Monday, January 6, 2014

2014- A New Year with renewed hope

Here we go- the start of a new year. I can honestly say I was very excited for 2013 to end.
I cannot blame everything on unlucky '13' but I tried.
2014 will be a new chapter and a new chance to chase a few goals and dreams. The plan is to start slow and easy and be smart. Slow and easy will not be a problem for those who know me but being smart may.
Right now I am training hard at Bomber Athlete to get a little stronger and gain some confidence. I started running after a long lay off and so far so good. I have rededicated myself to proper eating and I have surrounded myself with some amazing people. The only thing I need to get in line is me. Simple. Right?
Part of the challenge I am throwing down for myself is to be more consistent with everything- running, eating, sleeping, recovering and blogging. The purpose to be more consistent here it to hold myself more accountable. Accountability and dependability are 2 very key 'abilities' that I need to tap into in order to make 2014 the success I am looking for.
On the left hand side is my race schedule for 2014 and I am very excited by it. I officially started the year with a run with the HUMR group and been plowing forward since.
2014 can be magical if I want it to be.
So here is to 2014- good luck, be safe and dream big!

Monday, August 26, 2013


Well, it's broken. My cuboid bone in my left foot is fractured and has put me out of the 2013 Wasatch 100. After last years issues at Wasatch this race has been circled on my calendar. I hit the lottery in February and endured some tough and fun training but it appears once again it is not meant to be.
After finding out about this last week I have been through a few different emotions. There was of course- anger, sadness, disappointment, anger, frustration, questioning, wondering, anger (did I say that) and pity. Trying to put things in perspective brought me to an all so cliche' thought. You have heard it and said it to yourself many times- "What if this is the last time?"
I remember back to my sub 30 finish at Wasatch and the last 18 miles. I was off pace to go sub 30 but I kept pushing myself. Since Wasatch is a lottery (although good odds to get in) I remember telling myself- "What if this is your last Wasatch?", "What if this is your last race?", "What if this is the closest you ever get to a sub 30?". Well it wasn't any of those but by thinking those things I believe I was able to push myself a bit more to get my sub 30 I trained for.
In reality, this is just a race, this is my "hobby", it isn't life or death and yes there are more important things in the world but right now it doesn't make things any easier. What it does it helps me put it in perspective just a little bit more. Do I run trails only to race? No, I have met some amazing people that I would have otherwise never met. I have experienced things I would have never had the pleasure of seeing/doing. The race is the celebration. It's the culmination of the work you have put in.
As I sit and work on my schedule for the next couple weeks of swimming and cycling, I am hoping to gain even more perspective of why I do this.
The plan as of Monday August 26th, 2013 at 2:08 pm is to toe the starting line of the Bear 100 in 5 short weeks. As a friend of mine (Phil Lowry) told me over the weekend on a phone call- "I think you can walk the entire Bear under 36 hours." I will wait a couple more weeks to get the next MRI to see how the foot is healing and if I get good news, I will get my drop bags ready for a long 30+ hours in the in the mountains. I will obviously not be in great running shape and will need to curb all expectations but I really do want to do this. I want to finish the year on a positive note and carry that over to next year.
I am not going out with anything to prove, I am not going out to show anything, I am going out there to celebrate another great year I got to spend doing something I enjoy......
So good luck you Wasatch runners and for all of you running the Bear- I really hope to share the start and finish with ya!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

El Vaquero Loco 50k- Race Report

Wassup? (Photo: Forrest Stuart)

It has been awhile...not just since my last post but since I last raced. I wish I could say I forgot my password to log into my blog but that isn't the case. It has been a mixture of being busy and lazy - I will call it 50/50. Either way a lot has happened since my last post- post race foot injury from Buffalo run which kept me out of solid training for a couple months, a few DNS and then an epic trip to Silverton for Softrock. Between all that, I got some new major responsibilities at work and I tried to be a solid dad and husband. I think with juggling all those things I didn't reach heights in any of them. So lets call March until August mediocre. Enough of that let's get to a report about my favorite race- El Vaquero Loco!

