Chasing the sun since 2010

Chasing the sun since 2010
Chasing the sun since 2010

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dropping Out of Wasatch 2015

I apologize to anyone who tried to get into Wasatch this year, I totally blew it...again.

Perfecting my Hugging form on Mt. St. Helens 
Hello! I've decided to drop out of Wasatch 100 mile run 5 weeks prior to the race. Since so many of you (ultra runners) have been in similar situations, here's a reflection on why I made my decision.

Plantar fasciitis has seemingly crept back into my life, even though I was in denial for a while. It started immediately after I finished a fast run around Mt. Hood in shoes that were too narrow (and perhaps I still wasn't recovered from my trip to Europe), and it seemed manageable for a time. However, as I was frolicking on Mt. St. Helens today for 36 miles, my foot had gotten worse. By the time I reached my car, I had made the decision to drop.

Being that I'm 5 weeks from Wasatch, this is technically when my peak training should be happening. Granted, I feel like I'm in great shape (Europe made sure of that), but this injury feels like it would probably take more than 5 weeks to cure. So I seemingly had two choices: continue training through the injury (the stupid choice) or stop training and let Jbob heal.

Another huge reason why I dropped is because, although I've taken full advantage of my company's liberal vacation/unpaid time off policy, I only had enough vacation for one of two choices: run Wasatch, or go to Disneyland with the family (and my nieces and nephews). Granted, Wasatch was scheduled first, but it was a tough choice.

My goal for Wasatch was to give it my all, hoping that would be enough for a podium finish. This was a huge goal for me, and it would have been a dream of mine to really nail this race. But if I ended up running the race and had to drop out or bonk hard at mile 60, I'd be crying for the last 40 miles wishing I had decided to go to Disneyland with my family. And since I won't be able to arrive at the Wasatch starting line healthy, trained, and confident...I'd rather spend my time with my family.

New goal: Win Disneyland.

This is the 2nd time I've registered for Wasatch and had to bail due to injury (the first time was in 2012). Until I get a chance to run the race again, Wasatch will continue to be my Great White Buffalo.

Thank you EVERYONE who has been a big support to me for this past year, including Trail Butter, The Float Shoppe, Evolution Healthcare & Fitness, and Bioskin. I really appreciate it.

My next race is the Hagg Lake 50k/25k in February 2016. Until then, I'll be socializing more, napping more, and dancing at my friends' weddings without fear of ruining my taper for Wasatch.

Much Love,


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jbob's McDonald Forest 50k - Corvallis, OR - May 9, 2015

"May each pilot their own ship, and may your life's passion be a wind to fill others' sails." - Alex Newport-Berra

Photo by Long Run Picture Company.
In 2012, Tom Green carpooled with Nick Triolo to the start of the McDonald Forest 50k in 2012, and Nick won the race. This time, Tom was riding in my car and using my seat maybe I had a chance. But before the race, I frankly didn't care how I would place. My mind wasn't even thinking about the race until the day before when I realized I needed a clean pair of shorts to run in. I just wanted to run with friends at one of my favorite races on a beautiful sunny day.

Talking with Andrew Miller before the race, he bestowed upon me one of his favorite sayings "if you're having fun, you can't lose" (or something like that). Earlier this year, although I placed reasonably well at both the Hagg Lake 50k and the Chuckanut 50k, both races were sufferfests that really put me in an unhappy place. I wanted to run the McDonald Forest 50k smiling, and there was no way in hell I was going to lose this race.


This race was dedicated to Alex Newport-Berra.

Just before the race started, there was a touching speech made by the family of Alex Newport-Berra. Alex was an ultrarunner from Ashland who had passed away in 2014, and there were many of his friends (including his sister) who were running this race. I never knew Alex, but we both ran the McDonald Forest 50k in 2013 (he finished 2nd place, I finished way later).  His family raised him near the McDonald Forest when he was younger, and they installed a bench in his memory just off of Lower Dan's Trail. Just before the start of the race, all of the racers were led in a Bonzai chant by Alex's friend. 

Banzai” is a Japanese cheer that can be translates as “Long life!” or “Hurrah!” It is usually repeated three times to express enthusiasm, celebrate a victory, applause and favor on happy occasion while raising both arms. It is commonly done together with the large group of people.

