Frölicking trails since 2010

Frölicking trails since 2010
Frölicking trails since 2010

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.