Monday, December 31, 2012

Rearview mirror

" It's possible that you've never thought of ideas as competition at all, but as creators we have no choice but to think this way. We have too many ideas all the time, and probably you do too. Which to follow, which to wait on, and which to take off life support?" - Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, The Impact Equation

I try to view the past through my rearview mirror. This small but critical lens allows me to observe and reflect on the road behind me while maintaining steady forward motion towards the goals that I am committed to reaching...lots of interesting things back there but no time to pull over and stare.

As 2012 draws to a close I've been giving a lot of thought to the development of my business, X-City Athletics, my desire to coach others towards reaching their health and fitness goals on a full time basis, and the opportunities that I have before me to make 2013 a year of major progress in that regard. I am making some significant changes to X-City's programming, marketing, and business model and following those ideas which I find myself inspired by in the late hours of the night and greeted by first thing in the morning.

Julien Smith and Chris Brogan raise a great question in their new book, The Impact Equation. The answer, for me, is to follow the ideas which follow you, the ones that you can't shake no matter where you go, and the ones that you intuitively know to be worthwhile and deserving of your time and effort. Then sharpen them, refine them, and when the time is right, make a committed and targeted move to bring them to life. The time is almost right for a major change at X-City Athletics. I'm going to spend the first month of 2013 preparing to implement an idea that I am truly excited about and in mid-February I'm going to move on it. Hard. I hope that the start of 2013 inspires similar acts of calculated risk, impassioned action, and heartfelt advances towards the goals that you hold close...

Wishing everyone who's found their way to 100th Mile a truly happy new year. I'll keep you posted as this "big idea" develops (and if you have a goal that you're willing to share with the blogosphere-I hope you'll post it in the comments section and keep me posted too)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Flinch

"No one has a problem with the first mile of a journey. Even an infant could do fine for a while. But it isn't the start. It's the finish line. Look at the finish line now. It's far and it seems impossible. You imagine you weren't meant for this. You think that you're not strong enough. In a sense, you're right.

What you're missing is that the path changes you. You're weak because you haven't stepped on the path. Once you do a process will begin. As you climb the mountain you'll get stronger. You might think that this path isn't for you,but it is-you'll just change along the way. The path itself  will toughen you up for the end. Right now, you just need to start."-Julien Smith, The Flinch

This reminds me a lot of running an ultra-marathon. It also represents the kind of writing that Julien Smith, author of The Flinch, has become noted for-thoughtful,inspirational, and exceptionally insightful passages followed by direct challenges to follow that inspiration to action: or admit that you're flinching.

Released as part of Seth Godin's Domino Project The Flinch is available completely free of charge. Visit Juliens site to download your copy:

Amazon has at dubbed it a book too important to sell and, clever marketing aside, I definitely agree. Julien is a brave writer and this 122 page power punch is worth every second of your time. Give it a read and post your thoughts.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Paleo in Maine

I picked up the first few copies of my book Paleo in Maine: A Local Resource Guide for the Modern Hunter-Gatherer from the printers yesterday.

Paleo in Maine features recipes, resources, and real-life stories from farms and kitchens throughout the state and is officially available for purchase.

I'm holding a book release party at Morning Glory Natural Foods in Brunswick this afternoon from 1-3 and looking forward to some good conversations on health, nutrition, and the role of locally sourced food in our communities.

Check out for more info on the book and a list of upcoming events

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Virgil Crest 100

100 moments, 100 miles: A Report from the Virgil Crest Ultra-Marathon

  1. Abandoned plans to run small distances and lift large weights this summer. Registered for the Virgil Crest Ultra-Marathon instead.

2. First long run of 12 miles after recovering from a stress fracture reminded me that I love, absolutely love, to run trails.

3.Ian called out to me from the lawn chair which he'd collapsed into directly after running the Vermont 100 in 21 hours. I thought he was going to ask me to get him a soda. He asked if I had support for Virgil Crest instead.

4. A planning session with Ian over burnt burgers and strong coffee. Maps, charts, and graphs. An offer to pace me for 42 miles through the night.  A runner that I have a ton of respect for becoming a friend that I could never have done this without.

5. Long runs on roads, quad crushing hill repeats. 20 milers.  Running 14 miles to the starting line of a 6 mile race trail and then racing it, power hiking the meanest climbs that I could find and dive-bombing down them. 25 milers. Running under the moonlight and alongside galloping horses while pacing Jeremy at the Vermont 100 Endurance Run. 30 milers.  Packing 5,000 calories worth of fuel and a ten dollar bill into a waist pack and heading out at sunrise for a sunset return. 53 miles. 25 miles. 20 miles., 12 miles., Taper  time….

6. Text from Jordan "Just registered for the Virgil Crest 50K!" Road trip.

7. Asked Mindy to come with me to N.Y She said yes.

8. Gear, food, supplies packed. Early morning freak out due to Jordan being late. Hit the road.


9. Nervous energy. A perfectly timed call from Jeremy to say good luck.

10 Eating lunch from an aluminum tray in the parking lot of a Shaws's in MA. Horns honked, a guy smoked a cigar, and the sun beat down on the blacktop. Ate quick and beat feet for N.Y.

11. A 16 oz cup of Starbucks dark roast in my hand. The windows down, the music cranking, and Mindy's head on my shoulder, 3 hours to Virgil.

12. The fire station and a bunch of green hoodie wearing, ultra running bad-asses from the mountains of Maine. George, Squirrel, and Scout registering for their 50 mile "fun-run" Rick and Ann supporting the team.

13. Took a pre-race picture, dug the pre-race shwag, snubbed the pre-race dinner, followed George and company to greener and greasier pastures.

14. BBQ ribs, sweet potato fries, collard greens, and cornbread at Hairy Tony's. Good conversation, words of wisdom, words of warmth, delicious memories and plans for a post-race return.

15. Holy Shit. (The view of the Alpine Loop from the very, very, bottom)

16. Arrived at The Love Den, our uber-posh  rental where Ian, James, and Joe had race-prep fully underway.

17. Logistics covered, drop bags packed and  repacked, a walk under the starts to clear the head, sleep.

18. Wake-Up!

19. Oatmeal with loads of almond butter, shredded coconut, raw nuts and fresh fruit, Coffee. Shower. Battle-ready.

20. Group pic and out the door.

Photo: TMR Ultra Team pre-race at Virgil Crest Ultras

21. The longest walk to a race start....ever.

22. "I don't know if you ever feel "ready enough" for these things but if there was ever a day for me to run 100 miles this is it"- Me to Jordan on the dark and winding road to race start.

