Friday, August 12, 2016

Yosmite 2016

A few weeks ago Samantha and I went with a few friends up to Yosemite to hike Half Dome.  We set out on a late Saturday night so that we could see the sun rise from the top of Half Dome.

During our adventure on the trail we were getting more and more excited about getting to the top of Half dome.  With about 3 miles left we accidentally took a right turn on the trail instead of a left while we were hiking in the dark.  We started second guessing our direction, but kept hiking.  After awhile it was very apparent that we were traveling on the wrong trail.  We could see Half Dome, but it wasn't in the direction we were heading.

We decided at that point to just keep seeing where the trail went.  We got to the top of the trail we were hiking, and I could see that Samantha was pretty upset that we were in the wrong spot.  At this point our group had split up... Samantha, her coworker Dave, and I were hiking together with Dave hiking a little bit behind us.  Samantha and I started to wonder once we got to the top of the trail, at what time Dave probably figured out we were on the wrong tail, and headed back to find it.

Samantha and I sat down to take a break and get something to eat.  We were in the wrong spot, but we saw an amazing sunrise together.  I told her, "I don't care that we got a little lost, I'm just glad that I'm out here getting lost with you."

As we sat there looking at where we were, looking at Half Dome and the sunrise, we heard someone coming up the trail... it was Dave.

When we saw Dave I started laughing.  Samantha and I pointed at Half Dome and yelled we're in the wrong spot.  Dave was pretty confused.  He got closer and I told him, "We should have taken a left down there, 2.5 miles ago."

At this point I think Samantha and I were fine with not getting to the top of Half Dome and just hiking back to the car, but Dave really wanted to get to the top of Half Dome.  So, we decided to head back down and go up to Half Dome.

I remember when we finally made it to the base of Half Dome.  We were making our way up the cables and the incline was getting a little difficult for me to handle.  I have a slight fear of heights, and figured that this wasn't going to be easy for me.  At one point my feet started slipping on our way up the cables and I was ready to turn around.  We were about 3/4 of the way from the top.  I called out to Samantha, "I think I'm going to head down.  I think I'm done."  Samantha looked at me and basically told me, "I'll see you at the top.  You better keep going!!"

At this point I felt like Samantha's faith in my ability was overpowering my fear of what was going on at that moment.  I realized at that moment, Samantha wasn't the type of person that would let me fail.  When we made it up to the top of Half Dome I was happy to finally be done with this part of the hike.

We went off trail for a little bit, we were super tired, but we eventually got to the top of Half Dome.  It wasn't an easy journey, but it was our journey.

Until next time...


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dirty Dozen 07-09-2016

On July 9th, 2016 I ran the Dirty Dozen 12 Hour Race at Point Pinole Regional Park.  This was my 3rd time in 4 years running this race.

The race is a loop course.  For the first 11 hours you run around a 3.37 miles loop, and for the last  hour they open up a .76 mile loop to insure that all your mileage is counted for the entire 24 hours.

This year my parents went to the race with me (like always) and so did my girlfriend Samantha.  While I was running Samantha hung out and gave me whatever supplies I needed... water, sports drinks, food, etc.  Not only did Samantha help me out during my race, but she was also there to run as well.  Samantha ran 2 separate 10k races while I was running my 12 hour race.  One of her races started at 10:30am and the other started at 4:00pm.

My goal was to run over 65 miles at this event, but I fell short of my goal and only finished 58.49 miles at the end of the day.

I did a lot of things wrong at this event.

The first thing I did wrong was wearing a new race vest and not testing it our prior to the event.  I played with the straps a little, and I thought I had it fitting pretty well... but I never took it on a run before the race.  I ended up ditching my Nathan race vest about 3 hours into the event and just using a handheld bottle instead.  I had plenty of opportunity to run with the vest before the race, but for some reason I didn't.  Over the last couple weeks I have taken the vest out on a couple runs and made the proper adjustments to the straps, and now I'm confident that it will fit really nice at The Headlands 100 this September.