This race found its way into my heart last year and I have been excited ever since to get back. You combine the stunning views with a well organized race then throw in a solid course and top that with an amazing RD and well- you get a trails runners piece of heaven.
I headed up early Friday morning with Curtis, Jim and Corey to make sure we got a good camp spot for us and the rest of the HUMR crew. After last years debacle, this little piece of the story was a must and very critical. We pulled into the Cottonwood Lake CG and found just the spot to call home. We set up camp and headed back into town for some lunch. After lunch we headed back to camp to wait for the rest of our HUMR family. Our crew brought all kinds of food and we started a fire and began our a nice little HUMR potluck- campground style. After we hit the buffet we set off to check into the race. We collected our nice race SWEATSHIRT and got our bibs and chips. We then headed back to Camp HUMR for the night. After a few hours of "story time" we all headed off to get some much needed rest....night-night time.


Saturday morning 5 am- Camp HUMR came to life- sort of. You could hear tents unzipping and trailer doors closing and the steady flow of morning relief. After we got ready we all headed over to the start line and eagerly awaited the start.
Mr. Ty Draney got us underway and as I ran by Camp HUMR I stopped to grab my UltrAspire Alpha vest before I headed up a solid 3 1/2 mile grinder up the mountain. I saw several familiar faces and places on the climb and just wanted to take it steady. No rush, no push. After reaching the top I tightened my laces for some fun singletrack switchbacks. The views are amazing and since I was familiar with the course I was excited to get going as I anticipated every turn. As we came up to the first of the 2 alpine lakes I was reminded of the biggest reason why I run these races. After the climb out of the 2nd lake it was time for 7+ miles of downhill with a couple little rollers thrown in near the turn around in order to keep us honest. A few miles before the turnaround I saw the 50k leader and eventual winner -to no ones surprise, Luke Nelson. He is truly one of the great people in the sport and it is always a pleasure to see him. Sometime after seeing Luke the 25k runners started coming through. This is where it can get spooky on the singletrack. As I got the a stream crossing I saw a line of 25k runners lined up ready to cross on a log bridge. I wasn't in the mood to wait so I plowed right through the creek with out breaking stride. It felt great and made the 5th grader in me smile. As I was exiting the creek a few runners got a little upset that I apparently splashed them and for that I am extremely sorry ;).

How I felt before the race.

How I felt near the end of the race.

At the turnaround I was greeted and heckled a bit by the RD as he complimented me on my calves and posterior. He knew it was all due to my Skecher Shape-ups he accused me of wearing. At the AS I saw Lane and Steve with a amazing HUMR AS of their own. I grab a couple slices of bacon and chugged a itty bitty Coke- it made me feel like a GIANT! I waited a few minutes for Jim so I would have someone to pull me up the 7 1/2 mile grind back to the lakes. Jim and I ran together for most of this section and as we saw a waterfall he said- "most people will never get to see that". How true and more on that later. As we left the second lake something happened that has never happened to me before in a 50k- I started to get sick. I let Jim go and I started to walk to figure out what was going on. Here is where I began to think:

  • Where I was in the race? 
  • How much time was I wasting? 
  • How many people are gonna go by me? 
  • Will there still be PBR at the finish when I get back?
  • Why is my stomach in knots?
I hit the last AS and spent about 30 minutes sipping on a Coke to see if that would help. I decided that my Whole Food diet I had been on for 4 weeks may have made my stomach a little too snooty for race food. 
I decided I might as well get up and crawl up the last climb and see what happens on the 3 1/2 mile torturous downhill. Right before the climb Breein came up behind with a big smile (yes a real surprise she had a smile) she asked how I was, I mumbled and she then charged on by. About half way up the swithcbacks the my stomach finally started to settle so when I hit the top I took one last look of the amazing view and the feet downhill and just ran..ran to the bottom of that damn mountain. I ran the last couple miles with Breein and when we hit the campground the HUMR crew was there with some cheers and beers. I dropped my pack and headed to the finish to get me some Huckleberry soda.
As I crossed I was glad to be done. Glad to get that one behind me in my preparation for Wasatch. 
It wasn't the race I was hoping for but I got a real god reminder that I hope to carry with me from here on out.
  • Don't worry or think about where you are in the race, think about where you are.
So here are a few things that I thought about throughout the race.
  • This is the most beautiful course I have ever been on.
  • I miss races like this that DO NOT get too hyped.
  • I miss camping.
  • Wonder what Luke could do on this course with someone really pushing him.
  • Being a HUMR is pretty special.
  • I bet a raspberry filled powdered donut would help my sick stomach.
  • I wish Wasatch was 2 months away.
  • Squirrel!
All in all not a great race but I hope to keep in mind more the real reason I do this.
Congrats to all the HUMR's and runners. And to you Mr Ty Draney if you ever stumble on this blog post, I want you to know I am starting a new campaign to make sure you "KEEP EL VAQUERO LOCO ALIVE!"

