ultra running

Running an Addiction Like Most Addictions

It’s not easy to admit or even say that my running in many ways is similiar to many other addictions. When my running is great, I want more and more of it, regardless of the state of my body. When my runnng sucks I am solemn due the fact I didtnt get my high. And worse of all, without my drug,  I become easiy aggitaded, depressed, and withdrawn.

I feel like most ultra runners can relate to that feeling of addiction. There is just something, some force, that draws us to the trail. Some people look at mountains and dread even thinking of walking up it and we get excited to catpult our bodies up it as fast as we can. For me thats normal and I have become accustom to eplaining to non runners my love for the hills and the long runs. People can even fathom the idea of running a 100 miles and maybe thats the draw. Maybe its not just about the next high its about doing thngs that set you apart. I never want to be defined by simplicity, I want someone to stumble over their words attempting to describe me.  

For now I guess I will try to contain my addiction into a safe means of solitude, adventure, spiritual journey, and passion without destroying my body. I do it because I love it, it makes me feel complete, it makes me feel alive, and I do it for me…. 

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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

Life Has a Way Of Changing Your Priorities

Just last week I was ending a great 46 mile run week, training was going well, and my race plan was in place. My year was set and I was looking forward to lots of running with a side of running. Then I got a phone call…

Thursday night I received a call from my step-mom about my dad needing to get an Angiogram due to chest pain. I called out sick, went for a short run to calm my nerves, and honestly cry a little bit, then went to Sacramento to be with my family.

My dad is a healthy guy and lifetime athlete. We went in to the Angiogram thinking maybe a little blockage and they can use a stint to open any mild blocked arteries at worse case. An hour into the Angiogram the Dr. came in and let us know he had three severely blocked arteries and was in need of open heart surgery and triple bypass.

Since it wasn’t an “emergency” they would schedule it for Tuesday. We were all in a bit of shock of the news but not as much as my dad. As he listened to the doctor explain the surgery and what was ahead of him, regardless of the great success rate and the low risk, you can just see him sink into himself, and rightly so.  We spent the next few days at home with him and just relaxed and had some fun before the surgery. Although we didn’t talk about it much over the couple of days, it was on all of our minds.

Working for a great company, it was nice to be able to take a few weeks off after I got the news, not worry about work, and just focus on my family . I think hanging in my dads house with him was making him a bit stir crazy and I think he wanted some alone time to think about what was before him. So I decided to head home on Saturday to spend some time with Lindsay and make some plans for spending time with my family in Sacramento over the next week or so. The few days off with Lindsay were nice and to distract ourselves a bit we dove in head first on our mission to go minimalist. I’ve been reading Everything That Remains and there is a quote that has stuck in my head, “Does this add value to our lives?” If the answer was no, it went to Goodwill and/or to our families, or we are cutting it out of our lives.  We’ve been only working on it few weeks but we have emptied an entire storage unit down to some essentials, eliminated the TV in our living room and all the electrical crap that went with it.  Direct TV has been canceled and we have created this great relaxing living room with our normal distractions.

The Minimalist movement has had some interesting aspects and some positive attributes I wasn’t expecting it to have. Ironically, it timed nicely with the internal reflection I have been doing since hearing about my dad’s upcoming surgery.  In it’s most minimalist from (no pun intended) you have no idea how much time you spend with stuff until you start getting rid of it all. It’s one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. It becomes this sort of mission for us to eliminate all the non essentials in your life. The less crap you have , the more time, money, and brain power to spend on the important things. This goes for Direct TV, clothes we don’t wear, and a shocking amount of stuff that we have just accumulated.

Now with less crap/stuff/ waste mostly removed from our lives we’ve been able to have more deep conversations about what is really important. If you asked me or read my blog last week you would definitely agree that running was one of the most important things in my life. I’ve blown off time with my family and friends, parties,  and fly fishing trips with my dad in order to get my long runs in and honestly missed a few opportunities to just “be” with my wife.  Now in a matter of 72 hours that has all changed.

As I sit in the waiting room while my dad is having his open hear surgery it’s abundantly clear on what is important—good use of time, my passions and focus. I know people say all the time that they are going to make changes in their lives when a family illness hits and then never end up making those changes. Lindsay and I don’t talk about things, we act on them. Our Paleo diet has remained for over a year now and we have no intentions of removing it from our lives. We wanted to go minimalist and that happened immediately and passionately, we exercise almost everyday for more years then not, and now my mission is for us to live our lives to the fullest.

