Monday, April 30, 2018

Running Road Trip Idea.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"The Snake Run" Recap

"The Snake Run" 2018

Logging-in to scribe words about things is hard. It seems so easy to read page after page, or scroll minute after minute, but to take time to actually scribe some things down, that doesn't seem to get done. But I'm back to trying to make blogging a focus in 2018 because it makes me feel good to get some words on paper. 

After the cancellation of RunLOVIT in February I met some Tulsa peeps who told me about this little race they have called "The Snake Run" and it did not disappoint. Matt and I decided to go down and check out some Oklahoma trails and get a good solid run in. The best thing about timed events is that there is no worry about a DNF or not finishing or any of that junk. Its just about finding your comfortable spot and seeing how many miles you can get in. Most the time these timed events are on tracks so finding a trail one was what sealed the deal for me. That and I also had some of my camping gear left down in Tulsa to pick up, but that's another story in itself. 

So we set out on Saturday afternoon driving the 6 hours down to Tulsa. Before the hotel and before the Taco Bueno (more to come on that) we stopped out at the Lhotse 3,6,12,24 hour timed event that was going on just north of town. Camille Herron was there chasing the world record for 24 hours. We just missed her, but we got to see a few other runners we knew and met a rad travel loving dude named Jimmy from Texas that we got to run with on Sunday. Dude takes some of the best travel photos I've ever seen, go find him on IG. @Explore_the_Southwest. 

Taco Bueno was on the way back to the hotel. We condluded that Taco Bueno is for those days when you think Taco Bell is just too damn fancy and expensive. but as the sang goes "When in Rome", so when in Tulsa, or "Tweeker Town" as the gal at the front counter referred to it, we partook and then headed back to the hotel for sleep.

Race Morning:
I'm going to mention how many times I peed because its crazy. I peed when I woke up, I peed when Matt and I did a little shake out run, I peed just before the start when I ran off into the woods. this will be continued later....

Ok so it was a 9:00 am start, which gave us plenty of time to get to the race start and get ourselves psyched up for the 6 hours ahead. It was a 3.75 mile loop and then a .5 mile loop for the last 1/2 an hour to cap it off. No one seemed to want to go out in front at the beginning so the 2 dudes from Nebraska, without much of a sense of direction, that are mostly just screwing around led the crew into the woods. Luckily some smart dudes from Tulsa passed us right away and we could follow them and not have to feel like we were being held responsible for the whole line of people's running fate. Here is a break down of how each loop went to the best I can remember.

Loop 1
Ran mostly with Matt on this this loop. had to stop to pee and they try to catch him later.

Loop 2
Ran some more with Matt - stopped to pee again, had to catch him again.

Loop 3
Ran with Peter, this Tulsa guy, Matt and stopped to pee for my last time until loop 10.

Loop 4
This loop I was still having fun. Playing this playllist the rest of the day: Ultra2018. Matt caught me towards the end of it and I told him we were going to crush loop 5.

Loop 5 
Matt crushed looped 5 and I just tried to keep up with him. I needed that pull as I wouldn't of rolled it off so quick w/out that.

Loop 6 - I think I was pulling Matt on this one, I was about .5 mile in front of him as we both just kept putting in work.

Loop 7 - I was starting to count what number loop I was at. Thinking, OK get to 10. 

Loop 8  - was slowing down here and ready to get to the point where I only had 2 loops left., shoving kit kats in from the A.S

Loop 9 - Broke my "run 6 hours without walking" thing on this loop took a little walk break here. 

Loop 10 - popping salt tabs and grinding it out to the finish area here. peed for the last time today. well until the car ride home.

Got there in time for a couple small loops and finished at 5:55 and  38.5 miles.

After 2017 being somewhat of a struggle for me this was a great day. I've committed to training about half as many miles this year and twice as much strength training as last year. I like the "fit" that that has me at right now. I don't feel over-trained and I'm very excited for my upcoming races this year. 

I drank mostly water with a few drinks of gatorade here and there. Ate 2 gu's, vanilla wafers, pretzels, kit kats. took 4 electrolyte pills. 2 at loop 8 and 2 on loop 10. 

Finish area was such a good time, I drank root beer and tried to put down a veggie burger but my stomach wasn't quite up for food yet. We chatted with so many great people from the area, too many to mention. They totally made us feel like home down here though. I cant wait to go back again, hopefully next year. Such a fun race!

Happy trails,

Saturday, January 6, 2018

2017 Running Recap

2017 running recap. 

