Sunday, September 24, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

Lunch & Races

Today I got lunch with my ultra running buddy Sheri.  Our friendship began somewhere around mile 30ish at American River 50 miler back in 2015.  We started talking during the race and Sheri asked me, "don't you work at the Fleet Feet in Fresno? I think you helped me a couple times."  After we started talking we decided to run the rest of the race together.  We instantly became friends and started running together once the race was over and we got back to Fresno.

Back in April of this year we ran American River together once again.  We decided before the race even started that we would run the entire event together.  Sheri and I haven't seen much of each other since April and we decided to catch up and get lunch today.  Sheri mentioned a few races she's interested in doing this coming 2018. One race she mentioned is the Way to Cool 50k. I've never ran this race before, but I'm thinking about joining her.  I've always thought about doing this race, and now I have a reason to do it.

It's fun to have races planned out that I want to run solo, and run fast... but it's also fun to find events that I can run for fun with my close friends.  It's nice sharing the trail with my good friends, catching up, and just enjoying being out in nature.

Until next time...


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Today's Run 09-21-2017

I planed on finishing up my blog about Headlands 100 today, but that didn't happen.  I was going to go for a training run with my friend Sheri, but her Achilles tendon has been bothering her so she decided it would be best if we planned it for another day.  My Achilles has been bothering me as well, but I'm not as smart as Sheri.

I decided at the last minute today to head up to the San Joaquin River Trail and go for a run.  I haven't ran hard on the trail in a long time, and figured I'd try to do that today.

As I mentioned earlier, my Achilles tendon has been bugging me, so I knew I would have to listen to my body and see how things went.  I knew that I would have to take the first mile easy and see how things would warm up.

I'm happy to say that the run went well.  I was able to run relatively hard with almost no discomfort.  I'm not writing this entry to talk about my Achilles, I'm writing it to talk about my run... the important part of my run.

Over the last couple weeks I've been thinking a lot.  I've sat down with a few friends over the last 2 weeks, we've talked about life, death, what this life and existence might mean, what's important in life, what's not as important in life.

I wouldn't call my self a religious person, but I would consider myself somewhat spiritual.  I think it's hard to run on a trail, in the wilderness, and not feel like there is something bigger than you out there.

I love runs like the runs I had today, where I'm by myself, just running as hard as I can on the trail... completely focused on my surroundings... my breath... every step I take on the trail... where you feel like you're part of the trail... and completely at one with the moment.  For me, this is the closest to a religious experience that I will get right now.

Running hard on the road or track is one thing, running all out on the trail is another.  For me, it takes 100% of my focus on the trail or I'll land flat on my face.  That's what I love about running hard on the trail, when I'm 100% focused on it, the trail is an amazing experience.  Running hard on the trail, through the trees, with the river in sight, in the middle on nowhere, just going where the single-track takes you... it's amazing and sometimes overwhelming.

When I'm in that zone on the trail, I'm not just running, I'm feeling alive!!!  I'm able to clear my head, feel focused, happy, and feel level headed.

I though a lot about my life today.  The people that have come and gone, people who I have pushed away, people who have walked away, the ups and downs of life, and where I've been and where I might be going.  I've been going through a lot of self-reflection over the last few months.  There are many things about myself that I know I need to improve on... that I want to improve on.  I'm very far from being perfect (and never will be), and very far from being the person I would like to be, but I have time to make adjustments to try to be that person.

I've spent most of my time the last year training on the road, on the track, and at the park.  Today while I was pushing myself on the trail, I realized how much I miss taking the time to drive a little bit out of my way so that I can run by myself in nature, away from everything and everyone.  I forgot how centered and refreshed I feel after a hard trail run.  I'm definitely going to make it a point to hit the trail at least once a week right now.

I have a road marathon that I'm training for right now that will require a lot of long runs on the road, and speed work on the track.  With that beings said... I'm still going to try to get up to the trail whenever I can to keep myself centered.

Until next time...


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mental Game

The other day I finished my 8th Headlands 100 ultramarathon, and I believe my 21st 100 mile race.  The Headlands 100 was my very first 100 mile race back in 2010, and I've gone back every year... and I've been lucky enough to finish the race every year.

I have a very small group of friends that I train with.  It's always been hard for me to be in large groups.  I like having my space and being able to be in my own head... most of the time.  One of the many things I love about trail running is that I'm able to see friends and run with people, but it also allows me to be outside in nature and run alone if I want to.

The tricky thing about a 100 mile race is that I'm stuck in my own head-space for just about the entire run.  Sometimes the hard part about being in my own head for the better part of 29 hours and 30 mins, is that anything that is bugging me in my life is now right in front of my face.  I had a lot of "dark moments" over the weekend.  There were demons that I felt like a couldn't shake, and sometimes the dark miles just kept piling up upon each other.  I had plenty of times during this race where I just wanted to stop and scream my head off.  I felt like I wasn't strong enough mentally to finish, and I wasn't sure if I even wanted to run ultras anymore.  There were times in the early parts of the race (the first 50 miles) where I really kept debating with myself if I should just quit... not just the race, but running all together.

Sometimes the darkness is so overwhelming you can't remember what the light looks like.  You feel like you're holding on by a single thread, and that thread is about to snap.  You try to remind yourself that these feelings will fade, and that it will get better.  You need to just keep moving forward and pushing, even if you don't want to.  It's a lot like life, if we let the dark spots overwhelm us, that's all we see.  When we are in the middle of struggling, it's often easy to lose hope and we forget why we started this journey in the first place.  Giving up seems like the only option, because we forget that if we just keep moving forward we will make progress, and that if you keep pushing through the rough spots... it does get easier.

Life, a lot like running a very far distance, will have it's ups and downs.  The trick is to realize that you will have good and bad times, and that you need to enjoy the good times while you are living in those moments... and to realize that the bad moments will pass.

I had to remind myself several times that I had already finished this race 7 times before, and that I could pull off one more.  I had to remind myself that it's o.k. to have a bad mile, or 2, or 3... or even 10.  I had to remind myself why I started this journey in the first place back in 2010.  I needed, and still need, to prove to myself that I can do something that sounds crazy.  I need to accomplish something that a normal rational person wouldn't even be able to comprehend.  ...and if I can inspire someone to do something crazy, something that they are unsure about, to try something that feels bigger than they are... well, I guess I will feel like I've accomplished something worth accomplishing.

until next time...


Friday, September 8, 2017


I'm sitting in my hotel room with my friend Chris,  trying to clear my head and relax. I need to get to bed soon. Headlands 100 will start in just under 10 hours. I need to be up at 5am, so I really need to head to bed soon.

It's crazy how much my life has changed in the last year, 2 years, 3 years, since 2010 when I first ran this event.

I've had so much positive and negative in my life... I can't help but wonder where I'll be next year at this time.

So many things run through my head when I run this distance. The hard part about this distance isn't only the physical aspect, but the mental aspect is what will make or break the day.  Can I keep my head together, fight through the lifetime of emotions that often play through my head.  Being in your own head space for over 25 hours straight isn't always easy.  Sometime the random dark demons come out, and sometimes they stay around for miles and miles.

I want to finish faster than I did last year.  All I could think about this morning is that I'm going to have to embrace the discomfort tomorrow, and see how well I can push myself without physically and mentally breaking down.

Buddhists in Tibet believe that the further and more difficult a distance you travel to
Holy places, the greater the spiritual reward... I can't help but feel like this race has become that yearly journey for me.

Well... I could write more, but I should get to bed.

Until next time...