Staying Positive When Injury Strikes April 26 2017, 0 Comments

You sustained an injury.  It wasn’t planned.  They never are.  You’ve taken all of the precautions you could but yet, you still sit on the sidelines and can’t do the things you enjoy any longer.  For me, it’s the running and the obstacle course races.  So how do you recover?  How do you get back safely and try to avoid it ever happening again?  How do you try to be positive when recovery is taking everything you’ve got?

Herein lies the problem for me.  I live a fast paced life and everything I do is always so intense.  Maybe it’s the career choice I have in being a career firefighter/paramedic and need the adrenalin rush.  I think I’ve always chosen the excitement of challenging myself in every aspect of my life from sports to jobs.  That’s why I fell in love with the sports of running, trail racing, and OCR races.  I sustained a serious injury doing just that and it changed me.


Last year, I tore my quadriceps tendon running the Chicago Marathon.  This came after thousands of training miles for my first marathon and it didn’t end the way I intended.  Surgery was the only viable option if I wanted to get back to what I loved doing.  Well, the surgery and the rehab wasn’t the difficult part.  It was the mental aspect of sitting back and watching my friends run the races I really wanted to be part of.  I still received tons of support from my fellow runners but something was missing.  I needed to be okay with not training and I wasn’t.  I wouldn’t say that I was depressed, but maybe I was.  I’m not used to being the one that needed help.  I was always the one who offered the help.  Being stubborn is easier.

I’m now 4 months post surgery and it’s still hard to maintain the level of fitness I had before the injury.  I know it’s still early and I’ll be working hard to get back but it gets harder as the weather gets nicer.  There are good days and bad days with my knee and I think that signing up for races in mid summer and fall is driving me to work hard and see that attainable goal.  There is still that voice in the back of my head that wonders if I’ll ever be 100%.

So, how do you stay positive?  Well, my advice to you would be to never bottle it all in.  Take the time to talk to people.  Talk to those who have been through similar injuries.  Talk to people you feel comfortable with.  Talk with someone.  Being positive isn’t always easy but sometimes it makes the process go faster.

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Training for your first Obstacle Course Race April 19 2017, 0 Comments

Training for your first Obstacle Course Race

Spartan. Tough Mudder. Obstacle Course Races are becoming popular among elite athletes, casual runners, and everyone in between. Everyone wants to feel like the next American Ninja Warrior. Plus, the athletes we see competing in the “big leagues” are incredibly fit and BEASTS. So it’s not wonder why more and more people are hitting these start lines for the first time. Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is an event that tests your strength and stamina. And just like an other endurance event, it takes some training and practice.

I started training for my first Spartan Race because it would not only change up my routine, but force me to work on upper body strength. Boy were both of those an under statement! I did much better than I thought I would after just two months of training. I saw improvement on my strength, as well as in my overall running. The high-intensity OCR workouts are great, even for just a cross-training workout. I'm by no means an OCR elite athlete, but from one amateur to another, I'm sharing my OCR Training Story to help make your Spartan Adventure more fun.

First off, if you're a runner there's good news--you do have an advantage. You have some endurance already and a lot of stronger OCR athletes will admit they suck at running. But because we all want to do as well as we possibly can, you're still going to need to train like you would any other race. For Spartan, you need to build your grip strength and your upper body strength. You'll also need to learn some technique to save your energy as you go.

To give you an idea, here's the common Spartan elements and obstacles you'll want to prepare for:


If you miss an obstacle, you'll have to do 30 burpees. Yes. That's per obstacle you fail. And you don't get multiple tries. Most likely you'll be doing quite a few burpees unless you happen to complete EVERY single obstacle. I myself ended up doing 120.

BURPEE TRAINING: The hard part about the burpees is it jacks your heart rate way up, and you have to keep running (usually up hills) and then hit another obstacle. It's pretty high-intensity. So the  best way to train for this is to do some high-intensity workouts that incorporate burpees. Or even just go for a run and stop every mile to do 20-30 burpees. Practice makes perfect!


There will be walls of varying heights. Some 6', others 8' or higher. You'll need to learn how to jump and hoist yourself over. Check out this Spartan Wall Video for tips on the best techniques for climbing these walls.

WALL TRAINING: Lots of explosive exercises, boxes jumps, squats, etc will help give you the power and boost you need to get up and over.


You will encounter a "rig" or two, consisting of rings, bars, ropes, or a combination of all the above. This will take a lot of grip strength and technique.

RIG TRAINING: Lots of monkey bar practice at a nearby park, pull ups, etc to build your upper body strength. Also, a great way to train for any Spartan race is to visit your local rock gym. Rock climbing is a great way to learn technique and build the strength needed for Obstacle Course Racing.


Are you afraid of heights? Me too. But you'll want to practice getting used to heights so you don't panic or freeze on any obstacle on race day.

HEIGHTS TRAINING: Besides getting over your fear, how do you "train" for heights? Well, get up high! I go back to the indoor rock climbing wall. This will do wonders for building your confidence while training at the same time.


Climb the rope or take the 30-burpees penalty. The height won't make it easier either.

ROPE TRAINING: The biggest part to learning to climb the rope is getting the "wrap technique" down. Then it just becomes about using your feet. Check out this Spartan Rope Climb video to learn all about the "wrap". Some rock wall gyms will have a rope you can practice on as well.


I group all three of these because they all involve one thing: simple strength. Not a whole lot of technique involved, besides proper form so you don't throw out your back. All three will be heavy (400lb tires for the guys, and buckets full of rocks up and down a hill aren't for the faint at heart!)

STRENGTH TRAINING: You may not have access to tractor tires or sand bags, but you can lift at a your gym to build upper body strength, and the bucket carry is fairly simple to replicate. Find some heavy rocks, fill up a 24-gallon bucket and practice carrying it around a parking lot or up and down a hill.

BONUS BUCKET TIPS: Check out this video on the Spartan Bucket Brigade for tips on how to hold the bucket, and proper rest form when you need to take a breather.


There will be some water stops, but you'll likely want some sort of hydration with you that frees up your hands and doesn't impede you from jumping, crawling, or rolling.

WHAT I USE: For Spartan Race hydration, I use my Orange Mud Endurance Pack. It's a small bladder pack, light weight, holds 2L of water, and stays close to my body with little bounce and no chafing. Plus, it washes off very well (b/c trust me, you're going to get muddy!)


There will be a lot of crawling on your hands and knees in sand, rocks, dirt, and mud. A good "buffer" for this is gear like arm sleeves, compression sleeves/socks, and good trail shoes.

WHAT I USE: Everyone is different when it comes to shoes. I recommend checking out this Sports Illustrated article on The Best Shoes for OCR and checking them out at your local shoe store to see which one is the best fit for you.

I love my Orange Mud arm warmers. They kept me warm in the chilly weather and from getting too sun burnt. However, during the summer Spartan races, arm warmers may not be ideal. Compression sleeves/socks are plentiful and can be found in a number of places. But make sure you look for a pair that's heavy duty and won't tear from crawling around on rocks.

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to train, it’s time to get to work on your first Obstacle Course Race! It’s going to be a tough journey ahead, but you can do it. Good luck!

Guest Blogger,
Jeremy Heath
Instagram: @runner_blogger_az
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Want to learn about nutrition? April 13 2017, 0 Comments

Want to learn about nutrition?

Our podcast with Angie Asche was just awesome. She clarified a lot of misconceptions we have on nutrition, convinced us to both start a nutrition log, and try out some new meals too. Below is the transcription from the call and a link below too for the podcast. 

Angie Asche Podcast

Josh: Hey, guys. Thanks for joining us for another podcast episode on the Orange Mud Adventure Channel. Today, your hosts are Paul Jesse...

Paul: Hey, guys.

Josh: Sales manager here at Orange Mud and myself, Josh Sprague, CEO and founder of Orange Mud. We're very excited to have our first nutritionist, Angie Asche, on the call today. She is a founder of Eleat Sports Nutrition, has a master of science degree in nutrition and physical performance, is a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition, and a clinical exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. So basically, she knows what she's talking about when it comes to nutrition. And Angie, welcome to the call today. How are you?

Angie: I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. How are you guys?

Paul: We're doing great.

Josh: We're awesome over here. We can't wait to pick your brain and learn all about how to be healthier and go faster and stronger, easier, is the goal.

Angie: Oh, God, I'm excited.

Josh: So, to start things off, tell us a little bit about yourself and why you chose the profession of being a nutritionist.

Angie: Sure. So, I grew up a competitive swimmer and dancer, so I was always really intrigued by the impact that eating certain foods had on my performance depending on if it was a swim meet or a dance competition. My dad was a sports medicine doctor, so I grew up basically surrounded by sports, surrounded by sports medicine, and truly, I was just fascinated by the science of it all. I had the opportunity to shadow a sports dietitian when I was a freshman in high school and it's been my passion ever since.

So, I really do... I love science and research, and really how nutrition can either have the most beneficial or detrimental impact to both athletic performance and overall health. And I actually... I didn't start running until I started college. And just recently, the past two years, transitioned over to triathlons.

Josh: Nice. What sort of distance do you like to do?

Angie: So, my favorites would be the Olympic, and then obviously, sprint. I have yet to do any of the half and the full Iron Man's, but it is it is on my to-do list.

Josh: Right on. Have fun ramping it up. The Olympics and sprints are a lot of fun.

Angie: Yeah, they are. They are.

Josh: So, with elite nutrition, you started that, what, seven years ago, I think I saw, is that right?

Angie: This is the third year, actually. Yeah, third year. So, I've been a dietitian, and I worked for a company in St. Louis, actually, called Athletic Republic before this. So, I worked with athletes starting back then and then opened my own practice after.

Josh: Nice. And you headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, right?

Angie: Yes, that's correct.

Josh: I see on your website, you have multiple different disciplines and kind of I guess focal points and whatnot that you use with different people and their different requirements, but what do you have is the majority of your customer base? You know, in terms of do you have people like our ambassador who is using you, Michael Bergen.

Do you have people like him coming mostly to you, learning how to reduce body fat, increase performance, for racing, or do you have more people coming in general nutrition, you know? Give us a background of who you generally see coming into your practice.

Angie: Totally. So, I'd say about 80% of my clientele is athletes, and it's everything from high school to collegiate to the professional Olympic level. I do have ultra-runners, like Michael, like you said, and a lot of ultra, like cyclists, so people that ride 100, 200 mile on the bike, they come to see me for the same reason. Getting down to that racing weight, getting down to, you know, a leaner figure that's also going to help them with performance.

So, it's a lot of endurance athletes, and it is a lot of, honestly, baseball, football. I do have a few basketball, volleyball, really just, you know, tons a different variety there when it comes to athletes. But I'd say the other 20% is definitely general population who are physically active, but maybe they're training for like their first 5k, or their first 10k, or maybe even their first half marathon. So, that's more so, you know, education on weight loss rather than sports nutrition. I incorporate sports nutrition, but definitely more on the side of, you know, weight loss.

Paul: Very cool. So, I mean, that's a pretty wide demographic, which is pretty neat. So, are there any, like common misconceptions that people come in, when they first come to meet with you, that they have about nutrition?

Angie: Definitely. Probably that there's a one-size-fits-all plan, that there's a clear-cut answer to everything, or that what works for one person will work for them. And another misconception is that, in order to lose weight, it automatically means you have to cut your calories. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Everyone's body is so unique, and has very specific needs.

And when you try to fixate your diet around what worked for someone else whether it was, you know, improved performance, or maybe it helped them to lose weight, it may not work for you. Especially when you're talking specific macros or calories or supplements. So, when I meet with a client I really analyze and assess their current diet, their eating habits, their weight and health history, to determine more specific needs and ultimately develop a plan that works best with them in order to meet their goals and also work with their lifestyle.

The misconception about cutting calories, or more specifically cutting carbs, as the way to long term weight loss is probably one of the most common misconceptions I see. Oftentimes, clients will come to me after like months or even years of struggling with weight loss or a lack of improved performance, and, you know, then I assess their diet and see, “Well, you're seriously under eating.” And oftentimes not even meeting half of their needs in terms of calories or nutrients.

So, it's a bit unsettling sometimes for athletes, especially, ones in more aesthetic sports to hear, “Oh, you need to increase your calories to lose weight.” But once the weight starts to come off, they're stunned at how incredible they feel, how much higher their energy levels are, and how much better they feel performance-wise because they're actually nourishing their body properly with high quality foods and with proper nutrient timing, which are two components I educate on as well.

Paul: How do you test for that? I know it with Michael, for example, he mentioned exactly, you just said, he said he was shocked that he actually had to eat more. He thought he was eating plenty, but he found that he was way undereating. But how do you do that? Do you ask him to document an excel spreadsheets for a week of what they do? I mean, how you figure out if they're short or not?

Angie: Exactly. So, that's the first step, is having them log their food for, ideally, a week, so that I can see some different patterns. Because, you know, if you just do one day or two days, it doesn't really paint a good picture. So, ideally you want to have, you know, maybe a rest day in there. Maybe, you know, what they eat on the weekends, what they eat… So you want to have about a full week, and then you can kind of tell get an idea of, you know, where they're at currently with their nutrition.

So, Michael for example, you're exactly right, came to me frustrated, you know, trying to lose weight, but he was extremely undereating and then trying to go on these 20 mile runs. So he just wasn't fueling his body properly. And so, a few things that can happen with that is either your metabolism can severely shut down, or it could impact your performance to the point that you're not going at your maximum potential, so you never really see improvements because you're not giving your body the fuel it needs to perform better.

And so, those were just a couple of the components as well. It can also lead to overeating once you do get to a point where you're just so starving that say, on the weekends, if you don't have a run, you know, you go to a bar and grill and end up getting the fries and the burger and the soda because you're just so, so hungry.

Josh: No, I don't do that.

Paul: Sounds like the story of my life.

Josh: Don't like, laugh at me so much. So, a strong diet can really boost your performance. But many don't know really where to start. So, what are the key steps to building a strong nutrition plan for a better health?

Angie: The first step is education. It'd be so challenging for an athlete to just, with no background, no nutritional background, education to just go on and make a plan themselves that maximizes nutrition timing, and provides adequate carbs and protein and fat based on their training load, adjusting these numbers based on, you know, how much you're running each week, and also making sure you're getting enough electrolytes and fluids and omega-3s and fiber throughout the day. So, obviously the number one would be meeting with a dietitian to help, you know, provide the building blocks.

But, I'd say number two, would be assessing and figuring out what's missing from your diet. So make it a point to incorporate more of these foods. Is it magnesium, is it iron? Whatever it is, you know, keep track for at least a week and really try to analyze it. It's gonna be hard to do yourself. That's kind of why I say meet with a sports dietitian to provide that education so, you know, you can kind of know ahead of time, “Oh, it's magnesium, so what should I try incorporating?” You know, that kind of thing.

Number three would probably be to monitor yourself. The clients that I have they have the most success are the ones that continuously monitor their food. Like Michael, to this day, every day, continues to journal his food. And this doesn't mean you have to count every single last calorie and gram that you eat, but it does mean to keep some sort of a journal and log things that matter in terms of sports nutrition. So, like for example, if you go out and have an awesome 20-mile training run, then write down what you ate before or what you had during.

And if you had a terrible run, or experience GI distress in the middle of it, write down what it was so you know what to avoid in the future. Because everyone's body is so unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. So, having that log of specifically what works for you will really help tremendously when it comes to race day.

Josh: I bet.

Paul: That's really interesting, because, I mean, especially from the athletic side, a lot of people are very used to having training plans that they look at and they can see the big picture when they look at that training plan, so it's almost like having a nutrition version of your training plan where you can actually get a bit...a more big picture aspect of what you've been putting into your body and how it's been affecting you on a day-to-day basis.

Josh: Like the gummy worms you eat at lunch.

Paul: Yeah, exactly. That's why I have to do my runs in the morning so I don't...

Josh: Reese’s peanut butter crunch. I would have to be...The benefit of me making a log would actually be probably my own self-accountability. It'd be those days where... Like I'm the guy that, I don't eat sweets a lot. But if there's sweets around, like, my mom knows I love gummy bears, and she'll send me like a two-pound bag of gummy bears. I'm like, “Mom, why? Why did you send me...?” Then she's like, "Oh, they're organic gummy bears." I'm like, there's still freaking sugar.

Josh: And then I have to eat them because my mom sent them to me. So if I was recording my nutrition, I would have to, I would definitely sit there and thank, God, Angie is gonna give me a bunch of shit if I eat these gummy bears right now. And especially, if I ate them at like 10, 2, 6, 8, and 10. So, I can imagine... I wonder how many people cheat, because I can imagine being like, this is not nutritionally relevant, because it doesn't exactly tie to my exercise today so I'm not going to log this. So she does not give me the cold shoulder.

Paul: It's like putting a zero on your training plan. You just don't want to do it so much that you'll just, you'd rather just go out for that 10-minute run just do avoid putting that zero on there. So we got some questions from some of our ambassadors so we’ll sprinkle them in. And this is ones from Joey Shear. He wants to know…

Actually, it's a great question because I have the same problem. I have a horrible sweet tooth, and I'd like to blame my mother for this as well, because we never went without ice cream after dinner. So, I always need something as a post dinner snack, you know. I can't go to bed without having something. So, what would you recommend as a, like the best after dinner, before bed snack for athletes?

Angie: Oh, that's a really good question. So, ideally before bed, you wanna aim for high protein. High-protein and high fiber. So avoid, you know, really... I know you said you loved the ice cream before bed, but try to avoid stuff that has added sugar to it. And you really want to have that high fiber to promote...preventing inflammation, helping to reduce the inflammation, and you want that high protein to really help recover the muscles while you sleep as well. So, a few ideas that I have would be like Greek yogurt with a spoonful of, you could do like flax seed, or chia seeds, or you could do even some dark chocolate chips. If you want, you could melt like a square of dark chocolate chips and...

Paul: Now you're talking.

Angie: I, myself have a sweet tooth. So I know...

Paul: The sweet tooth is my biggest nemesis when it comes to this stuff.

Angie: So yeah, melt like a, you know, a square of dark chocolate and drizzle it over either yogurt or maybe like almonds and strawberries. Otherwise, you could do like an antioxidant and protein rich smoothie that has spinach, berries. If you want… Actually, one smoothie recipe that a lot of my athletes really like, it's a chocolate peanut butter smoothie. So, kind of tastes like a milkshake, but it's way healthier.

You do a frozen banana, two cups of raw spinach, and then a cup of milk, and you can add, you know, if you want, like a little bit of peanut butter, or a little bit of almond butter. And then for the chocolate, you could do like a spoonful of cocoa powder, or if you have a chocolate protein powder, you could put a scoop in there too.

Paul: Very cool. I was looking on your website last night and I saw some just amazing recipes. Is this one on the recipes on your website?

Angie: It's not, but it should be. There are a few smoothies...

Paul: It really should be. That sounds amazing.

Josh: All right. So, on that note too, about water, just drinking water, especially when you're pumping out a lot of miles and really getting serious with your training, just drinking water and staying hydrated throughout the day, it can be tough. Just because a lot of people get sick of drink of water, and obviously, soda isn't the greatest thing, and probably drinking three gallons of coffee isn't. So are there other, maybe teas, or like…

I know, like, my mom, she's super earthy organic and all, and she sent me a bag of dried elderberries and I, you know, soak them in water and I drink elderberry tea, I guess, in that sense. Are there teas, juices, smoothies, etc. that can boost your immunity, help with vitamin absorption, and kind of give you maybe a good snack too?

Angie: Yeah, well, in terms of a healthy alternative this soda… I'll kinda start with that first. It doesn't necessarily boost your immunity, but if someone is really trying to give up soda, I would recommend Lacroix. Do you ever heard a Lacroix?

Josh: Yeah.

Paul: Yeah, tastes great.

Angie: Yeah, so, you know, it's basically just water, carbonated water and natural flavor. So, you're not gonna get a ton of, you know, it's not going to boost your immunity, but it's a much healthier alternative to soda, and it does still give you that fizz if you're wanting that instead of just flat water. Otherwise, you're exactly right with the tea. I mean, iced or hot green tea is going to be rich in antioxidants.

If you want something with vitamin C, I would go for like beet juice or carrot juice or orange juice. You could always make your own juices or you could do like a store-bought vegetable juice. There's a couple brands out there, Evolution, one that I'm probably going to mispronounce, but it's S-U-J-A, that's Suja brand. When it comes to juices, though, just make sure it's not from concentrate or doesn't have added sugar to it like a lot… You'll see so many juices out there that they add agave nectar to, or they add organic cane syrup, whatever it might be, you just want fruits and veggies.

And then, otherwise, you can make your own smoothie at home. But I do, on my website, I do have a healthy alternative to sports drinks, and what it is it's coconut water. So, coconut water is naturally really rich in potassium. So, you've got potassium in there for one, electrolyte. Add in a little bit of orange juice to it, freshly squeezed orange juice, and you'll get some good simple sugars in there to replace what would be normally found as just added sugar in like Gatorade. And then add a pinch of salt to it for sodium, and you have a good homemade electrolyte...more natural version of a homemade electrolyte drink.

Paul: Sounds really good.

Josh: Perfect.

Paul: So you mentioned… Excuse me, sorry. So you mentioned beet juice, and I actually recently had a pretty bad experience, and I was wondering maybe you could shed some light on. It's not exactly what your initial thinking, but that, I know where that is too, but… So, there's some companies that started, well, when if you drink enough beet juice, you have to flush out that coloration at some point.

Josh: Oh, right.

Paul: And it can scare you a little bit sometimes.

Josh: It's a number one or number two, though?

Paul: It can be both.

Paul: If you taken enough, it'll come out both.

Josh: I'm thinking I've tried it.

Paul: But the problem I had was... So, there's some companies now that are selling basically powdered beet juice as a nutrition supplement for during, before, or after exercise, and I was taking it during the race, and my stomach started going south. And unfortunately, the beet juice was the only thing that was tasting good, so I just kept pounding it, and I was drinking a ton of it to the point where my stomach completely locked up and shut down. I actually had to drop out of the race. Is there something about beet juice that if you're taking just way too much of it that it can kind of just shut your system down like that?

Angie: You know, to be completely honest, I haven't heard of that. But it might just be because, you know, your body wasn't used to it. If you didn't usually have that much and in that capacity, and then you had it in the middle of an event where your body was doing something pretty strenuous that you don't do on a daily basis, I can see why maybe that would have shut it down. So...

Josh: Like run a hundred-mile event.

Paul: Yeah, it was during a hundred, and I ended up having to walk from like 50 something to 70 something before I ended up pulling the plug because I just couldn't get anything in my system. And you're right. It was definitely... I mean, I looking back, I know it was a bad idea. I barely used it at all during training. I got it maybe a couple weeks before the race. And yeah, it was just one of those, you don't think it through.

Angie: Another thing too, you could look at the powder and see, because a lot of those packets, they do add a lot of artificial sweeteners to them for some reason, so it's always good to kind of look at the supplements. Not that whatever you had, you know, I'm not sure if it had it or not, but that's one thing to look for because artificial sweeteners do have that effect that you're describing.

So, that's something you could kind of look and if it has something like Sucralose or Splenda or something added to it, then I would definitely avoid it because you will have that, those GI cramps and those GI issues. But that's interesting. Something where, you know, you got to keep that with that food journal and...

Paul: Yeah, exactly. Well, that one's burned in my brain. I don't need a journal to remember that day.

Josh: And do you find that, like ultra-racing, we have a tremendous base of ultra-runners as customers and endurance riders and whatnot. And on the ultra-running side, it's so common to throw up in a race. And you know, go in 50 plus mile, especially 50 or 100 mile distances, it's so common to people puking that I think people just chalk it up to that's a rite of passage, but, you know, is there…

I assume it's got to be really tough for you to figure these things out because there are so many elements that probably go into the equation from, not just your nutrition but your hydration strategy, and even just pushing the limits of your body but, is it pretty tricky on your side to maybe troubleshoot this? And then, in addition, do you find that that there are, I guess, when you're pushing your body into and beyond your basically limits, should you just expect that?

Angie: Well, honestly, it's a total case-by-case basis. And I'm real glad you actually brought this up, because it sounds to me like… Ultimately, my mind goes to two issues. And the first one is that your body can only really ingest a certain amount of calories per hour, so it might be that they're overloading, and so, ultimately, that number is anywhere between 200 to 250 calories per hour.

So, they might be overloading that, and might be doing closer to 400 an hour just because they're so scared of mocking. So, that's something where, you know, you've really got to plan it out where every 20 minutes maybe you're doing 100 calories. If you're someone who's prone to puking, I mean, you want to, you know, make sure to spread it out smaller.

The other thing, though, too, is, a lot of people, they tell me that they don't really practice with real food when they train, and this is gonna be a huge downfall. Because if you go into every training session just doing like bars and goose and, you know, carbohydrate-rich drinks, well, then come your hundred-mile race when you're actually eating real food, that's going to be a lot for your stomach to handle for the first time. And the gut is something that's very, I guess, your gut can adjust very quickly to whatever you're eating, but it takes, you know, a few weeks at least to get used to and really adjust.

And so, if you're consistently going through your training runs with having let's say, a basic that I recommend is PB&J's. So, let's say, you know, you have two PB&J's throughout a fifty-mile, I don't know, run. Well, then, you know, your body will get used to the feeling of having real food, and hopefully, that'll prevent you from puking come race day.

Josh: Sure. All right. Before I skip ahead to, like... Yeah, I have so many questions on the race side. I got to be careful here. So, I still want to get a kind of this building blocks, your daily nutrition. An apple a day, does it really keep the doctor away? And if not, what's another fruit to consider?

Angie: An apple a day. So, I'd like to think more like six plus fruits and veggies a day keeps the doctor away.

Paul: That's a lot of apples.

Angie: But you know what? The more the produce, the merrier. But really, if I were to pick another fruit for endurance athlete reasons, I'd probably go with a banana a day just because they're so nutrient dense, and they're such a great convenient snack for athletes before, during, and after training sessions. I'd say banana a day.

Josh: All right.

Paul: All right, cool. Sweet. So, okay. So, this is actually a question I had that's kind of similar what you were just talking about. So, with pre-workout snacks and meals, you know, obviously, if you're training in the afternoon or the evening, you've obviously eaten things through the day. But, I mean, for me, personally, I do most of my stuff in the morning. I'm just more of a morning person. I do a lot of my training that way. I very rarely eat anything before a run just because I tend to have a sensitive stomach.

And then, even if it's a long 20, 30 mile run, I generally won't eat beforehand. I'll just rely on the calories I get through my nutrition during this run. What are your thoughts on, should I be eating something beforehand? If so, any recommendations there? Or is there a benefit or a negative to not eating anything before a workout?

Angie: So, that's something where I would look at what you ate the night before and how late you ate the night before.

Paul: A lot and late.

Angie: A lot and late. So, honestly, that's good for you. And if it works for you, then that's awesome. I wouldn't recommend changing it. Now, if you tell me, "Oh, I have a chicken breast and some broccoli at 6:00 and then I go to bed at like midnight," well, then, that's not really ideal. Because then, you're not really doing anything with those glycogen stores.

