Real Talk

The other day I had a health screening for my insurance at work. They check basic things and “grade” you based on national guidelines for weight (BMI, body fat %), cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

It didn’t go great for me — beginning with the weigh-in. I’ll never hit my BMI, which isn’t a fair measurement anyway. According to my BMI, I’m obese, which I’ve gotten used to seeing. I also didn’t hit my body fat %, which was disappointing, but I don’t normally think much of it. But on that day, the nurse practitioner apologized a lot to me when I didn’t hit the numbers I was supposed to. “I’m so sorry…I’m just…I’m so sorry.” Why was she sorry? I wasn’t dying, and to be honest, those measurements are a poor snapshot look into my overall health.

After that nonsense — plus a finger prick to get blood — my blood pressure was in the “pre-hypertension” range.

My bloodwork came back okay, but not incredible.

The advice I was given was to eat more vegetables and exercise more.

As I went back to my desk, the voice of that nurse practitioner saying “I’m sorry… I’m just so sorry” played on a loop in my mind.

Have I failed at being healthy?

Even though I’m vegan and an ultrarunner, I still need to be given the advice of eat more vegetables and exercise more. What have I done wrong?

As I sit here writing this, I’ve lost 72 pounds from my heaviest weight. I’ve run more than a thousand miles this year, and I’ve run well over a thousand each year for the last several years. I’ve completed 10 ultramarathons, including two mountain adventures.

But everything I’ve done and accomplished — things I could not have imagined doing only a few years ago — some days they count for nothing. Nothing.

Every pound I gain weighs on my mind like 100 pounds. But rather than every lost pound feeling like a victory, that psychological weight sticks around and may never go away.

That one pound lost is like a small stone tossed at the giant wall of work yet to be done.

When those pounds become noticeable — whether it’s a notch on my belt or a strained button on my shirt — body dysmorphia causes me to imagine myself looking like those numbers at the clinic tell me I look: obese. An “I’m so sorry…” level of obese.

With these thoughts and feelings dragging me down, I headed to a company meeting. I sat down and looked around the room to say hello to people I know. I caught the eye of a friend, Angie, who was sitting a few rows back and over from me. I waved at her, and she pantomimed that I was looking thin and fit. She said I looked really great.

I’m not very good at accepting compliments for some reason, so I sheepishly smiled and said thanks, and then the meeting started.

As I sat, though, I realized how meaningful it was for Angie to say that, and what it actually meant. It meant the world. It was a lifeline that pulled me out of the pit I was sinking into.

After the meeting was over, I thanked Angie properly. I told her how much it meant for her to say such kind things — and that I had been feeling down about the way I looked and felt, and what she said really helped me out. We talked a little about what I’m doing to stay fit.

What does this all mean?

All of this happened in the morning. My health screening was at 7:30am, and the company meeting was at 9:00am. I thought about everything all day trying to sort out everything I felt. It was a meaningful day, and I think there are three takeaways:

1. Be kind to each other.
Compliment your friends and coworkers. Be genuine about it. It could change their day in ways you couldn’t have planned for.

2. Accept compliments, even if you don’t believe them.
I don’t mean receive a compliment, like I did at first. Accepting it, especially when you may not even believe it, will have a great effect.

You deserve to be complimented. You deserve to feel so great about yourself.

3. You are not — and never, ever will be — a loser.
And I say this while coming off of feeling like a pretty big loser myself.

But it’s true, no matter what rebuttal you have. You are not a loser.

You gain weight. You lose weight. You work hard. You try your best to be your best. Every bit of that means you are a strong, beautiful, person. Perhaps the most winningest of them all.

You’re the best. Own it.


Adventure time


There have been so many times that I’ve found myself asking: “What the hell am I doing out here?”

The 5am alarm on a Saturday morning.

Pushing through thick, wet snow and icy cold wind, my beard turned into icicles.IMG_20180217_170552_499.jpg

Deep in the woods, swimming through the humidity and heat, sweat soaking my socks and shoes.