My other mistake was something that I easily overlooked.  I never do my really hard training runs with music, and I've ran my best times without music.  I like being in the moment and paying attention to my run and not having outside distractions when I'm trying to hit a PR, or if I'm just trying to put out a difficult effort during a run.  For some reason I decided that I would listen to music during this race and I honestly feel like this was the worst decision I made the entire race.  After realizing how far behind I was on hitting my goal about 8 hours into the event I decided to run without music, and that seemed to help me gain a little bit on the ground I had lost during the race.

I've found that I really need to focus on running if I want to run well.  Music at times is nice to have, but most of the time it becomes a distraction for me.  I tend to perform better the more I can become focused on my stride, my breathing, and my run in general.  Once I ditched my mp3 player I defiantly felt like I started running better... I just wish I did it sooner.

I have the Headlands 100 coming up on September 10-11, and I feel like I will be ready to run a good race that weekend.  I am a little concerned about the fact that I have never gone this long in between 100 mile events.  My last 100 miler was the Headlands 100 last year (2015).  Ever since my first 100 miler back in 2010, I've never had more than 6 months between 100 mile events.

My hard training for the Headlands 100 will actually start today, right after I take my kids to the all you can eat pizza buffet at Round Table Pizza.  I'm looking forward to the next 6 weeks of training and pushing myself to get ready for the next event.

until next time...


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

4th of July Race (2016)

On July 4th I ran a 4 mile race that was put on by my local running club Sierra Challenge Express.  It's a fun 4 mile race that they hold every year at Woodward Park.

Last year I finished in 26min 30 secs, and I really wanted to run faster this year.  In preparation for the Dirty Dozen 12 hour race that I had coming up a few days after this race (The Dirty Dozen was on July 9th), I started hitting the track with my friend Sunny a few times a week.  The two of us would run 400 meter repeats in the nice 100 degree (usually warmer) Fresno heat.  I was starting to slowly get comfortable running fast again.

On the day of the race my girlfriend Samantha and I got to the park with enough time to relax a little bit before the race and warm up.  I was excited to see how fast I could run at the race.  The course is relatively flat, with just a couple hills in it.  I hit the first mile way too fast (6min 06secs).  I started to ease back on my pace and relax.  I knew a couple miles into the race that there would be a hill coming up, and I didn't want to be burned out by the time I got to it, so I slowed down just enough so I would have some energy for the last part of the race.

Samantha & I after the race.
I ended up being smart during this race. I did not get caught up with beating the person in front of me, but I was more focused on beating last years time instead.  I stuck to my game plan and didn't let my ego get in the way.  Doing this allowed to run more relaxed and I finished the race this year in 25 min 24 secs.  This was 1 min and 6 secs faster that last year.

I felt pretty good at the end of the race.  All the speed work on the track and being patient during the race had paid off.  I finished 12th overall and 3rd in my age group (30-39 years old).

I took a lot of time off from running the shorter local races when I started running ultras, but right now I'm having fun jumping back into the local races and trying to run fast again.  There's a 5k coming up soon that I might jump into so I can try to beat my old 5k personal best time.  I feel like my speed is slowly coming back, and I want to see what I can do.

Until next time...


Hanging out with Sunny & Jason after the race
Sunny designs running shirts and jewelry.  You can check out her stuff at 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Spartan Super 06-04-2016

On June 4th I did my first Spartan Race.  It was very different from any other race that I have done in the past.  We had walls to climb over and under, buckets of rocks to carry up and down hill, barbwire to crawl under... and a bunch of other obstacles that we encountered along the way.

My girlfriend, Samantha, is really into doing these races.  While this was my first one of these events, this was her 17th event.  She really enjoys doing them, so I wanted to share the experience of doing one of these events with her.  I decided to join her at the Monterey Spartan Super.

I really enjoy activities that test my strength and endurance.  I run trail races pretty regularly, I do jiu jitsu a couple times a week, and I workout about 4 days a week.  I enjoy seeing what my physical and mental limits are, and I enjoy trying to reach and push those limits.