Well as promised I said I’d sorta recap my year after Hitchcock 100. This was a very interesting year. After what I felt were really good years running ultras in both 15 & 2016, 2017 was a struggle. I went 0 for 2 at finishing the 100 mile distance. I got to Mile 62 once and mile 80 once. Both times ending because of stomach problems. A little background on me is I cannot vomit. I had this surgery when I was a kid that makes it impossible for me to, so during these things this year my body tries and tries to vomit but it can’t. I’ve tried every different diet/nutrition approach imaginable and have just sorta came to the realization that I’ve caused extensive damage from doing these things. It’s really the only time my stomach gives me issues, which is pretty good for the surgery I had. I know many adults that struggle lots more with it later in life. 

Ok so back to my year. I did however complete 1 - 100k, which happened to
Be my western states qualifier. I had the same issues there but had time to work through them as not too many miles left. 

I did, I think, 3 - 50s. 2 of which I took a 25 mile finish at around mile 40. 1 of which I completed. 1 was more having fun than racing at all and ended up missing cutoffs. 

Here’s the crazy thing about my year. I feel I was more fit in 2017 than either 2015 or 2016. I feel my data and my runs both support that statement. I did see some success from this level of fit. My body fat is down in the single digits for the first time ever. I also out right won a road marathon and also got a Sub 3 hour marathon this
Year. That was a big PR for me breaking my previous record from almost 2 years prior. 

So summing up my 2017, I ran somewhere over 3K miles. I raced a lot, I was able to do well at marathons, but ultras not so much. I feel more fit than ever, maybe just not 100 mile fit, or interested/capable anymore. 

2018 I am racing less this. 
My only race I’m fired up about right now is Quad Rock 25 miler in May. I may get into leadville, and would be honored if I did and race the crap out of that bad boy. Also I plan to be at many races helping and crewing again. I’m doing more just big trail days and such. If I get the 100 mile bug again I may go after it at Javalina because I think I could get that puppy done before the stomach stuff starts getting real bad. And i has so much fun there last year. Anyways I had a great year. Met so many new great friends and had so much fun with old friends out on the trails. I absolutely loved it.  thanks for following, happy trails and happy 2018!
Feel free to drop me a line. 

Much love - J

-movement is medicine-

Friday, June 16, 2017

Eat well, live well & then run long.

Eat well, live well & then run long.

My journey into a healthier lifestyle has been pretty typical in many ways. I started out overweight and found some success in running to lose some weight. I started eating just a little healthier and I was like ok this is working, cool. Let's run more and see what happens, and if I run more I can eat more of whatever I want, right? Ok this is working. I'm running 100 milers, going for 20+ mile training runs multiple times a week on minimal sleep, a non-consistent lifestyle routine & diet choices that were more based on convenience than on nutritional value. This worked for me for a few years of training and  ultra-running until I started to question if that path leads me to where I want to go, and is that journey the journey I want to be on, does it provide the most fulfilling life for me. 

Trying to answer those questions on morning hikes with Dexter lead me to some discoveries I had been avoiding and some changes that I am proud of. It should be noted that as a father first, I have an instinctual habit of putting Kiera first in all decisions of my day to day life. So, when I get into detail below about priorities her, family & work are left out because this is independent of those priorities and runs parallel to them. 

The answers to those questions had me spending some of the winter and early spring of 2017 testing different approaches and priority shifts. I feel like now I have developed enough of a list to write this post and explain how I came to it. See in my prior training for events I would put running on the top, if it interfered with sleep, diet choices or lifestyle routine & I would tell myself that was "OK" because I was training for big-bad ass things and I needed the work more than the others. Or that running was relieving stress & I needed to use it for that. Which is still the case some days but those are far less of late.

So through all the morning hikes listening to audiobooks, trials of different priorities & re-vamping of training & exercise regimens I've listed the 3 priority guidelines I’ve put in place as I develop & execute training for ultra’s.

#1 Diet. Will going for a run effect my ability to cook whole plant based foods to fuel my body? Will a run after work hinder going to the market to get fresh food, etc. Or do I have it already prepared ready to go? For me to settle on diet becoming the #1 thing was a big paradigm shift. But through my own personal growth I have found time & time again that a whole food plant based diet is key for me & aligns with where I am going & the journey I want to be on throughout life. 

#2 Lifestyle Routine. Will going for a run effect what time I get to bed tonight? will I get up super early and fit a run in?  I'm a mid-day runner normally but found myself stressing about trying to fit more miles in by going to bed later or getting up earlier, this is no more. I'm not saying the occasional late night or early morning runs are out completely. I still will go out and enjoy the stars on a nice night or the sunrise on a nice morning, but not at the expense of any stress about fitting in miles or not by breaking my day to day routine which I feel adds way more value to my days & life than a 6 miles jaunt at 11PM.

