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

Gemini Adventures 50K @ Boulder Res Post-race Report

Gemini Adventures 50K @ Boulder Res Post-race Report

Normally Sunday is considered a “lazy” day by most. Not the case this past weekend for runners and organizers alike at Boulder Reservoir for the annual 24 Hours of Boulder Event. The race offers 3 events in which racers can “pick their poison” – a full 100 mile event, a 100K, or a 50K. I chose to run the 50K on Sunday.

It was a crisp morning at the reservoir, and I remember thinking how chilly it must have been for runners that had been going all night. We had our pre-race meeting with Reid at 6:45, and he sent us on our way right at 7 – just in time to catch an amazing sunrise coming up over the res. I settled into a swift but comfortable pace, and tried to focus on taking in plenty of fluid and gels. The course consisted of an out-and-back 7.14 mile loop around the reservoir with some minor hills and a mix of non technical single track, pavement, and open dirt road.

All was going well until about mile 24 when I started to cramp up pretty bad. Up until then, I had been taking in a steady flow of water, electrolyte solution, and energy gels but in my own foolishness neglected to take in enough salt/sodium. Thankfully, a fellow runner out on the track noticed I was in the hurt locker and saved the day by giving me a few salt caps. At this point I was on my last out-and-back loop. Once reaching the aid station at the other side of the reservoir, I took a few moments to rub my legs down, stretch, and scarf some chips. Once leaving, I literally felt like I had new legs. My body absorbed the salt, and I felt rejuvenated. I knew I had to make up whatever time I could so I smoked the last split of the loop, desperately trying to get back to the finish before 5:40 (my prior 50K PR) I literally felt like I was in another dimension the last few miles – an out of body experience if I’ve ever had one – and managed to cross the finish line at 5:32. I was ecstatic to get my PR, and come to find out, I was first across the finish line under age 30, 6th overall. Nice little comeback at the end.

This was my 3rd 50K of this year, and I learn something each time – most importantly about my own nutrition needs and how to push through the barriers I know are coming. The post-race hangout was cool – plenty of food and even got to spend some time in the recovery suit, which is basically a lower body suit that provides compression to aid recovery. Met a lot of cool people, and had a great time. Big thanks to Reid and the Gemini Adventures crew, and the Boulder Reservoir. I’ll definitely be back for another Gemini event soon!

The 2012 Bear Chase 50K Ultra

The 2012 Bear Chase 50K Ultra

This was my first 50K. As I write this, I am reminded that I have had a rather unconventional path to ultra running. Before this 50K, I had run a half marathon and a handful of 5K’s. Yes…5K’s. I did participate in cross country in HS, and had some success with it, but honestly this whole “ultra” thing was a random idea I had and figured I’d give a shot. I had no idea what to expect.

The Bear Chase is held in Bear Creek Park, near Morrison and C470. It is a mild to moderately technical trail ultra, consisting of loops.

I honestly felt alright for about the first 17 miles, then fatigue and mechanical break-down of my body began to sit in. In retrospect, I was pretty foolish for attempting such an event. My body was not ready for the rigors of distance running, not to mention the psychological attack an ultra runner undergoes when racing.

The last 10 or so miles were a disaster. I was in so much pain that I really did consider dropping out, but me being the stubborn son of a bitch I am, kept on going despite the obvious risks.

I came in at just under 6 hours. Exhausted, beat up, and swearing that I’d never again attempt such a thing. (Ha, that didn’t last long)

Overall the race went well. Smooth, clearly marked course with well stocked aid stations. I’ll be back.