23. The longest wait for a race start...ever.

24. Last minute hugs, a slice of banana bread, and into the huddle. The countdown begins.


25. 3,2,1...It's on.

26. Almost ran straight into a tiki torch.

27. Circled the lake for the first time and looked forward to heading into the trails.

28. Glanced behind me to see a string of glowing headlamps lining the paved path around Hope Lake. Glad the journey had officially begun. Glad to witness everyone embarking on their personal adventure. Glad that the majority of them were behind me...

29. Sunrise.

30. Pulled into Gravel Pit, the first aid station, where I planned to hand of my headlamp to Ian or Mindy. They weren't there yet. Good....

31. Out of the aid station, back into the trails, directly into a nest of wasps.

32. A black cloud swarmed my right leg, stung me 8 times, flew down the back of my shirt and stung me again as I flailed around smacking my back. Then one stung me on my head.

33. I talked with another stung runner who was nervous about allergies. Spent the next mile questioning whether I was feeling weird from being stung 10 times, feeling weird because I was 5 miles into a 100 mile run and fully aware of that fact, or not feeling weird at all.

34. Realized I was running my first 100 mile race while holding up my shorts which were inexplicably falling off of my waist.. (They fit well a few weeks ago....maybe all the running?) Planned to swap these out at the next stop and splurge on compression shorts for the next ultra.

35. Pulled into Lift House 5. to  Ian saying "You're fast man. You should slow down". Changed my shorts behind the porta-john, filled up a water bottle, and climbed up the Alpine Loop for the first time.

36. Steep climb,,,and another....and finally the  infamous stretch of straight -up single track  that I'd read about in so many race reports. Enjoyed a beautiful view at the top followed by a nice downhill stretch which, against my better judgment, I bombed  as hard as I could. Gained a few positions for my efforts and held them for the rest of the race.  (The plan at this point was to run hard until the wheels fell off, keep running hard until the whole wagon fell apart, and then drag the pieces through the mountains and across the finish line. And that's pretty much  how it went…)

37. Picked up my waist pack and headed out to the road with a half marathon behind me and the 25 mile turn around at Daisy Hollow on my mind. Ian said "You're going up hill again". This surprised me- for some reason I had anticipated, and mentally prepared for, a downhill stretch. It ended up being the toughest part of the course and one of the low points of the race.

38. Legs started to wear out on me. This didn't happen once during the Peaks 50 (aside from cramping I felt physically strong the whole way through,) and I regretted not jumping on more boxes, squatting more heavy loads, and flipping more tractor trailer tires throughout this training cycle.

39. Stopped to stretch my legs out on a tree-about 6 times. The stretch stops paid off and the pace picked up as the rain came down.

40. Deja' Vue at Daisy Hollow: Pulled into Daisy Hollow in the cold and steady rain about 45 minutes ahead of schedule. I was grateful to see chicken soup (the first hot food of the race) and sandwiches. I stretched out on the cold and muddy ground and had the most incredible case of deja vue. The rain, the aid- station, the faces of the volunteers, this entire moment crystal clear in my mind from a vision or memory or a dream. Plenty of time for philosophizing on the way back...

41.Headed out from Daisy Hollow hard with a sub 11 hour 50 suddenly on my mind.

42. Raced the next 25 miles like I was racing the 50 mile runners.

43. Thought about what a nice 50 this would be.

44. Never once questioned whether I would or could finish the 100. (The DNF stats from previous years confirmed my fears of running a double-out-and-back 100. Sure must be nice to be back at the hotel with a solid 50 behind you as the sun sets on the lake and the smell of dinner fills the air....)I wondered if this temptation to quit would sneak in through some  mental window left open by the past 11 hours of running. Thankfully it didn't

45. Ran my favorite section of the course over rolling and lush green single track as the post-rain
sunshine peeked through trees and spilled onto the trail. Enjoyed this moment to the absolute fullest

46. Chatted with a runner from Montreal who was dropping at 50 (he hurt his knee). He was friendly, had run a bunch of 100's, and was good trail company. Until...

47. He casually mentioned that I was "a good rabbit" I have to admit that in my mid-ultra state of mind I took this to mean that he was running the 100, had pressed me harder than I realized (the pace of the last 25 miles was starting to set in on me) while he took it easy reclining in my shadow. He would assuredly drop the hammer as we emerged from the trails and onto the paved path leading to the race start, blow in and out of the aid station, and smoke me in this race. I dropped the hammer first.

48. Realized that running all day makes you (me) a little paranoid as my friend slowed down, wished me well, and prepared to drop out of the race and sit down to dinner just as he said he would.

49. All of my "feel-good" from the last 25 miles was suddenly gone....with a 1/2 mile to go until I reached Mindy, dinner, and the halfway point of the race I bombed out and had to do a super-slow ultra-shuffle around the lake and across the line

50. Mindy's smile was sweet, sitting down for a minute felt great, and the plate of hamburger s (no bun) topped with avocado slices and tomatoes alongside several turkey roll-ups with small piles of hummus surrounding it all was one of the most beautiful things that I'd ever seen.

51. Packed a burger in a plastic baggie, woofed down a slice of banana bread for good measure, and hit the trails for the second 50 miles of the race feeling super strong and ready to run!

52. Ian geared up and waiting for me at mile 54.

53. Sharing moments from the past 12 hours with Ian as we rocked and rolled over the first stretch of trail and onto the road at dusk.

54. Scout, Squirrel, and George coming down the trail and closing out at kick-ass 50 miler together!

55. Headlamps on.

 56. Began our first pass of the Alpine Loop together. Black sky, small bright stars, and cool fall air moving in.

57. Climbing up the mountain towards Daisy Hollow for the last time. Yellow ropes hanging off of the steepest sections, Ian keeping me on trail at several critical junctures, both of us possibly entertaining the thought of a 24-25 hour finish in the very backs of our minds....\

58. Ran the smooth trails fast (well...mile 70 fast) and tried to not fall off the mountain in between.

59. Rain poured down.

60. Rain poured down harder.

61. Chased down several runners on a rain soaked stretch of single track in the deepest darkest part of the mountains in the deepest darkest part of the night. Traded positions a few times in an epic race battle that I won't ever forget. Man...what a moment.