Trudging up yet another hill during an ultramarathon, the finish line somewhere in the distance.

Why am I even bothering? I’m literally going nowhere!

But invariably – invariably – the next day, those thoughts are gone. Instead, I’m remembering what it felt like to be on an adventure. Discovering new trails, new abilities, and being inspired with new ideas.

I’ve thought about it. You know, the big “IT.” Would I give this up? Would I stop pursuing these crazy miles? And I know, without a doubt, that I would absolutely not give it up. In his song “Every Time,” David Ford says “I’d choose this mother*****, and I’d choose it again.”


That’s why I’m currently planning to complete solo runs of Indiana’s two longest trails, the Tecumseh Trail and the Knobstone Trail. For no other reason than that I love adventure, and trail and ultrarunning has taken me to some of my greatest adventures.

I’ll start with Tecumseh, a 42-mile point-to-point trail in my own Hoosier State, only a few hours from my house. Tecumseh is pretty hilly, with 4,000 – 6,000 feet of vert (depending on who you ask), so this isn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I’ll be ready. I’m building on the stellar work I put in for Gnaw Bone, so I have a pretty good head start. I’ll do this sometime in August (date TBD).

After that, I’ll set my sites on Knobstone, an infamous Hoosier trail if ever there were one. Its 50 miles rolls through notoriously difficult terrain with steep climbs and descents and very few switchbacks. It’s also well-known for being pretty dry, with little-to-no access to water on the trail. Thankfully Ashley is going to crew me for both adventures.

There’s more to plan and sort out, but I’m so excited to hit the trails for a few solo adventures.


The finish line.

It’s been a few weeks since Gnaw Bone, and I’ve started working toward my next goal run, and I want to talk about that – so maybe I need to talk about Gnaw Bone too.

So there’s really no way to sugar coat it. I did not run 50 miles at Gnaw Bone like I had planned.

That statement comes a mix of pride and disappointment. Yeah, it’s a little confusing. Not only that, but any time someone asks me how that run went, it’s not as easy as “It went great!” or “It didn’t go so great.”

Here’s what happened:


At 6:15 on race day, the director yelled “GO!”, and 50 milers and 50kers took off into the twilight. For most runners, the beginning of an ultra is not an all out rush toward the finish line because we all know we’re going to be on the trail for many hours. In my case, I was aiming for a 12-hour finish.

The Gnaw Bone course is like a crazy lollipop. The 50K and 50M run essentially the same course: both start and finish on the stick of the lollipop and run clockwise around the sucker part. The 50K runs once around the sucker, and the 50M runs twice around the sucker. At mile 27, where the stick meets the sucker, there’s an aid station. I had to reach that aid station before 1:30 pm if I wanted to go back out for a second loop around the sucker.

There’s not a ton that happened in the first few hours, except for settling into an all-day routine of run, sweat, eat, drink, repeat. I started off pushing my mind into positive space pretty early, so I would have a habit in place when the going got tough. I focused on the miles and hours I was crossing off my “to do” list. I kept saying “You’re doing great. Keep going.” I thanked the volunteers, told the other runners they were doing great. All the good stuff. I really felt wonderful.

At around mile 20, the course goes from flowy singletrack to rough off-trail bushwhacking, which is very difficult. We go straight up the steep hills instead of running up switchbacks, and instead of clear, smooth trails, the path is strewn with deadfall and bramble. But I kept going. Crossing the miles off. Even when giant horseflies started circling my head, I fought them off with my Buff and powered through.

Focused on that 50-mile finish.

When I stopped at mile 23 to meet Ashley at the aid station, my legs started cramping.

My quads seized up first, which is an unfortunately familiar feeling. But then my calves and feet cramped up. I sat still and tried to get them to relax, drinking water and taking salt pills.