But it sounds like it's working well for you. If anything, you could add, you know, something as small as maybe like half of a bar or even half of a banana just to kind of get a little bit more of that immediate carbohydrates in your system. But the good thing is you're at least fueling. How soon do you fuel after you start running? How soon do you start taking in that?

Paul: Well, usually, within the first, like, 60 to 80 minutes. Well, I'll start usually sipping on it usually within 45 minutes, and then my first bottle is usually gone within the first 90 minutes, and that'll be about 200 calories.

Angie: Okay, so, honestly, that's perfect. I mean, you won't really necessarily need to begin until about 45 minutes into the race or into your run, I mean. I'd say, don't push it as late as 60 to 80. I'd say, you know, try to get before an hour.

Paul: Yeah, okay.

Angie: Because you are going on in an empty stomach, and if that's what works for you… That's the best kind of the coolest thing about sports nutrition is, you know, like I said it's not going to be the same for everyone. If this is how you perform best, then, you know, tweak it to fit your routine and your schedule that's gonna, you know... You don't want to have a big old bowl oatmeal, it sounds like, before you go out and run. So...

Paul: Yeah, definitely not. That's one of the things I love about this topic, is just the fact that it is so different for so many, for just about everybody. It is a pretty cool, I mean, I could see why you'd enjoy doing what you do. It's just a very cool puzzle to have to solve and everyone is a little different.

Angie: It is.

Josh: Yeah, I remember my first Ironman, I had some friends that were all on this kick that we... On Ironman day, we woke up at 3 am to eat a pretty good meal. It was quite substantial, I figured what all it was. But we woke up at 3:08, went back to sleep for like an hour and a half, two hours, whatever, and then headed down to the event, didn't eat anything up until like 15 minutes before the swim, had a gel.

And then, I went out, did the swim, and then implemented our nutrition strategy from there. And for me, that didn't work. To me, that was just a waste of sleep. You know, sleep deprivation, so from every event since then, I just wake up and eat an hour before, and I've always been good. But it just goes to show there's just so much variation with what can work with different people and what everybody's bodies crave, so...

Angie: Totally. Yeah, and that's funny you say. That I do have a lot of endurance athletes that they'll set their timer, you know, so that they eat that meal four hours before. Well, when your race is at 7 am, basically, making it two or three. But then they do always, an hour before, have basically just straight carbs before. But yeah, sounds like that wasn't ideal for you. And for a lot of people, that's not. So, that's wise that you changed your strategy based on, you know, what worked best for you.

Paul: I would always take the sleep.

Josh: Yeah, me too. Yeah, it's crazy. I give up on that. So how about on diet fads, do see any specific diet fads that end up screwing people up and drive them into you as a customer?

Angie: Oh, I'd say...

Josh: It's a can of worms.

Angie: Oh, my gosh, yeah. [inaudible 00:26:41], Paleo, Nutrisystem. You know, I have seen quite a few that did Weight Watchers before. As far as, in terms of athletes, I see more of the Paleo, the Whole 30, it's just so restrictive, the diets, that they fail very quickly and then they get discouraged, and then any weight that they did lose, you know, they gained back plus some, and they don't see any improvements to performance. So, it's frustrating. It's a total mental struggle too. So, those are probably the most common I see.

Josh: Do you see people that over focus on protein?

Angie: Oh, all the time. Definitely. Actually, especially my male athletes. They really do put an emphasis on protein, protein, protein, which is so funny because your body… I mean, yeah, it needs protein, but in terms of endurance athletes, as you guys know, obviously, carbohydrates are going to be the number one. And it's funny because when you look at studies from, you know, like the Kenyan runners, the top runners in the world from Kenya, a lot of them have almost 90% of their calories coming from carbohydrates.

And that's why I don't really like to use percent macros because it really does kind of make a confusing picture. Because then, you think, “90%, well, gosh, like, they're only getting 5% of the protein and 5% of fat they need.” But actually, in reality, they're eating so many carbohydrates and so many total calories that they were actually still getting the recommended protein that they need based on their body weight.

It was just, you know, so skewed because of their carbohydrates were so high. But yeah, it's funny how many people come to me and they just think that protein, protein, protein is the best thing for you.

Josh: Yeah, buddy of mine is a fruitarian, and we went out for a 20-mile run one day, or 18, I think it was, but afterwards, he ate like, I don't know, 10 oranges. And I just was blown away, and then he made a smoothie of kale and all kinds of other widgets and vegetables and fruit. And I remember asking, I'm like, "Do you not have any protein powder or anything in there, or any nuts even?" But he's like, "Josh, it's so..." he obviously is to the total extreme of what most people would probably consider, but in his opinion… And this is a guy that's running 200 plus miles a week, and hardly ever breaks down, so there's there must be something to it.

But he said that, for him, it's all about rebuilding the muscle fiber and repairing the muscle fiber. It's not building up the muscle fiber, and protein is largely building up the muscle fiber where all your fruit and veggies are repairing and, you know, giving your body the antioxidant boost for it and, you know… It's Anthony, I'm talking about him. And you know what? He's done the craziest miles I've ever seen. So, apparently, it works, at least for him.

Angie: Totally.

Josh: But he definitely opened my eyes on protein, and I just figured after every run he was, you know, eating like a half a bag of almonds. But it turns out, that's definitely not the case.

Angie: Yeah, well, and I mean, he's raising really good points. And honestly, he was pretty spot-on with that. But the one thing I would probably add is that protein, especially branch chain amino acids, does have a little bit of helping with recovery in terms of like the preventing inflammation. So those specific branch chain amino acids, those are definitely important for athletes to try to incorporate enough of. But what I recommend in terms of protein amount and a simple number to go by is 1.2 grams per kilogram.

So, if you take your weight and... You know, listeners can do this now. Take your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2 to get kilograms, and times that by 1.2, and that's really a basic of how many grams you need in protein a day. So, as an example, like for me, it's about 62.5. So, 60 grams of protein, that's that's not that much, honestly. It's pretty easy to get without having to sit and eat, you know, six ounces of meat at every single meal.

So, I think there's such a false, you know, presentation of the importance of protein in sports that I think people way over do it. Especially with diets like Paleo diet that just, you know, preach, preach, preach more animal protein all the time.

Josh: Yeah, well, I think it's a lot of like the high school education in the sense that when we're in high school, we learn, you carve up before big events, you take protein shakes to get big and strong, and then you just figure, "Cool I'm gonna race the long race now. Now I'm gonna even do it more on the protein, and I'm gonna carve up more." So, it just seems like it starts early and grains it in that that's we're supposed to do and...

Angie: Totally. You're exactly right.

Josh: Yeah.

Paul: So, kind of getting into a little bit of the training and pre-race stuff but, you know, especially in the trail and ultra-running community and the mountain bike community, beer tends to be a pretty big aspect of post workout, everybody will sit around and have a beer. But a lot of times...

Josh: That's a recovery mechanism?

Paul: Well, yeah, exactly. That's where you're getting your carbs, right? But I know people will take blocks and I've started kind of, just on a regular basis, cutting out alcohol, but especially leading up to a race, I'll do a strict no alcohol leading up to some races. I know a lot other people do that too. Are there actual benefits to gain from cutting out alcohol leading up to a race or, you know, is it just kind of more in our head?

Angie: There is 1000% benefits from cutting out alcohol, and I know so many listeners are going to be like, "Dang it. Why is she so…?" But so true. Honestly, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink is definitely going to provide some benefit. Think of it this way. Consuming five or more drinks in one night can affect your brain and your physical activity for up to three days. So, that'll really take a toll on your training and your recovery. Research has shown that alcohol has a direct impact on impairing muscle growth, causing dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and preventing proper muscle recovery, so...

Paul: So everything that we don't want.

Angie: Well, really, yeah.

Josh: Thank you. Don't be downer.

Angie: And I was… Oh, gosh. Now everyone hates me. But honestly, my advice is if you do, choose to drink. That's totally fine. Just make sure to have, you know, no more than two drinks max for men and one drink for women, and make sure it's, you know, 48 hours or longer before the event. So, I mean that's kind of common sense. And obviously, if you have a beer after, you know, your race, that's fine. But I would ultimately… First of all, it's not really an ideal source of carbohydrates, so it's funny you said that.

Paul: That's the common refrain, unfortunately here.

Josh: Topping off glycogen reserves, you're getting your wheat.

Angie: totally, which is funny, because actually, too much alcohol can actually impair and kind of have a negative impact on repairing...restoring your glycogen. So, I would eat some sort of little snack immediately after, and then have that either one or two drinks. But get some sort of actual food in instead of just saying, "Yeah, I finished my race. I'm gonna replenish with alcohol."

Josh: So, is there a difference between… Like you hear vodka is the athletes drink, you know, because it's clean, but...

Josh: Have you seen that… I guess, is there is there a difference between beer, vodka, wine, as far… Are they all just bad after exercise even if you're just having one? Is there anyone that's better over the other?

Angie: It depends. And honestly, if you're having one, it really isn't a big deal. Like I said, two for men, one for women. But in terms of actually providing health benefits, I'd have to say red wine, for obvious reasons that it has antioxidants, is going to be the best option. In terms of preventing gains in body fat, I'd have to go with either wine or liquor. So basically, putting beer in last place if you're wanting to prevent body fat gain.

And if you do go with liquor, a lot of problems, or a lot of common misconceptions I see is about tonic water. People think that tonic water is the same thing as water, but it's actually basically just straight sugar water. It has as much sugar as soda. So, I would say either club soda, which is just carbonated water, doing a vodka club soda or you could do like vodka water and add in some fresh lemons and limes. Obviously, those are gonna be a lot healthier alternatives than like a Jack and Coke or something.

Josh: All right. This is from Ben Panji. He actually had the beer wine or liquor question. But he also was wondering, McDonald's or Wendy's, but I'll add to that, is there… Like, in my opinion, Taco Bell can be a fantastic healthy alternative if you get the right… Well, it just doesn't matter, it is...but is there, if you had to get some fast food, you finished exercises 10:00 at night, you're tired, you're starving, you're driving home, and you're driving past McDonalds, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Burger King, is there one that you've seen that has better quality food options...

Paul: At least something that's not horrible.

Angie: Can I vote Chipotle? Does that count?

Paul: No, they're not open late enough.

Josh: No, because they're not open late. Yeah, they're not...

Angie: Well, I'm gonna say, I'm gonna take your Taco Bell because Taco Bell has a very similar option to Chipotle. It's kind of like a make your own bowl, so you can do rice, and you can do a protein, you can do a vegetable to it. So, that'd probably be the one I'd go with. But I always do have to kind of laugh when I get a food log and it says something like, you know, the only thing open was McDonald's so I had to get a Big Mac. It's like, oh, that's the only option that was on.

But it's funny because there are so many grilled options. You could do grilled chicken, you could do, you know, anything that's basically not breaded and fried. You could do salad, you could, you know, substitute in a side salad for, you know, the french fries, or… It's funny, even places like Chick-fil-A now has a kale salad as a side. So, it's kind of cool to see how many healthy options are coming in to fast food chains. But yeah, it's just a matter of people ordering the right things than traditional fried… You know, what's considered fast foods.

Paul: Sure.

Josh: Yeah.

Paul: Definitely. So I mentioned a little bit ago that you have a bunch of awesome recipes on your website. And seriously, I'm gonna go through. I've already started making a meal plan based on them because they look really good.

Angie: Oh, great.

Paul: Do you have like… If you had to pick one main course and especially for me, one dessert off of your, like your favorite recipes, what would you say?

Angie: Well, I'll say Michael Bergen's favorite is the buffalo chicken tacos.

Paul: Oh, I looked at that. That looks amazing. That was top of my list.

Angie: Yes, yes. And I do have a lot of people that love the buffalo chicken pizza which is nice...

Paul: That was the other one too.

Josh: Excellence.

Angie: So what it is… Traditional buffalo sauce is made with a mix of hot sauce and butter. But Frank's red hot makes a buffalo wing sauce that's basically just hot sauce. So, you mix that with some shredded chicken. So, it's just plain old grilled, shredded up chicken, so not breaded and fried, and then you toss it into like corn taco shells, and then top it with some sliced up carrots and celery and kind of give it the wings, taste to it.

And then there's a healthier alternative to, you know, like the Hidden Valley Ranch. It's called Simply Marzetti's, I think. And it just, basically, doesn't have an MSG in it. So it's still, you know, cream-based, but you got to have a little bit of ranch in your life too, and then that's fine. Just drizzle that on top, and, you know, then you're getting a slightly healthier version of ranch on there.

Paul: Well, I'm gonna have to disagree with you just for a second because putting ranch on wings or buffalo chicken, it's just not okay. It's got to be blue cheese. So, is there a healthy alternative to blue cheese?

Angie: No way.

Josh: Oh, yeah. Dude, there is. We have a ton of the… Like, my wife is allergic to dairy and wheat and eggs and soy, and like basically, air and everything. And I'm drawing a blank on the name of the dressings. But we have a blue cheese. There was like no fat, no calories. I assume it's just all made with chemicals, like it's actually, extremely, from health-wise, it's great with the exception of probably the chemicals that it's made of.

Paul: There's nothing else to it.

Josh: Yeah, we got one upstairs. I'm gonna have show you that.

Angie: Funny. Blue cheese without any fat. I'd be curious to see how that's made.

Paul: Yeah.

Josh: Yeah, it's delicious. I use it quite often in salad.

Paul: I'll go find it. We'll get you over a picture of it so you could take a look at it and tell me not to eat that one.

Josh: Yeah, it's like $9 at Whole Foods or more for a little bottle but, you know, it's a typical whole paycheck.

Angie: And then, as far as dessert, I would probably say, I have some raw cookie dough. That one is has been a hit with a lot of my athletes. So, how you make cookie dough is soaking cashews to make them nice and soft, and then you throw them in a food processor with some, a little bit of almond butter, a little bit of… I actually had to play around with it a little bit. But putting a touch of baking soda in it gives it that dough flavor. And then, you do just a tiny, just a dab of maple syrup in there for a little bit of sweetness, and some oats, and just blend it all together, and it makes this raw cookie dough, obviously the dark chocolate chips on top.

Paul: When I saw that raw cookie dough recipe, I got so excited actually called my wife from upstairs to come down and look at it because I couldn't wait to make it this weekend.

Angie: Oh, gosh, that's awesome. I love it.

Josh: Make sure you bring some in Monday, Paul.

Paul: Absolutely.

Josh: all right, so, on the pre-race nutrition, we talked on this a little bit, Valerie Liberto, she has a question about carb loading before race. So, marathon in greater distance, just kind of focusing on the more ultra-endurance side of events. What's the breakdown of what you should be using in terms of calories to carbs, protein, fruits, fats, etc., and what is the carb loading period that you should focus on?

Angie: Okay, so carb loading. So, it sounds early, but honestly, I would start making a plan a full week before. So, you can really start take those, like day 7 and day 6 out, take those days to really plan ahead, figure out, you know, what you're going to do in terms of what types of carbs you're going to buy at the store, what meals you're going to prepare, and then start as early as five days prior to start increasing your carb intake.

And then, those final two days before the race are really the days that you start upping those carbohydrates. And if she wants specific numbers, my, I guess, recommendation is to try to aim for a carb intake anywhere between 3.6 grams to 5.5 grams per pound of body weight in those one to two days before a race.

And a lot of times... The hardest, I guess, issue that people have with carb loading is it's so many carbs, and just it's hard to get them all in. So, try to dense carbohydrates. Like bagels, for example, one bagel is the same amount of carbs as four slices of bread, but it's a lot less exhausting to eat than four slices of bread. So, a bagel, you know, pasta, tortillas.

Tortillas are another one of those foods where they're just really dense. So, think like wraps. You can add in like, for sources of protein, you could do plant-based protein because things like lentils and beans, they're also really rich in carbs, so that's another way to not only get in protein, but also getting more carbohydrates too without feeling like you're, you know, just eating non-stop rice.

And then, I... Like I mentioned earlier, I don't really go in terms of specific math grows as much as I do, like specific amounts. So, like with protein, 1.2 grams per kilogram would be an ideal amount of protein. And then, ultimately, obviously, your veggies, your fruits, they're gonna be, you know, hopefully very sufficient throughout every single day of the carb loading process. Fat kind of does take a little bit of a back burner just because your carbs are so high that you have to kind of decrease something in order to get in enough calories without feeling like you're binging non-stop.

So, ultimately, the types of fats you want to include are anti-inflammatory fats. So, think things that are, you know, rich in omega-3, is like fatty fish, salmon. You could do avocados, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds. The one thing I will say about chia and flax is they're very healthy, but they're very high in fiber, so I would try to cut them out, you know, probably even like the morning before, just so you don't have a ton of fiber in your diet that day before your race.

Josh: Is their kind of a rough ballpark to increase? And what I mean is, before an Ironman once, I i basically switched a week beforehand to my buddy's diet. And I don't know why. I guess we went up to the race a week ahead of time in St. George, and I literally gained, and no kidding, eight pounds that week, and it made my race horrible. And it was so stupid because he ate so much more than I ever do on a daily basis, and he's smaller than I am, so I don't even understand how he does it, but he obviously has a better metabolism than I do.

So, I knew better. And admittedly, that was just a dumb mistake of my part. But that being said, to you… I'm good at learning the hard way. But is there kind of like just 5% to 10% or, I don't know, is there some sort of metric. I mean, I know you reference grams per kilogram or per grams per pound increase, but I mean, I guess, I basically, over the years, adapted the... I don't change. I just eat like normal. But if someone was to kind of focus on, all right, if I X amount per day, say I consume 2500 calories today with whatever given break down, is it maybe safe just to bump it up 5%, 10, I don't know? Is there is there any metric like that?

Angie: It's hard to say with a percent. I'd have to look at your diet, honestly, as a whole and do the math on, you know, a piece of paper and figure that out. But I think that that raises a really good point is you do want to progress. Because obviously, if you're only eating, let's say, two grams of carbs per pound on an average daily basis, and then you jump up right away to 5.5, you know, that's probably not ideal. You kind of do want to progress that up.

So, you know, I could say maybe like 5% to 10%, but once again that percent is kind of hard. I'll say it this way instead. So here are some numbers in terms of training volume. And this is how I base, you know, how many carbs to have is really… Instead of, you know, looking at your total calories or looking at the macros, I look at your training volume.

So if you're running four hours or less per week, then you need about two grams of carbs per pound. And let's say your training is like 10 hours a week, well then, you'd be at closer to about 3 grams per pound. And then if your training is closer to 20 hours, then it actually bumps up to about 5 grams per pound.

So, it really does depend on that training volume, and you can see where if you're training volume is let's say, you know, on average you're doing 20 hours a week, well you're already at that five grams per pound a week. So going up from that to 5.5 grams per pound on those one to two days before a race isn't gonna be that big of a deal to you.

Josh: Yeah, okay. Fair enough. So, how about skipping ahead to race nutrition?

Angie: Okay.

Paul: So, well, I guess it's kind of race nutrition and also just general nutrition, but do you think is there something that you noticed that people are just the most deficient in most commonly deficient when it comes to vitamins and minerals and things like that when they're with their nutrition on a daily basis and on their race day nutrition?

Angie: Well, honestly, the number one nutrient I see deficiencies in is vitamin D. I'd say probably 90% of the people that come to me are not meeting 90% of their vitamin D needs. And vitamin D is an antioxidant so it really does help fight inflammation. So, for athletes… And also, you know, vitamin D is good for bone health so, you know, making sure you have enough is gonna help prevent things like fractures, and injuries.

So, you know, it's not like you have to have vitamin D during a race by any means, but as far as planning ahead and making sure you have adequate amounts every day in your diet, I think that's really important. A lot of people don't have vitamin D in their diet. And it's hard because it's not one that's commonly found in food.

So, unless you live somewhere like Florida year-round and you're getting constant sunlight, you know, it's gonna be a little bit more challenging. You could always supplement with a D3, like a vitamin D3 pill of at least a thousand, I use, is what I usually recommend. Otherwise, eat egg yolks. Egg yolks are a really really rich source of vitamin d, and a lot of people just get in the mindset of, “Oh, egg whites are healthier because they don't have cholesterol. There's less fat.” But honestly, the yolk is where all the nutrients are. So yolks, salmon, fortified dairy, anything that's fortified with the vitamin D and calcium is going to be beneficial too.

Paul: It's kind of crazy to hear that, I mean coming from the endurance side and all these endurance athletes you see, the amount of time that we have to spend outside on the trails or on the roads, yet we're still vitamin D deficient even being outside as much as...far more than the general population is.

Angie: Totally. Well, and honestly, a lot of it comes because the UV index is highest around like 10 am to 2 pm, and many endurance athletes are made around that time. It's usually like either 5 am or like 5 pm. So, you know, you miss that. Even though you're outdoors, you don't get that that benefit from the vitamin D.

Paul: It makes sense. So, other than vitamin D, are there any other, I mean, over-the-counter vitamins that you recommend people need to kind of look into, be aware that they might be low on?

Angie: The other ones I see, you know, most frequently I'd have to say omega-3 is one that I often see is pretty low. Usually people don't have a problem with omega-6 because it's so prevalent in all, like packaged foods and basically think like soybean oils. So anything with soybean oil or vegetable oil is omega-6. Well, the omega-3s are typically low so increasing things like those fatty fish that I mentioned, walnuts, chia, flax, those kinds of things to boost omega-3.

The other ones, honestly, are electrolytes. And specifically, potassium. A lot of individuals struggle with potassium, magnesium, and calcium. And usually sodium isn't an issue for most people, but you'd be surprised, like Michael for example, if you're someone that's a heavy sweater or you just have a very high training load, then you might not even be meeting the sodium needs even if you're twice above what's recommended for general population.

So, you know, sitting down with the athlete and figuring out their sweat rate is really an important part of my education to them. So what I do is... To calculate your sweat rate, they just weigh themselves before a training run, and then they monitor exactly how much fluid, how many electrolytes, or anything else that they consumed during the run. And then, they weigh themselves immediately after.

They let me know everything from environmental situations like temperature, wind, those kinds of things that might have a factor or play a role and how much you sweat. And then I calculate an estimate of exactly how many, you know, carbohydrates, fluids, sodium, potassium, and electrolytes, basically, that they need to replenish every hour based on their sweat rate.

So, it's really important though to kind of plan ahead because a lot of people they just think, “Oh, I'll get my electrolytes during my workout.” Well, you also kind of want to have those types of foods throughout so that, you know, you're having proper recovery, and so that you don't go into a workout without any electrolytes. Because most people don't just pop a whole electrolyte supplement the second they start running.

So, it's a good idea to have some backups like foods that are rich in potassium, I mentioned coconut water, bananas. Another one that a lot of people don't think of is baked potatoes. So a regular baked potato has almost twice as much calcium as a banana. So yeah, incorporating more potatoes and… Sweet potatoes are a good source too, but... Yeah, avocados all those foods are rich in potassium.

And magnesium, think things like almonds. Almonds are a great source of magnesium. Calcium obviously is going to be found and, you know, dairy, but it's also found in a lot of leafy greens and broccoli vegetables like that. So, you know, trying to incorporate more of those foods throughout your diet so that you're more... I guess, your electrolytes are more balanced consistently rather than only focusing on it while you're running.

Josh: Very cool. You mentioned avocados. I've definitely seen an amazing amount of ultra-runners eating just raw avocados in an aid station in ultra-events. And to me, I like avocados too, but I really prefer guacamole. So, I know this sounds weird, but to me I feel like it's almost genius. I mean, I think I should be marketing guacamole in events. But I'd love to know your take on this.

So rather than eating an avocado at an aid station, which is kind of a pain in the butt to… Right, you gotta cut it open, you gotta get the seed out, eat around. What about just making guacamole? I mean you've got salt, you got… I don't know if tomatoes would impact your stomach with the acidity. But you got the salt, the lime, maybe some chips, but maybe even just eating it plain. So, how about guacamole as an alternative to avocados in ultra-racing?

Angie: I love the idea. I think you should start marketing it tomorrow.

Josh: Orange Mud's new product is coming.

Angie: Yes, but really, I mean, you're adding salt in there so you're getting some more sodium. The tomatoes I feel like it's going to be a case-by-case basis. Hopefully, the acidity isn't too much, but it's something that hopefully they try out guacamole before their first, you know, time on the route. But you do get a little vitamin C in there too. And I'd probably leave the fried tortilla chips at home, but you could maybe do something like, you know, maybe dip it with, oh gosh, like pretzels. Something [inaudible 00:53:12] so then you're getting a little bit more carbs with it too.

Josh: Gummy bears?

Angie: Gummy bears and guacamole.

Paul: You'd probably be okay just throwing it right into a wrap, right?

Angie: Totally. There you go. Dense carbohydrates on your side.

Paul: We carry it with you.

Josh: Perfect. What is your favorite small snack recipe for races?

Angie: Like before or like during?

Paul: For during.

Josh: During.

Angie: During. I'd have to say… Okay, so, small snack. Well, if we're talking really small, I'd say banana. But otherwise, I'd probably have to say either a peanut butter and banana, a peanut butter and honey, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just because you're getting a little bit of protein in there.

You're getting mostly carbohydrates, especially, if you do like the honey or the jelly, it's a very quick, you know, quick digesting source of carbs too. The one thing I would say is, you know, race time is not the time to focus 100% on, you know, whole wheat and high fiber so I would go for, honestly, like a white or a low fiber bread for a PB&J.

Paul: Very cool. I always feel like when you're coming into an aid station, if it looks good, they'd eat it. If it doesn't move on, right?

Angie: Yeah. Another popular one with some of my racers too is they really like roasted potatoes that have been rolled. They're like Parmesan cheese or salt, so that's a [inaudible 00:54:36] too.

Paul: Potatoes dipped in salt are a godsend about anywhere after mile 60.

Angie: I think just any time in general, but yeah.

Paul: That's true, yeah. All right, so let's move a little bit past the during the race. All right, so now the race or your training run is over. So how important... I mean everybody talks about your post workout nutrition, and, you know, you hear different estimates on what that window is and what the optimal amount and ratios are to eat, what it what's your take on that?

Angie: So, post workout fueling is, honestly, extremely important and it's one of the probably the most neglected things that I see, just because a lot of people they struggle with like appetite immediately after a race. But ultimately, you want to get in some sort of carbohydrate and some sort of protein, ideally, somewhere around a four-to-one ratio, carbs to protein. And you want that to come in within an hour of finishing your workout. I'd say, at the absolute longest, two hours.

But after you wait after two hours, you're not gonna get that benefit. You're not gonna get, you know, the replenishing of the glycogen, the immediate restoring of the muscles. It's just you're going to have a lot of catabolic breakdown of your muscles, and you don't want that to happen. And it's harder to refill your glycogen when you wait that long. So, ultimately, getting some sort of nutrition within that first hour would be my recommendation for sure. So have good replenishment.

And another thing too, there's actually been a research study that shows those who have that proper post workout nutrition, not only does it help with recovery, but it also helps body fat composition. And those who consistent consistently fueled post-workout were actually leaner, had lower body fat percentages than their counterparts who did not. So, it could have an impact. Their idea is that your body's metabolism is that its highest. So, obviously after, right, finishing a race, so those calories are utilized, and it's I guess better for preventing fat gain than it would be if you prolonged that post-workout fueling.

Paul: Very cool.

Josh: Awesome. How about...

