Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2014 Angeles Crest Endurance Run

I put my hands to my head.
"I can't do this"
My heart beats faster.
"Why did I tell my friends that I was going to finish in 22 hours"
"I don't even think I can finish in 26 hours"

"SHIT, I CAN'T..." an alarm goes off in one of the adjacent rooms. It snaps me out of it and I sit up. My heart starts to calm down. My mind slowly starts to clear as I prepare for a LONG day.

Derick Gallegos, Jack Rosenfeld, Kara Clark and I get into the car to get some fresh coffee. I still need to check in one last time and participate in Hal's prayer before the race begins. I feel better now as I am surrounded by friends and comrades. I walk around the start and position myself in an area that will give me the best opportunity to chase my goal.

The countdown begins and we all take off. I decide to take the opportunity to push near the front before the first steep climb to the Acorn trail. I had initially told myself that I would hike all the ups until I hit the top of Baden-Powell. Why???? because at Sean O'Brien 50 miler I talked to Tommy Neilson about how fast he hikes up the climbs and in the discussion he talked about his techniques at AC100. I finally hit the trail head to Acorn trail and saw Tommy start to run the ups; MY PLAN HAS CHANGED. I start to run the ups and hike the sections that look too steep. I pass Joe Nakamura on the way to the top of the first climb and I knew that I would see him later on since he is a strong runner. I continue my pace and decide that I will hold this pace no matter what, I just hope my crew doesn't get mad at me and tell me to slow down. All of a sudden I'm running behind Ruperto and Schulte.

uhmmm YEAH... this is definitely NOT a good sign.
I should slow down.
Noooo...Fuck it...I'm going to stick to this pace and just work harder in the end if I have to.

I hear the cheers as I run into Inspiration Aid Station. There are tons of people as I quickly scan for my crew. They hand me a bottle and send me on my way to the next aid station. I wonder what their thoughts are as I came into the aid station.

I'm not going to lie...I was super stoked to see all my friends, their smiles and hear their words of encouragement.

I run most of the section to Vincent's Gap Aid Station. I still feel good, but how I handle this next section will determine my race. If I run it too fast then I will blow up and have a horrible second half or I can give it too much respect and waste too much time. Once again I hear all the cheers and see my friends as I cross over the 2 Highway. I see my crew, they take my bottle, give me words of encouragement and put a freshly dipped in cold ass water hydration pack on my back.

I start the hike up Baden-Powell and start to eat the watermelon and nutter butter cookies that my crew gave me. I only eat half and decided to eat the rest as I get near the top. With my new plan I start to run the sections that look runnable. I get behind Andy Pearson and Shulte. FACK!!!!!! doubt starts to cross back into my mind as I should not be near these two, especially Andy. WHY?????????WHY am I behind these two and still feel like I hadn't pushed it too hard. I eventually make a risky decision to pass them in hopes that I did not regret this move later on. I continue up the climb and run into Dominic Grossman, who is either having a rough moment or I AM GOING TO FAST TOO SOON. I justify to myself that Dom is having a rough moment and pass him to continue the climb. I finally hit the top of Baden-Powell and start the long descent towards Islip Saddle Aid Station. It wasn't long before Dom came screaming past me; the back draft nearly threw my off the trail.
9 lbs down..What??

I enter Islip Saddle and walk up to the scale. I expected to be a couple pounds under, but I was shocked when the guy from the Ultra Medical Team (UMT) told me that I was 9 pounds down. My initial response was the all to typical "No Way," but  there it was in front of me. We both stared at each other, I was waiting for him to lecture me or hold me, but then Derick told me to get off the scale and get moving. I preferred Derick's response so I got off the scale put on my pack and continued.

I started the climb up Mt Williamson and had planned to take this section as I did at Baden-Powell, fortunately a friend reminded me to calm down and take it easy. He knows how to run 100's very well so of course I drop into a steady hike. Not long after I start to feel the effects of the water loss as my calves start to cramp up. I've been in this situation before so I just start to drink more water and my legs start to feel better. Rupert passes me and encourages me to keep going. I must not have looked so well at this point, but I reassured him that I had no intentions of dropping. Thankfully I had made the necessary corrections to enter Eagles Roost Aid Station feeling better.

The next section was the dreaded Cooper Canyon. I feared this section as I was told by my Coaches that it would be the hottest section of the course. Cooper canyon is exposed and the air is stagnant which leads to a HOT climate. I stopped at the last creek before the climb out into Cooper Canyon. I take my shirt off and dip it into the creek and put it back on. All of a sudden I feel this cool breeze pass by me. Today was definitely not going to be like any other AC100 race. Cooper Canyon was not hot at all. With the cool breeze I knew I could push the pace more and made it to Cloudburst unscathed.

I would have a smooth and somewhat eventful run from Cloudburst to Chilao Aid Station. During this section I would reminisce of all the training runs I previously did with my friends. I pass through three points relatively quickly and mentally prepare myself for the last major climb to Mt. Hilyer. I hit the asphalt road and my diaphragm decides to get tired; my breathing becomes labored so I decide to walk a little more. Jorge passes me and basically glides up this section. Dammit!!! I decide to pull a 1 (walk):1 (run) minute ratio, which turned to a 1:2 and a 1:3. My breathing is still labored, but at least I'm moving better.

Still 9 lbs down..BOOO!!
I coast into Chilao and  jump onto the scale hoping for a better outcome. Once again the UMT guy and I had a staring contest as I was still 9 pounds down. The good part was that I hadn't lost anymore weight, but I really needed to manage my water intake better. I made a quick shirt and shoe change for the last half. Jack put on his luna sandals and got ready to pace me to Chantry. I did question his choice, but knew he would be fine. He better be fine cause I was not going to wait for him. Ironically the only issue he had with the lunas was on the least technical, not really even technical, downhill section after Shortcut Aid Station...irony is amazing.

