Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tailwind Nutrition Giveaway!

I have discovered a bit of a secret weapon that has gotten me through the Buffalo Run 100 miler and the Zion 100. This weapon: Tailwind Nutrition.

I started using Tailwind as my primary fuel for long runs around six months ago. Ever since then I have not had to worry about taking any Gu packets or salt tabs. All the calories, potassium, and sodium are just there in the drink mix. And it tastes good. I was able to do this at the finish line after running 100 miles:

You can read my full review of Tailwind HERE. I purchased the Tailwind Challenge with each of their four flavors: mandarin orange, lemon, berry, and naked (unflavored). I really like each of them.

What I love about Tailwind is that it's a family business with beyond awesome customer service. They said they would like to give away one of their large bags + a Tailwind water bottle to one of my lucky readers. It is a huge 50 serving (100 calories per serving) bag and you get to choose the flavor!

It's easy to enter. All you have to do is:
1) Be a blog follower (just click that Join This Site button on the right side of the blog).
2) Like Tailwind on Facebook (HERE is their link).
3) Leave a comment here on this post saying what flavor you'd like. (I'll give you three extra entries if you share on your blog or Facebook. Just say you did that in your comment.)

The contest will end in one week on Tuesday, May 7th. If you don't want to do this contest stuff, you can visit the Tailwind website to order for yourself. I promise you'll love it as much as I do.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Grasshopper Almost Poked My Eye Out

On Saturday I went for my first run since the Zion 100 a week ago. All the kids were at a birthday party for three hours. Three free hours = grab the running shoes NOW!

I headed to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. Much to my pleasure, desert paintbrushes were popping up everywhere!

During the Zion 100 there were endless miles of slick rock that pulverized my legs. During that time I may have muttered a number of times "If I run on slick rock ever again it will be too soon." And yet one week later I found myself back on some rolling red slick rock.

There were, no joke, nineteen googillian grasshoppers EVERYWHERE. With every step grasshoppers went flying everywhere. That's cool. No biggie. Then a grasshopper torpedoed at my eye and knocked my contact out. I was able to sit on a rock for five minutes and salvage the contact. It's all fun and games until a grasshopper shoots your eye out.

It was 90 degrees outside and I was positively roasting. My legs are not back to good running condition yet, but that's no worry. I'm perfectly willing to give my legs all the time they need to recover. Even a crappy run can't be that horrible when you're surrounded my scenery like this.

On the way back I came across this cool rock formation that I had never seen before. It is definitely handcrafted. And definitely big. And definitely awesome.

All in all, the views were worth going through the Grasshopper Apocalypse. Next time I'll wear goggles. Finally, here is an interesting quote in this month's issue of UltraRunning Magazine:

"The mind has to be as strong as or stronger than the body to run ultras. There is always a point where the race surpasses a physical activity and becomes a protracted mind game. Your brain sends signals to the body; the body sends signals to the brain, and the mind of the ultrarunner has to declare them all lies and continue onward." ~ Heather Anderson

Friday, April 26, 2013

Of Hallucinations

“Have you ever had any hallucinations?”

When a coworker or acquaintance hears that I have run a few 100 milers, one of their first questions is often “Have you had any hallucinations?” Although that question is usually proceeded by:

1) “Why do you do that? I don’t even like to drive that far.” (I have to justify all those cinnamon rolls somehow.)

2) “How can you be an ultrarunner without a long, flowing, Jesus-like beard?” (Why do you think I always finish toward the back of the pack!”)

But I digress. Hallucinations. Have I ever had any? Until recently, not really. I wish I had some cool story about Papa Smurf popping out of the woods to run a few miles with me. Or that a unicorn flew in riding a rainbow and offered me a bowl of Lucky Charms. (Unicorns smell like Lucky Charms and love.) Or that some Care Bears showed up with a big screen television and we watched Judge Judy together. Sadly, none of those things have happened.

