Monday, November 25, 2013

A Treadmill Is Satan's Sidewalk

It was a less than stellar running week for me. And by "less than stellar" I mean that it was horrible.

The week of crappy started with Monday morning's 10 miler. For me to run 10 miles before work I have to get up ridiculously early. But aside from that, the run actually wasn't too horrible. And then less than 1/4 mile away from my house I stepped wrong on a rock and gave myself the worst sprained ankle I've had in 15 years. I fell to my knees. It felt like I stepped on lightning.

A few choice words involuntarily popped out of my mouth and I hobbled home. The other problem during that run was that for the life of me, I could not find any gloves to wear that morning! After doing a glove scavenger hunt for 20 minutes I eventually settled on two mismatched gloves, one of which was my girl's. Fail.

Later in the day when my foot started to swell it was excruciating. I felt so embarrassed to be limping around work despite trying my hardest to walk normally. When I went to the grocery store later, I seriously considered riding one of their electric wheelchairs.

Miraculously by the next day my foot felt amazingly good. And by Wednesday there was no soreness at all. I could not believe it. My healing was likely aided by the lunch I ate at the elementary school with the kids on Wednesday. It's not every day that you get such a delicious helping of mystery meat.

And by Thursday, a mere three days later I would have never known that a sprained ankle had dropped me to my knees. Very strange. Just to be safe I avoided running for one more day but caught this sweet sunrise on my way to work.

Friday morning I ran 4 miles. It was ridiculously windy and the whole run was approximately 0% enjoyable.

That night I did something I would come to regret. I ran 10 miles. ON. A. TREADMILL.

It was again ridiculously windy. And it had been POURING rain all day. After an all-day downpour, trails around here are out of the question. They turn into clay that cakes on the bottom of your shoes so it feels like you're running in these:

With the horrible rain and wind I decided to run on the dreadmill. I quickly realized that this rolling sidewalk is at least as miserable as running in the rain and wind. They are equally evil. It's like giving you the option of cutting off all the toes on your right foot or your left foot. They are both terrible options.

Initially I was thinking about maybe 20 miles. After approximately 18 seconds I changed my mind on that distance. Those ten miles were pure and unadulterated agony. I think our dreadmill is broken because it says my pace is so slow and each mile seems to take forever. This is not running. This is torture for prisoners of war.

Give me 100 miles across desert trails in 102 degree heat. Give me killer owls. Give me trails so steep that I want to start crying. Just don't make me get on a treadmill.

I tried to think of something that would make me like the dreadmill a little more. But even my cute little girls standing on that thing didn't make me like it any better. In fact after making them stand on something so evil I made them take a shower to wash off all the filthiness that surely contaminated them by getting too close to the contraption.

I am fairly certain that it will be a long time before I make that mistake again. I ran 7 miles outside the next day which were much more enjoyable. So despite a seriously terrible week I still managed 31 miles.

If you're wise you'll heed my public service announcement: stay away from random rocks in the road, platform shoes, and Satan's Sidewalk.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Week Worthy Of Two Jumping Pictures

I got in 32 miles last week. 10 of those were miserable miles too early in the morning before work. (I'd like to thank Dr. Pepper for helping get me through that morning.) The other 22 miles were INCREDIBLE miles on some INCREDIBLE trails.

Earlier in the week I enjoyed 12 miles of pure bliss which started on the Prospector Trail. The autumn leaves are just about done for the year but there were still enough to make the trees glow with yellows, reds, and oranges.

It wasn't just the trees that were beautiful. These yellow flowers have popped up everywhere.

I explored some areas I've never been to before including this new (to me) trail called White Reef. In the distance I saw this awesome patch of yellow trees that stood out among the green, white, blue, and red. Seeing that variety of color in one place was just so pretty.

This was a great place to get in some fairly easy miles. Without a doubt my running shoes will make it back to White Reef soon.

Thursday night I was honored to give a presentation at St. George Running Center called Intro to Trail and Ultra Running. I had so much fun hanging out with this group of runners who were interested this this stuff.

On Saturday I ran 10 miles in Warner Valley. Words can't describe how much I love it out in this area. It's one of the places that grew my love of trail running. It's so isolated and quiet and beautiful. It feels like home. I've seen countless amazing sunrises out here with yet another on this run.

It was such a great sunrise that I felt justified in getting a second jumping picture for the week.

