Tailwind Interview September 08 2017, 0 Comments

Tailwind Interview

We had a lot of fun chatting with Jeff Vierling, founder of Tailwind Nutrition in our podcast. Due to high request, we had it transcribed as well for your reading pleasure! Want to listen to the podcast? Click here!  

Transcription from the Tailwind Podcast

Josh: Alright guys, welcome to another episode of the Orange Mud Adventure Channel Podcast. Today, your hosts are myself, Josh Sprague and Paul Jesse from Orange Mud.

Paul: How is everyone doing today?

Josh: Nutrition is something that many of us stumble on in training and racing, especially in the longer events. We both have known tons of people that have switched to Tailwind with tremendous success and as such, are super-excited to have Tailwind founder Jeff Vierling on the call today. So Jeff, welcome to the call.

Jeff: Hey, thanks a lot guys, happy to be here.

Josh: Heck yeah, man. Alright, so let’s dig into the start of Tailwind first, so specifically blowing chunks is on your website. It’s a great way to start a business, is blowing chunks. The taste of entrepreneurship from your stomach. So yeah, walk us through that.

Jeff: There’s nowhere to go from up from that taste, so…

Josh: There’s truth to that. That’s for sure. That was the Leadville 100, right, is where you puked after the race?

Jeff: Yeah, that was Leadville 100 and actually it was my first real race ever. I kind of chose a big one to start with.

Josh: But you haven’t even done like 50 miles or 15-mile mountain bike races at all?

Jeff: Actually, that year I did do the Silver Rush 50 miler. That Silver Rush was my first time actually racing a mountain bike.

Josh: Nice!

Paul: That’s awesome – way to just go for it, I like it!

Josh: I just did Silver Rush, was it two weeks ago? And that was hard! I’m hoping the Leadville 100 is easier than Silver Rush 100.

Jeff: I had that same reaction. I did that Silver Rush that same year and I was like oh man, if the hundred is double this I’m in deep trouble.

Josh: Yeah, not to mention I wouldn’t make the cutoff. I think I did Silver Rush 50 in 637 I think it was and the cutoff for the 100 is 12, so it’s got to be at least 50% easier or I’m not going to finish.

Jeff: Yeah, the good news is it is easier. Or at least it spreads it out a little bit more, not as concentrated.

Josh: Any puking in the Silver Rush or was it just the 100?

Jeff: Didn’t puke in the Silver Rush. I don’t remember a whole lot about that besides the pain.

Josh: I’m with you.

Paul: What year was that?

Jeff: I had to actually go look at that, that was actually 2002.

Paul: Ok, and then how long did it take you after that to kind of come up with the idea of making your own hydration mix?

Jeff: Yeah, I think that was really sort of a start of the journey right there. And I kept on experimenting with different products after that. I actually ended up, I didn’t do the Leadville race in 2003. I think I had second thoughts about the blowing chunks episode.

Paul: Understandable.

Jeff: So I actually skipped a year there before I started doing it every year. And I know for sure I didn’t have Tailwind, I wasn’t using that in the next race. Cause again I was just trying to see if I can figure out something that would work and feel better and I was starting to read up on the sports nutrition research just to understand the problem. But I didn’t really set out to make my own. And so, it’s funny cause you probably should know when your business has started, but I actually don’t remember exactly.

Josh: Didn’t you guys – I think you guys started the same year we did, at least selling which I think was 2012.

Jeff: Yeah, that was 2012. So I know when the sort of business side of it started, but at that point, I was just really trying to solve my problem, I wasn’t really thinking about creating something that would eventually be a business. So…

Paul: Sure. More focus on getting yourself at the finish line than anybody else.

Jeff: Exactly, yeah.

Josh: So, after Leadville, there’s some period between then and 2012. You began experimenting with these different homemade concoctions to prevent stomach distress and hopefully no blowing chunks at the finish line. What were the key differences you found between other products on the market and yours? Like what was the element you found or at least some of the key elements you found that would help to have a more stable stomach?

Jeff: Yeah, so I really did experiment with pretty much everything out there in the market. At least in training, and some in racing too. And I just wasn’t finding something that worked. It did teach me kind of a lot and I noticed some commonalities. And then as I was diving into the research about how the body actually absorbs fuel and utilizes fuel, I just found that some of these, actually a lot of the products in the market have ingredients that are really challenging to digest. And slow the absorption of calories. And that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me because your blood’s actually diverted away from your digestive tract, so most people can’t digest stuff as efficiently while they’re going hard, and you’re running a calorie deficit. So why would you want to make your body work hard and harder for the fuel that it needs, and then delay its entry when you’re running in a big calorie deficit? That was kind of a big focus and Tailwind is to use the pathways that the body absorbs fuel and just get it in as quickly as possible without having to digest it. So that’s one really big difference. And then there are some other things as well, that I had as kind of pet peeves from my own racing experience. Things like the taste and texture, something that I can use all day and not get super sick of. The electrolyte balance right so cramping’s not so much of an issue and then just the ease of use. Mixing it, put it in a hydration pack and clean it up without turning that into a science experiment. And also simplicity, just keeping it simple. I don’t know how you guys feel, but I did a few hours into a race, my brain starts going south and I find myself like – did I just take that salt pill 10 minutes ago or was that an hour ago?

Paul: I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for a beeping timer on my watch I’d never take anything.

Jeff: Yeah, exactly. I mean that just ends up adding a lot of stress to the whole situation. It’s trying to keep it simple so that I can just sort of focus on riding and not on worrying about whether I’m getting stuff right.

Paul: So how easy was it to make a mix that just tasted good versus a mix that actually worked?

Jeff: So actually, once I understood really how the body processes fuel, I was pretty lucky in getting it to work pretty well. But it took actually longer to dial in the flavor, I think. Yeah, that’s hard. It was hard enough for me, and then as we’ve gone on and it turned into a business, I mean, taste is all over the map for people.

Josh: That’s for sure.

Paul: And your tastes change too over the course of these long events. After a while you want less sweet, you know.

Jeff: Yeah, so that’s actually something that I don’t know, I kind of envisioned. I don’t know what happens at other companies, I kind of envisioned that there are people who sit around in a conference room and they’re sipping things saying this tastes better than that. And it might taste good when you’re sitting on the couch, right? But then that’s totally different to when it’s like hot and you’re 6 hours in. So, I definitely was, I was trying to get the taste to work when it’s hot and you’re 6 hours in or 10 hours in and have it still be something that you can drink. And you know, you’re willing to drink. It’s not grossing you out. You’re not like ‘ugh’. And you guys have probably heard this, I’ve heard it from so many people whether they start with their nutrition plan and then they’re like yeah, I got so sick of the gels 3 hours in and I stopped taking them.

Paul: Absolutely.

Jeff: Right? And then they talk about how they start to run out of energy and they felt like crap, it’s like well, yeah. It’s not too surprising you stopped taking calories in, you’re going to go south.

Paul: It’s amazing how that works.

Jeff: So it’s super important to be able to keep taking it. So that’s what the flavor’s trying to achieve, is what tastes good when you’re sweaty and when your drink is not ice cold and you’re going for a long time.

Paul: So were you pretty much self-taught on all this stuff, just your own personal research and that’s kind of how you started all this/

Jeff: Yeah, I think I really benefitted from that there’s been a lot of sports nutrition research done in the last couple of decades, and even since maybe some of the leading products that are now on the market were developed, there’s been a lot more research done. So I benefitted from a lot of that.

Paul: So, since you are self-taught since you started to make these things in your kitchen, were you ever concerned with what you were actually putting into your body and did any of those concoctions have a horribly negative effect?

Jeff: It would make a better story if it was terrible, but no, actually…

Josh: You never turned purple or anything. That was a wrong chemical!

Paul: No bad Willy Wonka reactions?

Jeff: No, there is a friend I was kind of bouncing ideas off of at the time, and he tried something that had like an effervescent effect. He was like oh my god, belching all the way up the hill. So, I was lucky to dodge that one. I kind of lucked out in terms that it did work out pretty well and I was really confident in it too because it was, what I was putting in as far as ingredients were really exactly what the body uses and how it uses fuel. So, I was pretty confident it would work. And yeah, it actually did.

Josh: So that’s kind of a good segway into this question then: what would you say is at the core of what makes Tailwind different than most of the other hydration mixes on the market?

Jeff: Well, if you want to dive in the weeds here a little bit, it’s an all-in-one fuel. Meaning like you can get all your calories, all your electrolytes and your hydration together. And I think that’s kind of really the core of it and it has a lot of side benefits, one of which is simple to use. You can just, you’re going to drink anyway, so you can just sip your fuel and you’re getting your hydration also. But there’s also a real biological reason that that works and basically in your small intestine you have a couple of active transport mechanisms, they’re pumps. They’re pumps for glucose and fructose. And like all pumps in the body, they’re a sodium-potassium pump, means that if you’ve got the glucose there, in water, and you need sodium also in your small intestine, then that pump will function and it will grab unto that, say that glucose molecules and the sodium molecules and pump them in and that creates a little local tenacity difference and it sucks water through at the same time. So you’re actually getting the three things that you need for your ability to perform: your calories, your electrolytes and your water. When you have those three in combination, it’s actually the most efficient way to get all 3 in. So, that simplicity is also kind of the key of why it works. We’re giving you that fuel, the glucose, so that the main ingredients in Tailwind are dextrose, which is glucose and sucrose as far as the fuel goes. And sucrose is glucose and fructose molecule. At your small intestine level, you’re getting glucose and fructose which is exactly what your body absorbs.

Josh: So, I guess before we go back to the sugars, on electrolytes – I generally take two an hour. And I’m with you when it gets so confusing, like 2 an hour is easy. It’s when I switch cause it’s really hot to two every 45 minutes, 50 minutes. I think I can process that but then actually after a few hours is I’m like was it 2:15 that I had this last, or 3? You start really losing it. But at the same time, like I have a buddy of mine and he’s like an oddball in this case, but he eats electrolytes like it’s going out of style. He’ll take 5 an hour and maybe 7 and if he isn’t doing that, he cramps. I’ve never met anybody like him, he’s definitely unique in that case. How would that, and maybe this means you need to take additional supplements, but being that your formula has electrolytes in it, how do you kind of teach people or recommend people manage their cramping when they maybe have to have more than what your supplements, more than you have in your fuel?

Jeff: Man, it’s actually like a really big topic. Cramping – there’s a lot of kind of misunderstanding about and then also the science on it is not totally figured out. There are a lot of causes of cramping and electrolytes or an electrolyte and water balance in your body can definitely be a factor. We’ve all seen people drinking just water and then they’re like quivering on the side of the road. I think everybody does endurance racing knows that from experience. But it’s not as simple as you know, if I’m feeling sort of crampy just pop in more electrolyte pills is going to take care of that problem. In a lot of cases that’s not true and more isn’t better. So you kind of have to understand that like blood is 4 times saltier than sweat. So your blood is actually really salty already; now if you become dehydrated, than that concentration actually goes really up. Even if you’re sweating salt out, you can actually change your electrolyte and water balance a lot more through water loss, through dehydration or the other direction, if you’re just drinking water and you’re sweating a ton of salt out and you do that for hours and hours, you can wind up with really dilute electrolytes in your bloodstream. So, both situations are actually not good for performance and even dangerous sometimes. But really what you want is, you want to keep your salt and your water levels in balance in your body. So the keys to cramping are not just how much salt you’re taking in, but also how much water you’re taking in and whether you’ve got enough fuel that’s getting to your cells. If you’re in a dehydrated state, your heart has to work harder to move that sticker slurry around and you’re less efficient at getting the energy to your muscles, and you’re less efficient at getting rid of the waste products. So, you kind of see how this can kind of cascade and it’s not just as simple as hey, a salt pill. It’s about trying to keep that whole system in balance, and that’s why we put the electrolytes in with the water in the right ratio. So you’re – if you are drinking to replacement for sweat volume, then you’re also getting those electrolytes back in that you need. And you know, people are definitely different and they can have really different physical needs. But if you kind of keep those things close in balance, your body is pretty good at regulating itself too. So it generally works.

Paul: Sure. Kind of going back to the sugars we were talking about a little bit ago. The primary sugars that you guys use are glucose and sucrose in Tailwind. Can you give us a little bit of an idea as to why those are your primary fuel sources as opposed to any kind of complex carbs or anything like that?

Jeff: Yeah, so I think this is something that also is confusing out there, it sort of confused me for a long time. You know, it helps to understand what’s a simple carb, what’s a complex carb. So simple carb would refer to a simple sugar like glucose. It’s a molecule, an individual molecule and we have active transports mechanisms just for glucose. That’s one of the two sugars that your body absorbs as energy. And when you actually talk about eating something and how you get the energy out of that, those two pumps are actually the only ones that exist. There are no pumps for other molecules like that. So, even if you eat like a stake, the energy out of that that you’re going to be able to absorb is eventually going to come in the form of glucose and fructose. So, then a complex carb is actually a manufactured chain of dextrose molecules. So it’s still glucose, but they’re manufactured into linkages. So a chain of them. And those chains have to be broken in order for the glucose to be absorbed. Cause absorption only happens one molecule at a time.