Bonzai Chant. Photo by Long Run Picture Company.
Shortly after the chant, Ken Ward began the countdown to the race.


Photo by Long Run Picture Company.
It was going to be a hot day, and there were a number of sexy topless runners out there. One of my favorite aspects about this race is that the course changes every year. In 2014, it was run almost completely backwards from the 2013 course. This makes it easy for me to simply unplug my brain and just run. All I know is that there's going to be about 7,000' of climbing, and I decided to just cruise for the first several miles of the race and let the front runners have their own race. So I watched as Andrew pulled away from the group, bringing 3 runners with him. Before too long, I was running alone in 5th place with nobody to sing with. *sigh*...I miss Jeremy Tolman.

Course Profile
The course is a fine combination of logging roads and single track, with a lot of douche grade in between. For the most part, the climbs and descents are long enough to get into a rhythm, making it easy to settle in. The uphills were a generous grind for me, mainly slow but strong with some sporadic hiking, but I was absolutely flying on the downhills. I was having one of those days where I didn't have a care in the world except for just having fun and enjoying the day. And it was a delight to see some of my friends in the early start group as I passed them, and those short interactions gave me extra little boosts of energy.

On the dimple hill climb, I planned my pee break just right to give myself a quick breather about halfway up the climb. Once I got running again, I saw Josh Zielinski running half a switchback behind me. I was hoping for someone to run with, but it didn't work out this time, and I ended up pulling away on the downhill after the aid station.

Windmilling downhill. Photo by Long Run Picture Company.
All of a sudden, the trail took a big drop-off and got super technical. I think this is what they call the 'Maze' section. Contrary to last year, this year the trail was completely dry, making it 90% more fun. I mean, it's nice to be able to stop yourself on a steep downhill, or at least gracefully aim your descent to the next tree-hugging opportunity. The trail had a lot of quick ups and downs, and I was having an absolute blast. Pretty soon, I caught the 4th place guy and passed him swiftly. Well, we'll how long it takes before I catch the next guy. I'll bet Andrew's kicking so much ass right now.

So, right about mile 18, I caught Andrew. Uh oh, something's wrong, why isn't he winning? Turns out Andrew was still a little tired from traveling/running in Italy couple weeks prior. Poor guy. He mentioned to me that he was taking a page out of his own book and didn't want to lose this race, so he decided to slow down and have fun. Smart kid. He proceeded to then tell me that the other 2 runners weren't too far ahead and that I could win the race. Shitballs. One of my strategies for having fun during a race is to eliminate the desire to win. As Buddhism teaches: if you end your selfish desires, your suffering will also end. This leads to Nirvana, an "egoless state of bliss".

Let's just say Nirvana went out the window at the next aid station when I caught up to the race leaders. With 12 miles to go, I took my time refueling at the aid station and getting my bottles filled with ice water. The weather was really warm now, probably the mid-80s, and there was no breeze to keep my half-naked body cool. So, I left the aid station while squirting myself with the ice water from my bottles. It was SO refreshing, and I felt like a new man afterwards! Seriously, the little things you can do to keep your body cool goes a long way to keep the machine working strong. My ice shower basically propelled me up the next steady climb while chasing the 1st and 2nd place runners.

Pretty soon after the aid station, I caught Mike walking up the douche grade hill. He definitely started out the race too fast, but he may have done it on purpose to help prepare for a marathon he was running in a few weeks. Maybe 10 minutes after I caught Mike, I ended up tailing Nick, the 1st place runner. I hiked behind him for a little bit to gauge how he looked, but after watching him early in the race and watching him now, it looked like he was trying to run up every single hill in the race. At the next flat section, I passed him pretty nonchalantly, as I don't think he had anymore thrust in his legs. It's a lesson that took me a few years to learn, and it's greatly changed my philosophy on training and racing: Just because you can run uphill, doesn't mean you should. Key word: efficiency.

Now with 10 miles to go, I was confidently in the lead without much concern about any of the guys I just passed. They looked toasted, hot, and running with 1 bottle, whereas I was barely staying hydrated with 2 bottles. The forest was cooking, for sure. To keep me motivated, I imagined Andrew, Josh, or Neil Olson still be fighting to catch me, so I ran as if I wanted to win.

