011. I was now ready and eager to gain my redemption at WS. 4 years in the hat and now i will finally get my chance to get the buckle that I have been thinking about for 37 years.