Paul: Ok, that makes sense.

Jeff: So what you have with a complex carb, is you have a slower absorption curve because of the time it takes to break those chains. So, it kind of makes sense if you are – let’s say you’re fueling every 45 minutes and you shove down a couple hundred calories right at once.

Paul: Just sounds painful even to think about.

Jeff: Yeah, well, but a gel is going to be like 90 or 100 calories. So if you do that every 45 minutes or half an hour, that’s what you’re doing. You’re taking all those calories at once. And wouldn’t want them to all rush in at once, cause then you’d wind up with spiky energy intake. So that’s where maltodextrin, sorry I didn’t mention the name. Maltodextrin is the molecule you’re talking about when people talk about complex carbs. So, that’s what maltodextrin is sort of useful for, it will meter out a little bit of that absorption because you have to break those chains before it gets absorbed. So, it kind of works in that context, but it doesn’t really make sense if you’re sipping your fuel on the way. Why would you want to make your digestive system work harder and have that fuel sitting around where it’s not actually powering you, it’s just in your gut? Right? And that’s where people run into problems too, is if that absorption rate, if your ability to digest that and then absorb it slows beyond what your eating rate is, then you’re just going to back up and start feeling full and stuff’s not getting through.

Paul: That explains why I can’t use gels during ultras. Now it makes sense.

Josh: Those things are brutal.

Paul: On that sugar, going to be a little selfish here, but maybe kind of help some other people too. So I just ran 100k this past weekend, and probably around mile 50 I ate this huge, I don’t know why I just scarfed down this huge piece of watermelon and my stomach pretty much shut down on me. And I had the same problem at Wasatch 100 in September to the point where I actually had to end up drop out of Wasatch cause the pain got so bad, I couldn’t take in any calories. So on the drive home from the mountains I started googling why this could’ve happened, and I actually found from about two years ago a Facebook post from you guys talking about fructose malabsorption. Can you shed a little bit of light on that? Cause I had never heard of that until now and all of the symptoms are exactly what happened to me, so I hope that’s all the problem was, is that I just got to avoid my watermelon.

Jeff: Yeah, actually that’s pretty common. It’s actually pretty common one we hear about from our customers. And watermelon, it’s definitely the number one culprit and I think it’s cause it looks so good.

Paul: Yeah, I wasn’t even hungry – I was just standing in the aid station, I’m like ‘Oh, that looks awesome, I’ll just eat a huge piece of watermelon’. And I mean it was massive. I did not need that much watermelon, but it just looked good.

Jeff: Right, it tastes great, it’s cool, it’s refreshing. All those things, right? And that’s – I think that’s one of the things that’s super hard about nutrition, is that the things that like kind of taste good and are really satisfying, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the best fuel for you.

Josh: Jelly beans, gummy bears.

Jeff: Even that cheeseburger.

Josh: Nothing wrong with cheeseburger.

Paul: I eat bacon like it’s going out of style. In a race, not a good idea for me.

Jeff: Yeah, so fructose, what can happen is if you overload those pumps, the transport mechanisms, then that can be not fully absorbed. And it tends to happen more often with fructose than really glucose. The body seems to be a little less efficient at absorbing a lot of fructose. And so, that’s what then is called like malabsorption, meaning it just didn’t get picked up. It didn’t get picked up in your small intestine and moved into your bloodstream. It actually metabolizes a little bit different than glucose also, but that’s for a different topic. Anyways, what happens to that fructose that doesn’t get absorbed is it will go into the large intestine. In the large intestine, you have all the bacteria, and they just have a field day on that. So, that happens and then they start producing all their gas and byproducts and stuff like that, and you know that’s when you start feeling it.

Paul: Yeah, and based on the stomach pain that bacteria gets angry. I was doubled over it hurt so bad.

Jeff: It’s more like the bacteria is really happy.

Paul: Yeah, yeah.

F: You’ve got a forest going on in your intestine.

Jeff: They are having a field day and you’re running out into the field.

Paul: Oh man, it’s brutal. That was unpleasant. I’ve got a 50 miler next weekend and I’m going to try and avoid the watermelon. As long as there are no problems, then I think I’ll be okay for the 100 in September.

Jeff: Yeah, you just got to be really careful. I mean, we tell people it’s fine to have a little bit of fruit along the way. But you really, you’ve got to be really careful not to overdo it.

Paul: Is there anything other than watermelon that’s really high in fructose that you see at aid stations that should be avoided? I read somewhere that bananas are fine, but I think it was apples or pears or something like that. I never seen those in aid stations, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Jeff: Oranges would have some fructose too. Bananas have more glucose, so they’re actually pretty fairly decent fuel as far as solid foods go. So, but yeah, any of the things that you associate as kind of a juicy, fruity sort of taste, that’s gonna come back to bite you.

Josh: Pickles and potato chips – is there anything negative that you would say for pickles and potato chips at aid stations?

Jeff: You know, other than just that when you put stuff into your stomach, your stomach’s not really absorbing anything for you. It’s just making soup out of what you put into it.

Paul: That’s a lovely thought.

Josh: Definitely got to work on the wording on that one.

Jeff: So, I mean, pickle and potato chip soup – as awesome as that sounds…

Josh: Actually didn’t sound too bad.

Jeff: It just takes time and energy and if you don’t drink enough, then your body will actually suck water out of your blood stream and put it into your stomach in order to make that soup. So, you know, you can get into trouble if you don’t, if you’re not drinking enough to process that. But what you’re talking about there is salt. It means your body is saying I’m low on salt, and that’s why you’re craving the pickles and the potato chips.

Josh: I knew a big pitch of most hydration companies, I shouldn’t even say pitch cause that makes it sound bad, but a truth I think I should maybe probably word it as, for most hydration companies is the number one reason your nutrition went wrong in a race probably is because of the crap you ate on course more so than sticking with your drink. And I know that with you guys, that’s your pitch too, is drink Tailwind through the whole race, you shouldn’t have any problems, you shouldn’t need to take other foods because it truly can wreck things. That being said, we just get hungry in a race. And I know you guys don’t have protein in Tailwind, but I know that is the ideology behind some of the other brands is to put a little bit of protein in to stave off hunger cravings. So what’s your take on that as far as why no protein, and again, when you get hungry – like what do you do when Tailwind just isn’t enough?

Jeff: Yeah, so first on the protein. So, protein, the reason I don’t put it in is it’s a complex molecule that’s really hard to digest. And again, people vary. We probably all know people who have a slice of pepperoni pizza and then just keep going, right? And so some people’s digestive system is kind of super tolerant to anything. Other people have trouble with even something that’s really easy on your stomach as Tailwind is at the beginning of the race cause your stomach is just not functioning under stress, the start stress for instance. So, it kind of covers the whole map, but for most people your digestive system is derailed and throwing a hard to digest molecule at it is just asking for trouble. The other part about it is while you’re running a calorie deficit, your body is really trying to take everything you take in and turn it into energy, and in the case of protein, the calories that cost to break it down into useable energy are actually more than what you get out of it. So, it’s a negative energy contributor, which is not really what you want during a race either. So, those are the reasons we don’t included. Definitely the hunger thing, so first off, I mean hunger – if you actually get your calorie per hour intake right, you can really avoid hunger for a long time. It’s definitely possible to do that. That said, especially like in an ultra – we have a lot of customers that just like to eat something at some point.

Paul: It’s almost more mental than anything, yeah.

Jeff: Yeah, maybe more mental than anything, they like the idea of chewing something, tasting something different, having a little something in their stomach that makes them feel a little fuller. But you don’t want too full. There’s a fine line there. And we’re not religious about that at all. Our opinion is we want you to use what works for you to get you to your goal and if that’s like half Tailwind and half food and that works for you, that’s fine. But what we tell people is if you’re going to use something else, use another food during the race, just make sure you keep hitting your calorie goal. We usually look at it as calories per hour. And then reduce your Tailwind accordingly. So if you’re going to add in 100 calories or something, then you need to subtract 100 calories of Tailwind so you’re not overdoing it. Cause overdoing it, it’s really easy to overeat actually. It’s really easy to gulp down too many calories and then wind up not being able to process them while you’re out there.

Josh: I think it’s just unbelievable how many people ruin their nutrition just by not drinking enough. And myself included. I don’t think – I would say, just a rough swag at this, I’d say only 10% of people that do endurance racing, they drink properly. Almost everybody, it’s unbelievable how many people, I don’t care how experienced, how amazing athletes they are. They’re puking, suffering through something at some point and it’s unbelievable how. Earlier this year I did Dirty Kansas and in like a 4 and a half hour bike leg I drank 10, maybe 15 ounces of my mix and things just went wrong. And I just started feeling like crap, it was hot, nothing was lighting up. And I know better – and I actually thought I was drinking more than that, to be honest. I just, mentally I was off and as a consequence I was in a state of suck and I just wasn’t drinking enough as I should’ve been. It’s kind of tough for most people to really drink your whatever – just call it 250 an hour, calories-wise. Simply because you hit those downsides throughout the race where things go bad. And I met tons of people that they dilute their hydration mix to have strength and it tastes better for them. And I always ask them – you realize that’s cutting your caloric intake in half, right? And they’re like no, no. Yeah, if it’s 2 scoops for 250 calories, you’re using one scoop, yeah, you just cut it in half. But a lot of people don’t think that. I just cut off the flavor this way. But again, it’s just unbelievable how many people go wrong and they sabotage their own selves, and again myself included. And Paul with beet juice and watermelon.

Paul: I’ve done some dumb things.

Josh: But I however have never had a problem on pepperoni pizza. That is something that has been quite successful. So, I guess, another question I have then is biking versus running. And like for me, I rarely have problems anymore running. I got my hydration dialed pretty good.  I do notice biking though, it just seems like my burn rate is stiffer. And I don’t know if it’s a wattage output and it’s shifting more towards my legs and it changes the way my body’s processing fuel. But I am hungrier more on the bike than I am when I run. So, how do you see that fueling is different between endurance riders versus endurance runners?

Jeff: So, actually it’s funny because even though I started trying to solve a problem on the bike, you know, the mechanisms for how your body absorbs fuel and how it utilizes it and everything, it’s the same regardless of your sport. But like the majority of our customers are ultra and trail runners. And so it’s turned out that that group tends to have more stomach issues than cyclists in general. You can definitely have issues in both sports, but I think the kind of just the motion of running, the pounding and the up and down makes a problem of having stuff kind of in your gut and in your stomach sloshing around worse than on a bike.

Josh: Yeah.

Jeff: So, metabolically it’s really kind of the same problem. But I think that runners experience more acutely. So, as far as the actual fueling goes, one of the big differences that we see is that nobody really wants to carry around a lot of fluid. Especially when they’re running. But it’s a whole lot easier to do that when you’re on a bike, right? It’s not that big of a deal to have bottles on your bike or be carrying a 100-ounce pack. So, the ability to get enough water into that mix is definitely different, and that makes it a little harder on runners I think. They – you were just talking about hydration, I mean, a lot of studies show athletes pretty much run around somewhat dehydrated all the time. Cause we sort of, we’re just always in a dehydrated state. We never really hydrate fully. And actually there isn’t too much harm in being in a mild dehydrated state while you’re exercising either. But it is really easy to mess it up by getting too dehydrated. And that’s the biggest thing we see with runners is the tendency to not drink enough in order to process the fuel and then to run low on calories in the end cause they’re not getting enough in.

Josh: Yeah, and we see – we design hydration packs, obviously. And so, like when I’m using my bottle-based packs, I’m pretty flawless with calories per hour, with staying up with it. It’s when I use my bladder I have to be a lot more cognoscente of it, and I love our bladder pack. But it is the downside where I’ve learned over the years, I always set a timer to every 15 minutes and I drink. And I learned that 3 drinks, 3 hard drinks on the bike every 15 minutes will equate to 20-25 ounces per hour. And it at least seems to be my fix. But yeah, when it comes to freaking managing your fluid intake, it is, it’s horrible of how hard it is to be able to keep up. At least in the bottle-based packs, at least you’re able to see, ok, I’m 30 minutes in, I drank half my bottle, great. Or I drank 2 ounces from it, not good.

Jeff: Yeah, if you can see it, it’s a lot easier to manage, for sure. And I’m kind of like you, I mean I have – I know exactly what I need to be doing with my pack in order to get what I need and that’s just something that’s dialed in over time. But you know, you also are – when you’re racing, you’re looking at your pace, you’re looking at your heart rate, your breathing exertion and you’re monitoring all those factors. Nutrition is just as important as your training and your effort level and your race management. All that stuff matters and you’ve got to pay attention to it, it’s just no doubt. You’ve got to pay attention to nutrition – you got to dry and wing it. Or you let it slide, it’s probably not going to…

Paul: Only going to get worse as you keep going.

Jeff: Yeah, definitely.

Paul: So what do you guys recommend as far as how long you should be out running before you need a calorie mix versus just taking a bottle of water with you?

