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

Western States 100__June 23, 2018__119

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


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


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.

Continue reading “2018: A Year of Focus”

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


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.


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.

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

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.

Continue reading “Humbled at Frozen Heart “

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.

Continue reading “Finally 2016”

Getting Up from the Fire

Almost everyone I know in ultrarunning is running to or away from something. There is something the compels each of us forward during our darkest times on trail. There is also a brightness and stability that running brings each of us in our daily lives.

This last year, my running life has been full of accomplishments that I have spent years dreaming about. In horrible running conditions, which a Veteran runner compared to his time in Vietnam, I ran the Leatherwood Ultra 50 miler significantly faster than I did in 2013. I finished my first 100 miler at the C&O Canal 100 in April with great friends that I met through this sport. I completed the Grindstone 100 in 28 hours and 48 minutes, four hours faster than I had estimated. In total I ran 2,221 miles in 2014.


Recently my personal life has started to go through some changes. Like always running has carried me these last few months. From the amazing people I have shared miles with to my loyal dog, Penny Lane, running has provided a means to “constant forward progress.” It has also helped me put things in perspective.

Sometimes, the road on your on changes for various reasons. You cannot allow these changes cannot control your life or your happiness. When faced with difficulty, its what you do that makes you who you are. At the Grindstone 100, I sat at an aid station fire just before the turnaround point. I was beaten. I would have dropped at that aid station if there was an easy transportation option. But there wasn’t any transportation option unless you were injured. Instead, I got up and started walking. Then I started running. Then I got pissed off at myself for wanting to DNF and I started really running. I actually negative split the second half of one of the hardest 100s on the east coast. Finishing a race I wanted to drop from is one of my proudest accomplishments.

That’s my plan now, to get up and start walking. Then start running. There is about to be a lot more adventure in my life. And while I hope to not negative split the second half, I plan to make the most of it.

In 2014 I spent a lot of miles running alone or with Penny. In 2015, I am going to enjoy the highly underrated social aspects of our sport. I am luck in the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club is not to far away and provides me with ample opportunity to run great trails with great people. I started to run with them a little in December and it already counts as a highlight for last year.


I highly regret not putting in for the Western States 100 lottery. So this year both of my key races center around qualifying for Western States. In June I will be running the Laurel Highlands Ultra and in November I will be traveling down to Alabama for the Pinhoti 100. Ill be peppering a lot of 50Ks in before, in between, and after. I am even considering the Thomas Jefferson 100K in March (and by that I mean I am signing up on Friday). But until I cross Western States off my list, I will be entering the lottery each year.

I am already thinking about 2016. And if the “A” isn’t Western States, it will be something epic. I am thinking about travel. I am thinking about 200 milers. I am thinking about all of the options that are available to me. Its going to be awesome.

This blog has been a bit of a joke for me the last two years. But to me running is a creative expression and with everything I am dreaming up for the next few years, I would like to document it all a little better. So, this should become a little more active going forward.

Starting to Grind

Last week was all about family and celebrating Independence day. The theme to this week was #grinding4grindstone. I wanted to get back on track and really start focusing in on a few things that would benefit me when October gets here. While the week did not go perfectly, it went well and the miles added up.

In preparation for the major inclines at Grindstone I added in treadmill incline work. I set the treadmill at 12% and work my way to 15% over two miles of power hiking. It felt horrible. And I still hate the treadmill. I had planned a date with the tire on Thursday but was feeling a few tweaks that kept me from strapping it on. This week the tire and I will be spending some quality time together though. I also haven’t spent as much time with my core as I would like. I reached out to seasoned friend who recommended a series on YouTube called Fitnessblender. This week I hope to motivate myself enough to give that a try.

I cut today’s trail run a little shorter than I had planned. I went out yesterday and put in a good 5 hours running. Towards the end of the run I knew that I needed to foam roll, but I got home and didn’t. Today my IT band was talking to me pretty loudly so I cut my beautiful trail run short at 13 miles. I then went home, foam rolled and went out again for an awesome 9 miles. I need to get better about listening to my legs.

I spent my trail runs this weekend working on my walking skills. I learned during the C&O Canal 100 that what I had read many times before was true, during that long of a run, walking is required. So this time I am really attempting to walk more. I have been practicing running for 7 minutes followed by walking for 5 minutes. I have also been focusing on walking efficiently. I found this article from Ultra running Magazine pretty helpful, http://www.ultrarunning.com/featured/how-to-increase-your-walking-efficiency/.