Paul: Go ahead.

Josh: I mean, how about, as far as some examples to eat, to assist in proper recovery, are there may be a few different key vegetables, fruits, etc., that you could tell our users?

Angie: Yeah, so to aid in recovery, I would automatically think anything that helps fight inflammation. So, anything that's rich in either antioxidants, or anti-inflammatory fatty acids so, you know, like you said any fruits and veggies, honestly. Tart cherry juice is another good one. Berries, nuts...

Paul: I've recently become addicted to that POM pomegranate juice.

Angie: Yeah, yeah.

Paul: It tastes so good after a workout. Is that actually pretty good thing to have or is it just because it tastes really good?

Angie: No, for sure. That's something you could definitely have. The one thing it does lack is protein, so I would have maybe like a hard-boiled egg or two hard-boiled eggs or something with it, so that you're incorporating a little bit more protein. Or you could throw it in a smoothie. I'm not sure of a pomegranate. I feel like pomegranate juice would be good in a smoothie, though.

Paul: It's gotta be.

Angie. Yeah, it's gotta be. It's pomegranate juice. But you can mix that in with maybe like a scoop of protein powder, or maybe like a big old, you know, spoonful of Greek yogurt and mix that together for a good combination of both carbs and protein.

Josh: All right. So we have a question here from Denny Hodge. She's wondering, is protein a factor during long endurance training? So actually during training or during racing?

Angie: So, yes, definitely. Protein does become a factor, and especially after you get past four hours, you'll really want to start taking in small amounts of protein to help reduce muscle breakdown as far as, you know, a half marathon or honestly even a full marathon, it's not really that necessary.

But for those, you know, long endurance trainings, the ultras, it's extremely important especially after four hours, and I would keep majority of the calories carbohydrates, but do that similar ratio of four parts carbs to one part protein. And I would also try not doing more than 100 to 200 calories at a time. Two hundred may be even pushing it for smaller athletes.

And I mentioned before, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so the peanut butter does provide a little bit of the protein in there, and then you get the carbohydrates from the bread and the jelly. Otherwise, there's… Honestly, there's some sports drinks and some goos out there that help you take the guesswork out of what foods to prepare ahead of time that include protein in it.

Josh: I personally am a big liquid fan. I mean, and I've used it through a lot, and rarely ever had issues. And don't get me wrong. I love to eat real food during races. But over the years, I've largely transitioned to just drinking my food throughout the whole entire race with hardly any supplements. If anything, it's usually like it's because I want it. It's a pickle, maybe some gummy bears...

Paul: Chips.

Josh: But I I've really tried to stay away from even a lot of that. I mean, like, I ran the Hawk 50 last year, and I used Infinite Nutrition and I love it. I got a good balance and...

Angie: [inaudible 00:59:37]

Josh: Liquid works for me, but I I guess do you see a lot of people… Would you steer anybody one way or another versus going all liquid and or all real food? There's basically a divide and the tribes of people believe in one versus the other.

Angie: Totally, well, it's funny that you mentioned Infinite. I actually really like that brand. And I love that you can… I think it's so cool you can go in and customize your own mix based on your specific needs and, you know, figure out if you want caffeine, do you want, you know, how much electrolytes do you want, do you want it sweet, do you want it not so sweet. I think it's an awesome company.

But, you know, it really does depend on the person. If they do, it's kind of like how you found over time that you like doing the liquids better. It's whatever works for you. Honestly, as far as, you know, half marathons and full marathons, I probably wouldn't recommend much solid food past, maybe like bananas and oranges or like bars, but otherwise, you know, goos, and honey. Those are kind of the things.

But as far as ultra, you know, I feel like food does provide benefit. But it's kind of like you said. It just depends on, you know, the individual and how they feel with food. This is just a story of a couple of my clients just to kind of give you an example. I've had two completely separate occasions now where a client has come to me and their goal was to qualify for Boston, and both had terrible experiences with sports gels and goose.

And one of them had struggled throughout every past marathon with GI issues that left her in a Port-a-Potty around mile 20, adding in like four plus minutes to our time. So, after working with them, both had incredible success in adding a dry, high, carb, low, fiber cereal. And what they did was they did fourth cup servings in a little Ziploc bag and kept it in their belt and ate it four times throughout the marathon for a full cup. So they actually both qualified for Boston doing this.
So, now, I recommend everyone start eating cereal during marathon. But it's just an example of how, you know, everyone's nutrition in terms of what foods they can handle, what foods they can stomach, is so different. Like you mentioned, your wife, has so many different food allergies. So, obviously what works for one person would never work for her in a race. And so, it's just, it's very individualized.

Josh: Sure. So kind of on that similar vein of people doing things, like differently. One thing... Ryan Olson has a question about something that's been becoming more popular as these ketogenic diets. And I kind of like to get your thoughts on how you feel about the ketogenic and those super high fat diets. And then, if somebody is going to take that on, what are some of the best fats that, as a runner or an endurance athlete that you can be taken in during the process of being on a ketogenic diet?

Angie: Sure, so, I personally I would not recommend a ketogenic diet to someone. If I had an athlete come to me and say, “This has worked really great for me,” then, you know, I would help them with it for sure, and I would help maximize it to their potential that they're getting the best fats for running. But, you know, ultimately, it takes more oxygen to burn fat than it does carbohydrates.

And so to me, you know, it doesn't really make much sense, especially when the research is right there that, you know, obviously, that lack of oxygen is going to shift to carbohydrate utilization, and it just, in mental have to focus on what's your heart rate, and what if your heart rate goes above a certain percentage, and then you dip into those glycogen stores that aren't available. So it's a lot.

I mean, for someone who is, I mean, very, very… Because I know there are some very high up there athletes that are very successful on the ketogenic diet and it works great for them. But it's also something that requires a huge amount of time and commitment. And if someone is, you know, totally able to do it for the rest of their lives, then sure. I think that's great.

But otherwise, I personally have seen the benefits in research over years and years and years of research that show carbohydrates are really essential for endurance athletes. So, I just wouldn't feel comfortable saying. "Hey, I think you should try ketogenic," just because it's a fad right now.

So, yeah. And you also kind of have to look back at those top, like, I always look back at, you know, the Kenyan racers I talked about earlier, that have up to 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight on a daily basis. I mean, that's incredible so, you know, and then look there they're the top athletes in the world.

Paul: So, yeah, I actually just read something very recently about… It was very interesting. This guy went around the world basically and went with the Kenyan athletes and cyclists and all that. Basically the best of the best not just, you know, "elite" but the guys that were actually winning Olympic medals and winning world and setting world records and looked at their diets, and it was fascinating because… Well, first of all, they were all different. But nobody had any restrictions in their diets.

I mean, other than “just don't eat garbage.” You know, that was really kind of the only restriction that anybody had. It was so diverse, and it was everybody had many elements to what they were eating. Like the Kenyans, they're eating a ton of carbs because that's what they have available to them. They eat a lot of corn.

Angie: Totally. And the problem with low carb diets is they often tend to completely mix whole grains and beans, which beans and like lentils, for example, those are... Yeah, they have carbohydrates, but there's such great plant-based proteins, and they often make you rely on all these supplements just to make sure you're getting B vitamins and magnesium, and you kind of have to ask yourself, I mean, is it really the healthiest diet if you have to consistently rely on supplements to get what you need?

So I think, you know, it's just… It's a battle for sure, and it's just one of those things that you have to look at those athletes to that are doing a ketogenic and see, you know, what are their genes? Have they always been an incredible athlete? Like maybe it just, you know, works for them and it's not like the ketogenic diet made them a great athlete. They were probably a great athlete before and they are just very regimen and stick to this diet, and it works for them.

But for people that... You know, it's kind of like the Atkins diet. It's very similar to Atkins diet because people will be on this high saturated fat, just extreme fat diet, and then they'll splurge. Well, then anytime you have any sort of carbohydrates, your body just automatically stores up to about three ounces of water for every gram or for every ounce. So then, you know, you're automatically gaining weight back and you're like, “Oh gosh, it's the carbs.”

Well, no, not necessarily. And it's just too discouraging thing to go back and forth. And so, I feel like you're exactly right in the sense of these other countries, they don't have restrictions. They just, you know, they cut out the junk for the most part and, you know, they allow themselves what they want when they want it and it works well for them. When you restrict yourself so much is when you start to struggle.

But going back on your question, I have to say, the fats I'd recommend, if you were on a ketogenic diet while running is some type of fat that's also low in fiber. So, like I mentioned chia and flax seeds, those are so healthy for you, but I wouldn't recommend having them in the middle of your run. The fiber can be a lot on your GI system, and that, along with the high fat content, would just be too much. So, I would say something like salted nut butters, like peanut butter, almond butter, cashew, or salted almonds, would be good fats, and they're also a great source of electrolytes.

Avocados, we've talked about a few times. And honestly, whatever works best for your GI system. And if that's something like dried bananas that are cooked in coconut oil then, you know, by all means, go for it.

Paul: Very cool. Okay, I guess… I kind of I'd like to get your thought on this, but real quick, but it seems like, I mean, you've mentioned the Whole 30 and the Paleo, my wife and I, actually, about a year ago, we did the Whole 30. And for me, and for us, it was great because it was kind of more of just a reset than like a huge life change. But I feel like when people do that and they do see a positive result whether it's Whole 30 or any of these restrictive diets, it's really just because, like they are too restrictive for me at least to be on daily for the rest of my life.

But when you do it, you see immediate results just because you're cutting out all this junk. And for me, at least, it just kind of taught me, all right, just limit the amount of junk I'm eating. But I can still eat bread once in a while, you know, I don't have to completely eliminate it from my diet.

Angie: Totally, so you did it the right way. A lot of people, unfortunately, they're not in that mindset, and so they get into this trap where they think, you know, “Oh, gosh, like I can never have, you know, legumes again, I can never have grains again, because they're gonna just make me puff up,” or whatever, you know, the Whole 30 says.

And the thing that I don't like about the Whole 30 is it's very restricted to the point that if you "cheat", you have to start over again, and that is just... I mean, that's an issue for me. I have a lot of athletes too that struggle with... You know, especially my aesthetic sports like figure skating, and gymnastics, they struggle with body image.

So for them to ever come to me and say, you know, oh I want to do this Whole 30, well, that's the last thing I would recommend because it really does, you know, mess up your whole mind and your whole thoughts about food and what's the...

Paul: Well, there's such an emotional relationship for, I think, everybody with food, you know, some people have it stronger than other. I have a very emotional relationship with food, and I love it. And I feel like, yeah, when you get those tight restrictions, it plays on that in a negative light.

Angie: [inaudible 01:09:05]

Paul: That is true too. Very cool. This has been amazing. So before we wrap up, we just have a couple last-minute questions for you that we just kind of want to get them some thoughts from you. So, for example, what's the most memorable moment from your personal athletic career and endeavors?

Angie: So, I'd have to say, probably my first ever triathlon. Because I had never swam in open water before despite many people telling me that I should probably try it at least once before an actual race, so… And it was it was two years ago, so like I said, I'm very new to triathlons, but I'm already hooked. But I'll forever remember when I jumped into Lake Michigan. It was in Chicago. It was in August, and the water was like 46 degrees. Oh, my gosh. I had a FitBit monitor on, and I kid you not, it went up to 170 the second I got in that water.

Paul: I don't doubt it.

Angie: I'm doomed. I'm doomed, so...

Josh: Nice. Were you wearing earplugs?

Angie: I wasn't, no. And I was definitely I should have worn those little like foot things too.

Paul: Oh, booties. Yes, the booties are money when it's that cold.

Josh: Did you not feel, like the water freezing your inner cortex because you weren't wearing earplugs?

Angie: I did. Yeah, I felt like, well, my entire body is just... I'm shocked. I swam so fast because I want to get out of the water so… But, yeah.

Josh: I did Ironman at St. George when it was 50. Like the water was 51 and it was 48 outside or vice versa. And I just remember the water, every rotation, it went in like my right ear and froze my inner cortex, and then as I rotate it away to my left ear and froze my inner cortex. And every turn, it was just like, this is this is horrible. Every bit about that was horrible. So yeah, 46.

Angie: I'm gonna take that advice. I'm gonna wear earplugs.

Josh: Yeah, ear plugs, booties. Yeah, that makes life better. I didn't wear ear plugs, but if I ever am dumb enough to do that again, I certainly will.

Angie: I thankfully had the full body suit with the sleeves, but still I felt...

Josh: How about, what's the best piece of advice you've received during your athletic career?

Angie: Probably that your body needs rest, that your body won't function properly without rest. I really did struggle, especially when I was younger, with allowing my body to take a rest day, so I had to find out the hard way by running on an injury that resulted in me having to get hip surgery. So, you know, I thought at that age, you know, if my body feels fine, why not just, you know, keep pushing it hard every day?

And the problem was I wasn't giving myself a break, so, you know, since then I take the advice from PTs and doctors very seriously about the importance of rest and recovery, and foam rolling and stretching and, you know, utilizing all of those tactics on, you know, a weekly basis and letting your body rest.

Josh: Perfect.

Paul: So other than, you know, helping people change their lives through nutrition, what do you what do you actually do for fun?

Josh: Small things.

Angie: What do I do for fun? I love to travel. So based on my husband's job, we live in three states a year, so I love traveling, touring new places, especially anything that involves being active and outdoors. Like we were in Colorado, where you guys are at. So I got to go, you know, run the stairs at Red Rocks and got to go do that when I was in… So I try to make an effort of any time I go somewhere new to see, you know, what's outside and kind of be a tourist, I guess.

I also love visiting, like farmer's markets, local farmers' markets when I travel, and seeing what little specialties they have in different states, and being a small business owner myself, there's just something so rewarding to me about buying fresh fruits and veggies and eggs from a local family farm. So, I try to make a point to do that when I travel too.

Josh: Nice.

Paul: Perfect.

Josh: How about any final thoughts for our listeners today?

Angie: I guess, you know, just make quality food a priority, and give your body the proper nutrients it needs to perform, and I promise you that it will perform at its best if you if you keep giving your body quality foods.

Josh: Awesome. Well, thanks so much today. This has been fantastic. I know I'm over here, I've been jotting down tons of notes, and I'm going to have to listen to our own podcast again to take even some more of these on the…the metrics to focus on, but...

Paul: I can't wait to dive into those recipes.

Josh: Yeah, that too. The peanut butter.

Angie: Oh gosh, I don't know if you'll like them.

Paul: Oh, I will.

Josh: Yeah, peanut butter shake thing, and yeah, there's a lot. So your website is, E-L-E-A-T nutrition dot com. And Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all the same. As far as, if someone wanted to reach out to you, obviously they could go to, especially with you traveling, and anymore, honestly, it seems that most people don't want to go anywhere other than online anyway to get so many things done.

Do you consult well over… Is it easy I guess to do nutritional consult and help to make people like Paul and I more well-rounded nutritional focus through… I'm trying to say and over the phone, or over the Internet, you know, if we're in Colorado and you're in wherever?

Angie: Yeah, so actually my practice is 100% virtual. So everything is Skype, FaceTime. It's funny because even when I am home in my… I have an actual office and Lincoln, Nebraska, and sometimes when I'm home when… Because usually I'm home in the winter time there, and so people will be like, you know, stuck in their homes and so they'll be like, "You know, I can I just call you instead?" and they kind of get used to the whole calling on FaceTime, and it's just so much easier to meet on your couch at home and whatnot.

So yeah, it's never been an issue to do it all virtually. And it's it's very easy because I'm always on the road and lot of my athletes are usually on the road or traveling, so it works out really well because they can reach out to me anytime and, yeah.

Josh: Awesome. That's great to know. All right, Angie. Well, it was great to have you on the call today. So again, everybody, it's Angie Asche of Eleat Nutrition in...wherever, Lincoln, Nebraska, Arizona, and other parts of the world. We really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today, and we'll have to have you again on soon. I know there was a lot of other things that I actually would have loved to pick your brain on, but we ran out of time.

But this was awesome. I think our listeners are going to learn a ton from this about nutrition, and hopefully, learning maybe some good steps to move things forward and possibly contacting you as well. So, we really appreciate the time, and can't wait to have you on again.

Angie: Thank you for having me.

Paul: Thanks, Angie.

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Change your Diet, Change your Life! April 12 2017, 0 Comments

Change your Diet, Change your Life!

There is a stigma in our society that says we must eat meat for protein, that we were designed to eat meat because we have canine teeth! The fact of the matter is we don't have canine teeth.

As stated in an article by Michael Bluejay, "The lower jaw of a meat-eating animal has very little side-to-side motion – it is fixed to open and close, which adds strength and stability to its powerful bite.  Like other plant-eating animals our jaw can move forwards and backwards, and side-to-side, as well as open and close, for biting off pieces of plant matter, and then grinding them into smaller pieces with our flat molars.

It was 2010 and I was in the process of getting test after test after test to try and find out why I had Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). Having IBS is literally a pain in the butt! No pun intended. Whenever I ate I knew I had exactly thirty minutes to find a restroom or be at the comfort of my own home. It was like clockwork. I went to doctors, but tests couldn’t give me any answers, so I decided to make a change. I cut my dairy intake down and started using Lactaid milk. It helped, and I felt a change in my system, and my pit stops to restrooms became less frequent.

Moving ahead now to 2013, my fiancé and children were out of the house. I made breakfast and took my daily allergy pill. I've had horrible allergies and sinus infections since the age of three. I got tested years later and started going for allergy shots. I was allergic to grass, mold, dust, trees, cats, and at least twenty other things not worth listing. I went for allergy shots twice a week for three years and then down to once a week for seven more. The shots would help time to time, but I was still getting sinus infections almost every other week. I decided I did not want to continue the shots and stopped. My routine was to take an allergy pill in the morning and then at night. 

Sorry, I rambled off the subject. I don't remember the exact date. But I do remember it was February of 2013. This is the day I turned on Netflix and watched the documentary "Vegucated" and “Food Inc.”.  What I watched made sense, and it inspired me to do an experiment. I went to the local store and bought organic vegetables and a product from Gardenia that looked like chicken, but was made out of soy and grains. I made an amazing stir fry with no dairy and no meat products. 

I can still remember to this day the kids and my fiancé saying, "This meal is amazing and the chicken is so tasty and tender." After everyone had seconds and thirds, that's when I dropped the bomb! It's not meat, it’s soy and grain products! Obviously no one believed me, so I had to dig the packaging out of the garbage can to show the proof. It was decided then and there that we would try it again with another meal. So four years later we are still "Plant Based”.  I sometimes say Vegan, but Veganism gets a bad rap at times. It's like we're hippies or in a cult! 

 What I have learned from making the switch to "Plant Based" foods is that it's really not that hard to do! We make most of our food and if we do decide to go out to a restaurant there are usually vegetarian options which we can alter. I do have to say though, if something has an egg in it or milk we suck it up and eat it. We aren't going to be ignorant if someone made something and it's not suitable for our diet. We do this to be healthier, and when I say that, I mean for us. Let me explain the changes I’ve seen in myself before I get into the benefits my now wife and children have experienced.

Since changing to a Plant Based diet I have lost weight, thirty-five pounds to be exact, and have kept it off. I no longer experience adult acne. I can't remember a time prior when I was ever pimple free. I also had rosacea really bad and yes being the self conscious person I was I bought foundation powder to help tone down the redness. My need to take allergy pills is gone. In the last three to four years I have taken three allergy pills, compared to my twice a day most of my teenage and adult life. Huge money saver right there! I no longer suffer from IBS and sad to say, the times I spent hitting the Bob Evans Restaurant restroom on my way to work is not missed, but I do miss saying good morning to the sweet elderly hostess I saw on my morning visits. I can also say I've probably gotten sick three times since being Plant Based.  I'm full of energy and no longer lethargic after I eat. I can taste food better than I use too. It's amazing the flavors vegetables actually have. I always looked at my vegetables as the filler side dish next to my meat platter. Not the case if you think about it. It's a direct source of vitamins and minerals. If you eat the proper foods, there really is no need to take supplements or vitamins every day. We're already being infused with those nutrients with every meal.

If anything here is the prize, my doctor stated at my last physical he's not sure what I'm doing, but keep at it because I'm healthier now than I ever have been.  As a family, our sick days are pretty much gone. The kids have been sick maybe a total of four days since being Plant Based, and if we do feel a sickness coming on it's in our system for a couple hours. Kids are petri dishes when it comes to school and catching things. Not so much anymore for us, thank goodness!

It's great to know I'm not participating in giving the medical industry any more money than they already get. What I have learned since becoming Plant Based or Vegan is that I have gained more energy, and my recovery times have decreased. I partake in various rituals when it comes to easy runs or my longer runs. The recovery process is typically the same throughout. I drink a protein based smoothie usually consisting of chocolate almond milk, Vega or Hammer Nutrition Protein powder, a scoop of peanut butter or almond butter, and topped off with some unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk. I try to drink this no longer than 30 minutes after my run. The days I decide to endure more mileage I will drink Tart Cherry juice to help with the inflammation and lactic build up in the muscles. It's an antioxidant from a natural source that has been proved to help alleviate soreness and cramping after strenuous endurance activities. So there you learned a few hidden secrets, some health benefits, and some pretty amazing stories of how my body has benefited from a Plant Based diet. Obviously, you should always talk to your physician and make sure it's something right for you. At the end of the day, the decision is going to be yours. Take a challenge and try going Plant Based for a few weeks, watch documentaries, and most importantly just being aware of what goes into your body. I hope you found this insightful and useful. 

 Perhaps a continuation of the nutritional valves and benefits I have noticed or experienced will come at a later date. Thank you for letting me share!

Jeff Madiro 


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Head to the Mountains, on your Bike! March 02 2017, 0 Comments

Head to the Mountains, on your Bike!

Are you a triathlete, road cyclist or runner who is curious about mountain biking? Want to learn but need some basic tips? I was in your shoes a few years ago when I got a little burnt out on road cycling. I have since switched over to mountain biking exclusively and while I am no expert, here are a few things you may want to know about mountain biking:

 Start slow, go short and pick easy trails. Get comfortable on your bike and find some beginner trails. 20 miles on a mountain bike is MUCH different than 20 miles on a road bike. So don't start off planning a huge ride right out of the starting gates! Miles to miles, it is NOT the same.

 Adjust your body on the downhills. Move your body to the far edge of your seat when going downhill. Keep your center of balance low and stable and your butt off the saddle. If you have a dropper post on your bike: stand and use it. By standing you are allowing your body to absorb the shock from obstacles on the trail. Another trick I've learned was to keep my pedals parallel to the ground when going downhill. I try and keep them at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. This way they are high enough that you won't gash them into a rock at high speeds. It’s not fun, trust me. 

 Get your bike dirty, stop treating it like a baby. Remind yourself this is NOT your road or triathlon bike. Get it dirty and it's ok if it gets scratched. Mountain bikes are much better at taking a beating than our precious tri bikes. But to keep your mountain bike in top shape always clean after every ride.

It's ok to walk! Mountain biking terrain can be steep, loose and rocky. It's ok to get off and walk. It's more important to have fun rather than to end up in the emergency room.

 Look way ahead of you. Always, always, always look at least 10 feet ahead of you. This way you have more time to react if something is on the trail. Keep your eyes focused on where you want to go, not where you don't want to go. For example, do not fixate on that large rock on the edge of the trail that you are worried about crashing into. If you are focusing on the rock, your body will naturally draw itself to that rock and before you know it, you'll be crashing into it!

 Practice shifting gears. You shift gears a lot when you mountain bike. I can recall the first couple times that it drove me crazy to be shifting around that much. It was so different from road biking but that is normal so shift away. You will also want to get into the habit of shifting before you reach the hill. Again this is where you always want to be looking ahead and make sure you are prepared for the hill by shifting early.

 Take a lesson or join a group. Keep your elbows loose and don't clench your hands. Use your elbows to absorb the shock. Just relax, have fun, enjoy the scenery and give mountain biking chance. These are all tips I learned from my local bike shop: Soul Ride in Prescott, Arizona. They cater to beginner mountain bikers and frequently hold lessons and retreats. It’s a great way to improve your skills and be a part of the mountain bike community.  Please look them up or join one of their group Wednesday rides that I help lead each week.

Are you an experienced mountain biker? What tips do you have for beginners? Leave your comment below.

Guest blogger

Amanda Remlinger

Soul Ride:

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Busting Beer Mile Myths March 01 2017, 0 Comments

Busting Beer Mile Myths

You’ve been known to toss back a few with your buddies in record time. You’ve chugged a beer before/after/during a race. Keg stand? No problem. We get it, you’re a beast. But if you think the Beer Mile is all fun and games--think again!

The Beer Mile has become popular in the running community and is now commonly found as either part of a larger running event (especially ultra running events) or even as a separate organized event on it’s own. Some running groups put on their own neighborhood Beer Mile, because beer and running.. why not?! So it’s no doubt you’ve been toying with the idea of participating in this crazy running challenge. But the Beer Mile has been known to chew up and spit out many a man or woman who weren’t prepared! I know. It happened to me.

For those unfamiliar with the Beer Mile, it sounds pretty simple on paper: chug a beer, run a ¼ mile lap. Chug another beer, run another ¼ mile. Repeat until you’ve downed 4 beers and ran a mile. Only rules are you’re not allowed to vomit and the beer has to be 5% alcohol and no less than 12oz. These simple rules have fooled many into just showing up. It didn’t end well for them.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Let me bust some of the biggest Beer Mile myths so you can enjoy the challenge and not curse it.

  • It’s Just Four Beers. Correct. Four beers… in approximately 15-30 minutes. Think back to your college days. Even when you shotgunned a beer, did you follow it up with 3 more back to back? Yeah. Now you’re seeing the big picture.
  • It’s Just A Mile. Also correct. 4 laps-1 Mile. But have you ever ran laps with multiple beers sloshing around, threatening to come up? Way tougher than it sounds.
  • I’ll just throw up and keep going. Nope. If you vomit there’s another beer and an additional lap waiting for you. And honestly, this is the hardest part of the Beer Mile-not throwing up! Chances are high that beer is going to come back up. The key is waiting until after you cross the finish line to let it loose.
  • I’ll go slow. Okay, I’ll admit, this is a pretty good strategy, if you’re not competing to win. But if you’ve got a competitive side like me, try getting your speediest miles in the first two or three laps, gain some time on your competitors, and then keep it steady on the last lap.
  • I’ll be so drunk it won’t matter. You’ll get intoxicated for sure, just not right away. It takes a bit for it to hit your system. It’s not going to be like running an entire mile drunk. Most won’t get buzzed until about the third/fourth lap. But once you cross that finish line, be prepared for it all to hit you at once!
  • I don’t need water. False. This may have been one of my biggest mistakes during my Beer Mile experience. My stomach was full, I was feelin good. Why would I need more liquids? The massive hangover later was my answer.
  • All finished. Let’s celebrate! The beers have hit everyone, you’re all feeling good. Time to crack open the celebratory suds. No! I’ll admit, I was the one who was calling for a toast amongst the cheers and high-fives. Which quickly led to “let’s open the good stuff”. Our 4 beers quickly became 5, 6, 7... did I mention the massive hangover? My advice is to toast over some water and food, wait a bit, then start in on the “good stuff”.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my Beer Mile adventure, and want to do it again. But I’m sharing my advice so that you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into. The better prepared you are, the better experience you’ll have. Take my advice into consideration and you’ll be ready for a fun time.