By now Andy and his pacer McCool caught us before the climb to Newcombs Saddle. I was actually surprised that I had been in front of Andy for this long. He did pass me at Eagles Roost, but I somehow passed him in....I don't even know when. After Newcombs I used Andy and his pacer to dictate my pace to Chantry. I did expect them to drop me, but I was somehow able to keep up. I even used Andy's pacer to decide when to eat a gel or a salt pill. Before we got near Chantry I asked Rob to remind me to start drinking my water, I was not going to be 9 pounds or more under 155. Fortunately Andy reminded me as we started the hike up to Chantry and I slowly (understatement) kill my bottle of water.

We eventually hit Chantry Aid Station which is the last time I will be weighed. I jump on the scale and it's UMT Victoria. I met her when we worked an aid station at Old Goats. She stares at me as she warns me that I am....5 pounds under weight. I internally scream with JOY, it's about f'n time I got my sh!t together. I sit down and argue (like a CHILD) with my crew who is forcing me to eat chicken noodle soup; I did not want the noodles...dammit. I eat some of the noodles so I could go with Derick and finish the last 25 miles.

I purposely asked Derick to help me with the last 25 miles. Downhill running is definitely not my greatest skill, but I have been diligently working on it. Derick sets a good rhythm on the lower winter creek trail. We ran the majority of this section and hiked all of the upper winter creek trail. I took a DEEP breath once we hit the Wilson toll road. This is it, from here to the finish is what I trained for. I am slightly bummed as this is also the section where I expect numerous runners to pass me. Derick and I try to coast down Wilson and I quickly realize that I should have been training on running downhills during the night....THIS IS SOO HARD (TWSS).  I struggle as I try to find my rhythm to Idlehour Aid Station. It feels like forever and then all of a sudden I see my friends. I'm stoked to see them and I can feel the same vibe from them. I haven't seen most in a long time so I want to stay and chat, but my desire to finish the race by now (actually RIGHT NOW) got us out and into idlehour.

There was a lot of hiking/running/hiking in this section to Sam Merrill. I feel like Andy is catching up and ask Derick if we can start running more of the ups toward Sam Merrill. Derick basically tells me to chill out and save my legs for the downs. I stick with Dericks plan and hike to Sam Merrill. That last mile to Sam Merrill feels abnormally long, as if I'm on an escalator that is going in the wrong direction. We finally hit Sam Merrill, refill our water, chat a bit and get on to the finish.

Everything hurts now and I am releasing the pain vocally. Derick keeps a formidable clip as my body struggles to keep up. He warns me of every section that I need to be careful on. I start to kick basically every rock as my legs get heavier. I want to QUIT running and start walking more, but I look forward and see the effort that Derick and my crew gave to get me here. I continue to release the pain vocally and even screaming at times.

Derick and I finally get to El Prieto trail which is one of the best signs since you are basically done. Okay..NOT really as this section just doesn't seem to end. It also has these pavers that hurt EVERYTIME I step on it. Brian Fuerst would later inform me that they are for the bikes to prevent them from rutting out the trail. My body HURTS and I feel like I can't move. We eventually hit the last section of ASPHALT. I try to remember my training in the 'Hurt Locker," I posture up and start kicking my legs back, but I feel like I am going nowhere. My friends would later tell me that we were flying into the finish line, but I totally felt like the tortoise (think Looney Tunes).

Photo by Bernard Falkin
With the help of my crew I finally made it to the finish within my goal time of 22 hours. It's amazing to think that earlier that morning I was scared to think that I could not do it. I really do owe it to Kara, Jack and Derick for keeping me up on my nutrition. I also owe my friends endless gratitude for helping me train to get ready for AC100. My friend Heidi also showed up with one of my favorite dogs; Heidi drove an hour and a half to watch me finish at 3:00 in the MORNING.

I am beyond stoked with my performance. I am also dumbfounded when I look at the people who I finished with....SERIOUSLY...never in my wildest dreams.

Jack, Me, Kara and Derick
I am still waiting for Derick's alarm to go off.

Turning RED as Hal puts me on the spot

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cactus to Clouds to Cactus

  I'm sitting on a rock looking south east towards Anza-Borrego. I can't help but wonder how everyone is doing out there as they prepare for the Salton Sea race. I also wonder what kind of conditions they will meet as I recall the conditions of 2013. I think about who will win the race and by how much will they beat "Team Coyotes" time from last year. Badwater is also having their immersion seminars today; how is Kate and Jimmy doing? I also ponder about what kind of experience Angela will have at Massanutten 100.

  You may be wondering why I am sitting on a rock and thinking about so much. The truth is that I feel like crap and need to get my mind off of my funk. I need to chill out and recollect myself and decide if I will push further towards the summit or call it a day. The run started off so well, WHAT happened?

  The first mistake I made was treating this run like all my previous runs. I am currently working on my metabolic efficiency training (MET). Part of the training requires you to eat differently during training runs to help improve the fat/carb burning ratio. My training has been going really well since my water consumption and nutrition needs have decreased; there was my mistake. Did I also mention that I had been mostly training on flat land? Did I mention that I LIKE to run up mountains? Well you probably guessed it by now, I had burned through all my carbs around mile 5-8. I am 2 miles from the saddle with about 22-25 planned miles till I finish.

