Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lottery for Western States

I am debating whether or not to enter my name in the lottery for the Western States 100 next June. For those who don't know, it's kind of like the Boston marathon of ultras - 100 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. The race goes from Squaw Valley (at 6,200ft) to Auburn, with 18,000ft of climb (2,550 in the first 4½ miles) and 23,000ft of descent inbetween, and follows the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850s.

It also has an interesting origin, being first completed in 1974 by Gordy Ainsleigh. A previous finisher of the Tevis cup endurance trail horseback ride, his horse turned up lame that year so he decided to run the course on foot instead and staggered across the finish line just under 24 hours later.

I've already met the qualification standards, and although the course has a reputation of being as tough as it is beautiful I also know that I have the physical and mental ammunition to finish it.

But the big downside for me is the expense, especially with a new baby. It's nearly $300 just to enter the race - I could buy a lot of diapers for that!!! Add on flights, rental cars and expensive accommodations, and that's a sizeable chunk of change. Nancy is all for us going as a vacation, but I'd feel guilty and selfish - it won't be much fun for her following me around with two small kids when it's freezing in the mountains and over 100F in the canyons. I think they deserve a better vacation than that.

I have until October 15th to decide, but I suspect I may pass. It would be fun, but running 100s is not the most important thing in the world for me.

Odds are I wouldn't get in anyway.


johnt said...

Dude, are you crazy. Go for it. If you dont get in, then keep putting in for it.

Larry said...

It's definitely not a cheap race to go to and race day logistics can be a challenge. I'm in the lottery, but I'm not holding my breath for getting in. My chances are better placing top two at Bandera to get in (Ha!). :) It'll be a hoot after the lottery to see which elite runners make the pilgrimage to Bandera to qualify for WS. There are so many two-time losers that they had to spread them over 2010 & 2011 and any of the 2011 automatics that get in on the lottery this year still get their original slot for 2011. There are a lot of other great races out there to do and it won't be the end of the world if I don't get to go to Squaw. Best of luck, regardless.

DavidH said...

The conversation between the mind and heart is always an interesting dialog. Good luck with your decision.

WS is definitely on my list of races as well. With the growth of the sport it will probably only get tougher to get an entry.

clea said...

I think if Nancy is behind it you shouldn't feel selfish. You should do it. You only get one go around this life,and why not. I wish I had put in for it before I started my "fat girl" runs :) 'cause now I just don't know if it will happen. I know you could go for it.