Have you participated in a Beer Mile before? What advice would you give to the newbies out there?

Guest Blogger,
Jeremy Heath
Instagram: @runner_blogger_az
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Endurance Pack Review for SUP February 24 2017, 1 Comment

Endurance Pack Review for SUP

"As a long time adventure racer, ultra runner and standup paddler I have tried numerous different style bladder hydration packs never really being satisfied; that is until my first experience with the Orange Mud Endurance Pack this past weekend in a 6 mile standup paddle race.  First thoughts out the box is that the pack is super light weight. Once you put it on the pack seems to fit like a glove and contours to your body perfectly. The hydration tube is long and has excess so you can cut to preference.  With two pockets on the chest, shoulder and rear pockets to store whatever is needed you can load down this pack for the long haul or keep it lightweight for shorter races.

Endurance Pack for SUP

For my crash course race test of the Endurance Pack I have to admit I was skeptical of its ability due to the leaning over required for a proper SUP stroke(near 90 degrees); well, the pack did not disappoint, I never felt it shift back and forth, it breathed well and my gels stayed in the front chest pocket even while digging deep to a 2nd overall place finish. My last concern was that moment we all fear when we take of the gear to find chaffing and abrasions; Not A Single One and I didn't even have on a shirt!

Endurance Pack Walker Higgins

This pack is now my favorite I have ever owned and will be replacing all my others; congrats to Orange Mud for producing this awesome pack!"

Endurance Pack SUP Review

Follow Walker Higgins and his race company at WHOA.

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Running with Diabetes February 08 2017, 0 Comments

Running with Diabetes

As most of us do, I really enjoy running. My favorite distance is the marathon. Even though to-date I have only done 3: NY, Sydney and Melbourne. I began running when I was 24 years old - 12 years after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin. Type 1 diabetics have to take a minimum of 4 daily insulin injections with multiple blood glucose checks through finger pricks, and constantly manage food intake to do our best to stay as healthy as possible and avoid long-term health complications.

 For me, running provided an immediate, new found freedom from the frustrations of living with type 1 diabetes. A normal day for me consists of testing my blood glucose levels up to 20 times a day, giving multiple daily injections every time I eat and trying to manage all of this with exercise – sometimes the biggest challenge of them all.

The rewards I reap from running, far outweigh the associated challenges with having type 1 diabetes. In 2016, I decided to take my love for running to the next level, signing up for my first ultramarathon for 2017. A 50km race in the Blue Mountains region of Australia.

I had a great 2nd half of 2016 in terms of racing – completing 8 races in a 3-month period and qualifying for the 2017 Boston marathon. 

I was ready for a good year ahead… until I got a stress fracture in my left foot in October at the Melbourne marathon.  

 This took me off my feet for the following 12 weeks, putting my training plans back a couple of steps. Fortunately, I have still been able to continue running and swimming to keep up my cardiovascular fitness.

Since getting back on my feet, there have been a few challenges probably not faced by the average runner. My diabetes has to get used to high intensity and endurance exercise again. This generally means during runs my blood glucose levels drop too low and I have to eat a constant stream of fast acting carbohydrates (gels, jelly beans, energy bars or fruit) to keep them within the normal range and prevent them from dropping dangerously low and potentially collapsing.


This adjustment can take the body up to 6 weeks to get used to and the need for carbohydrates slowly reduces.

So how does a type 1 diabetic train for a marathon or their first ultra and keep their diabetes in good control?

On a typical mid-week 8-mile training run I will test my blood sugar levels 20 mins before I run. I would eat some short acting carbs, generally a banana or dates 10 mins before I head out the door and closely monitor how I feel and my sugar levels for the following hour.  


Thankfully I recently got a device called a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) which feeds constant, live readings of my blood glucose levels to my insulin pump and I can monitor my levels without having to prick my finger while running – a tricky skill to acquire through lots of practice. The CGM device makes such a difference with my diabetes control during training and races.

 During any training run I have to closely watch my sugar levels and try to keep them in the ideal range whether refueling with carbohydrates to bring them up or giving microdoses of insulin to bring them from being too high.

I also always have to bring snacks with me for both refueling my energy requirements and in the case I have a low sugar level.

During longer runs I will test my sugar levels with my blood glucose meter – generally around the 13 & 18 mile mark for an average 20 mile run. I also have to refuel a lot more not for my diabetes but to keep my glycogen stores up as I am burning through so many calories. I will eat 3 Clif bars (40g of carbs each) during my run with no insulin.

 Training on the trails for the ultramarathon has added a couple of other challenges too, which I am learning to enjoy, very different to training on the tarmac.I am generally on my feet for longer hours and at a slower pace.I have more time to focus on my diabetes management but have to plan ahead with what I am going to take with me before I even head out the door and hit the dirt path.


The typical questions that run through my mind:

  • Do I have enough water for hydration?
  • Do I have enough supplies for refueling?
  • Do I have extra supplies to treat low sugar levels?
  • Do I have my blood glucose monitor as a backup to my CGM to test my sugar levels while running?
  • Do I have a fully charged phone in the case of an emergency?
  • Do I have my identification on me and do people know where I am running (if going on my own)?

And the most important question of them all: Am I ready for some fun?

In so many ways I am blessed to have type 1 diabetes. It has changed my perspective on life and allowed me to enjoy running with an appreciation unique to my experience.

Both diabetes and running have changed my life in ways I can’t put into words.

Now here is to Boston and running my first 50kms. 2017 is going to be a good year.


Instagram: @amylmck

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Stop and Smell the Hops February 01 2017, 0 Comments

Stop and Smell the Hops

One thing I love about running is the sense of freedom that it brings me every time my foot strikes the trail or the pavement. It’s more than a release for me, it is a way of life. I look forward to my run. When I’m working I’m thinking about hitting the trail and when I am running I’m thinking about the awesome tacos and beer that I am earning or my next race. What I am not thinking about is the guy in traffic who cut me off, or the long day at work that I had, or my bank account and the bills that need to be paid. It is a time for my mind to rest and for the most part be relatively clear and calm.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. We love running. It’s what we do. One thing that I’m trying to do this year is bring that same feeling to my races. I want to run well and have a great race but I also want to enjoy my surroundings. I want to meet new people, suffer together, and when it’s all over, enjoy a beer. It is easy to get caught up in trying to set new personal records, qualify for that big race, or simply beat that person who gave you  a weird look at the starting line. I have been there myself. I have had good and bad races. This year though, I want to really soak in everything that my races have to offer. I want to run WITH friends and strangers, not just blow past them and try to catch up when the race is over.

 The point that I am trying to make is that it is easy to get caught up in the racing aspect of a race. It’s easy to overlook the fact that there are some cool people around you hiking, running, enjoying good company, and every now and then having that aid station shot of whiskey or beer. There is a whole other world inside the race itself of people just simply having a good time. I am not saying go to every race and party. I am simply challenging you to sign up for a race or two this year where you snap a few pictures, take in the scenery, meet someone new, and have fun. Enjoy the camaraderie of the like-minded people that you are running with. That doesn’t mean you can’t sign up for a race and go crush it either.

Ultra and trail running are gaining popularity everyday. Races are popping up everywhere and are offering better courses, aid stations, finishers medals and t-shirts, and after parties. As much as I love all of this, it also means that race prices are going up. I am all about paying for a great race! I want to make sure that the people putting together these fantastic races and their volunteers are being compensated for their hard work. I also want to make sure that after I’ve paid for the race, the travel expenses getting there, the time I spent training which kept me away from friends and family, that I am getting the full experience of the race and my “money’s-worth.” So challenge yourself this year and make sure you have some races on the calendar where you will have time to stop and smell the hops.

Guest Blogger: Mike Coutu

IG: _ijustfeltlikerunning_



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Running With Your Dog January 18 2017, 3 Comments

Running With Your Dog

Your New Year’s resolutions may vary--ranging from more miles to new challenges. And I’m a big fan of running with friends to keep you motivated year round. But sometimes there just isn't anyone available around (or let’s face it..anyone willing to run).  So what do you do? I say grab your pooch! Dogs need exercise.. and so do you.. so why not enjoy a little together? Plus, dogs rarely complain, make excuses, or ditch you for an extra hour of sleep.

My pups love to run. They see me grabbing my gear and can't wait to get out the door. It’s a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion. On those days when you're lacking some motivation, and you have a pup who can handle the activity, strap on that leash and go.

Don’t have a pup? This is a great excuse to go to a local shelter and rescue your new running buddy. If you’re still on the fence about adopting a dog, some animal shelters will allow volunteers to take certain dogs for a run throughout the week. What better way to find the perfect 4-legged running partner that’s right for you!

Running with your dog isn’t going to be easy if it’s your first time. Before you head out the door, there are few you things you should take into consideration:


  • They need water just like you. Sometimes more! Even if you’re you go on just a 30-minute run, it's a good idea to carry water with you. I take my Orange Mud VP2 with me so both of my pups and I each have our own water bottle.
  • They need to train. Was your first ever run a 10-miler? Probably not. So make sure you start off small. They need to work up to longer miles just like you do.
  • They will stop frequently. Besides all the smells, they will have to poop/pee. So don't expect to run with a specific time in mind. Just enjoy the company of your companion. Both speed and distance will come with time.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. You may not feel the sharp gravel or broken glass beneath your feet, but your pup surely will. Keep in mind you’re wearing shoes and try to avoid areas that would hurt if you were barefoot. Also watch for approaching traffic, other dog, cyclists, etc. While other people may be aware of you, they may not see or notice your dog, especially at night. For night running, there are a variety of clip-on LED lights to help keep your pets safe.
  • They WILL frustrate you.  That's right. They will see a squirrel... another dog... a stick...a stick that looks like a squirrel... It's going to take time to teach them to run with you so you MUST be patient. Give it time and they will learn to leave those things behind.

Do you and your dog log miles together? What was your biggest frustration when learning to run together and how did you overcome it? I hope these tips help both you and your furry running partner have a happy and healthy 2017!

Jeremy Heath - Orange Mud Ambassador and blogger extraordinaire!

IG:  @runner_blogger_az

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Running in the Right Mindset January 05 2017, 0 Comments

Running in the Right Mindset

2016 was a real soul questioning cluster, at times leaving me confused, self-doubting, stretched thin, and frequently benchmarking against the previous scale by which I’ve measured my former successes. From a running perspective, I walked into 2016 with the mantra, “I will run for fun, I will run to free my soul.” I had made a vow of returning to the road for the love of the sport, and I was hell-bent on a season of easy targets and finding the existential freedom that judgment-free pavement can do for the soul. 

Coming off the most painful marathon of my career in New York’s November 2015 season, I was ready to throw in the competitive towel and quite literally put my feet up for the year (forever?). I was a bucket list marathoner, I’d reminded myself. The fact that I kept signing up seemed like some sort of masochistic subconscious that I was dying to shake. In my third 26.2 mile race with a time mere minutes over my “under 4 hour” goal, I was beginning to think my body just didn’t have the mental endurance to carry me 4 minutes faster. 4 minutes. That’s 240 seconds over the goal time I’d now attempted three times and failed.

A bit of a baseball watcher, and certainly a fan of Disney’s Aladdin, three seemed like a pretty perfect number to walk away with a strikeout and give the genie his freedom. I’ve admitted many times that I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner, and I’d proven time and again (and again) that I wasn’t capable of reaching that mystical goal.

 In 2016, I expected to run less, but more vividly, and to watch the other areas of my life excel without the added pressure of BQs, PRs, and various other competitive banter. I wanted an opportunity to wake up on a Saturday morning and say “screw this, we’re going to the beach” instead of panting through 14 sunny miles. But when it came down to it, I didn’t do that at all. I kept up with my training regimen with the same intent and half the stress. I went to multiple practices with my running team on both weeknights and weekends, and in the small window I’d decided my competitive career was in countdown, I PR’ed the Brooklyn half marathon and ran a sub 3 hour twenty mile training run.

 Of course, the races were painful. The practices took a toll on my body, but for the very first time they were only reassuring to my mind. Then, it clicked. I wasn’t afraid of pushing myself. I wasn’t tied down by my training routine. I was simply afraid to truly put myself on the line for the risk that I would voice my expectations and then miss them by mere seconds.

That was the summary of running in 2016, hell...that was 2016 in general. It was a year of realizing fears in the wake of failure, and making a pledge to be the type of person that doesn’t lose sight of the fact that running - and life - is and will always be a personal sport.

 With this mindset, I signed up for and was granted lottery into the 2017 Chicago marathon. In 2017, I will return to the road with a new goal to find my “absolute max.” I’ve heard time and again professional runners talk about a lack of race regrets because they “left it all on the road.”

“What does that mean?” I would think. What it was it to give my true all? ...even more so what did it feel like to leave it all? At this point, I still don’t really know. The runs of 2016 and before were a careful calculation of “all-enough” to make sure I couldn’t fail. Not anymore. I am and have been in pursuit of my personal best, a far more internal record than a personal record.

 And suddenly it’s not really the road that’s freeing, but the incredible turmoil of possibility which comes from unbridled exertion in pursuit of a new challenge. So bring it, 2017, with your expectations, judgements, comparisons, and benchmarking. Bring your muscle soreness, tired eyes, and double shots of espresso. I feel empowered for your arrival as I never have before, ready to take the trying times of 2016 and use them to fuel a year of great charge.

Jess Ferrucci

Author at 

Instagram: @thehappyrunnerdiaries

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Register for your first trail race! December 29 2016, 0 Comments

Register for your first trail race! I’ve been a runner for most of my life, and nearly all of my adult life, so I’m obviously biased, but I’m convinced that it’s really the best, most accessible, and most adaptable sport out there. You can run anywhere and at any time, provided you feel safe. It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting around a track, frolicking through a park, jogging through a forest preserve, coasting through your neighborhood, or meandering up and over and through a mountain pass: it all counts as running. Fast or slow, short distances or long distances -- there’s a flavor -- a distance and a speed -- for everyone. Plus, just because you run one particular distance or speed now doesn’t mean you’ll be forever married to it. Sprinters sometimes “go long,” while ultra-runners sometimes dabble in the shorter distances. The variety is what makes this sport so rich.


I know many runners who are satisfied with just running for the sake of running, without targeting a goal event in mind, but many others I know prefer to structure their training around an event that’s months away. I think I, too, belong in the latter camp. Having a target race on the calendar can help bring meaning but also structure to training without robbing yourself of the “joy” factor, too.


As 2016 begins to come to a close and you’re looking at your race calendar for 2017, why not take a risk and do something that’s perhaps out of the ordinary for you -- register for a trail race. As I mentioned, I’ve been running for a long time now, but it’s only been within the past few years that I’ve gotten into trail running, and let me assure you: it’s an adventure out there!
Below, I’ll give you some of my bits of wisdom and reasons why you should take the plunge and register for a trail race (or several) in 2017.


It’ll shake up your daily running and bring you a new focus. Unless you already run exclusively on trails every single day, chances are high that foraying into training for a trail run will bring a new focus to your running, which can be a good thing. It’s really tempting and ridiculously easy to do the same running route day after day, but it obviously gets pretty boring and stale after a while. When you’re training for a trail race, you’ll probably find that you need to do a different type of training -- maybe by training with the focus of “time on my feet,” perhaps, or by including lots of hill repetitions and elevation ascents/descents -- which in turn can make you a stronger (and faster) runner. Besides, variety is the spice of life, right?


Trail racing (and training for them) can make you mentally unbreakable. If you’ve been running and racing for a while now, you know how important it is to be mentally tough. In fact, I’d wager that having sound mental fitness is as important, if not more, than getting yourself into fantastic physical shape. When you’re training for a trail race, you’ll probably need to spend more time on your feet than you usually would, as well as climbing and descending more hills than you usually do, and this can be tough, both physically and mentally. I’ve spent many days on trails where I wonder what I’m doing -- why am I running 15+ minute miles when I could easily run sub-8-minute miles on roads -- but then I remember how the “mental callusing” I’m doing in training will be helpful come race day. Trail running can be definitively harder than roads running/racing, yet the mental fortitude you’ll develop from racing trails can pay off in all areas of your life: running and otherwise. Remember: getting outside your comfort zone is a great thing.
It’ll keep you accountable and might make you more willing to put in the work. I know many people who swear by having a race on their calendar if for no other reason than it makes them continue to put in the training week after week, month after month. After a while, though, it makes sense that you’ll begin to maintain some base fitness, and you might not necessarily have to work as hard to “stay in shape” or be able to complete the distance. If you’re planning to run a trail race, though, and you’re used to running and racing roads, you’ll likely find that you’ll need to work a little harder and put forth a little more effort -- in the form of getting strong on climbs, on figuring out ways to be nimble and fast on the downhills, or learning how to hike expeditiously -- just to get or stay in shape. I know many runners often aspire to “run more hills,” for example, but in the absence of having a hilly trail race on the calendar, this goal falls to the wayside. Putting a trail race on your calendar -- after paying for it and registering, of course -- may make you more inclined to properly train for it, even in inclement weather or when it’s “inconvenient” to you to do so, if for no other reason than you not wanting to waste your hard-earned money.


The best reason: trail races are fun! As I mentioned earlier, I’m completely biased in my opinion that running is the best sport out there, and even if you’re used to just running and racing on roads, I bet you’ll find that the race-day atmosphere at trail races is still as energizing, exciting, and fantastic as what you’re used to. Sure, trail races are sometimes a little more “chill” compared to road races, and you may not run as fast as you would if you were on flat pavement, but there’s still something so gratifying and exhilarating about pinning on a bib and trying your best to run as fast as possible, even over rocky terrain, upturned rocks, exposed roots, or through water. Perhaps a better question to ask yourself: why not sign-up for a trail race?! What have you got to lose?! Provided you put in the training, remain injury-free, and show-up healthy and ready to rock, you may very well surprise yourself at how much fun you have.



As you’re planning your 2017 season, seriously give trail racing a shot. Fortunately for you, as your research will reveal, there are distances available for everyone: anything from a 5k all the way up to (and beyond) 100-milers or multi-day races. Who knows? Maybe even after one season of training for a trail race and then running your event, perhaps you’ll even migrate over to trail racing for the foreseeable future. Let me assure you: it’s a good place to be.



Writer Bio

Dan Chabert

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Dan is a husband, entrepreneur and ultramarathon distance runner. Aside from those 3 things, he spends most of his time on, & and he has been featured on runner blogs all over the world.



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Mini Adventure Mondays December 21 2016, 1 Comment

Mini Adventure Mondays All too often I find myself scrolling through my Instagram feed and seeing pictures of people running, hiking, and biking through the mountains and I immediately begin to question why I chose to live here in Texas. It seems as if everywhere else is where I want to be and where I am just doesn’t offer the grand landscapes that my heart desires. It’s easy to get caught up in this type of thinking and it just kind of snowballs into the idea that there is nothing around me worth exploring. Let’s be honest, there are probably more than a few people out there reading this that are in complete agreement.


Two years ago my wife and I took an epic road trip that took us through ten states and nine national parks. I had recently just left the Navy after eight years and we wanted to take advantage of my time off before I started my current job at Martin House Brewing Company in Fort Worth, Texas. We packed up our Nissan Cube and hit the road. We saw mountains, canyons, deserts, glaciers, lakes, and even a few bears. We hiked, explored, visited craft breweries, and I ran in some of the most beautiful mountains I had ever seen. It was magical to say the least. That was until we were on the last day of our trip and we pulled into our driveway and reality sunk in.


Time went by and we both sunk back into the work grind. We each began our training for our yearly trip to Los Alamos, NM where I run the Jemez Mountain Trail runs and she bikes the Santa Fe Century. We had been looking forward to hitting the road the day we returned from our road trip. We went and raced and had a blast and on our nine hour drive back we decided that we would no longer sit at home wishing we were somewhere else. We would take “Mini-Adventures” that would tie us over until our next grand adventures. It didn’t take long before “The Itch” set in. We began to research local parks, trails, anything that was within driving distance that could help us make that “Itch” go away. We set out one Monday to explore Colorado Bend State Park which was only about a three hour drive. Pulling up to the park we didn’t think too much of it but when we made it further into the canyon and we saw the Colorado River for the first time since we camped on that very same river in Utah on our road trip two years prior, we were blown away. We set out to hike one of their many gorgeous trails and discovered hidden canyons, waterfalls, creeks, and all kinds of natural beauty that we did not expect to find in Texas. After a day of hiking and exploring we were determined to explore more of our surrounding areas for adventure. From then on we dubbed these expeditions “Mini-Adventure Mondays”.
Since that little trip that we took on a whim we have taken many mini-adventures to local state parks and anything that is within driveable distance. We realized that there is so much around us and we have been sitting around pouting because we aren’t back in Glacier or Yosemite National Park. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and wonder why we aren’t all living in cabins up in the mountains running trails everyday. I still sometimes think about it. What I encourage you and anyone that reads this article to do is to get out and explore your local state parks. It doesn’t even have to be a state or national park, it can be a local park that offers neat trails and a close getaway. I recently found a nature center 20 minutes from my cabin that has become my go-to training trails. Stop wasting time wishing you were somewhere that you aren’t. There are untapped resources all around us. Get out and explore, be spontaneous, and take rad mini-adventures.


Written by Guest Blogger: Mike Coutu


IG: _ijustfeltlikerunning_


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Volunteering is the New Racing December 14 2016, 1 Comment

Volunteering is the New Racing

 Paying it Forward

Running and cycling are individual sports.  You train and race to get a specific placement number or time by your name. You start out with individual goals, but as you meet people, you find a sense of community.  I find, more often than not, that is the community that keeps bringing me back to sport and not a desire for me to get a specific time or place in a race.  Over time, I’ve evolved from being an individual participant to wanting to help others and foster a sense of community amongst my fellow athletes.  The focus shifted from “me” and seeing how I improved to “we” and helping others gain confidence in a new sport, make friends, and feel included.  It’s actually become a driving focus and I now seek out opportunities to help people out or provide a friendly face when out training or racing.  If you’ve ever experienced someone helping you out or maybe saying a nice thing along the way, then it’s time to pay it forward and do the same out in your community.  Here are some suggestions:


  • Go to races and spectate. Do you have friends racing at an event that you’re not signed up for?  Go and cheer your friends on at a race! Make it even more fun with costumes and signs!  I will usually make signs and put them out in lonely parts of the course and then place myself in a more central part of the race to maximize my face time with athletes.  You’d be surprised how a friendly face or word can lift up an athlete and propel them for miles!  Bonus points if you also have a cooler full of cold beer for post-race refreshments.
  • Volunteer at races. Are you looking for a simple one time way to help out?  Find a local race and volunteer at it.  Here in Denver, we have many race organizers who offer you a discount for a cheap entry to a future race.  By volunteering, you get good future racing karma AND a cheap future entry.  Win win!!
  • Help with a specific group that interests you. Are you excited about helping a bunch of new people learn how to mountain bike? Maybe it’s helping a specific group of people, like veterans, women athletes, special-needs athletes, kids?  Find something that really interests you and find a group that aligns with your interests and see how you can become involved.  You’ll gain a new perspective on sport and help out a group of athletes in meeting their goals.
  • Volunteer as a training coordinator. Have you been participating in a local training group’s activities?  Pay it forward by coordinating some training sessions!  You can make your commitment a simple one time deal where you lead a group of runners on your favorite trail or you can make it a season-long commitment by organizing an entire season.  There are MANY groups that need help (run stores, running clubs, tri clubs, mountain bike groups) and all it takes is some enthusiasm, organization, and good communication skills.  Don’t feel like you have to be an expert to be a coordinator either – most groups just want someone to organize things and be a friendly face.
  • Sign up to be a leader in a local club. Have you been an active member in a club for a while? Do you want an even bigger role in helping groups out? Consider becoming a club leader. This usually involves nominating yourself for a club position that interests you and becoming a Board Member.  This is a heavier commitment with higher visibility but also has a larger impact on a group of people.


No matter your commitment level, I challenge each one of you to go out and make a positive impact in your community.  It could be something as simple as a smile or kind word to a fellow participate or something more complicated like helping a bunch of beginner runners learn how to run on trails. 

Guest Blogger, 

Erin Trail

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The Pacing Project November 30 2016, 0 Comments

The Pacing Project


Disclaimer and Safe Harbor Statement:


What you are about to read is based on my first and only experience pacing in a 100 mile event. In fact, prior to the Pine To Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run this year, I had never even been to a 100 mile event as a spectator, volunteer, much less as a runner. I've done a number of Ultras, but the longest distance at any event was 50 miles at the time I arrived at this race.  So what I have to share is from an informed, but inexperienced outsider's view and veterans of the distance may have a different perspective.  If you disagree with anything I have written in this post, so sorry, but tough.. Enjoy.


A short overview.  I was introduced to my runner for this event by Coach Ann Trason who said that she knew someone named Mary Cates who is an experienced runner and running coach who could use a pacer in a few months. At first, Mary appeared to have everything covered, but Ann brought the subject back up about 6 weeks prior to the race and so I decided to reach out and confirm.  I'd been looking for an opportunity to pace in a 100 mile race and Ashland, Oregon was on my bucket list of places to visit.  Mary was a little nervous about the idea, not knowing me or my background, and probably wondering if I would be a burden and screw things up. To be honest, I had the same concerns x 10. 


Mary is a much more experienced runner than I am. She is a stronger runner overall and had some very specific goals in mind, namely to qualify for the Tahoe 200 the following year, secondarily to finish sub 24 hours.  So if I was going to do this, I needed to treat this with the same focus and preparation as I would my own race.  Overall, Mary killed it, 4th in the women’s field and I believe in the top 25% overall. To say I learned a lot from the event would be an understatement, but I digress, that's a topic for another post...


Ten Things I think I think about pacing:


  1. Pacing is about the runner, not the pacer. End of story.  It's not to be treated as a training run, or something you are measuring yourself on.  The pacer is there to keep the run safe, motivated, moving forward and to help avoid the unforeseen issues that always arise when a runner is that tired and worn. If you can't grasp this and fully appreciate it, stay away.
  2. Don't sign up to pace a distance you are not comfortable you can easily cover. Be candid and up front, being effective for 20 miles is far better than blowing up yourself 30 miles in and being a burden. I was worried about this given Mary's ability and pedigree.
  3. Your focus on your own food, hydration and well-being only matters in that you can't become a problem for the runner.  Once your basic needs are covered, everything else should be about your runner.
  4. Aid station workers, etc will help you with whatever you need, but don't take their focus away from your runner, or other runners unnecessarily. You need to be able to be self-sufficient for whatever distance you are covering.



  1. When you are pacing someone you haven't met before, you need to invest a little time to try and understand the person, their personality, what they want to achieve and what motivates them.  From everything I had read about running 100 mile events, especially in the mountains, things were going to get dark, both literally and figuratively at times.  Waiting for your runner to hit a wall to figure out what makes him or her tick is too late, you should have a plan in mind before you start out.