Jeff: Yeah, I think that one, it varies person to person obviously. We usually tell people about 2 hours is the cutoff. Or if you’re going over two hours, you should definitely be taking your mix with you. Most people, glycogen, if you’re a pretty well-trained athlete might be 2-2.5 hours of glycogen stores you’ve got on board to get you through. So you can definitely make it, the question is: what do you want to do the next day? If you’re going to go out and you’re going to go hard for an hour and a half, and then you intend to go out and go hard the next day, then I’d say you’d actually want to be drinking your mix all the way along. And the reason for that is a lot of your, one of the big factors in recovery is just how deep you went down into your reserves the day before.

Paul: It’s a really good point that I don’t think a lot of people realize, is when they look at their training or their nutrition of that run, they don’t really look at how’s my nutrition on this run going to affect my nutrition on tomorrow’s run or tomorrow’s ride?

Jeff: Exactly, yeah. Actually, we have some soccer teams that use Tailwind and that’s really the big factor for them, cause they want to try and train hard, say 3 days in a row and the quality of your training really depends on the availability of your energy reserves. So for them to be able to go hard 3 days in a row, they better be on top of their nutrition on that first day and the second day.

Paul: So how do you see nutrition requirements changing as far for things like short, fast stuff like soccer up to a couple of hours, and then again up to 24 hours or multi-day events?

Jeff: Yeah, so there’s some like really cool fun fact is that if you just swish a carbohydrate mix in your mouth, you don’t even have to swallow it. You will actually get a boost in your blood sugar from that. It’s actually kind of like the brain saying like ‘oh, hey, food’s on the way, I’m going to release some of the energy that’s in your glycogen stores into your bloodstream and make that available because I know I’m going to get it refueled.’ It thinks it’s going to feed you, right? And you can fool it by spitting that out.

Paul: It’s already halfway, you might as well take it in.

Jeff: Yeah. But if you’re going to try and go for a fast start, you definitely want to do that. And it’s not going to last you very long. Maybe we’re talking about a 15 minute window there, but you can get up to a 20% boost in your blood sugar. That would be free energy that’s in your bloodstream that your muscles can just grab and burn. So, if you’re trying to go real fast, that’s a really good reason to start out with carbohydrate before the race. You know, then as you go along, the really big difference between shorter and longer in my opinion is that your margin for error just gets smaller and smaller the longer you go. So I’ll give you an example. Let’s just say you’re under drinking by 2 ounces an hour. Okay? It’s not much, right? That’s very little, that’s kind of one big gulp. But if you’re out there, let’s say you’re out there 16 hours and you do that for 16 hours, well, you’re down 34 ounces. Which is basically a liter. So just think about sucking, you’re out trying to do 100 and you just gave a liter of blood.

Josh: I don’t think I want to do that.

Paul: I don’t think that will end very well.

Josh: I’ll let Paul do that.

Paul: That will be an interesting experiment.

Josh: For you.

Jeff: Yeah. That’s kind of what you’re dealing with, it gets to be very precise. And it’s hard because conditions vary day to day, maybe it’s drier, maybe it’s hotter. And you have to be able to plan for that and adjust for that. And those little mistakes that you make along the way, they compound. I think that’s what makes ultras really tough is you kind of have to be able to keep it right or you’re really going to have problems at later stages.

Josh: I hope the wearable technology… I know there’s stuff out there. But at least for my research so far it looks like it’s still super basic. But I really hope that before too long, the Garmin 25 as opposed to the Garmin 5, hopefully it reads your glucose levels and electrolyte levels. Everything and gives you more tactical feedback. I mean, like 2 ounces an hour like you’re talking about, that’s just so tiny. You’re talking about 7-8% of what you’re supposed to consume per hour anyway, to have a margin an error plus or minus 7%, I don’t think any of us…

Jeff: It is a big ask.

Josh: But if you can have something real time to manage those levels that’s pretty non-intrusive, that would be incredible.

Jeff: I totally agree. I’m right there with you on that. I’ve been dreaming about that for a long time. If you can manage just things like your glucose level, your, the salinity of your blood which is really a combination measure of your hydration and your stomach content. And even if it was like green, yellow, red. Even that level would help if you can monitor that on a periodic basis and see where it’s going. And that will give you that little bit of advance warning, like hey, I better be starting to drink a little bit more or I’m going to get into trouble here. That would help so much because our mechanisms like our thirst mechanisms and our hunger mechanisms – they’re just delayed. They aren’t, and actually they tend to function less well as you go on also. Or maybe it’s cause your brain sucks and not doing some things very well. But by the time you say I’m starving, man, it’s way too late.

Josh: I guess, I may have to hit up my Aunt Lory. She’s a diabetic, has been forever and wears a pump like in real time. And I’d be curious to talk to her and see what she sees. I know she’s more in tune with her blood sugar, just like many diabetics are. They know extremely well, but I wonder how much of it is delayed where maybe that’s part of the reason why wearables have been so slow to come to market because there is even a delayed reaction with how your body is reporting, basically. You know, okay, so maybe you’re in the yellow now, but does that mean you need to fuel hard because you’re going to go red no matter what at this point? I’d love to know more. Basically, you finish a run, you drink a bunch of water, hopefully instead of beer, but maybe beer too. And you think you’re hydrated, but like you said, you wake up the next morning and you pee like molasses. Your body continues to work and it seems like there’s that delayed process in knowing where your body is at.

Jeff: Yeah, and I think that sort of, you know, if you’re out there, there’s a lot of stuff you can really monitor in real time. You know how your foot feels or how your muscles are feeling, right? But you know, the nutrition part of it is still pretty mysterious as far as like what’s actually happening inside your body is really hard to know. And I hope, I really hope we get to that point. I think technology can really help out in this whole science of fueling right would really take a big leap if we had that feedback information.

Josh: Sure, you just need to get on it with your R&D budget.

Jeff: Yeah. Can I say your R&D budget too?

Paul: We might need a few more companies to get in on this.

Josh: Yeah, we just need to convince the guys at Metronic that they need to start investing in wearable technology. It’s, that’s what we need to do.

Paul: So, I’ve got a caffeine related question for you. When do you – so, you guys have formulas with or without caffeine. When do you recommend going to that caffeine formula as far as during a race or training?

Jeff: So there’s kind of two things with caffeine. One is just an essentially nervous system boost that we’re all familiar with from drinking a cup of coffee or tea or something if you’re a caffeine drinker. So, we have customers that use it because they just sort of drink caffeine all day long and they want to be doing the same thing when they’re out on the race.

Paul: Just kind of keeps them at their normal level.

Jeff: Just keep the normal level, right? The last thing they want is some sort of caffeine withdrawal thing happening during a race.

Paul: Way to make something hard even harder.

Jeff: Exactly. So there’s some people who just fall into that category and that’s why they use it. They’ll use it all the way through or they’ll use it most of the way through. Other people will use it just in their low energy time of the day. You know, for me that’s like 2-3 PM, I’m ready to take a nap. And then on top of that, you throw on a bunch of exercise and so, I get really tired and for me that would be the time. But that sort of is just different for people; a lot of people will do it at night if it expands at night. There’s also some pretty interesting research on the benefits of caffeine and this is one of the things about Tailwind is we really only put things in it that actually work and are proven by multiple peer-reviewed studies and not just marketing hype or pixie dust. And so caffeine is one of the few, really the only supplements that has a really substantial, can have a really substantial performance effect. And that’s a pretty interesting use case. First of all, you have to use a pretty good amount of caffeine. For somebody that’s like my size, like 170 pounds, the number’s like 250 milligrams in the bloodstream. Which is just a lot, right? And the benefits seem to be most effective if you start a race with that in your bloodstream.

Paul: And is that true no matter how long the race is?

Jeff: Yeah. Although you don’t necessarily have to keep that caffeine level up all the way through. Most of the benefit comes in the first hour and that’s from – that level of caffeine will free some fatty acids into the bloodstream that then get consumed by the muscles. And it’s essentially sparing glycogen. So instead of burning some glycogen in that first out, you’re burning some fatty acids instead and then you’ve got that spared amount of glycogen left over for the end of the race. That’s kind of the way to look at it. And some of the studies that looked at that have seen a 20% boost in endurance. So you can go 20% longer before you bonk.

Paul: So, does – for someone like myself, I don’t drink coffee, I’ll have tea very rarely. I don’t really drink soda anymore. So my caffeine intake is pretty much limited to when I’m racing. If I were to load up before a race with that much caffeine, will I have a crash that I should expect at some point?

Jeff: So, some of the effects of caffeine you might have if you’re kind of sitting around the house don’t seem to manifest in the same way when you’re racing according to the studies. One of them would be like the diuretic effect, right? That seems to disappear and my guess is that has to do with that you’re kind of running dehydrated already. And also the crash part of it didn’t really show up either. I’m not really sure why that would be, but one thing to understand about caffeine is that it has a half-life. And person to person that can vary from two to twelve hours. And what that means is the average is about 4. So if the average is 4, you add 250 milligrams to start a race, 4 hours later you’re going to have half that amount left in your bloodstream. And then another 4 hours you’ll have half of that. So if you keep on adding caffeine during the race, it will – if you’re adding enough it will offset your decay, you wind up accumulating caffeine as you go. So, it’s a tricky balance. We don’t really talk about that too much because trying to do that is something that you’d really have to experiment with and see if it works for you. For somebody who doesn’t really drink caffeine on a regular basis my guess is it probably wouldn’t feel really good to you cause you’re probably be at the start and just feel funky and jumpy and your heart’s racing. It’s not going to feel right to you.

Paul: I did that for a 10k one time. My buddy convinced me, since I don’t take caffeine, he’s like dude, you should take like a couple of caffeine pills. And this is the guy who would drink, at the time he was drinking like multiple – when I say multiple, like 3-4-5 Monster energy drinks a day and like just like, he’s a programmer, sits in front of a computer, just pounding this stuff. He’s like here, here’s some of the caffeine pills I have, try a couple. I think I took two of them. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I set a huge PR that day, but I literally at the turnaround point thought my heart was going to blow out of my chest. It was like my head was hot, it was a terrifying feeling. But I ran fast.

Josh: I think you should take an espresso an hour on your 50 miler this weekend. I just think it’ll be funny to see the result.

Jeff: If you’re racing like in Italy, they do. They have espressos, you know? Yeah, it’s interesting stuff but if you get up to like 500 milligrams, it’s really actually more of a milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight that matters. But then you’re going to start getting that, you can have nausea and jitteriness and heart problems and stuff like that. So, be careful.

Josh: It’s like a Coke, in the Dirty Kansas, like 100 miles in I was in a lull from mile 50 to 100. And I had a coke and a Red Bull actually at that aid station. It was great.

Paul: Was this after the 4 hours with the 50 ounces of fluid?

Josh: It was, yeah.

Paul: There you go.

Josh: So this is 8 hours or something in. And it did, it brought me back where I at least, I just member having a hard time holding my head up even coming into the aid station at mile 106. And then from there on, I did the exact same thing again at mile 160 something. It did, it helped. Granted, running I wouldn’t have done that, hopefully, probably, you never know. I’m not very intelligent. But at least in cycling I was able to kind of get away from it. But I really think the caffeine, it goes a long way and I probably should try mixing caffeine into my endurance drink in different races, but I know that morning I didn’t have coffee. I normally have a latte every morning, and I didn’t have it cause we were at this little bunkhouse and they didn’t have a coffee maker there. And it’s like the whole day started slow because I didn’t have my normal coffee like I do before a ride. I never get tired during exercise, rare anyway. Or at least mentally I should say. But I wonder if that’s what went wrong that day, I just didn’t have the freaking, I didn’t have the caffeine at the start.

Jeff: I generally recommend that people try and mimic their normal patterns, basically.

Josh: Yeah.

Jeff: If you want to try for the benefits of caffeine, go for it, but do that during training. Really vet that before you go using it in a race. But yeah, for the most part pretty much recommend people use caffeine the same way they would use it in daily life and if they hit that lull and they’re tired and they want a pick-me-up, that’s a good time to use some caffeinated Tailwind and get it in that way. I hate to burst your bubble on the coke thing, but there have been a bunch of studies on coke and it’s about 11% sugar solution, and actually has pretty minimal caffeine, not enough caffeine to make a difference. So actually, the boost you were getting from that is sugar. You were low on blood sugar.

Josh: Yeah, and I wouldn’t doubt that at all. Do you suggest topping off your glycogen stores prior to an event, and if so, what is your strategy for doing so?

Jeff: Absolutely. Actually, the state of your glycogen stores going into an event, even if you’re a fat burner, a metabolic efficiency practitioner, you still utilize, you still use glucose, even to burn fat. So, the state of your glycogen stores probably is the biggest determinants of how you’re going to do that day when you start. Cause you’re sure as heck not going to add to it while you’re out there. It only goes there from the starting point. And something that people don’t necessarily understand, but it’s not like a gas tank where you can keep going until the very last drop of gasoline, right? And it doesn’t affect the performance of your car. Your glycogen stores aren’t like that. As you utilize, as you use glycogen up, the brain is watching the rate that you’re using it and how deep your drawing down. The brain actually functions on glucose, that’s its fuel. So it will protect itself and it will make sure that it’s got enough for the brain. It’s basically like your survival mechanism, right? It’s going to make sure your essential organs and your brain have enough fuel. As you dig deeper and deeper you actually get a slower and slower release rate of glycogen. Your brain will keep rationing that down, and so you’re just going to get slower. And you’ll slow right down to a pace eventually that is the pace that you can sustain basically with very, very little glycogen use. And then you get too deep and you bonk. That’s your set down. That’s your body saying you know what? No more for the muscles.

