“All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal.”
-Rod Dixon, 3:53 miler AND 2:08 Marathoner
I’m hungry. As Sandi can attest, I can always eat: gluten-free, vegetarian, ice cream, beer…you name it! I’d say I was starving, but that’s not right because occasionally we even shop at Whole Foods…in Boulder (quite the Yuppie spot).
But really, it is my soul that remains hungry. Hungry to prove that my body can move up and down and across mountains and trails faster and farther than it previously has done. I am hungry to redeem myself after a disappointing performance at Sierre-Zinal.
I’ve had some time to reflect on a tiring year of racing already. I’ve demanded a lot from my body in my first year of serious ultra-trail-mountain running. And so far it’s cooperated pretty well (knock on wood):
The 2013 Racing Season (so far):
Bandera 100km USATF National Trail Championships: 1st place, 8:13, CR
Tarawera 100km in New Zealand: 1st place, 8:53
Lake Sonoma 50-miler in CA: 1st place, 6:14 CR
Transvulcania SkyRunning ultra in La Palma: 3rd place, 7:09
Cayuga Trails 50-miler in Ithaca, NY: 1st place, CR, 6:47
Mt. Washington Road Race: 3rd place, 1:03
Speedgoat 50km in Snowbird, Utah: 1st place, CR, 5:08
Sierre-Zinal mountain race in Switzerland: 17th place, 2:45
“You’re only as good as your last race.” My college coach Robert “Rojo” Johnson (co-founder of LetsRun.com) would hammer home the harsh realities of such a fickle sport like running. While many may or may not totally agree with the above quote, I’ve always taken it as a constant reminder that some of my self-worth as a competitive, sponsored runner is dependent on my latest performance. But there is obviously more to sport than just that; there’s the hunger piece too! A bad race or performance may show poor form or a lack of preparation from the body. That is physical. However, it is the hunger of the soul that drives us to continue to persevere onward, always searching for self-improvement.
This hunger gnaws at my gut, torturing me as I drift in and out of consciousness some late nights and early mornings. I’ve become obessed about training, racing, traveling the world and trying to fulfill this competitive void…this race that is ultimately against myself. It could be a race within each and every runner who knows that if they just had more time, more resources, more energy than maybe (and just maybe) they could approach their maximum potential. Lately I’ve been spoiled: I have the resources, I have the time, I have the support. What I don’t have are excuses. Now is the time to execute and perform (again)!
For my next race I will be running the UROC 100km from Breckenridge to Vail, Colorado. It will be a challenging course that climbs above altitudes of 12,000 feet, involves some technical trails, roads, and will have over 14,000 feet of ascent. It is the SkyRunning Ultra World Series Final and Killian Jornet and Anton Krupicka will be there to name a few. It will also be the first time that I will have “home-course” advantage; the first time I will not be running blindly into the mountains and woods not knowing the way and exactly how steep the hills are. In the next 5 weeks I plan to cover the entire 62 miles on foot, learning every bend in the trail and every steep rocky climb and descent. I will ramp up my mileage over 100 miles a week again (finally!) and attempt to actually put in more than 20,000 feet of vertical for some weeks (which will be a first). I plan to post training updates here on this blog every week as well. As a relatively new ultra-trail-mountain runner I’ve learned a lot in the past year. But I also expect that I have a lot more to learn…a lot more tough lessons (and successes) on the horizon…hopefully.
A win, A course record, a decade of competitive running…it will never be enough though! My competitive soul will never be satisfied. It doesn’t matter where in the pack you finish or how fast you run…there is always faster. And that’s the beauty of sport (or any endeavor one pours them self into whole-heartedly). That’s why I run and that’s how I can cope with the fatigue and pain of training and racing hard. One can challenge themselves in any aspect of life and if they find meaning in their progression than that sensation of self-accomplishment can be very life enriching.
That’s why I’ll always be hungry (but hopefully never starving)
And now (of course) some blatant sponsor plugs:
(WARNING: this will read much like an ad so if you are offended by that you can stop reading now!). If it wasn’t for my close network of family, friends, sponsors and the community of fellow runners that buy the products of my sponsors then none of this would be possible for me. Thank you so much for the support!
Gear used on a regular basis for training and racing:
SCOTT Running Shoes: t2 Kinabalu
Nutrition: Flora Health (use 7 Sources on salad a lot now for Omega fatty acids)
Hydration gear: Ultimate Direction: usually use handhelds and the Jurek Essential belt
Shades: Smith Optics Pivlock V2 …the adjustable nose-piece is where it’s at!
Avery Brewing for post-race recovery refreshment
Strava: for GPS infused training