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.

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Running Through the Storm

It is hard to believe that summer is coming to a close. Its harder to believe that we are almost out of 2015. But, the stores have started stocking Christmas decorations and the days are getting shorter.

As 2014 ended, so did a future I had been planning. Without giving a lot of detail, a long-term relationship I had been in came to an abrupt halt. I am not ashamed to say that it left me a pretty dark place for a few months. My house was all of a sudden empty and quiet. I was at a lose of words as I tried to explain to my friends and family, who not long before had attended my wedding, that I was now living alone. And I had more free time to fill than I knew what to do with.

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I Registered for a Marathon?

At some point in the last few years I swore off road marathons. They are just not my style and I hate feeling like I have to sprint 26.2 miles. But last week, I registered for the Run Crazy Horse Marathon in South Dakota. The only reason I signed up is for a picture.

When I was nine years old I moved from Alabama to California to live with my dad, who I call Oldman. It was during that transition that the Oldman first introduced me to running. At first he was teaching me good health habits and then he was encouraging me through track and cross country. He has always told me to run with heart and would often just point to his chest as I ran by.

When I was 14 years old, we were in a car accident that broke two of his ribs, punctured his lung, and put a metal rod in his leg. The following year he ran his first and only marathon. It was a display of the heart he always told me to run with.

Continue reading “I Registered for a Marathon?”

And we are back…

This is a re-launching or a rebranding of this blog. I have let it sit idle for the last eight months following Grindstone’s cancellation and really have just not written as much publicly or privately. In that time, I have run some awesome races and accomplished goals that I now regret not documenting. Going forward as I train for Grindstone 2014, this will be a regularly updated running journal of sorts.

My biggest accomplishment since my last post was completing the C&O Canal 100 back in April. I learned a lot from that race. Things such as living off almond butter for 30 hours isn’t realistic, if you think you are starting off to slow, your wrong, and its much easier running with a group of friends telling jokes than it is running alone. I also learned that a 100 mile race really needs to be you’re “A” race. I went out at Leatherwood Ultras and ran a difficult 50 mile race in horrible conditions a month before the C&O Canal 100. The drop rate at Leatherwood was about 40% and I managed to shave 25 minutes of my previous finish time the year before. I was on a huge running high following this effort. And that was a problem. It had filled that need I had for a spring adventure. C&O I just wasn’t as hyped as I should have been and I needed to be more into the race mentally. It was a good lesson to learn.


I took all of May off for the most part. My legs needed some major recovery from the C&O Canal. I ate more freely and tried to enjoy life. But, I came into June really ready to get back into the swing of things. And spent the last month testing my legs and getting back into a training rhythm. I am feeling great and geared up for a terrific summer on trail.

About 70 miles into the C&O I decided that I have not been running enough. In training the last few years I ran 5 days a week with 2 weeks of building mileage followed by one week of rest. On the weekends I would load up mileage with back to back long runs of 25-30 miles. Where I believe I am missing an opportunity is running based on time versus miles on the weekends. Running 25 around my flat boring neighborhood and running 25 on trail are drastically different experiences. Going forward I will be running based on times on the weekends, aiming for 4-5 hours for both Saturday and Sunday to start.

Grindstone comes with 23K of gain and loss and it will take me longer than the C&O Canal 100. In preparation for the event I know I need to work on my core and hill running. I have said 100 times before I would start working on my core. I would start P90X or some other routine and give up after a couple weeks. I have accepted that I spend too much time running to reasonably expect myself to stick to one of these routines. Instead I am going to keep it basic with crunches, planks, pushups, and pull ups. I also live where it is really flat. So I have built a tire-pull using the directions from UltrarunnerPodcast (  I will be inserting it into my training starting this week. I am sure there will be a post to follow on my lessons learned.


Going forward, this page should get an update every Sunday. That’s the goal I am giving myself. It will most likely always been boring ultrarunner stuff, but maybe it will be helpful to someone. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @JaredUltraMiles and to find me on Starva.

Weekly Total: 25 Miles (rest week)

28 Day Strava Total: 198 Miles

Year to Date: 1,068 Miles

My Thoughts After Grindstone’s Cancellation

About an hour ago it became official, the 2013 Grindstone 100 has been cancelled due to the Federal Government shutdown. I have been training consistently since last September with this race in mind, and now nothing.