  The lesson I learned is that I need to give up on my nutrition plans and adjust them according to the terrain, elevation and how fast I plan to complete it. There was NO reason why I should have eaten as if I was on any of my other runs. I brought gels and I should have been using them during the climb.

  The second mistake was that I expected the conditions to be A LOT colder. It had rained the week before so I expected there to be ice in Long Valley and by Wellman's Divide. I brought a pack, which I don't normally use, with a bunch of gear in preparation for the icy and possible cold conditions. There was NO ice and it was warm, bordering on hot. What I didn't account for was the extra water I was losing from sweating so damn much from wearing the pack.

  I learned that I should bring a third bottle for this type of climb. Mountains are notorious for being completely different than you expect. The weather can even change in an instant.

Side note: I still didn't learn from my mistake with water until after I did "The Octopus" run and nearly ran into the same experience.

WOW!!!! I expected to learn more lessons from this, but upon reflection it doesn't seem to bad.

  I ended up making it to the summit with only half a bottle to get back to the tram. I figured that if I ran out of water then at least it would only be one mile to one and a half from the tram. When I got back to the tram I went straight to the shop on the third floor and bought a mountain dew. I chilled on the balcony for about a half hour as I drank the soda and contemplated if I would continue the run back to the museum.

  As I was running down the tram pathway a couple was cheering me on. The girlfriend said that she wants to be like me when she grows up. I yelled back that I didn't even want to be me at times. We both laughed and went on our way.

  I finally got the saddle and knew that after I descended that this would be it. I would have no choice but to coast to the museum. The run down went really well. I was feeling really good, but I wanted it to be over with...like not now, but RIGHT NOW. I ended up running out of water again before I reached the museum. It was hot and the sun wasn't going down fast enough to build any shaded areas.

  I finally got to the museum and smiled as I looked back towards the summit of Mt. San Jacinto. It was a rough day, but I was glad that I did not stop and that I made it out ALIVE.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Metabolic Efficiency Training

Metabolic Effitiwhatika…..

I had just finished the Sean O’Brien 50 mile race and my next race isn’t until early August, Angeles Crest 100. This leaves me with 5 months of training. With so much time in between I’ve decided that I was going to play around with my training and try to improve my Metabolic Efficiency. I will not go into detail assuming most of you heard what it is, but here are a couple podcast links if you do not.

There are a couple tests that are recommended if you plan to use the metabolic efficiency training. This first test is the blood lactate test and the second test is the VO2 max test. The two test combined can give you a better idea of how to train and why the metabolic training is a GOOD idea. I set up an appointment with Gareth at Trio Labs in Brentwood (Los Angeles), CA.

BLOOD! Lactate Test

Of course, the test is not as dramatic as the title from what I experienced, but others may beg to differ.

From what I understand, lactate is a fuel source for the muscles, but at some point the lactate builds too fast that the muscles cannot use it fast enough. I was told to imagine a cup overflowing with water.

There are two methods to take a blood lactate test which is the stationary bike or treadmill; I chose to use the treadmill. In this test you start off slow and Gareth will slowly increase the speed. Every so often Gareth will ask you to jump on to the sides of the treadmill and take a tiny blood sample from one of your fingers with a blood lactate gadget. Gareth will use the lactate levels and heart rate at specific speeds to plot the points on a graph.

The blood lactate test is used to determine the different aerobic levels. Each level is a different training zone which helps to design a training schedule. A good example of a training schedule is the 80/20 Rule. I plan to train in zone 1 & 2 80 % of the time, leaving the remaining 20% to be used for zones 3 thru 5.

What it means to ME

The blood lactate test basically told me that at my current aerobic level I should be training between 129 – 154 beats per minute (bpm) which should be around, but not over a 7:48 pace. If you didn’t listen to the links, in metabolic training we use the heart rate to determine stress levels not how we feel during the run. This is the zone that will allow my body to strengthen its aerobic base, which in turn will allow me to run a faster pace in the same bpm zone.

I figure my training zones would look like this.

Data includes VO2 Information

VO2 Max Test or the Test from HELL

The VO2 max test is used to measure the volume of oxygen one can consume while performing at maximum capacity. Trio labs use this test to determine what types of fuel is being consumed at any given speed. The goal is to burn a high percentage of fat versus carbs for as long as possible. This data in conjunction with the blood lactate data gives a refined direction of what one would need to do for optimal training. The lactate test by itself is like a plain map, however, when it is combined with the VO2 max test it turns into a shaded topographic map.

Originally we knew that I should be training somewhere between 129 – 154 bpm, but we can clearly see that my optimal training is at 145 bpm. This is where I use the most fats to carbs ratio and lactate levels stay low. Using the 80/20 rule, I would be able to use this data to significantly improve my body’s metabolic efficiency and performance.


Metabolic training is a great idea since it forces you to build a 6 week base. After the 6 weeks you would start to incorporate the speed training. This prevents a person from getting injured from training to hard too soon after races.

In two months I plan to go back to Trio Labs to see what kinds of improvements have been made.
I also plan to log my training data such as training days, meals, etc.., but I still need to figure out how to go about logging it all and how to represent it.


·         Lower lactate levels at each point.
o   Move the 1.1 under 1 mmol
o   Lower the 2.7 & 5.3 by correcting my running form at higher speeds.
·         Reduce my beats per minute at higher speeds.
·         Move the metabolic efficiency point (Fat and Carbs Intersect) towards the right.
o   Improve the body’s ability to burn fat at higher speeds.

