Nuts and Bolts of Fitness Coaching

I label myself a fitness, health, and performance coach. The reach of fitness and health is broad, wide, diverse and expansive. It’s almost impossible to quantify the power your physical and mental fitness has on the rest of your life. No matter how successful you may be in other areas of your life, if you don’t have a high standard of fitness and health, you will lack performance.

My approach is simple. Get fit. Be healthy. Stay confident. Fit. Healthy. Confident. It flows right? I believe in coaching for one simple reason: accountability. In most areas of our lives deadlines imposed on us by others. Appointments, due dates, responsibilities, etc. all work to structure our weekly flow. When adding something personal into that mix, such as fitness training, it is paramount that the importance of this addition is treated as highly as those imposed on you by others. This is where your accountability coach comes in.

A few tools I employ to make sure you stay on track and have success:

  1. Private Fitness Training App/Website
  2. A requirement that all fitness and health activities be recorded and tracked.
  3. Sunday night check-in.
  4. Upgrade: “live” training via facetime, skype or other video calling service.
  5. Consequences for non-compliance. If you aren’t participating, you are gone.

Do you run a marathon to get to the finish line? Seems like a lot of hard work to simply stop the clock, right? No, you run a marathon to experience the journey along the way. From the day you commit to the process your life begins to change. No excuses. Do what has to be done to be successful!

Acceptance / Expression / Creativity

Among people, a great majority don’t feel comfortable at all with the unknown — that is anything foreign that threatens their protected daily mould — so for the sake of their security, they construct chosen patterns to justify.

I have come to accept life as a process, and am satisfied that in my ever-going process, I am constantly discovering, expanding, finding the cause of my ignorance, in martial art and especially in life. In short, to be real…

By martial art I mean, like any art, an unrestricted expression of our individual soul… The human soul is what interests me. I live to express myself freely in creation.

Bruce Lee

Your physicality is a very special thing. “Appearance is a consequence of fitness,” phrased Mark Twight (Gym Jones / Extreme Alpinism / Kiss or Kill). Such a powerful statement. Picture it, the forearms and biceps of the rock climber and gymnast, the quads and calves of the cyclist, the shoulders and back of the swimmer, the core of the 400-meter runner. The activities associate with the image fairly clearly.

Personal accountability, a positive association with your sport-activity, consistent repetition, enables physical transformation. Get after it! Don’t shop for the next quick fix program. It’s short-lived. It’s not about the praise you receive from others it’s about the flow state you’re in while moving, and the feeling of achievement you get in the seconds after completing the activity.

My hope is to help you move better and sort out what is holding you back. From taking action, sticking to your chosen activity, or exacting proper self-care in your daily life. We are in this together. You and me. Constantly learning. Asking questions. Being motivated. Seeking mentorship. Coach / athlete relationship. Yes, when you move your body in a focused manner you are an athlete.

So, what will the consequence of your choices represent? What will you repeatedly do? How much time do you really have? Choices.

Training: The Long Run

Arrowhead 135 - Gateway

Proper pacing ensures successful racing!

 

With March upon us, many of you are probably finalizing your spring/summer/fall race schedule. Along with that schedule, of course, is your training program. Speaking to the marathoners and ultra-marathoners among us I’d like to give you some quick tips on the long run.

  1. Wear a HRM: heart rate monitor
    1. You can skip this for your tempo and interval training, but always wear it on your long run. Your races are long! Train at a sustainable pace, mimicking the pace you will run your race at. This ensures proper training effect, and smooth recovery for the following week’s training.
  2. Use MAF formula
    1. 180-Age. This will give you your effective training HR for those long runs. As an example, I’m 33 so my base MAF is 147.
    2. If you are fit, healthy, and have been injury free for at least 6 months you can add 5 beats per minute to your MAF. For me, this would make mine 152.
    3. Alternatively, if you’ve been injured, sick, or are relatively new to consistent running, subtract 5 from your MAF score. For me, this would drop me to 142.
  3. Use a HR range
    1. My range would be 142-152. This would be where I keep my effort at for the entirety of my long run. Instead of focusing on pace I’m focusing on effort.
    2. When you encounter hills your HR will rise substantially. Walk! Don’t become impatient. Keep accountable to your MAF.
  4. Communicate your intention
    1. Let others know what your strategy is on the long run if you are running with a group. They may stay with your pacing, or you may find yourself running solo more often.