For me, I chose to pepper Mary with simple, easy questions periodically leading up to the event so that I had something in mind to fall back on. Here's the first salvo of questions I asked as a reference:

  1. Hills - are you running up hills or hiking? What's your criteria for busting out the power hike or walk ?
  2. Do you want your pacer to run ahead behind or side by side ?
  3. Do you like to talk and run? Or maybe have someone else talk and just listen to distract yourself?
  4. Topics of conversation that are off limits - list them or you bear the consequences.
  5. Give me five foods you can always get down and five foods you sometimes crave on a long run.
  6. You ok with me going ahead at an aid station to get food and drink prepped for you and catching up after you pull out while I binge?
  7. What's your top 3 pump up songs?
  8. Give me the names of the two most important people in your life but no reason why- that's for discussing at 2 am.
  9. Why is Tahoe 200 so important to you? Of all the things you could do why this one?
  10. What was your greatest joy in life so far? Don't tell me why - just a title. The rest is best served for a face to face or heal to toe conversation.


  1. At 1 AM, when you are on a ridgeline trail 2 feet wide and with an 800 foot drop off to your immediately left, you need to be conscious of the fact that your runners response time, coordination and mental awareness is impaired.
  2. Have an extra torch light and make sure everything around your runner is illuminated if you see them struggling or slipping.
  3. Sometimes firmly suggesting they slow down a little (or graciously supporting their utterance that they're thinking of slowing down) for safety is not a bad idea.
  4. If you are running in front or side by side, call out any intruding brush or debris and call out rocks in the trail, especially when they blend in to the ground under headlamp illumination.  From my own experience, unexpected stumbles, falls, etc after 30 miles can lead to a myriad of issues like spams, sprains, etc, let alone after 70.


  1. At 2 AM, when you hit a point of boulder scrambling and the markers on the trail seem to jump around or be too infrequent, and your runner is getting really upset, have them stop. Go scout a little ahead and then come back. Don't make them backtrack unnecessarily when they feel like they don't want to go on. Don’t assume they know the course forwards and backwards. Even if they had memorized every last twist and turn, by this point, they likely can’t remember their own name. You need to be the logical part of their brain that has long since departed.


  1. At 2 AM, when you hit a point of boulder scrambling and the markers on the trail seem to jump around or be too infrequent, and your runner starts talking about quitting, it's effective to remind them you are in the middle of nowhere and the closest point of contact is at least 3 miles in any direction, so you might as well just move forward to the next aid station. Use some blunt, stark pragmatic talk to get them to accept the moment and move forward. Then, as you move forward…

Every time you pass another runner who is struggling, offer them help, offer it twice. This has three important benefits you will immediately realize.

  1. Your runner, in their mentally impaired state will think you are a nicer person than you are, meaning your less likely to get in trouble when you miss a turn 2 hours later.
  2. The running karma gods will smile upon your runner.
  3. Once the struggling runner is out of ear shot, you can ramble on about how much better your runner is handling this, lifting their spirits and reminding them that they can handle whatever is going on. Don’t laugh. Your runner will take comfort in a sadistic sort of way of knowing someone else is hurting more.


  1. At 3 AM, when you get past the boulder scrambling fiasco, remember, you are responsible for your runner's emotional well-being and those your runner interacts with (i.e. aid station workers).
  2. You should not only profusely thank them for being there in the middle of the night for you, you should over do it and thank them on behalf of your runner who is too tired to think straight.
  3. In general, people are uplifted by compliments and praise from people they don't know.  Therefore, you should do all you can to find ways to get anyone around you to heap praise on your runner. Here are things that worked for me.

b1. Let everyone know how you were awful and your runner saved your bacon, whether it's true or not.

b2. Sing and play air guitar to the theme of mission impossible (in particular MI2 - the song by Limp Bizkit version). The aid station workers will take pity on your runner.

b3. Compliment the aid station workers on their weird hats, puffy jackets, wool blankets and ask for the website or stores where they got them.

b4. Let the aid station workers and your runner know that of all the bowls of chicken broth and noodles you have had, this is the greatest in the history of the world.

b5. Playful joking, laughter, smiling, whatever to make everyone there realize this is supposed to be fun goes a long way.

b6. Thank your runner multiple times throughout the night for letting you share in this experience, especially when their GI track is bugging them so much they can't think straight.  Your runner won't want to kill your buzz and it will get them to think about something positive.


Bottom line, aid station workers are giving up their weekend to be out there in the cold and dark at 3 AM to give you chicken soup and listen to you gripe. Treat them well.


  1. Whatever gear you are carrying for yourself, be prepared to fork it over without asking to your runner, possibly carry something extra just in case.  For me, I had an extra foldup wind breaker that would keep me (or Mary) warm and protected from the wind on the ridgelines after we were soaked with sweat and the temp dropped 30 degrees.


  1. Once the sun has been down at least an hour, you need to have a series of things to talk about periodically and you need to pointedly engage your runner for a few reasons.
  2. Your runner needs a mental distraction. As much as their body is hurting, their brain is what is failing most of all.  Keep it engaged with something other than running.  There is a saying, "That which motivates also demotivates".  At this point, running maybe be a demotivating activity, but talking about cuddly dogs, well that's a different story.
  3. Having them talk about something that is relevant or meaningful to them lets you, the pacer, know how with it they are at that time. Are they coherent? If they're too tired to eat, getting them to talk about something uplifting brings back some energy.
  4. Finding a subject they are experts in, other than running, and having them teach / educate you along the way, in my humble opinion, helps them pass a lot of time and increases their awareness and faculties.


  1. When all else fails, find a subject that they're passionate about and make up a scenario for them to get mad over (preferably not at you).  Fear is a powerful emotion, but a little directed and focused hostility can be helpful to combat it.


  1. When approaching aid stations, find out what your runner might want ahead of time (food cravings, change of clothes, a blanket, a fresh headlamp, battery charger for their watch or phone). Go out ahead, get it going, have something to hand them the moment your runner arrives. Once they start eating, split your efforts between finishing off their requests and getting yourself ready. 
  2. If your runner is ready before you, send them out, don't let them wait on you less they get eaten up by the folding chair monsters. If you can't catch up to them quickly, you shouldn't be pacing them any longer.


  1. (10 was a relative number, just like mileage on a Garmin).  Remind your runner of what they have accomplished when they get dark.  Less than 7000 people in North America finish a 100 miler each year, they are elite whether they know it or now.
  2. When your runner handles an obstacle or stretch well, or hammers a climb at 4 AM, let them know. Be profuse and obnoxious. Not just to pump them up, but also because their brains are mush and they probably didn't hear you the first time.


  1. When you hit cool landmarks, or venture onto the PCT for the first time (especially if they're from the east coast), emphasize how cool it is that they're there and how else would they be able to experience this wilderness (even if it is pitch black and you can't see anything).


And for the most important learnings...


  1. When you meet up with your runner's crew at aid stations, take 2 minutes to let them know how your runner is doing, any GI issues, etc and things to have ready down the trail so they have time to prep for possible issues that are building. By mile 70, most of the best laid race plans and expectations have changed dramatically.  Do they need to ready extra toilet paper, different foods, TUMS, whatever?  Give the crew some heads up so your runner doesn't have to ask for anything twice.


  1. What is said on the trail stays on the trail unless your runner has specifically given you permission to share something. My  rule for Mary was simple, as long as you don't insult my wife or kids, you can say anything about anything or anyone to me until we are done and I promise I will have forgotten it by the time we reach the finish.


  1. If you are a parent, you will understand this. Sometimes your kids get so tired or worn out, even while doing something they love, that they just can't think straight or handle their emotions. They can't answer questions, they are irritable and don't know why.  Your runner may be overcome with guilt for having you witness them in a state of 'weakness or shortcoming' which I think is hysterical given what they are pulling off. They're emotional and could just as easily burst out laughing or crying at any moment for no apparent reason.  As a parent, you wouldn't hold it against your kids, treat your runner the same way. While you are focused on moving them forward and keeping them going, remember, they're still people, have a little empathy, even if you've walked the past 3 miles.


  1. When you get to the finish line and Hal Koerner is greeting you, and just 30 minutes prior your runner was pissed about the long, steepish descent for the final 5 miles destroying her quads, be sure to heap praise on Hal right away for an amazing course so that your runner doesn't let anything inadvertently slip out while in a state of fatigue.


Submitted by: Derek Jacobson –


Instagram id: derekjacobsonaz

Twitter id: @dLevementum

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Finding a Coach November 23 2016, 0 Comments

Finding a Coach

This is not an article about how to find the best coach for you. It is about finding a purpose as a coach. It may give insight into that person you see as “coach”.

For much of my early life in running I would have defined myself as an athlete. Running wasn’t always easy but it was something I could do well and hard work brought good results.  Slowly I realized that there could be more to my involvement in the sport than just the place I finish in a race and the time I ran. The transition from athlete to athlete as role model started. At this point I would not yet have considered myself a coach but it was a transition where I started to see myself as someone who could influence how others approach running. I quite liked this role and this was the beginning of a long journey towards the place I am now. Now I would define myself in running as a coach, former competitive athlete and someone who runs quite a bit when there is time.

Along with the transition from athlete to role model to coach comes a transition in the way to see this role. Starting with passion, an intense desire and enthusiasm for the sport and this remains the basis and daily approach to coaching. Initially coaching is an avocation, a hobby or minor occupation that allows the coach to help others with their running while pursuing other interests. For some, this is where coaching remains in their lives. For others, over time, the passion for the sport leads to learning, improving to be the best you can be at coaching. At this point avocation starts to become a profession. As a professional, coaches strive to have a high level of education, keep current on the latest research and continue to look to mentors, athletes and colleagues to see what everyone is doing well.

The biggest difference between being an athlete and a coach is that as the coach it is not about you. The ego sits off to the side helping in your desire to get the best from your athletes but only that. You must find a way to help them with what they want from running. No matter what, the coach cannot jump in and do the intervals, cannot be there to tell them to go to bed, cannot be on the start line and run the race for them. You can prepare them physically with great training, you can listen to the other stressors in their life and work with them to get the most from themselves, you can encourage them to make good choices nutritionally and from a recovery point of view, and you can be their role model and advisor. Most importantly, you share their passion.

At the beginning this was not about how to find a coach. It was about how an athlete found herself as a coach. This is a life long work in progress.

Guest Blogger,

Kathy Butler

2 x Olympian

USATF Level 2/IAAF Level 5 Coach

Boulder Track Club Development Team Coach


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Finding Home November 03 2016, 0 Comments

You know you've found a home meant for you when you can't wait to get back to it.

That's exactly how I feel about Durango, Colorado. It's tucked away in the Southwest corner in the San Juan Mountains and far away from the highly populated areas in the front range of the state. Just how I like it.

Every time I leave, even if it's to an amazing place, I am excited to return to its coziness and breathtaking landscape.

How I decided to move to Durango is complete happenstance. I had been living in Buffalo, Wyoming for about 15 months. It's a pretty tiny town, especially for me coming from Atlanta, Georgia. My seasonal Summer job was about to end and I had to figure what my next plan was. If I were to stay, I would probably end up working at Pizza Hut or Subway to make ends meet. Jobs were super scare there and I knew that I didn't love the town enough to work that type of job there just to make it by.

So one day, I posted in the Dirtbag Runner's Facebook group. It said something like "looking to move to a mountain town with tons of trails. Any Suggestions?"

I got a decent amount of responses but a lot of them weren't interesting me. Phoenix, Fort Collins, Boulder, etc. Only one stood out though. Someone recommended Durango. I hadn't heard of it before, so I did a Google image search and that was enough to solidify my decision on where to move.

When I was in college, my family took a trip to Western Montana. We stayed with family in Missoula and that was my first taste of what a mountain town in the west was like. Growing up in Georgia, our yearly vacations were pretty much all to some beach in a neighboring state. My only mountain experiences were in the North Georgia mountains. Compared to the Rockies, those are just hills covered in trees. So when we went to Montana, my whole world felt like it infinitely expanded and I was completely infatuated.

It also didn't help that soon after that trip I got into reading all of Jack Kerouac's books. I couldn't stop thinking about a big trip out west every year after college. It seemed like around Springtime ever year, I got this mad itch to take off into the sunset.

More and more I was becoming disconnected from Atlanta. Traffic, people, high rises, all of which created a longing to get away. Eventually my yearly trips, weren't enough to satisfy me. I had to get out. I had to live out there. Somewhere "out there." It really didn't matter where, just as long as I had mountains in my eyesight every day.

That's what took me to Wyoming. I found a job as a hiking guide at a guest ranch for a Summer. Once that job ended, I decided to just stay there. I worked as a housekeeper at a motel, then as a reporter for a newspaper, then as a camp leader at the YMCA.
As a trail runner, Buffalo offered one single track trail in town. That, combined with other reason, is why I had to find a new place to live. To feel satisfied and fulfilled. I needed something new and I needed a place that more suited for me. It was pretty easy watching Buffalo fade in my rear view mirror. 

The more I think about the time progression of my post college life, I think Durango found me instead of me finding Durango. I took a huge leap of faith coming here. But I think you have to do that at least a few times in life. Sometimes it won't all work out. Kind of like me moving to Wyoming. But eventually things will work out perfectly for you in a way you never could have imagined.  

This place continues to amaze me. I still feel like a kid in the candy store and even if I've been on the same trail before, I'm glowing with joy from the sweeping views and mountains that surround the city. 

I just passed my one year anniversary that I just showed up in town with my possessions crammed into my car, along with my cat. And I couldn't be any happier now. After hearing my story, a lot people ask me if I plan on staying here or find another place to shortly live in. It's an easy answer for me...

I'll be here for a while.

Guest blogger,
Joey Schrichte
Follow on Instagram @ JoeySchrichte
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Material Tech Session: What is the D or Denier in materials mean? November 02 2016, 0 Comments

Material Tech Session: What is the D or Denier in materials mean?

We love to play with materials in our hydration packs and lifestyle gear. Frequently questions come up about what the heck Nylon 1000D, 1680D, 210D, 70D, etc stands for. So here you go, all focused on Nylon materials in this case. 

Tech of the big D

The "D" stands for "Denier". Denier is simply a unit of measurement which describes linear mass density in a given material. It's calculated by mass in grams of a single 9000 meter strand. Weird right? A single strand of silk is approximately 1 denier. Therefore a 9000 meter strand of silk weighs roughly 1 gram.

1 denier = 1 g / 9000 m

So how about that? 5.6 miles of silk weighs 1 gram. Hard to imagine? For comparison, a human hair is 20 denier. So 5.6 miles of a human hair will weigh 20 grams. 

Ok, so now what?

A low denier count in fabrics tends towards light, smooth, silky, sheer, and likely soft. A high denier count tends to be sturdy, thick, and more durable. Tents often use a 30d or 70d material for lightweight, breathable, and packable design intents. Many lightweight packs use anywhere from 30D to 600D with the most common typically ranging from 70D to 400D. This ensures a lightweight pack that is reasonably durable too. Heavyweight multi day packs often use 600D to 1000D nylon for maximum durability realizing weight will be an increased factor. 

So what does Orange Mud Use? 

Hydration Packs - 400x300D, 400D

When it comes to hydration packs, ours are focused on high performance, stable on your body, and light. Rather than using a lightweight 70D like what is common in the market, we instead focus on a more durable material, 400x300D Ripstop Nylon. Its diamond pattern is designed to take a beating and isolate tear resistance to it's own cell. The weaving of fibers into this pattern is what makes the "Ripstop" designation. This helps greatly with rips and tears in the fabric and though a tad more grams than 70D, we find that the added strength and durability makes it a superior product. 

Gym Bags, Every Day Carry Packs, and Lifestyle Packs - 200D, 600D, 1000D, 1680D

We frequently use Nylon 1000D and Nylon 1680D in our lifestyle packs. 1000D is the standard in the industry for tough bags. 1680D takes a step up in feel and strength, originally being designed for fighter pilot flak jackets to take shrapnel. Neither are light, but we like the feel of it as the higher Denier count means the fabric holds it's shape, is more durable than lighter fabrics, and will generally last longer in abrasive environments like the gym locker, airplane storage, etc. We occasionally use 600D and 200D in our general purpose bags which is still a very tough material, but more economical in price. The 200D is often used as a lining, non weight bearing, or non-abrasive surfaces. 

Keep in mind this is in relation to Nylon materials. When you compare Nylon to Polyester, Nylon is stronger. So a 400D Nylon is stronger than a 400D Polyester. A 420D Nylon is even stronger than a 600D polyester! So always use Nylon right? Actually, not necessarily, but that will be in the next Orange Mud Tech Session...

So there you are, a brief summary on Denier in relation to nylon pack materials! 



Josh Sprague is the designer and CEO at Orange Mud. Designing packs and other gear is at the heart of his passions and Orange Mud as a brand. Making packs that are light, fast, functional, and always important, a major focus in his designs. 

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The Emotional Side of Injury Recovery October 25 2016, 0 Comments

Two weeks ago I flew over my handlebars at 20 mph, landing superman style on the concrete bike path. It was a combination of bad timing and bad luck and 100% my fault. My bike miraculously is ok, save a few scuffs to my brakes and shifters. My bones are ok. I had some sweet road rash that’s fortunately all healed now, thanks to Tegaderm and Duoderm (this should be in every cyclist’s first aid kit). But my poor left shoulder… I have a 1 cm full thickness partial tear of my supraspinatus muscle of my rotator cuff. This means no bikes rides for a while (especially outside) and 8 weeks of no swimming. I’m a swimmer and this will be my longest time out of the water in 10 years. Oh, and I have a bunch of races scheduled.

The physical injury and healing process is one thing, but I find that the hardest part of being injured is the emotional healing. Like most athletes, I was going a bazillion miles per hour, with a full training and racing schedule and was met with very sudden literal and physical stop. Riding for 30 minutes on the trainer is presently a touch too much for my shoulder. No swimming. Thank goodness I can run. And like most athletes, I’m very Type A and need some sorts of schedule or plan or something. Which is hard, since I’m not sure if I can actually do my races that I have planned at the end of the summer. So here’s some tips on how to emotionally recover from a sudden stop forced by injury.

* Don’t play the “what if” game. You got injured. It happened. Now you need to accept it and move forward.

* Your “training plan” consists of healing. Take those supplements, do that PT, don’t overdo things, and sleep. It’s similar to recovery techniques you utilize for training, so instead of saying to yourself “I’m hurt and on the couch, my life suuucks” say “I’m actively recovering”. A little mental tweak, but it helps.

* Reach out to race directors well in advance of your race and see if you can make some changes. I’m fortunate that my races are all locally organized. I’ve swapped my early August Xterra from a tri to a duathlon (hopefully I can ride my MTB by then…..). I can switch my Buffalo Creek Xterra from a solo entry to a relay. And I can either downgrade my 106 Deg West from the 70.6 to the Olympic-distance race or defer to 2017. Be up front and honest about your situation and chances are, you’ll get some flexibility. But the key is to communicate your situation well in advance. If you email the RD a week prior to the event, chances are you’ll be stuck.

* Find something else to focus on while you heal. Fortunately for me, I’m a triathlon coach and I’m President of Altitude Multisport. So instead of working out, I’m leading workouts and coaching. If you don’t have something like that going on, plan a fun weekend getaway or focus

on a project that has been neglected for a while. In other words, find something that can take your time up since you won’t be training.

* Indulge in some retail therapy. I got some cute new running shorts, so I can coach Tuesday AMC Track Night in style.

* Spectate and volunteer at races. Several races in the Denver area offer discounts on future races to volunteers. This is a way to give back to your racing community, get out of the house, and get a sweet discount for a future race that you can do when you’re healed up.

* Try to have a sense of humor. I was joking to my husband that “Injured Erin = Fun Erin”, only in that I have time now to go and drink beer and do fun things since I’m not swimbikerunning in my free time. Thank goodness I can still do beer curls with my good arm. But seriously, planning some fun, non-athletic things with people that you like to hang out with is a very good thing to do.

* Finally, be very forgiving of yourself. Forgiving of the dumb thing you did get injured. Forgiving of being in pain. Forgiving of the time it takes to heal. The easier you are on yourself, the better your recovery will be.

Happy healing!

Guest blogger,

Erin Trail

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Covered In Mud - Heartland Running Podcast October 20 2016, 0 Comments

Covered In Mud - Heartland Running Podcast

The Heartland Running Podcast is the go to source for all things running in the midwest! 

Hosts Stephen Lee and Andy Cloud share their musings on the latest gear and nutrition trends in running while exposing the secret that is the running scene in the midwest.


Recently our founder and CEO, Josh Sprague was interviewed on the podcast to discuss how Orange Mud came to be and where the future of running hydration is heading! Give it a listen and let us know what you think!

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Company Spotlight October 19 2016, 0 Comments

Active Gear Review writes some great articles on all sorts of endurance sports, but they like to focus on the personal side of business too. In this case, a profile of our CEO, Josh Sprague, and how Orange Mud got started. Check it out here!  Link

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Now, I get it! October 10 2016, 0 Comments

Guest Post by: Katara Hause

Now, I get it!

Why does he do it? How can he do it?  He’s running how far?  All at one time?  You mean people really do that?  And it’s for FUN?  Is he crazy?

These are just some of the questions we get repeatedly asked when my husband or I mention one of his upcoming ultra marathons.  My pat answers are usually, “I have no idea,” “He loves it and lives for it,” “50K, 50 miles, 100K or 100 miles,” “Yes, all at one time, without stopping,” Yes, yes they do,” and “Yes, yes he is!”

That last answer, which usually garners a laugh, isn’t as clear as it used to be.  Before this past weekend and our experiences at the Barkley Fall Classic, it was much easier for me to dismiss my husband’s desire to be part of this tribe, as crazy, fanatical, and even manic. 

But now, I think I get it.  Let’s get one thing straight, I will NEVER understand the willingness to push my body to its absolute limits just for the sake of seeing what will happen; any voluntary activity that causes me to vomit, go potty in the woods, get stung by a swarm of yellow jackets, overheat, or literally tear my skin from the bone will NOT be on my to-do list!  With that being said, I almost felt like the actual running of this race was secondary to the camaraderie, compassion, and celebration of the human spirit.

The difficulty of this course and the obstacles it presents (both planned and unplanned) completely levels the playing field.  No singular athlete had a competitive advantage over the other.  Age, experience, fitness level…none of that mattered.  Determination, heart, and sheer will to continue moving forward were the difference makers. 


Obviously, I didn’t run this race.  And, truth be told, I didn’t even get to participate in as many check points and aid stations as usual, due to the structure of the race and complexity of the terrain.  But ultimately, that didn’t make a bit of difference.  What I observed during that weekend changed me.  It changed my opinion of the running community and allowed me to see all the gifts and wonders of this sport through an open, unfiltered lens.

Competitors became friends.  Strangers shared supplies.  Secrets and helpful tips were revealed openly.  Egos were destroyed as souls were bared.  Favorites faltered.  Underdogs triumphed.  Dreams were both crushed and realized.  Hands were held.  Hugs were doled out.  Minutes, sometimes hours, were counted in joint anticipation.

The humanity I witnessed first-hand last weekend is only a fraction of that which the participants beheld.  The kindness, generosity, and humility on display by this community was both astonishing and incredibly refreshing.  And this is why he runs.

Though it may have started out as a solitary, self-betterment hobby; a way to stay sane amidst the madness and unpredictability of our daily existence, running has grown into a purposeful, community-driven, life-affirming renewal of all the things that are good and right in the world.  His involvement allows him to see himself and others as their most basic, vulnerable selves; and at that core lies the way were meant to be: civilized, respectful, considerate, honorable, modest, and helpful; finding happiness through the success of others, building up instead of tearing down, learning from shared experiences.

What began as a distraction from the everyday toils and tribulations has become a necessary reminder that at the crux of our existence is goodness and a truth that only those brave enough to search for will ever find.  There is a light borne of this knowledge and I saw it shining in the eyes of everyone I encountered last weekend; whether they were triumphantly crossing the finish line or already planning to avenge their disappointment, whether they were running the course or watching from the sidelines, whether they were nursing injuries or just bruised egos.  The light was bright and powerful and all-encompassing.

This is why he runs.  His faith in humanity is restored.  And so is mine.


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The medal that is mettle. September 07 2016, 0 Comments

The medal that is mettle.

When I was an asthmatic youth in Asia, my parents would send me and my sibling to a survival camp founded two centuries ago by educator Kurt Hahn, who I think had a disability. He is quoted saying to a boy who thought certain standards were beyond his reach: “Your disability is your opportunity.”

It takes courage to do the best with what one has in a world where apprenticeships and promotions can be guarded jealously for “club members only”; it takes courage to retain the vision of possibility.

In the face of “disability”, at a time of greater-than-usual uncertainty, I started to run again. Luckily, I knew the benefits of (even slow-poke) physical activity from once upon a time. The survival camp founder explained its benefits in terms of Conrad’s Lord Jim: youths need to experience events which “reveal the inner worth of the man; the edge of his temper; the fibre of his stuff; the quality of his resistance; the secret truth of his pretenses, not only of himself, but to others.”

If, despite what seems to be trying to constrict us, we are getting out there to sweat it out, I think we are showing “what we’re made of”. If we’d doubted ourselves, now we can tally up one more victory.

Socrates said there’s nothing to be lost and everything to be gained through physical activity – including better memory, mood, mental health. There’s a funny part in Xenophon’s Memorabilia where he’s asked whether he fears the distance of walking to Olympia. He says: “Why do you fear the distance? When you are at home, don't you spend most of the day in walking about? On your way there you will take a walk before lunch, and another before dinner, and then take a rest. Don't you know that if you put together the walks you take in five or six days, you can easily cover the distance from Athens to Olympia?”

 Though I may be no Olympian, I am grateful for the opportunity to run. Where all doors appear closed, one remains open. The one leading to inner worth, which is our ability to cope, our resilience. It becomes our mettle – the door revealing our resilience like a medal for all to see. An aphorism advises: “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”

The call of the wild! So much bigger than petty circumstance. And on that trek, I carry my Orange Mud hydration gear, because one of the basic rules of survival is the importance of staving off dehydration.

Guest post by GG, from Serbia. Thanks Greta!

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CTRL ALT DEL September 06 2016, 0 Comments


I feel sometimes like circumstance is trying to control me, trying to put me in a box with other people’s labels. It’s at moments like that when I CTRL ALT DEL to escape – and regain my own control on a run. “…we know not what the day will bring, what course after nightfall/ destiny has written that we must run to the end.” – Pindar

We could riff off Pindar, whose enviable job it was to celebrate athletic achievement, and say: “We will run to the end/ attended by horizons/ the pulsing heart and legs/ extend to.” Yesterday, I noticed an elderly man with his terrier in the wicker basket of his bicycle; kaleidoscopic shadows cast by trees; the wind raising bits of river up into aquatic stars. Afterwards, I could hardly remember what had been troubling me.

I would run sometimes after my shifts as a newspaper editor, at around 4 a.m. in Asia. I’d follow the road that steeply wound round the mountain to the peak, this effort rewarded by the bustling city-by-day now translated into a quiet and distant sea of fairy lights beneath my feet. I felt like an ancient Greek victor standing on the mane of something slain. Running around that peak, I enjoyed every angle of that victory, all of the worry of life deleted in the action of accomplishment.