Although at the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 last month I did have a moment where I felt like someone slipped some acid into my Mountain Dew. It was around mile 90 and my amazing pacer Jared Thorley had me running harder than I ever have that late in a race. I was feeling exhausted but pretty good. (“Pretty good” = I felt like I accidentally slipped off the Empire State Building. As opposed to “Pretty bad” which = feeling like I accidentally slipped off the Empire State Building, got ran over by a Greyhound Bus, and then vultures pecked at me like road kill.)

As I was running along the trail it felt like I floated outside my body. I just floated a foot above myself, watching this nerdy white boy run down the trail. I knew that feet were running below me but I couldn’t feel them. I heard myself saying things to Jared, but it sounded like someone far away yelling through a tunnel. It was beyond strange. I didn’t like it. It was way less enjoyable than running with Smurfs.

I heard myself say “I feel really weird. I think I’m going to pass out.” Jared’s response was exactly what I needed to hear. “You’re not going to pass out.” he said which a chuckle. “Just keep running.”
I didn’t, indeed, pass out. And I did, indeed, keep running. All the while thinking “I just want to sit down and watch Judge Judy with some Care Bears.” Just keep running my friends.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zion 100 Race Report - 2013

I ran my fourth 100 miler over the weekend, the amazing Zion 100. I would like to present some awards for the race:

And the award for Feet Most Closely Resembling Bruised, Blistered Vienna Sausages Goes To....myself. (I actually got lucky, I saw feet in way worse condition than mine.) I'll take you back to the beginning, when my feet were looking less Vienna Sausage-ish.

And the award for the Top Thing I Don't Want To Do at 3:00am goes to......waking up! I decided to take the early start option because I didn't want to be flirting with cutoffs. After a few hours of running in the dark I saw my first sunrise of the race. I ran every one of those miles with my friends Shacky and Vanessa who also took the early start. Here they are in that first awesome sunrise (one of my favorite pictures of the race):

And the award for the Top Thing That Makes Me Insanely Jealous Of Someone goes to.......big, scruffy beards! This is Vanessa, Shacky, and our other running partner - Shacky's beard. I want one of those when I grow up. We kept a steady pace the whole time and I was having a blast running with these guys.

And the award for Most Likely To Make You Cry Like A Little Girl And Start Sucking Your Thumb goes to.......the trail to the top of Gooseberry Mesa! We reached this mountain around mile 18. It climbs around 1,200 feet in less than a mile. It is vertical. It is agony. For some perspective, this arrow is pointing to someone down below.

And the award for Most Likely To Almost Make You Forget That You're Curled Up In Fetal Position On The Side Of The Trail goes to.......the view halfway up Gooseberry Mesa. The views are breathtaking. Errrr, wait. That crazy steep trail was breathtaking.

And the award for Most Likely To Fake A Smile While His Lungs Are On Fire After Reaching The Top Of Gooseberry Mesa goes to........Cory Reese! This is around mile 20.

And the award for Cory's Favorite Boston Marathon Tribute goes to.......runners carrying batons during the whole 100 miles which will now be sent to the families of those who died or were critically injured during the Boston Marathon bombing.

And the award for Best View Ever - And I Mean Ever goes to......The Point on Gooseberry Mesa. Although your legs definitely need to pay their dues to get here, the views are beyond description. This course is my backyard. I am blessed to be able to train here. It made me feel so happy to be sharing this awesomeness with so many other runners.

And the award for Most Likely To Suck Out Your Life, Soul, and Will To Live goes to.......the next 12 miles on Gooseberry Mesa. The rolling, jagged slickrock just shreds your legs. You ask anyone who ran this race and they'll tell you the miles up here were some of the hardest they've ever run.

And the award for Best Wife Ever Who Has Already Earned A Ticket Into Heaven goes to........my wife, also known as Mel. She was my crew chief and came to give moral support and supplies at most aid stations. I was beyond happy to see her at mile 31. I am so thankful for her. I love her more than cinnamon rolls, naps, and Slurpees. COMBINED!