Over the last 5 miles of gradual downhill, I ran as fast as I could while my hamstrings were quivering. Looking over my shoulder enough times, I felt confident that no one was going to catch me at this point. Cruising into the finish line area, I gave several woops and hollers as I crossed the final foot bridge, turned around, and crossed the finish line running backwards.

RESULTS: 4:25:08 - 1st Place out of 269 Finishers
PACE: ~8:31 min/mile

Surprise finish line hug from Sean Hunter! Photos by Long Run Picture Company.

This race definitely reiterated the confidence I have in my running style. By running a smart race, I stayed strong from start to finish and ended up outlasting some fast people. What it comes down to is everyone shows up to the start of the race with the legs they have, and they have to manage themselves accordingly. Sometimes, the fastest runner doesn't always finish first, and "durability trumps talent when talent breaks down". I'll remember this when I run the Wasatch 100 mile race in September.

I'm so grateful for this race and its community, and I'm satisfied to have run a solid race during its 20th anniversary.

Talking with Michael Lebowitz, the man behind the lens.
Photo by Long Run Picture Company.

This would be my 3rd time running the McDonald Forest 50k. The first time I ran the race was 2013, and I immediately fell in Love with the course. The mix of logging roads and technical single track made it tough, yet fast, and the forest is absolutely beautiful. That, and I found myself surrounded by good people, both runners and volunteers alike.

After finishing the race in 2013, I relaxed by the finish line and watched many of the runners do something peculiar. Seemingly most of the finishers would turn around and cross the finish line while running backwards. I heard rumors that they were honoring Scott McQueeney who had died 10 years prior, and that he was known for running a race backwards. I thought the tribute was very touching, but I didn't bother to learn more about the story until after this year's race:

Years ago, Scott's daughter was being tested for cancer. He bet her that she didn't have cancer or else he would run the Portland Marathon backwards. When the test results came back, they found out that she did have cancer, and so Scott ran the Portland Marathon backwards. After going through several months of chemotherapy and treatment, his daughter's cancer thankfully went into remission.

Scott was an accomplished marathoner and ultrarunner, having run over 50 marathons, Western States, Badwater, and countless adventure runs in the Pacific Northwest. But in 2003, Scott ran the McDonald Forest 50k and passed away moments after crossing the finish line from a heart arrhythmia. (source)

For the last 2 years, I've crossed the finish line of the McDonald Forest 50k backwards, not fully knowing the story of the man that I was paying tribute to. Even though I knew next to nothing about this man, I figured finishing backwards would mean something to this community and to those who knew Scott. And since I had heart surgery in 2012 for a heart condition of my own, it reminds me to count my blessings.


Having learned more about Alex Newport-Berra and Scott McQueeney, it makes me really contemplate my own mortality. It's a good reminder to never take anyone for granted, and to always enjoy the moments you have with the people you Love. We live in a day and age where it's so easy to get distracted from really developing a deep relationship with one another (smart phones being one of the biggest distractions). Just remember that the greatest gift that you can ever give someone is your Time.


Thank you Race Directors Ken Ward and Dennis Gamroth, as well as the rest of the race organizers and volunteers for putting on a flawless race! The course markings were foolproof, and the Aid Stations were perfect.


Thank you Trail Butter for the delicious pre-race fuel that kept me going strong all day. I'm truly addicted.


Thank you Float Shoppe for helping with my pre-race relaxation and post-race recovery. I really can't imagine training for all my runs without float therapy, I'm so grateful for it!


Thank you Evolution Healthcare & Fitness for helping me stay injury free and strong inside and out. I'm stoked for your new facility, and I can't wait to spend time in the High Altitude Room for my Wasatch training!


Thank you Ultra U Fitness for the Strength Training For Runners classes that help me maintain a strong core. I've never been to a more fun fitness class!


Thank you Animal Athletics for the support!


My bib number was #13. Taylor Swift's favorite number is 13. Fun Fact.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jbob's Hagg Lake 50k/25K - February 14/15 2015

I hate this race, but I Love this race.

Moe, Shane, Megan, Gordo, and me!
Photo by Lisa Kroth.

