Friday, December 21, 2012

Lottery Madness

The past 2 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions, a myriad of highs and lows.  Nothing earth shattering or life threatening has happened, but my 2013 race schedule has started to take shape after learning the results of several lotteries.  A common question many people ask me is, “are there other people who run these crazy races you do?”  I chuckle and try to explain that many races make you qualify just to get into a lottery, in which you often have a minute chance of getting into the race.  Yes, our sport is growing, and lots of people run these crazy races I like.  Over the past 10+ days, the results of the lotteries were announced for Western States, Hardrock, Miwok, and Massanutten.  I entered all 4, and my name was drawn in 2 of them.  Not bad, I suppose, but one of the races I didn’t get selected for is the one race I would give almost anything to do, the Hardrock 100.  This marks the 4th straight year I have failed to get into Hardrock.  I wasn’t selected for Western States either, but I was actually relieved about this.  I was lucky enough to see my name on the starting list for the Miwok 100K outside San Francisco and the Massanutten 100 in northern Virginia.  Both of these races appear to be spectacular in both their beauty and difficulty.  As if each isn’t daunting by itself, they are separated by only 2 weeks, meaning that if I run both, I will have to run 100 miles on rocky mountain terrain after completing a hilly 100K not too long before.  I have friends doing both races, and both have been on my radar for a few years.  With the way these races are growing in popularity, it’s no given that I will be selected again in the near future, so I might as well run them when I can.  In May of this coming year I will travel to both coasts and run 162 miles of mountainous joy.  Hey, you only live once!

(View from Miwok course)

(Elevation profile for Massanutten 100)

(One day I will get to kiss the rock) 

 (Island Lake from Grant-Swamp Pass on the Hardrock course)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wasatch In Pictures (And a few words)

I never really got around to writing a proper Wasatch race report.  It seems that life (and laziness) just got in the way.  The short version goes a little something like this.  Summer training was great, but things got crazy once school started, so training took a backseat.  A week before the race I got sick, culminating with my waking up on race morning with a fever and feeling lousy.  This feeling never really got better, and I was fully prepared to drop at mile 35.  Luckily for me, this aid station was on top of a mountain ridge, meaning I’d have to hike another 5 miles down the mountain before I could drop.  With the help of my crew and pacers (without whom I would not have finished), I somehow stumbled my way to an agonizing 35+ hour finish.  Here are a few pictures.

(Hiking towards Chinscraper in the early morning dawn)


(Feeling lousy - again - on highest point on course) 

(Pretty much how I felt all race) 

(My second pacer, Rachael from Idaho) 

(Taking a break on the trail) 

(I look forward to Ant Knoll AS at mile 80 every year)

(Rachael plunging down The Dive)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Scott Jurek and Spaghetti Squash

 (Scott Jurek answering questions at Luke's Locker in Austin)

This past Sunday my traveling buddy (Lester) and I headed up to Austin to meet Scott Jurek, who was in town for an event.  In addition to getting him to sign my copy of his book, I wanted to ask him a few questions about a new line of hydration packs Ultimate Direction has come out with.  I had met Scott a couple times before, and the one thing that strikes me about him is how unbelievably friendly and down to earth he is.  For a guy who won 7 straight Western States titles, he is very humble and eager to share his knowledge with runners of all abilities.  After answering general questions, he signed books and took pictures.  Lester and I ran a few errands while we were in Austin and ended up bumping into Scott at Whole Foods.  Again, super nice guy.
While at Whole Foods I picked up a spaghetti squash, something I had read about lately but never experienced myself.  I finally got around to cooking it last night, and all I can say is “Why the heck have I not tried one until now???”  These things are amazingly easy to cook, and the taste is great.  They make a great substitute for pasta (more on my nutritional overhaul in an upcoming post) and pack a ton of nutrients.  Cooking these gems will definitely become part of my weekly routine. 

(Lester enjoying the breeze)

While at Whole Foods I picked up a spaghetti squash, something I had read about lately but never experienced myself.  I finally got around to cooking it last night, and all I can say is “Why the heck have I not tried one until now???”  These things are amazingly easy to cook, and the taste is great.  They make a great substitute for pasta (more on my nutritional overhaul in an upcoming post) and pack a ton of nutrients.  Cooking these gems will definitely become part of my weekly routine. 
(My new treat)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Feast Week

I had a lot to be thankful for this past week.  My parents came to town to visit, and I had a blast getting to spend time with them.  The weather here in South Texas was beautiful and made for some enjoyable runs with friends.  I had the best week of training I’ve had since I left Colorado in August.  I logged two 20+ milers at Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera and three more long runs at Government Canyon here in SA (more than I had logged at GC in all of 2012 up to this week).  I capped off a great week with what was quite possibly my best trail run ever.  I got to Government Canyon later than planned yesterday, hoping only to log a couple hours on the trails and enjoy the cloudless morning.  After 10 minutes, my legs loosened up, and I decided to see what I could do.  In what felt like an instant, I was done with the best 12 mile trail run of my life.  Not only was it the fastest GC run I’ve done, but it literally felt effortless.  My legs weren’t the least bit fatigued or sore, and I left feeling like I could have run forever.  Now I just hope I can string together a few more runs like this as I fine tune my training for the Bandera 100K in January.  