The race was originally scheduled for 4 October, but with three days notice it was postponed due to the Government shutdown. If the Government had reopened and the permits were in place, the RD (Mr. Zealand handled all of this amazingly) had planned to move the race to this upcoming holiday weekend. The moment I received the email indicating this plan, I knew I wouldn’t be making Grindstone this year. Columbus Day weekend I have a standing plan with my family. We have a beach house in Savannah, GA on Tybee Island for Pirate Fest. Its going to be an awesome time.

Unfortunately the Government has not reopened and Mr. Zealand was forced to cancel the Grindstone. Thankfully he offered the runners a chance to transfer our entries to next year, which I quickly accepted.

I have to admit knowing I had trained for so long for this race and now it was not going to happen was devistating. I was at my desk at work when I opened the email and had to quietly make my way outside for a moment. When I got home I did what I imagine every other runner that was registered for Grindstone did, I went out for a run. Thats what we do. We run. Its how we digest difficult situations and find ways to deal with them.

This time it took a few more runs, but I am finally ok with losing my goal race this year. I am actually done with races for the year even though I have had one more race on my agenda. Instead this month and most of the rest of the year I am going to focus on family a little more. This weekend I am in Savannah with my son, then the week later on a cruise with my wife and father, after that the holidays and a good friends wedding. It’s time to recharge.

I spent a lot of time running this year and I still have a lot of miles left before 2014 gets here. But its time to relax and recover a little. I do not want to get burnt out. Especially when I have already planned an epic 2014 running calander. Currently on the agenda:

Tybee Island 50K – Jan 11
Seneca Creek 50k – March 8
C&O Canal 100M – April 26
TNF Endurance Challenge 50M- May 31/June7
Catoctin 50K – 26 July
Grindstone 100M – 3 October
Rosearyville 50k – 9 November

So this last week I have gone through a wide range of emotions, but I have accepted that this year was a great running year and its time to look to 2014. Also, as much running as I have done in 2013 none of it was a waste. I have learned so much about how to run ultramarathons. All of those lessons will help me be more successful next year.

Run Streak Day 365

According to Word Press my last post was October 8, 2012, almost one year ago. By that date you’d think that consistency has not been my thing. But it’s has. My last post was about getting rhythm. And I have found my rhythm. The first time I began a run streak I made it about 216 days before a stress fracture in my foot sent me to the pool for 8 weeks. This was incredibly frustrating. I had just finished my first 50 miler and felt like superman. Going from running 50 miles in one day to not being able to run and starting back from scratch was a mental letdown. So on September 18, 2012, I restarted my streak and dedicated myself to having an amazing year of running in 2013.

Today marks my 365th consecutive day of running at least one mile a day. Every day for the last year, I have made a point of putting on running shorts and shoes and getting out for at least one mile be it in rain, shine, hangover, morning, night, on a cruise, at my bachelor’s party, the day of my wedding, on my honeymoon, or at Jamboree in the Hills. My friends and family have given me odd looks and the drunks at the Jamboree in the Hills gave me even stranger looks, but I did it.

I know that I have a problem with consistency. If I take a day off it will quickly turn into 5 or more (or if I don’t make a blog post one week, it turns into a year). Over this last year I have taken running and turned it into brushing my teeth. I wake up and don’t have to ask “if” I will run today. Instead I ask “how far will I run today?” Changing that mental question actually makes maintaining the run streak pretty easy. Actually, running has become such a normal part of my routine that I have to remind myself how allowing ten minutes a day on my feet really means to me.

Running is my freedom. It’s my form of expression. There is stress at work, at home, planning a wedding, getting a new dog and I find relief in taking at least ten minutes day for myself. Run it fast or run it slow, it’s time for me. And while that may seem selfish it’s really isn’t. Taking that little bit of alone time each day puts me a in a better mood. I can better manage stressful situations and quite honestly I like people more after I run. And on my bad days, my wife likes me more after I run.