Every time someone asks me about the Hagg Lake races, I usually respond with something synonymous with "self-inflicted torture". The race in 2014 was by far the worst I've felt after any race (including the 100 mile races I've finished), because it was so muddy and I was pulling muscles and bruising my feet while trying to finish in the top 3 men.  This race demands a certain respect for the course, because in poor conditions you simply can't run over stumble-fuck your way through it.

Moe and his Larry 5.
Photo by 
Kristen Nelson.
That said, there's a growing number of people who are not only running the 50k on Saturday, but they are coming back the next day to run the 25k as well. Why is that? Some do it to earn the coveted growler of beer awarded to those completing the Double. Others do it...well, let's just say most people do it for the growler. This year would mark the 5th consecutive Hagg Lake Double finishes by Moe Codino, and it would have been Larry Stephens' 5th year as well.

Gordo with his Larry 5.
Photo by 
Kristen Nelson.
Unfortunately, Larry was unable to make the starting line due to a serious injury he incurred just weeks earlier. To honor Larry and symbolize how much he means to this race and community, Moe decided to run with "Larry 5" written on his body. This trend caught on, and many other runners wrote Larry 5 on various parts of their body in support. Some runners also wrote Desiree Marek's name on their bodies because she was also injured and couldn't race the Hagg Lake Double. This running community is super close, and it continues to inspire me how everyone supports one another through both victories and temporary defeats.

Moe's Legs. Photo by Jeff Fisher.


Course Description: A short out-n-back up a gravel hill, followed by 2 laps around Hagg Lake. Here's a video of the course in wet weather.


Photo by Kristen Nelson.
The course started with swift running up the gradually steep gravel roadway. Surrounded by good company and fast runners, we ran as a group for the most part. After the turnaround, we galloped down the hill like wild stallions, running 6 abreast at one point while chatting and cracking jokes. Once we reached the single track trail, we ran in a party train led by Jeremy Tolman.

Jeremy leading the train.
Photo by 
Kristen Nelson.
Now, Jeremy was feeling rather fresh this fine morning...shitballs. He led a pace that was reasonable for any All American steeple chaser and a sub 4-minute mile runner, which he was in his college days. But for a guy like me, my heart rate was uncomfortably high. Even Zach Gingerich (Badwater 135 and Arrowhead 135 champion) was like "are we starting out a little fast"? Probably. Yes. Ugh. Jacob Puzey didn't start this fast last year. I miss that guy.

The trail around Hagg Lake this year was drier than most, which translates to faster race times. In years like this, the podium finishers seem to always be the runners that start out fast and hold on the longest. Being 1 of the 8 front runners in this race, I decided to see if I could hold on. My high heart rate was concerning, and it felt unsustainable for a self-predicted 4 hour finishing time. Only time will tell.

Everyone and their Mums stopped at the first aid station, except for me. That's where I took the lead, followed by Jeff Browning, Tom Brooks, and Nicholas Davis. Since no one else wanted to lead, I took the liberty of dictating a manageable pace while trying to get my heart rate below 170, which never really happened.


The four of us ran together through the first lap, but then Jeff and Tom took off and had a race of their own on lap 2. After ripping off my shirt in sexy fashion and unfastening my bra strap...I mean heart rate monitor...I started racing Nicholas for 3rd place.

After the dam aid station, I noticed Nicholas wasn't running the hills very strong. So, I made a move and jumped into 3rd place while trying to appear like I was feeling fresh. But I wasn't. I was hurting, and for a good portion of the 2nd lap, I wanted to pull over and cry. Through a combination of starting out too fast, having no thrust, and running semi-scared, I was not happy. That's the way it goes sometimes, and there was only one way that I would be proud of my I vowed to keep pushing until I finished. Because I'm Jason Fucking Leman.

In the last 4 miles of the race, there are three long stretches where you can see far ahead of you and behind you. Of course, I spotted somebody chasing me down. Come on baby, hold together. Digging deep, I pushed a push that Salt-N-Pepa would be proud of. I gave one last glance behind me with 1/4 mile to go...I see a dude, but I can't see the whites of his eyes. I'm good.

RESULTS: 3:56:22 - 3rd out of 154 finishers
PACE: 7:37 min/mile

SPENT. Photo by Renee Seker.


