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How times have changed and a few thoughts looking to the future

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2015; calling this year eventful would absolutely be an understatement. I experienced a lot, hurt a lot, learned a lot, and grew a lot. The dichotomy of this year being the best worst year of my life often sent me into overload. It was quite a bit to deal with. I had to confront a lot of ugly truths about myself, come to terms to with the death of my mom, and all while dealing with the pressures and grind of everyday life. Everyone has their breaking point, and I can’t be anything but grateful that I’ve come back from a very dark place, a place where I almost ended up following suit after my mom passed away. However, it doesn’t bring me much happiness to say that despite my huge initial plans for this year with the exception of a few races, I have not run competitively, to speak of, in 2015.

What I did do a lot of this year though was plenty of self introspection, reflection, and reevaluation of my goals. After a personal situation that nearly extinguished my life, I slowly began working myself back towards health and a positive mindset. The truth is, I had to work (and continue to do so) through a lot of anger, discontent, and internal turmoil that I was letting eat me up. I think I had reached a point where I was kind of just attaching myself to an almost Shakespearean concept of I can’t make this life work, I can’t make love work, so to hell with everything. I’d had my heart broken and tossed aside like a common piece of trash from a romance or two, “friends” who swore they’d be there vanished, the family was still in upheaval, and I continued to just slip further and further away. Though my cynicism and lack of faith in people may be justified, I am making my best effort to change my thinking. Who knows, I most certainly have not always done the right thing or acted the right way, so I am working towards letting myself accept my due part of responsibility when things go wrong. I used to think people are a product of their environments, I find myself now leaning towards the idea of your environment and circumstances being the product of you and your behavior. Ultimately, I am the captain of this ship, and am finally understanding that life is 10% what happens and 90% how I react to it.

With that said, my physical and mental health is making a certain and steady recovery. In addition to picking back up with trail running, I have gotten back to my fighting roots and began training MMA and Muay Thai again. It feels fantastic to have a grip on my health, and I have every intention when the time is right, to compete regularly again. That is of course, after I run a few trail races first🙂

As I look towards the future, I find my priorities regarding my athletic pursuits, in particular trail running, have changed significantly. It’s hard to pin point whether or not this change occurred from my ever growing desire to compete in races rather than just complete, my opinions on shorter races vs longer ones, my well known and public exchanges with people and race directors (one in particular) who shall remain nameless, or if it just happened naturally. To arrive at my point, I don’t know if I necessarily have desire to run “ultra” distance races anymore. More on this later in this post…

I think the trail and ultra scene has changed greatly, even in the last few years, in good ways and bad. I think it’s great that the sport has grown and expanded as it has. The competition in the field now is quite fierce and definitely at another level. Sponsorships are harder to come by as opposed to when they were practically being given out 8, 9 years ago. People are exchanging their tv remotes for running shoes and getting out of their houses, which I think is awesome. Unfortunately however, the growth and popularity of the sport has also brought some negative aspects with it. Many teams and clubs nowadays may as well call themselves fraternities, and there certainly is quite a bit more attitude and ego being thrown around. Many of the promotions that claim to be communal usually aren’t, and wind up just using that as a facade for the same clique of people who treat anyone new as a complete outsider. The charade just seems to go on and on unless you’re a “part of something.” Well, after running races throughout Colorado and surrounding states through an extensive variety of promotions, I can say with sturdy resolve – fuck your team, your clique, or your crew. That may sound harsh, but it’s been on my mind for a while. I’d rather opt to stay on the outer fringes and avoid all the drama and hierarchy nonsense that always seems to exist in those inner circles. I think far too many runners allow themselves to get sucked into the mindset of who they are associated with or sponsored by somehow correlates to their level of talent, or somehow validates them as a “real” runner or athlete. I’ve seen it play out real time as well – many’s a time I have seen an unknown local who trained his or her ass off smoke “elites.” Another thing that really gets to me are the ever increasing price tags for races now. Look, I get it – putting on a race is hard work, often thankless work, but it’s hard for me to justify paying some of the prices these promotions are asking for. Can it honestly be that much per head to make the race happen? If that’s the case, I’d rather race directors/promotions keep their “swag.” Case in point – in my closet I’ve got a 5 foot pile of shirts and medals that to be honest, I don’t really give a shit about. I’m there for the experience, to network with other like-minded people, and to test myself, not for fashion memorabilia. Often times I’ve wanted to say “Can you not give shirts or medals out so I can keep a portion of my race entry fee?” But enough of that I guess, on to my shorter vs longer race philosophy…