But those victories can be so quickly washed away by the toughness of circumstance. Life happens, obstacles are thrown our way and we fumble. We lose the control that we had gained. Pindar knows it! “A man can learn, and yet see darkly; blow one way, then another, walking ever on uncertain feet, his mind unfinished”. Learning seems hard enough and in addition to that, Pindar prescribes resolve. But we know this from running. It resets us to be prepared for more to come.

Today, we don’t have poets like Pindar to laud us, but we do have our gear that gains war wounds the more mileage we put it through.

The great thing about having aesthetic running gear is that it doesn’t need to be hidden in a closet. As I sit and work for hours on end at my desk, doubting or overestimating what I can do, I love being able to look at, say, my Orange Mud bottle. It reminds me that if I can’t today, I have been capable before of rebooting in order to CTRL my life again. 

The wear on the gear is a reminder of all I’ve escaped – all the challenges that I’ve managed and controlled. I remember by looking at it that if I just take a few steps, I will get closer to a larger end. “The end shines through in the testing of actions where excellence is shown”– Pindar.

Guest post by GG, from Serbia. Thanks Greta! 

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Horizons September 02 2016, 0 Comments


“Some sprint to snatch the prize, My goal’s the far horizon”–Michael Franks. Probably because I am not fast, I love that line from a Michael Franks song – but I also like it because I think it is true about training. We have to be in it for something more, because sometimes training is like eating dirt.

Franks’ song reminds me of a Tagore poem in which the poet describes people coming home burdened with goods, whereas he has left his belongings behind him and is hunting for the golden stag: “I run across hills and dales, I wander through nameless lands, because I am hunting for the golden stag.” The poem is similar to the song because both have to do with being called to what begins as being out of sight and elusive.

I began running far distances in high school, in order to escape from the confinements of boarding school life. It was still, if barely, the 80’s and there were no nifty hydration packs for amateur runners. That meant I went with no water and ran as far as I could, then would make my way back by focusing on reaching the furthest telegraph post I could put in my vision. After chasing telegraph post after telegraph post, I would finally return, having found as much of the golden stag that I could for one day.

Only by running longer distances do I feel that I begin to put whatever ails me into perspective. I love how on most runs I begin in the middle of the city and at one point find myself across the river from it, and it has shrunk smaller than Lego pieces. As I run on, the city just disappears, altogether. By running, I am literally putting distance, powered by my own legs, between me and whatever is troubling me. I wouldn’t zealously say that running solves all problems: part of the “problem” is that the run needs to be practiced most days anew precisely because some problems are too elusive. In fact, I feel like I am still working things out: some of life’s larger questions seem to require much larger increments of distance and time to be viewed, but at least I am “on my way”. Having to renew the task almost daily is not defeating, it kind of makes sense. Each day is new, so it’s understandable that each day, the problems require new responses. Running might not dull the pain, but it gives a possible answer to it, every day

“You may smile, my friends, but I pursue the vision that eludes me.”– Tagore, “Golden Stag”

The equipment we bring on as we take on more and more miles comes to seem like a more and more coveted medal, commemorating our pursuit of the horizon. My first medal was “earning” my first handheld from Orange Mud early this year. I write “earning” because I had successfully put in the mileage to actually need one. At first, it only held water. But now, as I learn to reach farther horizons on less, it sometimes holds electrolytes and nutrition in its pocket.

Guest post by GG, from Serbia. Thanks Greta!

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DIY September 01 2016, 0 Comments


The title of this blog series is a nod to both the Long, Slow Distance (LSD) of some training, but also to the fact that for many of us, running is to a certain degree a do-it-yourself (i.e. individual) endeavor: from selecting the right running shoe, to determining nutrition. 

I like to think that I can figure out how to run efficiently by learning to listen to myself, as opposed to only copying what someone in a video does. Sometimes, first checking there are no obstructions, I close my eyes when I run to pay attention to balance and breathing. I find running to be an enlightening activity, like yoga is for so many. Yoga helped cure me of asthma in the 80’s, but I feel running to be close to the core of who I am. It’s up to us to figure out what works for a power of one to “get it done”.

Life can be viewed as a do-it-yourself endeavor, despite all of the modernizing sophistry of paving roads smooth and talk of reaching “tomorrow’s world” – though I sometimes think that I am missing out on the magic formula to reach that world. It seems like there’s a divide between the smooth roads and promises of tomorrow and my actual lived experience, which is bumpy. In fact I’d add that one of the most useful things I’ve learned is to take life one day at a time, and try to avoid plans for days that have yet to arrive.

Runners are forced to accept rough surfaces and uncertainties, whether because of injury, training plans that don’t deliver, general idiosyncrasies, or etc. I think that runners are also aware that what works for one person doesn’t work for another – like in the example of how some prefer the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel without the Vest Pack. Another example could be how different training techniques work for different people.

I was so impressed when I read in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Murakami writes that he never warms up. I was in awe at his courage for admitting something that goes against the credo in all the running magazines: of warming up before AND after exercise. I also felt vindicated because I’ve found that when I run about 60mi/week, I am better off stretching before and not after a run. I use the dynamic stretches from Marathon Nation’s “15 Minutes a Day to Stop Getting Injured and Start Getting Loose”.After my runs, I usually take a walk around the block, but rarely do anything more, because I’ve found post-run stiffness goes away and flexibility returns faster when I leave my body alone.

The great thing about distance running is that it brings us face-to-face with ourselves. But any sensitive soul knows that already. In fact, the cryptic message above the ‘entrance’ at the Temple of Delphi in ancient Greece cautions: gnothi seauton – know thyself. And know ourselves, we will need to, like when we learn to crack jokes with ourselves when the going gets tough: remembering to remember what will help when we are too tired to think. 

There are so many ways we do-it-ourselves as we get distance done. But if you are looking for practical hydration advice for early miles, I can recommend giving the Orange Mud Handheld a try, even if you think it is too hard to carry water that way. I myself doubted that I’d manage but I did, and even came to love it. In fact, I find it so easy to carry that I sometimes bring it to work – where Orange Mud works for me.

Guest post by GG, from Serbia. Thanks Greta!

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Distance August 30 2016, 0 Comments


Gaining distance is easier when it’s looked into. At least that’s what I tell myself as I try to keep my head up after mile 20 on some days. As if by seeing the distance, I can get there. It’s funny how so much of what we tell ourselves as we run or train hard can sound like philosophy. Take this line from the novel ThePower of One that I am sure came out of doing drills: “The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter….”

Covering distance is one of the reasons I have run in certain periods in my life, but I did not know that distance running was a genre until I began researching handheld water bottles when I wanted to buy one. I currently live in Eastern Europe, away from the superfluity of product displays. I didn’t like what came up on Amazon so went off-road in my search and discovered ultra blogs. I learned of landscapes I’d never known I could even imagine running over – and also, Orange Mud.

The name Orange Mud brings to my mind Grand Canyon oranges and all its expanses, exactly the kind of mythical terrain I dream of running across one day. Orange Mud gear itself began as an athlete’s vision and is conscientiously made.To have the gear is to be part of a dream.

And why not focus on great visions? They help, though it’s true they have to be fought for. And even if they aren’t attained in their entirety, by chasing after them just like “chasing trees” down the road when a run seems like it’s gone on way too long, it makes philosophers out of us. Once I was an asthmatic child. Now I run 60 miles a week and have a little story to tell about my first handheld. The concept of what’s “too far away” begins to change with consistent training. 

Maybe the protagonist in The Power of One says it best: “The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated.”

Guest post by GG, from Serbia. Thanks Greta!

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Ultra Bond August 18 2016, 2 Comments

By Randy Zuniga

Mile 40, bent over with cramps, half way through an eight mile climb. “Gel? Bar? What do you need?” I looked past my legs behind me and saw the upside down view of a thigh pinned bib. The cramps passed and I stood back up. “I’m hurtin’.” I moved off the single track to let the Runner pass. “Come with me. We’ll go together. What’s your name?”

This is what you find in the Ultrarunning community. A group of people who root for each other while competing against one another during a race or even out on a training run. And when these people aren’t running in the races they’re volunteering at them in the aid stations and on the trail.

SURF (San Diego Ultra Running Friends) is a group in San Diego that completely supports their local races and the runners who compete in them. Yesterday there was a training run for The Cuyamaca 100K. SURF had an 18 mile training run along the course and finished with a picnic with a great spread of food provided by the organization. The elites ran with the middle of the packers and the middle of the packers with the back of the packers. One runner referred to it as the “accordion effect.” The elites would take off then stop and wait -- the rest of the group would follow. Everyone would spread out then come together… Spread out then come together… All the while encouraging one another, giving and receiving advice, and exchanging gear tips.

SURF Training run for noble canyon 50k

I’m not running the Cuyamaca 100K this fall. I have my sights set on another race the weekend before. But, I want to give back to the community that I feel I have gotten so much from. I told the Race Director that I wanted to volunteer for his race and with a smirk he responded… “I’m going to give you all of the shittiest jobs.” And I knew at that point we were buddies.

Last year I ran the 100K with my brother -- at mile 56, he could barely bend over and tie his shoes. He had small rocks that had worked their way into his shoes between his toes. The aid station crew sat him down, took off his shoes, and cleaned his greasy feet with their bare hands without even flinching! They threw his shoes back on and sent him on his way.

At an aid station during a different race, my wife lost her wallet. The aid station manager knowing it was probably someone’s involved in the race -- called the bank on the debit card -- within an hour my wife got a phone call from her bank, was told where she could pick up her wallet, and had it back in her hands.

Ultrarunners are good honest people who bond together for the love of the trails and friendships that are born on them. People who pick you up when you’re in a dark place with miles of trail left in front of you and vice versa. People who clean the crud off of your sweaty feet and people who just want to help you succeed while even trying to give a wallet back to your loved one. Overall, just an amazing group of people… Actually, not just people, but friends. Friends who can run incredible long distances.

That runner who came up behind me on that 8 mile climb while I was wrecked with cramps ended up finishing that race. I was unable to “right the ship”. I didn’t know him, but when I found out he finished I couldn’t help but smile to myself.

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Mishaps From a Newbie Trail Runner: What Not To Do August 17 2016, 1 Comment

Mishaps From a Newbie Trail Runner: What Not To Do

You always read articles about tips to make you better at something. Well, I don't have enough trail running experience (only about a year), to give you that but I can tell you some tips, (some comical)  on what not to do when setting out on your next trail run if you, too, are in the beginner boat!

1. Don't wear road shoes! Don't say I didn't warn you. Been there done that. Here's what happens. 

On the descent I went down and I wasn't injured in the fall so it is comical now to look back on! There is a reason trail shoes exist. The terrain is different than the road and you need to be equipped for it.

2. Don't pick an unmarked trail- you will get lost and the Blair Witch Project will start to haunt you.  I may be aging myself but I've been lost my fair share of times and at dusk I seriously get the heebie-jeebies and start thinking about this movie from the late 90s. In it, two filmmakers disappeared while hiking and their film footage is discovered a year later. I don't want my Gopro footage to be the last remembrance of me so I stick to marked trails these days... hey, it could happen.

3. Don't shuffle -you will fall. Pick your feet up. There are lots of obstacles on the trails and after you trip over something, like a root, you'll remember this one.

4. Don't run your road pace - you will sputter out. The trail is not the place for ego or pride. Check it at the trail start. Your main concern is your safety, not your speed. Your pace will be dramatically slower than on the road. The scenery will also be worth looking at, so don't speed past it. The first time you do try to run your road pace will be your last.

5. Don't run empty handed - you will die. Joking, but a vest, pack or belt of some sort to carry hydration and fuel is a good idea.  This is where no matter how short of a trail run or hike you think you are going on, you may end up doing #2 and get lost, so you would be wise to be stocked up on water and fuel.  I like to carry my Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1. I can fill the pockets up with fuel, chapstick, my phone, my Gopro, additional water if necessary, my keys, and even fit a change of clothes.

6. Don't wear headphones - then you can't hear the snakes and bears, just kidding, I meant then you can’t hear nature's beauty, of course! Truthfully, it’s a safety concern. Not wise to wear them. Save them for the road.

7. Don't look up while running - I don't think I need to explain. You’ll faceplant.

8. Don't be afraid to walk - with steep inclines, declines and different terrains, it's okay to walk. It's a trail! Enjoy it.

9. Don't forget your phone - for Uber.  Joking! In case of emergency and for pics of course (an action camera is great, too)!

I'm guilty of all of these "don'ts" so I feel like I've excelled at not excelling at trail running.  I'm hoping my bad experience can help you avoid making some of the same. I plan to keep at it and continue to learn as I go!  Do you have any "don'ts" to add to my list? Would love to hear from you!


Jess Runs Blessed



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Want a chance to win a free pack? Here's how! August 17 2016, 2 Comments

We love our new Endurance Pack. It's super light, breathable, great for ride and run, has quick access pockets, and fits almost anyone. You know what we also love? You're pretty face telling us why you love running or riding. So if you want a chance to win a free pack, follow the steps below and if you're video is chosen by the end of August you'll get a brand spankin new one!

Here are the steps.

  1. Sign up for our newsletter
  2. Post a video to Facebook/Twitter/IG, any of them, or all of them is good, telling us why you love riding or running. 
  3. Tag #WINSOMEMUD in your post, and tag some friends too! Sharing is caring right? 
  4. Follow us on IG/Twitter/FB!

Prize details.

  • 1st place prize = Endurance Pack
  • 2nd place prize = Transition Wrap
  • 3rd place prize = Hat of your choice from 


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Best Core Stabilization Exercises For Runners July 26 2016, 0 Comments

Best Core Stabilization Exercises For Runners

Author Bio: Andrew is the founder and CEO at Aim Workout.

As a passionate fitness professional and triathlete, there is no adventure he won’t embark on. From mountain biking, deep sea diving, rock climbing and cycling to boxing and mixed martial arts, Andrew has a penchant for the wild and extreme.

Runners do not need to perform major strength training exercises several times a week to be able to run longer or faster. It makes no sense for them to be bench pressing or doing lat pulldowns, bicep curls, shoulder presses or any other strength and bodybuilding exercises because they have no carry over or effect on running form or endurance whatsoever. However, runners, irrespective of their speciality, whether it be marathons or shorter events, can benefit immensely from strengthening their core muscles and working on their balance.

Here is a list of a few core stability and performance enhancing exercises that will improve your endurance and stability so you run longer and harder with minimal risk of injury or fatigue. 

The following exercises will improve lumbo-pelvic stability (or core), thus optimizing abdominal integrity, efficiency of movement and adequate absorption of ground impact forces. For the best results, one should perform the exercises 3-4 times a week and progress gradually as strength and balance builds from 1-2 sets of 15 reps to 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps for each exercise.

  1. Clam Shells

Clam shells activate and strengthen the gluteus medius and minimus muscles. The gluteus medius is a “hip abductor that moves the leg out to the side and plays a major role in controlling the sideways tilting of the pelvis” ( Strong glutes help improve athletic performance, injury prevention and help maintain weight among other benefits. 

To perform clam shells, first lie down on a mat and get comfortable by lying on your side. Extend and place one arm under your head and keep the other on your side. Make sure that your torso, hips and extended arm are aligned in a straight line and that your back is neutral.

Now, with one leg on the ground lift your knee upwards and outwards. Remember to keep your hips stable and avoid any hip movement during the exercise. SImply lift the knee as far as is comfortable and return it to its normal position. Start with 2 sets of 10 reps on each side and move onto 3 sets of 15 reps over time.

  1. Hip Raises

Hip raises although simple are an extremely effective exercise that engage the entire stabilization, activating the transverse abdominus, glutes as well as the hamstrings.

For starters, tuck the hips and engage your transverse abdominus. This will allow you to lift your spine off the floor safely while maintaining a neutral spine position. Next use your glutes to raise your hips. This is important because unless you use your glutes, you won’t successfully activate the areas that are responsible for optimal running stability. Using your lower back instead of your glutes will only inhibit proper movement and limit progress with the exercise.

Once you reach top of the movement, squeeze your glutes and hold for 5-10 secs before lowering your body back to the ground. Do not drop your butt on the floor, but rather lower it gradually.

Start with 2 sets of 10 and progress to 3 sets of 15 reps.

  1. Runner Pulls

Standing runner pulls are a great exercise for improving core stability that mimics actual running form. By slowing down the movement and focusing on balance and core strength, one becomes aware of the mechanics of their running form as well as of the all the muscles involved in making the movement happen.

Although it’s possible to perform this exercise with a stretch cord, you’re better if you have access to a home gym with a high and low pulley system.

Stand tall with your weight on midfoot some distance from the pulley and grasp the pulley handle with your left hand. Now raise the left knee and balance on the opposite leg. Lean forward until your torso is close to parallel with the floor then pull and bring your knee back to the starting position while simultaneously twisting your torso toward your opposite leg.

Work your way up to 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

  1. Planks

The plank is perhaps the all round best exercise for enhancing strength and stability in the entire lumbo-pelvic region. However, unless performed with proper technique and the prerequisite gradual progression, it could do more harm than good.

Most people end up using either extending their lower back to far to compensate for their lack of core stability or kick their butt up in the air and transfer weight to their shoulders and arms to avoid engaging their core because of the burn they feel. Well, folks it’s all about the burn. But, for starters you should work on form and engaging the right muscles.

To successfully perform the plank, you need to activate the transverse abdomimus and the core. You do this by maintaining a straight line from your head to your legs and squeezing your glutes (pretend you holding a card with your butt cheeks). You need to using the same muscles you feel when you’re laughing like a maniac.

Start by holding the plank for intervals of 10-20 secs and work up to 1-2 mins. 

  1. Side Plank Knee to Chest

The Side Plank Knee to Chest is another great performance enhancing exercise for runners. However, you do need good core strength before you attempt this. Begin in a side plank and rest your shins on a balance ball. You’ll need to balance on one arm and your shins during the length of the exercise, so make sure you have good strength to be able to do this. 

Drive you knee upwards towards your chest, while moving the same arm backwards as in proper running motion. The motion recruits the core, scapular stabilizers and muscles down the leg.

Perform 10-12 reps for 2 sets on either side and work your static holds up to 45secs-1m.

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Why is my Treadmill Pace so Wonky!? July 22 2016, 0 Comments

Whether it is focused speed work, hill repeats, or a break from the elements, there are times when we break away from the great outdoors and hit the treadmill for some of our training.

How many times have you gotten on the treadmill and noticed how much different the treadmill pace was to your Garmin, Suunto, etc. watch?   This is actually where technology has gotten the best of me!   I have come obsessed with looking at data from my runs and studying the rise and fall in my heartrate, my pace over different terrains and temperatures, or making sure that I continue to maintain a consistent cadence even on my climbs.   If you are like me, much of that seems to go out the window as soon as I step on the treadmill.   While much of the running dynamics captured are still very consistent whether I am running on the treadmill, road, or trail, there is one measurement that causes me great pain; The pace!

It never fails, when I hit the treadmill my pace is typically FAR off from what the treadmill says I should be running.   The treadmill may say a 9:00 min/mi but when I look at my Garmin it says 7:00 min/mi.   For the longest time I just attributed this to my cadence thinking that I was just naturally running faster than the treadmill and it was ok.

Today on the treadmill I discovered something fascinating!   Keep in mind I have googled this problem several times and I never really find a valid answer. The typical answer is they won’t match, the treadmill may not be calibrated, or some other random reason on why there is a difference.   The end-state is the same. Many people seem to have just accepted this!   Well, I may be able to offer you some information that can change that!

Without getting into the technical details, most of the fitness watches measure your “indoor” pace based on the accelerometer that exists in the watch and/or heartrate monitor! (If you are one of those that uses a footpod, this will not apply to you as your times are already pretty close!).   Many of the watches “learn” your running dynamics over time and then use this same information to calculate your indoor pace when there is no GPS signal available or when you are running on a treadmill!   This is actually where I have discovered what has been impacting “my” pace on the treadmill! 

When I am running outside, I carry a handheld on the majority of my runs and I carry this handheld in the same hand that I wear a watch.   On a treadmill though my hand is empty as I put my bottle in the beer / Pringles holder.   While it may have been obvious to most people, I never took into account the difference that carrying a handheld had on my running dynamics. In the case of my hill repeats on the treadmill, that difference was approximately a 1:00 min/mi difference!   At one point during my run today I grabbed my bottle for a drink and held onto it.   When I glanced at my watch this time I was amazed; the pace between my watch and the treadmill was only off by 5 sec!

For the duration of my workout I continued to experiment and came up with a couple solutions to increase your pace accuracy on the treadmill if you are also one that runs with a handheld;

1) Begin carrying your handheld in the opposite hand (non-watch hand) while running outside; This approach will then recalibrate your watch so running on the treadmill without the handheld will be more accurate.

2) Run on the treadmill just as you do outside. If you carry a handheld, carry that handheld on the treadmill. This will ensure that your range of motion while running is in sync whether you are running inside or outside.

So if you are like me and have been plagued with this treadmill pace accuracy issue, hopefully this shed some light on what I have experienced!

Miles and smiles!

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#TrainWithOrangeMud Update – Mallory Billings-Litke July 18 2016, 0 Comments

#TrainWithOrangeMud Update – Mallory Billings-Litke


It's been just a few weeks since I officially became an ultra-marathoner! I ran the Pineland Farms 50k in Maine over Memorial Day Weekend and it was amazing! I feel like I completely lucked out the entire weekend. On the day before the race, it was 90 degrees and sunny. I was dripping in sweat just setting up the tent at the campground down the street. Packet pick-up was a breeze and everyone was in a great mood. For lunch I had pasta and for dinner I met up with some new friends for dinner of grilled cheese and french fries. That night I slept great and I felt refreshed when I woke up. I struggled to eat breakfast because I was nervous about the race and I had my typical pre-race jitters. I had my Tailwind nutrition all packed in my Orange Mud bottles and I was off. I used my HydraQuiver Double Barrel Hydration Pack for the race and was able to carry my music, extra nutrition, inhaler and phone. I wore it with my Orange Mud singlet and didn't experience ANY chafing with the pack. The gun went off and I took off at lightning speed. Okay, that part isn't true but I did start running. My plan was to run the downhills and flats and walk the uphills, and to eat some food at each aid station. My plan worked marvelously and at each aid station I had Swedish Fish, potato chips and Mountain Dew. It was the magical elixir. All of the volunteers were friendly, the other racers were funny. The temperature was at a perfect 60 degrees and overcast; ideal running weather. As I was coming to the cross-section of the first loop, I saw my wife cheering for me, which really gave me a boost. She ran with me for a couple hundred yards and then helped me figure out what I needed from my drop bag. When I came back through, I changed my socks and kept moving along. I was feeling great and ready to finish this thing! I finished the first loop and was onto the second one. My playlist was rockin' and I was moving along easily. With just over 5 miles left, my wife joined me and was surprised at how comfortably I was moving. I passed over a dozen people in the last couple of miles. My wife positioned herself to get a great video of me crossing the finish line. I crossed the line with my arms pumping above my head and a huge smile plastered on my face. I felt incredibly accomplished and proud of myself. I gathered my cowbell "medal", water bottle and Darn Tough socks as my finisher's swag. I sat down for some food and some beers and enjoyed the afternoon. Headed back to the campground for a shower and then into town for dinner. At dinner, I could barely stay awake, even laying down on the booth at one point. We made it back to the campsite and I fell asleep pretty early. We woke to rain and scurried out of town. On the way home all I could think about was that I never hit any low points during the race and honestly felt good the entire time. I guess my strong, consistent, training really paid off. It was an amazing first ultra experience and I would recommend this race to anyone. 

Fast forward to this week. I started my 50 mile training. I hired the same coach as I had for my 50k training because I had such great luck and support from him. I'm a few days in and feeling motivated. This will be an exciting journey and you can follow it on my Instagram account @RunYoginiRun 

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How to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Exercising July 15 2016, 0 Comments

How to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Exercising

How to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Exercising 

As much as we love the warmth and relaxation of summertime, those few months still come with a few downsides. The heat can make even the toughest athlete want to climb inside the freezer rather than go out and exercise. For those brave enough to stick to their daily fitness routines, the UV rays and constant sweat can cause some serious skin problems. Runners are adept at taking care of the inside of their bodies, but what about the outside? Here are some musts for summer skin fitness.

Use Moisturizer with SPF

Hydrate. Wear sunscreen. These are our summer mantras, and should be all year round. But sunscreen has a habit of dripping into your eyes when you sweat, and the heavy oil ends up feeling a little gross. Instead of trying to remember to smear it on just before leaving, make sun protection a part of your daily hygiene routine. Get a light facial moisturizer with SPF and a heavier one for the rest of your body. If you install this routine between brushing your teeth and flossing, you’re not likely to forget again. 


Mix heat, dirt, sweat, and sunscreen and you get clogged pores. To avoid this, wash your face with warm water pre-workout to wipe off bacteria or makeup, and wash again when you’re done. Since you don’t always have the luxury of taking a shower or waiting around for a gym sink to start pumping out warm water, stock your gym bag with disposable cleansing cloths or Quick Fix Spray made for athletes. Make sure to get a shower scrubber with a long handle so that you don’t miss your middle or upper back when you do get a chance to rinse off.

Go Easy on the Hair Products

A rich, scented conditioner feels wonderful on your hair. But when sweat makes it leech down your face, neck, and back, it can cause a breakout that feels anything but luxuriant. Take it easy on the hair primping routine, or choose all-natural products without heavy fragrances.

Wear the Right Fabric 

Wear a moisture-wicking fabric like a cotton/nylon blend. While tight-fitting clothes seem like less fabric, loose items will help your skin breathe better. The more you air out, the less sweat will be trapped on your skin.

Treat Yourself to a Home Spa Day

Even with frequent maintenance and good habits, there are days when our skin just needs to heal. If you’ve gotten a little sunburned lately, stay inside and lather yourself in aloe vera. If you’ve been hitting the trail hard, exfoliate your feet and treat any blisters. Make a healing face mask out of Indian clay and water to cleanse your pores. There’s no rulebook that says you have to exercise every day, so give yourself a little time off to get fully well before going back at it.

Do a Proper Cooldown

You can start preparing for your cooldown before you even exercise. Get your home ready by turning on the air conditioning and closing all the blinds to prevent sunlight warming the room. If you don’t like wasting the money on cooling your house while you’re out and about, consider getting a smart thermostat to manage your HVAC system from your phone—something that we at Home Improvement Leads can’t live without. The sooner you get cool, the less you’ll sweat. If you’re in a private area, take off your sweaty clothes and hydrate deeply to keep your skin healthy.

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#TrainWithOrangeMud Update – Jenny Nakamura July 05 2016, 0 Comments

As you know, Orange Mud has been following along on my journey to my 10th marathon at the Vancouver USA Marathon and on Sunday that journey came to a end.

My fastest marathon to date was my second the 2013 New York City Marathon when I ran a 4:35:46. I trained like crazy for this race, through a hot Phoenix summer, up to 24 miles for my long run. I had a coach and a nutritionist and I followed my plan to a T.

Fast forward 2.5 years and 7 more marathons and my training has changed significantly.   No longer am I following a traditional training plan and in the last 4 months I’ve run a lot of races including 2 – 50Ks & one 50 miler, along with a lot of back to back runs.

Since I’ve been venturing into the ultra world, my training has changed and while I have nothing against a traditional plan currently my preferred method of training is a mix of trail & road and using races as training runs. I will say, if you are a first time marathoner or have other more aggressive time goals, this is probably not the way to go about your training J but it worked for me.

