Leaving the hustle and bustle of New York behind and my next step on the road to the Western States took me to San Francisco. Through a mutual contact of Ultra168 I was able to meet up with Carol LaPlant and her mushroom foraging husband Phil, in the beautiful university town of Berkeley.
For those of you back in Australia will know that Carol was the first female finisher of the iconic Coast to Kosciuszko Ultra. She is a finisher of over 150 hundred milers winning several on her way and breaking records to boot. When quizzed on her favourite race she still has a soft spot for the great Aussie race and our longest ultra. I was able to spend the day with Carol and given the opportunity to explore the great trails around San Fran including the impressive Marin County and the iconic Dipsea Trail, which Carol held the female record for the quad version (4 out and backs !).
It didn’t take long before the conversation turned to the “Big Dance” where Carol has buckled 3 times. I asked her what the 3 golden rules to a successful States and she quickly rattled off the following:-
- The race doesn’t start until Foresthill at km 100, so you MUST keep your quads strong for the back section. This is also the point I will be picking up Andrew and where the role of the pacer can really help the runner to make up a load of places if they are in good shape.
- Determine which aid stations you will be stopping at, but DONT stop at all of them ! This is very much part of Andrew’s plan and something he practices regularly.
- Avoid the pre race hype and run your own race. This may sound like obvious advice, but when the worlds best descend on Squaw Valley in a few days time, it will be hard to resist those photo opportunities and becoming star struck.