62. We figured out that I was currently in 8th place

63. Approached the Rock Pile aid station and, suddenly, started to not feel so good.

64. A handful of gummy worms at Rock Pile. Surprised that Ian passed on the pirogues. (He really liked them when he ran this race last year) Off into the woods.

65. Body-rocking nausea. Slow going and slowly going slower.

66. Hot spots on my feet going from a slow burn to an angry sizzle. And getting hotter...

67. Increasingly sick from everything ultra. The sugar, the gels, the bars. The cookies, the candy, the broth. The taste of another s-cap washed down by nuun and sliding down my throat. The cold wet clothes soaked in rain and sweat and stuck to my body. I was shivering. This stretch was going to suck....but as long as we moved forward we would move past it. Leave it behind. And at some point, hopefully, bounce back from it.

68. Ian mentioned James. Why hadn't we seen him on the rebound yet? Was he okay? Was he off trail? He should have passed us a while ago...

69. Thought of my Dad who passed away a little over ten years ago. I wonder what he would think of these races. Would he respect it? Be proud of me? Or dismiss it as crazy? My Dad didn't talk much but one thing that he said, over and over, when life got hard and tough got tougher was "This too shall pass". I shared this with Ian as I held onto these words through a very low point in the night.

70. James! The beam of a headlamp peered through the trees and I knew immediately that it was him. He looked strong sporting that "I'm going to get your ass" smile that he races with. Apparently he hit a low point, bounced back, and was officially back in chase mode. Go get 'em brother.

71. The flames of a campfire, the glow of tiki torches, the sights and sounds of Daisy Hollow approaching.

72. Mile 75. I had looked forward to this moment throughout the whole race. I thought that a finish would be in the bag at this point, that if I had to crawl the last 25 miles then I'd crawl, but no matter what, I would finish. What I never considered was the possibility of passing out and being pulled off course. And I was this close to passing out as we headed back down the trail for the last stretch of the race...

73. My stomach began to slowly settle and the sickness ever so slowly began to fade.

74. The fire in my shoes blazed on like an inferno.

73. A slip on a slick rock sent me knee-cap first into something sharp and hard. For a second I thought I shattered my knee. I wondered if I'd be able to move once the first powerful wave of pain blew past and I envisioned leaving the woods on a stretcher with a DNF at mile 82.

74. Realized that my knee still worked and that if I could avoid falling off of the mountain during the technical passes or sliding down the mud-slopped peak of the Alpine Loop and breaking my neck, that I was only 18 miles away from my finish. But everything on me was breaking or broken at this point and it would be slow going form here.

75. Power hiking…

76. Ian asked if I would have trained differently for the race. Yes. Just as I realized early on in the race more of the functional strength training that I emphasized prior to the Peaks 50 and which left me feeling strong the whole race through would have been hugely beneficial. Unfortunately, it had been a crazy couple of months and my schedule just didn't allow for me to maintain the cross-training volume while increasing the mileage for this race.

77. Approaching the Alpine Loop for the final pass. Preparing my mind for what was going to be a painful, painful couple of hours. Preparing my strategy for a quick aid-station stop (once we started hiking up that climb there it would be all out forward motion until the finish and I wanted to be sure that my  last stop at this drop bag before heading out for the last 9 miles was well utilized

78. I couldn't believe what I saw when we approached the familiar glow of the aid station. There was Mindy with a smile on her face, a French press full of Alanzo's Double Dark, and a bowl of the most delicious oatmeal that I'd ever seen. At 3 something in the morning in the mountain of New York. Man…

80.Late night -ultra carnage by the campfire. Several camp chairs surrounded the fire and were filled with dropped or dropping runners. Despair and accomplishment combined under the late night sky

81. Hiking boots. I'd packed my timberland hiking boots and a pair of thick wool socks in case the loop became to muddy to run and allowed a chance to dry my shoes by the fire while power hiking it at some point on the race. Now that my feet were shredded, each step feeling as though I was walking on shards of broken flaming glass, the boots were a survival tool that I was really fortunate to have packed.

82. Changed my shit, grabbed a hat, strapped on the boots, sipped some coffee, sipped some more, took a few bites of oatmeal and headed up the mountain.

83. Ian and I plowed up the first climb slowly, steadily and quietly together. The air was cool and turning cold. The slower that we were able to move the quicker that the chill set in. 

84. Ian ran ahead a little to keep warm. I tried to do the same, and failed.

85. The descent down the steepest stretch of single track was painfully suspenseful. Each movement hurt like hell and each slip, fall, or unexpected slide brought with it a new, fresh pain as well as the possibility of rolling down the hill.

84. As we passed the most scenic stretch of the loop Ian stopped suddenly to point out the glow rising behind the mountains. I smiled. I had envisioned this moment for months and it was nothing short of epic. Several times throughout the night Ian had stopped me to look at the stars or to point out the beauty of a late night trail run. This is helpful on so many levels and was truly much appreciated.

85. We shuffled down the final hill and moved towards the glowing aid station for the last time. I had 5 miles on my mind. Five hard miles that I couldn't run a step of no matter how I tried and that would take almost 2 hours to complete. 5 miles until I saw Mindy, who would pace me to the finish. 5 miles in the light of the rising morning sun along some of my favorite stretches of trail on the course.

86. Pancakes and sausage dripping with syrup. Enough said.

87. 1.5 miles of uphill road

88. Back into the woods. The morning was becoming increasingly gorgeous and I attempted to run a few times during this stretch but the combination of my busted knee, ,shredded feet, and blown- out quads didn't allow me to get more than a few steps into a stride. I enjoyed the view as best I could, talked lively with Ian about all that had happened  mentally, physical, and emotionally over the past 25 hours, and looked forward to seeing Mindy at Gravel Pit and putting this race in the bag.

89. Gravel Pit. There she was, geared up and ready to go. The smile never left her face throughout this 25 hour ordeal and I only wished that I could have run this last 4 miles smooth and easy with her. Mindy's presence made the hardest 4 miles of my life as "easy", as "enjoyable" and as memorable as they possibly could have been .

