CONGRATULATIONS to 2021 Western States Endurance Run 2nd place finisher, and Trail Butter Pro, Tyler Green! Tyler provided us with an awesome pre-race interview and now, a month after crossing the finish line, Tyler looks back on his day, the challenges and the fun that took place while travelling by foot from Squaw Valley to Auburn this year.
How did this year's performance compare to your first running of WSER? Any changes to your race day plan that contributed to your success this year? My race strategy was fairly similar, staying conservative and building into it later in the race. This actually isn't such a good strategy in a cooler year like 2019. It was a great strategy this year! I was still a little more aggressive this year because I've just grown as a runner in the last two years.
What was the hardest point on the course for you this year? I felt like I struggled with the first 25 or so miles in the high country. I probably had a little trouble with the altitude and just couldn't find a groove. Once I hit Duncan Canyon things started to click.
What was the most enjoyable stretch of the course for you this year? Cal Street fro Foresthill to the river crossing was a lot of fun. I was running with Yassine Diboun (also on the TB team!) and we were really rolling. It was especially fun to pass competitors and it was becoming more and more apparent that I was having the race of my life.
You shared your nutritional plan for race day with us prior to the event. Did anything differ when you were actually out there on the course? Anything particularly tasty or that you really had to avoid on race day? In the extreme heat, it made the most sense to keep to foods that felt lighter on the stomach. So, no pizza slices and mostly kept to gels, coke, and boiled potatoes with salt. Towards the end of the race I kept primarily to liquid calories but early on I was happy that I was able to stomach a good 500 calories an hour on a couple easier stretches. There's a long downhill and that's a great time to store up some extra food.
What did you consume before the start of the race on race day? Coffee, a banana, and toast with Chai Trail Butter!
What are your top 3 most memorable running accomplishments to-day? (races, fkts, etc - no limits on what was the most meaningful for YOU) Western States this year tops the list. Everything just felt so good and this is something I could've only dreamed of. The Timberline Trail and Wonderland Trail FKTs are my other most memorable moments as they gave e greater belief in myself and what I'm capable of.
Who do you look to for running/adventure inspiration, goal setting, etc. Hmm, that's a tough one. I mostly find inspiration from the running community around us! So many runners are putting together cool routes and I love asking others for beta and trail conditions. That's one of the fun things about Strava, Instagram and such because we get a glimpse of others adventures and that spurs us all on!
How are you feeling now that we're a few weeks out from WSER? There were honestly a couple weeks where I felt somewhat directionless because I'd put so much into preparing for this race, and all of a sudden it was over. I took about three weeks to just slowly get back into running and take care of other aspects of life. I'm excited to get training again now and have my sights set on TDS, one of the UTMB races!
Do you have a most memorable moment as it relates to the day, not the course, while out running this year's WS100? As I was getting crewed in Foresthill, my wife and I made eye contact and we both smiled. It was a silent exchanged that said a lot. I think we knew, in that moment, that the day was going to be special.
Any advice to future runners of Western States 100 now that you've run the course a few times? Enjoy the moment. It's not about getting to the finish line until you're actually at the finish line. Accept the challenges that come and appreciate the iconic moments as they come. You're at Western States, and that's special!
Photos provided by Paul Nelson