This event was 8.75ish miles, and it was pretty fun.  Samantha and I did the entire race together.  We had a lot of fun on the course.  There was a good mix of trail running and obstacles at the race.  The part I enjoyed the most was just having Samantha there along the course with me the entire day.  This type of race was a nice change from running ultras, and having Samantha there to joke around with the entire day was awesome.  It was nice to experience something with her that she loves so much.

I'm planning on running a few more of these races this year with Samantha, but that doesn't mean I'm changing my race schedule for this year.  I still have The Dirty Dozen 12 hour event in July, Headlands 100 in September, The Ronald McDonald House 135 miler in October (Kyle and I are going to make it an easy run and do it as a 2 person relay team), The Joshua Tree 100 miler in October, Two Cities marathon in November, and the San Joaquin River Trail 100k in November.

I will still have a busy ultra running schedule for 2016, and I'm still planning out the route for my Fresno to Washington D.C. run that I'm planning on doing to benefit Free Tibet next year.

I'm pretty focused right now on my training for the Dirty Dozen event, and I hope to put in some pretty high mileage during this 12 hour event.

I also plan on running a few more Spartan Races with Samantha as well in September and November... and maybe December.  It's defiantly going to be a busy year of running.

Until next time...


Monday, May 23, 2016

Training For My Next Race

After a very lack luster run at this years American River 50 miler, I did a lot of thinking about what went wrong during the race.

The first thing is my weight.  I like to eat, and I like to eat a lot.  I went into AR50 a little heavier than I wanted to.  I wanted to go in at about 175 pounds (the weight I feel most comfortable running) but I was closer to 185 pounds.  The extra 10 pounds makes a difference, especially over a 50 mile race.

The second thing that I feel like my training was lacking was good old fashioned speed work.  At the end of AR50 I felt like my legs had no turnover in them.  I feel like my lack of speed work was to blame.

After AR50 I decided to take the rest of April off from hard training.  I ran, but it was just for run.  I ran with a few friends that I had not ran with for awhile, and we just did easy miles with each other.

Now that it's May I've started training for my next race, The Dirty Dozen 12 hour race.  The event is in July and I'm looking forward to putting in a lot of miles at this race.  I've started training, but I'm easing into the hard workouts.  I'm doing weights and H.I.I.T. workouts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.  I'm also starting to incorporate speed work into my runs once again, along with some long runs.

I'm trying to make my workouts as uncomfortable as I can.  I know that the weeks that led up to AR50 I held back a lot on my training.  I'm going to keep my training for this event as demanding as I can make it.  I need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable again.  I need to bring back the training I was doing when I ran the Woodside 50k back in December of last year.

I feel like I'm not as distracted as I use to be.  The last year had a bunch of ups and downs, and I had no idea last year that my life would be like it is right now.

A couple months ago I went on a trail run with a local runner who wanted to check out the San Joaquin River Trail.  I do a lot of my training on this trail, and when Samantha showed an interest in checking out the trail I offered to take her out on a run.  I'm very introverted and find it hard to talk to people most of the time in "normal" settings.  Sometimes I come across as an ass hole, or a snob... but it's just that I feel very awkward and out of place in most social situations. Luckily for me I am able to hold a conversation with people while I'm running.

After getting to know Samantha a little better on the trail, we started hanging out more... and more... and more.  She's very active, trains a lot, is very focused on her goals, and can be very competitive..  After a few weeks a relationship started to develop and we started becoming more than friends.

I'm excited about this years Dirty Dozen race.  While I'm out running for 12 hours, Samantha will run the 10k race that is in the morning, and then she will run the 10k race that will take place in the afternoon.

We are both training hard right now.  Samantha is focusing on a triathlon she's doing this coming June, along with her upcoming solo hike on the John Muir Trail this August.  I'm very focused on the Dirty Dozen and the Headlands 100.

Life is crazy.  At one moment you can feel like you're at the bottom, then at the next moment all of that can be turned around.  You never know what life is going to give you.

until next time...