Post race: Lake Yoga (Photo: Jo Agnew)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pre-Race- Buffalo Run 50

Spring is here! Well technically it is a day or 2 away but at least dirt is finally here. Getting out on some dirt and rocks has proven to be a huge lift in training. My mind and body were going through a bit of a lull with all this snow. It has been great for skiing but poor for trail enjoyment. When the snow first came it was new and fun but after months of cold slip and sliding around it just got old. I stayed off the road and hit the treadmill once and that proved to be a bad idea (power went out and down I went).

With the Buffalo Run 50 only a few short days away I think I finally got my mind wrapped around it. I just need to remind myself that it is not a focus race and there are bigger fish to fry later in the year. I am heading into it less prepared than last year but the weather looks to be on my side with the highs in the mid to upper 40’s- which is a huge plus. Last year it got hot and hot quick- the heat won but I slowly got to the finish. This year I am going to head out and try and enjoy it and not put too much pressure on myself. I need to focus on the journey and not the destination. Unfortunately that is easier said than done but if can dial in the mental part I think it has the chance to be a fun day on the island. I am looking forward to seeing many friends and always making some new ones.

Today marks a new day for me as a runner. I have joined Team PI for 2013. For that past 6 years I have managed the Pearl Izumi Ultra Running Team and they decided to make some changes to their program heading into 2013. I stepped down and away and it has been a hard transition. I helped start the team many years ago with a few others and had big dreams for its future.  It surpassed my dreams in many ways so separating has been rough. However, just last week I was contacted to be an “athlete and ambassador” for Team PI and I was more than touched.  Looking at Team PI’s 2013 roster it was glaringly obvious I would falling more into the ambassador side of it (the roster is loaded with some amazing athletes and it’s a privilege and honor to me linked with them) and I am more than okay with that……I love PI. Their new E:Motion Line and their apparel. I have been a PI billboard for over 6 years and regardless of being on Team PI or not I would be wearing PI with pride. The E:Motion line is amazing- I have been wearing the Trail N1’s for a few months now and they feel great. Being a bigger non-Kenyanesque runner, I can still wear the lighter N1’s without worry up to 40 miles (farthest I have taken them so far).  I plan on using them for the Buffalo Run 50 this Saturday and I am not worried one bit.

I am really looking forward to a race heavy year and all it brings. The biggest challenge for me in 2013 may not be the miles or the physical abuse I am going to put myself through but the mental attitude to keep things in perspective. Being a part of the HUMR group here (Happy Utah Mountain Runners) will be the key. There are so many of them I admire and look up to for their positive attitudes. I just hope I can continue to learn and incorporate all they bring to the table.  They inspire me every day and that just may be what the doctor ordered for 2013.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moab Red Hot 55k Race Report

Nipples can break off but you just gotta keep going….
The Moab Red Hot has never really been kind to me and this year proved to be no different. I knew heading in that my training was well off of what it needed to be. With all this snow and cold and crappy air, I haven’t been able to get the long runs in like years past. As frustrating as that was I was really hoping that almost a year of Pilates and getting my ass handed to me at Bomber Athlete for the last few months could help fill in the void. In the end it became apparent as ever that nothing can replace running.
Heading down to Moab I was a little nervous just from the sheer numbers- 800 runners. It has almost doubled since last year and I was a little concerned how that would all work out. In hindsight I now know that it does no good to worry about something I can’t control and the real concern should have been with my training. Last year I ran 6:17 and was disappointed when I finished knowing I should go under 6 hours. Even though that was the goal this year I started to realize that may not happen either. I was however really looking forward to all of the HUMR group that would be down there to help kick off 2013. The weather was fantastic the air was clear and the trails were red.

