The last six months of 2015 were a bit of an up and down roller coaster in my life. Dropping from TRT100 and a failing career path sent me into a state of depression and dislike for rigorous run training. I had no serious training going into Grindstone 100 in October, but I was determined to at least salvage some part of my year by keeping my streak of Western States 100 lottery tickets alive.
Completing Grindstone gave me a total of eight tickets in the WS100 lottery. Just a few days after the race, my first child, Samuel was born. In just that one week, I experienced much joy in my life and felt that things were going to start to be different for me! As I stood in the delivery room at Summerville Medical Center on October 15th, 2015, I was at a loss for words, my tongue was tied, and my face was full of happy tears.
With the birth of Samuel came an almost instant shift in priorities in my life. No longer was work of high priority and I was tired of bringing the stress of the job home to my family each and every day. In those first few weeks of Samuel’s life, Nicole and I were surrounded by immediate family, co-workers of Nicole’s, and the gracious people of Summerbrook Community Church. Experiencing the out-pour of love and kindness from so many people even further made me realize that life was going to change in a big way for both Nicole and I.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, I accepted a position with The Foot Store and began working on this endurance coaching business in Sunrise Running Company. I would not start my new position at the store until December, so I took the last 10 days of November to enjoy with family.
On December 5th, I was out in the Francis Marion National Forest volunteering at the Last Chance 50K and tracking the results of the WS100 lottery on my phone. I found myself all alone in the woods when my name showed up on the entrants list. I began jumping around the aid station like I was performing a ritual dance. As I danced, I called my Nicole, mother, and mother-in-law, and sent messages to several friends to tell them all the great news. I tried to post to Facebook, but with limited cell reception I couldn’t tell if the post went through. It turned out that the post appeared three times, which in exclaimed perfectly just how excited I was to be into the race that I have wanted to run for the last five years.
With Samuel just about two months old at the time of the lottery and my current weekly mileage not even at 20-miles per week, I now had all the motivation in the world to get back to training. So how does one with a new retail job, a startup coaching business, a contract job in website design, and a newborn baby train for such a race as Western States 100?
As official training for WS100 starts here in mid-January, I am still figuring out a routine that works. What I have learned so far is that it starts with committing myself to my family first! Without the support of Nicole and without me doing my part as a parent, I will never make it to the start line of Western States in the shape and state of mind that I want.
As I always like to make it, my training will actually be rather simple….the majority of my running will take place on just four days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday). However, I have also committed to starting a run streak of consecutive days with at least one mile of running each day (I am just 7 days in).
Outside of run training, I am fine-tuning a circuit strength training routine that takes only 20-minutes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (if needed). The exercises are simple and can be done right from home with minimal equipment. I am focusing on core work and exercises that improve strength, balance, and range of motion as it pertains to run form on technical trail. This means lots of lunge and squat variations, planks, push-ups, one leg calf raises, and some plyometrics.
I have also elected to remove/scale down on the number of races on my schedule that I completed in 2015. This will allow me to enter WS100 weekend in late June feeling fresh, motivated, and eager to take on the challenge. My race calendar is simple just like my training…
– February 13th – Almost 9-Mile Trail Run
– March 12th – Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 10x5K Ultra
– May 7th – Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50-Miler
This less is more approach will allow me to focus on my training and mental preparation for the biggest stage in ultra-running. It will also allow me to continue to work on developing my endurance coaching passion with Sunrise Running Company and my skills with web design with the Rob Deitz Group, LLC.
At this point in time, I do not have a specific goal for Western States 100 other than to train hard so that I can be competitive on race day. The coming months of training will tell me exactly what being competitive on race day means.
I have created a WS100 Prep page here on TrailTaylor just for updating my training towards Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. I hope that you will follow along in this journey with me and my family.