A few miles in I passed a pretty big herd of cattle. They wanted nothing to do with me and ran away. Except for this one that gave me the stink eye for a minute before trotting away. If I was missing one horn, and my other horn looked so silly, I'd probably have a bad attitude too.

I found this rock for Mel. Here is a heart of stone. Literally.

We are less than a month away from the Baker's Dozen Half Marathon on December 14th. If you like running, laughing, and cupcakes this is the race for you. I've still got a few spots opened, you can click HERE for more info if you're interested. I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pictures Showing Progressive Exhaustion During 100 Miler

A few weeks ago I ran the Javelina Jundred - 101 miles of hot, sweltering fun through the Arizona desert. This race is a series of six loops of 15.3 miles each followed by loop seven which is another 9 miles.

I ran more than 80 miles with my amazing friend Catherine. Temperatures soared to 102 degrees. We took a picture at the end of each loop. I thought I'd show you the progressive exhaustion that took place over those 101 miles of awesome:

Loop One: Mile 15.3
It's all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out with an enormous foam hat.

Loop Two: Mile 30.6
Yes, our skin resembled something you'd find at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Our tube socks full of ice definitely helped make the heat bearable.

Loop Three: Mile 45.9
Beginning to feel like we swallowed a bottle of Benadryl, punched in the stomach by Chuck Norris, and kicked in the quads by an angry mule.

Loop Four: Mile 61.2
Catherine and I finished loop four after being paced by our friend Kristin for 15 miles. That loop saw three pit stops to barf on the side of the trail as well as a generous supply of sleep walking.

Loop Five: Mile 76.5
Sunrise was approaching soon, this was my last lap with Catherine before heading out on my own. I've said it before, but I was amazed and inspired by what she accomplished out there. She made this race an unforgettable experience.

Loop Six: Mile 91.8
I think it's important to try and stay positive and smile despite the fact that you are close to spontaneous combustion, your feet feel like they are walking on needles, you're so tired that you can't see straight, and your legs feel like they are caught underneath a UPS truck.

Loop Seven: Mile 100.9
Holy ouch. SO, SO, SO thankful to be handed that belt buckle and be able to sit down. That was a hard race.

I jumped each time we came through a loop but on the last loop I was so thankful to be done after 101 miles that I had my biggest jump of all. Huge props to race directors Jamil and Nick Coury for putting together another incredible race!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Aunt Jackie is a Boy! and Facing My Fears

You know those weeks when it's Monday morning and you're so tired that you stop and buy a Dr. Pepper on your way to work. Yea, I would never partake in such an unhealthy behavior either. (Cough, cough.) And then you blink and suddenly it's Sunday morning and you don't know where your week went? Yea, I had one of those week - which resulted in some pretty sissy running for the week. That and the fact that my bed was much warmer at 5:00am than going out running.

I ran a 3, 4, and 8 miler. The 3 miles was with my son Jackson and our poodle Aunt Jackie. (Aunt Jackie isn't actually an aunt because, well, Aunt Jackie is actually a boy.)

We ran in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. This is the first trail run where Jackson has joined me for years. It was beyond awesome to see him heading down the trail. His conclusion: "Running on a trail is WAY harder than running on a road!"

It's only appropriate to celebrate such a great time by taking a jumping picture.

The 8 miler was with my friend Will. He knows this area well and served as a great tour guide.

We ran the length of the Gila Trail which was lots and lots and lots of sand mixed in with some cool sections of slick rock.

The weather was PERFECT. Warm enough that we weren't freezing, but not hot enough to feel like we were hot dogs that have been cooking on the little rollers at 7-11 for five days.

I was so thankful for those little sections of rock to run on because the sand was nearly relentless.

Will knew the location of some secret petroglyphs in the area. I honestly don't know how he found them because all I could see for miles in the distance was a sea of sand and red rock.

I'm scared of heights. And that fear of heights was tested a little bit as we maneuvered down into some slot canyons. (Internal dialogue may have involved something like "Cory, get your act together! Sitting down on the side of the trail crying in front of your friend IS NOT an option!" This was our view.....looking up:

Game plan for the new week: run more.

A few last things to mention:
1) I'll be doing a presentation at St. George Running Center on Thursday night at 7:15pm about trail and ultra running. Prizes from UltrAspire, Tailwind Nutrition, and a giveaway for a free race entry to the most fun race of the year.