90. We saw the contours of the road from behind the treeline and knew that the Lodge was right around the corner.


91. The field near the finish line was empty save for a small group who began to cheer when they saw us coming down the road. It was my team, each recovering from their own battles and each taking the time to welcome me to other side of the finish line. Amazing…

92. As we neared the line we broke into something like a jog.

93. Across the line. 27 hours and forty eight minutes after starting this run I was welcomed with hugs, words of love and encouragement, and a belt buckle that I held in my mud-caked hands and absolutely beamed at.

Photo: a hard-earned reward


95. The miles that led me to to the finish line of the Virgil Crest 100 all hit me at once in a moment overwhelming power. It absolutely shook me and I'll never forget the feeling.

96. Joe, who had gone through a very hard stretch at this race, crossed the finish line and proved that he has absolutely no quit in him. An absolute machine and a total inspiration.

97. Jordan finished his first 50k after an early mile injury forced him into painful slow-mo for most of the race. Another incredible example of the mental toughness that need and the mental toughness that you gain to accomplish these things. Congrats brother!


98. A return to the restaurant and a dinner that I was admittedly too shot to even realize I was eating. But the experience of being there with Mindy and Jordan was one that I won't forget.

99. A small Comfort Inn on the outskirts of town. A trip to Friendly's for huge ice cream sundays. Comfortable beds, my ultra-comrades passed out from the events of the day, and the Simpsons on the TV on a Sunday night.

100. Three weary out-of-towners stumble (or hobble) out of a hotel lobby in the early morning and hit the highway with the little town of Virgil N.Y and the Virgil Crest Ultramarathon in the rear view mirror


Post-Race "team pic" by Ian Parlin

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paleo Challenge

One of the things that I've done to prepare for the Virgil Crest 100 this weekend is to deliberately loosen up my diet over the past several weeks. This might sound strange but the tighter that your sails are when it comes to nutrition the farther off course you end up when the wind blows. And at an ultra-marathon the winds blow hard...

I've been following a very clean paleo diet for the past several months and feel better than I ever have in my life. For me this means zero processed foods, no bread, grains, legumes, dairy, or refined sugars, and a low carb, moderate fat, and high protein intake favoring lean meats, a ton of veggies, seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds. Two days at the VT 100 this July reminded me why I do this in the first place. Poor sleep combined with a diet of GU, "energy" bars, and miscellaneous ultra-grub found at aid stations while pacing Jeremy Bonnet left me completely snackered for the next several days.

I've really dialed in my race nutrition over the past two years and this has played a significant role in the performance gains that I've been able to make. Unfortunately, I still haven't found a "natural" approach to ultra-eating and am relying on the Gu's and bars that I'm used to. (Maybe I'll run my next 100 armed with sweet potatoes and fistfulls of bison jerky but with the biggest race of my life in less than 3 days I'm sticking with what I know works)

That said, after the race (and a week of eating whatever my body tells me to while recovering from a 100 mile run) I'm beginning a 30 day paleo challenge in order to feel good for the fall. And you're more than welcome to join...

These periodic challenges are an opportunity to tighten up diet, sleep, and general physical fitness while reminding us how good it feels to eat and live clean. United Barbell has a good description of the challenge and a list of paleo friendly foods to keep you running strong throughout the 30 day duration.

I'll be kicking off the challenge on October 1st and, as with most things in life, it's more fun with a friend. If you've been curious of the whole "paleo" thing and want to see if a few weeks of ancestral eating improves the way that you "look, feel, and perform" as paleo-dude Robb Wolff likes to say then post a comment and we'll tackle this thing together!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


The sun beat down on the fresh straw, makeshift bridges, and always lonely landscape of the powerlines late this morning. This solitary stretch of land that separates the trails of Bradbury Mountain State Park from those of nearby Pineland Farms has served as a reflection point during many of my long runs. And this morning I had much to reflect on. The aid station that we set up for friend and teammate Xar's 50k birthday run would mark the end of my training cycle for Virgil Crest and the official start of my taper. This has been an incredible period of training towards a longtime goal and I have to admit that it's hard to see it come to an end. Here's a sketch of what the past 9 weeks looked like and a snapshot of the memories that filled the miles:

Key training runs for the Virgil Crest 100:

Week 1:
12 miles First long run in over a month. Collapsed on the lawn afterwards well reminded of why I love to run long and run trails.

Week 2:
22 miles Ran 14 miles from home to Bradbury Mountain to race a friend through the woods for 8 more. The plan was an additional 6 but we went off trail. The "race" was an impromptu challenge issued by me while running the "O" trail and feeling ballsy-I lost. And the run is one that I won't forget anytime  soon.

Week 3:
20 Miles Ran 14 miles to the start of a 6 mile trail race. Raced (poorly) at the Bradbury Scuffle. Trained (well) for pacing my very fast friend Jeremy at the VT 100 the following week.

Week 4:
30 miles  Unforgettable experience pacing Jeremy Bonnet at the Vermont 100. Many incredible moments captured in the reports of  those who ran, paced, and crewed. All can be found on our team website

Week 5:
21 miles  A hard and hot road run.

Week 6:
9 mile trail race A good race at the Bradbury Breaker, an ultra-hilly 9 miler that has become my favorite race in our annual Bradbury Dirt series.

Week 7:
20 miles Hit the roads after work for a late day 20. Grilled Pineland Farms burgers in the garage afterwards while watching the sky open up and the rain pound down from the open bay door during an unexpected, what a great night.

Week 8:
53 miles Planned a self-supported 12 hour run (6a-6p) covering a cloverleaf course of trails, fields, and roads in Brunswick, Freeport, Pownal, and New Gloucester. What I learned: L.L Bean is the second best "aid station" in the world. Pineland Farms, which I burst into 7 hours deep into the run drenched in sweat and starving, is the first. Ian Parlin , my friend, mentor and teammate, who is pacing me for the race is the best person to meet at mile 43 of a run and crush the last ten miles with. What went down from 6 in the morning until 6 at night:Watched a duck land softly on the water from the high and hilly trails of Wolfs Neck State Park in the foggy early morning, lost my bag of S-Caps on a road 3 hours later, filled my bottles in the bathroom of a little house along the railroad tracks in the heat of the afternoon, discovered a strength that surprised me in the hard moments, learned that Honey Stinger waffles are tasty, accidentally drank a bottle of river water, let out a yell at the summit with Ian at 5:50 before we bounded down the terrace trail together to put this unforgettable run in the books. Put a total of 53 miles in the bank and, hopefully, the hay in the barn for Virgil Crest.