My morning is I get up at 6 and do 15-20 minutes of core strength & balance exercises. Then around 6:30 I take Dexter for about 15-20 minute walk down the gravel road & we talk out the day. When I get back I cook breakfast & cook & pack my lunch (sometimes dinner too) before getting ready and heading out for the day. So I ask myself will the run throw that off? that can then throw diet off, that can then send my whole week off, etc. So that is why Lifestyle Routine has taken the #2 slot.

#3 Body Signs. This one is quite simple & has been something I've always tried to do. Is my body welcoming a run? Are there any red flags that I'm overdoing it or is it simply saying no to the idea of a run? If so then maybe I do something different that brings me joy. This one has never been too much of an issue but every once in a while I would get so focused on a race that I would think I had to go out and do this or do that when in reality I didn’t. 

I have big goals on my plate. I want to run both the entire Arizona trail & the AT Trail one day. I want to run up as many 14er’s in Colorado that I can. I want to run Boston in 2018 & I want to win a 100 miler someday. I want to finish 3-4 100's a year as it has become my favorite distance to run. The journey & the experience of a 100 is something I crave & truly enjoy. I understand that I can’t complete those things above without adequate training, but I do feel I can adequately train and adhere to these 3 guidelines. But lets say that training for these events while doing those things above doesn’t allow me to win races or run fast enough for Boston entry or whatever it may be. Is that going to derail me? Absolutely not. That will be exactly where I should be & I will be very happy with where I am at.

The reality is that there is no end goal, there is no 1 thing that my hat will be hung on, there is only this now. This journey that I am on is everything & I feel I have a clear vision of what I want that to look like & I feel that these priorities align with that & allow me to continue living my life, my way spending time doing things I love in places I love for as long as I can.

Thanks for listening & happy trails!


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Quad Rock 50

Quad Rock 50 - May 2017 - Ft Collins, CO

I got off work Friday mid-afternoon on an absolutely gorgeous day here in Nebraska. With the sun high in the sky I fueled up and hit I-80 West towards the Rockies. "I-80 West" rings in my head here and there throughout my week, just that nice neat little phrase and all it's promise and undiscovered adventure. I sat back, relaxed and listened to Elizabeth Greenwood explain why her 6 digit student loan debt has lead her to obtaining her own death certificate and many notable people who have faked their own deaths in the audio book "Playing Dead" read by Arden Hammersmith.

This kept me intrigued for miles, (both driving and while running). This one was a random find on audible, almost like hitting shuffle on Spotify radio and a song comes on and then you go listen to the whole album. I stumbled on this, the initial aww inspiring feeling of this young gal is going to leave it all behind for a new life in the Philippines was quickly reminded of all the collateral damage when one does partake in pseudocide. Although financial seems to be the biggest reason,  I heard stories of people leaving fame, leaving abusive relationships, insurance frauds, taking advantage of terrorist attacks and one of the most shattering to belief in people was a man faking his own death after his wife passed away so he did not have to parent their infant child. Only to be discovered by his very own daughter 30 years later, but a week after his actual real death. This was one of those stories that make you just wonder about all the people and different situations going on out in the world and how faking ones death can ever be an option. I was totally "in" the book by the time I hit Ft Collins, CO that evening. 

I stopped by the local run store about 30 minutes late as they were all dark and closed up, I'd have to get my packet in the morning. So I went for a drive up the road that goes around Horseshoe Reservoir and entered into Lory State Park, where the race start was. The sun went down over the back of the mountains as I set out my gear, read through the information about the race and ate my Thermos of dinner. I fell asleep in the back of my car around 9:00 and was woke up around 3:30 that morning by the first people arriving for the race. I got myself up, ate a bit of breakfast and got myself ready to run. The start was buzzing with people before much time passed and the sun was just starting to peek up. We stood on a little gravel road when the gun went off and about 150 of us headed into the mountains. I positioned myself somewhere near the middle of pack.

 We hit the trails and life was good. I couldn't not get over the views. It seemed like every few minutes another view overlooking the city or the mountains would open up. On one climb I took a picture of the view and told the Facebook world that if I could only do 1 race a year it'd be this pure mountain magic. The first 20 miles had us the top of 3 different peaks.Mile 6, 12 and 20 all concluded with a few thousand feet of climb. I was not ready for this.

