We are days away from the 2016 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Here at GU, we’ll be cheering for all of the runners brave enough to tackle the 100 mile distance, but we are particularly excited for the four GU Crew runners toeing the line. Follow the coverage Saturday morning here.
- Magda Boulet – Defending champion, GU VP of R&D
- Jeff Browning – Has completed 23 100 milers, GU Crew
- David Laney – 2015 Ultra-Runner of the Year, GU Crew
- Amanda Basham – Golden Ticket Winner, GU Tech Rep
2015 winner of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
This will be her second time racing WS100
You’re a few days away from defending your 2015 title – what do you remember was the hardest part of the race last year? Have you done anything differently in your preparations this year to prepare for that part?
One of the hardest parts last year was the extra mileage I put in when I got lost. I know the course much better this year, so hopefully that doesn’t happen again. Also the last 20 miles or so were very difficult. That was my first time running in the dark on the trails and it took a lot of focus and energy to stay on my feet. I am now more prepared for moonlight running and actually look forward to doing better on that section of the course.
Having a crew and pacer during a 100 miler can help make your race a success – who’s going to be helping you out this year and how did you go about choosing them?
For pacing, it’s important to have someone you know will be able to handle the distance and pace easier than you. It’s also important for that person to have a positive outlook, and to be the kind of person that can lift you up emotionally. It makes all the difference. My Pacer this year is my friend Fernando De Samaniego Steta. Fernando is someone I always look forward to sharing trails with, and I will be looking forward to reaching Forest Hill. He’s running the whole last 38 miles with me.
For crew, you also need people you can absolutely count on, and who understand you, and who understand what you need when you get into an aid station. My husband Richie has been my go-to crew master since I started running Ultras. He’ll have some help this year, with GU marketing Director Lauren O’Connor. Richie and Lauren are my “A” crew. On the other side of the river I will have the privilege of my “B” crew, my friend Ken Michal will take over for the two aid stations that you can only access from the south side. I did not have two crews last year, and I know I’m in good hands.
Last year, your nutrition plan was simple – you only drank Roctane Energy Drink and water over the 19 hours and 5 minutes you were running. What’s your plan going into the race this year?
Roctane Energy Drink was formulated for demanding events such as Western States, and my strategy worked well last year, so naturally I plan on fine-tuning a similar plan for this year. The new Summit Tea flavor has been in field testing since last year’s race, where Rob Krar and I put it through a grueling test. Since then, many other athletes have been field testing this new flavor, and I am excited to see it launch this summer. As with any challenging endeavor, it is smart to have plan B. My crew and each aid stations will have other options in case the plan has to change. It is 100 miles after all, and you never know what might happen.
I am excited to have another opportunity to stand on the starting line at Western Sates. This race holds a special place in my heart. It was my first 100 miler, a race experience I will never forget. It was an honor to enter Placer High School track in first place last year and I made a lot of new friends along the way. I wish everyone a successful journey from Squaw to Auburn this Saturday.
Has finished 23 100 milers
This will be his second time racing WS100
The last time you toed the line for Western States was in 2002. As a runner, how have you changed or grown since then? What do you know now that you wish you knew before you raced in 2002?
Tough comparison. I’ve changed a ton since that first 100 running. I had a lot of GI stress in 2002. I ate a bunch of processed junk. I was mainly vegetarian back then. It was right before my wife and I made a big dietary lifestyle shift and threw out our processed food and switched to an organic, whole foods diet and started eating clean-meat sources. I was eating cheeze-its and oreo’s during the race, of course I had GI stress! Plus, I’ve got 14 more years of training under my belt that includes 23 100 mile finishes. You can’t really substitute time and experience. I’d tell my former self to eat better and simplify.
You’ve raced more than a few 100 milers – what advice do you have for someone who’s toeing the line for a 100 miler for the first time? Is there advice you have specific to the Western States course?
Relentless forward progress. Respect the course (the downhills are deceptive with a net loss), keep the nutrition simple and mostly liquid (especially in the heat), take the time at every aid station to get what you need, keep cool, and beware of the chair. Keep your mental game tough by saying you’re going to finish.
What’s your nutrition plan for Saturday? Do your plan stay the same throughout the day or do you make adjustments as the race develops?
My base calories all day will be Roctane Energy Drink in one bottle, water in the other, and a few strategic Roctane Energy Gels thrown in, especially the new Cucumber Mint, a new favorite. I also mix in a few salted plantain chips and Vespa here and there, and a few orange wedges at the tables. I keep it pretty dang simple. I do make adjustments if need be, but my basic nutritional plan is pretty solid and works for me.
2015 Ultra Runner of the Year
This will be his second time racing WS100
Last year, you finished in 8th place, which earned you the opportunity to compete again this year. Did you know right away that you’d be back? What made you decided to come back?
Last year I was 8th, I knew I’d be back before I was born. This race means a lot to me and has for a long time. Racing 100 miles is a really special experience, its made special by the people here in the Sierra Nevada and Sierra foothills.
What was your nutrition plan last year? How do you go about making a nutrition plan for a 100 miler – do you have set regimen that you always follow or do you make changes on the fly depending on how you’re feeling?
My nutrition plan last year and this year are quite similar. I have a few options of things I might like to eat in my bag. I eat and drink when I want to, and I never force anything down. If I don’t really want to eat, I don’t. I like to eat while running on flat or downhill, because swallowing food and huffing and puffing up a big climb is too hard. I typically switch off between Roctane Energy Gels and Energy Gels every hour. I’m loving the Root Beer Energy Gel flavor!! I drink water, Grape Roctane Energy Drink and coca-cola. I’ll eat some of the new GU Energy Stroopwafels, maybe some jelly beans or cookies, really light simple sweet foods.
In the days leading up to the race, what are you most looking forward to? Do you have specific goals for a time or place?
The days before States are a little hard to describe. Its hard to get your mind off the race, but you also need time to mentally and physically rest. I look forward to everything. The pre race excitement and seeing friends is great, but I really look forward to the shot gun blast setting us free.
Golden Ticket (entry to WS100) at Gorge Waterfall 100k
This will be her first time racing WS100
Will this be your first 100 miler? What have you done differently during your training to prepare yourself for the distance and terrain?
This isn’t my first attempt but it will be my first 100 finish! I attempted Run Rabbit Run in 2015, but the day started off terrible. I trained well physically, but wasn’t there mentally. I also hadn’t thought about my nutrition, which is a huge mistake for a 100 miler.
This year I have been training with Jason Koop, Director of Coaching for Carmichael Training Systems (who I also coach for). I’ve changed up my training to focus on training systems, getting more specific as the race approaches. I feel the best that I ever have, both mentally and physically. I have also practiced my nutrition strategy, so I know what works.
Do you have a set nutrition plan? What is your “must have” food or drink during an ultra-marathon?
I do have a nutrition plan, but that plan consists of multiple options in case plan A just isn’t working. Plan A is usually 2 Energy Gels per hour, 20-40 oz of water per hour (depending on the heat), pickles and ginger ale. However, Roctane Energy Drink has been working better for me in the heat, so I will be using primarily Roctane Energy Drink, pickles and A LOT of water. The new Summit Tea Roctane Energy Drink has been my go to, but I’ll be using a non-caffeinated flavor for the first 30 miles or so. Pickles are definitely my must have for any ultra, though.
As you prepare the race this weekend, what are you most excited about? Do you have any specific goals for the day?
I’m most excited about racing with my friends and having an awesome crew to experience it with. Of course I’m competitive, so I’ll put every bit of effort into it, but the primary goal is to have fun and learn from the race.