Montrail Team Success at 2012 WS100

Amazing performances by all Montrail Athletes: Erik Skaden took 53rd with a time of 20:32:21 (photo coming soon), Joelle Vaught, Amy Sproston, Ryne Melcher paced Ellie Greenwood and Sean Meissner paced Ryan Burch.

Joelle Vaught placed 13th female, 60th Overall in 20:59:01 [Enlarge] | Photo by Brett Rivers


Joelle Vaught Post-Race Q&A

There was a bit of a chill early morning, how did you cope?
The weather was cold for the first 7 hours or so, thankfully I had my Ghost Whisperer from Mountain Hardwear, it kept me warm and dry. The cooler weather was great for me because I didn’t have any real heat training in!

What was the most challenging portion of the race?
The most challenging part of the race was after mile 70, I am no longer able to eat and my stomach is a wreck.

What did you use for fuel?
My main fuel was Clif Bloks. At aid stations I had fruit and some other treats that looked good at the time.

How many times did you change your clothing?
I never changed my socks or shoes once. I took off my jacket and arm warmers when the weather finally cleared but wore the same shirt all day (added a light long sleeve at night.)

When did you feel the strongest?
I feet the strongest in the mountains, I love the 1st 50 miles of the race!
The last 10 miles were slow for me but I was so happy to be getting closer to the finish with every step!

What was the first thing you did when you crossed the finish line?
The first thing I did when I crossed the finish line was give my son a hug, he ran around the track with me!

Shoe of choice: Mountain Masochists – same pair the entire race!

Nikki Kimball and Joelle Vaught run through Robinson’s Flat aid station.


Amy Sproston Post-Race Q&A

Amy Sproston finished 8th female, 37th overall in 19:11:02 | Photo Ultra Runner Podcast


There was a bit of a chill early morning, how did you cope?
The weather was blustery (high 30s with blowing rain/hail and high wind gusts) to start out, but turned into a gorgeous and cool day. The first 35 miles were pretty brutal though, mainly because the rain and hail was unexpected. The Ghost Whisperer worked great in this part, but had I known just how cold it would have been, I probably would’ve added on another warmer layer.

Shoe of choice?
I started off in the Bajadas, and switched into Masochists at Foresthill (mile 62), mainly because my feet had been wet all day, and I was craving some clean dry socks because I had a fair amount of debris in my shoes/socks. Despite that, besides one blister under my middle toenail, I had zero foot issues–no blisters, rubbing, anything. My feet actually looked amazing, thanks to the shoes and the Drymax socks.

What was the most challenging portion of the race?
My quads weren’t as prepared for the downhills as they could have been, and I suffered from pretty trashed quads from about mile 55 on, which were pretty bad from the River (mile 78). My finish (final 22 miles) were not what I had hoped for, and turned into a bit of a slog, and staying upbeat was a challenge those past 30 miles. I wanted to happy, but I’ll admit, I wasn’t having that much fun from Foresthill onward (mile 62).

What did you use for fuel?
I stuck mainly with gels, electrolyte drink and water. My stomach was a bit off from the beginning. I got behind early because it was so cold and I’m never as good about keeping up on calories when it’s cold, added to the fact that it was really hard to get gels open with frozen hands.

How many times did you change your clothing?
One change of socks, and no change of clothing layers, besides peeling off the Ghost Whisperer at Robinson Flat and replacing it with a dry long sleeve wicked lite T, which I took off about 10 miles later (mile 40). I wore the Ultrapacer Shorts (LOVE THEM!) and the Way2Cool tank all day and had zero chafing issues, which is amazing for a wet 100 miler.

When did you feel the strongest?
I felt the strongest from Robinson Flat (~mile 30) down to about El Dorado (mile 50), but the wheels came off not long after that.

how were the last 10 miles of the race?
The last 10 miles were fairly miserable. My quads were shot, as was my attitude, and I really wasn’t having much fun out there.

What was the first thing you did when you crossed the finish line?
Hugged my pacers (my sister, Lisa, and friend, Todd) and sat down. I sat for a long time, and then laid down. I laid for an even longer time.

Overall, I wasn’t thrilled with my race. My time wasn’t far off of my goal time, but I didn’t have a lot of spunk out there, and never really felt like I wanted to be out there. 19:11 is a decent time on the full course, so I’m not displeased, just wish I’d had a little more fight in me on the day, and not let what I felt like were external pressures weigh on me. In the end, it’s myself I have to answer to, and I didn’t do a very good job keeping things in perspective. Alas, I was top 10, so I get another chance to go back and give it another go.