(Bandera Sunrise) 

(Atop the 3 Sisters) 

(Chris and Rich headed up the final Sister) 

(Headed back out for more fun with Chris, Liza, and Vidal)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The newest addition to my house is another border collie.  I had almost forgotten what owning a puppy is like.  


(Lester and Ophelia)

I'm Back

It’s been way too long since I’ve written anything here, but life gets in the way sometimes, and that has certainly been the case as of late.  Between coaching and teaching, things have been busy.  So much has happened in the past 2 months – pacing Liza and Larry at Leadville, working an aid station all through the night at one of Joe P’s races, my struggle to finish Wasatch (report to come, I promise), and more all-night pacing Jean at Cactus Rose this past weekend.  And that’s just the running-related events!  I must admit that my own running has taken a back seat for a number of reasons lately, but with the cooler weather I have found a renewed sense of purpose in my running.  I am enjoying being on the trails again, having fun training for my next adventure – the Bandera 100K.  I hope to get back to writing regularly, as it swerves as a great outlet for me.  Until then, I’m off to grade papers.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Headed Back To Colorado

The past few weeks have been busy as I return to “normal” life again, if that’s really possible.  After running the Speedgoat 50K with friends Tom “Blaze” Bowling and Joe “Popsicle” Tammaro, I returned to Ouray for a wonderful week of running and hanging out with friends.  Then I made the 17 hour drive back to San Antonio to begin cross country practice.  While I wasn’t super thrilled to be back, I love the kids I work with, which eased the transition a bit.  I snuck a 30K night race in the middle, giving me a taste of what I missed all summer (please send me back to the mountains!).  Now I’m headed back to Colorado, this time to pace friends at the Leadville 100.  The forecast calls for 35 degrees with rain tomorrow night, perfect conditions for running 50 miles in the mountains.  I can’t wait J

(Dave Brown Running Strong at Leadville 100 in 2011) 

(Winfield Aid Station - Mile 50)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Final Days

During my last days in Ouray, I scrambled to get in as much as possible, and that included hitting some new trails, of which there were so many to try.  I decided to visit Chief Ouray’s mine high above town, and boy am I glad I did.  With the trailhead located (literally) right on my door, all I had to do was walk outside and start climbing (sounds like the beginning of every other trail in town).  The climb up to 10,000’ was tough because my legs were feeling pretty flat, but the return trip was nothing short of spectacular.  After visiting the mine and carving my name in Chief Ouray’s house, I put in my headphones and bombed down the smooth singletrack back to the house, passing no one on the way down. 
            On my final day in town, I went out exploring again, taking a few familiar trails until I found a new one that led to the old Alpine Mine and Weehawken Creek.  The overlook into town was one of the best I’d seen all summer, and the singletrack that snaked through the aspens was second to none.  Yes, I’m going to miss this place, but I know in my heart that I will most definitely be back.

(Red Mountain Seen From Chief Ouray Mine Trail)

(Chief Ouray's House) 

(Visitors In My Yard)

(Trail Leading Up To Alpine Mine and Weehawken Creek)

(First Overlook Where I Sat For Awhile)

(Alpine Mine Ruins) 

(Looking Down Into Ouray From Alpine Mine Overlook) 

(Heavenly Singletrack) 

(Resting at Weehawken Creek)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


As my time in Ouray draws to a close for this summer, I’ve started to reflect on my last 2 months.  While I cannot recap everything or remember some of the best moments (I will come up with a list at some point), the overwhelming feeling I’ve had during my stay here is that of true happiness.  As I sit here typing this, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.  As long as I continue to live each day here to the fullest and to focus on the moment, I can’t help but have a smile on my face.  Yesterday I set out from the house and headed for Imogene Pass, where I could see Telluride way down below.  Not wanting to get caught in a lightning storm, I scurried down the mountain as I was being chased by the storm.  While I never got any lightning (I heard plenty of thunder), I got plenty of cool rain that made my run great.  I found myself splashing through creeks and hopping down the trail.  Happy, yes, I was truly happy.  Life is so simple here.  This place is magical, and I will be back, hopefully sooner than later.

(Imogene Pass In the Distance)

(Looking Down At the Route I Took Up To Imogene)

(Looking Down At Telluride From Imogene Pass)

(Marmot Up High)