And the award for Most Encouraging Person Wearing A Pink Shirt At Mile 35 goes to.......Jill! After 33 miles Vanessa and Shacky weren't feeling so hot. (Those miles on Gooseberry destroyed their legs and they made the wise decision to drop at mile 52 to avoid injury.) So after 33 miles I headed out on my own. At mile 35 I came across my friend Jill, the world famous blogger at http://runwithjill.blogspot.com/ who gave me a needed boost to get to the next aid station. The value of seeing a familiar face can't be overstated.

And the award for BSE (Best Sister Ever) goes to........Rudy from the Cosby Show. Man. That girl is funny! The other BSE is my sister Hollie who paced me from miles 41 to 61. I had been feeling pretty good up to this point but I could feel the engine starting to slow down. She kept me going.

And the award for Most Likely To Make Your Stomach Revolt goes to......the climb up Grafton Mesa. I think I got a little behind on calories and fluid and felt so yucky. This was my first big wall of the race. I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. I was completely drained of energy. I was sore. Those are the times when you need to try to turn off your brain because your brain is yelling things like "If you already feel this crappy, how are you going to keep going for another 50 miles?!?!?" Still, you have to try to stay positive.

And the award for Food Most Likely To Be Found In Heaven goes to.......Nutella! I used Tailwind as my primary fuel which works awesome. I just let myself get behind. When I got to the next aid station I had three cups of Coke, two cups of goldfish crackers, two big pickles, some chips, and this little slice of awesome that will surely be available at all buffets in heaven: soft bread slathered with Nutella. After all that stuff, I was feeling much better.

And the award for Friend Who Is Questioning His Sanity After Volunteering To Pace For 20 Miles On A Difficult Trail In The Middle Of The Night goes to.......my friend Logan Murphy! Logan spent all night with me leading me through the Guacamole Trail. That section of the course is very challenging and it was freezing and the middle of the night. I'm so thankful for his help.

And the award for Best Deception In The History Of Running goes to........my friend Turd'l Miller and the crew at St. George Running Center who manned the aid station at the Guacamole Trail. Turd'l said "Hey Cory, do you want a cinnamon apple pancake?" Wow. That thing was seriously amazing. It was gone in three seconds flat. Then he said "How about a raspberry pancake?" My response - "Definitely! Wow, you guys have quite the food selection up here!" Then a girl walked up and whispered "You know that he's just pouring Hammer Gel on the pancake, right?"

And the award for Best Crew Imaginable goes to........my crew! These guys followed my progress all over the course and got me through some dark times. I had another really low point in the middle of the night. I kept falling asleep mid-stride. I made sure to not let on that I was starting to feel discouraged. I just wanted to hurry and get to the finish line but I couldn't make my body go any faster. I still had 19 miles to go. I couldn't let these guys down. This is Mel, me, Logan, Hollie, and my mom who has also become a crewing expert after having worked the Buffalo Run last month also.

And the award for Most Thoughtful, Caring, Energetic Aid Station Ever goes to.........the Walsh's. At mile 83 I reached Whiskeytown, the aid station at the home of my friends George and Melissa Walsh. They told me at mile 10 that they had a cinnamon roll waiting at their house. I thought they were kidding. And yet when I got to mile 83 I realized they weren't kidding. Their kindness really touched me. (And that sugar rush got me through another mile or two.) This was the first time someone giving me a cinnamon roll ever got me choked up.

And the award for Most Likely To Have A Panic Attack On The Side Of The Trail goes to......Hollie! By this point Hollie had re-joined me for the last 18 mile push. (She ran around 38 miles total!) As I watched the second sunrise of the race (that sounds crazy) at mile 85, we were in the middle of the highly gnarly Flying Monkey Trail. We came to a point where we had to grab a rope to shimmy up a rock. She isn't a fan of heights but she survived.

And the award for Most Likely To Make Me Forget I've Run 89 Miles goes to........my boy Jackson! The crew met us at the top of Smith Mesa, the last big climb of the race. My son Jackson was there too. We had a little out and back section of three miles that Jackson joined me for. Those three miles were very special. I'm glad I was able to share that time with him.