This was probably the worst I felt all day. I was nearly halfway through the race, and things were really tough already. These cramps really threatened my positivity. “Why does it have to be so hard?” I asked Ashley as I sat at a picnic table, waiting for my legs to release.

A few minutes passed and my cramps eased.

I changed my shoes and headed back onto the trail.

Through more off-trail, over more ridges and through ravines, I found a new routine. Run until the cramps come, take more salt and drink more water, keep running. It was painful, and I wasn’t going as fast as I would have liked through the tougher sections, but I was moving – determined as ever.

Focused on that 50-mile finish.

I allowed my average pace to fall, but I had a plan. After the mile 27 aid station, the course goes level for a little while as we head back toward Ogle Lake. Level, and even down hill for about 4 miles. I knew I could make up some time when I got to that point, so I kept pushing. Pulling precious seconds back so I could lower my average pace and stay on target.

Finally the course came out of the woods and onto the road for a little while. I ran as well as I could, still nursing cramping calves, as I headed toward a major point in the race: the mile 27 aid station that I needed to reach by 1:30. It’s there that I could also choose whether to continue the 50-mile run or drop down and finish the 50k. Of course I was going to finish the 50-mile run.

As I approached the decision point, though, the volunteer at the aid station said, “I have some bad news for you.”

I missed the cutoff by 4 minutes.

I looked down the road and let out a sigh. I had worked hard all day with an unwavering focus on a 50-mile finish, and I was so ready to head back out on my second loop. I knew I was going to finish.

But, the rules said I would not get that chance. My 50-mile finish faded away.

I ate some food, drank some some soda, and got back on the stick part of the course and headed to the finish line 3.5 miles away.

When I crossed the finish line, I got a medal and a nice cold IPA. Then I sat on the porch of Mike’s Dance Barn with my friends.

It’s always a great feeling to finish an ultramarathon, and I’ve tried to hold onto that these last few weeks. I’m proud of what I did. Not only did I run 31.63 miles, but more importantly: I didn’t let fear and past failures dictate what I can and cannot do.

Even if I didn’t reach my ultimate goal, I ran a smart race and gave it everything I had. Sometimes it just takes a few tries to reach that goal.

I will always be proud of giving it everything I’ve got.

Am I ready for this?


Last year I attempted my second 50 miler at Gnaw Bone in Brown County State Park. I made it 21 miles and decided I’d had enough.

I gave up – but I didn’t give up at mile 21. I gave up at mile 0. When I was standing at the start line in the dark, I thought to myself, “I don’t belong here.”

That DNF was really hard to come back from. It affected me a lot more deeply than I expected it would.

But I came back. Last summer, after I worked hard and ran my fastest half marathon, the siren call of Gnaw Bone called me back, and I’ll be standing at the start line in just a few days.

Am I ready for this?

For the last few months, I’ve been hitting the trails harder than I have ever done before.  I’ve identified to two of the most challenging trails in the area, and I’ve made them my project, eschewing the easier trails for steeper, longer, more technical and challenging hills. I’ve climbed thousands of feet, repeating the largest hills and most challenging sections of trails again and again. And once more for good measure.

I’ve learned a lot about how to approach the most challenging runs, discovering new mantras like “You don’t have to fly to the top, just get to the top,” and more simply: “I am powerful.”

I’ve been building competencies – but not just in my legs. After last year, I knew my biggest weakness that day was my mind. “I don’t belong here” tore me down over those 21 miles.

So this year, while my legs were burning running up those hills over and over again, my mind was working hard as well.

Over time I gave myself permission to push harder, to push past where it starts to hurt or feel impossible.

Over time, “I can’t run this hill again” turned into “I’m powerful, and I’m not afraid of this hill.”

Over time, “I don’t belong here” turned into “This is my race, and I’m strong enough.”

Not every run has been wonderful and seamless. The cracks start to show when the miles get long and the hills are endless. But I’ve learned to embrace the beauty – the absolute beauty – of the suck.