Becoming more efficient at lower levels of effort will only help your racing. Making your hard runs hard, and your easy or long runs consistently easy/moderate is something many runners fail to respect.

The next post will be on fueling for the long run. Specifically, we’ll address how changing what you eat in the 36 hours leading up to that run will change your bodies fueling strategy.

Keep running!

How I Improve “It” Every Day: Base Fitness

The biggest question that is asked of me, and that I ask of others is what or how do you do it? This question is always hard to answer, because as a trainer/teacher/coach I have a strong understanding that everyone is different. Thus, I’m fearful of others diving down my path to achievement or success. Needless, I have found some very strong parallels in those that have continual success. For the purpose of this post, I will keep it fitness related, though it applies to success across all areas of life.

Time. How much time does it take? When I’m training to maintain my fitness, while also enjoying life (food, drink, etc.), one hour each day is my bare minimum. This can be one hour of running, or a split hour of biking and stair-climbing, or a tri-hour of biking, rowing, and stair-climbing. Focused movement, one hour. As an endurance athlete, my “quality time” is that which is spent training specifically for endurance. This is the time each day/week/month that I track to make sure I’m staying consistent. I do also spend 60-90 minutes each week strength training, but I only track that if it is specific to my endurance training (squats/deadlifts/lunges/kb swings).

How do you find the time? When I consume media, I’m doing my cardio. Podcasts, books, or the occasional documentary are all enjoyed while working out on the indoor trainer (bike), or stair-master. I really enjoy this. If I were to recommend one takeaway from this article it would be to find an endurance activity that is convenient for you (could be just walking) and do it while listening to a podcast, audiobook, or in the case of indoor activities, reading on your kindle/iPad.

Enjoyment. You’ve got to enjoy fitness for it to show. No way around this one. If you enjoy working out, and attend to that part of your life every day, it will show. For most people, this is the goal, for it to show… to be recognized by your peers, family, and friends as someone that has a certain level of fitness. You can’t fake this. It’s so easy for me to invest the necessary time, because I enjoy it, and I really really want it to pay off, either athletically, or simply in enhanced appearance.

Activities. The more you have, the more you can pull from, the more likely it is you will be successful each day. The hardest part of programming or writing weekly workouts is the rigidity. By nature, I’m extremely flexible in my daily fitness. I’ll have 2-4 things I can choose from to address my fitness needs each day. Usually, running is at the top of the list, but on occasion, that will get swapped for a workout on the trainer, a row on the concept 2, or a long climb on the stair-master. I like it all, so I’ve got options. Options = Success. Remember that by skipping a workout session, you skip the essential hour of exercise each day. When those skipped days add up, it’s pretty obvious why you aren’t being successful.

Correlation. Working out (exercise) is a fairly sufficient beast on its own. You can make some great gains in your strength and cardio by only focusing on the workout. With nutrition, you can also make some great gains in the area of weight loss by only focusing on nutrition. When you combine the two, and use them to keep you accountable and attentively to both elements, results happen VERY quickly. Starting both at the same time is a pretty strong shock to the system, but stick with it for 3-4 weeks and you will start to re-wire your operating system. You see, it’s all about TIME. How much you invest each day, each week, each month, and ultimately over your lifetime. When you make it quantifiable it is easily trackable. By tracking it, you can see patterns develop (both success and failure) and work to accentuate the positive behaviors.

Daily. With the goal of one hour of movement (aerobic based) each day, this will set you on the path to success. In addition, by starting to add some basic strength exercises: squats, pull-ups, and/or push-ups into the equation you also address the structural needs of your physique. Squats build and define your thighs and butt. Pull-ups build your biceps, back, shoulders, and core. Push-ups build your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. This is the “secret” …. daily practice. When something gets easier, you can do a little more. Now, you are on the confident and success driven path. You’ll find yourself willing to set aside more time for these activities.

The Mind. This is the big one. Initially you must conquer the complacency of the mind. The mind seeks comfort and consistent patterns. Interruptions are resisted, but must come anyway. The body communicates it’s current ability. When your fitness level is very low, the body must be driven forward by a disciplined mind. Once these two work together, making daily choices on exercise and nutrition, which positive path to take, the success process takes form.

Engage in the process. Immerse yourself in learning about topics, people, and practices of successful, enhanced living.

Tracking: attackpoint.org

Podcasts: Tim Ferriss, Joe Rogan, Sam Harris, Tara Brach

Books: whatever motivates!