I have also put in over 1500 miles this year and completed in more races that ever. I have ran in the Seneca 50k, Terrapin Mountain 50k, Leatherwood Mountains 50 miler, 30 plus mile long runs have become the normal, and next month I will attempt my first 100 miler at the Grindstone 100. Over the course of training I have dropped over 20 pounds and feel like I am in the best shape of my life (30 year old me can beat the hell out of 20 year old me). I have also met some great people who share the same obsession with running.

Running helps me be who I am. It allows me to be more comfortable in my own skin. The run streak will not stop at day 365. I will continue to take the time to run at least a mile a day and give myself that time. Hopefully, after Grindstone I will still be able to hobble out a mile.

As far as this blog goes, there should be a little more consistency in the future.

“Get Rhythm”

I will start with the biggest news first. While enjoying a Sunday hangover, I signed up for the Leatherwood Mountain Ultra Marathon which is set for April 20, 2013. According to the website:

“Race course will take place over varied terrain in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Much of the race will be on single track trail, but will have a mix of asphalt, gravel, and jeep trail roads. Tree foliage should be close to peak at this time, so much of the race will be shaded when on trail. If you have experience running in the Blue Ridge Mountains you’ll know that the trail could change from one day to the next. One day could be dry, the next could be muddy.”

This should be 50 miles of challenging fun. I am excited about hitting up trails in a different part of the country. Another huge benefit to this race will be that my fiancé, Sara, won’t have to just stand around waiting for me. A 10 mile trail race is also being offered. Instead of staying in a hotel, there are awesome cabins for us to stay in and a decent looking restaurant to party in after the race. I have to give a shout out to Co-Race Director Tim Worden for answering a few of my questions and pointing me towards the Leatherwood Mountain Facebook page. Additional information can be found there or at the races official site and @LWMtnUltraRun on Twitter. Tim is also a great follow on twitter @trailruntim. If you end up signing up, let me know and we will have pre/post race beer.

On to my training. The last few weeks I have attempted to refocus. This has included rebuilding my miles and starting P90X.

I know that I work significantly better when I do something everyday. It’s about establishing a rhythm and continuing it once I have hit my full stride. I started P90X three weeks ago. At first I was only planning on doing the weight lifting tapes. My assumption was that I do enough cardio while running that I did not need those other tapes.

I was wrong. I do not have the self discipline to only work out three days. A planned work out for Tuesday quickly becomes a “well it’s Saturday, I will start next week”. I had to change my way of thinking. I had to establish a rhythm.

I am now on day 7 of P90X. The only tape I have skipped is the Yoga X tape. I have attempted it before, I do not have the patience.

My running has also hit full swing. I finished the recovery program and I started a Hal Higdon marathon program to rebuild my base. I will modify the program slightly and increase my Friday and Saturday runs. I am a big fan of the back to back long runs when training for an ultra. Once I hit 18 mile long runs, I will diverge from the program all together and begin building toward the 50 miler in April.

The highlight of the last few weeks has really been being on the trails again. There is nothing in the world like being out on a trail on a crisp fall morning and I missed the hell out of it. So far I have stayed close to home running the St. Mary’s Lake trail. It’s an easy 7.5 mile loop but it’s a lot of fun to run.

To date I have had no issues with getting in miles and my foot seems to be fully healed. I ran 26 miles last week and have been pushing my pace on my shorter miles. Between the P90X and daily runs (yes the running streak is back) I have reclaimed my rhythm. My run streak is currently on day 23.

In order to remind myself to keep up my daily habits, I have used my iPhone. The operating systems has a program called Reminders. I have set daily reminders for running, P90X, and planking. It’s just a measure to guilt myself out of being lazy and placing a check in the box is a little satisfying.

With everyone running fall races I am also insanely jealous of what I have seen people accomplish. I have been following a fellow runner, Michael (@RIPTAR_Running) for a few months. In June he completed the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k on the same day that I completed the 50 miler. Unlike me he avoided a late summer injury and set high fall goals. He recently placed an amazing 18th at the UROC 100k. I followed his progress online and I am ridiculously impressed by his performance and envious of the belt buckle he received at the finish.

Anyone who is looking to start a running program, I mentioned Hal Higdon earlier. I highly recommend any of his programs no matter what level you are currently at. His plans can be found at To everyone who is challenging themselves, you are awesome keep it up.