Neil Olson finished only 21 seconds behind me, I thought it was Nicholas this entire time! I had no idea Neil was even racing that day until I saw him at the finish line. Every year he runs this race the same way, he always comes from nowhere and one by one hunts down the leaders. He's a smart runner, and if he had one more mile, he may have beat me. Next year, I hope to run like him and give the leaders a head start before hunting them down. It sounds way more fun that way.


After soaking in the lake and hanging out at the finish line, I ate lots of food and Trail Butter, then I drove home to take my nephew to Monster Jam for a bro-mantic Valentine's Day outing. My hip flexors were a little sore from the race, but my legs otherwise felt okay.


The drive back out to Hagg Lake has a very Déjà vu feeling, for obvious reasons. It's less stressful for me because I have less anxiety about how fast I run. For the past 3 years, my Hagg Lake 25k's have been slow, extremely painful, and care-free. This year, however, I was feeling the best I've ever felt the day after the Hagg 50k. Then a little thought bubble popped into my head...

If I'm feeling good, maybe I can break my previous Hagg Lake Double record...

In 2013, my combined times for the Hagg Lake Double were (3:40:53 + 2:19:10) = 6:00:03. If I had a good day, I knew there was a decent chance of beating that combined time.


Photo by Kristen Nelson.
As soon as the race started, I took off. Things were heavy, but I was moving well. Strangely, the trail conditions seemed better today then during the 50k. After the first mile or two, my left hip flexor began to hurt with a dull, but constant ache. To my delight, it worked itself out by mile 5.

Contrary to the 50k, I was actually enjoying my run! My heartrate was about 10 bpm lower, but my pace was almost the same as my overall 50k pace. That was very interesting, and it really made me regret starting the 50k so fast. What I couldn't figure out was why I was running and feeling so good during the 25k race...oh well! At least I was having fun! As I got closer to the finish line, I set 2 hours as my finishing goal. It seemed within reach, and I pushed hard to get under that time. When the finish line came into sight, my legs felt good enough to sprint.

RESULTS: 1:58:43 - 18th overall out of 353 finishers
PACE: 7:38 min/mile
NEW COMBINED 50k + 25K RECORD = 5:55:05

Photo by Kristen Nelson.

My two races were run at almost identical average paces (7:37 min/mile for the 50k and 7:38 min/mile for the 25k). My heart rate for the first half of the 50k averaged 175 bpm before I tore the damn heart rate monitor from my chest. My heart rate for the entire 25k averaged 165 bpm on tired legs, yet my pace averaged the same as the 50k. FASCINATING! Next year, I'm going to run the 50k race like Neil Olson. I'd much rather see if I can pull some kind of ridiculous negative split and finish with a sprint and a smile on my face. That's how I prefer to race, but often times I get so caught up in the competition that I end up letting someone else dictate my race. I've got a feeling this is one of those lessons that I'm going to learn over and over it goes.


Being my 4th annual Hagg Lake Double finish, I earned my 4th growler for completing the two events in the same weekend. If I finish my 5th Double next year, I'll earn a growler with my name engraved on the bottle. I'm hoping Larry Stephens will be hoisting his engraved growler with me and Shane Kroth in 2016.

Photo by Phil Brundage.

On top of running the Hagg Lake Double, Moe also marked the course on Friday, becoming the only runner to ever complete the Hagg Lake "Triple". Why did he do this?! Because he's Moe. He earned the shit out of his engraved 5 year growler, and he celebrated in true Moe fashion by hosting a gathering at Moe's Trunk Tavern in the parking lot.

Moe, Megan, and Shane after the 50K.

Moe after the 25K.
Fitting decor at Moe's Trunk Tavern



Trail Butter is my favorite pre-race breakfast and long run snack. This delicious fuel is #trending throughout the Pacific Northwest, and it has honorable mention by Gear Junkie, Trail Runner magazine, and others. Trail Butter is being sold at these following retail locations, try some if you haven't already!


The Float Shoppe has been a regular part of my training and recovery for the past 2 years. For one, there's so much Epson salts dissolved in the water that it causes you to float, which is a cool experience all in itself. But there are lots of researched benefits associated with floating. Check this place out, it's also Wellness Center featuring Yoga, Acupuncture, Massage, Counseling, and a Community Space.