For those who knows us well would probably say we already live life to the fullest and comparatively we probably do. I have no regrets and I have the love of my life next to me right now. But now I want to ensure I can look with back with continued zero regret and going after our “true” goals in life and what it will take to get there. While Lindsay and I are always on the same page and have the same goals, we’ve never been good about looking too much further then the next year. With everything going on and all the changes we are making we are for sure looking long term and coming up with some of our bigger life goals.

While running will continue to be a part of my life you bet your ass I won’t miss an opportunity to go fishing with my dad once he is recovered from this surgery (I say that anxiously and get ghost white each time as nurse comes into the waiting room).  I do believe its important to have fitness goals and life goals but I think the fitness goals over the last four years of Ironmans and now Ultras has superseded  some of our life goals.  I am hoping to make all my fitness goals this year and make most of my races I’ve signed up for. I’ve started to ask my self more of why I am doing 50 milers and 100 milers? Using the same principle of  “Does this make my life better?” the answer is regrettably no . Staying healthy is awesome, running is awesome, but running ad nauseam maybe not…Like I said I want to make some of these runs/races but not sure it’s going to have the same vigor for me as before. I’m good at running so what else could I be good at and get to experience if my life isn’t consumed by it.

All I hope is that in an hour or so, a nurse comes down, says my dad is fine, and I can start the next chapter in this life with my wife and family closely by my side.

  • I will continue to travel all of the world, experiencing those amazing eye opening experiences travel has to offer with Lindsay happily by my side.
  • I will make more family oriented decisions vs. my selfish goals of running and racing.
  • We will continue to enjoy moving our lives to minimalism and making more decisions in that direction.
  • We are a month or two away from paying off our wedding and being out of debt… We’ve been good about saving money and will continue to add even more to this.
  • I will find a balance of working out/running and get back into climbing to mix it up.
  • Work will not consume me and although I love my job and have no intentions of leaving it, I will pursue some of the avenues I’ve been discussing with Lindsay about certain other business ventures. Again, I am not a hypocrite and I don’t want to talk about it anymore, I want to follow up with action.
  • I will continually strive to enjoy every moment possible with my wife and ensure she knows each and everyday she’s the most incredible gift god has ever given me.
  • I WILL SPEND A TON OF TIME WITH MY DAD…
  • We will make longer term goals to ensure our continual goal to live this live to the fullest.

 

*** Update Wednesday Morning*** He’s doing fine and on the road to recovery. Yesterday was pretty difficult for us all but not as much as my dad for having to go through the whole ordeal. He’s a fighter and an amazing man that is on his way to a full recovery and hopefully an improved life due to being able to breathe easier..

Fly Fishing with my Dad

Fly Fishing with my Dad

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

2014 Race Season – The Hopeful and the Back up Plan

All last year I wanted to create a blog to capture my events, race reports, adventures with my most amazing wife, ect. So as I lie here home sick , I figured it was a good day to start.

For most of us Ultra runners the next few weeks and a couple race lotteries will determine our race schedule for next year. As the popularity of the ultra running series increases so does the difficulties to get into them.

My goal by the end of the day is to have my ideal race schedule planned out and then the fall back in case I don’t get into a few races.

This weekend will determine a few things entry into Western States or not then the planning and sign up of Bryce 100. Luckily the Tahoe 200 lottery is pushed out til Jan so I can figure out my hundred race before contemplating throwing my hat into a four day 200 miler.

Dream Season 2014

Feb 01; Fort Ord 35 K with Lindsay (http://www.insidetrail.com/ai1ec_event/fort-ord-trail-run/) already  signed up.

March 08 ; Way To Cool 50k. I am in the lottery and I believe we find out in a few weeks

March 15th;  Marin Ultra Challenge 50K ( http://www.insidetrail.com/ai1ec_event/marin-ultra-challenge/) If I don’t get into Way to Cool

April 5th; American River 50 miler with Lindsay (Her first 50 and we are already signed up)

April 26th; Tuscany Crossing 5ok with Lindsay in yup Tuscany followed by a nice vacation. (http://www.lostworldsracing.com/tuscany-crossing-italy-april-2013/)

May 10th;  Quicksilver 100K (http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=26331) Need to Sign up..

June 14th;  Bryce 100 (http://bryce100.wordpress.com) If I don’t get into Western States 100

June 24th;  Western States 100 if my name gets drawn this Sat (http://www.wser.org)

July 19th; Tahoe Rim Trail 50m (http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=24111) Lottery opens next week

August 11th; Skyline 50k (http://www.skyline50k.us)

Sept 5; Tahoe 200 (http://www.tahoe200.com) Lottery opens in Jan

Thats the long and the short of it. I am sure there will be more races and more adventures but that covers the chunk of the year. Looking forward to another year of Ultra Racing and being a part of Quicksilver Ultra Racing Team.

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