Paul: You’re done.

Jeff: I’m shutting you down cause I need the rest of this to stay alive. Yeah, so you’re going to get the best performance when you have mostly a full tank. So, strategies for doing that – first strategy is don’t deplete in your previous training or if you’re doing a multi-day race, you want to stave off depletion as much as you possibly can. That means getting your calories in and being really conscientious about that. Secondly, if you’ve got to recover before your next event… sorry about that.

Paul: No problem.

Jeff: Secondly, your recovery is super important. You have a really short window right after your exercise that you can accelerate the rebuilding of your glycogen stores, you need to take advantage of that. Especially if you’re going to turn around and do something in 24 hours. And then, what we tell people that are really in training mode and in their season, is if you want to have good recovery between training sessions or races, then your diet should probably be about 70% of that plate should be carbs.

Paul: So on that recovery note, you guys don’t do any kind of recovery formula, right?

Jeff: Not yet.

Paul: Not yet? Does that mean there’s something coming down the pipe?

Jeff: It does.

Paul: Nice!

Jeff: I’m pretty excited about it.

Paul: Very cool!

Jeff: We still have some work to do, I can’t put a timeline on it, but I think it’s going to add something pretty cool to this space.

Josh: Think this year, maybe next year type of at least ballpark?

Jeff: Yeah, I mean I hope we can get it out there this year. That depends on a few factors, but that’s definitely what we’re aiming for.

Paul: Nice, looking forward to seeing that.

Josh: Alright, then what are you top three most popular flavors?

Jeff: Definitely mandarin oranges is our number one. And berry would be our second, and then decaffeinated raspberry.

Josh: Really?

Paul: I think those three I have in my cupboard right now.

Josh: So what about – don’t you have a naked formula? That one isn’t super popular? I figured that one would be in the top 3.

Jeff: Actually, it is pretty popular. It’s just that it’s just not, I think it’s made for.

Josh: Do you find that a lot of people buy the flavors because they like that flavor, but I wonder how many of them would probably do better in racing to run with a more naked formula, a more basic formula. Because I know like for me, especially when my drinks get hot at times, man it can be so brutal to drink them. But yet if there’s barely any flavor to it, then it’s okay.

Jeff: Yeah. I mean we definitely try and keep all of our flavors light. And some of it is just perception. So for instance berry, berry is not technically any sweeter than even the naked flavor. It doesn’t have more sugar in it or there’s nothing to make it actually sweeter, but your taste buds perceive it as sweet. And so there’s people that like that…

Paul: It’s funny how it works.

Jeff: It is funny. It’s definitely, I don’t know, you know about optical illusions. It’s like a taste bud illusion or something.

Paul: That’s a good way to put it, I like that.

Josh: First time I heard that, but it’s pretty spot-on.

Jeff: Yeah, it’s just something about the way the mind perceives berry as being sweet. So people who like a more sweeter drink tend to gravitate more toward the berry flavors. People who like a really as close to water as you can get tend to gravitate more towards naked. It just – people are just, their taste buds are different. That’s all I can say.

Paul: Which makes it really fun from a business side for you guys.

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, we definitely try and cover the bases and see if we can have something at least something in a product line that most people will like.

Paul: So we got a couple last minute questions that we kind of ask everybody, so we want to go down these with you as well. Have you ever cried at the end of a race? Or during?

Jeff: Oh man. Gosh. I actually kind of – I actually started crying at the start of my last Leadville.

Paul: Just cause you knew what you were about to do or what?

Jeff: Yeah. Partly looing forward to the pain. But I knew it was most likely my last one, and I was kind of looking back on the whole saga and all the years I’ve been doing it. And I’ve got pretty emotional at that start. Not so much at the finish, the finish was like dear god I’m glad I’m done.

Paul: I love the emotion these sports bring out of us. That’s why we ask this cause it’s just a unique way to kind of get a little insight.

Jeff: There was one time, my wife and I before we had kids we biked across Europe. And we had this kind of short day and we needed a short day, we were both tired and we were looking forward – this thing is 40 km that day, and we were going to stay in this kind of nice place. And we had the most brutal headwind ever, like and we had loaded bikes. So it’s like pedaling a brick, we were just going nowhere and it was taking so long and I actually picked up my bike and threw it into a ditch at one point out of frustration.

Josh: Well, is mountain biking still your primary sport?

Jeff: Yeah. I still – I love mountain biking. It’s something about the level of engagement that you kind of have to get and I just – I can drop pretty easily into that flow state and so I really enjoy it. But I also, as I get older, I just feel like I need to mix it up more in order to keep from being injured and so I enjoy other stuff too. I do hiking and trail running and then like in the winter, like skate skiing and snow shoeing especially.

Paul: Cool. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received during your athletic career?

Jeff: Well, this is going to seem kind of silly, but when I was just first starting to mountain bike, it was way before Leadville, but I was definitely like an after work and weekend rider. And I went out with this guy, I think he’d been a cyclist in college, he had that kind of skinny road biker physique and he was definitely way stronger than I was. And he said you know, if you’re trying to build up your strength and speed, just ride in one gear heavier than what you feel like you should. And so I started doing that and I got stronger, I got faster.

Josh: Nice. When I lived in Phoenix I had a bunch of buddies in this mountain bike team called Missing Link. I was part of that got into the single speeds, but I didn’t want to because I’ve always had a little right knee issue and I thought last thing I want to do is torque my knee more. But when I rode with them, it forced me, otherwise it was annoying to ride with them. It forced me to ride in one gear that was basically the same gear they had and I tell you, it makes you stronger for sure. And basically that’s the same concept you’re talking about, and I saw guys that were always kind of average riders, they became flipping animals man. Just from riding single speeds, it was unbelievable the extra power they got because they didn’t have an option of downshifting to going two miles an hour on a long climb. They had to go 8. That’s a good point, I need to try that on my next ride.

Jeff: Like if you train slow, you’re going to race slow. And believe me, if you have that option and no one is pushing you, you’re going to take it. I’ll just pop that into gear and take my time getting up this thing and keep breathing right down and everything. That’s what’s hard about training and racing is you’ve got to be able to push yourself. Sometimes those little tricks do that for you.

Paul: That’s why I prefer my speedwork on the treadmill cause I know I can’t slack off or I’m going to get thrown off the back. I do my speedwork on my own it’s so easy, it’s fast enough. Sweet man. You got any final thoughts for the listeners?

Jeff: Oh gosh, I mean. You guys asked a lot of good questions. I think the thing about Tailwind is I always viewed it as sort of half about the product and half about how we can help you reach your goal. That’s what we’re trying to do as a company – we’re not trying to just sell you a bag of stuff, we want you to succeed and that’s, so we spend a lot of time with folks helping them diagnose problems and like your email is and that’s kind of what we’re trying to think about ourselves. We’re your support group. So if we can help you out and help you get across if it’s just finishing or studying your PR or podiuming, whatever your goal is, if we can help you out, love to do it.

Paul: Awesome, love it man.

Josh: Yeah, Jeff, thanks so much for coming on today. And tell your awesome wife Jenny we said hello as well. I know she’s out playing out the retailer but in the show notes we’ll have the link to Tailwind. It’s and you have to check out the Our Story page, you can watch a video of Jeff puking in a trashcan which is awesome.

Jeff: That means more views, right?

Josh: Yeah, it’s always drama and people suffering. I always get a kick out of that way more when look at me, I’m amazing, I won. I’m really sad I didn’t see Paul suffering on beet juice last year. Still don’t understand why he drinks that stuff.

Paul: Not anymore.

Josh: It’s been great to have you on and being big in the endurance community ourselves, we see you guys everywhere, we love seeing how much you’ve grown. And we started our business the same year you guys did, so it’s exciting to grow along with you guys and see you branching out in so many different spaces of endurance, and not just in the run too. So, major props to you guys and look forward to talking with you again soon!

Jeff: Thanks guys, this has been fun!

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Crewing for 100 Miles August 28 2017, 0 Comments

Crewing for 100 Miles

My first experience of crewing for any race was on August 5th at the Angeles Crest 100 mile in California.

I was crewing for my boyfriend Alex Carrion. His crew also consisted of his two brothers Paul and Pablo and his good friend Richard. Paul and Richard would share pacing duties in the last 50 miles of the race. This was also Alex’s first race at the 100 mile distance.

Leading up to the race I did my homework on crewing, what to expect, strategies on nutrition and hydration, and what to do if something didn’t go to plan for the runner. 

I felt confident that I had the knowledge I needed to help Alex have a successful race.

Albeit I was a bit nervous too – a combination of my lack of crewing experience, the daunting distance that lay ahead and not knowing my courage or resilience in pushing Alex forward if he needed that external encouragement to continue against all odds.

Our day started at 3am with alarms going off to get up, get ready and get to the start line.

We had the crew car packed with everything we needed – food & drinks for Alex and the crew, first aid kit, spare clothes and shoes, chafing cream, sunscreen, ice and of course a camera to capture this epic adventure.

After the runners ran through the start line at 5am we made our way to the first aid station at the 9-mile mark.

Alex had created a comprehensive crew sheet with details of expected arrival time at each aid station and any requirements he had for that stop during the race.

As he ran in looking fresh to pick up his hydration pack for the following miles, I had everything I thought he needed laid out for him to grab – energy gels and bars, a banana, water and sunscreen.

I had missed the important “I need this at every aid station item” – watermelon water. A hydration mix that Alex wanted a cup of at every stop – watermelon, water, maple syrup, salt & apple cider vinegar.

I was sure not to forget it at any of the aid stations that lay ahead.

By the time we had driven around the sinkhole detour to the 2nd aid station Islip Saddle, Alex was ahead of schedule by over an hour. He kept saying he felt good and didn’t need to slow down.

I was trying to hide my concern that I felt he was pushing too hard for only being at mile 25. I tried to squeeze in some resisted solid food and get him to slow his pace with no luck.

I quickly learnt crewing involved a lot of waiting, double checking everything was ready for the runner’s arrival and watching the clock.
Thankfully the ultra running community are one of a kind, so warm and welcoming to talk as you wait, lend a hand moving heavy eskies full of ice and share shade or a chair.

This made the experience so much more enjoyable and a long, long day not seem so long.

Alex was having a great race, flying into each aid station with a smile and positivity. I was expecting some dark and low points, as you hear people running such distance more often than not experience.

There were a few moments of agitation and frustration, but these only lasted a minute if that, before his energy return and he wanted to get up and continue running.

Paul was set to start pacing Alex from Chilao Flats – 45 miles in. Paul had been crewing all day and also had the driving duties. He was now going to run 30 miles. A lot of credit to all the pacers who had the double duty of crewing as well.

We saw Paul and Alex at the next two stops – Shortcut Saddle and Redbox. At this stage of the race some of the other runners were experiencing stomach issues, vomiting, hallucinations and even blood in the urine. People were starting to withdraw from the race.

The heat and weather conditions were starting to take full effect.

Keeping this in mind, as the crew we always ensure Alex’s hydration pack refills had ice in them and we wrapped an ice filled bandana around his neck at each aid station to try and keep him as cool as possible.

In between crewing duties we had to pick up Richard who would pace Alex in his last 25 miles of the race from Chantry.

As we arrived at Chantry around 10pm there were signs of exhaustion amongst the crew, aid station volunteers and the runners as they came through this final stage of crew access.

Spirits were still high as we prepared a spot for Alex, set up his chair and lay out a change of shirt, shoes and some lentil soup for his arrival.

He climbed the stairs at mile 75, still an hour ahead of schedule looking the most exhausted I had seen him. He wanted to sit down, have something warm to eat and change his shirt. As I helped him change and get in some food, other friends and crews came over to give encouragement and support to push Alex through the mental barrier of the 25 miles that lay ahead.

At this stage I knew he would finish the race.

As Alex stood up to commence the last 25 miles, I had so many mixed emotions – I was a little nervous and anxious as he was heading into the middle of the night, and it would be 7+ hours before we would hear from him with limited tracking and progress updates. Most of all I was excited and proud that he had made it this far. He was so close to accomplishing such a great feat.

The next 7 hours were spent with some restless back seat of the car naps near the finish line. Constantly looking at my phone to see if he had made it to the next check point. Thankfully his pacer Richard sent intermittent texts when he had cell phone reception.

When we knew he was approaching the last few miles Paul and I went to a point about 1-mile from the finishing line, hoping to catch Alex as he came in to the final stage.

As we nervously wait 5 minutes, all of a sudden we see Richard come around the corner followed by Alex and last year’s winner Guillaume Calmettes.