Float Shoppe Logo


Both of these groups offer running coaching, fitness classes, and adventure runs. They currently both offer fitness classes at the new Evolution Healthcare & Fitness Center. Check them out!


This is a brand new center for Sports Chiropractic, Naturopathic Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy, General Medical Practitioner, Sports Psychology, Personal Training, Strength and Conditioning Classes, Altitude Training, Yoga Classes, Tai Chi, and Nutrition.

That's a lot of stuff. Brad Farra is one of the masterminds of this new operation, and he's been my sports chiropractor and one of my most trusted advocates/coaches for staying injury free with all the running I do. Oh, and the facility has a High Altitude Room that simulates elevations up to 17,000'.

Evolution Healthcare and Fitness


I still find this hilarious. The high five was eventually had.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jbob Musings, 2015 Motivation, and Lessons Learned from 2014

Je suis croissant.

How I felt by the end of October 2014
OMG, 2014 was a blast, but I need to do things a little differently in 2015. What I'm talking about is mostly running related, but there's a whole life/running imbalance that I believe is the reason for my eventual burnout in 2014.

Having completed my 10th ultra (12th race) of the year at the Oregon Coast 50k in October, I found myself burnt out and in much need of a break, plus my tight ass was killing me. My summer was planned as if it were the last year of my life, filling each weekend with opportunities to race, crew, volunteer, or simply run in some magical faraway place. After the Oregon Coast 50k, I hung up my shoes for a month as I recovered from my year by way of hot chocolate, cookies, and almost daily naps. My body and mind were cooked.

This burnout that I felt stemmed mainly in my mind, thankfully. Often times, us ultrarunners push ourselves to injury before we realize that our bodies are pissed off and need a break. But given that I wasn't necessarily injured, my main reasons for taking a break were mainly fatigue, lost motivation, and hardly any social life. It's frustrating how something so fun and rewarding can be so draining, and that's why my life needs more balance.


"Run for Farah!"

Now that it's 2015, I'm finding myself motivated again for another big year. For one thing, I'm only planning on doing 5 races, and the rest of the year will be devoted to running in the Alps around Mont Blanc, exploring the Northwest Volcanoes, dancing (you're invited), and having fun. For me, the most motivating aspect of trail running is that I keep getting faster every year, and I'd like to keep improving and truly discover my potential. That's why I'll be pushing myself to attempt some FKJ records this summer (Fastest Known Jbob). Namely, I have some goals for myself that involve running around or up volcanoes in true FKJ fashion: Fast, dancy, and with Taylor Swift on repeat. I'm dancing on my own, I make the moves up as I go, and that's what they don't kno-ow.. Mm-hmm! 


(you know you want to dance with this guy)

Running has become such an introverted source of energy for me. Most of my training runs are run alone for different reasons, typically because I have no idea where I'm going, how far I'm going, how fast I'm going, or when I'll be home. It's empowering to not to have to rely on anyone but yourself for a day of exploration. But at the same time, the camaraderie of the Trail Running community is a huge reason why I'm in Love with this sport. Love should always be capitalized. I hope I get the chance to run with others more this year between my races and Jbob time trials, because its running with others that can really help rejuvenate my passion for the running lifestyle.

Every year I change up my training and try different things. For example, I now run with a watch or GPS tracker thing to both keep track of my runs and to hold each run to a Jbob standard. I used to just run and not care about gauging my fitness, but I'm starting to see a huge motivational factor to figuring out how fast I can summit Council Crest from my work or how to control my heart rate on longer runs. And I'm totally using Strava now, which has its fair share of followers and critics. I could care less how I compare to others, and I don't give a damn about the motivational trophies....but hot damn, it's one hell of a training tool. Comparison is the thief of joy. Just do your thing.

Another focus for 2015 is to work more on core work and to do some more indoor rowing. I've invested in certain weights that should make it easier for me to jump out of my bed and into my exercises...but I haven't figured out how to wake up early enough to do strength training AND be on-time at work. If I'm late to work, the penalty is $0.25 in the "late jar", so being punctual has been more of a priority lately. Lazy Ultrarunner, a true irony.