One area I feel I have done well this summer is balancing my home, running, and work life. Back in April I accepted some additional responsibilities at work and I knew that I would see some additional work hours and stress as a result. I also pride myself on putting my family before work and running. So I immediately started running in the mornings before work. For me this means getting up at 4 AM and running 7 or so miles. This gives me time to get to work by 6:30 AM. When I get home, I am pretty much done. My wife gets home from the gym and we have plenty of time to hang out and enjoy each others company.

Getting used to 4 AM runs took probably three weeks. At first it seemed my pace would be off by 30 seconds or so per mile and I felt like my run quality was suffering. My running partner, Penny the dog, also seemed to have an issue getting going this early in the morning. However, as I built up the routine of waking up three days per week and getting the miles in, my pace picked up. I actually think I am starting to prefer these early morning runs to my afternoon runs. Its also nice since Penny would not be able to run in this heat if I waited till the afternoon. The only negative side effect is I am down for the count by 9 PM.

I know I owe a right up on a winter race I am craving, but that will have to wait till next week. Speaking of next week, I will be running the Rosaryville 50K next Sunday with a group of good friends. The trail is a home course of mine that I have been running since high school and the guys I am running it with are awesome. I am really looking forward to getting out there with them.

As always feel free to follow along on twitter @JaredMilesUltra or look me up on Starva.

Training this week:

Monday AM: 7 miles

Tuesday AM: 7 Miles

Tuesday PM: 2 Miles Incline Treadmill

Wednesday AM: 7 Miles

Thursday AM: 5 Miles

Saturday: 24 Miles (4 with Penny then 20 on trail)

Sunday AM: 13 Miles

Sunday PM: 9

Weekly Total: 74 Miles

Monthly Total: 108 Miles

Year Total: 1,230 Miles



Western States and Tires

Western States week is always special. The coverage is amazing through sites like irunfar.com and I cannot seem to pull myself away from the hype. I don’t many ultrarunners who do not want to run the Western States 100 someday. And without a doubt this includes me. So this year when the gun went off for Western States, I was on trail getting in a nice long run. While in the near term I am training for the Grindstone 100, yesterday I was training for an eventual start at the Western States.


I will never run Boston. And honestly, I don’t really have any desire to run a road marathon again unless its with family. But I plan to qualify and enter the lottery for Western States every year until I get in. This year I will be entering if I can complete Grindstone. I have a few other friends that are also planning to enter the lottery if they finish Grindstone. So hopefully I get a taste of States next year as either an entrant or as crew. Either way, I will eventually cross that damned river and make it to that track.

Now on to this week’s training…

The Grindstone 100 has 23,000 feet of gain and unfortunately I live where it is very flat. So in preparation for Grindstone, I built a tire pull. I went out on Wednesday with the tire for the first time. It was 93 degrees and humid and pulling the tire was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I know that a gravel or dirt road would be easier, but I went out on pavement. I made it about two miles in total with an average pace of around 10:30 seconds per mile. The looks I got from people passing me in cars were interesting, the looks that I got from a couple of other runners were priceless. My plan is to build up from 2 miles with the tire to about 2 hours with the tire. If anything that should give me some mental confidence.


Yesterday I woke up and took my dog, Penny, for a four mile run. Then I headed out to the trail and got in 4 hours of trail time. All in all it was about 24 miles. I was reminded how important fueling is. I was lazy and only brought a couple packets of almond butter and some water. I was starting to bonk towards the end of the run. In the future I need to be better about having some cream cheese, bacon, and extra Ucan in the car or in my pack.

Today was going to be another 4 plus hour run, but I am listening to my legs and taking an extra off day. I tweaked my knee late in trail run and wanted to give it a day to rest. Next week I am traveling to see my son, so there will not be another long run for a couple weeks. This should give me time to heal up and have an awesome July. I am really looking forward to the Rosaryville 50k in a couple of weeks.

Next week I am going to post about a race that has my attention lately. Something about 135 miles, on the snow, in negative 20 degree temperatures, pulling a sled….drooling.

Training this week:

Tuesday: 7 miles in the morning
Wednesday: 5 miles in the morning and 5 miles at night (2 with the tire)
Thursday: 7 in the morning
Saturday: 24 miles total (20 on trail)

This week: 48 miles
28 day Starva total: 208 miles
This year: 1,116 miles