I couldn’t hide the smile on my face. Alex looked exhausted but was still moving forward and strong.

We ran the last mile as a team, and the whole experience of the past 26 hours came together as Alex crossed the finish line.

Crewing 100-miles is an incredible experience which is hard to explain to people outside of the ultra running world. I learnt so much about resilience and pushing beyond our limitations. I was so inspired by Alex and the rest of the runners and the love and support within the ultra running community.

I am looking forward to crewing more in the future.

 Amy McKinnon is a long distance runner and nutrition coach. She currently resides in Sydney, Australia.

IG: @amylmck


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Tackling Leadman August 22 2017, 2 Comments

Tackling Leadman

Last year while watching the Leadville 100 run and ride, I was so impressed by the venue, organization, crowd/family of athletes, and of course the beautiful town of Leadville. I’ve wanted to ride the Leadville 100 for 15 years, but after a few years of not getting in through the lottery I guess I just forgot about it. After last year however, I realized it was time to tackle something fun, adventurous, and iconic, hence the signup for Leadman.

I started the objective with 2 simple goals. The first was to be a good dad and husband, meaning don’t train every weekend away from my family. The second was simply to complete the Leadman events. I knew it was a big undertaking, especially with training for the Dirty Kanza 200 a month before this all started, but I had a descent plan that went pretty well.

The main focus of the season was hinged on riding, with a little bit of running, and big ride days would always be on Monday during the day, and the rest of the training would fall sometime during the day on the other days of the week. I alternated run and ride as much as possible, and never ran two days in a row to reduce impact. This really worked great and I can honestly say that this year has been a year of feeling fantastic. I haven’t had tight calf muscles like I do when I just run a lot, my back and core has been strong from strength work (often done with my kids before shower time), and the running/riding combo seemed to compliment my cadence in both sports. My biggest training ride was only 90 miles, longest training run only 25. I knew my run mileage was low this year, but when reflecting upon my adventure racing over the years I was at my strongest running when I was running less and riding more, so that didn’t bother me. Ok, so now about Leadman.

The Leadman entry consists of the following events.

  • Leadville Trail Marathon
  • Silver Rush 50 mile bike or run, you’re choice.
  • Leadville 100 mountain bike
  • Leadville 10k (day after the mountain bike)
  • Leadville 100 mile run (week after the 100 bike) 

Event 1 - The first event was the Leadville trail marathon. As a distance, this was the least of my concerns as it was only a marathon. But you know what? That thing was freaking hard! In 6 weeks leading up to it I ran a crazy race in Malaysia, an Ragnar ultra in Aspen, and a 208 mile endurance ride in Kansas, so my expectations were pure fun in the mountains with lots of pictures. So as a tip, it’s not just a marathon, it’s a super steep, high altitude, leg and foot busting, lung busting marathon. It hurt, wasn’t easy, but was a great accomplishment. Did I mention the 60 mile per hour sustained winds at the summit of over 13k in elevation! This was the start of the “Leadville family” building too. I met so many amazing people this weekend that I couldn’t wait to continue through the season.

*Gear setup and review

  • Orange Mud Singlet, Arm Cooler, Gear Vest. The Gear Vest worked perfectly as the 1L bladder was just enough to refill at every other aid station. Plus holding my phone, electrolytes and backup nutrition was a breeze.
  • Hydration – Infinit. Perfect day of hydration. I used the orange flavor which I find too powerful for me sensory wise, so I cut it down to 70% concentration (still 188 cal per serving). Not ideal since I’m reducing caloric intake, but I offset this a tad on course. For the rest of the season I’ll only use the Lemon Lime which I can drink full concentration at 269 cal per serving, hot or cold, no issue.
  • Altra Lone Peak 3.0 and my 2” Orange Mud running socks paired with Squirrel Nut Butter. Perfection, no blisters, no chaff.
  • Glasses, Sunclouds. Had a little bit of dizziness at one point, but was just my head getting tired of looking at the frame of the glasses. Love the glasses, but no more long running this season with these. If you ever get dizzy while running, try taking your glasses off. It may be just that simple.

Event 2 - Next up was the Silver Rush 50 mile event. I chose the mountain bike instead of the run as I prefer riding, plus I thought it would be best to save my legs from the beating and delay that till the 100 miler. I expected this to be a fun ride, especially only being 50 miles after riding the Dirty Kanza for 208. Again, wrong. Holy cow, this course basically goes up for 40 miles, seemed like more, but the descent for the last 10 was absolutely awesome. This was an amazing day on the bike, but you definitely have to “dig deep” for the long high-altitude ascents that seemingly never end.

*Gear setup and review –

  • 2016 Specialized Epic World Cup S-works. 1x11 drive terrain, Specialized Fasttrak 2.3” in the front, Control 2.0” in the back. My bike setup was perfect. I was a bit nervous about my tire selection, but the 2.3” in the front provided ample control, while the 2.0” in the back gave me just enough traction for the long, slow speed, rocky climbs, but control and speed too. Gearing wise this was perfection as well. The 30T Wolf tooth oval in the front was fantastic, and the 10-42 in the back provided enough top and low end.
  • Orange Mud Endurance Pack filled with Infinit Nutrition, Lemon Lime. Absolute perfection for this event. I started with a 70oz full bladder at the start, refilled a the half way, and did carry a spare empty bottle on the bike for one pit stop of ice water. Note that the course is light in aid stations, so if you’re just running bottles you better be prepared to stop at every aid station. Unless of course you’re an animal like my buddy Will that did it in 4 hours and change. Kudo’s to you champ!
  • Shoes – Giro Empire. These things are afreakingmazing. The most comfortable mountain biking shoe I’ve ever used and even with the rigid sole they still worked great for hike a bike too. I’ve used the Specialized S-Works mtb shoes forever, but found hike a biking in them isn’t very comfortable. This was more a concern for the 100 since I didn’t want to ruin my feet a week before running 100 miles. Hence the search and discovery of this shoe. Basically, imagine a super soft leather sock. That’s what these are. Even better, a super soft leather sock with butter in it….yeah….
  • Glasses – Sunclouds. I love these for everyday wear, but I’m not riding with them anymore. I don’t like a frame on the top and bottom of the lens as it made me a bit nauseous at one point. Taking them off instantly fixed it. Smith Pivlocks are in my future…..

Stronger than you think you are, you can do more than you think you can.

Event 3 - Then the race I’ve always wanted to do, the Leadville 100 mountain bike event. This is one of the most iconic mountain bike events in the country. With 11k feet of gain, the brutal climb up Columbine, brutal climb up Powerline, and some high-speed middle ground sections, this event is truly epic. It’s not super technical and going into it my main concern was being geared out on the flat sections with my 1x11 setup which was a reality. But if you’re considering tackling this beast my suggestion is to do it. It’s a terrain that is friendly to most riders, you don’t have to be super techy to ride this. The climb up Columbine is hard, Powerline too, but both are doable. If you race Silver Rush beforehand, don’t let that scare you. The Silver Rush 50 was a harder event to me than the 100 as the climbs seemingly never end. I’ll sum it up this way, I finished the 50 and thought “I don’t think I’ll do that again” for about 3 days before I decided it wasn’t that hard and I’ll do it again. For the 100 it was hard, but at the finish line I decided I’d do it again. 

Finishing this event and getting the silver buckle was iconic to me, and having my buddy Paul and Kyle, rock star wife Beth, and amazing kids Jax and Lexi there at the finish was awesome. I’ll be back next year for this without a doubt, and hopefully every year for many years to come.

*Gear setup and review –

  • 2016 Specialized Epic World Cup S-works. 1x11 drive terrain, Specialized Fasttrak 2.3” in the front, Control 2.0” in the back. My bike setup was really good and the only change from Silver Rush was the swap of my aluminum Rovals to the carbon Rovals. That is an awesome change by the way. Holy crap, the wheel turnover is insane, the hubs are so buttery that a hummingbird could fly by and make them spin, and the additional rigidity is immediately noticed. My biggest concern was gearing out in the flats which proved to be an issue, but in the end, would have probably trimmed 5 or 10 minutes at best. Suspension wise I set it up really tight, but to do this over again I’d consider a hard tail as full suspension isn’t needed, and a 2x10 would have provided a bigger range for soft pedaling a bigger gear on the flats. But hey, I’m not winning the freaking thing, maybe I should just be happy with my rig as is!
  • Orange Mud Endurance Pack filled with Infinit Nutrition. Absolute perfection all day. I had a spare bladder at Twin Lakes where Paul and my family did an amazing job in swapping me in and out in record time.
  • Electrolytes – I use Sports Quest’s product, have for about 15 years, and can’t say enough good things. My stomach was perfect all day, power was perfect, zero cramping as always. Good stuff.
  • Shoes – Giro Empire paired with Orange Mud 2” sock and Squirrel Nut Butter. I joined in the conga train at the top of Columbine for a bit, as well as going up the nasty powerline ascent where these were super comfy. No blisters, 100% comfort, couldn’t be happier.
  • Kit – Our new Orange Mud kit is awesome. The endurance chamois paired with Squirrel Nut Butter on the nether region yielded all day comfort and zero chaff, even in the rain. The arm coolers worked great to keep me warm at the start, then saved me from the sun later in the day. Start temp was 40F, at the base of the first climb we dipped to 32, but kit and arm coolers paired with a light vest was perfect.
  • Gloves – Specialized Grail Comp, long finger. I wouldn’t normally point out gloves, but I picked these up this year at Bike Source in Littleton and can’t believe how well they work. Normally you have a pad on the left and right of your palm, these put just a single pad at the center of your palm, base of your hand. Even through the 208 miles at the DK I barely had any issue, and in the Leadville 100 I finished not even feeling like I rode. Check these things out, they are game changing. I now own 3 pairs…
  • Glasses – Remember the note above about no more Sunclouds? Well I picked up these beauties, the Smith Pivlocks, right before the event and am in love. Mad love. Perfect field of view, no frame in your perspective, a hydrophilic nose piece that kept them in their place, and the optics were outstanding. I’ve wanted these for years and am so pumped to have them in my arsenal now.

Leadville 100 MTB finish

Event 4 - The 4th event was the 10k the morning after the 100 mile mtb. This one I wasn’t worried about, as I should be able to bear crawl a 10k, even after a bike race. To my delight, this was actually not hard, awesome, one event matched my expectations! 

*Gear setup and review – I’ll keep this one short, since anyone reading this is probably not concerned about a 10k. Altra Lone Peak, Endurance Pack, Singlet, Infinit Nutrition. Just a shake out run so no biggie here!

Leadville 10k fun

Event 5 - Wrapping up the series was the big beast, the Leadville 100 Trail Run. I went into this being somewhat smart for a change. As a sponsor of the Leadman series, I really enjoyed hanging out at our booth and meeting so many amazing athletes, but that does wear you down a bit before an event. So for this one I finally listened to my crew and only stopped in for maybe 45 minutes total, then took a nap, woke up to eat, took another nap, then went to the start line. I’ve rarely been so rested for a race so that part was awesome!

100 miles on foot is a long way, and your head, or at least my head, can definitely stop working properly. As such, it’s imperative to have an amazing support crew, and my friends Jack, Kevin, Paul, and Nick were all there to make sure all went as planned. I can’t thank these guys enough as they had me in and out of the aid stations super quick and kept things 100% positive through the day.

Leading up to the 100, I had only one worry and that was an extensor tendonitis issue in my right foot that pops up generally just in marathons. It’s something about pavement that flares it up, and I thought I had fixed the issue with some insoles and by lacing loose, but about 25 miles into the race, and on the pavement section, my right foot started aching. It’s such an annoying pain, which basically feels like your foot is about to break in half. Either way though, I figured that I could muscle through it and once I got to Twin Lakes I’d pick up my trekking poles and shift weight off of it. I had been making a really good pace to this point, and thanks to a stick I picked up off the trail, was able to hobble pretty quick into Twin Lakes with a 75 minute buffer over the already aggressive cut off times.

Heading up and over Hope Pass was amazing. It’s a bit daunting to look up from Twin Lakes at the big mountain in front of you, but my lungs and legs felt great on climbs so I motored to the top and passed somewhere around 100 runners. That was pretty key though as the descent would be a hobble and walk as the downward pressure was crushing on my right foot. I still made decent time on the descent as the steepness wasn’t that great for running anyway, but coming into mile 50 my foot was on fire! 

As we closed into Winfield, the half way point, the added 2 miles of course on the outbound was a bit heart breaking. It’s my fault as I should have studied this better, but I was surprised to see this mileage being added with no change to the cut off. I lost a good bit of buffer and even with a quick 2 or 3 minute transition, I left there with only a 25 minute buffer when just a few hours earlier I had 75. Even more disheartening was the long line of people that you meet on the way back that weren’t making the cut off and finding the right words to say there was a bit of a challenge. I about lost it at one point when a buddy of mine in front of me said, with a quiver in his voice, that “I just want to do this for my kids”. Not gonna lie, tears rolled there for me, as I had the same goal and new this extra 2 on the out and 2 on the back was going to be an issue.