When I first started running ultras in 2012, I was completely hooked and charged full steam ahead like a bull seeing red. After reading Born to Run, I was in. I took the book and everything that came with it verbatim and without question. I bought in to the Christopher Mcdougall philosophy that we’re all basically cavemen who should be running 100 miles barefoot while eating cactus and corn. Well, sorry, but now I think that’s bullshit. Certainly the contrary from what I used to think a few years ago, but what can I say – crafting by experience I suppose. Hence my desire (for the foreseeable future) to really only participate in shorter, higher intensity races. Half marathon and below I suspect. I realize a lot of what I am saying may be blasphemy to the ultra crowd, but I am less and less impressed with the completion of 50, 75, or 100 miles. I want to be clear here and say that I mean absolutely no disrespect, and my hat certainly off to longer distance runners, but I just think it takes a higher level of physical fitness and athleticism to run shorter distances at much higher intensity. And who knows, maybe the pain tolerance of running an ultra is an athletic skill, but I guess that’s really to be determined by who you talk to. I always remember feeling sore and fatigued after an ultra, but never like I’d had my lungs ripped out and my body ran over by a truck – as was always the case when I ran my fastest 1/2 marathons and below. If someone wants to go out there and torture themselves for 15+ hours, then be my guest, but I’m just not interested in it anymore. Ultimately it may be comparing apples and oranges, but at the moment, these are where my priorities rest. At long last, if this makes me that guy who’s always running or bagging a mountain alone, so be it. There’s strength in both comradery as well as solitude.

As I look to 2016, my goals are just to take things one day at a time. I’m not going into it with all these enormous expectations of this race and that race, but rather, just focusing on my health and fitness and seeing what feels right at the time. Chances are excellent that I will be traveling again, and thus doing races in as many interesting and off-the-beaten-path places as I can find. Colorado is fantastic but I am really ready to explore some new areas of the country, and for that matter, the world (Damn you Heidi Kumm for living in the Swiss Alps) The plan this winter is to stay on top of it with some winter hiking and mountaineering, snowshoeing, and of course continuing my fight training. Speaking of which, there are always fights available so when the time is right, I’ll definitely be stepping back into that cage to do business. I think for the longest time I avoided doing certain things I used to because of the negative memory or experience associated with that particular activity, but I’m beyond that now. I don’t run, fight, climb mountains or race races for anyone else other than myself.

In closing I just want to thank my family and friends who stuck around and helped me through probably the most difficult year of my life, Red Ace Organics (www.redaceorganics.com) for their support despite what happened this year, and of course my extended running family for your willingness to help and to always share some miles on the trail. I wish you all a productive, healthy, and rejuvenating off season.

See on the trails or at the dojo,

Adam

@303trailrunner

mom

We’re all just one phone call away from our knees

This post actually took me a while to get around to. The beginning of 2015 has definitely been bittersweet. I came into spring running with a lot of momentum and a renewed outlook on things. I was plenty faster than I had been before, I had set goals, and had a detailed plan for how I was going to accomplish those goals. I was well on my way, until that fateful night in March when I got a phone call that brought me to my knees. Losing a parent is something that will turn your life upside down emotionally, and unfortunately in many cases can drive families even further and further apart. They always say 2 things in life bring out people’s true colors: death and divorce. After seeing and experiencing both, I’m afraid I have to agree.

It’s truly been a day by day process for me. Some days I feel motivated and strong, others I crumble because I miss her so much. Unfortunately for me, nearly all of the final details and subsequent dealing of affairs fell on my shoulders. Chaos would’ve unfolded had I not stepped up to play the role of the sole executor. So, in many ways, I had no choice but to rise to occasion.

Which brings me to quick side note friends – even though it may be a morbid and uncomfortable conversation to have with your loved ones, make sure you have instructions in place in the unfortunate event you or someone in your family passes. I can assure you that by doing so you will be spared many more uncomfortable and untimely conversations when that day comes.

Even though it was a weight I was not prepared to carry, I did my best to handle the situation with as much class and consideration as I could. This in itself was a daunting task. The week of bereavement I had felt like a day, and seemed to be nothing more than a tear-filled blur of hearing that same phrase over and over – “I’m sorry for your loss.” What I found to be especially taxing was the mere fact that I had no time to process anything at all it seemed like. I was so busy with funeral homes, paperwork, banks, playing attorney, and dealing with the family that I neglected to take much time for myself. My phone would not stop ringing and I really did get to a point where I was close to going over the edge. It was not until weeks later, and forcefully breaking myself away that I finally got around to having an opportunity to grieve myself. I was completely exhausted.

Although I have started to let her go, with each passing day I struggle for more and more to hold onto. I read her obituary over and over, as if by doing so I may strike up a lost memory or somehow recall something I may have missed. If I get a free weekend I always seem to find myself in her home town, aimlessly driving around and going to all her favorite restaurants. And even though it shatters me each time, I always make it a point to drive by her place before I leave. I don’t know, it just feels like I’m saying goodbye to her before heading back home.