Rune Melcher’s Post-Race Report

Ryne Melcher paced Ellie Greenwood to her record breaking finish.

This year we had split into two crews. For crew A consisting of Mike, Kristin and myself, the race was also on. Duncan Canyon is 23.9 miles in and a 3 hour drive for us. We made a quick pit stop at the 7-11 for coffee and snacks before hitting the open highway for a few hours. As we drove up to Donner Pass rain drops began to splash the windshield of our Chrysler 300 Rental Car dubbed by Mike “the Gangster Car.” Soon thereafter a full on rainstorm! Just like Vancouver we lamented.

We arrived at Duncan Canyon and mingled with the other crews and were entertained by Greg who was the Aid Station captain. The first 6 men were tightly bunched together and on a mission. Lizzy Hawker came in 9th overall and blew right through the station without taking anything. At this point she was only 8 minutes behind the lead male. The clock started to count the gap for Ellie. My gut said Lizzy was out hard, maybe too hard, but that’s her style. While we wanted to see Ellie sooner rather than later but we also wanted her to run her own race and within herself.

Ellie came charging in 15:30 behind Lizzy. Continue reading.

Ryan Burch’s Post-Race Report

Sean Meissner pacing Ryan Burch at Foresthill with 38 miles to go. He placed 131st in 23:44:46

You know you’re getting your money’s worth at Western States when:

-The last 15 miles takes you 6:44! I had 7 hours to go 15 miles to earn a Silver Buckle…and I knew it was going to be tight!
-Other walkers start passing you going twice as fast! I was getting crushed!
-AD Thornley tells you to leave some food for the other runners at the Michigan Bluff Aid Station. They also need fuel!
-A high step involves lifting your foot 1 inch off the ground while your hip flexor barks at you.
-You start singing along to the AS music. Freebird!!! AS volunteers happily pull out lighters and phones as you do your best Skynyrd Serenade. “And this Burch you cannot change!”
-Your pacer starts hallucinating.
Continue reading.

Topher Gaylord’s Post-Race Report

Montrail and Mountain Hardwear President Topher Gaylord Pre-race.

Running 100 miles is a lot like life. It is filled with uncertainty, unknowns, and the full spectrum of emotions, all contained in a single day. And as in life, although you take every step on your own, it is impossible to succeed without the support and encouragement of others. The 2012 Western States 100 was history making in many regards. Historically one of the coldest, wettest, windiest races on record; a new men’s course record was set; our own Ellie Greenwood ran an Era defining women’s course record, breaking the legendary record set by Ann Trason 18 years ago.

Lining up at the start of Western States Saturday morning at 5am was energizing and daunting. I would be attempting to complete my 7th Western States finish, running 100 miles, climbing 18,000 feet and descending 23,000ft throughout the day. I was able to run a measured pace, keeping my body fueled and hydrated across the high sierras and the deep canyons of the sierra foothills, arriving at mile 62 in a position to run a personal best. With that goal still in sight, I fuelled up with more food, and took off down the trail with increased energy in each step. They say in running 100 miles “if you feel good, just wait a few minutes”. Well I didn’t have to wait too long, at mile 66, my stomach vigorously conspired against me and unfortunately rejected any form of food or hydration. I spent 14 more miles on the trail problem solving, using every bit of experience I had to remedy my conspiring gut. I was encouraged by my fellow runners, my crew, my pacer, volunteers, my family, and friends. This encouragement carried my farther than I could have ever imagined. I arrived at mile 78 where I forged across the middle fork of the American River at the Rucky Chucky rapid. My crew encouraged me to continue on to the next aid station where I had more support and some ‘special cheering fans’ that had been awaiting my arrival. I pushed on against my stomach’s violent will to stop. As I arrived at the mile 80 aid station, these three angels were cheering me on (attached photo) (way past their bed-time, I’m sure!) It was humbling and I was filled with gratitude from the friendship and encouragement to continue. Unfortunately, my guts brought me to a stop. I gave the trail everything I had for 80 miles.

When I run 100 miles, I hope to always finish, but more importantly I always hope to have the courage and resolve to work through the challenging moments that are a part of every run of this distance and know when to call it a day and be proud of your effort. On this day 80miles was all my body could carry me.

I’d like to thank all of you who provided me encouraging words, emails, texts, voicemails, and calls. Your support carried me much farther on Saturday than I ever thought I’d make it!

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