The steepness from Winfield to the top of Hope Pass is no freaking joke. Holy crap was that steep! Thankfully I had Paul Jesse from Winfield on to motivate and push me to the top where we again flew up the mountain. The descent was again held back to a walk with all pressure being shifted to my left leg. This as it turns out was probably a bigger impact than anything as my race was coming to a close.

As we hit the flats at the base of Hope Pass, we had to push through the pain in a major way to make the 10pm cut off. I squeaked through without stopping at 9:57pm, just 3 minutes before the cut, and began the next ascent. I was so focused on making this cut that I didn’t do the math ahead of time with pace and distance remaining to meet the 30 hour cut. As Paul and I pushed through this section to Half Pipe, I quickly realized that the math was not in my favor, and despite his positive encouragement, it really came down to a hard reality that this year wasn’t going to be a completion for me. My foot injury was bad and running wasn’t an option. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, our pace was being slowed down even more by my destroyed left leg that had been taking the bulk of my body weight for the last 46 miles. Funny how one pains focus completely blocks another… least until the next day when your leg is double the normal size and walking is a 150% effort. I’m sure my kids were surprised when they saw their dad cry for the first time just trying to get off the couch. Pain on a scale of 1 to 10, we’ll go with 46. This coming from a guy that once told the dentist to not use lidocaine to numb me when he had to break off an incorrectly placed cap with a pair of pliers just because I didn’t want any meds in me for a race the next morning.

So, long story short, I pulled at Half Pipe, 71 miles in. It was a huge blow to me as DNF is not part of my vocabulary. I’m very stubborn and that paired with persistence has always over shadowed any weakness physically. In over 200 races, this made DNF #4, and the first time that it was solely on me. Crap deal, and disappointing to say the least in not finishing the event, which means I also didn’t become a Leadman this year. Unfortunate, but I was even more hurt that I didn’t get to run with Kevin and Jack as well for the final legs. Time on the trails with your close friends is something hard to beat and I valued that more than the event itself. Then of course the real pain was not completing this event for my family. I know it sounds silly, but just like everything I tackle in life, I believe in completing what I started and wanted my kids to see that you always follow through to completion. At 4 and 6 years old, I don’t think they probably see it like I do, but I know Jax said he was proud of me anyway which broke me a bit.

I didn’t meet both goals, but I did meet the most important one of ensuring training and racing respected my family time. Year to date I’ve ridden 1237 miles and ran 379. Pretty light running for sure, but I don’t believe that held me back at all and I wouldn’t trade the time I spent any other way. Will I come back for Leadman next year? I don’t know. Until I figure out my foot issue absolutely not. But if I can once and for all get it fixed, then maybe. After all, I do need to finish what I started.

*Gear setup and review –

  • Kit – Orange Mud Stretchy T, 6” running short, 2” sock, arm coolers, and Adventure Jacket. 40F start was a bit chilly and there was even a bit of frost by Twin Lakes about 11 miles in. The Adventure Jacket was all I needed to stay perfect through about mile 20. Then just shorts/shirt/arm coolers occasionally for the rest of the day until night time. The Squishy hat worked great too as I wore it off and on during the day.
  • Shoes – Altra Lone Peak 3.5. I only wore the one pair all day and can’t say enough good things. Even with the water crossings, the 2” sock dried quick, shoe did too. Big thanks to Squirrel Nut Butter on the foot protection. I lathered them up well and put socks on to soak for about 8 hours prerace, and of course during the race. No blisters, no hot spots, even with creek crossings = big win!
  • Pack – I used a prototype 2018/19 version of the Endurance Pack for this. There are only slight changes from the current model, but it was wonderful to use all day. The only thing I’d change is to use a black one next time. The white pack wasn’t a smart choice when you have a mushy bag of blueberries and peaches in your front chest pockets.
  • Fuel – Infinit Ultra blend Lemon Lime. My energy levels throughout the day had been managed very well, Infinit Nutrition performed wonderfully, bags of blueberries, peaches, nectarines, guacamole, and bacon were a perfect complement to my ultra blend, and my electrolytes kept my body processing everything quite well too. I went with full concentration in all but one section where I planned on eating a bit more real food. There I cut the formula down by 20% and ate a bag of blueberries and peaches to offset the difference. With no GI issues, I decided to run full strength mix the rest of the day, while still eating 2 bags of real food in between aid stations. I had freezer grade ziplock bags each half full of blueberries, peaches, bacon, and guacamole that I mixed in and out with fantastic success. I meant to alternate between 4 hour segments of sweet to salt, and noticed that I wasn’t as interested in eating more fruit when I did that for 8 hours straight. Next time I’ll take a fruit mixture for a 4 hour segment, then the next will be a salty mix, the gauc and bacon. Then back to fruit, and so on. I also stayed very consistent with 2 electrolytes per hour all day with no issue. I did back off for a one hour segment when I ate a descent bit of bacon though. I can’t forget the pickles too. Those tasty little buggers were amazing, and I think I ate about 5 per aid station. Aside from the salt taste to offset the sweet drink mix, I think it almost cleared my taste buds a bit which helped to continue drinking my sugary mix without issue. And as a side note, I ate zero watermelon on course. The more I read about watermelon being the devil for gi distress in endurance events, and the more I practice not eating it with success, the more that seems to make sense. If you’re used to having a bad stomach, try skipping watermelon for a change.
  • Glasses – Oakley EVZero. I actually got these at the expo before the race kind of by accident. Long story. But I have to say these rimless glasses were awesome! Great field of view, didn’t move on my nose, and they are supposedly the lightest glasses they have ever made.
  • Trekking Poles – If I didn’t have these I would have probably dropped way earlier, these were a lifesaver for my injured foot. Next time I’ll take them from the beginning. Also next time, I’ll have some new Black Diamond Z Poles or something else. My collapsible carbon ones from REI served their purpose on Kilimanjaro and the Inca Trail, but drove me a bit crazy as they struggled to keep their height. A full rigid would be preferred for the future when applying a heavy load to them like I did. In fairness though, they are super light and I loved the grip! One tip here, do your pushups and sit-ups throughout the year. At the beginning of 2017 I decided to do 40 pushups and sit-ups every day. I was pretty consistent through May, backed off a bit this summer, but the strength has stayed. This made a huge difference in the power I could put out through the poles and had no fatigue as the day went on.

2018....Leadman will be mine. - Josh Sprague, CEO/Designer/User of Orange Mud Gear. 

Leadville 100 mile buckle

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The Right Way to Train for a Triathlon August 09 2017, 0 Comments

The Right Way to Train for a Triathlon

It was in 1920s in France when the idea of “Les Trois Sports” was first introduced that featured a 3-kilometer run, 12-kilometer bike and a swim across the Marne Channel. It wasn’t, however, until September 25, 1974 when the first official triathlon event, the one that we know now, was held in California. Originally intended as an alternative exercise to training track stars, it has grown and developed into a contested sport that is enjoyed by many people of different age groups.

 The Triathalon’s rise to fame is considered one of the fastest to reach  Olympic status in such a short time. This is because in 1989, just about 15 years after it started, it was already awarded that honor and was featured at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia.

It was also in 1989 when the International Triathlon Union was founded in Avignon, France and where the first championship was also held. The standard distances that were adapted in the Olympics are 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride, 10 km run.

Training for a Triathlon

The first step to training for a Triathlon is to pick a distance and a format that you’d like to compete in. Below are the various Triathlon distances and formats that one can compete in.

Choosing Triathlon Distance

Every Triathlon consists of 3 elements - the run, the swim and the cycling.

Here is a breakdown of the three elements involved in this sport according to the various formats that exist today.

  • Olympic

With the standard distance commonly used following Olympics guidelines, it involves 1.5 km (0.93 mi) of swimming, 40 km (24.8 mi) of biking and 10 km (6.2 mi) running.

  • ITU Long- distance Triathlon

Held over double the distance of the standard race, athletes and participants of this race needs high strength, stamina and endurance levels to complete the entire course, which has the following recorded distances:

  • Swim- 3 km (1.86 mi)
  • Bike- 80 km (49.6 mi)
  • Run- 20 km (12.4 mi)
  • Half Ironman Triathlon

Also referred to as Ironman 70.3 because of the total extent of the race, it consists of the following distances.

  • Swim- 2 km (1.2 mi)
  • Bike- 90 km  (56 mi)
  • Run-  21 km (13.1 mi)
  • Ironman Triathlon

A sport for the extreme fitness junkie, it covers the following distances:

  • Swim- 3.9 km (2.4 mi)
  • Bike- 180 km (112 mi)
  • Run 42 km (26.2 mi)

Starting Training

With these rigorous exercises, the training is expected to be high intensity, rough, and demanding as well. But according to experts and specialists, it may not be as daunting as one would normally presume and anticipate. With the help of a well-structured training plan, you can be prepared and ready to race in three months, even if you’re a beginner.

The initial part that you need to sort is deciding on the distance. Then, decide on your schedule as that will command the length and amount of time you will devote to training. As the eighth-time Ironman competitor, Sam Cardona recommends, one should commit to at least three days per week or an ideal six days a week training and concentrate on specific elements of the race per day. He lists the following training plan:


Start the week and your training with a 30-mimute swim. Focus on both your breathing and technique. The main focus should be on developing an efficient swimming stroke that maximizes energy use so that one has enough left in the gas tank to pursue the other aspect of the triathlon.


Increase your strength and endurance by challenging yourself to sprints. Knowing your race pace will greatly help for your speed, so you will know how to base your training exercises. The hill repeats on the other hand is for covering the same distance with consistent speed.


Spend 45 minutes in the pool to develop your endurance, hence try to limit breaks between laps as much as possible.


You can do a combination of an exercise bike session for 45 minutes and run immediately for 20 minutes after. The goal is to teach yourself to transition smoothly between cycling and running.


Fridays are your rest day. This is realizing that your muscles also need the time off to rebuild. Cardona suggests that it is best to rest after the highest intensity training as that enables your body to eliminate toxins and strengthens bone tissues. With this, you will be coming back stronger and well-prepared.


Weekends are reserved for the longest part of the race, which is the cycling. You can devote 60 to 90 minutes to a long outdoor ride.


To end the week, you can have a 5k tempo run. Start with a 15-minute warm up, then a 20 minute race pace. It aims to train you to do running at a fast but consistent pace. Increase the time you spent for the race each week until you will be able to run on the full distance of the race.

Supplemental Trainings

To help increase strength and stamina, you can do additional hill sprints training. This includes 10 x 30 seconds uphill sprints, then jog back all the way down and perform an easy 15-minute run. Make another 10 x 30 hill sprints before cooling down.

For the muscles, you can do strength exercises such as pullups, pushups, shoulder press, leg extensions and hamstring curls. This will also help the muscles to build endurance.

Tips for Hydration and Eating During the Race

Races such as this are expected to last for hours. Hence, you have also to practice and train yourself on how to hydrate and eat during the race. Regardless of whether it is a sports drink, energy bar or other snack, you need to be able to know how to consume them in motion. The following tips will help you out.

  • While it is a great idea to drink at every station, even if you don’t feel thirsty, you have to be mindful not to overhydrate to reduce the risk of hypothermia
  • Consider drinking Gatorade or another electrolyte drink along with water to avoid “water intoxication”.
  • Some fueling stations may offer some energy gels and bars that contain carbohydrates and caffeine. If you have tolerated the consumption of it before, then it can be a good energy replacement and maintaining blood-sugar levels.



The ironman competitions held everywhere only proves that this sport is growing in popularity and has gained more participants and audience through the years. One factor could be the fact that it is open to different age groups as it has several categories where one could fit in based on skill capacity. Tough as it is, training if planned and done properly and systematically can be less intimidating and could in fact be completed in just a reasonable amount of time. Following the growth rate, it seems that people will be seeing more of it in the future.

Author Bio: Billy Smith is a writer, fitness junkie, trekker, hiker, tech geek and adventurer extraordinaire. Having worked in the IT field for over 10 years, Billy now spends a lot of his time writing to inspire people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to use technology responsibly. As the founder of, it is Billy’s endeavor to provide people with the best information and tools to transform their lives.