If anyone out there speaks French, bonjour! Voulez-vous d' avoir une conversation et le café? Et un croissant? Et une baguette? Et peut-être un peu de fromage? Je essaie d'apprendre le français et je voudrais pratiquer avant que je explore Mont Blanc. Merci beaucoup!


  • For most "first races of the year",  nobody is in peak shape...except for that one guy. Relax and enjoy the run.
Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.

HAGG LAKE 50K/25K (blog) (video)
  • Don't fight the mud, the mud will always win.
  • Blackberry bushes make a poor bathroom.
  • 40 degrees Fahrenheit and raining is cold, wear a shirt.
  • Ice baths help recovery...A LOT
  • You are 60% more likely to wipeout in front of Paul's camera.
Photo by Paul Nelson.

  • Bonking at mile 2 is a terrible way to start a race, but it's better to start slow and finish strong than vise versa.
  • Will Emerson is a smart runner.
  • Not caring about how you place is a great way to enjoy a race.
Photo by Paul Nelson.

  • Juggling a soccer ball minutes before a race is a terrible way to warm up your quads, especially when they were hammered from the day before.
Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.

  • Don't eat 1000 calories for breakfast before the race, or you will throw up at mile 6.
  • Don't start a 50 miler at a fast pace, especially with 1000 calories in your stomach. You will throw up at mile 6.
Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.

MACDONALD FOREST 50K - 3rd place
  • Andrew Miller is a badass.
  • Hokas are terrible in mud.
  • 2 weeks barely isn't enough time to recover from a 50 miler.
Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.

  • Hokas serve their purpose in preserving my legs for a 50 mile weekend with 16,000' of climbing.
  • I probably shouldn't have done the last 25K loop of the race, my knees were a bit shot.
Photo by Samantha de la Vega.

WESTERN STATES 100 MILER - 22nd Place (blog)
  • My Family is awesome.
  • Don't get a deep tissue massage 2 days before a 100 mile race. My hamstrings were still sore for the first 50 miles.
  • Don't consume S-caps when you've never really consumed S-caps before. They're quite potent, and they can fuck with your gut.
  • A fun game: Try to drop your pacer every time they go to the bathroom.
  • I still haven't figured out why I threw up at mile 93, but I felt amazing afterwards.
  • By starting off the race relatively slow (not by choice, my knees were painful in the canyons), I had a strong final 40 miles. By the time I finished, I wished the race were 5 miles longer so I could try to catch more people.
  • I'm immune to poison oak! I think...I haven't tried wiping my ass with it yet.
Andrew and me running stride for stride at Foresthill. Photo by Brooks Leman.

  • Before drinking from the spray bottle, make sure your crew members aren't filling it with grey water.
Photo by AdventureCORPS.

SQUAMISH 50 Mile - 13th Place
  • Don't wear sunglasses for this race, the forest is super dark and dense.
  • Run this race, and you will understand why Gary Robbins dominates at the H.U.R.T 100. The terrain is technical and relentlessly hilly, but holy crap it's fun!
  • Be ready to give a public speech after you finish the 50 miler.
Photo by the Lovely Catherine Yu.

VOLCANIC 50K - 1st Place (blog) (video)
  • Every now and then, you have a perfect race.
Photo by Paul Nelson.

  • This trail is incredible. Do it if you ever get a chance!
  • A supported 3 day circumnavigation is incredibly enjoyable, but it should be treated like a 100 mile race in terms or training and tapering.
  • Stacie is an Angel.
Day 3. Photo by Gary Robbins.

  • Just because you sign up for a race, doesn't mean you should run it. My body was still destroyed from circumnavigating Mt. Rainier just 2 weeks prior, and I probably shouldn't have started the race. Big thanks to Joe Chick for the good company through the long day!
Photo by Glenn Tachiyama, taken immediately after I was
rolling my left ass on a rock for some myofascial release.


I owe a lot to these folks who have been a huge support in keeping me strong, healthy, injury-free, and well fed. Thank you for everything, and I'm looking forward to 2015!


I read "Unbroken" while recovering from my heart surgery, severe plantar fasciitis, and other unfortunate events in 2012. Since then, I've never taken my health, or my life, for granted. I just want to take my legs as far as possible before I can't anymore.

I heard the movie was okay, but the book is amazing. Read "Unbroken" if you haven't already, it's an incredible story.