And the award for Hardest 5 Miles Of The Race goes to.......the last five miles. During the Buffalo Run 100 last month I cruised the last five miles. That definitely didn't happen this time. This was the lowest of all my lows. I was at that point where my knees were shot. My feet felt like I was walking on hot coals, and I was falling asleep again. In a marathon, most people hit the wall once. During 100 miles, you hit the wall hard multiple times. This one was a doozy. I didn't know until afterward that Hollie snapped this picture. It's slightly embarrassing, but pretty accurate about how I was feeling.

And the award for One Of the Happiest Moments Of My Life goes to.......seeing my family as I neared the finish line. A few blocks from the finish line I saw my family. My kids held my hands and ran me in to the finish. I will never forget this moment.

And the award for Best Thing That Has Happened In 31 Hours and 20 Minutes goes to.......reaching the finish line! I was so happy I knelt down and kissed the ground. (Note to self: it's much easier to get down than to get back up.)

And the award for most uncoordinated jump at the finish line of a 100 miler goes to.......me. I managed to cut almost 4 hours off my time from last year, and the new course is much more difficult. I credit the faster time to simply PERFECT weather. I honestly don't know how I finished last year with temps that touched 100 degrees. Cooler weather is definitely something to jump about.

And the award for Top People Who Want Nothing More Than They Want A Bed goes to......me and my crew. I could not have made it to the finish line without each of them. They each played a critical part in the fact that I finished the race.

And the award for Best Ultramarathon Belt Buckle In The History Of Ultramarathons goes to........Matt Gunn and his race, the Zion 100. Each belt buckle was different and used materials from the course. I let my kids help me decide which buckle to choose. This was what we decided.

And the award for Most Difficult And Beautiful Race Cory Has Ever Run goes to........The Zion 100. There were a few kinks in last year's race with course marking. But this year the marking was flawless. The race organization was perfect. Matt has created a premier race in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

I got lots more pictures from the race which I turned into a fancy little video. You can watch the Zion 100 journey here:

"Rewards are on a level with the effort, and the effort is extreme." ~ Red Fisher

Monday, April 22, 2013


I finished the Zion 100 on Saturday. And I didn't even throw up once. Boom!

It was the experience of a lifetime. I experienced an enormous range of emotions: nervousness, excitement, joy, "Please dear Lord, let a car run over me and put me out of my misery," (I swear to you, that is an emotion), and incredible gratitude after making it to the finish line after 31 hours.

I'll have the full write up and lots of pictures tomorrow. Peace out.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Live Tracking For Zion 100 Tomorrow

If by chance you're interested in tracking my progress during the Zion 100 tomorrow, there are a few ways you can do that. The race starts Friday at 6am and the cutoff is Saturday at 2pm.

Zion 100 has a live tracker that updates when the runner reaches 19, 31, 57, and 82 miles. Last year it was hit and miss so we'll see how it does this year. To access the live tracker go to: http://zion100.wordpress.com/race-day-info/track-your-runner/ . I am bib # 119.

A more reliable way to track might be to visit my Facebook page HERE. My wife will be posting periodic updates and probably some pictures.

Right now the weather is looking perfect. It should be a great weekend for a 100 mile adventure. Hopefully by 2pm on Saturday I will have made it to the finish line like last year.

See you in 100!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon Tribute at 100 Miler

I am saddened by the tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon on Monday. I would be shocked and saddened by anything like this happening. But to have it connected with the sport I love makes it sting a little more. I am so thankful that none of the friends I had running Boston were hurt.

I just learned about an awesome tribute to remember and honor those who were injured or died at the Boston Marathon a few days ago.

The idea sprouted out of conversations among runners and Matt Gunn, the race director of the Zion 100. Less than a day after this terrible tragedy, some blue and yellow batons were ordered. Enough batons for everyone who passed away or was critically injured at Boston.