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Running, a love story. July 26 2017, 1 Comment

Running, a love story.
I just spent more time in the car than I did in New Orleans. With stops, it was around 21 hours of driving each way. And I slept in the car at a rest stop, the same one, on the way there and on the way back. Four days of driving with one full day in New Orleans in between to surprise one of my best friends for his bachelor party.
It was almost like being stuck in a weird and vivid dream. One where the moment you wake up you have to question yourself if it really happened or not, because you remembered so much from it and it felt so real.
The memories were three states away.  
I hadn’t showered in a few days and I wasn’t in the mood for fast food when I stopped for gas, so I was pretty damn starving by the time I got home. I was absolutely stir crazy and every traffic light I stopped at as the road trip was ending made me uncharacteristically anxious. I have never wanted to get out of a car so badly.
As exhausted as I was, I was glad I made the trip. Every hour spent in the car was well worth it.
Having relationships as meaningful as that, to take off work and drive across the country to see a friend, is the real blend of connection and love. It’s those stories together that make life as wonderful as it can be. Whether it’s fun or misery, a laugh or cry, everything can be so much better in the company of someone else.
For me, when I look back on some of my favorite memories of running and adventures, and even the not so pleasant memories, there was always someone with me along the way. Most recently, a friend from Washington flew out to San Diego after running a race in Florida to pace me during my last 100 miler. I was even able to stay with friends who crewed that race and took time out of their lives to make sure I was taken care of my entire stay.
My parents drove to the Florida Keys from Georgia to crew my first 100 miler and made the trek out to Wyoming only to watch me fall apart and DNF at the mile 30 aid station during the Bighorn 100.
The same friends that crewed and paced me in a race in the black hills of South Dakota, crewed and paced me at the Bryce 100 last year. Both of those races, I ended up walking a majority of the night. But none of them complained. They were with me til the end.  
When we got back to our car after running rim to rim in the Grand Canyon, I wrapped my girlfriend in a blanket as she was puking her guts out. The trip was a birthday gift to herself. For my birthday, she dropped me off on the west entrance to Zion and met back up with me at Angel’s Landing. No puking for me.
I’ve seen a friend kiss the rock after 46 hours and 42 minutes of battling and enduring the course at the Hardrock 100. That was probably one of the most inspiring sports moments I’ve ever seen. Not sure if I will ever witness such determination and grit like that.
I’ve been on mountains alone and I’ve been on some with others. I’ve driven across the country alone and I’ve been across it with others. I feel like I have been to heaven and hell, in life and on runs and in races. A lot of the alone time has made me who I am, but those moments spent with others, that’s what makes things much more memorable.  
Right now, I feel that not only is it the places that we travel to, it’s also the people we share those places with that make life meaningful and worthwhile. And ultrarunning has been that bridge for me. If it wasn’t for this sport, I wouldn’t have met the most amazing and kind hearted people. And I most definitely wouldn’t be traveling by foot in the most incredible places.
If you don’t have them yet, find those friends that you would spend a 100 miles with in daylight and in darkness. Friends that you would travel to to surprise or friends that would travel to you to help you finish a race. Life is so better with the rearview mirror filled with those memories and with many more to come.
Guest Blogger Joey Schrichte
IG: @ JoeySchrichte
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The Canyons 100k July 19 2017, 0 Comments

The Canyons 100k

Going into Canyons 100k I was nervous. Not just butterflies in the stomach, run of the mill nerves, but more on the side of actual fear.  And I couldn't figure out why.  I had gone through the gamut of potential culprits... the 15,000ft of vertical gain and equal descent, the knowledge that even the toughest and most seasoned ultra runners consider "The Canyons" to be a special kind of crazy, the potential for unbearable heat, the thought of another DNF due to being undertrained for this race. The usual suspects. But it wasn't really any of those and I couldn't put my finger on what it actually was.  I wouldn't discover the true source of my fear until deep in the dark night, out on the historical Western States trail, fighting cutoff time after cutoff time, unbearable pain and incredible frustration.

2016, unfortunately, was the year of DNFs for me. My first 50 mile resulted in my very first DNF, after an excruciatingly painful health issue that presented itself mid-race, causing me to miss a final cutoff time, bringing me to my own finish at mile 47.5.  My first 100 miler, Javelina Jundred, was also a DNF, after I suffered a stress reaction in my foot which resulted in me having to, reluctantly, drop at mile 81.  And while I learned so much from both experiences, in all honesty, my heart was a little broken from the DNFs.  And I couldn't help but wonder if maybe I didn't have what it takes to be an ultra runner. 

In November of 2016, I registered for Canyons 100k the second registration opened.  I planned to start training in January, giving my foot enough time to heal, as well as my broken heart. But life had other plans for me, as is often the case with best laid plans.  I unexpectedly found myself in the position of needing to homeschool my daughter. This in addition to the 2-3 hours of driving a day I was already doing, taking my son to and from his school. Training was relinquished to mainly weekends, and my mileage "peaked" with a mere 44 miles for my Canyons training cycle. 

I considered dropping to the 50k, rationalizing that a strong 50k finish would be better than the potential of yet another ultra race DNF. But I quickly came to my senses and realized that goals are fought  for, with the knowledge and acceptance of potential for failure. And, after reading a fantastic Last Horse Runners blog post, titled Running and Failure, I was able to embrace the fact that DNFs are just part of the deal when it comes to ultra running.  So, I stuck with the 100k distance, in hopes that by some miracle I would have a stellar day and cross the finish line with my very first Western States lottery ticket.

My husband, Devin, and my son, A, and I drove to Auburn the Friday morning before the race. My good friend, Greg, had rented a friend's cabin for us all, one that sits directly on the Western States trail at Michigan Bluff. The cabin's owner is a past Western States 100 winner, and several talented ultra runners have stayed there, so we were feeling some pretty positive ultra running vibes happening! Johan, my very dear friend and running partner, also joined us, and after a nice little pre-race meeting, we were off to sleep.

After a surprisingly ok-ish night of sleep, Saturday morning was upon us, and I jumped out of bed with my 2:45am alarm. My drop bag and Orange Mud VP2 were packed and ready to go and I was as ready as I could be.  

At the start, at Foresthill, I quickly found my friends... Jenny, Sean, Andrea, Amer and Rini, and met a few new ones, too! The nerves were overwhelming my stomach but I somehow managed to maintain some level of composure until before I knew it we were running. 

Stupidly, I made the all-too-common mistake of getting swept up by the crowd and went out too fast, but even more worrisome was the fact that my legs felt like jelly after running our very first descent. After our first creek crossing, I just couldn't get my legs to move faster than a pathetic feeling shuffle. People passed me left and right. I watched Andrea, who I had started with, drift farther and farther ahead. Soon my friend, Rini, flew past me up the trail. I was alone, but ok about it. I figured if I was going to a have rough first half, I would really need to focus on keeping a pace that was my own.

But instead of taking a trip to negative town, I just put my head down and hiked up the hills as best I could. Every now and again I'd get a little burst of energy and I'd pick up the pace, only to feel exhausted again and have to slow back down. 

I finally made it to the top of Devil's Thumb,  and was on my way down to Swinging Bridge  to the turn around, when I saw Johan. At that point I was seeing lots of runners on their way back from the turn around, and all the encouraging words, as is commonplace in ultra races, from passing runners lifted my spirits, and for the first time got me feeling excited about the race. I was smiling and we chatted a few minutes about the climb that I had ahead of me.

There is nothing like the ultra running community. The support and positivity is infectious and makes you feel like you are really part of something bigger than your own goals and dreams. Making my way down the technical and steep trail took extra concentration because of how I was feeling that day, but every "Good job" or "Nice work" would breathe a little energy back into me. Everyone was working so hard, and yet everyone took that quick second, over and over again, with each passing runner, to say something encouraging. 

I scrambled down down down until I finally hit the turn around spot in the middle of the trail, marked only by a bag of rubber Hoka One One bracelets that we were instructed to take as proof we made it all the way. I immediately turned to make the long trudge back up that beast of a hill, wondering how in the world people run up this section in the Western States 100, with 40+ miles already on their legs, and typically in 90+ degree heat!  And that's when I realized... I was almost LAST! I usually wonder if I'm last at some point in almost every trail race I run, but it's never actually happened! This lit a little fire under me and somehow I mustered the energy to rev up my power hiking engine. And power I did! I ended up passing around 10 people, giving the same words of encouragement - good job, keep it up, nice work -  that  other runners had been giving me.  And I meant it. The respect I have for the back of the pack is real! 

I had anticipated many situations in the race prior to starting. Feeling tired, feeling hot, stomach discomfort, potential dehydration, muscle cramping, etc. But for whatever reason, I hadn't anticipated that I would be faced with chasing cutoffs. I wasn't prepared for that particular type of stress. I rolled through Michigan Bluff and saw my son, Devin and Greg. I didn't linger. I stocked up on ice and refilled my Tailwind bottle and was on my way. On my way and worrying about making the Foresthill cutoff at the halfway point. 

I ran when I could, but much of that 6ish mile stretch from Michigan Bluff back to Foresthill was a messy shuffle mixed with several stumbles and a slogging hike. My legs throbbed. My quads vacillated between feeling like lead to jelly to lead again. 

Just before getting back to Bath road, which is just about a mile from Foresthill, a runner out for a training run, passed by me. We joked about the fact that he was doing this course "for fun" as a part of his training for Big Horn 100, and then he kindly checked in with how I was doing calorie wise. I told him I was dutifully drinking my Tailwind. He advised that I cram as many extra calories into myself while I still could. I appreciated the advice, but it also kinda scared the shit out of me! What was I in for?? While I still could?? 

To my great relief, I had managed to make up a little bit of time and somehow I made it to Foresthill about 30 mins under the cutoff time. I knew one of my best friends, Charity, would be there, and as I approached Foresthill aid station, every time I thought about her, I would start to cry. The things you go through with running friends is unlike anything I've ever experienced in friendship before I started ultra running. Charity and I suffered, big time, through our first 50 miler together and it bonded us forever. I couldn't wait to see her.  

I arrived at the aid station to find myself alone. I looked and looked but couldn't see my crew. I had a flash of Devon Yanko running into an aid station at Western States last year to find her crew wasn't there, which led to an extremely challenging situation for her. I had a little inner freak attack, wondering how I would be able to go another 15 miles before having the chance to see my people again. But then a nice volunteer appeared and sat me down. He ran and grabbed my drop bag and refilled Tailwind and water into my bottles. I decided that I would be just fine. I had everything I needed. Thankfully, just a few minutes passed before I spotted my crew. And Charity! I hugged her so tight, with a pickle in my hand (pickles gross her out so this was actually kind of funny). I quietly sobbed on her shoulder, feeling safe and knowing she "got it." Half a jar of pickle juice later, and a handful of baby dills in hand, I was being shoved back out onto the course. I had no clue how I would make it another 50k, but I was ready to do my best.

I could barely shuffle down the paved road out of Foresthill. I figured once I was back on dirt I'd feel better, but nope. Not so much. Everything hurt. No, everything was SCREAMING at me!  I knew everything would hurt, but still, it really freaking sucks while it's happening! So I walked. Slowly. Along the way I chatted with a few other runners. We commiserated together, about the heat, the pain, the fact that "down to the river" wasn't actually all down. I cried. A lot. And I had multiple conversations with myself, or rather, arguments. "You signed up for this! You're doing it!" "No. No, I can't do this. It's physically impossible." "Don't listen to that bullshit voice!! It's a liar! You got this!" I've often wished we could see runner's thoughts in little bubbles above their heads... what entertainment that would be! 

I made it through Cal 1 aid station, and then just kept slogging, crying, arguing and self soothing.  At Cal 2 I thought I was done. I asked the volunteers if they thought I might be able to make the Rucky Chucky aid station cutoff time. A woman told me it would be tight, and that I would have to run, but that I should definitely go because if I dropped there I'd be waiting hours to get driven out. I couldn't decide but then I spotted my friend, Spike, a medic, who gave me a tight hug, which made me cry again, and then I was out of there. 

The number of times I cried making my way down the 7.5 miles to the river, was ridiculous, believing that I wouldn't make the cutoff. I saw Johan on his way back towards the finish, and stopped for a few minutes to talk. He was having a rough day, too, and wasn't sure he would make it, though I knew he would. I told him I didn't think I would make the cutoff at the turn around, but that I would be proud of the 47+ miles I had been able to run on the Western States Trail.

As much as I know he doesn't want me to feel like I need to, I always strive to make Johan proud. Through the simple, yet sometimes profound, act of running, Johan became one of my dearest friends... a coach, a mentor, a supporter and someone who knows and accepts me for who I am. Johan is family. I felt crappy walking away from him, knowing that he knew at that point that I was going to finish my day with a third DNF. 

A little while later I saw my friend Rini. Same story. And then Andrea, again, same story. I wouldn't make the cutoff, I was done. I slogged on. Hot, exhausted, in pain, and so disappointed in myself for how weak I felt. At some point I saw my friend, Sean, who runs 100 milers like they're going out of style, and, of course, gave him my sob story, but instead of saying "Oh, that's too bad" he said, in his ultra calm Sean way, "You'll make it."  And then... it hit me. "What the hell are you doing? You can't just give up! Run! RUN to that aid station! You have to at least try! You GET to run! So RUN!!" And so, I decided to believe Sean, and I ran. 

I can honestly say, I have no clue HOW I ran. My legs were in a constant state of feeling  like they would buckle, or explode, at any given moment. I envisioned the triathletes who collapse at the end of Ironman races and claw and crawl their way over the finish line, and then frantically tried to push those thoughts out of my mind. I asked every runner, who passed me on their way back up from the turn around, how far away the aid station was. I must have asked at least 10 people. They all encouraged me to run my ass off, that I might just have a chance. So I did! 

After what felt like several eternities, I had the aid station in my sights! And even better than the aid station, I saw my son, waving me to hurry up and yelling "Come on mom!! You've got 4 minutes! RUN!" The tears. Again.  And then I could see Devin and Greg.  More tears, and a little hyperventilating from the raw emotion of my day so far. I made it. I made the freaking turn around cutoff. I got checked in and out in 2 minutes and before I could process what was happening I was walking away from the river with Greg, who would pace me for the remainder of the race.  