What I Need to DO:

·         Include more protein in my pre-training meals.
o   I will probably wake up early and make 2 eggs with buttered toast.
·         Reduce consumption of beer.
o   NO WAY am I stopping.
·         FOCUS…FOCUS...focus on training in Zone 1 for 6 – 8 weeks.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I watch as the Race director fiddles with his gun trying to cock it so that he can pull the trigger so I can pull the trigger. Instead, I hear "PULL" and everyone takes off and in the midst of confusion I follow. I flinch as the gun goes off behind, it was louder than I had expected, even-though, I didn't think he would still pull the trigger.


I told myself that I would hang back with Jack and Kate to protect myself from going out too fast. I would try to wait till the half way point and then pick up the pace to finish strong. I'm following Kate on this screaming downhill and all of a sudden I am in front of her and Jack. Now I am nervous, the last two times I ran in front of Kate was at the Leona Divide Marathon and Ray Miller 50/50 and both times I BLEW UP. Granted I am way more experienced this time, but I am still known to do ridiculous things; I cant help it, it plays out perfectly in my head.

I turn down the bike path and there are ONLY 2 people ahead of me, this is not a good sign.

Took the lead
My mind is telling me that I'm going to fast, "CHILL THE F OUT"

My heart is telling me that I got this' "GO...GO..GOOOOO"

Naturally I followed my heart and pursued the two runners in front of me, eventually passing one. My mind and heart battle it out as I continue the pace. I tell myself that its okay and I will follow the first guy so I don't have to run a course that I don't know by myself. Then the first guy stops at a turn to talk to his crew and I pass him. Now I am LEADING A FREAK'N MARATHON and now my mind is questioning everything.

Got to have one Ridiculous photo
I keep running trying to hold my pace around 7:00 minute miles as I'm trying to finish around 3 hours. I forget all the negative thoughts in my head and just maintain focus on the course markings (please be good...PLEASE be good course markings). It wouldn't be long before I could relax once I noticed that this course will be marked well. They even had markings that pointed to the banos. Now all I had to do was focus on drinking every mile and eating a gel every 45 minutes.

Every so often I would cheer up as I would see Jimmy, Steve and Heidi. It's nice and comforting when you can see friends every 3-5 miles.

I would have a relatively uneventful run until the finish, other than the diesel rigs passing within inches of me with their tailwind feeling like a wall and the climb up Spooner Pass towards the finish.

I knew the end was near when I saw the "HOWL" on the floor and when I looked up I saw Jimmy and
Steve running away towards the finish.

I WON A FREAK'n marathon (3:26), which is one of those things that you don't expect to ever happen, but a part of me knew that the possibilities existed. This was one of the lessons that I learned from when Katie DeSplinter won her first 100. All I needed to do was keep trying hard and it could happen.

I was also reminded of how bad it hurts to finish a marathon.


I told myself that I would survive today. I was sore from yesterday, but felt that I could feel better when I'm about 3 miles in. The difficult part of today would be the first 10 miles since it was downhill, my nemesis. I expected a lot of people to be in front of me and hoped to catch them later on.

I watched as Kate flew past everyone and eventually disappear into the downhill. I expected this to happen and started to wonder how fast she would take the course and beat me. I would keep focus on my form so that I did not annihilate my legs for when the flat part came.

I don't know when it actually started , but I would start to feel pain on my upper foot. The Nike Frees were irritating the (corrects glasses with pointer finger) extensor longus muscle and the tibialis anterior muscle, and YES I busted out my anatomy book. The sucky part was that there was nothing I could do at the moment that could relieve the pressure; looking back I could have cut a slit down the middle.

Anyways...I would keep grinding trying to hold my pace or improve it so that I could better my time from yesterday or get close to it. I would eventually catch up to Kate, who must have been having a rough moment and try to hang. Kate and I would Yo-Yo back and forth for a while. I would pass Kate on the uphills and Kate would pass me on the downhills.

This course was EATING ME ALIVE, but luckily I had company and Steve and Heidi would show up to crew.

Weird  Side Note: Jack must have been having a hard day cause I swear there were moments where I would not see Steve or Heidi for a long time Or the two of them stopped at a bar or something.

I would eventually finish 2nd overall behind Micheal Wedel who won his first marathon as well (CONGRATULATIONS!).

OH SNAP....there is that pain again...hobble..hobble..hobble.

Kate would still take the women's lead and 4th overall.

We went down to the water to chill the legs for 10 minutes where I would sit on a rock that had a craw fish or lobster or whatever it was (IT HAD CLAMPS) underneath. It would keep walking underneath the shadow of my legs switching from one side to the other as I would keep moving my legs for fear of it striking. GO AWAY!


I can't believe it's still Saturday and I will have to run 72 miles, but I told myself that today I will coast. I expected this section of the Tahoe Super Triple to be the easiest of the 3 since I was going to be run a conservative pace. Unfortunately, I did not find the time to get some sleep (facepalm).

Heidi and I left the Inn around 8:30 to find the start line of the 72 mile run. Jimmy told us to drive until we see a bunch of cars parked on the side and lights within the trees. The start line was in an awkward spot where you had to walk through the trees and duff to get to the bike path. I stood with a crowd of others until Lucia said go and we took off following her until she threw us back onto the 89 Highway.

This is the same as before except that my shins hurt and one of the guys blasted off. I ignored him and focused on my pace. I would see Jimmy and Heidi every 3 miles, talk to cyclist and listen to random cars yell at me.

I remember passing by the Inn where I saw Jack and Kate. They asked how I felt and I told them that I was hurting. This sucked cause my quads did not hurt and felt quite good, but my shins did not.