When I embark on the longest runs, it’s not the work I look forward to. It’s the adventure behind every twist of the trail and every crest of a hill.

In just a few days, I’ll start in the dark on another great adventure.

Am I ready for this?



Personal Record

In 2014, I ran my fastest half marathon, breaking through the 2-hour mark for the first time, crossing over the finish line at a stunning 1:59:11. It was barely under 2 hours, but it was under nonetheless. Then I stopped racing road halfs and dug more deeply into trail and ultra running, which is really where my passion lies.

But this year, I decided to do another road half – really because of one specific reason:

After an incredible spring of running the 30-mile Art Loeb trail and racing Yamacraw 50k again, I came into the summer on a DNF. I attempted a 50-mile trail race, and dropped out at around mile 21. While I do not think dropping was the wrong decision on that day, it still felt like a kick to the stomach. I didn’t like thinking about it let alone talking about it. Which is why you have likely not heard anything about it.

With the summer approaching, my motivation to run was all but gone. My confidence in my own running abilities was just shot. I had planned a pretty ambitious year, and I didn’t think I could do any of it any more. Toeing the line at another ultra seemed like a terrible idea.

So I decided to go small and build back up, snagging wins along the way. I don’t mean medals and awards – but injections of confidence: I can run, I can work hard, I can achieve. And that’s just what I did. With Doug’s guidance, I got into speedwork like never before. At first, I wanted to go for a 5k PR, but shortly into that, I thought it wasn’t enough. I wanted to dig deeper, so I set my sights instead on the Evansville Half. This would mean hard track workouts under the blazing summer sun. Tough tempo runs through the streets of Evansville under the blazing summer sun. Long runs with speed work – under the blazing summer sun.

While the miles wouldn’t be quite as long as what I had gotten used to in training for ultras, they would be tougher miles. And I loved it. Heading to the track to bust out 400s, 800s, and 1600s at paces I had never run before was incredible. I could feel myself getting stronger, and the confidence that has come with that is priceless.

A few weeks before the race, I hit the road for the longest run of the cycle. It was 15 miles, with the first three miles at race pace and the last 3-5 miles also at race pace. When I finished, I had busted my half marathon PR by three minutes. So that sort of set my goal for the race even higher. Not only do I need to break by PR from 2014, but I also wanted to break my NEW PR from a training run.

I was thrilled.

I got into the starting corral on October 14 with a few thousand other runners, ready to tour the city and see what I’m capable of.

The Evansville Half Marathon course is flat and fast. The first 8 miles, there are basically no hills at all. The last 5 get a little rolly – with 4- to 5-foot hills, which can seen a little insurmountable after running hard on flat roads for so long.

Ashley rode her bike through town to see me at a few places along the course, which was always a welcome boost. She waved and yelled, and I grinned and ran.

The first few miles, I eased up to my sub-8:30 pace, and it really felt pretty comfortable. My legs were turning over well, and my breathing wasn’t too labored. Eventually, it would start to feel more difficult to keep that pace during those last 5 miles. When the going got tough, I turned up my tunes and focused on keeping my form under control. Turning corners, climbing little hills, wincing into the bright sun and blue sky.

I knew this is what I worked hard all summer to do. I knew that I could do the distance; I knew I could hold the pace.

I picked up the pace slightly over the last 1 or 2 miles – or at least increased the effort. The finish line came into view. I locked eyes on that big inflatable frame.

At 1:52:36, I crossed through. Tired, sore, sweaty.

Proud, confident, strong.


Transcendent Trail Run Tuesday

When I’m anticipating the end of the work day, I’m thankful for the second hand’s unceasing movement – Because it’s almost 4:00, which means in an hour, I’ll be headed home. 30 minutes after that, I’ll be headed into the woods.

Even now, typing these words, I get a small surge of adrenaline.

The woods are where I belong, and today is Tuesday.

Tuesdays are for trail running.