2) That most fun race of the year is The Baker's Dozen Half Marathon on December 14th. I'm the race director and we have just confirmed that Oprah will be running the race with Dr. Phil. Going to be epic! Thursday is the last day to sign up before late registration. Check out the race website HERE or the Facebook page HERE. Enormous bling provided. See you there!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm Speaking At St. George Running Center Next Week

I wanted to tell you about a fun event coming up next week. I'll be speaking at St. George Running Center in southern Utah next Thursday, November 14th at 7:15pm. The topic is A Beginner's Guide to Trail and Ultra Running. This is my all time favorite running store so I'm excited to go hang out for the evening. Here is the picture they made up for their Facebook page:

I'll plan to cover fears and benefits of trail running, gear, and suggestions for local trails. Then we'll tackle ultras: nutrition and hydration, training, resources, and some of my recommendations for races.

UltrAspire and Tailwind Nutrition will hook up some giveaways and I'll also bring a free entry to the Baker's Dozen Half Marathon to give away.

St. George Running Center is located at:
2736 E. Red Cliffs Drive
St. George, UT 84790
(435) 628-7766

I'd love to see you there!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Reason I Love Running

Thankfully recovery has been splendid since running the 101 miles at Javelina Jundred a little over a week ago. Let me tell you something. I LOVE the grueling challenge and reward that comes from these ultramarathons. I LOVE running on trails surrounded by stunning scenery. But as much as I love those things, I also LOVE the people I've come to know out on the trails.

Hours and hours (or days and days) out on a trail with someone builds bonds more deeply than I've seen anywhere else. The Javelina Jundred felt like a big reunion and made this race so special to me. I'd like to share with you some of the wonderful people I spent time with over the weekend. Each of them played a part in helping me get to that finish line.

I spent more than 24 hours - more than 80 miles out on the trail with my amazing friend Catherine. I can't imagine how different my race would have been without her. This is Catherine with her awesome husband Kacey and mom Mary Ann.

We went to Target in Arizona one night. I was over looking at shirts when my son ran up and said "Dad! Some people recognized me and mom from your blog and want to meet you!" So great to meet Martin and Karen from St. Louis!

Very crazy but we were at Target getting groceries again the next day - and these two great women came up and said they read the blog and were in town for the race. Meet Jan and Linda from Seattle:

At packet pickup I met up with Maria Walton. Caballo Blanco was the center of the story in the book Born To Run. It was a shock when Caballo died while running on a trail last year. Maria was Caballo's girlfriend. It meant a lot to meet someone with such a personal connection to Caballo whose story first sparked my interest in ultras.

I got together with Tony Nguyen - also known as Endorphin Dude. Legend. His quote: "When life dealt me lemons, I mixed them up with Cytomax, took a shot of Gu and ran!"

On race morning I caught up with Emily from RunEMZ. She runs 24 hours on a treadmill for fun.

I can't count how many races or training runs I've done with Kelly Agnew from Slipping Slowly Into Pain. And his wife Jo is a PRO on crewing for a race. She could write a book on how to crew a race. Kelly got 8th place at the race!

And then the race started. Out on the course I talked with Jay Danek who worked the Jackass Junction aid station all sweltering day. Jay is author of the excellent book Got To Live. (You can read a review I wrote for the book HERE.) Jay and the rest of the race volunteers were beyond incredible.

After the first loop we arrived back at Jeadquarters and I had a chance to talk for a bit with Jimmy Dean Freeman. This guy is an ultrarunning motivational speaking wizard. He has got some awesome podcasts on Trail Runner Nation. I was happy to have some of his running mojo rub off on me.

In the middle of the sweltering desert I met Kit Brazier. We've been Facebook friends so it was nice to meet in person and have someone familiar to cheer for on the loops. She was having a rough day on the trail but every single time I saw her she was smiling and so positive. What a great example to everyone. Our world needs more people like Kit.

Me and Catherine were fortunate to have my friend Kristin pace us for 15 miles. Not only did Kristin help get us through the middle of the night but she stayed around for many, many hours afterward to see the race finish. How awesome.

And finally, my favorite people of all - my awesome family. My wife Mel and son Jackson volunteered all day and were there to support my race. I'm so thankful for them.

The people - the fellow runners and volunteers - are what really makes this sport so amazing. More than a feeling of competition, these races have a feeling of compassion and community. We are all there to help each other get to the finish line. This is why I love running.