Obviously with all this going on, my training took a backseat for close to 2 months, and any big plans that I had for the early part of the year i.e. the Salt Flats 100 simply couldn’t happen, so I rolled it over into 2016.

My initial goal was to just get back to some semblance of normalcy in day to day life, which for the most part I have managed to do. I’m slowly working my way back into running and letting it fill the place in my heart that it always has. My friends and coworkers have truly been great and offered unending support and love. I really feel fortunate to be surrounded by so many good people. It’s been one of the few things that has kept me level and sane throughout all of this. In fact, being surrounded by so much positivity has really made me realize and question why I used to let so much negativity and distraction into my life before. It’s hard to see the truth about things sometimes, but I have definitely spent so much time on the wrong people, the wrong girls, the wrong situations, the wrong jobs,  and just….the wrong priorities before now. Despite the loss of my mom, I feel a wonderful sense that I am on the right track and exactly where I need to be. It’s really made me understand and appreciate the concept that if someone or something in your life is a detriment rather than a positive attribute or addition, kindly show them the exit. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m going my own way, I mean truly going my own way. The choices I make are in my own best interest without strings attached to someone or something else. Liberating and wonderful feeling.

With all that said, my 2015 agenda will consist of some shorter races with a handful of ultras, plenty of traveling, self-discovery, and lots of quality time with friends and family. The job is going well and I find myself looking forward to the future. I think the best way to honor my mother is to live the life I want to and fill it with as much love and light as possible. I always feel her around me and know she’s always there if I need to talk. If I’ve learned anything it’s to make the most of each day, of each phone call, of each visit, of each hug. Cherish the people in your life. Laugh often. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And always always always, end each conversation with “I love you.”

“They all kept telling me ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ as if you were someone who could ever be taken from me.”

– Unknown

RIP Maria Olivia Blea

03/23/1952 – 03/06/2015

mom

2015: The Adventure so far

Random thought: whenever I start to pour my mind out on paper, I always feel at least a little nagging pressure to open with something flashy or otherwise attention-getting. Likely everyone who’s ever had a public blog will tell you that it’s all in the delivery of the intro, and without any smoke and mirrors to captivate a reader into reading more, your post could very well fall on deaf and bored ears.

***DOES MAGIC TRICK FOLLOWED BY BACK FLIPS WITH PYROTECHNICS AND CONFETTI AND THUS NOW HAS YOUR COMPLETE AND UNDIVIDED ATTENTION***

Yes! Keep reading!

Actually to be honest, things in my world have been quite eventful. What’s the latest….well let’s see. Right off the top of my head…

1) I successfully completed 90 days with Red Bull, and am now the proud owner of a multi-million dollar portfolio to manage. Finance is super fast-paced, and most days fly by as my head spins from the moment I walk in until the moment I leave. It’s high pressure and there’s a lot to answer for, but to tell you the truth, I love it🙂 It’s my job to make sense of chaos, to find a method in the madness, and I’d be lying if that concept didn’t transcend most of my life. In fact, as crazy as most days are, it equips me with time and personal management skills that I can put to use outside of the office. The entire finance team is wonderful, and I already have many within that I am becoming tight with. I really appreciate Red Bull’s approach to things. I’ve never had an employer be so involved with my personal and professional development as they are. For the first time in a long time I am asking myself, and not only asking but also being accountable to questions like what am I doing with myself long term? What are my secondary/advanced education aspirations? How am I taking real time proactive steps to obtain my goals? It’s caused me to start looking within myself and really finding answers that are unique to me. It hasn’t always been easy, but introspection is a personal process.

2) I have moved into my own spot and managed to find peace in my own routine. This has truly been priceless. For so long I found myself coming home and feeling weird about the quiet, simply because I was still so rattled from everything last fall and winter. Let me tell you something: quiet is an amazing thing. And I use the term “quiet” in so many different ways, but you can take this how you will. Subsequently I feel a lot healthier, I’m training at and on my own pace, and I simply just feel better. I needed this more than I ever realized.

3) The wonderful people at Red Ace Organics have been kind enough to extend to me a sponsorship opportunity and supply me with their wonderful product this year. I now hopefully get to bump elbows with the likes of Tyler Mccandless and Jared Nieters. I truly love their beet juice shots and believe in their ability to help me perform better as an athlete. I have done significant research on the science aspect, and for me, you can’t go wrong with Red Ace. I also appreciate the fact that they are local to us (Boulder) and are willing to provide athletes like me a chance to develop my potential and see how far it takes me. My friends at Red Ace can be found at your local Whole Foods Store or directly at http://www.redaceorganics.com. I am super stoked!