Resistance

Resistance

The mind controls it all. It fabricates, incentivizes, dramatizes, and elicits emotion in nearly every moment of our lives. Focusing the mind to be fully connected with what we are doing, when we are doing it, is a skill that when possessed, is the most powerful of them all.

When I define a goal it often has loose consequences. It’s arbitrary whether or not I succeed or fail. Those who love me do not place value on my performance, therefore the prioritization is all my own. The preparation, planning, and sacrifices are my own. To achieve a best performance in this regard requires a very strong mind. A high level of personal importance is required in order to give everything to my goal, or event. My events are long. Anywhere from 3 to 24+ hours. Knowing this I focus on not looking forward to the end of a training session. At the point the training becomes uncomfortable, for any reason, intended or not, I must be in the moment. The mind connects with the feeling of the body; am I tired, thirsty, hungry? What of those things can I control? Am I slowing down? If I am, it’s most likely due to the mind letting the body take control and forgetting proper self-care. I must also focus on positive thoughts. Reassuring the purpose of the event and its priority in my life. This is where I want to be.

General fitness training fails when there is no consequence.

“A lot of people try to get around goals by not being specific enough. Your goals have to be quantifiable with a by-when date!”

Commitment and priority are quick to waiver. Your body will put up a fight to any sort of change: dietary, sleep, workout, and schedule. Understanding and expecting this is mandatory. Giving your self the option of cancelling or saying no is the beginning of the end. You must commit. Clearly define why you want to make changes. Superficial, image based goals can spur you to begin training, but when things get tough, they are not strong enough to keep you on track. Do you want to be an example to your family and friends? This can’t simply be a nice surprise. Please don’t dabble. Being an active participant in your life means eliminating the passivity in how you approach each day. Train with vigor.

Greater Realities of Physical Fitness

Fitness can be an attempt to go beyond the ordinary human experience. It begins with exploring the limits of the body, and it then explores the limits of the mind. Ultimately, it explores the limits of the whole person. One discovers from hand-to-hand combat with the self—or through a transport to indescribable areas of the soul—that there are indeed other and greater realities.

George Sheehan, Personal Best

To most humans that participate in an exercise program, it is simply about how to get the most “results” in as little time as possible for the least amount of money. Looking at it from a purely functional standpoint this is all any of us should really seek to invest. These should be the parameters for decision making when it comes to which path to take to fill the physical fitness, health requirement of life. The practical approach if you may.

On the other hand, as you know or may have heard, there is a large and growing population that is increasingly drawn to more committed pursuits of fitness. This ranges from multi-pitch rock climbs, peak bagging, summit pushes, triathlons, marathons, trail runs, thru-hikes, ultra-marathons, and multi-day swim/bike/kayak/run events. This transformation is not immediate, often taking many years of varying experiences and participation before finding true passion and play in our physical selves, becoming how we see, experiment and ultimately enjoy our lives.

For some this starts with athletics at a young age and continues. For others, a void is filled later in life out of either necessity or desire. A person may try many forms of exercise before one takes a firm grip on our being. It is at this moment that we’ve found our play. The rest of our lives will be enhanced because of this discovery. Physical activity is the one positive we can add to our lives that requires just doing, and not subtracting or stopping some negative health behavior. Discovering that you can run or jog is a powerful feeling. I remember packing my running shoes on a trip to San Francisco several years ago and setting off on a early morning run, hoping to run across the Golden Gate in the early morning hours. That day I experienced something transcendental. Finishing that run I knew that running was my play. Running would be the physical activity that I could not live without. First and foremost I am a runner. All other labels are descriptions come secondary to this elemental fact. I have found my play.

Fitness can be as simple as doing as jogging for 30 minutes, 4 days per week. Put in the basic minimum and you will enhance your life. But allowing yourself to find joy in movement will change your life. Passion, adventure, fear, excitement, travel, exploration, experience, and competition all blossom when we begin to explore our perceived limits. Opening up your soul to the experience of self-propulsion and you may never look back. The athletic soul seizes the moment in each day. A powerful display of the human spirit.