I continued to coast seeing Jimmy and Heidi every so often. Eventually, Dave Carder and Michelle Crews would make a drive out to Tahoe and help Heidi crew. Dave would help pace me up Spooner Pass, which I requested to help me stay true on the climb and not take it too easy. I was surprised at how fast we had climbed the pass, but by now I was verbally complaining about my shins.

My Shins HURT and now I have to run down for 10 miles. I suffered through the 10 miles, stopping every-time I saw the crew vehicle to try and massage the pain away from my shins. I also had to trade out my shoes from a planter issue that arised...I WAS FALLING APART.

We finally reached the flat part where I would try to continue running, but couldn't. I was now 30 miles into the 72 and called it quits.

I had an amazing experience at Lake Tahoe. It was fun to run 2 of the 3 marathons with Kate, Jack and Nicola. It was fun to hang out in the freezing water talking and joking (Kasia swam in this water). I enjoyed the presence of everyone around the dinner tables with the conversations.

Thanks to Jimmy Dean Freeman,Steve Schuman, Heidi Christianson, Dave Carder and Michelle Crews for helping me chase my goal. Thanks to Kasia Gondek for being crazy and willing enough to help crew and still help her other friends at the 3rd marathon. Last, thanks to everyone for sharing a part of your life's moments to enhance mine.

  1. Wear running shoes with more support (No Nike Frees for race day...for me)
  2. Eat more solid food with high protein after the race and for dinner 
  3. Work DILIGENTLY on Downhill technique.
  4. And find that 2nd gear that I know exists

Ridiculous photo #2

We all Rocked Nikes and
I had them airbrush my leg for definition

Soaking in the FREEZING water after EBM

Snap shot while waiting for Nicola's smile as she finished


Monday, September 2, 2013

Inaugural #DirtyTrails Fat Ass

I woke up to house feeling disgustingly HOT. This was already a bad sign of what may come. I pondered if it would be a better idea to cancel the Fat Ass run knowing the heat that may come. Would I be able to manage the HEAT? It was 5 am, it was already hot and I was about to go run 30 miles at Mt Baldy.

I convinced myself to go and continued to get ready. With the warnings of friends I decided to take my pack and shoved two water bottles inside, I would carry two handhelds. This left me with plenty of water to make it to the Notch and Ski Hut where I could refill, if necessary. I shoved the almond butter in my pack, drank my coffee and was out the door. Oh yeah, can't forget the wilderness pass.

I parked at the Icehouse Canyon entrance and waited for the rest to arrive. As I waited I debated what type of effort I was going to give this run. Do I go all out or just keep it mellow? I had already put a lot of miles this week, 40ish from running and 120 miles from cycling to work; my legs were tired. I also have a race near the end of September that I want to give what my every effort at. I decided to take it easy, but this was already predetermined when I put on the New Balance 110. I wear this shoe because I like minimal shoes, but mainly because it forces me to take the run less seriously for fear of injury.

Everyone showed up, we had a quick briefing and were off. The majority of us would stick together till we hit the Ranger Station. From here Marshall and I would slowly pull away from everyone. I chose to stay behind Marshall because if I got in front off him I knew I would start to push. After Marshall and I hit the split rock I got in front and the obvious happened. I started to pull away from Marshall, but that was okay cause I figured that I would wait for him now and then. When I neared the top of Baldy I looked back to see where Marshall was and he was GONE.....FACK! What the hell happened? I would eventually convince myself that he had waited for Derick and Jack.

SIDE NOTE: It was warm and humid up to the split rock, but this was about to change. After the split rock we would run into a cloud which was nice and cool. This made my my drenched shirt feel so good.

As I stood at the summit I decided that I would keep going. I didn't know how long the weather gods would grace us with this cloud. I would now push the pace a little more to finish this run before it would get hot. I ran down the backbone trail, waiting for hikers to cross certain sketchy parts, and continue to run. When I got to the first ski lift I stopped and ran around a but confused as to which trail was the correct one. I saw a single track that shot straight down to the notch and a fire road. I finally chose the fire road, recalling it being a part of the Tom Harrison map description. I made it to the notch and walked around the building till I found the water, which was inside the building.

I refilled and took off down to the Ski Hut trail. Every corner I turned I felt as if I had missed the trail. I was going to hit the waterfall and have to back track. By now it is getting warm again, the weather gods were punishing me for making good time, but I wanted to finish before it got worse. BOOM, the ski hut trail showed itself to me and I shot up it. This is it, my last ascent to the top and the rest would be a cake walk. From here it would also be a difficult climb, especially when I would hit the Baldy Bowl. I kept telling myself to "swing my arms and quick short steps," like Keira would power hike. I did slow down before the Ski Hut as I talked to this older guy about the NB 110.

suffer...suffer...SUFFER and I finally made it to the top. By now I felt like bummed that I was by myself and hoped that I would be fortunate to run into someone I knew. BIDDLE!!! YES, I am so glad to see you. I felt more joy when I noticed that Jenna and Panthea (birthday Girl) were there. I saw Panthea bundled in a blanket and noticed that I would most likely be freezing any minute too. We chatted for a while, Jeff gave me another almond butter, I said my "see you laters" and was off. I am going to finish this run before it gets HOT.

On the way down I ran into Jack and Derick. They asked where Marshall was and I told them that I thought Marshall was with them....Dammit Marshall. I knew he would be fine, but I felt bad for leaving him behind. I told Jack and Derick later and continued to push. I am almost done, all the hard work was finished. One more climb up Thunder Mountain and a long descent to the parking lot. 

