tahoe rim trail

Did I lose my Ultra Mojo ? Struggle and Strife of a distance runner

Well it’s been almost a week since American River 50 and I’m finally walking normal again. I’ve realized that I’ve raced Way to Cool 50k , Canyon Meadow Trail Marathon, and now AR 50 without a blog post or race recap.

I think my lack of blogging and or race reporting has been due to my feelings about my running this year. I had a sub 5 hour Way to Cool 50k on a difficult muddy course , took 3rd in age group at the trail marathon, and did a little over 9 hours for AR 50 but none of these felt great. I felt like most of my racing this year has been more plaqued with nagging injuries and just hasent been as enjoyable as years past. So regardless of my times or placement in the races, they’ve all been internally mediocre.
I month back slipped at W2C 50k and really tweaked my right hip which has been uncomfortably painful since and thus heaving effecting my right IT band. I’ve gone to ART / PT which has helped but I haven’t been helping myself as much as I could be with stretches and exercises and that’s where my dilemma lies.
Last year I was a spokesman for ultra running and I couldn’t go five seconds without talking about a race past or present or the epic training run I just had. This year I’ve just been going through the motions and not being that voice on top of the mountains… My nagging injuries have been part of the issue and the other part is I’ve seem to have lost a bit of my mojo. Maybe Dr Evil went back time and stole my mojo, hahaha.  It’s also weird to see my results and no I’m improving as a runner but feel disappointed my efforts , that’s another conundrum I can’t figure out.
I ended AR 50 last Sat swearing I was retiring from Ultras as I looked down at my swollen ankle , the pain screaming from my hip, and my legs and arms breaking out with poison oak.  A few days later I had a little change of heart and agreed to finish my upcoming 50k in Tuscany , Quicksilver 100k , and Tahoe Rim Trail 100 miler. I’m hoping my body and mind are up for that challenge..
As I’ve grown as a trail runner and got more competitive this year I’ve learned my limitations of my skills are not from a  lack of running its due to ONLY running . My body can’t handle the constant racing and 50-60 mile weeks without some major strength training. It’s this lack of strength training that has been causing my injuries (I believe) and holding me backs from my full potential. The tough part is I may have bitten off more then I can chew this year with my 12,000k in climbing at the 100k and my 100 miler. It’s kind of hard to newly implement a strength training regiment and still get ready for these races (sadly I have to work too).
I’ll be spending another few days off from running and getting my ART done on Tuesday which will hopefully open up my hip and allow to crank right back into some serious mileage.
As far as race reports , I have some unfinished business at both Way To Cool and American River 50 but not sure ill sign up for either next year.  But I did get to hang with Gordy Ainsleigh briefly at the end of AR50 which was cool. Being a part of Quicksilver Ultra Team has also had
But one great thing has come out of this year and words could never describe my pride.. My amazing wife has been by my side running all these races with me so far this year. She’s completed her first 50k , 50 miler, trail marathon, and one more 50k in a few weeks to knock of her list. While I don’t consider myself a super emotional guy , tears have joy have flooded my eyes many times this year watching my wife cross the finish line.  She’s one of the most amazing creatures I’ve ever seen. Her will and determination is like nothing Ive ever seen before. I’m thankful for having her in my life and blessed every second of this life I get with her.
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My buddy Guy, Me, Gordy, Bull, Maria, and my amazing wife Lindsay
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Back On Track, The Road to Ultra Running is Full Of Bumps and Bruises

So it’s been a month since my last post sitting in the hospital waiting for my dad do get out of  open heart surgery. If you know how much I love that man you can imagine how flipped upside down I felt at that time.. I was question many things in my life and sadly one of them was a love of mine ; Ultra Running.

Anyone who’s has ever trained for an Ironman, or a 50 mile or 100 mile race knows the time commitment and dedication that goes along with that. I run a minimum of 8 hours a week of running and that can jump to 12 hours easily some weeks. THIS IS MY LIFE, there isn’t time for much more then that between work, walking dog, making dinner, and finding what ever time I can with Lindsay.

So it makes you think about if its worth it training that much and having running be such a sizable part of your life. I essentially took the last 6 weeks off running to contemplate life, spend time with my dad and got the occasional run in.

There have been many life bumps, bruises, hiccups, in those few weeks. I had missed one race this year and had my first 50K looming in a few weeks (Way to Cool) , it was time to make some decisions. One of the things I learned in this period was regardless if I ever ran another Ultra in my life; running connected me with my spirit, my soul, my happiness, and internal peace. Its part of me now and I need it as much as I need the air I breathe. Running in the mountains is my church, my pastor, my best friend, my Holy Grail of sorts.

Since my dad is in recovery mode and laid up for a bit longer (no hunting trips or fly fishing for us for a few months) I decided to lace up my shoes and see what I had in the tank and what endurance I banked the last year and half. I had no idea what kind of week I could push out and haven’t pulled consecutive 40-50 mile weeks since early Jan. I was determined to go for broke and push myself hard to find out if Way to Cool was a possibility or another missed opportunity this year.

As I write this I’m 38 miles in this week, feeling confidant about my 20 mile run tomorrow and shorter 4-6 on Sunday. Its been many months since I pulled a 60+ mile week and if things go well , you can bet your ass my training is back on track and W2C will be a nice first practice 50K of the year.

Life will continue to boggle me and I have no idea how to live this life “properly”. I’m guessing at it everyday trying to follow my dreams, be a good husband, son, and sibling. Hopefully I’m doing more then just the running right…

I’m truly grateful for my amazing friends and family that choose or are stuck with me in this journey called life. I have a few friends who have been at my side pushing me without pushing me to get back on the trails and do this running that I love and I’m thankful for you..