The best example I can give you is of myself. I’ve always been obsessed with fitness. At a young age I found that by working my body I could change my appearance. The more time I spent exercising the more my body changed. This newfound control of my outward appearance was powerful. It felt good to be different than my peers. I liked the commitment, the isolation, and the rewards of daily practice. Fitness had become my “play”, whereas for others fitness was either completely lacking from their life, or it was a necessary requirement, another thing to be checked off the list, done but not experienced. During this period I was often told I was missing out, spending too much time in the gym, too much time garnering knowledge and information, and neglecting the social, group dominated behavior of our teenage years.  What I came to realize is mediocrity likes to keep everyone on the same level. The outliers usually remain that way as people can only judge and comprehend what they have direct understanding of. I liked this distinguishing fact that fitness gave me.

For many years I mainly did what I liked to do in the gym. For me, this was weight training. Time was not a worry, thus I was not rushed to get out of the gym and onto the next thing. You could even call it traditional “bodybuilding” training. Isolating joints, muscle groups, movements became the theme. This lasted until I experienced the first major transition in my adult life, college student to college graduate. This change brought with it a geographic shift as well. Moving from the Midwest to the Southwest. As I met new people and experienced a new way of living my enthusiasm for life and fitness massively shifted. During this time I learned the term “functional” and how that applied to fitness training. Through a friend, I was exposed to gymnastic, suspension training, and body leverage techniques. This new form of building strength was enlightening. Instead of moving a weight I was now moving my body. Suspension training is all about establishing a solid mind-body connection, learning and mastering movements while displaying control (or lack of). This black and white, can or can’t was eye-opening. I loved it. Improvements and accomplishments came slowly. Practicing difficult movements that don’t give you the instant gratification of success that others dish out in large doses takes a serious amount of dedication. I found that willingness was a rare commodity in the gym scene so I often trained alone, after business hours, or with a friend in the isolation of our garage.

Evolving. Over time I found you can only take gym-environment fitness training so far, and I took it about as far as I could. After a few years I began to supplement the strength training with trail running. Instead of running 3 x week and strength training 4 x week I was doing the opposite. Trail running allowed me to experience my surroundings at a visceral level. I was beginning to learn how to relax while training. As with anything new the challenge came with a steep learning curve. Developing aerobic fitness and efficiency takes time. To run for more than 45 minutes is a learned talent. Endurance athletics is passion driven and definitely not something you can force. In order to come back week after week, seeking micro improvements, the activity must be enjoyable. Along with the positive physical feedback trail running gave me, I enjoyed being away from the city’s smells, sounds, distractions, and conveniences. Trail running was becoming my elixir. My way to escape, explore, and be exposed to the elements of my environment. It soon transformed into a way to test the fusion of my training techniques (strength, flexibility, endurance, mental) in competition. The added element of competition, which for me was the missing link in other forms of fitness training, gave structure and significance to every training session I engaged in. Competition or racing provided purpose to the process training. The race became a test and an opportunity to see what I could do… what kind of effort I could give over the course and terrain. It also gave feedback as to what areas I needed to work on, improve in, or prioritize to have more success, or compete better next time.

Remembering that fitness must be enjoyable is key, even suffering and pain, when welcomed with knowledge that it never lasts, can add excitement to your weekly training. This is why I race. Racing is a unique option to endurance athletes as it is so readily accessible. In most places you can find a race, or multiple races to choose from every weekend. The choice is always yours as to how easy, mellow, mild, or hard you want to compete. Once the mind is set on a course of action the body is either restrained in pace, or set free and unleashed to discover new physical limits.

The challenge never has to cease or become dull. Today there is so much variety, so many choices and race types, and hundreds if not thousands of ways to keep it fresh and keep the mind and body interested in the activity or sport.

My challenge to you is to jump into your training. Make a commitment to pick up an activity you enjoyed in the past… learn a new training technique, learn how to swim, how to ride a road or mountain bike, or run with a relaxed mind and attitude. Let the activity and your enjoyment in the process of learning, and being a beginner, keep you coming back for more. Set short-term goals, read about this new “thing” in your life. Find a mentor. Read the sport journals and find inspiration in those that have mastered and taken their skill in the activity to the limits of perceived possibility.

When I run all things feel possible. All of my goals in sport, business, and life feel achievable and within reach while I run. The glory of a completed run leaves me feeling relaxed and complete. My breakfast tastes better, I eat slower, and the cold water I drink cleanses, refreshes, and satisfies my deep thirst.

The uncertainty of the next challenge or race keeps me on edge, not in a bad way, but in a way that connects me with the naivety of the inexperience and anticipation of my youth.

Find your trail. Seek out an active lifestyle. Be forever in anticipation of the challenges that lay ahead.