At the Zion 100 this coming Friday, these batons will be carried by runners over the course of all 100 miles of the race. Each baton will have a personalized name and will be sent to them or their family after the race. So cool.

One of the things I love most about running is the camaraderie, the friendships that develop while working toward a common goal. Runners are family. We stick together. We are strong and won't back down. I'm glad we will have the opportunity to remember and honor those in our running family that were affected in Boston.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Four Days Until Zion 100! & The Flying Monkey

This past week was the busiest taper week I've ever had. Mel went to Hawaii with her mom and sisters. I stayed home wrangling the kids. It was a very busy week at work. Very busy week at work. Kids. Ceiling fan installation. Be the taxi for girl's acting class. Go to son's baseball games. Gymnastics. Dance festival. Merit badge class. Try to run a time or two. Being a single parent wore me out!

I did manage a few runs. A 6.5 miler with my friends Shane and Karrie. A five miler in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve with my four-legged black Brillo Pad running partner:

I was so happy when Mel returned home late Friday night. We celebrated with a three miler in Confluence Park.

While out there our four-legged family member Jack photo-bombed our picture. Not cool Jack. Not cool.

I think Jack decided to keep his distance after that photo-bombing stunt.

After that I headed out for six solo miles on the Flying Monkey Trail. See that mesa in the background? It's called Smith Mesa. In the 1950's they launched monkeys off the edge of the mesa to test jet evacuation seats. Now you know how the trail found its name:

The trail to the top is positively brutal. It is steep, technical, and unrelenting.

This 2,000 foot speed bump is at mile 85 of the Zion 100. "Feel the burn" is an understatement.

The views up here are unparalleled. Take my word for it - pictures don't come close to doing justice to this scenery.

Only four more days until the Zion 100! I am nervous, scared, and excited for the hardest race I've ever done. Can't wait.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Buffalo Run 100 Miler Pictures

During the Buffalo Run 100 miler three weeks ago I took around 130 pictures. It's hard to narrow that down to 15-20 to put in a race report. (You can read the whole race report HERE.) Here are some pictures that almost made the cut.

At the starting line there was an enormous heated tent that runners packed into. It was a balmy 50 degrees inside......as opposed to the chilly wind and occasional snow flurries outside:

The race immediately starts with a big climb. Me and a few friends intentionally held way back and let most of the crowd cruise on ahead. There were only three runners behind us. This slow start paid HUGE dividends later and I think allowed me to get a PR.

I ran many, many miles of the race with my friend Christy from the blog www.marathonmama.net. Her steady pace and amazingly optimistic happiness was another huge factor in helping my race go so well. Here is Christy running up ahead:

My daughter Kylee supplied the sock monkey hat that got me through all 100 miles.

Around mile 35 I snuck in a trail jump. I was starting to move into a low point and hoped a jump would get the juices flowing again. (It didn't.)

Night was approaching and I was in a bit of a no-man's land. There were long stretches where I was all alone, without another runner within sight ahead or behind me. Just to spice things up, it was crazy windy and bitter cold. These are the times when thoughts start to creep in saying "You still have so far to go. It's going to get dark and cold. Maybe you won't be able to do this." You have to ignore that despair and catastrophic thinking.

As the light was coming to an end I had a hallucination.......I swore I saw Forrest Gump out on the trail! (Kidding, no hallucination, just my friend and Gump look-alike Leon.)

Thanks to my amazing sister Hollie who paced me from miles 50-70 I made it through the night, found the sunrise, and caught a second wind.

After 27 hours and 44 minutes, I made it to the finish line with an hour and a half PR. I couldn't have done it without my incredible team: mom as crew chief, Hollie crewing and pacing, and my good friend Jared keeping me speedy for the last 30 miles. I couldn't have done this without them. By the time I crossed the finish line I was pooped.

Hollie made this funny poster for me.

My mom and sister have also volunteered to crew and pace at the Zion 100 this coming weekend. I'm so thankful for their help. These guys are the best.