3) Last, but certainly not least, the 2015 racing season is underway. Initially I was nervous for a number of reasons about it, but not anymore. From a physical standpoint my cardiovascular endurance is probably the best it’s ever been, my vertical gain stamina/time on my feet could use some work but I’ll definitely iron that out between now and the Salt Flats 100. Rest assured, I am doing my homework even though I keep most of my runs/workouts off social media. It’s a funny thing, as the race continues to approach, I actually find myself less and less nervous about the actual physical performance. I am however, finding myself more and more emotional as I look forward to it. It represents so much more to me this year. All of 2015 does. I never set out to live my life or do the things in it with anyone’s approval or disapproval. Maybe I’ve had a rougher path than most, and nothing has ever come easy, but it’s shaped me as a person. I find myself even getting choked up about how I’ll feel at the airport, how I’ll feel at the pre-race meeting, and how I’ll feel toeing the line on that morning. But one thing is for certain, and that is my strength is coming from a different place inside me this year. Running an ultra race like this, especially solo as I have chosen to do, strips a person down psychologically slowly but surely. You are broken down to your very psyche, beat up, tested, and often times left with only your internal dialogue and personal reasons as to why to continue on. But, this year, and maybe for the first time in a while, I know what those personal reasons are🙂

Coming to the Salt in April or a starting line near you soon,

– Adam

@303trailrunner

My road to the 2015 Salt Flats 100

“I feel like I’m running inside a Bob Ross painting or something”

I said to myself as I made my way over the sticky white salt of Bonneville last April. Looking back in retrospect this was a poor description for what I was seeing, but then again, the ability to accurately put words to the stunning beauty of dawn in the Bonneville Salt Flats might escape a lot of people. There’s nothing quite like it. A person needn’t do much more than watch a race recap video or two to see that it’s very unconventional terrain that provides views unlike anywhere else and seems to give the place a certain type of mystique.

The same is said about the actual race itself, the Salt Flats 100. Race Director Vince Romney is quoted as saying: “It’s a very unique 100 mile experience. Most people come out thinking it’s going to be an easy 100, but yeah…no. It messes with your mind and it messes with your body in many ways that other 100’s don’t.” As I found out sure enough, he wasn’t lying.

The race starts out on the outskirts of a town called Wendover, a tiny town situated on the Utah/Nevada border. If you’ve come here looking for a bustling city significant in size, you’ve come to the wrong place. The town is practically desolate aside from a few casinos, a gas station, and a hotel or two. 7 am on a brisk April morning marked RD Vince Romney offering a few last words of encouragement and sending us on our way.

The first 15 miles of the race are relatively flat and uneventful, but this provides ample opportunity to take in the amazing scenery of the Salt Flats. I found myself overwhelmed by how remarkable this place was. I had never seen anything like it, not to mention run on anything like it before. To this day I have trouble describing how it felt on my feet….like white, sticky, semi-hard oatmeal? Weird I know. Mile 15-23 include some rolling dirt hills making their way up to higher terrain. Piece of advice: stock up at aid station 3, you will need it for the climb that awaits you.

I honestly don’t remember much about miles 23 through approx. 26, except huffing and puffing over some tough climbing. A smooth descent awaits which takes you into the mile 31/50 aid station, which then moves into a remote rolling 10 or so miles into mile 40 aid. It’s at this point that the course wraps around the mountain and leaves runners very exposed to the elements. I got pretty beat up on this section of the course last year as bad weather hammered the west side of the mountain. If you get caught in bad weather on this portion of the course, I hope you have a poncho or something in your pack, because god be with you. After mile 50, the race follows a relatively flat and manageable dirt road on into the mile 57 aid station. Unfortunately for me, this point marked the end of my efforts last year. I was suffering some IT band issues and didn’t really deal with it properly which left me in too much pain to continue. Exhausted, hurting, and chilled to the bone, I wove my white flag and called it a day.

The feeling of DNFing my first 100 mile attempt was bittersweet. I walked away knowing I did the right thing for my body, but the stubborn part of me always feeling the need to go back and set right what I felt was wrong. As cliché as it sounds, I couldn’t just let it go. Giving up without knowing that I gave everything I had seems to go against my internal genetics. I look at it like it just wasn’t the right time, the right circumstance, the right training and recovery, etc. Hence, I am returning to run it this year with a greater awareness of what went wrong, and by doing so am very much cognizant of covering all the angles in these last few months so I can get myself across that finish line in April.