I made back to the notch and saw Luis, Brian and Phillip. I stopped to chat and refill my bottles one last time. They described the last climb and disappeared. I was envious that they would be finishing the run soon and I had one more climb before I could fly down to the finish. I pushed up the climb to Thunder Mountain which was a boring climb compared to the previous ones. On the way back to the notch (last time) I ran into MARSHALL. 

I was happy to see that he was okay even though I knew he would be, or at least I kept telling myself that. We chatted for a while. I told him about the boring climb and he told me that Luis, Brian and Phillip had just left the Notch. I thought they left, but this whole time they were eating and being merry. I also told MArshall that I was now trying to catch Krissy Moehl. Marshall said that I could do it and catch the other three; with resumed confidence I pushed a little bit harder. I passed the last lift and saw the other three running down.

I didn't think I would catch them, but I eventually did. AND THEN I hit pavement, I was immediately reminded about how well I feel when I run on pavement with NB 110's. I had to put all my focus on perfect running form and accepted that this was going to HURT. Every step hurt as I tried to keep a fast pace and this road WOULD NOT END.

BOOM! I finally finished the Inaugural #DirtyTrails Fat Ass (Mt Baldy 50K) in 6:53:38. I also felt good and not thrashed from what I just went through; this was not the case on the following Sunday and Monday.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Watch me turn red as over 200
 people sing happy birthday to me.
I had literally waited a year to run San Diego 100. I had settled on the idea after an impromptu pacing session with Greg Lanctot, but the main reason was definitely because it started on my BIRTHDAY so I would easily get my birthday mileage in. The only thing I did not know was that the race would be like Clint Eastwood's movie "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Well not really ugly).

Jack and I arrived at the Mt. Laguna Lodge to check into cabin 1. The cabin was huge with three bedrooms and lots of places to sleep, with the only drawback of ONE bathroom. I was stoked to finally be here, but disappointed that Ray "Fucking" Sanchez could not make it to the race. I definitely would have made sure he got the one bedroom next to the one bathroom. From Jack and I (mostly Jack) would start prepping the gear for tomorrow. Jason Healey would show up later and hang out; he would be volunteering at Pine Creek 1 & 2. Louis would show up later that night also, but I would be asleep by then.


This would be short lived as I would crash sooner, I mean WAY SOONER, than expected. I took off with every intention to stay away crowd and run a pace that I probably shouldn't have, but wanted to test a couple things. I felt good running into Meadows and knew that I was doing exactly what I wanted when I heard Greg Lanctot's comment as I ran past him. Of course, Jack is telling me that I am running to fast to slow down. I tell him that I feel good and take off to Red Tail Roost. This part was mostly flat so I make sure not to speed up to fast and to be careful, but before I knew it I was at Red Tail Roost...What The Hell.

I walk up to Jack and once again he reminds me that i am running to fast and to slow it down. He then tells me to drink water before I leave because my skin was dry. I think that I am fine because I normally run in hot conditions where I live, but we all know where this is going. Chris Gilbert-chan lifts a jug of water to my face and says "DRINK MORE WATER, DAVID." I reluctantly grab the container and take three big gulps of water...not gonna lie, it was A-mazing. I then grab my stuff and take off at my previous pace, against the directions of my crew.


FACK.....not even a quarter of a mile after Red Tail Roost that I start to feel sluggish. I should have only had 1 big gulp and not 3 big gulps of water. This was definitely my fault because I didn't drink enough water and then I drank too much water at once... I'm such an idiot. I would keep trying to run until my stomach would start to hurt and then walk and repeat. The crappy part was that every time I took a in more water my stomach would be agitated, but I did not want to get behind on water. i was getting frustrated as about a million people were passing me and that the course was run-able, but my stomach....DAMMIT. I would finally pass by Erin and Jeff, oh the joy of familiar faces, and stop to sit and share my misery (Thanks for listening). By now I had my mind set on dropping when I got to Pine Creek 1, but first I had to get there. I eventually got to Penny Pines and sat down to see if I could get my stomach to calm the F down. After about 10 minutes I started to walk over towards Pine Creek. On the way I would see Brian and Jason, YES! more familiar faces, so I stopped and chatted with them a bit and let them know of my intentions to drop. Brian told me that he would kick my ass if I did so I told him later and continued on my journey. I then saw Steve pouring water into a container and decided to take a moment to use the water to cool down. He was kind enough to hold the lever down as I splashed water on myself. I told him thanks and took off to Pine creek. I still was not able to get rid of the stomach issue and continued with my run..walk..run, but mostly walking. I'm probably mind fucking myself by now because its hot and i'm walking which means it will take me longer to DNF and the chances of my water lasting is slim....SLIM. Oh Yeah...I'm still being passed by tons of people. I finally get to a stream that I use to cool down and it felt great. I have about a mile to go before I get to Pine Creek so I start to run more than walk and possibly the worst thing that could happen before you plan to DNF is to....FEEL BETTER.

Once I got into Pine Creek they douse me with the coldest water, wrap a handkerchief with ice around my neck and sit me down. They did an amazing job helping me out, cooling me down and getting me the necessary nutrition. I told Jimmy of my previous plans to drop and he said "No, to just cool down and keep going." I left that aid station feeling 10x better.

THE UGLY (Well not really)

I start the 5 mile loop feeling better and knowing that I had to be careful since this section is HOT and I do not want to back track. Surprisingly I felt that I took this section well as I was now running more than I was walking an before I new it I heard Kate and Jason's voice, I was already back. I got into the aid station and cooled myself off for the next ascent, which would be the toughest climb of the race. Jimmy told me to run it as we did at the Salton Sea and knew exactly what he meant. I reluctantly leave the aid station by my mindset is changing for the better. From here I would hike..run..hike..run..eat cold popsicle (dry ice cold)...repeat run/walk. Holy Shit, I feel good and I am RUNNING. The views here are spectacular, but I have to keep my eyes focused on the trail so that I don't fall.

