Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Western States... Tale of a Two-Time Loser...

Robert Wehner's Pre-Race Report...

It was supposed to be 2009.  After not getting selected in the entry lottery for the Western States 100 in 2007 and 2008, 2009 was supposed to be the year; that was their 2-time loser rule.  But forest fires in 2008 canceled the race, and led them to modify the entry process going forward.  The 2008 runners gained entry in 2009, and the 2-time losers were split up between 2010 and 2011.  They also eliminated the 2-time loser rule, so I'm part of the group that is the last of the 2-time losers.

We decided to make the WS100 a part of a 2-week vacation, spending the first week in the Squaw Valley/Lake Tahoe area prior to the race, and then camping in UT and CO the second week on the way home.  The drive out here went well; a little over 2,000 miles in 31 hours.  The only issue was the "cankles" we developed; both Sally and I got them; best not to sit that long and not elevate/move your feet from time to time!

The King and Queen of Squaw Valley
We're enjoying the time out here, doing some hiking and biking (and a little running) while also relaxing (and eating).  The snow levels they had this winter were the highest in a long time, and there is still a deep layer at the top of the mountain and parts of the course (the ski resort is planning on being open for skiing on the 4th of July weekend).  They've already made plans to modify part of the race course and move some of the aid stations affected by the snow.  The race should be an adventure!

The start and first segment of the Western States 100
It's kind of strange having someone else dictate to you when you can do a race, as opposed to you deciding for yourself, but that is the reality for the WS100 and other events like it.  So you bide your time and keep yourself prepared, to make sure you are ready to go when your time comes.  That was the case for me, up until about 2 months ago.  During my final build-up preparing for the IA50, a foot injury struck, and I was on the sidelines for 5+ weeks.  I was able to start some light, easy running about 3 weeks ago, and have made some progress.  Enough to decide that I'll be on the starting line this Saturday morning; how far I get this weekend remains to be seen...

View of Lake Tahoe from the Rim Trail


  1. Go get 'em, Robert! I remember talking to you before Ice Age and could sense how tough the spring was on you. Go out there and enjoy the moment, and keep in mind that no matter how it goes, YOU'RE THERE, and you're an inspiration to ME!

  2. Mucho mucho congratulations, Robert, on conquering the Western States 100 last weekend. Many of us followed you on the live webcast, and there were shouts of praise and joy all over southern Wisconsin when we saw you had come across the finish line in Auburn! We want to hear all about it from you. Safe travels.


  3. Robert,
    I was one of the many in Wisconsin following your race on Webcast. At the time I did not know how long it took for you to get there or the troubles you had this spring. Big Congrats from Laura and I and all the other Madison "John Dick" and "Glacial" runners.
    Gene Taylor