Wednesday, October 18, 2017


“I think people don’t realize how bad these races are for your body. They do extensive damage; you are running hard for such a long time. Your brain chemicals get really out of whack after doing something that hard.” - David Laney, from Trail Runner Magazine

Wow, has it been 7 months since I blogged? I guess it has. I've become inspired to re-engage a bit lately. In three weeks time, I watched my running posse complete hundred mile races. I crewed and paced them both with enthusiasm.  I love this sport, it is worth doing, as long as you don't overdo it. It has been a year since I ran a race of my own and that means I will almost certainly go all of 2017 without a formal race. My only explanation is that I was worn out, emotionally, mentally,  and physically. I guess you always find it recognize that when it happens to someone else.

My good buddy Chuck ran the most incredible race I have personally witnessed at Leadville in 2015. Now, don't get me wrong, he is an incredible runner, but I think even he ran out of his shoes that day. He's a masters runner and working husband/dad. Training and running has been a struggle for him since. I frequently remind him that he "left a part of himself out there" that day and that he may never experience another day as magical as that one. It is a fact of life that time catches up and this sport takes a toll. That is part of the beauty of it, the unknown. And, the years of sacrifice and discipline for the chance to run one race. Not many can understand the satisfaction that comes from that kind of discipline, but it drives me.

As you have probably guessed by now, I think 2016 was that moment when I left a bit of myself out there, only across several races. I ran a perfectly executed and PR marathon, followed by 4th place finish at a small 50k a few weeks later, and capped by a strong 100 mile finish at Wasatch. I feel like I am defending it, but I believe down to my core that Wasatch was my best 100. It doesn't have the same splash as a big buckle at Leadville or a sub-24 at Western States, but consider that Real Endurance suggests it is as much as 20% harder than those two races. That means a 26:48 finish at Wasatch is equivalent to something like a 22 hour finish at one of those races! Now, the math may not be exact, but it illustrates my point. And, I finished roughly 5 hours behind the lead runner at Wasatch, a feat I barely accomplished in my first 50 miler!  The point being that I left it out there that day. And I think my body has continually reminded me of that for most of 2017.

I am starting to feel like myself again, one day at a time. The physical toll continues to be real and I work everyday on fixing that. Everyday I get to the gym and I spend time working on mobility and imbalances. These are not items most enjoy doing, but I am grinding, something years of ultra running taught me to appreciate. I am learning about my body, alternative ways to train, strength training and mobility. I actually enjoy the work and having a "purpose" each day. My hope is to have a target to aim at in 2018, maybe a 100 miler (lottery Gods willing). Perhaps I will try to quality for UTMB and use 2018 as a chance to collect points. We'll see.  In the meantime, I am trying to enjoy each day and the mundane tasks associated with healing and recovery.