Other Notes from a First-Time Western States Finisher

With the Western States 100 still fresh in my mind, I wanted to leave a few additional pieces of advice, both as reminders for myself and as tips for anyone else who could benefit from my lessons learned.

1. Carry an extra bottle of water from Robinson Flat through Michigan Bluff

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Before I got there,  my crew poured half a root beer into a small, plastic water bottle for me to drink at Robinson Flat. As I finished it, my coach told me to hold onto the empty bottle, advising me that when I reached any creek crossing, I should fill the bottle and use it to douse myself on the climbs. He did made sure to mention not to drink the creek water — if I did, I would regret it in the following weeks.

I carried that little bottle for 14 miles before I finally put it to use — at one of the aid stations I was really tempted to throw it away, but I didn’t — and during the climb up Devil’s Thumb and up into Michigan Bluff, I was sure happy I hadn’t tossed it.

Continue reading “Other Notes from a First-Time Western States Finisher”

My 2018 Western States 100

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Last weekend I finished a race that — for me — started a decade ago: The Western States 100.

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This race meant a lot already, but this one had an extra layer because Sara and I headed out with a much larger group than we were used to. We had my son, my dad, Grandma T, Sara’s parents, and friends Kelley and Tristen. We’ve been racing primarily alone for a while, so having our friends and family with us made this experience even more special.

We arrived on Wednesday and spent Thursday and Friday soaking up as much of the Western States community as we could. We made it to the flag raising ceremony, the Truckee Food Truck festival, and spent a full day at the event check-in.

In those days leading up to Saturday’s 5 a.m. start we chugged as much water and tried to get as much sleep as we could. When Saturday morning rolled around, both of us were feeling pretty good as we showed up to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort for the start of the Western States 100.

The actual start was a surreal experience. After years of thinking about starting this race we were finally here.

It was going to happen, we were going to run the Western States 100.

Continue reading “My 2018 Western States 100”

2018: A Year of Focus

This is the obligatory, “It has been a while, but I am back” blog post.

Last year, I fell off in keeping up this site and contributing to The Endurist — my side project with Sara.

I enjoy reading the regularly updated blogs, such as Writer on Writing by Peter Clines and Macdrifter from Gabe Weatherhead. I was recently going through their archives and found myself wishing I had maintained this site a little better.

So here it is.

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I Suck at Pistol Squats — And Other Reasons I Hate Not Running

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Last weekend I ran MGM, a local 50K. This is a big deal, because it was the first time I had ran “long” since the Bigfoot 200 in August.

This 50K meant a lot, because it’s been a long frustrating and road back to my regular running routine.

After Bigfoot I decided I needed to take some time to let a nagging ache in my foot get better — turns out I had been running all year with Insertional Achilles Tendinitis.

What does ignoring a problem like this for a whole year get you? Eight weeks of no running, six weeks of physical therapy, and a new found appreciation for cross training and overall strength.

Why did I let it go so long? Because not running sucks.

Continue reading “I Suck at Pistol Squats — And Other Reasons I Hate Not Running”

Momentum: The Georgia Death Race and Saying Goodbye to a Friend 

I am a huge believer in momentum, and the Georgia Death Race was supposed to be my positive kickoff to 2016.

The Death Race is a tough event in the Georgia mountains that has more than 40,000 feet of elevation change between its start at Vogel State Park and the finish at Amicalola State Park.

I registered for the race for multiple reasons: It is a qualifier for the Western States 100; it provided me training motivation through the winter; and I’d get to spend time with a large group of local running friends who were going to be running the event.

Momentum.

There is positive momentum and negative momentum. Positive momentum can lead you to amazing summits in both running and life. Negative momentum can lead you to some dark and low places. I believe that we can chose which direction we are going — up or down. External factors do come into play, but the events of our lives do not control our lives, rather our reactions to those events control our lives.

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Humbled at Frozen Heart 

Pride is a horrible thing — especially when you let it almost derail your long-term goals.

The day before the Frozen Heart 50K, a coworker asked if I was going to try and win. It was the first time I’d been asked that in my running carreer and for once it — winning a race — was actually not a completely absurd idea.

My long term goals this year involve running multiple endurance races, I need to focus on quality time on my feet — not PRs during February 50Ks. But last month I let my pride get in the way and the end result was me walking it in from Mile 17.

I was bonking.

My Achillies hurt.

And I just didn’t want to run anymore.

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Finally 2016

By the end of 2014 I was craving a new adventure.

I wanted to take my running to a different place and do something that would be on a different level than anything I had attempted before.

The answer was Grand to Grand: A seven-day, six-night stage race that went from the North Rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase in southern Utah. The only things provided would be water and a communal tent to sleep in each night. I registered, and for the next two weeks I watched the YouTube video every day.

A month later I withdrew from the race and started researching divorce law.

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