Like a Bigfoot

Motivation, Mindset, Positivity, Endurance, Adventure, Perseverance, and Possibility

Category: Trail Running (page 1 of 5)

Today’s “Holy Moly” Moment

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Every day, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things.”- Jim Valvano

Not to say Jim Walmsley is ordinary by any means….but this is just a simple reminder that being intentional, working hard, and chasing a goal will lead you to EXTRAORDINARY things.

How Driving Across the Country is Exactly Like Running an Ultramarathon

I recently drove from Danville, Virginia to Arvada, Colorado…with my cat.  It was arduous to say the least.  As I was driving through the absolute boredom that is Kansas (sorry Kansasonians) I began to reframe the experience from “this sucks” to “use this to solidify your ultra endurance mindset”.

Ultramarathons, like driving for hours and hours, are mind-numbing and butt-numbing events that only a few people are crazy enough to go through (especially with a cat).  They also are remarkably similiar.

Survival Method: Split Journey into Small Goals

Get to the next aid station…get to the next major city.  In two more miles you can drink a ginger ale…in 150 more miles you can stop at a gas station.

You get the point.  This is the only way to survive such a feat.

You will eventually do battle with mental exhaustion

The miles go on and on and on in both instances.  Staring at the interstate or the trail starts to numb your mind.  You MUST find ways to entertain yourself.  Here are some suggestions:

Talk to someone.  This could be other runners in an ultra or just phoning a friend while you drive.

Rock out to some music

Appreciate the beautiful scenery  (impossible in Kansas…once again I am sorry)

Make up stupid songs

Talk to your cat (probably doesn’t work in a race)

Muscles you didn’t even know you had WILL get sore

At the finish line of any ultra, as I’m sitting enjoying a well-earned beer and pizza, I am always curious to see which muscles ache.  There are the obvious, of course, quads, glutes, calves…but then to your shock and awe you feel the burn in some unnameable muscles.  Woah…I didn’t even know that part of me existed.  

Same thing happened during the drive.  I can’t believe that sitting can cause such crazy muscle pain..but DAMN.  Maybe I’m just not used to it, but I could barely move while trying to stretch my sore self at a gas station.

Places to Refuel are filled with Junk Food

Speaking of gas stations…they are REMARKABLY similar to aid stations.  You appear in the distance beaten, broken, covered in sweat.  You slowly limp towards it, until you realize other people can see you and then you straighten up and try your best to walk normal as if saying I’m all good, no problems here.

You are now faced with the mecca of food choices: candy, chips, any type of beverages you can imagine (including booze).  You spot the bizarre option in the corner…Jalepeno Hotdogs?  Pickle juice? Cake frosting? What the heck?  Let’s roll the dice!  You think grabbing the outlandish food.

Within the next 15 minutes you are saying Hallelujah for the well-timed rest stop, port o potty, or hidden bush.

They have the potential to cause injury weeks later

Obviously, Ultrarunning can cause major issues if you push yourself too hard in the weeks following an event, but I recently found out that long distance driving also has this potential.

While moving I: Loaded up all of our furniture, hang cleaned a love seat into the back of a truck, and heaved heavy boxes of medical books into the moving truck.  Seriously if you want a killer workout, just lift up medical books…those things are as heavy as I imagine cannonballs to be.  Then I drove and immediately carried all that stuff up a flight of stairs.  No issue.  Felt a little sore but otherwise fine.

Then, a week later, I do some stupid ab exercise that I never do and all of a sudden I throw out my back!  What the heck???  I emailed one of my smartest friends, Jake Reed PhD, and this is what he said:

Your injury is most likely related to your hip flexors.  When they are kept short a really long time (driving) and then you do high volume AB work, low back problems will arise.

Lesson of Today: Have smart friends. …wish I would have talked to him directly after the drive!  A few days of focused stretching and the pain is gone.

Crown Traverse Inspiration

Need inspiration for your next big adventure?

Check out North Face’s new video about Montana’s ultra running “Mikes”- Mike Wolfe and Mike Foote as they race along deadly ridges, through thick wilderness, past giant moose, and over glaciers as they traveled the 600 mile “Crown Traverse” from Missoula Montana to Banff National Park.

Wow!  Try to watch this and not start planning your next big crazy challenge…..come on!  I dare you!

Virginia Reflection: Angler’s Park

ANGLER’S PARK

I began trail running about a month into our move from Iowa to Virginia.  Previously I never even considered the idea of running on a trail meant for hiking or mountain biking.  You mean you can run on these rather than walk??? The idea blew my mind!

My absolute favorite place in Danville is the 35 miles of pristine mountain bike trails at Anglers Park and Dan Daniel Park.  I’ve spent DAYS on these trails, running in all sorts of various conditions: the brutal heat and humidity of summer, stomping through the snow, slipping over freshly fallen leaves, running in the morning, after school, before the sunrise.