A few HUMR’s at the start.- Photo: Jo Agnew

After a nice dinner at Pasta Jay’s it was back to the hotel to get things ready for Saturday morning. I decided to take 3 flasks and one handheld with me for the race. I filled 3 small flasks with 2-3 ounces EFS Liquid Shot and one heaping scoop of EFS electrolyte drink topped off with water. I threw them in my UltrAspire Spry vest with my iPod and took along an isomeric pocket handheld filled with plain water. My plan was to take small nips off the flasks- each lasting 2 hours a piece. The handheld could easily get me to each aid station and after that it was up to me. As we gathered at the start it was ripe with HUMR’s. It was obvious we stole the show (wink-wink). Between the HUMR group and the HUMR Ultra Team it made me feel a little more at ease knowing I would see many of them over the course of the next 30+ miles. When the RD said GO- we all took off. I tried to settle in a bit and plot a plan for the first hill- would I power walk or run- decision, a little of both. Once we hit the small little climb I settled in to a comfortable pace but for whatever reason had a hard time getting my breathing under control. I think the problem was the air was too clean. For the first mile or so I seen a few HUMR’s up ahead and a few started passing. Kelly was nice enough to pat me on the buttocks as he passed and soon after I got a HUMR heckle from behind- here comes Ryan, Bryce and Bj. As they caught me I decided to match their stride for a bit and go with them. I knew it wouldn’t last long since these 3 are so gazelle like in their efforts. Once they left I ran with Kelly for a bit until we hit the first aid station. Leaving that I still felt pretty good and looking forward to the next section. Unfortunately this is where I had my first problem of the day- BROKEN NIPPLE. As I stopped to tie my shoe I set my handheld down for a moment- well it rolled off the rock and BOOM- my nipple just popped clean off! My handheld slowly drained and my heart sunk just a little. Here I was at mile 9 and I have a broken nipple and no water. I stood up, threw on my big boy pants, put my head down and trudged forward. When I pulled into the next aid station the 2 girls asked if I needed anything. I replied- “my nipple broke.” They both looked up with a snap of the neck with jaws open……they responded- “we have water and Heed.” Once I set them straight they laughed but didn’t have anything for me to use to carry water in. I guzzled as much as I could and headed off. Over the next few miles I panicked a bit more and tried to think of what else I could do.  You see, I need water. I love it. I am what you would call a heavy sweater- not the Christmas type either. As I got closer to the next aid station I saw a white truck off in the distance and had a little calmness come over me. It was Lane Farka, Pam and Steve. They had driven out to cheer and drop off water at the aid stations. As I approached I saw Jared and was a little concerned. I asked if they had anything to carry water and Forrest had an extra handheld there that I was able to use- I was saved! Lane filled it up and as I was heading out Jared joined me. He was feeling very well but he is a tough SOB and kept on truckin. I ran with Jared for a bit when Jim caught up then Shawn. The next bit was the climb up the slick rock around mile 20 and I knew I wouldn’t see them all again until the finish.

Jared pulling me along. Photo by: Joel Schenk

The rest of the race was uneventful except for the few times I stopped to lay down and stretch. As the mile slowly went by I knew a sub 6 was out and a chance of a slower time than the year before was inevitable. The last few miles were tough-mentally. So many things went through my head and I was just disappointed. As I approached the finish line I heard a lot of cheers which felt amazing but I just wanted to be done. 6:40- YIKES! 23 minutes slower than 2012, not exactly how I wanted to start the year.
This next segment is stolen from my friend and fellow HUMR Harrison “Clean & Jerk” Fluman.
Things I learned from Moab:
  •   It’s only when I forget to bring baby wipes I need them.
  •   Losing a nipple can cripple.
  •   Race photos are not like glamour shots.
  •  Some people do run with Yamaka’s.
  •   Just because you went to Penn State doesn’t mean you like to tickle.
  •   Sitting in pee-pee is not for mee.

Trottin to the finish. Photo by: Cammie Burlison

At the end of the day though, I was pumped for so many people. The HUMR’s truly represented. Ryan Lauck had an amazing performance, Misty, Debbie and Ms. Dennis ran their longest race, Jared rallied big time to finish strong, Jon running his first race in some time since he has been homeless and there are so many more. The one thing they all did was finish with a smile. Once again I left a race thankful, thankful to have so many amazing people in my life. Race season is here- I guess I better start showing up.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Schedule - GULP!