Week 9:
21 miles A good day spent with friends and a good ending to this training cycle. The taper is officialy on with a 12 mile trail race next Sunday, an easy breezy 6-8 miler the following weekend, and the Virgil Crest 100 on September 22nd. Much love to all who've supported me along this road, much respect to my teammates who are running, pacing, and crewing at the race, and much excitement as the starting line of my first 100 miler gets nearer with each and every tick of the clock.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Bradbury Breaker 2010:
68th place out of 131 runners
Two years ago I ran my first trail race, the Bradbury Breaker. Half-way through it I wanted to quit.

From the race website:

"Two laps of an exceptionally hilly, technical single-track trail loop that takes you up and down Bradbury Mountain more times than you can count. If you’re not begging for mercy during the first lap you will be on the second"

After the first lap  I convinced myself that I couldn't complete the second and planned to quietly drop out and sneak off at the midway point. When I saw the crowd of supporters, volunteers, and event organizers cheering for me and the other competitors I just couldn't do it. As tough as the next  4.5 miles of mountain running proved to be walking up to the race director and flat out quiting would have been harder.

Last Sunday I ran the Bradbury Breaker for the second time. I wanted to compete. I wanted to finish in the top quarter of the field and test my legs on a hilly course as my first 100 mile ultra-marathon fast approaches.

Bradbury Breaker 2012:
33rd place out of 144 runners
The progress that I've made as a runner is important to me yet it symbolizes another type of progress that I value even more.

The unfamiliar faces at the finish line of the 2010 Breaker are now some of my closest friends. The race director who I was too embarrassed to walk up to and hand in the towel is now helping me prepare for the Virgil Crest Ultra. He is sharing his experience (he completed VC last year), his support as a mentor, friend, and teammate, and his time on race day: he will be pacing me for roughly 42 miles on September 22nd.

Finally, quitting is no longer an option that I entertain-even through the toughest moments of sport or life. I don't know where or when it happened but I left the notion of just giving up somewhere along the trails. And with respect to all that we gain through our passions, pursuits, and personal challenges- sometimes it's a simple loss that marks the surest sign of progress.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Countdown to Virgil Crest

In roughly 50 days I'll be running the Virgil Crest 100. Here's what I've been up to for the last 50 to prepare.

Metabolic Conditioning:

 "Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains"-CrossFit founder Greg Glassman

A long sentence a la CrossFit to sum up a valid point -intensity gets results. This link provides information on the 3 metabolic pathways that provide energy for all human action and the physiological adaptation associated with each one.
I'm currently performing 2-3 met-cons per week in preparation for Virgil Crest. I've chosen or created short duration, high intensity workouts that blend speed, power, and compound body movements. For example:

5 rounds of 400m sprints with a weighted vest followed by 5 power cleans.

3  rounds for time of: 500m row-12 Body Weight Deadlifts-21 Box Jumps


Functional strength carries over into any activity that we perform. This may seem obvious but I remember a period of 2-3 months where I didn't I performed a single pull-up or put anything heavy over my head while training for a race-there just wasn't enough time. Looking back I would have been better off trading the short and easy "recovery runs" that did nothing but fill up my mileage log for some time underneath a squat rack. I would have been better prepared for the race and not as far off from the average strength to weight ratio that many distance runners, myself included, struggle to maintain.

Since last January I've focused on low reps with heavy loads on all of the major lifts (Squat Deadlift Overhead Press Bench Press). This builds pure strength as opposed to size, takes less than 20 minutes 3 times a week, and has me feeling stronger than I have in longer than I can remember.


Through a combination of necessity (life has been incredibly busy) and design (eliminating junk miles in favor of strength development and race specific cross training worked well for me at the Peaks 50 Miler) I've built this training cycle around as many quality miles as I can get in during the week while prioritizing my weekly long runs. Following a stress fracture in mid- June I was able to amp up the mileage pretty quickly and begin my training for Virgil Crest on the first week of July.

Saturday July 7th:

22 Miles: Ran from my house in Brunswick to Bradbury Mountain in Pownal (14 miles). I met my friend Jordan who will be running the Virgil Crest 50k for a speedy 8 miles on the trails.

Sunday July 15th:

20 Miles: In preparation for pacing my friend Jeremy Bonnet at the VT 100 the following week I wanted to continue to tack some speed onto the end of my long runs. Running the 14 miles to the start of the Bradbury Scuffle, a 6 mile trail race at Bradbury Mountain,seemed like a great opportunity to get one last long run in before VT. I was excited to see how this would all pan out...

I ran well all morning until the heat caught up with me at mile 4 of the Scuffle and the wheels came off from there. Not a great race but a perfect training run for VT.

Saturday July 21st:

30 Miles: An unforgettable run along the last 30 mile stretch of the Vermont 100 with Jeremy Bonnet. I knew that running some of the more technical trails at night would be good practice for Virgil Crest but the greatest benefit was witnessing Jeremy run harder than I ever anticipated over some very challenging terrain for the last stage of a 100 miler. He ran amazingly well at this race and crossed the line at just after midnight for a 20:05 finish. I left with lifelong memories of headlamps, moonlight, and the galloping hoofs of horses as we ran through the fields and trails of back country Vermont. I would love to compete in the 25th running of this incredible race next year. I returned to Maine with an even greater respect for a runner and friend who I've always held in the highest regard, an appreciation for my teammates at Trail Monster Running  that grows stronger with each experience that we share, and a dose of pure inspiration as race day in Virgil NY fast approaches.

Saturday July 28th:

21 Miles: This was a tough run. I spent the beginning of the week recovering from the Vermont 100 (my nutrition and sleep have been very tight lately and a weekend of wonky wake-ups, late night running, sugary gels, and greasy ultra burgers -sans bun but still really, really bad- took a serious toll on me). The end of the week was spent pounding through some tough workouts at the gym and the combination of the two caught up with me on Saturday morning. I woke up feeling sick, stiff-legged, and not ready to run my planned 21 mile out and back to Wolfs Neck State Park. I sucked it up as good practice for the inevitable low points at Virgil Crest, enjoyed the technical, hilly, and highly scenic trails at the park, and proceeded to enjoy nothing else about this run except for its conclusion. Tough runs happen and tough runners run through them.

Moving forward...