Go Pro Selfie

Racing Schedule for 2014 is on Lock and Man its a Going to be a Good Year

So I have to start by saying I was rather disappointed that my name wasn’t drawn for the Western States Lottery. I had dreams and aspirations of running this race and was pumped about doing it this year. It took a few days for the pain and sting of not getting in to subside before I can figure out my alternatives and plan B’s .

Although I had plan B mostly figured out it also involved another lottery and one I wasn’t confident about getting into. It was TRT 100 lottery that had me both nervous and anxious. Not only was I worried about losing in another lottery there was a piece of me that was nervous for the race itself. I am a 100 virgin and wasn’t sure that it was a good idea to enter such a tough one for my first. As the Jan o1 lottery date was drawing nearer I was exited about ready if my name was drawn. So Dec 31st mid day my name was picked and my fate sealed…. So it was settled and it was time to figure out my plans, racing strategies, and training races.

So  here is the long and short of it and I may add my favorites like Skyline 50k in Aug, Dick Collins Firetrails 50 in Oct, as well as Whiskytown 50k in Nov. But for now I am pretty content with the ones I have committed too and interested to see what my body says after TRT100.

First race of the year will be nice and mellow and I’m not going for an AG finish (so I say). This will be Lindsay’s first longer trail race and I am hoping she has a good time.

  • Feb 01 , the ITR Fort Ord 35K : http://www.insidetrail.com/ai1ec_event/fort-ord-trail-run/?instance_id=

Second race is the first of a few 50K’s of the year. This will be Lindsay’s first 50k and I am excited to see how she’ll do.

  • March 08 , Way to Cool 50K. Ive never done this one before but everyone boasts it being a really awesome race. : http://www.wtc50k.com

Third race will be Lindsay’s first 50 miler and I think she will go great.. Im looking forward to this race to work on some nutrition tweaks and get my game plan together for some other upcoming races.

  • April 05, American River 50 or AR50. http://www.ar50mile.com  Although its no longer a WS qualifier It should be a fun race and they usually have some sick finishers jackets…

Fourth race is one I am super excited about and a good test of my legs after the 50 miler. While this winds down Lindsay’s Ultra season its all about enjoying this race and just having a great vacation..

  • April 26th , Tuscany Crossing 50k in yup TUSCANY.. http://www.lostworldsracing.com/tuscany-crossing-italy-april-2013/

Fifth is going to be an ASS kicker.. This one I am hoping for some heat so I can get some practice in it. In years past its been incredibly warm so I am sure I will get my wish. I plan on slowing my pace a bit and being comfortable ( if you can use those words in a vey hilly 100k). Im hoping to work out any kinks I discover during this race and spend the next two months following perfecting things.

  • May 10th, Quicksilver 100K . The first year of  my team putting on a 100K here and the course is going to be tough http://www.quicksilver-running.com/#!50k–50m-races/cp7p

Then I get a little break and some time to focus on some long training weeks, practice runs , volunteering with my team at Western States, supporting my friends racing there, and getting my head on right for TRT. Im hoping to make it up there quite a few times to run the course and see how my body does with the elevation.

  • July 19th TRT 100 in Lake Tahoe. This will be at elevation with a lot of elevation to be had. I have had some friends get crushed here and I can only hope with proper training and a great mindset I will do well here.

Like I said there may be some more races added after this but I want to focus on these six, have all my strategies in place, then I’ll have some fun at the other races if I feel up to it..

For now we have our first solid training week under our belts for 2014 and it was a respectable 46 mile week with about 6k in climbing. I feeling great and trying to get back into the routine of running 5 days a week.  Im also trying to lose the few extra lbs I had put on tapering from last season. Im pumped for the new year, Lindsay has been running great, and it will be great year training for all of these races with her on the trails with me.

DCIM100GOPRO

No Western States Endurance Run This Year; So Plan B?

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I watched with baited breathe the Western States Lottery live action today. I would have loved to have made it up to Auburn to be there in person but this damn cold will not go away.. The first hour of the drawing my heart was racing and as many of my team mates names got  called as the anxiety continued to grow. Even as they called the last few names I waited eagerly knowing one of those names coming up could be mine. I am incredibly happy for all of my team that will be going to Staes this year and as  the final name got called it became painfully clear that Western States Endurance Run wasn’t in my 2014 future…

Since one of these WS glorious belt buckles aren’t in my 2014 future , what do I now? Well for the last few weeks the plan was sign up for Zion 100 and do that with some buddies. But I as awaited the results of the States drawing my mind kept pulling me towards Pine to Palm 100 and Tahoe Rim Trail 100, both of which are tough to get into. http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=24111 and http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=26496. I am not sure why I am leaning towards either one of these races? Maybe I am feeling lucky in the next lottery, maybe I don’t wan’t to do Zion knowing my amazing wife won’t be able to be there, ,or maybe I am glutton for punishment with these harder races.

I’ve called in some advice from some of my seasoned Ultra running friends and I honestly don’t know what direction I will lean. Since their is always the choice of the easy way or hard way and I’m constantly surprised at how many take the easy way. I’ve always been the hard way type of guy. I don’t want my first hundred to be easy, not that Zion is, but I want people to cringe when they here the races I’ve signed up for this year. I don’t know why that excites me but It does. I guess being an ultra runner we are already screwed up in the head so this goes in line with seeking joy out of running 60 mile weeks and laughing after races when your feet look like they have been in battle…

Either way Jan 01 I will have my 2014 race calendar on lock with hopefully one 100 miler. For now its all about getting healthy, getting back on the trails, and enjoying as many seconds as I can with my amazing wife. Never for one moment do I forget where my true priorities are and that I am grateful for each moment I got in this earth with Lindsay..