Here I’ve jumped over copperheads, wiped off more spider webs than I can count, chased hundreds of deer, ran with friends both new and old.

I’d use Angler’s Park as an after school therapist on the most challenging of work days and a playground where I was free to challenge myself on the other days.  It was my home outside of my home here in Danville.  A place of comfort.

But before it was comforting it was mysterious and terrifying.  During my first trail run (and really first few weeks of trail running) I truly believed I was going to run into a bear around ever twist and turn of the trail.  (I even wrote about this silly imagined fear here)

The first time I laced up my shoes and took off down the trails at Angler’s was exhilarating.  There is nothing like getting lost in unknown wilderness, bounding over rocks and fallen trees; new discoveries during each step of the adventure.  Seriously, if you haven’t tried this…quit reading and get to a trail immediately.

Instantly I discovered two things:

  1. Trails are WAY more interesting than roads- Your brain can’t zone out…instead you have to be IN the zone.  You work so many more muscles than road running because your feet are landing on uneven ground and you are constantly turning around tight corners or going up and down hills.
  2. Virginia has WAY more hills than roads- and my body was NOT used to this.  After about a month of training on these trails I was able to adjust, but the first few runs were fraught with heart pounding, lung aching, mental toughness “get me the hell through the run” training.

In other words I loved both the “adventure” feeling of trail running and the complete physical challenge of the sport.

I was hooked.

A few months later I was exploring trails all over Virginia and North Carolina.

It doesn’t have the prettiest views or the hardest trails, but Angler’s meant so much to me over the last three years.

It will always be my trail running grounds/ nature exploration/ outdoor gym/ hiking spot with my daughter Harper/ place where I hopped over copperheads and chased owls/ forest where I sweated more than previously thought possible. 

 

My Next Race

I keep hammering the idea of “having something to train for.”  Signing up for some event that gives your workouts purpose.

My last race was in April and all summer I’ve felt as if I was simply treading water.  Aimlessly wandering from workout to workout.

Hopefully that’s over!

Along with a  couple buddies who I’ve convinced to race with me, I’ve signed up for my next Ultra.  Next March we will travel to Monument Valley for the Monument Valley Ultra.

It has been two days since I signed up and I am already feeling more purposeful and, although I won’t start seriously training until November or December, my workouts have already felt better.

Can’t wait!

Also, I am recommitting myself to blogging and training for this race will give me something to write about.

Humidity…Ugh (What I Learned From Today’s Soul Crushing Long Run)

**** humidity!

Fill in the little stars with whatever four letter word you want, but understand that in my eyes its intended to start with an ‘F’.

Blah what a hot, humid, soul crushing long run this morning.

12 miles usually isn’t too bad….in the spring, fall and winter.  In summer (summer is coming) it is an energy zapping goliath EFFORT!

When it is already 80 degrees and 70% humidity at 8 in the morning you know you are in for a hellish workout.

Here’s what I learned about myself this morning:

  • I’m stubborn when I argue with myself

“Listen brain, I said TWELVE MILES and by golly we are going to do TWELVE MILES!!”

“Wow you are super cool for saying ‘by golly’…that’s what all the kids are saying these days.”

“Quiet you!”

  •   The Obstacle is the Way

To prepare for my upcoming athletic events (which as of right now consist solely on climbing the second highest mountain in Colorado next week and preparing for the sleepless nights of newborn dadhood)  I must choose to embrace Obstacles.  (This word is underlined, bolded, and in italics…must be important!)

Humidity is just an obstacle.

When you’re trying to finish 12 miles, it is a craptastic should destroying obstacle, but its JUST an obstacle nonetheless.

Life will present you PLENTY of obstacles, use them to better yourself!!  But be aware to not let the obstacles use you.  Don’t back down from these barriers.

View them for what they are- simply stepping stones to accomplishment.

Obstacle appears, you embrace the challenge, you figure out how to get past the obstacle and take home the lessons learned for obstacles to come, a new obstacle appears.

That’s how it is.  In that sense I’m grateful that it was humid and I had to deal with adversity on what should have been an ‘easyish’ workout.

  • I sweat like a pig (Do pigs sweat???? More scientific research needed)

On the other hand I stick with my original “**** humidity “statement!

I was drenched instantly and had to deal with attempting to stay hydrated with only two bottles of water.

In retrospect, I should have packed some electrolytes and maybe a third bottle, but the intense humidity popped up unexpectedly to me (although if I had any sense I would have just googled the weather).

Guess I learned some lessons from today’s obstacles.

  • I could probably use some good ole fashioned adversity every now and then

Sometimes I go on “cruise control” and although I’m working out or running I’m essentially going through the motions.

Am I challenging myself? Nope….I’ve done this workout a billion times before.