Sunday August 5th: Bradbury Breaker-This is my scale back week with the 9 mile, ultra-hilly Bradbury Breaker scheduled to be my longest run. It's all build up from here on in...

Weekend of August 18th: 25 miles of tough trail-A planned 25 miler either at Bradbury Mountain or Ragged Mountain. I'm looking for hills, technical terrain, and generally tough trails.

Weekend of August 25th: 50k+- I'd like to run the 38 mile Grafton Notch Loop as my longest training run for VC. This trail has 11,000 feet of vertical gain and has been described by my friend Chuck Hazzard as the Pemi-Loop on steroids. If this isn't logistically possible I'll be heading down to N.H to hit the 31 mile Pemi.

The three weeks before the race will include an additional 20-25 miler before tapering, some more night miles on the trails, a continued emphasis on strength development and general physical preparedness, and both a 5k and a 12 mile trail race scheduled for the weekend of September 8th. (The 5k is for a program that I'm coaching and the 12 miler is for a Bradbury Bad-Ass shirt that I've been coveting for years...once I get it I can stop all this running.)

Then on September 22nd I head down to Virgil NY for the toughest run of my life. Looking forward to the Virgil Crest 100 and to the many miles that lie between here and.the finish line.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

MovNAt: Explore your true nature

Since discovering MovNat in 2010 my interest and appreciation for the program has continued to grow.

Based on using the full range of our evolutionary natural, human-specific movements MovNat has played an important role in challenging, re-exploring, and re-defining what it means to be "physically fit".

"MovNat is a fitness concept that teaches you how to move naturally with ease, power and grace. You become very fit through the practice and that fitness is applicable to any area of life. MovNat is both a physical education system and activity that places at its core the full range of real-world, species-specific movement skills essential to the natural life of the human being. Based on this, we have defined 10 essential principles that support the naturalness of the MovNat approach and practice"

- MovNat founder Erwan Le Corre

I highly recommend checking out their website for more videos, interesting feedback from participants, and a deeper exploration of this innovative physical education and fitness system.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back to bike. I mean back...

I've never been a fan of incorporating Back to Backs (two consecutive days of long runs) into my training. I personally have a hard time recovering from these efforts and it affects the quality of my running over the long haul- a trade-off that hasn't worked particularly well for me in the past. (Although I know other runners who swear by B2B's and consistently crush it when it's time to throw down on the trails).

Following a fast (for me) 22 mile run on roads and trails yesterday morning I was considering an early a.m "shake-out" followed by an afternoon of rest for today. But when I woke the sun was shining bright, I wanted to stretch my legs, and the idea of packing up my lap-top, the garlic and rosemary chicken wings that I laid across the grill last night, and an ice cold bottle of water for a 25 mile bike ride seemed like a good option for active recovery as well as the best possible way to spend the day.

I kept the pace relaxed, took the hills slow and steady,and broke the ride up into several sections to allow me to get some bills paid, groceries purchased, and writing accomplished in between.

What I ended up with was a solid weekend of training that has me feeling a) adequately "cooked" at the moment yet ready for a day of strength/skill work at my gym tomorrow b) anticipating the ability to perform said strength/skill work at a level that makes it worthwhile to do so and c) ready to get back on the trails on Tuesday for some fast miles in preparation for a Sunday morning race.

Despite the extensive reference material on exercise physiology, the countless pre-packaged programs for every possible athletic endeavour, and the performance gains or losses experienced by a friend or teammate who's altered their training, the real magic of successful program design lies in identifying what works for you, the athlete, the individual. And if you are a trainer or coach- what works for others.

The 1958 novel The Professional by W.C Heinz presents this point beautifully:

It is one of the most difficult of scientific endeavours, this struggle to bring an athlete up the mountains of his efforts to the peak of his performance at the precise moment when he must perform. That peak place is no bigger than the head of a pin, shrouded in the clouded mysteries of a living being, and so, although all try, most fail, for it requires not only the most diligent of climbers but the greatest of guides.

Creating a "well-designed training program to improve performance on game day" is only one aspect of coaching. It is an important one that should be respected as an accomplishment of it's own and approached with a sincere and thoughtful consideration of what the achievement means to the individual who set out to achieve it.

"Navigating a scientific endeavor shrouded in the clouded mysteries of a living being" is another aspect of coaching, closer to the heart and spirit of what many of us strive to attain through our efforts, and intricately woven into the first. This may seem like a spacey and somewhat aloof statement in the context of  "sports training" but when viewed carefully, with honest and open eyes, it is clearly an integral component of everything that we do, not only as competitive athletes but as active and mobile human beings.

Without it the creation of a "well-designed training program to improve performance on game day" would be devoid of both possibility and purpose.

All training is a balance between the physical and mental compartments that make up a person. The above statement speaks as clearly to the latter as it does to the place in which the two converge. It also begs the deeper questions inherent in all of our pursuits, athletic or otherwise. When do we push ourselves harder and when do we relent. When do we accept that an athlete, a partner, a loved one,or a friend is ready to quit-and should quit. When do we push back.

In each instance in which we push, struggle, strive, and strain to see what we're made of and what we're capable of achieving these questions quietly lie in wait...

These are the thoughts that occupied my mind over 25 miles of rolling road today. It's not uncommon for the "how's " and "why's " of athletic training to cross my mind during these long hauls; and although I am both impassioned by, intrigued with, and inspired to "figure out" the first... I absolutely live for the second.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


With the Fourth of July on the horizon I wanted to post are a couple of my favorite recipes for gluten and grain-free grilling...

Bun-Less Burgers

Not really a recipe but a reminder that good quality foods can stand alone. For these Bun-Less Burgers I like to use use ground steak from A Wee Bit Farm in Orland. The farm specializes in free range, grass-fed beef and it's products are available at a variety of natural food stores throughout the state. Check their website for a complete lisitng.

It costs a little more than your "run of the mill" burger but I save on the other items that used to crowd the picnic table (buns, spreads, chips and dips) while supporting a local farm that respects both the animals that they raise as well as the people that they feed.

Highland Beef Burger topped with grilled sweet potatoes, onions, mushroom and sliced tomatoes

Spicy Skewered Shrimp w/ Coconut Milk

Jumbo shrimp
Diced Pineapple
Cooked Sweet Potato
Green/Red Peppers
Organic Coconut Milk
Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper

Let the shrimp and veggies marinate in 1/4 cup of coconut milk for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle with black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste, grill 'em up and enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Because cavemen did it.