 I didn't really study this one at all and just tried to think about it as a regular run, big mistake. I got to the 25 mile mark at 5 hours and set back out to do the same 25 mile loop backwards for the last half. I had ran the Lincoln Marathon pretty hard only 6 days earlier & hadnt taken any days off since. I ran and talked with another runner for quite a bit of the first portion of this loop. Somewhere around mile 30 I started having stomach issues and then the big climb came and they got worse. I fought a muscle in my leg tightening up after that and lost all that fire and fuel to keep going & going. At mile 38 I decided I was done, 

I could of hiked it out, I had time, but I also had a lot of things to do this weekend including driving back home. Working hard doesn't always mean hiking out a bad run, or suffering when the day isn't yours. I got a solid 40 mile run in a course that was way harder than I anticipated and I never (seriously) contemplated faking my own death. 

I'm happy I went out there because I got to experience the course and get a feel for the race. I plan to come back again and conquer this one. Colorado runners always humble me with their insane athleticism. It was such a wonderful experience to be in the company of so many great athletes at the finish as I ate my veggie burger and drank from my 25 mile finisher mug. Oh yea, they let you drop down to 25 miles and not have to go home with an offical "DNF" ribbon around your neck. Great race, great trails, great scenery, great people. See you again, better rested with the right focus sometime soon. Happy Trails!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Grindstone 100 2016 Race Recap

GRINDSTONE 100 2016 Recap

Course Profile
Oh where to being describing Grindstone100. This was my last big race of the year and my “A” race. Everything sort of lead up to this 23,000ft of elevation gain, mountain run in Virginia. I picked this race for a few reasons:

#1 - It was close to my brother's house so he could crew. He was crewing at Blackhills 2015 with me, so I wanted him to see the opposite of a pissing blood, DNF 100-mile experience.
#2 - It is a Hardrock and Western States qualifier.
#3 - To see where I was at and if I was capable of conquering one of the big Mountain Ultra's

The 2 weeks leading up to GS were full of stress, poor sleep and everything you don’t want to happen before the hardest endeavor of your life. We bought a house, so yea that was super exciting, until 3-4 days before we were to leave for GS the sale fell through. Our house still sold so we still needed to be out of our house by the 7th. Suzi and I worked our butts off to get everything we owned in storage units all across town. We spent the last few nights before I left for the race with her on a little mattress and me sleeping in an inflatable canoe in a big empty house thinking how in the world is this all going to come together.

Thursday morning, I woke up in my inflatable canoe and got myself ready out of a suitcase we'd been living out of these last few days. I took my truck to my friend's Mike's house the night before because when I got back to Nebraska we would not have a house anymore. I grabbed my race bag, which was frantically thrown together in the middle of packing the house up and headed to Lincoln to pick up my Crew Chief, also known as my Mom. We quickly headed to Omaha and met Crystal (ultra-awesome-pacer) and soon we were flying to Washington DC. We landed Thursday afternoon and made it to my brother's house for all kinds of awesome food. I ate a good dinner and headed to bed with an early morning wakeup call so I could still sleep some on Friday.

With the Friday 6PM start, my plan was to wake early Friday, get to the race headquarters and then sleep most the afternoon away. I executed that plan for the most part, my mid-day sleep was broken up by lunch, but I was able to get back to sleep after that. I probably got 3-4 hours that afternoon. I woke up at around 4 and had a few hours until race start to run through stuff w/Crystal.

It had rained most the day Friday and we knew going in it was going to be a cold wet run. Hurricane Matthew had made the forecast for the next 24 hours mostly filled with rain as well. Luckily this didn’t turn out to be too big of a variable to overcome. I'd say the worst the rain did was cause some slower more cautious miles for me on the trails. Being my first time on these trails and the dense fog picking up my headlamp light, making it not illuminate the rock, I was slowed down through most the overnight hours. Here are some of the most memorable thoughts of the first 20 miles Friday evening:
"How are these people running this fast on these rocks?"
"Are all 100 miles going to be like these first 20?"
“Do these climbs ever end?”

I saw my crew for the first time at mile 20 Aid Station. The climbs weren't actually as bad as I was expecting. They were long... very very long, sometimes climbing up for 7 miles but the grade wasn't steep enough to make me breathe harder than I wanted to or cause my heart rate to get to high. I took each climb throughout all 100 miles with a solid mindset and effort but careful to not overdo it.