The Best Investment You Will Ever Make

The best investment you will ever make is your steady increase of knowledge. Invest in yourself. Thirty minutes of study per day eventually makes you an expert in any subject – but only if you apply that knowledge. Study alone is no substitute for experience. Education is always painfully slow.

Repetition.                          Confidence.                                    Skill.

Practice what you want to improve on or get better at. Repeatedly dedicate a part of your day to this endeavor. With consistent practice, comes confidence. Have confidence in your ability to execute, improve, and achieve your goals. Through confidence and consistent repetition you develop your skill. Skill makes things happen in difficult times or situations. This is applicable to all areas of life. For our intents and purposes we want to use this formula to achieve great things in our health and fitness.

Success comes from diligently pursuing our “why”. We must never lose focus of why we hired a coach, purchased a training program, and/or invested resources in an effort to make something happen.

It is through the application of available, acquired knowledge and resources that we improve our lives. Never forget why you started something. Never forget what caused you to initially create action.

  • Repetition
  • Confidence
  • Skill

Master the thirty minutes investment formula. Embrace each new day as an opportunity for improvement. With repetition comes confidence, and from repetition and confidence we develop skill. Skill is ownership of the ability to achieve that which we put our minds to.

Onward and Upward!

Reclamation

As I continue on this fitness endeavor, both professional and personal, I cannot help but wonder what the evolution of this industry will produce. The information available is far reaching, diverse, contradictory, and to a greater extent dogmatic. Fitness, as well as nutrition, has become a form of “faith” made up of a multitude of factions, each with their devout followers. Most of us find our path or form of practice (in this case fitness) through guidance from friends, family, media… enticing advertising and marketing, etc. Whether it be the club, gym, studio, box, garage, or whatever the label may be.

What is missing in this search is the desire of the individual to truly learn and commit fully to what ultimately is the deciding factor, education. Yes, we must learn about ourselves and what factors in our life have led us to the place we are at in the present. Not just learn, but admit, honestly, who we are as a person, how we make decisions, why we choose what we choose. This education can be undertaken individually, but more often than not we go in search of a guru, teacher, or a “fitness religion” that we feel best expresses who we are or want to be.

Personally, what I feel is needed is a society wide reclamation. A reclamation of our health and fitness from the inner-core of our being. I believe we were not put on this earth to merely feel comfortable, and seek out the path of least resistance, avoiding work, honest, meaningful work to overfeed, drink, and consume ourselves into complacency. In the present, can we be strong enough to forge forward, one choice, decision, at a time? I mean really think about all of the decisions we make and take ownership of them? Good and bad, smart and dumb.

Before we invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars in a membership, guru, program, or whatever it may be, we need to take the time to do a self assessment, including, but not limited to:

  • Lifestyle Factors
  • Career/Job
  • Goals/Desires
  • Motivations
  • Habits
  • Past Failures and Successes

From this you will see some obvious connections between these elements. It is within those connections that you must analyze your pattern of decision making. Ultimately, we are creatures of habit, and we become what we repeatedly do. Understanding this is not easy and most often avoided, but without this understanding we really can go no further.

Reclamation. It is personal. Decisions you make for yourself that lead you closer or further from your goals/wants/desires.

Decide to start on your path. Get to know yourself. Then and only then can you progress.

Enjoy the journey.

Heartland 100 Race Report

Flint Hills, Cassoday, KS.

Warning: this will be pretty graphic.

  • Thursday, October 11, 2012.

My wife Jody and I arrived in El Dorado, KS at 6:15 PM. We got checked in and picked up some supplies from the local Walmart. It felt good to arrive and we were both relieved to be at our destination (base). We had a spinach salad for dinner and some greek yogurt for dessert.

  • Friday, October 12, 2012.