Thursday, May 12, 2016

American River Run 04-02-2016

So... this blog post is coming very late, but oh well... let's jump right into it!!

On April 2nd of 2016 I ran my 7th consecutive American River 50 miler.  Back in 2010 this was the very first 50 miler that I had ever ran, and I've done this race every year ever since.  This race takes place close to my birthday, so I like to do this event every year.

I had big goals this year.  I really wanted to finish in 8 hours and 30 mins this year.  This would cut about 20 mins of my best time at this event.

I felt that my training was pretty good prior to the event.  I was getting in some good long runs, I was cross training regularly, and my rib was finally healed.  My weight wasn't quite where I wanted it, but it was close enough.  I wasn't back down to 175 pounds (the weight that I like to run ultras) but it wasn't so much over 175 pounds that it made a huge impact on my run.

I was feeling pretty good for the first 25 miles of the run.  My goal was to get the first half of the race done in about 4 hours.  When I hit the mile 25 mark I was only 10 mins behind the my goal of 4 hours.  It didn't feel like that big of a deal at the time, because I really enjoy the second half of this race and was wanting to try to push the pace the best that I could.

After mile 30, the course started getting to me.  My pace kept falling back more and more.  I expected this to happen, especially in the Meat Grinder section of the course.  When I hit mile 37 I was about 6 hours and 30 mins into the race.  At this time I figured that I would have to run a 2 hour trail half marathon, and on fresh legs that's a goal I would totally try to nail... but I was 37 miles into a run and had been running for 6 hours and 30 mins into my run already.

At this point I knew I was going to fall short (very short) of my goal.  The last thing I wanted to do was just lay back and feel defeated about not hitting a time goal, so I did my best to keep running as best as I could.  Unfortunately as I ran past mile 40 I started feeling more and more exhausted.  My legs were feeling super heavy and the desire to run really wasn't there.

During the later miles I felt like my legs just weren't there.  They felt like heavy bricks.  When I would try to run they just wouldn't move.  Looking back on my training, I realized that I didn't do a whole lot of speed work during the last 6 weeks leading up to the race.  I think this was a huge mistake on my part.  My lack of speed work left my legs had no turnover during the important later miles of the race.

At the end of the day I finished the 50 miles in 10 hours and 35 mins.  This was a good 2 hours longer that I wanted to take.

The weeks after AR50 I was able to reflect a lot about what went right and what went wrong at the event.  I took almost all of April off from any hard running and made it a point to just run with some friends and have fun on the trails.

I have my next race this coming July and just started for it earlier this week.  I'm excited to make some adjustments to my training and have a solid run at this July's Dirty Dozen 12 hour race.

Until next time...


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wellbarn Road Run 04-12-16

Today I took my friend Sunny out for a run along the San Joaquin River Trail.  I try to come out here once a week, twice if I have the time, to train and to just clear my head.  I love running out here and always jump at the chance to take people out here who have never been here before.  The trail is only a short 25 min drive from my house in Fresno, Ca.  I tend to do most of my training around a field by Fresno State and at Woodward Park, but I really enjoy coming out here to run the trail.  There's something nice about just hitting the trail and not having any type of workout planned.  Today wasn't about seeing how fast we could run the trail, we just wanted to go out there and have fun.

We were limited on time so we ran out for about 45 mins and then turned around and went back to the car.  
Next time we will hopefully have more time to explore the trail.  It was cool to see how much Sunny enjoyed the trail, and to hear how interested she was to find out how much further the trail went and where it went.

Most of my training is done solo, so it's always nice to have someone to run a few miles on the trail with me.  Since I don't have a 9:00am to 5:00pm work schedule I do a lot of my running while most people are working.  This makes it hard to find people to train with.  I honestly enjoy the solitude that running gives me.  I've always been big on having alone time.  I know that might sound selfish, but I'm very introverted, and sometimes it's hard for me to be around people, especially large groups, for extended periods of time.

As much as I enjoy my solo running, I really enjoy my random training runs with my friends.  I like having someone there to share the beauty of the trail with me.

Until next time...