That said, this year my attitude is different, my training is different, my goals are different. I am building from the ground up – literally and figuratively. I am incorporating many different things into my regimen this year that were lacking last year. I have a fresh perspective not just on training, but of life in general this time around. Things have more meaning to me now, and I have a greater understanding and appreciation for the reasons I do this. Attitude and mental game is so much a part of the racket we call ultra running, and I think I’m returning with a lot of strengths this year that I didn’t necessarily have last year. Last year was obviously filled with too much chaos, distraction, and negativity. Many things prevented me from training and competing at the level that I knew deep down I belonged at, of which many factors were things I subjected myself to. I guess I see that now. However, with many more personal issues in-line this year, I want to set out on a journey to prove to nobody else but myself that my propensity for self-sabotage was not boundless after all. It’s time for me to stand on my own two feet, and finally make my own way that I’ve been avoiding for any number of reasons in the past. Perhaps it’s because of all these personal revelations that I’ve decided to run this year’s Salt Flats 100 without a pacer or crew. I know, I know…lofty ambitions right? I just feel it’s something I need to do on my own, symbolic of so much more in my life than just the race itself. I want it to be something that I do, me, completely and totally on my own. Some might think it’s foolish to do so, especially with a formidable race like the Salt Flats 100, but when have you ever known me to follow what the crowd says?

See you on the salt,

Adam

@303trailrunner

Salt

My life ultra

“I wonder how much easier it would be if I just checked out….”

I thought to myself quite often as the first thought that popped into my head in the mornings and the last before I entered a halfway comatose state not to be mistaken for sleep. I had completely lost track of myself, of my identity, and the only innate things I previously used to fall back on seemed so far out of reach. Every moment of every day was a game of Russian Roulette with my own thoughts.

A few nights………a few nights……I came very close. I wanted it over.

I’m no stranger to struggling, but the summer and fall of 2014 were some of the worst times I had ever been through. Being homeless, multiple job losses, drama with the family, and a very nasty separation just to name a few. It took every ounce of strength I had to survive this year. Gods honest truth. And though a person or two may characterize what I went through this year as “no extraordinaire” I never thought I’d find myself waiting in line at a food bank, doing day labor, or spending time in a shelter. There were very few I could reach out to for help or support.

In retrospect, having most of my livelihood fall away from me didn’t bother me nearly as much as not being able to do the one thing that always brought my soul to life: run. It shattered me to wake up on a day that a race was occurring that I had signed up for, and instead having to focus on other things. I missed my friends. I missed the community. I missed the rush of crossing the finish line.

Survival: it was the tune I had to march to for 6 months. No matter how much I wanted things to be different, no matter how much I hurt over someone or something, I had to accept that my life would be this way, at least long enough until an opportunity to change all that came my way. It’s really ironic though, during some of the dark moments I had through all of this which were many, the more my inner dialogue that I hear during races began to pick up. Somewhere, way deep down in there, it was becoming clearer to me that there was another type of strength that I would have to tap into, something that perhaps only a runner can truly understand. If I wanted things to change, it would take me going against every possible odd and circumstance stacked against me. A task that was daunting and one that I wasn’t even sure was possible, until that inner dialogue kicked in.

Life changed drastically. It was a new ball game. What did that mean?….

Each day became a grind. A grand hustle requiring me to wear several hats. I was now living out of backpacks and trash bags. My routine now programmed and set. I would wear the nicest clothes I had to a high profile interview, immediately change after the interview into grungy clothes to go perform day labor, which was usually then followed by hitting the library or starting the process of figuring out where dinner would come from. As for possessions like a car or bed? Gone. All but a distant memory now. I had the clothes I could carry and that’s it. Life became a blur of job interviews, food banks, day labor, and depression. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Though I didn’t know it then, this was an “ultra” of a different sort. A life ultra, and there were so many times I wanted to quit. Weeks turned into months, turned into seasons. My mind and spirit under constant assault. Self doubt, anxiety, deep regret, all overcoming me at once. This went on, and on, and on.

It wasn’t until mid November, when I was nearing the end of my wits, that an opportunity came through that allowed me to start piecing my life back together. However the damage had been done. By this point I had given away $500 in race entries, had little contact with anyone, and had fallen largely off the map. Call me proud, but I preferred to do any suffering I had to do in quiet, rarely revealing the true details about what was occurring even to those closest to me. Hard times became second nature to me. Going without is something I just accepted.

My identity and psyche had been stripped down to nothing. Most of my self esteem gone. I was very much alone and emotionally desolate. That little voice still ever present though, whispering things like “Don’t fucking quit!” I had to either accept or refuse the circumstances and change them into something else. Luckily in the end it was persistence, timing, and chasing down the opportunity I refused to let slip by that did it. I’ve cried tears of joy maybe twice before in my life, it was a wonderful feeling. All of a sudden the fight to get there was worth it. All the times I went hungry, all I had lost, all the heartache…it finally made sense. However brief that moment was, it was perfect. I had survived. I had made it. Though there would be residual things to deal with, but I was now on my way.

