Thursday, June 21, 2012


This word has brought with it negative connotations. These expectations are created due to ones success and are engineered by other runners, sometimes family members, sponsors, and the number one culprit....oneself.

It goes along with the notion that it is easy to get to the top. The challenge is staying there. So, how can you look at expectations in another light? Well, first of all, as stated earlier, there wouldn't be any expectations if you haven't had success, so one must be running well. That is a good thing. But the thing I think that needs to be remembered most is this....The only expectations that matter are those from God. He would want us to put all those negative burdens we are feeling at his feet. He would also want us to run for Him, and in doing so, run with courage and strength and to know that He will be with us every step of the way.

Who can lose in that situation. That is exactly what I plan to do and when I cross that finish line there will be no doubt that I gave everything I had in the name of Jesus Christ!

I pray that all the runners run with courage and have the strength to do there best on Saturday. I also pray that all runners make it back to their families healthy. Good luck everyone!

You can follow my progress on
I am runner #298.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Unexact Science of Tapering

Most of us have a love/hate relationship for tapering. We love to back off on our training and begin to rest, but we don't like the feeling that tapering gives us. It makes us feel lazy. Also, because we are running less, we feel we are burning less calories (which is true) but we all begin to feel we are gaining weight. It messes with are mental psyche, however it is a necessary evil that factors into our race performance on race day.

So how long out do you taper? I've done it all...3 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week,....even the four day taper. What I have found is the two week taper works best for me. It gives my body the time needed to rest from the hard training but at the same time give it enough time to build back to up to peak on race day.

So, the next question is how much do I run during the tapering period? Well, I try to avoid the ever popular complete day of rest. I try to run almost everyday but I cut the mileage in half. I make sure each run I do has a purpose. For instance, if I am training for Western States, and I actually am, I would make sure to get out in the afternoon heat to simulate what I may run in weather wise on race day. Also, I like to mix in a couple speed work sessions to get those fast twitch muscles awake for race day. Nothing really long but enough to get the job done without fatiguing the body. The goal is to keep the focus and intensity of the workouts the same as you would each and every week.

Lastly, one of the tapering questions I'm always asked is, "Should I run the day before a race?" My Answer is yes. To be honest, I used to always take the day off before a race, but I always felt flat on race day. Moreover, I realized that the worst workout I would have each week of training was the run after a day off, and the best run during the week was the second run after a day off. So, I use the day before the race as an opportunity to get the "junk" out of the legs. I will run between 20 to 30 minutes with a couple of strides thrown in after I have warmed up.

If done correctly, tapering can help you perform better on race day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Make or Break Western States?

As I sit here plugging away on the keyboard of my computer writing this post, I can't help to reflect on how this year has gone. I am two days removed from the announcement that I have made my second National Team in one year. This is truly amazing since I wasn't even named an alternate to the the 2011 100k team and was able to squeeze onto the 2012 team as a second alternate after two members had to back out. My personal best in the 100k was eight minutes slower than the next person on the team and 30 minutes slower than our fastest member, yet I was able to finish second on the team and seventh in the world! What will that get me in one week when I toe the line in Squaw Valley?......SQUAT!

The nay sayers will still be out wondering if I can duplicate those performances in a truly World Class field. I surprisingly will be one of those nay sayers. I am curious to find out the answer to a number of questions. How has my body recovered after the 24 Hour National Championships just seven weeks ago? Was three weeks of hill training enough? Will the absence of any altitude training hurt me? When will my body show signs of fatigue? Can I break 18 hours for the first time? Will my stomach hold up at altitude? So many questions, and unfortunately the answer key will not be available until June 23rd. Whatever the answers may be, good or bad, it will not make or break my year. I plan to enjoy this 100 mile trip through the Sierra's. I feel no pressure for the first time going into this race. I plan to use that to my advantage. The more relaxed I feel the more energy I can save for the later stages of the race. Then, focus will be on the 24 Hour World Championshps where I plan to end my racing year with a bang!

In a couple of days I will detail what my training looks like two weeks out from a hundred mile race.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Top Ten Difficulties of Western States

10.) Being seduced by the "Popsicle dealers" otherwise know as the Buffalo Chips Running Club volunteers at the top of Devils Thumb. This single handily costs me minutes each year I run this race.

9.) The 0.9 of a mile long single track hilly rocky trail leading into Highway 49

8.) Michigan Bluff to Foresthill is the closest thing to stepping foot on the sun. I see trees but they don't seem to block any sunlight.

7.) Is it me or does the river look so close on the Cal Loop, but at the same time, take FOREVER to get to?

6.) Seeing spots on the climb up to Escarpment (Modesto 46 feet above see level)

5.) One word....."Switchbacks." (Descent to the swinging bridge)

4.) The false top at Robbie Point

3.) The "Elevator Shaft" when the quads are SHHHHOOOOOOTTTTT!

2.) The six month long hype build-up

1.) Breaking 19 hours.......It's going down this year:)

See you at Western States!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What a Difference Five Years Makes

It was this time five years ago (2008), when I was arguably in the best ultra running shape of my life (2nd at Miwok-8:24) when fires engulfed the WS course and forced the cancelation of the event.

Ironically enough that marked the beginning of my running decline. My summers from 2008 to 2009 were filled with 100 mile DNF's. I only finished 1 of 5 hundred mile races in that stretch.
And with "death march" runs at TRT in 2010 and 2011, even though rewarding, psychologically were damaging to the ego. Enough so, that I decided no more mountain 100's.

Well, that was until December of 2011 that Peter Defty asked me to participate in his medical study at Western States. I didn't want to turn down the opportunity to run in this historic event in my own backyard. R(2 hours driving distance)

Fast forward to today....six months removed from the decision to run WS. What a difference six months makes. I have two ultra victories (Rocky Road 100 mile and the NorthCoast 24 Hour) and I finished 7th at the 100k World Championships helping the U.S. men take home them the silver medal. My WS expectations have changed even though I have had only two weeks of hill training. There is something magical about this year and I am going to ride it out as long as I can.

I look forward to seeing everyone at WS this year and what the next chapter of this years running season will read. Whatever it may be, it will be memorable for sure.