Man, I’m hungry. I awoke early and went down to sample the breakfast offerings, which seemed to be pretty good. Headed back to the room as Jody was waking up and we went down for breakfast together. I ate some more and then did my customary 2 mile day before race run. The weather was getting noticeably worse, rain was coming and wind was howling. We cleaned up and relaxed for a bit before going to lunch at a nice little place called Jacob’s Well. We both had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. It was excellent. We made one more trip to the store before heading back to the hotel to await the arrival of my Dad and Grandparents. I made a small spinach salad for myself at this point and kept hydrating as is customary. We relaxed a bit more before heading to Cassoday for the pre-race briefing. The weather was now pretty miserable, thunder crashing and rain pouring down. The weather was the main topic of the meeting as there was a lot of concern for being safe and cautious during the race. We left feeling excited and a bit nervous about the pending adventure. Arriving back in El Dorado we picked up the family and went to get dinner at a place called the “chop house”. It looked nice on the website, but they had recently changed there menu to be more of a truck stop, cheap food establishment. I was hungry and ate what I ordered. “Rocky Mountain Trout”. It was pretty rubbery but went down OK. Headed back to the hotel we fueled up and I began to organize all of the gear for the next day. It was difficult winding down but finally turned the lights off at 10:30 with the alarm set for 3:30 AM.

  • Saturday, October 13, 2012. Race Day.

Awoke early and showered. Consumed my smoothie, but noticed it was hard to get down. I was not hungry… hmm. Drank some coffee to get things moving and we were on the road by 5:05 or so, arriving in Cassoday at 5:30. I got checked in and waited around in the gusting winds for the race to start. The nerves were setting in, but so was the excitement to run.

We were finally released at 6:00 AM sharp. I eased to the front with another runner and settled into a 7:55 pace. It felt good, but my guts were not settled. I’ve had this feeling before and it usually is not a good omen. We cruised along for a mile or so before being passed by a runner holding 7:30 pace, steady. I let him go and let the other runner (Jerad Fetterolf) run about 50 meters ahead of me. Cruising into the aid station at mile 8.2 I was out quick with a fill of water and a couple of gels. This next section was to be the most challenging as it was very muddy, the rain was now coming steady, and fairly hilly. Up and down we ran into the coming daylight. At about mile 10.5 I had to stop relieve myself, luckily I had a bit of toilet paper and used that as I ducked into a tree just off the road. Unfortunately, it was not satisfying.

I resumed running and stayed on pace, consuming a gel every 25 minutes and hydrating. I cruised into the Lapland aid station at around mile 17 in third place, 2:17 or so was my time. This is a crew access station so I saw the family. Dropped my headlamp, grabbed another gel and filled my water bottles. I was out and off for Teterville mile 25. about 1.5 miles outside of the aid I had to stop again to relieve myself. Not good. My guts were churning. I took some time here, but it was pouring rain and the wind was crashing into my right side. Running on I consumed gels regularly, like I had practiced, but noticed that my stomach was not happy with the sugar. Nausea was setting in. I was still running well but knew my calorie into and hydration may be suffering from the gut issues. I rolled into Teterville in 3rd place still, around 3:35. I cleared some rocks from my shoes and removed my compression sleeves. The rain was really coming now. I grabbed a payday bar hoping it would go down easy and provide some fuel.

Heading out of Teterville I hoped to keep my pace at around 8:20 to 8:30. Again, the weather got crazy. Wind, rain, thunder lightening… crazy! It was intense. I was slowed again by my body weakening. Flu like symptoms. I pushed forward. I caught my mind thinking of the miserableness my body was putting it through and feeling sorry for myself. I stayed in this train of thought for the next hour or so. I ate the payday bar and kept shuffling forward. It didn’t sit. It came up. Shit. Ok, just keep going. Need to get to Ridgeline aid station. There was an aid station at mile 31 or so that I stopped into after getting passed by another runner who looked strong. I drank some coke and grabbed some water. Jogging along I just kept moving. I felt weak all over. Depleted and had no appetite, the typical flu-like symptom.

About a mile down the road another runner caught up to me, Scott Hill, last years winner from Wichita. Really nice guy. He chatted me up and my pace quickened while I ran with him. After about 3 miles we were gaining on the runner in 3rd when I ate another gel. Soon, I had to stop and relieve myself again. Things were now getting painful. I pushed ahead. Entered Ridgeline, mile 36.5 or so. Stopped for a bit. Consumed some Gen Ucan. Trotted out of the aid station not feeling confident at all. Preparing my mind to be out there for 20 plus hours. My pace slowed to 9:30-9:50 per mile. I had to stop again because of my guts. Raw. 6 miles later I entered matfield green aid in 4th place (the lead runner, 2010 winner, had dropped at Ridgeline). I took my time. Took another Gen Ucan. Grabbed some orange slices, a cheese sandwich, and some ibuprofen.