The only thing that kept me going was that inner dialogue telling me to dig a little deeper, to weather the storm, to stick it out and fight through adversity. I drew so much from my experience with ultras that ultimately powered me through the toughest fought struggle of my life. And though I heard people talk about and say that the effort of the spirit to survive and to power through an ultra transcends all of life, I now fully understand that. I have come full circle to believe it, experience it, and live it. It’s more than just running, it’s an attitude. It’s a way of life. It’s what I want to pass on to my friends and family. There comes a point in nearly every challenging situation where you have to decide to either continue to fight to overcome it or not. I truly believe that this saved my life. my experiences, the friends I’ve made, the runs I’ve done, the laughs I’ve shared…all saved my life. I owe thanks to all of you for this. Running saved my life. All of YOU saved my life. And though the freshness of this wonderful new chapter in my life is still very new, I am nothing but optimistic about the future. Overcoming the hardest “ultra” of my life has ignited a fire in my spirit that I’ve never felt before, and it’s wonderful. I’ve made a passionate return to training and am looking to have a banner year in 2015. I am back, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the familiar faces again and once again feel that rush that I’ve been missing out on for what seems like a lifetime. This entire experience has humbled me and has allowed me to find happiness with even the smallest things in life. I don’t for one second take anything good in my life for granted. I know what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes now, and even though the experience nearly broke me, I am happy to have gone through it and made it out okay. I am well taken care of now, and the future is bright. My sincere thank you’s and love to my friends and those that offered support and kindness along the way. I wouldn’t have made it without you. To my running family – you will absolutely see me toeing the line again soon. I cannot wait to get back on the trails with you.

All my love, sincerity, and heart,

Adam

@303trailrunner

P.S. Never judge the person next to you. You have no idea what a day is like in their life.

An open letter to HPRS Race Director John “Sherpa” Lacroix

First and foremost, let me just say upfront that my intention in writing this letter is not to disrespect, put down, or otherwise slander anyone or their reputation. However, with that said, I feel that presenting my side of the situation publicly like this was the only option I had to address and rectify my concerns (especially since my direct line of contact had been terminated by the other party) over a situation that occurred between myself and fellow local ultra runner and race director of HPRS John “Sherpa” Lacroix.

Most of you know John in some capacity, whether it be through social media or participation in his events. One thing I think everyone would agree on is that whether online or at an event, John certainly has no problem voicing his opinion or thoughts on any given subject, regardless of who it offends or pisses off. Personally, I grew an appreciation for his honesty in that regard, not to mention my admiration for his support and defense of the grassroots and communal aspects of ultra running. Because of this, it is not without some regret over the misfortune of having to share such an extremely negative experience I had with him recently.

Lets get down to what happened….

On November 15th, I posted the following status:

Adam1

To which spawned the following heated exchanges on Facebook:

John1Messages

Adam2

John2

John3

Just as it reads, clear as day, I did not mention any particular race promotion that I lost $ to. Let me say that again to make myself 100%, completely unequivocally clear: I did NOT mention any one race promotion I lost $ to. The reason for this is simple – there were several. It’s also worth noting that the figure was actually around $500 total when it was all said and done. Additionally, I need to be crystal clear about something else. I do not in any way deny responsibility for missing the races I signed up for. As I said originally though, I was going through a major life change and simply could not make time to attend these events.

More importantly, my original rant was nothing more than an open ended rant, clearly not aimed at any one promotion in particular. It was a way for me to just voice my frustration out loud at the circumstances which prevented me from attending the events in 2014 that I signed up for.

A couple things I’d like to address with regard to the emails exchanged:

1) John – you had told me previously that Ultrasignup will charge the difference to my card to account for the cost difference of upping my distance from 50K to 100K for Tommyknocker. It is no way my fault that this did not occur, so throwing it in my face was groundless. I said to feel free to charge me extra or whatever needed to take place in order to compensate you for the difference. Are you sure it wasn’t something on your end that you did incorrectly or overlooked?

2) I think it’s completely hypocritical of you to call me out of line for expressing an opinion that I still stand by. Do I believe that some promotions need a better or more well defined refund policy to accommodate what can happen in day-to-day life? Of course I do. Especially when dealing with the higher cost of bigger and lengthier races like trail ultras. Furthermore, I can’t count how many times YOU’VE called out someone or something that you didn’t agree with. How come you’re apparently the only one who can share an opinion? All of a sudden when it offends you then it’s out of line? How does that figure?

3) I’m still floored over the fact that you’re offended that I praised Charles Johnson. Charles put on a fantastic race in Gunnison this year, and I’m returning to run the same race, a fully supported 100K trail ultra, for $20. Do you run deals like that? And more importantly, why are you so pissed over me giving props to someone (something I’ve done tirelessly for you and HPRS since I’ve known you) else? You do realize how petty and nearly immature that makes you look, right?