Then my ears hear the beautiful sound of Chris Gilbert-chan screaming. I finally made back to Jack and Luis...things are gonna change for the better I can feel it. Jack and I talk about my nutrition and time as Luis gets me food and soda to drink. I ask Jack for two bottles with vitargo before I head out towards Sunrise and take off. I'm guessing that my stomach must have been sensitive because the mixture tasted so strong, that I had a hard time drinking the fluid. This caused me to slow down and fall back into my funk, but this time I knew that once I got to Sunrise Aid Station that I would get my pacer. Only one person passed me on this section so I didn't get in to bad of a mental funk.

Volunteer help cleaning my horrific feet.
I finally walk into Sunrise  and i'm happy to see my friends. I change out my socks, shoes and shirt. Jack helps me with my gear and send Luis and I off. I tell Luis to get in front and run and I will try my best to hold his pace. I don't know what made him decide to pick whichever pace he did, but it was the perfect pace for me....THINGS ARE CHANGING. Luis and I pass around a turn and I see Josh Specktor, so I yell at him calling him a "Sexy Beast" and telling Elan to make him run. I know that Josh is having a hard time, but read his blog cause he has an epic comeback. We would continue running until we hit Stonewall Mine where I would see Jimmy and Kate, both of whom will be pacing me later on. Luis and I take off from here and head off eventually making it to Paso Picacho where I Kate would take over pacing duties.

Kate and I leave Paso Aid Station and take off back into the darkness. I ask Kate to lead as Luis had done previously, letting her dictate what pace I should be running. Once again, I do not know what made her decide on that pace, but it was perfect. I am finally starting to pass other runners and we are making good time. The trail would make sure that Kate and I both pay the trail gods homage before we made it Sweetwater Aid Station. Thankfully we did not get hurt during the fall and were able to get on pace.

We arrive at Sweetwater and it is Mother F'n COLD. I talk to Jack as I try to get some soup down into my system and mentally prep for the next section. Kate and I take off at a nice pace and continue on our journey to Sunrise. We chat about our hilarious adventurous from the past. All of a sudden Kate looks to the right and starts yelling "Hey" repeatedly. I know that she saw something, but I we don't know what. Then she catches the glimmer of it's eyes and as it slowly crept side ways and turns it head toward us.. I FREAK OUT cause it looked like a mountain lion. My heart dropped as I looked at Kate and screaming that its a lion. Then the it turned its head more and we notice that it was just a dear. So we laugh about it a continue to the elusive Sunrise Aid Station.

We finally made it to Sunrise and Jimmy took over pacing duties from here. I let Jimmy dictate the pace, if anything was ugly about this section it would have to be how much it hurt to keep Jimmy's pace. I know that if I was by myself that I would have walked most of the 20 miles back. Jimmy taught me that I could continue running even though it hurts, a valuable lesson for my future races. Jimmy would keep feeding me positive thoughts as we passed a lot of people. Eventually, we would make it to the finish line of SD100 and my first completion of a 100 mile run in 24:23.

Jason, Jack, Kate, Scott, Me, Angela, Jimmy, Luis



  1. I will take a nice drink from my bottle every mile so that my bottle is empty by the time I get to an Aid Station.
  2. Man up and still drink the vitargo cause it is mainly water, even if the taste is too strong.
  3. Even if it hurts and my mind says to walk that I CAN keep running.
THANKS! for reading my recap and i'll see you on the trails.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

#14 on right leg of shorts. #BWSS

BWSS: Team Coyote
Each step I take while standing in one spot is slowly compacting the ground and the sea is starting to come up [This is gross and I want to get out of here before I sink in]. The ground is made up of mostly, if not entirely, fish bones. It's the starting line of the Badwater: Salton Sea  Race. I am here with 14 other teams, 3 runners each, and we are listening to the National Anthem which is followed by the count down...Three....two...one...and we are off.

Start Line - Time Station 1

Chris Kostman pulls along side of us in a black SUV with a confused look and asks Jimmy, "I thought you guys were racing." Jimmy looked back at Chris and reassured him that we were racing. Team Coyote was hanging out in the pelatoon, while Sole to Soul and Miami Thrice had taken off. Jimmy used this opportunity to chat with the other runners, while Ray used this chance to hang out with team AAA Sugar.

 I didn't talk much as I was in my own world absorbing the moment. We would run along the streets of Salton City until and not see our crew until a little past 6.5ish miles, but first we would have to go under a bridge [I hope there is no troll that asks 3 questions before you can pass].  We past the bridge, with no troll present [thank god], and saw our support crew, Kate & Angela, for the first of many exchanges (every 3 miles). We turn right onto Borrego Springs Seaway and run for a long time. This would be the last time I would see any of the other teams, except for Sole to Soul and Miami Thrice.

Time Station 1 - Time Station 2

After 14ish miles we finally arrive at the USN Microwave Tower and team Sole to Soul and Miami Thrice are within sight. I am slowly watching Miami Thrice close in on team Soul to Sole and it will not belong before they eventually pass. We are all still relatively fresh and going through our routine exchanges with Angela & Kate, who by now have everything down to a science. We eventually pass Sole to Sole and catch up with Miami Thrice. From here on we would adopt the phrase "West Coast vs East Coast" as we would be constantly changing lead position. We would eventually see life as we pass by the Anza-Borrego school. The kids would cheer us on as they waited in line to enter there classroom. From here we would turn left by the school and [BOOM!] I had my first issue with my nutrition plan. My stomach could no longer take the jelly beans/gummy bears. I wish I still had gels, but used them up earlier in the race. I figured i would hold off on the solids and eventually try to re-introduce them slowly later on.