Leaving matfield green I was now in 5th place. I stopped about a mile out of the aid to clear rocks from my shoes again. I shuffled along, finishing eating my orange slices. The rain and wind were kicking. Battering into my right side again. Eventually, I ran the hills pretty well, things were turning around. I felt strong… the first time all day my body was coming along. Great. I held a steady 9:45 on the hills into the wind and passed the 4th place runner who was now walking. I cruised this 7.5 mile section pretty solidly. Hitting the halfway point in 8:10 or so. Not bad for the hell my guts had put me through. Coming back it was steady headwinds and more rain. Everything was soaked. My feet were surely looking like hell, but nothing could be done about that. I stayed warm and protected in my Light Flyer Jacket from Patagonia. Great piece of gear. Gortex. It was during this section that I caught a glimpse of the runner in 3rd, Scott Hill, and his pacer. About 1 mile before the aid I passed them feeling strong. Entering matfield I was confident and grabbed another cheese sandwich, and some EFS gel mixed with water. Leaving the aid, climbing the small hills to ridgeline I started to feel weak again. Depleted may be a better word. Looking ahead though I saw the 2nd place runner with his pacer, walking the hills. A couple miles later I passed them and began more push to Ridgeline. Climbing the final hill there I was dealing with some strong foot pain as the water logged footwear had caused some irritation. The rain had mostly let up now so we were mostly dealing with the crazy gusts of wind. I stopped at the aid. Changed footwear, socks, grabbed my handheld bottle, had a Gen Ucan, grabbed some orange slices. Taking my time here I was passed by two runners, leaving in 4th place.

I shuffled along and did the best I could to maintain a steady pace. Not having a pacer was interesting. You are literally in your own head the entire time. It was at this point that I knew I wouldn’t feel great the rest of the race. Leaving with the headlamp assured me of having to deal with the pending night fall.

I soon passed the 3rd place runner. He was done racing. Now settled to walking. His pace in the first 50 was way to fast and his apparel was way to minimal for the weather conditions. I’m sure he felt like hell.

I grabbed a PB and J sandwich at the aid station with 31 miles to go and ate it. Soon I had what was to be my final gut pit stop. It was laughable now. Running this race on an average of 100 calories per hour was just plain silly. I kept drinking water and taking my S-caps. A few miles later I entered Teterville, mile 75 just as the sun was setting and darkness rolled in quickly. I drank some coke, which sat well thankfully, and left with a PB gu gel. Next aid was Lapland 8.2 miles away. I rolled out and found a decent pace. The coke was sitting nicely. 45 minutes later I was still moving well when I turned a corner and ran smack into the headwind. Daunting. This literally forced me to 11:45 pace, tops. Fighting forward. I stopped at the unmanned aid station and filled my water. Grabbing a fig newton, I pushed forward. I now was focusing on hydration just pounding water and salt, knowing my calories were pathetically low and having zero tolerance for food or sugar.

A few miles later I climbed the hill to Lapland aid. It was here I began to see all of the 50 mile racers, which was nice to have some interaction with others in the night on the trail. Arriving at Lapland I had no appetite. Filled my bottles, and searched for something to eat. It was great seeing my family at these aid stations. They were always positive and excited to update me on who well I was doing compared to the others. My dad informed me that 2nd place was only about 10 minutes up on me. I drank some coke, two cups, and ate a half banana or so. Jogging away I was ready to finish. 17 miles to go. About 1/2 mile out of the aid it hit me, nausea, all the coke and banana came up. There goes that I thought… I jogged on and found my stride, drank water, took salt and kept moving. 4 miles later I came to another unmanned aid and filled my water, took 2 cookies, ate them. Moved on. I was now turning into a zombie in the night. Run/walk was the technique now. I would run all downhills and mellow grades, but walked the steep portions in the night. Rolling up and down. Finally my watch said 92.8. I was at Battlecreek aid. The final manned aid station. As I entered I saw Scott Hill sitting on a chair eating soup I think. I grabbed some mountain dew, filled my handheld with ice and water and was out. Second place was mine, but I still had to finish. I ran the next 3 miles well. Pushing about 9:50 pace steady. Then I ran out of gas. It was flat, but I had to run/walk. I’d run a minute, walk 30 seconds. Drinking water constantly, I pushed onward. With about a mile left I saw the finish in the distance. I stopped and organized my pack a bit and looked up at the stars. It was a clear night. Full of stars and distant lightening storms blitzed the sky. Pretty amazing. I turned off the gravel road and onto the pavement, jogging to the finish. Closer and closer I came and saw my family there, full of energy and happiness. It was great. I crossed in 18:13 in second place. What a day. Epic. My mind had willed this, pushing my depleted body to the finish. I sat down, ate some chili, and began to freeze. We loaded into the Land Cruiser, which had an epic day as well shuffling the family around to meet me at the 8 aid stations. We were all exhausted and crashed upon reaching the hotel.