I’ve done my best to remain silent and cordial on the issue, but I’m damn sure not going to allow myself to be attacked out of no where for such a bogus reason that was not even directed at you. How easy it must be to have an opinion when it was not your money nor devastating circumstances you had to deal with.

Let me tell you something John, for as much as you act like it, you don’t have a patent on the sport of ultra running. Furthermore, for someone who stresses the importance of unity and community in the scene, you sure do your share of alienating people with such a shitty attitude sometimes. You have done great things for the sport yes, and I do believe you deep down to be a solid guy, but to me that doesn’t excuse your misguided blatant attack on me. In this case, I do believe it was you, not me, that acted like a colossal prick.

No thanks on the comp, I’m pretty put out with the whole situation. Additionally, I think I can find other, cheaper races to run. I hope my money went to good use.

Good luck to you 2015.

– Adam

@303trailrunner

Training update, and some out-loud thoughts about humility and the importance of being humble

The transformation has begun.

My legs are trashed, I’m tired, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the distance I will run in a few weeks…BUT I’m also getting stronger, faster, and more confident in my own abilities. Training is one evolution after another, constant destruction and rebuilding back up stronger to achieve a better version of what existed prior. This is a process that is not only physical, but mental, emotional, and even philosophical/spiritual to a degree. A grueling path paves the way for a moment, that special moment…. 

Chuck Palahniuk once said of perfection: “A person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.” 

While I’m certainly far from perfect, the point I’m trying to make is that while everyone has their own way to get there, as athletes we’re all ultimately searching for our own little “moment” to be the best we can be and overcome what is seemingly impossible. That said, I’m doing everything I can to show up to Utah the best and most fine-tuned version of myself I can be. T-minus 38 days and counting…..

Aside from the physical rigors of training, I’ve had the pleasure of making several amazing new friends this year who continue to inspire me and embrace each other’s “good crazy” eccentricities, as well as the love we all have for pushing ourselves through the sport of running. It’s wonderful to network with other athletes and develop new opportunities. In addition, it’s always nice to gain new perspective and formulate new opinions as the sport continues to grow and expand. 

Perhaps one of the most important things I’m taking into this years journey is a renewed awareness of humility as it relates to how I conduct myself on and off the trail. I have a more thorough understanding of what I believe to be innate aspects of trail running like minimalism, respect for the environment, and modesty when it comes to my attitude and accomplishments. While I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had thus far, they have afforded me to see things I like and don’t like about the sport. If one thing is for certain, it’s that everyone can benefit from toning down their ego from time to time. To elaborate even further, I’m starting to identify less with the term “ultra.” Yes, I run distances beyond 26.2, but when I refer to myself as an “ultrarunner” I am essentially saying that I am something beyond a runner. The fact of the matter is I’m just a runner. “Ultrarunning” implies doing something beyond running. Not sure what that would be…flying or levitating perhaps? Just my take on it. 

In conclusion I’m happy to be starting a new chapter and excited for what lies ahead. I’ve got a few more tough weeks ahead followed by a smooth taper into the race. This will be my first time to visit Moab and I hear it’s gorgeous so I couldn’t be more excited. That area of Utah typically has pretty mild weather in the late spring time, so I’m hoping for ideal weather conditions come race day. Before I forget, I’m gonna be trying out and reviewing some new footwear in the coming weeks so make sure to check back for that. 

May your trails be happy and healthy,

 

Adam

 

First race of 2014

First race of 2014

I enter 2014 with a renewed sense of hope and focus. While 2013 left me tattered and war-torn, I have had some time to recover and consider my direction going forward. I’m another year older, another year wiser, and another year more seasoned at a sport that I adore.

That said, I’ve got my eyes set on my first big test of the season. I had ran a Gemini event back in October and had a great experience with them, so I’ve decided to return to them once again for their 24 Hours of Utah event in March. I’ll be running a 100K on a beautiful course in Moab. I’m fired up and ready to return at peak form.

My training regimen is significantly different this year, as I’ll be placing more of a focus on the anaerobic side of things this year to include high intensity interval training, tempo/pick-up runs, cross-fit, and essentially any other high intensity cardio-pulmonary exercises. I now realize it’s not just about mileage, but also about pulling everything I can from my endurance and will. I want to be a better and stronger athlete “overall” as opposed to just being able to run far. In a recent interview ultra running great Hal Koerner discussed how he still does various non-running related workouts such as push-ups, sit-ups and plyometrics because he believes that it takes a strong person “overall” to run 100 miles….that it’s the culmination of strength between all muscles and body systems that allow someone to successfully complete that distance. I agree completely and that is part of my strategy this season.