When work is over, I get home and change into running clothes, pull on my trail shoes, and drive across that money-saving bridge into Henderson where, just on the other side of the Ohio River, John James Audubon State Park awaits. This park is home to a short trail system that is remarkably grueling – perhaps even more grueling because no one expects it when they head back there for the first time.

I run in to the heavy hardwood canopy and follow the single track to get as many miles as I can before the sun goes down. As the summer wanes, the forest’s deepening shadows urge me forward, up steep hills, along plummeting ridge lines, and flying down into ravines – only to come back up again and again.

It’s only 15 minutes from my home in the city, but these woods are a welcome refuge from the noise and bustle of the highways and expressways that crisscross Evansville.

From a few points on the trail, high above the Ohio River, I can look out and see the tall buildings in Downtown Evansville miles away. I can’t hear it, but I can see it. Then I turn and head back into the woods and stop to look at the turtles that line the fallen trees around the edges of Wilderness Lake. On the other side of the lake, a deer heads down for a drink. Her red-brown body reflects in the water in front of the deep forest that climbs up the hill behind her.

(Just to the left of the white tree in the middle)

Audubon is a beautiful place to run – but it’s also maddeningly difficult. There are days that the wild ascents take everything in my mind and body to get over. My legs take bites out of the hill, climbing up to a peak that I can’t see. Maybe it’s around this corner…maybe this one? Surely this one.

When I finally reach the top, heart thumping in my chest, I don’t stop. Instead, I pick up the pace a little, allowing my legs to turn faster on the relative flat of the ridge line. Soon, my pulse slows and my legs settle into a relaxing cadence – just before I dive back down into a ravine and head for another climb.

It never gets old, this early work week escape between the office and the dinner table. It’s always a true pleasure to suddenly be deep in the woods running with deer, squirrels, spiders, and horseflies. With a smile as I turn onto Backcountry Trail, I wholeheartedly welcome the challenges I know are just beyond the next curve, and I relish the opportunity to give it my all on a training run that is every bit as fun as it is important for my fitness and goals.

It’s Transcendent Trail Run Tuesday. Hit the trails – they’re waiting.IMG_20170810_182420766_HDR

There is magic today.


Sometimes running can only be described as magical.

Moments like the one pictured above – when I’m on top of a mountain with other mountains, the big blue sky, and big fluffy clouds all around. But, I can also feel the magic when I’m climbing that mountain in the rain with more mountains and miles ahead of me.


The mountains don’t even have to be there. I feel the magic when I’m deep in the dark green woods, following the dusty singletrack for miles and miles.

I live for this magic. The moments that last in my mind forever.

While running in the mountains and forests are the most fulfilling for me, I begin the majority of my runs by going out my front door and turning either left or right – and I don’t live near mountains or in the forest. When I’m grinding out the miles on the roads around my neighborhood during the week, it can be difficult to find the magic.

And, if I’m being perfectly honest, those weekday miles can really be a drag.

But, while they may not always be magical, those weekday runs are probably the most important. Without solid weekday miles, the long runs on the weekends and the adventure runs in the mountains would not be possible. It’s a simple equation. Much like I work during the day at my job so I can afford to do the things I love, I run during the week to have the ability to go on the adventures I love.

Just because my weekday runs don’t have the obvious makings of a magical adventure, that doesn’t mean that they don’t hold some type of magic of their own.

So, starting today, I’ve committed to finding the magic in every run.

I’m not going to force it, but I’m going to look for it. There is magic today; I just need to be open to it.

I’ll share my experiences on Instagram – so if you don’t already follow me there, you should! I’ll post a picture from every one of my runs that shows some of the beautiful places I get to run in town and in the woods.

I also want to challenge you to look for the magic in your own life. You’re in your life’s adventure today. Some day you’ll think back to now and say “Remember when…?” Make sure you appreciate it while you’re living it.


Why Ultra?: Art Loeb Edition

Ever since I started running ultra distances, I’ve been asked a lot of the same questions. The first and most common is: “Why?”