After nearly a decade of vegetarianism (the last two years as a strict vegan) I've been sharing the benefits of going "Paleo" with anyone who will listen.  Fortunately for me I am surrounded by a bunch of intelligent, educated, and (very) critical thinkers who want to know 'why" going gluten free, grain free, and low-carb is supposed to be so good for you. And the "because cavemen did it" explanation just isn't going to cut it.

What led me to paleo eating was the discovery of scientific studies that demonstrated the nutritional superiority of the diet. These studies pointed out the benefits of introducing lean meats and fish back into my diet while clearly explaining how grains, gluten, and the processed carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pasta etc.)  that I regularly consumed were affecting my health.

After reading a ton of material on the subject I was convinced  to give it a shot. I'm now feeling better than I have in years and working to become a stronger communicator of a lifestyle that I feel has the potential to make a huge dent in the healthcare epidemic that we're currently facing.

The following is my attempt to answer three of the major major "why's" that I've encountered while providing a link to published research for those wanting to dig a little deeper.

Why Low Carb? Because it regulates insulin production.

Carbohydrates control insulin production. Insulin controls fat storage.

This oversimplified equation is possibly the most important piece of nutritional information to explore regarding body composition and weight management: two factors that unfortunately define many peoples relationship to food.

(We should be clear to separate processed carbohydrates from those naturally found in fruits and veggies while focusing on the glycemic load of the food itself, i.e. to what extent it cause's blood sugar levels to spike and then rapidly fall)

Endurance athletes or anyone doing glycolyticaly demanding workouts such as CrossFit or other high intensity strength and conditioning circuits need significantly more carbs to both fuel and recover from these efforts. Good carb sources for athletes can be found in root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and yams which won't spike blood sugar as much as carb-rich fruits leaving you feeling good both during and following your long workout.

Why No Grains? Because of phytic acid.

All whole grains contain the anti-nutrient phytate, or phytic acid, which binds the key minerals that they are noted for providing (e.g. magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc) making them unavailable for absorption in our bodies. Studies have also shown that whole grains impair our metabolism of Vitamin D, a hormone that many of us are deficient in to begin with and one that is critical to the function of so many of our cells and organs.

By following USDA guidelines grains can make up nearly a quarter of our daily calories which can be better obtained from nutrient dense sources such as lean meats and fresh vegetables.

Why No Gluten? Because you might be allergic to it.

The number of Americans who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by the consumption of gluten proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley has risen to the point that the Center for Disease Control now considers gluten-sensitivity to be a major public health risk. With symptoms ranging from anemia, to type 1 diabetes, to infertility there is a high risk of living with celiac without ever being diagnosed.

The best approach that I've heard regarding the identification of gluten sensitivity/intolerance comes from Paleo pioneer Robb Wolff and can be applied to any dietary or lifestyle change that you might want to try out.

"Cut it out for 30 days and see how you look, feel, and perform. Measure the bio-markers of health, wellness, and disease (total cholestorol, blood pressure, vitamin d levels, cortisol levels etc.) Now reintroduce it and see how you look, feel, and perform. Measure the bio-markers of health, wellness, and disease. See how you do..."

The following is a link to  peer-reviewed papers by Professor Loren Cordain, Dr. Boyd Eaton, and other experts on Paleolithic nutrition

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Iron Joe

This Sunday Trail Monster Running teammate "Iron" Joe Wrobleski completed the Western States Endurance Run in 23:47. Joe is one of my personal "running heroes" and his performance at this historic 100 miler is a testament to his iron will, indomitable spirit, and expertly executed training/racing strategy. Huge congrats Iron Joe!!

(Read some of Joe's past race reports for inspiration, insight, and a glimpse into the mind of one tough trail runner)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

An honor...

One month from today I'll be pacing a runner who I have tremendous respect for at one of the most prestigious ultra-marathons in the country. (Prestige-a word that you don't often hear in the shit-kicking and mud stomping world of ultrarunning- applies to this event in every way.)
The race, one of the original 100 mile runs in the USA and part of the Grand Slam Series of Ultrarunning, is The Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run.

The runner is my friend and Trail Monster Running team mate Jeremy Bonnet. Jeremy is an accomplished ultra-marathoner who I've had the pleasure to race with, train with, and get to know over the past several months as we prepared for our respective races at the Peaks Ultra (me the 50 and Jeremy the 100).

Jeremy maintains the excellent blog Run Efficient where he posts his training log and thoughts on trail running. A highly recommended addition to anyone's blog roll.

Grateful to Jeremy for letting me share this experience with him. Only hope that I can do him justice as he makes his way to the finish line of the VT100.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sweet Potatoes and Bacon...

Sunday morning is the only day of the week that I have time to cook an official breakfast. Since making the switch to a Paleo diet I've found this to be the most (and really the only) challenging meal to attack without gluten, grains, or soy products in the arsenal. I needed something that vibes well with a strong, dark cup of morning coffee and feels like a breakfast. This morning I came back from my first run in almost a month with an appetite and here's what I came up with...

Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, and Bacon

1 small sweet potatoes
1 medium apple
1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
Nature's Place Hickory Smoked Bacon
2 tbsp Almond Butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees

Slice cooked sweet potato into 1'4" thick rounds, slice apple into quarter's, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 20-25 minutes

I fried the bacon in coconut oil, added a spread of almond butter to the baked sweet potatoes and apples, and poured a cup of Matt's Organic Coffee making for one exceptionally aromatic kitchen and a satisfying breakfast all around.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Training Season

This Sunday marks my return to the trails and the official start of my training for Virgil Crest.

After spending the past several weeks rehabbing a foot injury I'm feeling rested, recovered, and ready for a strong summer of trail racing. Lessons learned from past training sessions, a slew of positive lifestyle changes, and a broader base of knowledge concerning both exercise science and nutrition should create some exciting opportunities to put theory into practice over the course of the summer.

Some of the major tweaks to my training will include the absolute elimination of junk-fuel during long runs (Cliff-Bars, Gu's, anything containing refined sugars or questionable, unpronounceable ingredients). I'll be replacing these with home-made, nutrient dense bars/gels made from real food.

These Ginger Pear Energy Bars taken from the book Thrive by Brandon Brazier are an excellent example of what you can do with a little creativity, a basic understanding of the glycemic index and the nutritional needs of an endurance athlete, and a food processor.