It’s been a long time since I even had a shot at a PR, with my last 4 marathons coming in at over 5 hours, not something I’m ashamed of at all especially since I haven’t made it a focus. At some point, I changed my focus from the time on the clock to the journey, but this year I felt compelled to see if I could PR and I thank Orange Mud for giving me a little push to embark on this journey and keeping me accountable.

Now that all that’s out of the way, let’s get to the race. The Vancouver USA Marathon is a small race, there were 459 finishers.

Jenny Nakamura

We arrived at the start around 6:20am race day morning. The race would start at 7am for the marathoners. A unique thing for this race was that the half marathoners started 2 hours later than the marathoners so we were able to finish the race with more people around vs. most races when the slower marathoners are finishing by themselves.

Since there were only 459 people, it was a pretty quick start. I started out just ahead of the 4:30 pace group and quickly made my way up to the 4:15 pace group where I would stay for the next 7 miles. I was feeling pretty good and this part of the course was relatively flat. It was quite beautiful and I wish I’d taken some photos but I wasn’t really thinking about that at the time. The first 13 miles took us west of the city, mostly on the side of the road or on a path, we even had a small stretch of gravel trail.

As we made our way back to the halfway point, I fell off the 4:15 pace group, which I wasn’t really surprised at. I remember being so thirsty, I think I went through 2 Orange Mud bottles in the first 9 miles. And I only had 2 extra bags of liquid calories, which would prove to not be enough. I was wearing my Vest Pack 1 so I was able to stash my baggies of calorie mix in the pocket.

Once we got to the half way point, the hills started. They were only around 100 – 200 feet but they felt like they were mountains by that point. Lol. It was also around this point when we started to see the slower half marathoners – I passed the 3:00 pace group and a bunch of walkers in this section. Fortunately the road was wide enough that it wasn’t a huge issue.

I kept trying to calculate in my head how fast I needed to go to PR. And I knew it was going to be tight especially with the hills.

When the 4:30 pacers passed me at mile 17 I knew I needed to kick it up a notch. Unfortunately the lack of calories became a problem and I started feeling a bit nauseous when I picked up the pace so I had to back it down a bit. I know some people don’t care if they get sick, but I would rather slow down than throw up.

As we got closer to end of the race, the mile markers for the full & half were getting farther and farther apart & my Garmin was behind by .2 miles so I wasn’t exactly sure where I was in conjunction to the finish. I saw the sign for mile 25 and then mile 12 sign was less than a half a mile from the finish so I was really confused until I was almost at the last turn towards the finish.

I tried to pick it up but again I thought I started to feel sick so I just kept going as fast as I could until I crossed the finish line to Bart Yasso congratulating me and calling my name at 4:36:10, 25 seconds from a PR. Of course I was disappointed, but as I mentioned before I haven’t run under a 5 hour marathon in over a year so to get as close as I did to my PR as I did, was pretty darn awesome!

Jenny Nakamura

It definitely gave me back my marathon confidence and I am so excited to see what I can do at the New York City Marathon in November, where I’m running with the James Blake Foundation (, for my brother-in-law David, who was diagnosed with cancer in May. With the proper calorie intake and a bit more speed & hill work, I’m sure I go even faster, especially with the crowd support from the city of New York.

Again, a huge Thank You to Orange Mud for your support and amazing products.


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Runner Files: Ramon Hernandez June 30 2016, 0 Comments

Runner Files: Ramon Hernandez

Age: 42

Home location: Okemos, Michigan

Sport: Running

Profession and educational background: I've been working at General Motors for 21 years. I recently switched to a quality launch position. After graduating high school I spent a couple of years at Lansing Community collage.

Years in sport of any kind: I've been running since I was 15 years old and recently discovered ultra running. So I've been running for about 27 years.

Sports participated in: I ran cross country and track growing up.

Years in current sport: 4 years in ultra running

What got you started: Failure. I failed miserably at being physically fit at a young age and was always out of breath. I learned early that if I wanted something I had to work hard and go after it.

Other personal information you would like to share: I flew for the first time at age 41. I love chocolate ice cream.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport? My biggest accomplishment to date is my 148 mile run across Michigan to raise awareness and funds for Team Keegan. A local 501 (C) that helps kids with cancer.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success? I have found that cross training helps keep me on my game. Over the years I have been one dimensional from a sport and training perspective. Once I crossed over to ultra running it was clear I had many weaknesses and imbalances. Focusing on my lower body and strengthening my core along with an overall body maintenance has kept me on track.

What would be your ultimate achievement? If you'd ask me this when I first started running I'd tell you that I would want to be fast. Now my ultimate achievement is to enjoy the run, give back and make some good friends along the way.

How do you set your goals? I'm always looking to be challenged mentally and physically. I just take each run like its my last and make the best out of it. I'm always looking to conquer new experiences.

What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge? Finding balance in what I love to do is my biggest challenge. From work, family and more work it can and has been challenging to balance my passion for running with everything else. I just take it one day at a time and make the best of every moment.

What is your diet like? I've struggled in this area over the years trying everything. I've learned what works best for me is eating sensibly. A mix of whole foods to vegan snacks. I enjoy a good pizza every once and a while. You know, living on the wild side. 

How did you find Orange Mud? Favorite Product? I was in search of something better from the packs I was purchasing and I stumbled on Orange Mud. I really like the VP1 and HydraQuiver single barrel.

Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)? I really recommend the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. If you read it it will put an interesting spin on what you think you know about running.

Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it? My breakthrough came soon after I started ultra running. Over the years I've progressed to a minimalist when it comes wearing shoes. Years of injuries and improper running form was taking its toll on me mentally and physically. Once I switched to running in LUNA sandals everything I thought I knew about running changed. I run more naturally now, free of pain and injury. It's the closest thing to running bare foot.

What was the best advice you were ever given? The best advise I was ever given was to just have fun with it and enjoy the run. I take this advice on every run and for me it has made all the difference.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by? I am the me I choose to be. ~Sidney Poitier

Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw my inspiration from the simple things in life. There is beauty in simplicity and when you strip back all of today's noise you can't help but be inspired to live.

Have you struggled with any injuries? How do you manage them? I have struggled with hip problems, IT issues, feet problems, knee problems, hernias and just about anything you could think of from running related injuries. I've been able to stay on top of things by strengthen my weaknesses, switching to running in LUNA sandals and finding the right gear that best fits me( hint hint Orange Mud Gear)

Anything else you’d like to share? I'm a Gemini, my favorite color is green and I'm a proud grandpa.

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Ways Yoga Enhances a Runner’s Life (and How to Make Space for It) June 17 2016, 0 Comments

The benefits of yoga are lauded nearly as often as the benefits of eating organic. There’s no doubt the practice is good for both the mind and body, but athletes who are busy pursuing other sports and fitness activities may not feel that yoga is necessary. But for runners, yoga can act as one half a whole exercise pie; where running helps improve cardiovascular fitness and maintain a healthy weight, yoga increases muscle tone, flexibility and focus. Here are a few of the benefits yoga offers to runners:

Getting in Tune with Your Body

Runners are so adept at pushing through pain, and while this is a commendable show of mental and physical strength, it’s not always easy on the body. Yoga gives you the opportunity to get in tune with tired muscles, to build and stretch them while simultaneously giving them a break. Through yoga, you may be able to sense an injury closing in and prevent it. It can also ease the pain of current injuries, and may offer an alternative workout when pain sidelines you.

Building up Your Core

    Running is an amazing workout, but if you’ve ever seen someone with a beer belly finish a marathon, you know that running alone won’t give you the core of a Greek deity. But strengthening your core outside of running can make you an even better runner. Yoga challenges and builds these muscles, allowing you to become a better runner.

    Breathing Mindfully

      With every pose and transition in yoga, breathing is of paramount importance. Slowing down the breath allows you to hold a pose longer and even puts you in a more calm state of mind. Learning to focus on the breath can help you build better habits that will allow your muscles the oxygen they need to sustain a run.

      Setting up a Yoga Space at Home

      If running is your preferred form of exercise, you may not want to commit to a gym or class membership in order to casually do yoga. But you can make room for yoga even in a small home or apartment. If you need more space in your living area, consider decorating with lightweight furniture pieces that can easily roll out of the way, or get furniture sliders to make moving your current furnishings easier.

      Use your yoga mat to measure your space. You don’t need a whole room dedicated to the practice, just an area where you can stretch out your limbs. But go beyond claiming an open corner of your home; make sure that you feel at peace and able to concentrate in the area you choose. Let light flood in through your windows, play calming music, or hang a large photo of nature right in your line of sight. Try to declutter the space and avoid distractions. Move technology like your laptop and phone to the other side of the room while you’re escaping into the practice. You’ll be doing your mind and your body good.

      Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor and writer for with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

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      11 Father's Day Gift Ideas June 06 2016, 0 Comments

      Our fathers make a big impact on our lives. I know mine taught me how to live off the land, fix pretty much anything with duct tape and a knife, be strong when you need to, humble when you don't, and always did the right thing regardless of popularity. Picking a cool gift is always tricky, but we have 11 ideas below for you. 

      Endurance Pack - $134.95 - Dads love epic adventures. This hydration vest pack is designed to take them there. From running any trail, bombing down a killer singletrack, hiking wherever, kayaking down a gnarly river, descending down a powdery slope, or any other outdoor adventure you want to tackle. Rock star dad Tim C below just ran 100 miles in 108F temps this past weekend in it. We give a grade A thumbs up to him! 

      Tim Christoni

      Modular Gym Bag - $169.95 - Great for a weekend trip, training, racing, or a trip to the gym. Carry on friendly, made in the USA, built insanely tough, and the last gym bag he'll ever need.

      Modular Gym Bag

      Transition and Seat Wrap - $39.95 - Dad is awesome, but when he sweats he smells. So why not give him a way of protecting his car seat, while also providing a tool for changing at the trail-head without mooning the neighbors. 

      Changing towel and seat cover - Transition Wrap

      UHTP - Sale $169.95 - Built for the daily grind or armageddon. Materials on this every day carry bag start with ballistic nylon originally designed for fighter pilot flak jackets and industrial grade seat belt webbing. Superman Dad Ramon Hernandez modeling this below.

      UHTP Olive Every Day Carry Pack

      5 Panel Black Trucker - $22.95 - Protect your dad's noggin in the hot summer sun, while looking like a boss doing so with this black trucker. We have an amazing crew of dads on our team, and below are just a handful of super humans modeling our various hats! 

      Running Hats

      Custom Machined Ink Pen - Karas Customs - $40 and up - I'm a nerd about custom machined things. These guys out of Phoenix, AZ make some killer ink pens out of raw bar stock aluminum, titanium, and brass. 

      Make Your Own Backcountry Beer - Backcountry Beverages - $49.95 - Your pap can likely build a satellite uplink via duct tape, an old cell phone and chewing gum, but can he make his own beer in the back country? Well now he can. 

      HydraQuiver VP2 - $149.95 - For journeys over an hour nutrition becomes essential. Tailwind makes some great products for epic adventures. Pick up some sticks or a big bag of their goodness so dad can stay strong throughout his next endurance event. This trail running superstar dad Joshua Creo Watson was rocking our VP2 on a beautiful trail. 

      Joshua Creo Watson VP2

      Injinji Socks - $Varies - Putting on these socks can be a pain, they look a little funny too, but function is more critical to most dads. I wear these things on all sorts of trail running and hiking adventures and even occasionally with flip flops around the house. You can't do that well with a normal sock! 

      SweetWood Cattle Co Meat Sticks - $25.00 - These guys make some wicked awesome beef sticks. No Nitrates or added MSG, a bunch of great flavors, and individually packed for a random snack or backcountry eating. 

      Dad doesn't eat meat? Checkout Primal Strips - $16.99 - This sampler pack of meatless jerky tastes great but uses soy, seitan, and/or shiitake mushrooms for a great tasting snack. 

      Any of these gifts should put a big smile on your dad's face. What other ideas do you have? 


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      Making Ice Baths Bearable June 02 2016, 0 Comments

      Article by: Margaret Owensby

      Ice baths.  It’s a love hate relationship for most athletes.  We run a bath full of cold water, throw in twenty to thirty pounds of ice, put on a sweatshirt and prepare a hot beverage.  Then we step in to the bath, and give a squeal as the bath is so cold it can actually be painful.  We shiver our way through fifteen minutes, then jump up and in to the hottest shower we can stand, in order to stop the shivering.  Does this sound about right?

      I'd rather run away than take an ice bath!

      About two years ago I was running a half marathon, and struck up a conversation with another runner.  We had one of those conversations that you can only have on a race course, and it ended up leading to a discussion about self-care after a race.  I told her about my aversion to ice baths, despite the fact that they made my legs feel so much better, and she told me her way of making them bearable.  Are you ready for this?  It’s life changing!

      First of all, do not run a cold bath!  What madness is this that you speak of?  Run a tepid bath, a little cooler than is comfortable, but easy to step in to.  After you have run the bath, and have seated yourself in the water, add the first ten pounds of ice.  Wait a couple minutes and adjust to the temperature, then add the next ten pounds.  For me, at about fifteen minutes the ice has mostly melted and I add another ten pounds.  At this point the water is really cold, but it is not painful!  I usually hang out about twenty to twenty five minutes total, and then take a warm shower to finish washing off all of the sweat.  My legs will stay cool to the touch, and therefor fighting inflammation and painful recovery, for a few hours.

      This was life changing for me, as now I can easily handle taking an ice bath after a really hard workout, and it has sped up my recovery.  Bearable ice baths…who would have thought?

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      Runner Files: Annie Weiss May 31 2016, 0 Comments

      Runner Files: Annie Weiss

      Home location: Milwaukee, WI
      Sport: Ultra-Distance Running
      Profession and educational background: I am a registered and certified dietitian (MS) working with eating disorder patients and athletes day to day on how to eat appropriately to live or perform their sport. In addition, I am a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor.
      Years in sport of any kind: Running since 2008
      Sports participated in: Road Running and Ultra-Running
      Years in current sport: Road: 2008-current; Trail/Ultra: 2011-current
      What got you started: I thought it would be a good idea to get the half marathon off my bucket list and it took off from there!
      Other personal information you would like to share: The Boston Marathon is my absolute favorite road race of all time. I love trail running even more because of the physical and mental challenge it presents no matter where I run.

      What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?

      I was ranked 6th in the state (WI) in 2011 for the marathon. I currently ultra/trail run and my biggest accomplishment is placing 5th at Black Canyon in 2015 and continuously placing in the top 3 in all Midwest races since starting on the trails.

      What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

      cycle and hike. A lot. Cross training is huge for ultra-distance training and as valuable to ones success as a runner. I listen to my coach – it seems easy but so many athletes don’t do that! I listen to him because he is the expert and I’ve avoiding injury!

      What would be your ultimate achievement?

      I want to make the Altra Running team and place in the top 3 at Leadville this year, or Western States – when I get in (hopefully next year!).

      How do you set your goals?

      I set goals very high. If one sets goals that are limited they will never know their potential. I set goals to make the Olympic team or place at the most competitive races because they are limitless!

      What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?

      My biggest challenge is living in WI – there are no mountains or altitude. Its challenging but we make it work.

      What is your diet like?

      I am a dietitian. There is no such thing as a bad food, and athletes should not be dieting. Its all about moderation and living life. Following the 80/20 is what I do most – I eat whole grains, fruits, veggies, and plant proteins (I do not eat animal flesh) 80% of the time but 20% of the time – I enjoy myself! Treats are needed physically and mentally. It works, I promise.

      How did you find Orange Mud? Favorite Product?

      A friend recommended it to me! I absolutely love the handheld bottles. I have struggled to find a handheld that doesn’t leak or break or chafe me – this one is perfect! I highly recommend it. I have a hunch the bladder pack will be my second fav too. ;-)

      Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?

      I have to be biased and recommend my website for those needing nutritional guidance… I also recommend staying on top of the latest races and places to travel to race – it keeps things exciting in the running world.

      Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it?

      I am a great road runner, but with my past over training I have a lot of potential for injury; its not helping me – so my breakthrough was switching to trails/ultra-running and nurturing that talent.

      What was the best advice you were ever given?

      The best advice I was given – RELAX. So much of our success and failures are based on stress. We need to stop worrying so much and be relaxing in training, racing, and everyday life. It goes by too quickly otherwise.

      Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?

      I have learned to live with balance or moderation. I watch too many patients/clients live their life based on how others want them to live, and because of how society tells them to live. I want to be me and enjoy my life! 

      Where do you draw your inspiration from?

      I draw from my teammates on the Orange Mud, Altra, Swiftwick, and Fluid Nutrition teams – its inspiring to see what these incredible athletes are doing in their sport.

      Have you struggled with any injuries?

      How do you manage them? I have struggled with many! When I started to run, I was overtraining and needed PT on both IT bands; I also tore both glut medius muscles, had 3 fractures in my legs, and now currently live with sciatica because in the past, I didn’t listen to my coach as I should have. I manage my sciatica by listening to my coach! And also stretching, rolling, and ensuring my pace doesn’t get too speedy for too long at a time – a marathon is typically okay for speed work.

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      Denny Hodge #TrainWithOrangeMud Update! May 27 2016, 0 Comments

      "Embrace the suck."

      I hear that in my head when I’m training. The Marines beat that into my head and it never leaves me. When things get tough, there it is again and again. Training can get grueling, and you already know at times it's going to hurt. You also know that if you run long enough -- or run distances that most people drive on their daily commute -- that it's usually just a matter of time before things go bad. Confidence can unravel almost instantly. The most careful preparations and plans can quickly become secondary to just surviving another mile. Another step even.

      But with me, that reminder tells me that this is the BEST part of training. I don't meditate in my head and visualize rainbows or fantasize about unicorns. I grab that pain and hold it. Stay in the moment. Embrace it. Be in the now. That's where mental fortitude is built and honed. Sharpened to a deadly edge that you can rely on when things go south and you have to battle adversity. A weapon in your arsenal that you can depend on when your physical body is screaming for you to stop. To quit. To give up.

      My entire life I've needed every ounce of that mental toughness just to survive and be here today. Now I've embarked and committed to the hardest physical challenge of my life with testing the waters at the 100 mile distance. Month 1 is in the books and none of it has been easy. But every moment has been satisfying and brings me one step closer to stepping up to that starting line and giving it all I have.

      With a job that keeps me working a minimum of six days a week -- and with rotating on calls and night shifts -- ramping up training has been a challenge, and flexibility has been the key. I ran about 120 miles in Month 1, but it's the "other" training that has really been the biggest challenge. The countless stairs, hill repeats, cross training, weight lifting, boxing, and anything else that can be squeezed into an opportune time. The journey has and will continue to be an amazing one.

      The other key point in Month 1 of training has been nutrition. At 6'2", and after a bad second-half of 2015, my weight peaked at 230 coming into 2016. In the last 30 days, my diet has gotten strict. No cutting calories in any extreme way, just being disciplined and eating super clean. So, now with 30 days down -- and 15 pounds lighter -- I'm well on my way back down to my ideal race weight of 200 lbs.

      Orange Mud has a team full of bad asses that motivate me daily, and a whole shop full of gear that keeps me motivated and moving while I chase my dreams. My original HydraQuiver single barrel is still number 1 to me, but the VP2 is always close by and is crucial on long treks through the wilderness. 

      Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @_The_Mad_1 or search #trainwithorangemud

      Never. Stop. Running. 

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      Orange Mud is adding 360 spin to products via Hoot May 27 2016, 0 Comments

      In an effort to continually deliver the best product experience possible to online shoppers, Orange Mud recently decided to give hoot’s interactive imaging a spin. 


      Hoot offers revolutionary 3D product photography to brands that empower consumers to view a product from every angle online and engage with it as if they’re holding it in their hands. This delivers the information needed to make a confident purchasing decision.

      With the amount of time and resources spent to design, build, and deliver the highest quality products to our customers, it’s extremely important to represent them online in the best way possible. We take a great deal of pride in our work from start to finish, so were thrilled with the opportunity to showcase the end result more effectively. Now every painstaking detail, unique feature, and innovative design can easily be examined. Hoot’s product representation helps accomplish just that, without having a live product demonstration. 

      We pride ourselves on designing gear that is far from the ordinary, but educating our customers with pictures alone just wasn't cutting it. Checkout some of the links below to see how 360 spin is working for us and how you can interact. 

      UHTP Demo - Click on either of the spinning images on this link. There are two different demonstrations. 

      Transition Wrap Demo

      HydraQuiver Demo

      HydraQuiver VP2 Demo

      We’re excited to see how hoot’s imaging assists in providing our customers with the information they need and make a positive impact on their online shopping experience at Orange Mud. Any feedback and/or thoughts from our customers is always welcomed and appreciated. 

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      Slow and Steady May Not Win, but It Will Most Likely Finish May 18 2016, 3 Comments

      Slow and Steady May Not Win, but It Will Most Likely Finish

      Guest writer, Margaret Owensby

      Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Margaret, and I’m a thirty-something married mommy of three.  I am considered to be a large woman, due to my weight and stature, and I am a runner.  I am a slow interval runner, who primarily runs short distances.  Some may call me a jogger, but I still consider myself to be a runner regardless of my usual distances averaging between two and three miles.  My long runs are usually a 5k distance that take me about 50 to 52 minutes to complete, and I am often treated differently because of this very fact.

      I completed a half-marathon in 2014 (3:38:51 – see? slow), and had every intention of completing in 2015 in under 3 hours and 30 minutes.  However, I had two little babies come roaring into my life only two weeks earlier, and was not cleared to walk (let alone run) 13 miles.  So now I run short distances, in intervals, whilst pushing either a three year old or twin six month old babies in a stroller.  At this point in time and fitness, a 5k is an endurance event for me.

      As every runner knows, putting in base miles is absolutely vital when you are training for a race or an event.  I get out and run five or six days a week, but I get such an odd reaction from people when they find out I run intervals.  I receive a strange combination of scorn and disbelief when I ask questions from running groups and sites about nutrition, and am often told “You don’t need to worry about taking anything with you for such a short run.”  My short-term goal of running a 10k is treated as a joke by some, never mind that I might carry some form of equipment.  “Who needs a hydration belt for a 5k?  Aren’t they ridiculous carrying that?”  Before I started pushing the stroller (with all of the pockets and organizers), I carried either a hydration belt or my Orange Mud handheld for every run, if only because I needed a place to store keys/lip balm/money/tissues/mace/or whatever else I felt was necessary.  Yet the more accomplished runners did, and still do, make derisive comments about it.  Hey, I’ve got a 5k trail race coming up in two weeks, and I’m seriously wishing I had a Hydraquiver to sport.  I may possibly want to show it off a bit, and possibly also because I like having a place to carry all my water and such.

      In the world of running, distance and/or speed are what most (including me) will strive for.  Those of us who run slowly (or intervals, or short distances) are often seen as a joke amongst those who run fast or far.  So I have a simple request for all of you most awesome runners out there.  Be respectful of your fellow runners.  One runner's mile, is another runner's 250k desert run!  Those who are slower than you, those who may not run as far as you are out there doing it because they are attempting to make it in to a new pace group, because they are attempting to go longer distances, because they love it.  They may never win a prize, or place in the top ten, but most likely they will finish.  We are all runners, and we all deserve the love and respect that this community has to offer.

      Happy running, y’all!

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      Running in Borrowed Shoes: An 11-Year-Old’s Quest for a World Record May 10 2016, 1 Comment

      Running in Borrowed Shoes: An 11-Year-Old’s Quest for a World Record

      Guest writer, Syrafina Mohammed

      My mom is a runner. She has been ever since I could remember. She runs to help her think, to relieve stress, and to stay healthy both physically and mentally. She started running half marathons a little over a year ago and I wanted to join her. I wasn’t sure if I would like running. I didn’t have much time for it, but my mom let me sign up for a 5k color fun run to see how I would do in an endurance race. I loved it from the first step! My very next race was my first Half-Marathon! This was almost a year ago, May 16, 2015. I was 10 years old and my mom needed to get special permission for me to run.

      There were many challenges for me in my first half-marathon. I don’t think I did that well. I tripped and fell in a pot hole around mile 10. I was crying and blood was dripping down my leg from the scrape on my knee. My mom offered to stop and quit, but I was determined to finish. We were so close! So, I limped the last three miles to finish in 2:47:03. I was mad that our time was so poor but happy I managed to stay in the race.

      After that, every half marathon I run, I seem to hit a wall about the same mile. Right at mile 10 or so I get discouraged because I don’t see a significant improvement in my running time. It got very discouraging and each race got harder and harder for me. But, with my mom running next to me, encouraging me, I manage to get through that wall and push to the finish. My mom really helps me at those times.

      Running is an outlet for me. It’s exhausting and thrilling all at the same time. It’s fun and helps relieve stress. It doesn’t seem like an 11-year-old would have a lot of stress, but I do, and running helps. I also get to travel all over the country and see new and exciting places. My mom and I joined the 50-States Half-Marathon Club. The club members are challenged to run a half-marathon in every state. I discovered that the world record for the youngest person to run a half marathon in every state was 18. I want to break that record by the time I am 13 years old. The 50-States club has a lot of great members who encourage and support each other. We even try to meet up when we find out that members of the group are running the same races.

      Thus far, I have completed 13 half-marathons in 11 different states. There was one race that I ran that didn’t count because the course was found to be ½ mile short of a half-marathon. I will have to go back to that state to complete another race in order for that state to count. We have to be careful and make sure that the races are certified courses, otherwise, those don’t count towards my 50-state goal. Most of the time, we run back to back races in states that are next to each other. So, for example, we ran a half in Alabama on Saturday and another half in Mississippi on Sunday. Doing it this way, we manage to save money on travel costs and complete two half marathons in one weekend.

      I love the runs with pretty courses. My favorite was the Florida Music Marathon. It was also my most challenging half-marathon. The course does a loop around the Indian River in Brevard County, Florida, up and over two one-mile-long causeways with a variety of musical acts spread throughout the course (even a Grand Piano at the top of one of the causeways!). The course is beautiful and I love running by the water. However, the weather was horrible, it was miserably cold and rainy, even for Florida. It took me over 30 minutes to cross the last causeway because the wind was so strong and kept blowing me backwards.

      One of my most memorable races was the half-marathon in Oregon, I accidentally left my running shoes in the hotel room in Washington. We didn’t have time to go back for them before the start of the race, so my mom let me borrow her shoes. She wasn’t happy with me at the time, but I’m glad she didn’t let me just quit. It was weird running in borrowed shoes, but at the same time, they were my mom’s shoes. We run together. It’s our way of spending time together, encouraging each other and challenging each other. Running in her borrowed shoes made me realize how important our time running together really is and how much I appreciate having her right there, by my side, matching me stride for stride. She gives me strength when I want to quit and I haven’t found a way to thank her, yet. We have signed up for a 50-mile race in Michigan this fall. I know it will be hard for both of us, but I also know we have each other. And she can borrow my shoes if she needs to.

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      DNF May 05 2016, 1 Comment


      Guest writer, Katara Hause

      Being the spouse of an ultra runner can be both trying and incredible rewarding; riding a rollercoaster of up, down, and sideways emotions along the way! One specific situation we all will or have faced at one time or another; the dreaded DNF.