When I have an upcoming race or an event to train for this doesn’t happen as often as each workout becomes important to get my body ready for the event.  Unfortunately, I don’t have anything on the schedule right now.  Maybe this is a clue that “Time to search for the next thing to train for.”

Needless to say today taught me that it’s good to get pushed out of my comfort zone every so often.

 

At the end of the run, I was drenched.  I looked like someone just heaved me in a river, clothes and all.  For the last 7 miles, my soaking wet running shoes would squish and slosh with every step I took.  Afterwards I poured probably a good 20 oz bottle worth of sweat out of them (hey…I didn’t say this blog was going to skimp on the grubby details, did I?).

Now I’m at home having spent the last two hours chugging water.

I’m glad I did it.  Glad I finished the twelve miles.

I’m sitting here basking in the glory of that feeling of accomplishment that you get when you actually finish something that your brain and body wanted nothing more than to quit.  

Feels pretty damn good!

Hope you go out and overcome some obstacles today.

Thanks for reading!

 

Georgia Death Race Video to Kickstart Your Day

The Georgia Death Race looks like 66 miles of pure brutality and awesomeness…

That is all.

How Runners Deal with Being Sick (A True Story)

Day 1: 

My throats a little itchy…My 2 year old has been feverish for four days…I stayed home with her, sat by her, took care of her while she was coughing in my face, blowing snot rockets, and wiping her nose on my arm.

I won’t catch it though.  I’m indestructible.  Lets go on a run!

Wow what a beautiful run!  A little slower than normal…but that’s cause I was taking in the beauty of Asheville…right?  A couple coughing fits…no biggie.

Ok tomorrow morning I’ll do my long run at 5am.

Day 2:

5am alarm.  I could always use a day off.  Alright rest day today, long run tomorrow.  My throats a little sore…weird?

10am.  Cough, cough.  Maybe its allergies.

11am.  Yay my daughter’s fever is gone!!!  Good for her.  I’m glad this household is finally done being sick.

Noon.  Holy shit….I feel lightheaded.

1pm.  Yup….I have a fever now.

5pm.  Alright the fevers gone! Maybe it was only a quick sickness (contrary to it taking 6 days for my daughter to get over).

6pm. Long run tomorrow!!!  Better set my alarm.

10pm.  F*** the fevers back.

Day 3

Well I’m now in a pile of my own sweat, shaking profusely.  Looks like rest day #2! That’s cool my body probably needs it.  I’ve been pushing pretty hard this summer.

Lets just watch movies on the couch all day!

Day 4

Alright this has to be the last day of this fever.  Oh my god…its still there!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Ok, calm down, you got this.  More movies??? scroll through Netflix, HBO, Youtube….shit I’ll even scroll through Vimeo.

Nothing.  Nothing I want to watch.

Put on my favorite race day “Table Rock Ultra” shirt to feel better as I wallow in my own virus-infected bodily fluids….

 

Poison Ivy

I’m so grateful for the last few days as I’ve had the opportunity to grace myself with so much wonderful knowledge and experiences about POISON IVY.  

It’s been a constant joy trying to fight off the “itch demons” every second of every single day. (Don’t itch, don’t itch, don’t itch, don’t itch)

I can’t be more thankful for the opportunity to see more and more rashes pop up when I periodically glance in the mirror.

I am very much a better man because I now understand that poison ivy can last quite a few weeks and end in permanent scarring.  (Don’t itch, don’t itch, don’t itch, don’t itch)

I can truly say I enjoy waking up in the middle of the night desperately unconsciously scratching the hell out of the back of my knee.

It’s been so rewarding rubbing steroid cream all over my legs every few hours. (Don’t itch, don’t itch, don’t itch)

I love seeing the horrified look on the faces of my friends as I show them my grotesque legs.

I feel so blessed because I get to explain to my two year old that her dear old dad got a  “boo boo” because he was running where he shouldn’t.

I’m basking in the glory of my wife’s “I told you so” during our discussions of the correlation between my trail running and the chance of getting poison ivy.

(F*** it…..SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……..sweet relief)

In all seriousness…I’m just glad I didn’t wipe with the three leaved demon.

 

 

 

 

Epic Race Finish

Ultrarunning: The only sport where last place gets a standing ovation

BACKSTORY

This is Western States 100.  The biggest ultra running event in the United States.

Participants have 30 hours to finish.  If they can’t make the cutoffs they get pulled from the race.

The race ends after 99 miles through the Sierra Nevada Mountains when participants run around a high school track in Auburn California.

Gunhild Swanson finished the race with 6 seconds to spare with exhausted legs and a tough as nails heart.

Hope this inspires you to do something awesome on this beautiful Thursday!

Good luck to all the Western States runners this weekend!  I’ll be following all the awesome feeds on Twitter.

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