Since this was my first time running Western States, I went into the race with a broad set of goals. I was fairly confident that I could finish in one piece under 24 hours for the silver buckle. But over the past few months my training had gone well enough that I though finishing under 20 hours would be a pretty good target to aim for. My stretch goal was to beat 19 hours but I figured that I would need to have a perfect day to pull this off. Well, it turned out to be a nearly perfect day and nothing went wrong until I crossed the finish line in 18:58:42 in 18th place.
I showed up at the start at Squaw Valley feeling better than ever. I was fully rested and all the nagging aches and pains from months of hard training were gone. It was hard not to get too caught up in the excitement at the start of the race. Everyone was amped up and ready to go and the energy in the crowd was pretty intense.