So the schedule is set and it’s more than a little spooky. You know how easy it is when you are just sitting in front of a computer and looking at races. They all look great. There are the familiar ones, your favorite ones and of course the bucket list ones. I missed out AGAIN on Western States and Hardrock which is really not that surprising. Looking at those 2 and the number of lottery entrants increase every year there is a good chance I will never run these. Once those were ruled out it came down to going with Plan B and Plan C.
So let’s start with the familiar/favorites. Every year I look forward to the Moab Red Hot 55k. It is a great chance to get out of town after a long winter, test the legs, see the red rocks and the best part is seeing all the people. When I say all the people I mean my Ultra Friends. It is always nice to catch up and see some familiar faces. Next up-  the Buffalo Run on Antelope Island. Living in Utah and so close, this is a no brainer. It was my first ever trail race many years ago and I have run it every year but one (due to injury). The course is amazing, the RD is great (and a friend) and it organized and run better than any. Another favorite and local is the Timp Trail Marathon. I can see myself running this every year and never getting tired of it- Great course and not too far from home. The last and my favorite race is the El Vaquero loco 50k. I got to run it for the first time last year and fell in love. Ty does a great job and the course is breath-taking! The start/finish is awesome, the huckleberry soda and burger hit the spot and you get a sa-weet race hoodie! Enough said!
Now the “other races”:
Zion 100- need a little redemption from last year and getting lost after mile 52 with about a dozen other lucky soles.
Bryce 100- super excited for this one. Beautiful location and great RD. Just look at the photos of the course.
Tahoe Rim 50- been on my bucket list and things worked out perfectly. It also gives me an excuse to miss out on SpeedGoat this year.
Wasatch 100- really no explanation needed. This race will be the main focus race for the year. Gonna be all in for this one!
Bear 100- only 3 weeks after Wasatch but this one has been on the bucket list for years. Been pacing and crewing it for 5 years so its time!
The one run that I haven’t mentioned is “Softrock”. My good friend Scott Jaime will be taking on Hardrock again and invited me and some friends down to Silverton at the end of June to hit the Hardrock course over 3 days. This is gonna be brutal for sure but may be the one run I am looking forward to the most.
All in all 2013 will be huge for me. Lots of miles and at least a race a month from Feb-Oct. I have my eye on a few Nov and Dec races but I figure I better see where I am later in the year. Being a middle of the pack runner my schedule is real doable since I will not be red lining every race. I will have goals going into them but they will all be setting me up for Wasatch. (complete schedule on the right of the blog)
I hope to see many of you on the trails this year. Here’s to a safe and healthy 2013- set your Goals and CRUSH ‘em!

Friday, January 4, 2013


2012 is finally over and its time to focus on the new year. Since this is a running blog, that's what I will focus on. 2012 racing didn't pan out like I had hoped. There were definitely some solid races and some PR's but we all have that ONE focus race. My 2012 focus race was Wasatch. Ironically that was also my last post. After the disappointing run in September it took some time to recover both physically and mentally. The physical part seems good (hamstring feels pretty nice) the mental part is still a little bruised. I did run the Zion Traverse and the Antelope 50k but they were both with little expectations. The Zion run was definitely a great time. No times, no pressure and lots of fun and friends. Antelope 50k went much better than I expected. A great race send off and may have lifted the spirits just a little.
 For 2013, I obviously have some goals in running. The race schedule is filling up quickly and my calendar is looking good! No luck with Western or Hardrock lotteries but I am holding out hope for Wasatch. To the right I have posted my 2013 schedule and I am very excited. I will be returning to some of my favorite familiar races and trying a few new ones. There are a few 100's and the spotlight run is not even a race. It is Softrock- 3 days 100 miles on the Hardrock 100 course with Scott Jaime as the tour guide.
In the "off-season" I have focused on strength training a bit with friends at Bomber Athlete. Tried to slow down the running to let the hammy heal properly all the while nervous I was losing my fitness.
For the new year I really want to do a much better job of focusing on consistency and even blogging. Why blogging? It makes me more accountable and helps me track and see what works and what doesn't.
My secret weapon- HUMR's! The Happy Utah Mountain Runners are the key. The keep everything fun and keep me accountable. I enjoy them and they help me just enjoy it when I may not.
The PI Ultra Team has gone through some changes for 2013 and I will be stepping away and no longer be the Team Director. 6 years ago the team was an idea and I had no idea what it would become. I am very proud of what we did and enjoyed it very much.
In 2013 I will be running under the HUMR Ultra Team banner. A small group of like-minded people who love the trails. We collected some great sponsors and some help. We got some great kits and we will be having an amazing time this year so keep your eyes open people.
So 2013, I am gonna push it. See what i am capable of but focusing on the journey.
I look forward to seeing some familiar faces in Moab this February and seeing some sweet single track all year!
For 2013- If your Dreams don't scare you, they are not BIG enough!- Dream Big!