      In the world of competitive running, DNF stands for Did Not Finish; a trepidatious term equaling complete failure in a runner’s mind.  As the saying goes, “Dead Last Finish is better than Did Not Finish is better than Did Not Start.”  The DNF is a shadowy figure always lurking just a step behind, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting runner during the most effortless stretches of a course or trail.

      This past weekend was our first journey down this particular road.  We planned a family vacation around the first 50-mile run of the season and enjoyed a fantastic week leading up to race day!  A practice run through part of the course with a fellow participant, a family hike over one of the bluffs, and a pre-race solid night’s sleep all pointed toward a successful finish.  As support crew, we were well-versed in his race plan, familiar with the maps and directions necessary to meet him at the various aid stations, and well-stocked in anticipation of his every nutritional, hydrational, and apparel need (bananas, beef jerky, PB&J, watermelon, Mountain Dew, supplements, salt tabs, 3 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of socks, and a first-aid kit any Red Cross responder would be jealous of!).

      My nerves were raw, but his were calm.  In fact, I’d never seen him this relaxed minutes before countdown.  He’s ready!  He’ll kick this course’s backside and justify all the training hours and sacrifices!  He’s got this!  3…2…1…and they’re off!  There he goes—strong, fit, eager, and primed for victory!

      Little did we know, just hours later, dehydration and cramps would all but incapacitate him; forcing him to withdraw just 31 grueling miles in.  After having some time to absorb and reflect on the day’s events, I would like to offer up some alternative meanings for the DNF acronym.  Here goes:

      Dare Not Fail

      Running at a competitive level compels athletes to reach degrees of fitness and determination most of us cannot comprehend.  The pressure to perform and succeed, while self-inflicted, are enormous.  Failure is not an option, but sometimes it happens anyway.  Despite our best preparations and the most favorable course conditions, the race plan can dissolve into an unsalvageable heap of “what-ifs” and broken dreams. 

      The fear of failure is constantly niggling the back of a runner’s mind.  And failure equals not finishing.  The running mentality seems to be derived from the well-known Yoda mantra, “Do or do not.  There is no try.” Completing a portion of the race is only marginally better than never starting at all.  I have to admit, this mind-frame frustrates the heck out of me!  While I understand my runner did not finish the 50-mile race he signed up for, he did complete the 50K.  What do you mean he doesn’t get the 50K swag bag?  What do you mean there will be no congratulatory high-five and finishing medal?  Let me get this straight…he ran 31 miles and gets zero credit for his efforts??!!  That’s a bunch of bunk, as my teenage son would say!!

      But it’s the way these events work.  It’s a pass/fail system.  You get no partial credit.  Anything short of success is failure.  No in-between.  No gray area.  No compromise.

      I would like all the runners to understand that as their supporters, we do not consider lack of finishing a failure.  Acknowledging the fact that many of us would rather have teeth pulled than push our bodies to the brink of destruction in the name of ‘fun’, there is little our runners can do that would qualify as a failure in our eyes.

      So runners, fear not failure.  Do your best.  Give it your all.  And know we will be waiting to wrap you in admiration and adulation, wherever your personal finish line ends up!m

      Doubts Never Flee

      While I’m certain every runner doubts themselves and their abilities during a race, there is more than a modicum of narcissism and arrogance rooted in the elite community, which make any doubts virtually unrecognizable .  I can’t speak to specific misgivings that may or may not float around in a runner’s mind, but I do have first-hand experience with those felt by many of their supporters.

      Regardless of how much I try to control the days leading up to a race, the oddest qualms enter my subconscious.  This race in particular, posed its own unique set of concerns.  What if the car battery is dead and we have to hike 5 miles to the nearest civilized establishment to get help?  What if we all get food poisoning from the unfamiliar restaurant we stumbled upon the night before the race?  What if the temps really do get into the 90’s as forecasted?  What if he asks for watermelon and that’s the one thing I left in the car (really happened!)? What if he breaks his leg on one of the climbs and is too far away to be rescued quickly?  Whether realistic or not, the scenarios are endless.

      But really, where is the worry coming from?  Are we skeptical of the dedication, fitness, or courage of our runners?  Of course not.  For me, doubt is bred from the ‘uncontrollables’; those things which, as hard as I try, I cannot influence or change.  I try to be faithful and prayerful, turning everything over to God’s will and plan.  But just as often, I find myself reverting to the two rules my Dad taught me: 1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  2. It’s all small stuff.  We’re not resolving world hunger or peace in the Middle East here, people—it’s a race.  And in case you weren’t aware, they’ll be another one next week!  

      In the scheme of things, what do any of us really have control over anyway?  I’m not on the course, and I’m certainly not running the course.  I can’t predict my runner’s mood or cravings any better than I can predict the weather.  I’m ultimately not responsible for the outcome of the race, good or bad, and thereby cannot take credit or blame either.  But just as a parent will never stop worrying about their child, a runner’s spouse (or significant other) will never stop worrying about their runner—or blaming themselves for anything short of a victorious finish!

      So supporters, embrace the variables and be flexible.  Let go of the ‘what-ifs’. And never let ‘em see you sweat:)

      Distress Nausea Fatigue

      These are pretty self-explanatory and may or may play a role in your runner’s DNF.  Obviously, we take every precaution to avoid these three words, but I’m not convinced the human body is equipped to handle the kind of trauma resulting from long endurance racing.  Runners like to spout off about mind over matter, saying things like, “After 30 miles, it’s all the same,” or “You’re brain will tell you to stop. Don’t.”  The truth is, the muscles, tendons, bones, and organs are taking a real beating.  At some point, the body will revolt.

      Rebellion will take the form of nausea, vomiting, cramping, fainting, muscle pulls, tendon tears, or broken bones.  I’ve seen it all…more than one of these in a single race!  Dehydration alone can cause side effects ranging from pain to spasms to delirium.  Any runner will tell you if you get behind in your hydration plan, there is little room for recovery.

      Our DNF can be directly attributed to dehydration, which resulted in all-over body cramping, severe headache, dizziness, and disorientation.  Not fun and super scary.  In fact, my exact words to him post-race were, “You know I’m never going to let you do this again, don’t you?!”  

      As a non-runner, I will never understand what compels these athletes to push themselves and their bodies to the precipice of shut-down.  But it’s not my job to understand.  It’s only my job to support him, cheer him refrain from walking the marked trails backward to drag his butt over the finish line, and at the end, pick up the pieces with some amount of grace and compassion.  Not easy, but necessary.

      So supporters, recognize the signs of trouble.  Be firm and get your runner’s attention, while trying to avoid shaking your head and screaming, “I told you so!”

      Determined Nonetheless Fragile

      Vulnerability.  Humility.  Fragility.  Not words any ultrarunner wants used to describe him/her.  Rather, strong.  Courageous.  Indomitable.  These are the attributes they try to project as they train for and compete in long-distance races.  Images of lean muscles, power stances, and plank challenges are all meant to reinforce their brawn and intensity, their devotion to the sport.

      But the circumstances (whatever they may be) which lead to a DNF are humbling; a reminder that they are, indeed, human.  And on any given day, it’s simply not their day.  Not this time.  Try again.

      Frustration, anger, pain, and fear often manifest as tears, trembling, and a complete inability to stand under one’s own power.  When my husband finally went as far as he could go (with our son walking the final 300 yards with him), he literally melted into my arms.  His head hit my chest like a boulder and his arms hung over my shoulders like limp, heavy noodles.  He was trembling, sobbing, and unable to take a full, deep breath.  As I raised his head to look into his eyes, I realized he was unable to focus and his color was putrid.  Truly frightening.

      In that moment, all I wanted to do was make it all better.  Get him fluids and ice packs and shade.  Massage the spasms tormenting his muscles.  Wipe the sweat from his brow and find a smidgeon of recognition in his gaze.  He was bent but not broken.  He went to the brink, but did not fall.  He proved his humanity through super-human feats.

      So runners, know that when you are at your weakest, we are ready and willing to be your strength; a fresh set of legs to support you and loving arms to embrace you.  Despite what you think, our respect and admiration are not based on how you end your race day.  We are just relieved you SURVIVED race day!

      Develop New Formulas

      Now that the DNF is in our rearview, we are preparing for the next race on the schedule.  Redemption is just 3 weeks away and will quickly be followed by two more races within a 4- week span!

      It’s critical to take time to reflect on and analyze the race plan after a DNF.  Emotions are raw and egos have taken a hit, but a runner and his/her support team need to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what can/should be changed going forward.  Listening to, acknowledging, and encouraging each other’s observations are key to keeping communication open and productive.  Obviously, there are two VERY different perspectives to examine.  Don’t dismiss one as being more important than the other.

      In our case, as soon as I got the text that my husband was in trouble, I went into rescue mode.  The planner and partner in me tried to come up with all sorts of things I wanted to say or do to make sure he didn’t blame himself or brood about the DNF too deeply for too long.  Knowing my husband the way I do, I feared the disappointment would make him nearly inconsolable.  

      Thankfully, after 100 ounces of fluids and a 3-hour nap, his race assessment was straightforward and much more positive than I expected.  We talked through each pit-stop, as well as the course details.  We nailed down the point where the wheels came off and discussed how it could have been avoided.  I shared what I saw and overheard from other support teams and aid-station volunteers, including things like using chicken stock as a possible hydration/salt-intake option and applying cold, damp compresses to the back of his neck and temple during stops.  Alternately, he revealed his observations from other runners as well.

      Together, we will make a new plan to tackle the next race.  No guarantee that we will be any more successful, but we’ll give it our best shot.  And we will continue to experiment with, record, and modify our race-day strategies; getting ever closer to consistent and dependable results.

      So, runners and crew let’s learn from each other!  Let’s share our experiences, our triumphs AND our catastrophes.  Afterall, as one of our most vocal presidential candidates once said, “sometimes by losing a battle, you find a new way to win the war,” (Donald Trump). 

      DNF.  I wasn’t familiar with the term before we embarked on this journey.  Now, I am intimately aware of the widely accepted definition.  But DNF can and does mean so much more.  Fundamentally, they are just letters.  You can make them stand for anything.  You hold the power to change the perception.  

      Convincing our runners, however, to alter their mind-set will surely take every ounce of patience we have left:)  Hang in their spouses, crew, and loved ones...the season has only just begun!!

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      The Wife of an ultra runner May 02 2016, 2 Comments

      The Wife of an ultra runner

      Guest writer, Katara Hause

      Welcome to my world…piled high with sweat-stained clothes, heaps of colorful shoes, stacks of trail maps, and masses of mismatched water bottles and lids.  This is the life of a runner’s wife; a long-distance, trail runner’s wife to be exact.  If your significant other is a member of the ever-growing competitive running community, this is familiar territory.  If you’re new to this lifestyle, grab a seat, take a load off, and allow me to enlighten you:)

      Maybe your story started as ours did, or maybe you knew what you were getting yourself into.  Either way, just as our runners have their community to support, encourage, and commiserate with, we (those of us supporting them) gotta stick together too!  Wouldn’t it be nice to know you’re not alone on this journey?  I assure you there are others who share your frustrations, anxieties, eye-roll moments, immeasurable pride, and uncontained exuberance.  So, buckle up…here we go!

      My husband didn’t start out as an ultra runner…he didn’t start out as a runner at all.  He was fit, of course, but not a gym rat or even a regular exerciser.  Then, one day, he casually said, “I’m going to start running!”  Okay.  Sure.  Whatever you want, dear.

      As I write, he is in full-bore training mode for his first hundo, and only half-jokingly, plans for another 100 mile, back-to-back 50’s, or some blind-folded, in-the-dark- dropped-off-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-with-no-support kind of jacked up race later in the year.  I think he mentions these events just to gauge my reaction! 

      He scoffs at some of the “crazy” people he hears or reads about, who run weeks’ long races through entire national forests (the same way he once scoffed at folks doing what he now does every day!).  “How could they do that?”, he asks, and in the same breath nonchalantly mentions he will be spending his day off this week running 35 miles in the rain on one of the toughest trails in the area…all in the name of fun.  

      Welcome to the world of ultra running.  Or more succinctly, the world of supporting, loving, and living with an ultra runner!  Here’s what you need to know:

      1.       He will NEVER own enough pairs of running shoes and they will seemingly multiply overnight!

      Shoes of numerous colors and styles will infiltrate EVERY room of the house, both cars, and likely the patio and deck.  What looks like “just another running shoe” to you, may be THE missing half of his favorite pair of “low-drop, light-weight, mid-range, trail” shoes.  At least once a week, a full-blown, all-out search by every member of the family will be required to reunite these lost and separated pairs!

      Your runner will be able to readily recite the exact mileage on each pair of shoes at any given moment, and will always be needing “another couple pairs” to hold him over.  And NONE of these shoes constitute every day runaround shoes.  Those are a completely different animal.

      Tip: Invest in a boot/shoe dryer.  We were gifted one for Christmas and though I didn’t see the purpose early on, it’s become a very useful tool!

      2.       He will NEVER own enough gear.

      Gear is a general term used to refer to all items outside of shoes and clothing, including but not limited to: water bottles, hats, visors, sunglasses, headphones, chargers, hydropacks, supplements, compression sleeves, etc.  For a long run on a hot day, gathering all the accessories necessary can be exhausting in and of itself!

      And even if there is a specified place to store all said gear, it will end up covering every open surface in your home!  My daily ritual now includes picking up various running paraphernalia and placing it on his nightstand for sorting and storage.

      Tips: a. Encourage your runner to (at a minimum) rinse all said gear immediately after the run and hang to air dry.  This will reduce the potential for gear to end up at the bottom of a hamper or piled on the floor becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew growth —YUCK!! 
      b. Find a reliable disinfectant/deodorizer safe for clothing and gear which can be used as a soaking mechanism and keep plenty of stock!
      c. Don’t invest in high-end sunglasses or headphones!  These invariably end up falling off, falling out, getting left behind, or breaking on a regular basis.  Consider these items disposable and stock-up so replacements are available at a moment’s notice.

      3.       His favorite “non-running” clothing will only consist of logo’d apparel representing choice running gear or race swag.  

      Whether your runner is loyal to a particular shoe brand, or devoted to a specific race series, there is a certain level of elitism that goes along with this level of competitive running.  They are dedicated to the sport and want everyone to know it:)

      Tip: Don’t bother buying him off-the-rack t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc.  Find out his favorite brands, manufacturers, and race sponsors…go direct to these sources for every day, casual clothing options.  Pass along this information to friends and family for easy gifting options as well!

      4.       He will INHALE anything resembling food after a long run!  

      My husband has always had a super-quick (and disturbingly enviable) metabolism.  After a long-distance run, his appetite is nearly insatiable!  I guess if he’s burning 10,000 calories, he can rightfully eat anything and everything he wants:)

      I try to always keep lots of healthy options available to hold him over in between meals; Greek yogurt, raw almonds, hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, and homemade granola.  But he is just as likely to grab a snack bag of Doritos, a banana, and one of his favorite IPA’s (not necessarily in that order) on his way to the shower.  Bottom line: keep your fridge and pantry stocked at ALL times!

      Tip: Buy and use a powerful blender made specifically for protein shakes!  We have found various combinations of raw veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and spices that help reduce inflammation, diminish pain, ease muscle cramping, and moderate metabolism.  It’s been life-changing and has significantly improved his training and race preparation.

      5.       Get used to “me time.”  

      If you live in an area like we do, which celebrates the start of hunting season with the fervor and tenacity of shoppers on Black Friday, then you are familiar with the term “hunter’s widow”.  Well, I’m here to introduce you to a similar phenomenon…the runner’s widow.  The endurance required to train for and complete long-distance races, requires many hours spent running.  Early mornings, evenings, weekends, holidays…any time is a good time to run (so I’ve been told).  

      You will spend a lot of time physically and emotionally supporting your runner, so when he doesn’t “need” you, find a hobby or activity which gives you a sense of accomplishment and which brings you joy.  To give your best to your runner, you have to be confident in your own worth and content in your existence.  

      Tip: Discover your own passion.  Maybe you are also a runner.  Or maybe you enjoy yoga, or photography, or cooking.  Whatever it is, use the time your runner is away, to feed your soul in a way that rejuvenates and inspires!

      6.       His “social circle” will now include runners of like mind and communication with this group will consume an inordinate amount of time and energy.

      My husband does the majority of his training solo.  Only on the rare occasion will he team up with someone and run together.  However, his “peeps” depend on him to pontificate the benefits of running, provide motivational inspiration, offer proper hydration methods, demonstrate cross-training techniques, and share the topographic features of all his local trails.  Needless to say, he is in high demand!

      His post-run priority will consist of posting said notions to all active social media sights, including but not limited to FB, IG, and Twitter.  Only after this has been successfully completed, will he entertain the thought of toweling off and removing his mud-covered shoes.   Many hours post-run will be spent reading, smirking, and responding to comments on these posts.

      Tip: Don’t take your runner’s non-response or delayed response personally.  Much of this journey can only truly be shared by folks on similar journeys.  If you, like me, are NOT a “real” runner, we find ourselves outside the circle of trust.  Find other ways to connect to your runner without undermining their dedication and efforts.

      7.       Remember he loves you more than running (even though it doesn’t seem that way sometimes!).

      It’s hard not to feel like running is his clandestine affair.  He leaves quietly, before dawn breaks so as not to wake you.  He leaves a note by the bedside and you’re not sure when he’ll be back.  You know while he’s away, he’s happy, fulfilled, and care free.  When he’s not actually on the trails, he’s posting/blogging/dreaming of/planning for/talking about/reading up on/shopping for…running.  Especially during the height of training before a big event, it seems all-consuming.  

      It’s easy for the mind to wonder, “Is running getting the best of him?”  “Does running do something for him that I can’t?”

      Well, the answers to those questions are no and yes respectively.  Running makes him the best he can be.  It centers him.  It fills him with a sense of achievement and confidence.  It gives him an outlet for his frustrations, worries, and anger.  He pushes his body and mind further than 99% of the population believes is possible.  He takes care of himself so he can take care of you.  Put simply, it allows him to give you his best possible self.

      Running absolutely does things for him that you can’t…and what a blessing!  If his happiness, serenity, and self-esteem were solely your responsibility, imagine the burden it would place on you personally or the strain it would cause your partnership.  The impact could be catastrophic!   

      But, he loves you.  And he needs you.  He wouldn’t be able to do what he does without you.  You take care of all the other important “to-do’s” in his life, so he can focus on the next run, the next race, the next challenge.  He knows this and he will thank you in big and small ways every day.  You just need to be present enough to recognize and appreciate them!  

      Tip: Don’t let bitterness or jealousy play a part in your relationship.  These are “energy suckers” and will feed on your insecurities and faithlessness.  Communicate your feelings with your runner and try to keep your emotions in check (tough, I know!).  

      8.       Crewing is a critical part of the process.

      At no time will you feel more a part of your runner’s success or failure than while crewing at an event.  From the days before preparations, to the early wake-up call on race day, to the start gun and to the finish line, you’ll get wrapped up in the anticipation, excitement, anxiety, disappointment and triumph right along with them.

      As his lifeline, it will be your responsibility to predict what he will need each step of the way.  I can’t stress it enough…BE PREPARED!!  I’m a planner by nature, but if you don’t share my propensity for making lists and organizational charts, you need to find your own way of managing race days.  Familiarize yourself with all the supplements, powders, chews, gummies, pain killers and food stuffs your runner prefers before, during, and after a race.  

      Sometimes you will know what he needs before/better than he does.  Don’t be afraid to be firm in your suggestions for nutrition, hydration, and first aid during check points.  There are such things as a “runner's high” and delirium which can cause your runner to feel better or more indestructible than they actually are.  Remind them of the race plan and the importance of sticking to it.

      With that said, flexibility is also important.  Make sure various food options are ready for him to grab-n-go at all times…half a peeled banana, peanut butter and jelly mini sandwiches, beef jerky, flat Mt. Dew, etc.  Depending on how the race is going, the temps, humidity, and so on, his needs and his wants will vary greatly.  Better to have every scenario covered, than to find out you forgot the one thing he has now decided is critical!

      As important as nutrition and hydration are, a well-stocked and easy-to-transport first aid kit is essential.  All the basics should be packed along with smelling salts, toothpaste, ace bandages, replacement shoe ties, disinfectant/baby wipes, Tums, gum, sunblock, and bug spray.

      You are not only responsible for nourishment and first aid, but also for attending to the emotional needs of your runner; knowing when they need that encouraging word or swift kick in the backside is something only you can provide.  Letting them vent can be difficult and humbling, but it may be exactly what they need to clear their head and “get them in the zone”…all part of our crewing responsibilities.

      Tip: You know what they say about the best laid plans…inevitably, something crucial will be forgotten, lost, misplaced, or broken.  Forgive yourself (and your runner) for the mid-race argument that may ensue!

      9.       You will never stop worrying.

      Aside from being in the best physical shape of his life, my husband has had his fair share of running-related and completely fluky injuries.  There was the corneal abrasion which laid him out for two weeks; the puncture wound in his foot which subsequently became infected and required a week-long hospital stay; the partially torn calf muscle thanks to a pick-up basketball game with our boys.  Numerous training delays due to Achilles tendonosis, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures have also occurred.  So pardon me if I worry…regardless of weather conditions, length of run, or training vs. race day.

      I send him off with a kiss and reminders like, “Don’t go out too fast”, “Run YOUR race, not anyone else’s”, and “Be safe”.  What I really want to say is, “Please, please, please come back to me in one piece!!!”

      For me, this is TOTALLY a control thing…I’m not a runner and have no real desire to put my body through the literal gut-wrenching tests of fortitude.  I cannot comprehend what it takes to push my body beyond what my mind thinks possible.  Because I can’t understand it, I worry.  Sharing in all the race-day excitement is a gift, but after the gun sounds, I’m left with faith and prayer as my only companions until the next aid station check-in.  During those early morning or late night training runs, sleep is NOT my friend and only comes fleetingly when exhaustion finally wins over angst.

      Tip: Worry, but don’t obsess.  Share any safety concerns with your runner and help them understand and appreciate your fears.  Take precautions where necessary and let the rest go!

      So, welcome to the club!  From one runner’s widow to another, I challenge you to embrace the lifestyle with all its quirks and eccentricities.  Go willingly and eagerly on this journey with your runner and amidst the chaotic schedule, mounds of laundry, and empty pantry, remember these are the signs of a healthy, happy runner…job well done!



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      Mallory Billings-Litke #TrainWithOrangeMud Update! April 27 2016, 0 Comments

      Mallory Billings-Litke #TrainWithOrangeMud Update!

      Every year since 2010, I have wanted to hit 1,000 miles for the year have always fallen short. Today during my race, the TARC Spring Classic, I surpassed 500 for the year so I am well on my way! I’ve mostly stuck with half marathons so far in the years that I’ve been running but I’ve got several BIG goals for this year.  Along with some half marathons, I will be doing two marathons, one 6 hour race, a 50k and a 50 miler.  My two “goal” races for the year are the 50k and 50 miler.  Memorial Day Weekend is around the corner, which means my 50k is as well.  Training in New England in the late winter/early spring offers a Mixed bag of weather.  I wish I could say that I always opt to run outdoors but I have succumbed to the treadmill on several occasions throughout the past several weeks.  That being said, I do solemnly swear that I will not do more than one run per week on the treadmill.  It’s finally getting a bit warmer out so I’ve been enjoying the outdoors more often.  The nearest trail to me, that I am aware of, is 35-40 minutes away so I very rarely get to do trails during the week and save them for my long run on the weekends.  When I do my long runs, I use my car as an aid station, taking along my Orange Mud modular gym bag; I keep my gear organized and accessible so I can be in and out of the car, just as I would in a trail race.  On several of my runs during the week, I have been running home from work and I use my Hydraquiver Double Barrel Hydration Pack to aid me during my run commute.  I bring my work clothes home on days that I don’t run so all I’ve got to carry is my wallet, phone and keys.  I hired a coach for my 50k and I plan to hire the same one for my 50 miler and I can honestly say this is the most consistently I have ever trained.  I’ve also become more involved with my local trail running community and have run a few races with them this year.  I am getting more comfortable on the trails and am loving every second of this training.

      With just a few weeks left until my first 50k, I need to stay focused on a few things: consistency, strength training, nutrition and hydration.  My goal is to follow my plan to a T and do all of the miles outside.  I need to continue experiencing the variety of weather so that no matter the weather on race day, I’m ready.  In the past couple of weeks, I’ve experienced rain, snow, hail and high winds. Even though I hate it in the moment, I know it’s good for me to experience running in this weather.  I have not been as strict with my cross training and strength training as I should have been so I am going to make sure that I put more effort into it over the next several weeks.  With all of these miles, I know I’m more susceptible to injury, especially if I’m not caring for my body.  I’ve been working on my nutrition for the past couple of months and have even been using an app to keep track of everything I eat.  As a runner, it’s easy to overestimate how much you can eat, even when logging a lot of miles.  I’ve found this to be a useful tool to make sure that I am eating a variety of foods, especially my fruits and vegetables.  Lastly, hydration.  I sit at a desk all day for work so I am making sure that I drink 32 ounces of water before lunch and another 32 ounces after work.  I do not do as well on the weekends but it’s a work in progress.  

      Want to follow my progress?  Follow me on Instagram @RunYoginiRun or search #trainwithorangemud

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      Jenny Nakamura #TrainWithOrangeMud Update! April 27 2016, 0 Comments

      Jenny Nakamura #TrainWithOrangeMud Update!

      I moved to Phoenix in late 2011. Shortly thereafter I made the decision and started training for my first marathon. The New York City Marathon was supposed to be my first, but then Hurricane Sandy happened and we all know how that went. So I restructured my goals and my training and ran the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World marathon as my first marathon instead.

      A year later I made it to New York City and ran my fastest & favorite marathon to date; 5 boroughs, 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 35 minutes!

      For my first 3 marathons, I had a super specific training plan that I followed to the letter.I very rarely missed a day and it was super exciting to be hitting mileage goals that I’d set for myself. With such specific training I didn’t always listen to my body and had an issue with my hamstring that still bothers me from time to time today.

      Fast forward 3 years, 6 more marathons, amazing destinations like Rome & Venice, Italy, no specific training plan, slower times, and no new marathon PRs. When I picked the Vancouver USA marathon to be my 10th marathon, my birthday race and PR race, I picked it because it’s supposed to be flat & fast. I also didn’t have a lot on my race schedule at the time.

      In the last 6 weeks, I’ve run 2 50ks, 2 half marathons, a 15k and a 5k along with many miles on the trails. It’s not a traditional training plan, and not necessarily one that I would advise anyone else to embark on but it’s worked for me.

      My endurance is definitely at an all time high and my recovery from the 50ks has been amazing, with recovery runs the day after the race, active recovery at it’s finest. My race nutrition is still a work in progress but I feel like it’s slowly but surely coming together and using my Orange Mud VP1 has helped significantly so I can carry my own fuel with me vs. having to rely on aid stations.

      My focus for the next 6-8 weeks is to work on increasing my speed on longer runs, get used to running in the heat and to continue working on my nutrition.

      Happy Running!

      Follow Jenny on Instagram and Twitter@runnylegs

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