It’s oddly one of the more difficult questions to answer; maybe because I think too hard about it. I try to look into my psyche and find the real thing – the deep answer about what makes me want to run farther and farther.

But, really – I don’t have to dig deep to find the true answer.


Several years ago, I embarked on a backpacking trip with a group of students from the university where I work. This was going to be my longest backpacking trip, and we were going to the mountains of Pisgah National Forest to hike the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail. This was before I ever dreamed of running, let alone trail running.

To make a long story incredibly short, things didn’t go super well that week. The entire trip was a lot harder than anyone anticipated. To top it all off, we finished on the wrong side of the mountain.

While things didn’t go terribly smoothly, the trip did leave me with the desire to go back and get it right.


One year later, I went back. This time, it was with Ashley and a friend. We caught a ride from someone to take us to the trailhead. While we were in the car, that person told us about a “group of crazy people” that comes out to the Art Loeb every December and runs the entire length of it in a single day.

“What? How is that even possible? How do they carry food, water…how do they make it up the mountains….etc., etc.”

I had just run my first half marathon a few weeks earlier, so the idea of going 30 miles in the mountains in one go was unfathomable. And, as as we tried to figure out the logistics of such an undertaking, it just became more difficult to wrap my head around it. But at the same time…something stirred inside me.

I want to run the Art Loeb Trail.

March 2017

For several years, I’ve had that trail in the back of my mind with every ultra I run. Every time I finish a 50k, I try to imagine what it would have been like to cover that distance on the switchbacks up Pilot Mountain, climbing up to Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain, and traversing the Shining Rock Wilderness and the Narrows – all major points along the Art Loeb, if you haven’t guessed that already.

So imagine how it felt when earlier this year, I learned that my running coach (Doug Hay) was planning to run the Loeb in March 2017. Imagine again how it felt when he asked “Want to join?”

On Saturday, Doug and I ran the Art Loeb Trail – an actual dream come true for me. I’ll write a post about the trip and the conditions and challenges we met with along the way later. But first, I want this sentiment to stand alone:

I run ultras because it feels so good to follow a dream from its infancy to its completion. It feels so good to say “yes” to the adventures that at first seem impossible or crazy. It really seems crazy and impossible are the most appealing to me.

On top of Pilot Mountain (thanks to Doug for the picture!)


Streak DONE.


Today I completed my final run of 2016. It was my 369th day in a row, which included the last three days of 2015 and all 366 days of 2016. Achievement unlocked!

My last run was a 17.46-mile run on some of my favorite trails at Lincoln State Park. These miles brought me to 100 for December, which was sort of important to me. Just by chance, I ran at least 100 miles every month in 2016. I like that kind of consistency.

While, as I mentioned before, it may be true that the run streak didn’t really make me a stronger runner and didn’t really add any huge benefits to my running capabilities, I did learn a few things throughout the year.

I can run today.
The day after 32.7 miles at Yamacraw, I ran a mile. The day after 50.15 miles at Tunnel Hill, I ran a mile. All week on vacation in Colorado, at a hotel in Utah after being up since 2:00 a.m. In the rain, over ice, through snow, and while being sick – I’ve run miles. Every day. Without fail. I can run today. Even if it’s only one mile.

There were a few days I didn’t get to it until it was really late. Sometimes that happened because I was too busy. Other times, I didn’t lace up until late because I really just didn’t want to do it. I was tired from a long run the day before – or the weather was crap. But in the end, I did it. 369 times in a row.

Merely running does not a strong, efficient runner make.
Aside from forcing an excellent level of consistency to my running routine, there really wasn’t much in the way of measurable benefits. The “streaker keeper” days when I would just go out and run one mile were really more of a nuisance than anything.

Consistency is key.
I’ve heard over and over that consistency in routine is more important than any single workout. Maybe that’s why I have had one of the most successful years in terms of injury. My IT band hasn’t flared up at all this year, despite running 400 miles further than ever before, and never taking a single full rest day.

