Squaw Valley Village was buzzing yesterday like I've never seen before this early, thanks to a fine arts exhibition. There was even live music, which I chilled out to while supping a Starbucks.
This is the 4th consecutive year I've been here. 'Global warming' means that each consecutive visit has been cooler. This year's high teens - low twenties Centigrade contrasts nicely with the high thirties - low forties cauldron of 2006.
For this year's Western States I will be a research guinea pig again:
1. Cardiac function research by Liverpool John Moores University;
2. Sodium balance research by Gettysburg College.
Although participation involves a certain degree of inconvenience (the second requires us to collect our wee-wee for 24 hours prior to and during the race, recall accurately everything that we consume and have blood drawn), the research results are of great interest to we ultra runners. It helps us to understand our bodies like we never could do otherwise. The inconvenience is a small price to pay. Also, because I'll never be a front runner, an extra few minutes' delay here and there out on the course make little difference (provided I don't have the cut-offs snapping at my heels).
I'm off now for a run. Herman has kindly offered to drive me out and abandon me at a strategic point on the Pacific Crest Trail so I can run back into the Granite Chief Wilderness area before turning left up the Western States Trail back to Squaw Valley.
Later today I'll be meeting up with Paul Charteris (who paced me in 2006 and who is running the full race for the first time this year) and Jez Bragg, UK ultra runner extraordinaire.