I’m also happy to have made friends with the good folks at Denver Run House who are hosting “Bergen Peak Sundays” that are open to anyone. Pat is a great guy and I had a blast this past Sunday. Bergen Peak is one of my favorite places to run and I’m sure the company will only get better. I anticipate being in peak form by March, weighing significantly less, and having some killer cardio.

I can’t wait to get out to Utah and deliver a performance I know I’m capable of. See you in March Gemini Adventures!

The best Christmas present I got this year

The best Christmas present I got this year

As I came into work on December 24th, tired and a bit put out with the rat-race that goes along with the Holiday Season, I had no idea that I would open my email to something that would make my heart jump, and completely re-motivate and re-focus me for 2014.

It had been a nail biting few weeks since I had submitted my athlete application to GU Energy Labs, and frankly I was prepared to be told no thanks. I understand that rejection is a part of the game, but it had been such a long and trying Summer for me. I had sunk so much of myself and my resources into trying to take things to the next level. While I loved every minute of traveling and racing, my goal from the get-go was to see how far I could take this. And that’s why I was smiling from ear to ear once I opened my email on Tuesday morning.

I’m honored to share that GU Energy Labs has welcomed me to their 2014 Pro Program. I’m so grateful to have their support, and thus am planning to make 2014 a banner year. I am a huge believer in their products! The bar has most certainly been raised for my goals, and I couldn’t be more excited to face another season of epic challenges and self discovery. Shout out to all #GUCrew athletes new and returning, I’m so stoked to be a part of the family and look forward to meeting and exchanging stories of adventures with you all!

My schedule for 2014 is still in developmental stages, but I am starting to zero in on my selections. Most of my races will be at the 50 mile mark or above. Legs don’t fail me now!

That said, it’s just another few weeks of “coasting” before I pick things up into high gear. It’s looking like I may be staring a 100K in the face as early as March, so it’s definitely time to begin making plans.

Well wishes to everyone and your goals. Here’s to climbing new heights in 2014…cheers!

Carbohydrates and Conjugations: Is too much emphasis being placed on competitive results in the sport?

Carbohydrates and Conjugations: Is too much emphasis being placed on competitive results in the sport?

Interestingly enough, I wrote about a similar topic earlier this summer. As more and more people are toeing the starting line of trail and ultra races, the dynamic of our quickly growing sport is changing. The question of whether or not too much emphasis is being placed on competitive results is a bit of a paradox, and one that ultimately is at the mercy of an individual runners goals and aspirations.

Perhaps the real issue here is understanding the evolution of a sport as it grows and everything that comes along with that growth. We are seeing amazing records being set, and feats conquered that nobody would dare to dream of a decade ago. There’s talent out there now that’s at another level. However, we are also seeing entry fee prices increase, heavy corporate influence, and sponsorship’s come into play. I think this is where a lot of people philosophically and morally separate, and start to be at odds with each other. Where is the line drawn between a community with a grassroots beginning but an impending transition to a more “mainstream” crowd? Personally, novelty and stylized runs/events have never really held much interest for me (and even less now) as I find them to be more about monetary gain and notoriety as opposed to what I believe are innate aspects of trail running like community and minimalism. I’ll take a small-scale race with an intimate crowd and nominal fee any day rather than an over-inflated, overpriced, over-hyped event that (in my opinion) just dilutes the entire experience, not to mention raises other issues that have come up recently like environmental impact, runner safety, etc. And while I have been fortunate enough in my experiences to cross paths with 99% very cool and humble people in the sport, I do believe there is a small percentage of trail running athletes and organizers that could use a fundamental overhaul of their attitude and self-awareness. More frequently as the sport grows and distances and difficulty increase, there’s an unfortunate minimization I think one feels of their accomplishments, at least that’s the case with a person like me. All of a sudden I find myself feeling insignificant because I haven’t run 100 miles yet, then it’ll be 150, then 200. In some respects I think this energy and attitude in the scene is healthy in that it certainly pushes the envelope and breeds spirited competition, but can’t help but think where I will eventually draw the line between a challenging personal journey and extreme, possibly dangerous masochism.

In conclusion, I think it’s important for runners to realize that the journey they have with the sport is their own. You want to run fast and attempt to place in the top brackets? Wonderful, train hard to run fast and place. You simply want a healthy outdoor activity to stay fit? That’s great too. I think the question of whether or not too much emphasis is placed on results is really a personal question that can only be answered by that individual, and possibly part of larger questions like “where is the direction of trail running really going?” Only you can be the judge.

“I’m just a regular guy who likes to hit the trails.”

TrailRunner Magazine: trailrunnermag.com