This consistency is more important than the streak itself, and I don’t want to let go of that. So, in 2017, I’m going to try a different kind of streak. A workout streak.

Instead of running every day, I’m going to do a low-impact, 10-minute workout every day. Arms, legs, and core in a circuit for 10 minutes. I expect the results from this streak will be far more noticeable than the results from the run streak.


  1. Every day. I’ll work through a 10-minute circuit every day. Here is an example: 10 pushups, 10 dips, 10 squats, 10 lunges, 10 V-ups, 10 bicycle crunches. Repeat until the timer beeps.

That’s it! Barring serious injury or other unforeseen circumstances, this will be it for the year!

So long, 2016!

This was a great year in many respects, and I’m looking forward to making 2017 even better. Here’s to another trip around the sun!

2017: The year of…


I hope next year is epic. I’m already  planning for it to be. I have an A race in mind, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever attempted. But, it won’t be the farthest I’ve run. It’s “only” a marathon. It’s a marathon that one guy described as “a pissed off 50k.” It’s the marathon Trail Runner magazine calls “The toughest marathon you’ve never heard of.”

I call it my A race – for 2018.

I like planning. I like big goals. This race will require big goals, strategic planning, hard work, and dedication. It like the perfect puzzle piece in my lifestyle.

It’s the Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon. The course follows a 100-year-old horse postal trail through the mountains. It’s an out-and-back trail that goes up and over eight mountains – then back over those eight mountains, finishing right where it started after 9200 feet of mountain running.

Ever since I heard about it, I’ve been wanting to do it. The one thing that has been holding me back is that I don’t think I’m ready for that. That race is too hard, too much.

But then I realized that too hard and too much has never stopped me before.

Getting ready.

The running.

In order to run a race like the Big Fork, I’ll need to be really ready. There are cutoff times to think about, so I’m not going to be able to just meander the mountains hoping for the best. As a result, I’m treating all of 2017 as training for BF.

Here are the key races I’m planning to run:

  • Yamacraw 50k (April)
  • Gnaw Bone 50 mile (May)
  • Shawnee Hills 50k (August)
  • Rough Trails Ultra 50k (November)

Training for four ultramarathons will help give me a massive endurance base. Plus all four of those races are pretty hilly, so I’ll build climbing legs and develop more efficiency on the hills, which will be so important for Big Fork.

The working out.

But, as I know for a fact, and as I am not good at compensating for, merely running does not a good runner make. In 2016, I did a run streak: I ran at least one mile every day for the entire year – but what I’ve learned (and I’ll get into more in a different post) is that a run streak really doesn’t have a ton of actual benefits – aside from forcing very consistent running routine, of course. I definitely didn’t become a stronger runner because of it.

But, I did really like the consistency it brought to my training, and that got me thinking. I could do a different daily challenge that would bring more benefits to my running and goals. So, in 2017, I’ll be doing a core workout challenge. Every day, I’ll do a 10-minute workout including leg, arms, and core strengthening exercises. This will go a lot further toward making me a stronger, leaner runner. Which should get me up and over eight mountains – twice.

No excuses.

2016 was my year of discipline. Even with each day anchored by a run, I’m still not quite sure I really achieved the level of discipline I wanted to achieve. It’s illusive and it’s hard to say exactly what I’m looking for, but know that I’m not quite there.

One of my weaknesses is that I give in to my excuses too often. While I do get my runs done, I don’t do them when I really want to (i.e., in the morning), and I don’t get my cross training done as consistently as I should.

So, in 2017, I’m going to dive into all the clichés. No excuses. Just do it. The daily workout challenge is going to be a big part of that. It’s going to have a big, positive effect, but I know it’s going to be a challenge to  do it every day without fail.

But I suppose that’s what makes it appealing.

What are your 2017 goals?