Time Station 2 - Time Station 3

We had just passed Borrego Spring Resorts lobby when my earlier decision came and bit me in the ass. I reluctantly had to ask Jimmy and Ray if we could walk for a minute. I really needed the time to mentally prep myself for the suffer-fest that I was about to put myself through knowing that my legs just wanted to walk. Miami Thrice caught up during our walking an break. Luckily for me, they had my shades that i had dropped, only they know where. I'm feeling slightly happy which changes to happier when I see Angela & Kate. Now Miami Thrice is in the lead and we decide to follow them to the trail head and through the trail. From here we would eventually go through Borrego Springs main shopping area were Jimmy would eventually be yelling at a Lady who would NOT hear him and almost hit Ray.

Time Station 3 - Montezuma Valley Road

It is now around 46 miles and my suffer-fest has left me dazed 'n confused. I wonder if Angela & Kate can tell? I ask for my recover rite mix and my pack since it will 8.5ish miles before we see them again. I rinse myself off with water to cool down and get the recover rite that I poured on myself earlier thinking it was water. I throw on my pack and follow Jimmy and Ray up the trail.

The trail was beautiful as he hiked up the switch back trying to keep up with Miami Thrice, the only team who KNEW the trail. Miami Thrice is charging up the trail and gaining distance on us [CRAP!]. I no longer refer to them as East Coast, but now call them [B]east Coast. I eventually tell Jimmy my nutrition issue and he shares his vitargo mix with me. All of a sudden a slight breeze hits us with sprinkles of cold rain drops. Everything is starting to change for me; I am cooling down and feeling my energy come back. [B]east Coast is out of sight and we are only reassured that we are on the right track when the trail decides to give us a peak of them here and there. We follow around a bend and [BOOM!] ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. The breeze changed to gusts of F'n COLD wind and the sprinkles turned into as FULL onset of FREEZING WATER. Now we are throwing our shirts back on and running, still only catching glimpses of [B]east coast and now foot prints. Jimmy had become our official tracker like the Native Indians in the old western movies.

Montezuma Valley Road - Times Station 5

So happy to see the road and even happier to see Kate & Angela. Jimmy yells at us to change into dry clothes which I am all too happy to oblige. Crap! it is so cold I'm starting to shake and now my teeth are chattering [I feel like my teeth want to crumble from the chattering]. Thankfully the crew helped me get into dry clothes and into the van where we would wait for team Miami Thrice to make a move....like now...or now...how about now. Okay apparently Miami Thrice was probably hoping that we made the first... oh wait they are out of their van and running.

Side note: They said we were in the van for 20 minutes, but it only felt like 5 minutes before I had to jump out into the frey.

Of course we jump out and pursue the leaders, who would disappear when we hit the crest of the road. At this moment I thought, "There is no f'n way they just bombed this downhill and gained that much lead." I notice the van on the right and realized that they had jumped back in. I don't recall if this was the moment Jimmy went to give the Miami Thrice's crew advise or if he would tell them later. What i do recall is that we would keep on running in our feeble attempt to get warm. Fortunately it was downhill from here for awhile.

Time Station 5 - Time Station 6

Jimmy's screaming "NO" over and over again as if he is talking to Spirit. I am also screaming "NO" and squirting water [my precious water] at this Pit mix is chasing us. I am thinking in my head..okay this dog is going to stop now... okay, now...oh my god dog stop chasing us and go HOME. This dog would chase us for almost a mile and only stop when it ran by a fence with other dogs, in which it turned and barked at them. The dog would eventually look back at us, but just stare at us as if debating to pursue us once again. After the dog incident we would shuffle along with no major occurrences till the end of the race. Ohhh yeah... my legs are sore but am somehow able to keep up with Ray and Jimmy.

Time Station 6 - Finish Line

CLIMB...climb....climb....is what we will be doing from here on out. It is dark and every mile after it is getting darker, foggy, misty and Cold. Fortunately we were able to get warm from between station 5 - 6, when the Mother Earth decided to grace us with the presence of the sun. We are walking and I feel bad because I cannot walk as fast as the other two so I ask if we could do more running. Jimmy ups our intervals and I am able to keep a better pace were I feel like I am not holding them back.

Side Note: By now I have to take deep breaths [with a grunt here and there] because it is starting to hurt more as I run, but do not want to walk because I feel to slow.

Chris Kostman pulls along side and takes some photos, even manages to find a cat's face on the street. He then takes off to wait for us at the Finish Line. We are finally met by Kate & Angela, by the fire station, who literally run us [PLEASE RE-VISIT SIDE NOTE] into the finish. There is no more deep breathing, but only pain being released with every exhale I take. BUT as in any race it didn't matter anymore as we crossed the finish line as the TEAM we are. West Coast may have been the Best Coast, but the East Coast will always be the Be[A]st Coast.

I would like to THANK Angela and Kate for being the foundation of our successful journey that day. They literally had all of our stuff ready and were able to get a quick turnaround and keep us progressing forward.

I would also like to thank Nike for supplying our race uniforms. There has to be a law against coming out of an 81 mile race with no blisters on my feet.
I'm pretty sure Jimmy won the first set

Of Course Ray still has ENERGY to burn
I would also like to thank Chris and Laurie Kostman for their hard work and diabolical ideas which give us an adventure and great stories, as well as their Staff.

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