Never Give Up.

Finish what you start.

The Mind is Primary.

In order to break barriers and improve you have to go through some hell. Knock the door down, bust through the wall, keep pushing. Do not succumb to negative thinking. Use it as fuel. Beat it back.

A lot was learned about myself at the Heartland 100. Satisfaction is a sweet feeling.

Onward.

Gear Used:

  • Footwear: Hoka One One, Bondi B
  • Socks: Drymax
  • Bottoms: Pearl Izumi Ultra 3/4 tights
  • Base Layer: Patagonia Cap 1, SS and LS
  • Jacket: Patagonia Light Flyer
  • Watch: Garmin
  • Pack: Mountain Hardwear Race Vest
  • Salt: Succeed S-Caps
  • Gels: Gu, EFS
  • Generation UCAN corn starch
  • Handhelds: Amphipod

Mt. Werner 50k Race Report

More than was anticipated…

This became a central theme to the birthday/race weekend. Driving up to Steamboat took a long time… really long. We left Albuquerque on Friday at about 9:00 AM and finally arrived in Steamboat around 6:00 PM. After picking up keys to our condo we arranged a meal for the evening and were in bed by about 10:00 PM. I had decided on racing with a hydration vest instead of handheld bottles as it may save me time in aid stations and leave my hands free of the extra weight. My nutrition was prepped with 4 Generation UCAN Packets mixed with some EFS drink, as well as 2 GU’s for later in the race.

Breakfast was simple, 1 can of Ensure Plus, 1 banana, and 2 UCAN packets, which adds up to roughly, 650 calories. All very easy on the stomach, which to me, is key for a pre-race meal. The temp was fairly cool and we stood around shivering for the race start at 7:00 AM.

Soon after we were off on what would be a 9.5 mile climb to the top of Mt. Werner. A small pack formed of 5 runners, with 1 runner, Trent Briney, off the front early. After about the frist 5k I was feeling pretty antsy to set my own pace and got to the front of the pack and created some distance from them.

After popping out onto a short road section and climbing for awhile I was caught by a runner with a very steady pace, Jon Dyck. We ran together until the top of Mt. Werner, and again as we approached the 6 mile out and back section of pristine mountain running. At about mile 10.5 I took a face forward fall while moving at a pretty good clip. This shook me for a moment and I stopped to inspect the wounds on my hands and right knee. Seconds later I was off running again. A mile or so down the trail I looked down to check my watch only to realize that it was gone. Bummer. $300 donated to the mountain. I tried to focus on just running after this and soon found an OK groove. My legs were not in top form as I didn’t taper for this race like I normally would. I kept the forward progress but did not have much pep if we went up any sort of hill/climb. Approaching the mid-way point and turnaround at Long Lake I moved into second place. Arriving at the aid station I filled my spare nutrition bottle with water and hoped to find some extra gels, but there were none. A volunteer doused my bloody knee with water and I left as quickly as I could. The next 6 miles were fairly rough as I could feel my glucose stores about empty. I consumed a gel at mile 17 and another around mile 20. I maintained my second place position during this time, but was not fully confident I would find my legs the rest of the race. Approaching the aid station I stopped to grab some water for my bottle and a shot of Coke. Coke always sits well with me and I was happy for the small boost it provided. Heading back down the mountain I stopped to pee and looked over my shoulder at a runner about 200 meters back and approaching quickly. Now the race was on. I then proceded to descend very quickly, but comfortably. About 2 miles later as I was cruising along I tripped/slipped for a second time. This occasion coming down hard on my hands and right shoulder and right hip. Ouch! Now I was plain frustrated and mad, but still had to race to keep my position. I found my rhythm once again and kept plugging down the hill. I extended my lead a bit through the single track section of the last 4 miles and finished in 4:55. Happy to break 5 hours, but more than a little banged up.

Great course. Excellent volunteers. Gorgeous morning on the mountain. Now on to the Mt. Taylor 50k in September, which is lining up to be another challenging mountain 50k.