I left that aid station around 11PM and would see them again around 3AM at mile 37.
The next 17 miles included a few more big climbs, but the trail got less rock-filled and slowly became more packed dirt that I could run well on. My Nike Pegasus shoe choice was actually still holding well, I didn’t have any feet pain and was able to start cruising through miles again. I picked up quite a bit of time on this section as I listened to a couple different books on tape. Arriving at around 2:30AM I beat the crew to mile 37 and got some pancakes and other food in a baggie and started the big climb out of this AS.

I felt good entering this station and good leaving. That quickly went away on this 7 mile-3000+ ft climb up. This was my "low" of the race. It wasn't a low that slowed me down a great deal but I was soaking wet, cold and climbing climbing climbing. Every 10 minutes it got colder, rained harder, and got muddier. This climb seemed to last forever. I had no one to chat with and I just had to find that inner strength to keep pushing and not let it slow me down.

My initial plan when I broke down Grindstone on paper was to be at the turn around (mile 50) at 6AM, 12 hours after starting. The fog had probably cost me 1/2 an hour on that first 25 and then this muddy, slick trail had cost me at least another 1/2 an hour. I got to Crystal and my crew at the turn around at 7AM and was really excited to see them. My brother asked me here how I was feeling and I was said “surprisingly really well, I had 1 low and it didn’t last too long and I’ve ran ever since”

There aren't many people in the world who can make you excited about running 50 more miles up and down mountains in the cold rain, but heading back out with Crystal was all I wanted to do at this point. We made good time through the first miles of daylight on this section. We were running most the hills to try and keep our body temp up. This worked well at that and also helped us get through quite a few miles quickly. We had some good chats and before I knew it we were at mile 63 and crew again. I ate some soup and drank some pop here. I stuck to my plan of only water and pop all day long, removing any sugary electrolyte drinks from my plan. I was taking hammer electrolyte pills and those seemed to help me be able to eat a lot of real food every chance I got.

I left mile 63 solo with the plan of picking up Crystal again at mile 80. This actually worked well for both of us. She got to get some stomach stuff taken care of and I got to try and fly to a 3-hour goal of the next 17 miles. In these mountains with the trails how they were that was a tough goal but I was excited to try and hit it. I was in and out of the 1 AS in between and I hit mile 80 in 2 minutes under 3 hours from leaving mile 63.

The crew was there at 80 and I took some time to re-fuel and get ready for the last 20. I knew from the outbound trip that these 20 were going to be the toughest miles of the entire day. These last miles with Crystal had us climbing up those really long climbs again, which seemed twice as long as before. On the big long climbs up we had fun singing and taking karaoke requests from other runners.  I was still able to run all the downhills, that lasted all the way to the finish. My quads felt fine coming down even the steepest of hills. The last one down the road was steep but we were flying because we were so happy to have made our final summit in the cold rain.

Around mile 90 we had to cross 4 or 5 creek crossing that had filled with water. These were dry on the way out but on the way back with tired legs I kept miss-stepping and getting more soaked. After that we had a few head down, focus on the rocks, trail headlamp, not so fun miles here. We got through them but they were a total grind. Just then this huge branch came crashing down from the top of a tree. I looked over at Crystal and was like "just a branch". We stayed focused and strong and made it to mile 95 Aid Station so happy to see humans and coffee. I had some serious chaffing struggles the last 10 miles of the race, I’ll spare you the gross details but it was making every step super painful.

I spent the last 5 miles really reminiscing on the entire day. I probably could of ran these better or stronger but I felt like doing whatever I wanted for those 5 miles and that I had earned that right throughout the day so I hiked a good section of these 5 miles and thought about what an amazing day it had been. I finished in 27 hours and some change, honestly I haven't even looked at what my time was. I am just simply satisfied in this finish on that day.

It was tough.
It was fun.

It was what I paid for.
What I trained for.
What I came for.

Thank you VA, Clark & the volunteers for what will be a 100 I will always remember.

Happy Trails and stay dry.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Taco Mile

The "Beer Mile" parody..."Taco Mile" was brutal stuff. Not sure if it was the nachos before hand or the hard shell choice that added to the difficulty.

Right away in bite 2 of taco 1 I had some hard shell in my throat that kept making me cough throughout. Taco 3 and Taco 4 were tough to get down.

Finished in 8:05 missing my initial goal of 8:00. I simply didn't want to run too fast to get back to having to eat another taco. I told K before hand, the worst that is going to happen is I could get so sick I hate tacos forever. She said well the worst is you could possibly choke and die...2 of the same kiddo, 2 of the same. Here is a little video collection of "Taco Mile 2016"

Lap 3 of Taco Mile 
Finish Thoughts