The 200 Project S1:E2 | Bigfoot 200: Training Snapshot


I am 80 days out from the Bigfoot 200 and taking a good look at how I am currently training.

I follow a three-up, and one-down pattern; typically running three weeks of higher mileage and then one week as a recovery week. My normal “up” week looks a little like this:

  • Monday: Rest day (Do not ever question the rest day. Ever.)
  • Tuesday: 7 miles
  • Wednesday: 7 to 15 miles on trail depending time
  • Thursday: 7 miles
  • Friday: 7 to 10 miles hopefully on trail
  • Saturday: 20 to 15 miles on trail
  • Sunday: 10 to 20 miles

This week was an excellent example of that pattern.

Continue reading “The 200 Project S1:E2 | Bigfoot 200: Training Snapshot”

The 200 Project S1:E1- The Other Side of the Bib

Sometimes the race isn’t about you, but in those times it can be the most rewarding.

A year ago I spent the third weekend in May working the finish line of the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100-mile run. I spent it with friends I had made in the pervious six months, watching runners complete a hard and difficult race.

That Sunday, I can clearly remember standing in the field by the finish, staring at the mountains, listening to the crowd cheering runners to the end, and crossing a mental finish line of my own.

It was the moment I knew I was alright with my marriage ending.

This year, I returned to crew and pace a good friend who badly needed a win of his own.


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The 200 Project: Pilot Episode

Welcome to The 200 Project.

For the next few months I am going to turn Feral Ultrarunner into a live blog of my summer leading up to August’s Bigfoot 200-Mile Endurance Run .

Once or twice a week I am going to post an update that covers both my training and how it is affecting my life. Similar to a television or comic book series, the entire thing will culminate with a confrontation with the “Big Bad” that is lurking in the background throughout the entire series.

In my case, this Big Bad is Bigfoot.


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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.

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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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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.

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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,

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