Ginger Pear Energy Bars:
1 small pear, cored
3/4 cup fresh or soaked dry dates
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup hemp protein
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
Sea salt to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds
In a food processor, process all ingredients together except sesame seeds before shaping into bar. Coat with sesame seeds and freeze.

On that note, this will be my first racing season post veganism. Based on how I am feeling since eliminating whole grains, legumes, and most all processed foods from my diet and adopting a Paleo approach to eating I anticipate faster recovery times and better results in all aspects of my training.

To say that reintroducing local, grass-fed, meats into my diet, upping the content of high quality fats and lean proteins, and eliminating all processed carbohydrates has been a game changer for me would be an extreme understatement. These changes, along with a complete shift in my approach to strength training and metabolic conditioning, have been transformational in every sense of the word. I've never felt better and more prepared to test my limits than I do right now...
All thoughts welcome, more posts soon.

Monday, June 11, 2012

100 Miles: The Road to Virgil Crest

Years ago my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach made a book recommendation that changed my life. He was becoming interested in long distance running and posted a review of Ultra-Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes. Reading about Dean's 50,100,and 200+ mile runs forever changed my perception of endurance, distance, and human physical potential.  (At the time my personal goal was to circle the 3.5 mile Back Bay Loop in Portland twice for what seemed like an epic run of 7 straight miles. Running and racing have since become my passion and I've competed in events ranging from 5k to 50+ miles)

I recently had the honor of joining the Trail Monster Running Team and look forward to flying our flag at a series of races this summer. This will include my longest race to date: The Virgil Crest 100 Mile Ultra-Marathon on September 22nd in Virgil, NY.

What I hope to gain from running the Virgil Crest Ultra:

Aside from the belt buckle (a standard finishers award for completing a 100 mile race) I'm seeking those unforgettable moments that await us on the trails. The spirit of a group run kicking off. The relationships forged and built through pain, sweat, laughter, and the silence of a long run. The solitude of an early morning turned early afternoon on the trails where it's just you, the rhythm of your footfalls, the sound of your breath, and the woods...

Beyond this I'm seeking a test both physical, mental, and emotional. I'm seeking the challenges that we meet when we venture past comfort zones and safe spaces. And perhaps most of all I'm seeking out those moments when all of our social dressing is stripped away and we are confronted with our raw and naked selves; humbled by our weakness, awakened to our vulnerabilities, and more often and than we might expect, impressed with our strength.

Fears: I used to fear pain. I grew up in neighborhood where fist-fights and the fear of getting "jumped" and having your ass kicked for almost no reason was commonplace. Pain was something that could come suddenly and unexpectedly and last for as long as someone chose to inflict it on you. Since becoming competitive in the jui-jitsu, boxing, Cross-Fit, and trail running scene I no longer hide from pain. I've come to recognize it as one of the many markers, along with sacrifice, self-discipline, commitment, and dedication, of any goal worthy enough to take up and pursue.

Running through the woods at night unnerves me. Better said, it scares the hell out of me. With the support of my team I've got several night runs planned for this summer in order to be both mentally and logistically prepared to meet this fear head on by the time that I arrive in Virgil.

Mostly, I fear that I'll loose the gains that I've made since rounding out my running regimen with a strong dose of strength and power training, flexibility and mobility work, and Cross-Fit style metabolic conditioning. I'm healthier, stronger, and happier than when I was running every day and logging 60+ miles a week. I've seen improvements in everything from my race times to my "FRAN" time. And I occasionally spend Saturday mornings doing bear crawls across the grass, practicing handstands, and "playing" with the human movements that combine to form what I view as functional and fulfilling human fitness.

That said, the time that I spend on the trails is now of greater value to me than ever before. I appreciate every minute of it, every stream crossing, hill climb, and quiet stretch of single track trail. This appreciation for trail running is something that I vowed not to lose as my racing and running goals evolved. (There will undeniably be moments during my training when I don't want to run another step, when "appreciation"is the last thing in my mind as I pull into the parking lot at Bradbury Mountain and strap on my Camelback, when I'm sick of the woods. But I want them to be few and far between.)

This is a fear that can be avoided by a smart. periodized, training plan which I'll be developing , testing, and blogging about in the months to come.

Balance: Running a marathon distance every week for several months leading to a body-wrecking 24+hour endurance event is about as healthy as being repeatedly punched in the head during a heavyweight title fight or doing seven straight minutes of burpees at the Crossfit Games. That said, trail running is my passion. It is what I love to do. As ultra-running legend David Horton once said when asked why he runs these seemingly insane distances "I feel most at home and closest to God when I'm out on the trails'. I've never been a religious man but I can relate to the sentiment.

Training Plan: To avoid the ultra-training train wreck of adrenal fatigue, chronic sleep disturbances, sky-high cortisol levels, and a thoroughly trashed immune system I am going to take the same approach that served me well for the Peaks 50: comparatively low volume/well planned/and high quality miles with a focus on my weekly long run of 20-30 miles and a strong dose of general physical conditioning to prepare me for the challenges that await on race day.

The Crossfit Endurance program and athletes like Brian Mackenzie have demonstrated that you can run an Ultra-Marathon, and run it competitively (Brian completed the Western States 100 Mile Endurance run in 26 hours 48 minutes while claiming to have trained no more than 10.5 hours per week and focusing on Crossfit-style strength and metabolic conditioning workouts) with relatively low training miles behind you.  Remarkable achievement for sure. But there is a missing element in these efforts...and that element is joy.

Here is clip of Crossfitter Mark Matyazik completing the Javelina Jundred on nothing but Crossfit training

Remarkable achievement for sure. But whereas Mark seems to have approached this race the same way that many of us approach an insanely tough Crossfit WOD: by gritting his teeth, readying and steadying his mind, and powering through it until he reached the finish line, I am approaching the Virgil Crest Ultra from the opposite end of the spectrum: I want September 22nd to stand among the best days of my life. I want to squeeze my children, hug my teammates, and sink into the satisfaction of a hard fought battle won  with a big smile on my face.

I love running long, I love running trails, and I know that I can design a training program that allows me to get a good dose of what I love without completely sacrificing what I need to remain both fit and functional in the other realms of my life in which I perform, compete, and exist in when I'm not running in the woods...

I'll be posting details on my Virgil Crest training in my log from now until race day.