Greg and I walked slowly back up the hill and then more waterworks. I cried, realizing that I had 7.5 miles of climbing back up to the Cal 2 aid station with only 2 hours to make the next cutoff (let me just say... I. HATE. Chasing cutoffs. Oh how I hate it!). I cried for the runners I had met on my way down who didn't make it. I cried because I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I cried because I had a rock in my shoe. I cried because I had to pee. You name it, I cried about it. 

Poor Greg. Almost immediately I started repeatedly asking him if he thought we'd make it. And then I would inform him that there is no way we were going to make it. Followed by profuse cussing and sobbing and then asking again if we'd make it. 

I met Greg almost two years ago through Instagram and we became fast friends. "Gregory the Elder" as he is affectionately known by many of our fellow running friends, is an ultra runner and top of the line pacer. If you're going to have a pacer in the end of a tough race, you'd be lucky to have Greg at your side. In those last dark miles, Greg was calm, encouraging, and steady as a rock. I trusted him and I knew I was being taken care of.  Not that you could tell with all the questions, tears and sailor-esque swearing I was imposing on the poor guy! But he reminded me that crying and swearing were ok, as long as I kept moving forward. And one of the BEST things Greg did for me in those agonizing stretches of torture, was to remind me that every step forward was a small victory to be celebrated. Later I learned that the average person has a stride length of about 2.5 feet, which means it takes approximately 2,000 steps to walk a mile. During the time Greg was with me we walked or ran approximately 30,000 steps... 30,000 small victories. 

After several, unbearably slow, excruciating and scary climbs and descents (at that point going down was harder than going up), we made it to Cal 2 aid station at 9:15. 15 minutes past the cutoff time. I had already made peace with the fact that I would have another DNF next to my name on Ultrasignup. I watched a runner being wrapped up in a thermal foil blanket and loaded into an SUV and figured I was next. But then I noticed that none of the volunteers were paying any attention to me. No one was taking note of my number and instructing me to remove my bib, or to get into a vehicle for transport back to Foresthill. I was confused. I tried to confirm with a volunteer that I had, in fact, missed the cutoff but she only shrugged and said that there had been some confusion over the cutoff time. She suggested I keep going, if I wanted to, since the sweeper hadn't come through yet. All of a sudden I was hit with a surge of adrenaline! I had to go! 

Greg and I made our way out of the aid station, with yet another cutoff time looming ahead of us.  But I was floating on a little cloud of relief from having made it through the last aid station. 

Unfortunately, this sense of relief didn't last long.  I was suddenly crushed with such intense leg pain and fatigue that I essentially turned into a two year old, had a temper tantrum, sat down on a rock and told Greg that I was done. DONE. I simply could not move another step. I asked how the sweeper would get me out. I thought about the runner we passed who was sitting in the middle of the narrow trail in the dirt, dazed and confused and wondered how either of us would get out. I wondered what kinds of animals would come for us. I went dark. I sobbed for the hundredth time. I felt so unbelievably sorry for myself in those moments it was embarrassing. I mean seriously, first world problems at their finest. But Greg was amazing. He stood and waited patiently. He let me cry for awhile and then he said "Remember what Devon told you." 

I met my friend, Devon, after Javelina last year and since then she has offered advice and support that I hold close to my heart. Before Canyons, Devon shared words with me, that are written on a bracelet she had recently received, which read: "Everything I need is within me." She told me that she believed that I had everything I needed within me, to do whatever it would take, to get to the finish line. I sat there on that rock, less than 6 miles from the finish line, and I thought about those words. I mean, I REALLY thought about them. But more importantly... I began to BELIEVE them. I suddenly believed that I had it in me to finish this 100k. I wanted to make Devon proud. I wanted my husband, my kids, my dad and friends to be proud. I really wanted Johan to be proud of me. And I wanted to feel proud of myself. I stood up and we took off! I couldn't run much, but I powered. We hiked, FAST. We even passed a runner and his pacer. But, of course, I couldn't let Greg off the hook that easy, and I began peppering him with: 

"Tell me when we only have a mile and a half left, ok? I can deal with a mile and a half." 

"Are we down to a mile and a half yet?" 

"How about now?" 

"We have to be a mile and a half away now, right? RIGHT?!" 

Oh Greg.  How did you put up with me?? 

We hiked and hiked and ran a little, and then finally... FINALLY I could see street lights. We turned the corner and there it was... the finish. Still distant, but I could taste it. I felt it pulling me in. We started running. Not fast, but it could definitely qualify as a run. And then... we were there. The finish. 18 hours and 53 minutes after starting The Canyons 100k, I was finished.

I missed the Western States qualifying time and most of the finish area had been broken down by the time I came through, but I didn't care. There were only a few, kind hearted, volunteers left, huddled together, cheering me in. Devin was there and I sank into him, feeling grateful his never ending support, and very long day he endured for me, so happy not to be running or walking anymore. 

I looked around for Johan, but knew it was hours since he had finished and that he was likely on the road back home by then. I hobbled over to a table and received my finishers necklace, just before they were packed away. On the way to the car I started texting all my loved ones, to let them know I had made it. But my most important text that night was to Johan... "I FINISHED!!!"

I finished. I finished the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging event of my life (child birth aside. Obviously). I wanted to give up, and I didn't want to give up, and I thought I had no choice in giving up. But... I. Didn't. Give. Up. The lessons I learned, and that fear that I couldn't put my finger on, were deep and painful and came out of some very dark and ugly places, and are only for me and my closest people to know, but I'm grateful for all of it. I acknowledged fears and insecurities and then let them go. Left them on the trail. I'm stronger for it and I will use all that I gained from my experience, in some capacity, forever. 

Will I run The Canyons 100k again? Ask me once the "amnesia" has set in... I'll probably say yes!

Maili Costa

IG: @Mais_runs_trails 

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7 Key Tips for Doing Fitness the Right Way July 12 2017, 0 Comments

7 Key Tips for Doing Fitness the Right Way

Fitness is not just about what you eat, or what sports you take part in but is a combination of factors which you need to incorporate into your daily life. Fitness - done the right way -means improving your overall physical health with a combination of good exercise and appropriate nutrition.

Too many people react to the latest fitness fad and rush out to buy expensive fitness gear or equipment only to leave it lying idle in the loft, never to be used. Doing fitness the right way means fitting in the right kind of exercise with your lifestyle, not trying to follow fads and trends.

Here are seven key points to make sure you are doing fitness the right way:

  1. Exercise every day

While it’s true that you should rest your body between intense exercise workouts, it is still important to do some kind of movement every day to boost your heart rate. Even something simple like walking to the shops and carrying the food home, instead of going in the car, will make a real difference to your overall fitness levels.

  1. Eat your five a day

Make sure you eat your five portions of fruit and vegetables every day within your meals, to keep healthy. Plants are full of antioxidants and vitamins so vital for skin, hair and general wellbeing. Eating healthily will help you feel fitter as you will have more energy to exercise, and a healthy diet can help you to ward off diseases. Eating well can include incorporating specific sports nutrition to help support your work outs, and means a balanced diet, not fad eating.

  1. Add weight training to your exercise routine

As we get older our muscles naturally weaken but by adding in some kind of resistance weight training into our routine, we can build up those muscles again and maintain our bodies’ strength and tone. Ask for advice from your local gym or trainer, before you start working out with weights as it’s important to do it properly to avoid injury, particularly as a beginner.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Make sure you drink plenty of water, as our bodies are made of 60% water. Being even slightly dehydrated can impair your performance, leave you feeling tired and lacking energy, and can also result in headaches and other symptoms. Remember that drinking coffee, tea or alcohol, actually works as diuretics, removing water from your body so these drinks don’t count.

  1. Relaxation time

Stress has a big impact on our overall fitness levels, negatively affecting our body but also our mental fitness which is equally important. If we are suffering with stress we won’t be motivated to work out and can end up in a vicious circle, talking ourselves out of exercising so it’s important to include relaxation time in your day, to get rid of that stress.

  1. Vary your exercise routine

Don’t just get into a routine of carrying out the same exercise repeatedly as you will get bored and it will fail to stretch and challenge you. Try out different activities and challenge your routine to make sure it is effective. Get out of the gym and go on a park run, or swap your gym routine for a dance class – keep it interesting fun and challenging so that you keep going.

  1. Warm up and warm down

Whatever exercise routine you are undertaking to improve your fitness levels, one of the things people often do, particularly when first starting out, is miss out the warm up and warm down routines. This is really important to help avoid injury. Warming up gets your body and muscles ready for the exercise which is about to come, protecting your muscles from potential injury. So whatever you are doing, make sure you stretch to warm up and stretch to warm down, before and after every activity.

Doing fitness the right way means you will be working on your body from the inside as well as the outside appearance. Improved diet and added sports nutrition, will support your body to copy with the new workout challenges, and lead to shinier hair and healthier skin, not to mention increased energy levels.

Doing correct exercise will be fun, engaging and result in improved muscle tone, reduced fat levels and a much better looking body for you. The exercise will also ensure your heart is working effectively and being challenged, leaving your body much more able to copy with daily life than before.

As well as the physical changes that effective fitness brings, you will see an improved mental and emotional wellbeing. Exercise is great for relieving stress, but also as your body improves you will feel better and grow in self-confidence as well. It’s a win-win situation all round. 

Luke Miller is a freelance writer and digital content enthusiast. Enjoys rock concerts and crossfit in his free time. You can reach him at

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Time to bring the heat June 28 2017, 0 Comments

Time to bring the heat

You’ve worked hard all winter and spring to be ready for the summer. Or maybe you are getting ready to ramp up your training this summer for some fall fun. Either way, figuring out how to navigate the onset of suddenly higher temperatures is the key to getting the most out of your summer workouts and races. Believe when I say that trial and error are a big part of this process and like most things that involve running you need to practice to figure out exactly how things work for you personally. However, by understanding a few basic principles you can make sure that you rock your runs this summer. 

  1. Know your sweat rate. We all sweat to cool ourselves down when we get hot.  What’s important is to understand that we all sweat different amounts, and understanding how much you sweat personally can go a long way to making sure that you are properly hydrated during your run.  Fortunately it is relatively easy to figure out your basic sweat rate so you can adjust your hydration needs.   Hop on that scale before you head out for your next run (preferably a minimum of 60 minutes)  and sans clothes.  Go get your run on, keeping track of your fluid intake while you’re running .  When you finish hop right on that scale again.  Then you have all the information you need. Take your start weight and subtract your finishing weight, convert the difference to ounces (16 ounces per pound of body weight lost)  and then add the number of ounces of fluid you drank while running and divide by the number of hours you ran. This will give you a pretty good estimate of how much you sweat per hour. The more often you do this, and the more conditions you do it in will allow you to tailor your intake for you personally under a variety of temperatures. For example if on my last run I started at 175 lbs, ran for 3.5 hours, finished at 173 lbs and during my run I drank 160 ounces the calculation would look like this: (((175-173)*16)+160)/3 = 54.86 ounces per hour that I should intake under similar conditions
  2. Know the dew point. Yes, the humidity level is important, but the dew point maybe more so.   We often refer a “feels like” when referring to temperature.  For hotter days this is figured using temperature and dew point .   Dew point is the temperature at which sweat will evaporate into the air and cool your body effectively.  The higher the dew point the harder it is for your body to cool itself.  You can frequently look this up on many weather sites.  While tolerance is somewhat personal, generally speaking you can follow these guidelines and adjust your effort accordingly knowing your body will have to work harder to cool down. 
    1. less than 60 degrees - comfortable
    2. between 60-65 degrees - getting uncomfortable
    3. 65-70 degrees -uncomfortable
    4. 70 degrees and up is considered oppressive
  3. Acclimate appropriately. This requires you to be truly honest with yourself about effort level at any given pace and temperature.  Typically speaking it takes approximately 2, and up to 4 weeks to adjust your body to higher temperatures.  During that time if you are headed somewhere warm you can layer to simulate the increased temperature during your activities.  Start slow, and the first couple days keep the activities shorter and at a very easy effort level (throw pace concerns out the window and focus on listening to your body).   As time progresses you can increase the duration of your activity, and or add additional activities.  One my son loves in particular is when I ride around with the heat on in the car instead of the AC while being layered.  Be honest with yourself about discomfort, but if at any point you feel something is not right then immediately reduce the stress levels you are placing on your body doing this.
  4. Plan for success. The amount of hydration and fuel you intake in the days leading up to exercise are extremely important.  It is fairly common for people to be consistently dehydrated and not even realize it.  Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids every day, not just when you exercise.  The more hydrated you are ahead of time the easier it is for your body to maintain a steady state of hydration during exercise with proper fluid intake.
  5. Don’t be afraid of sodium. What is important is maintaining a proper level of sodium intake along with your hydration.   Some people just sweat more sodium, also the more you sweat the more sodium you lose generally speaking. Often, in extreme temperatures, sports drinks alone don’t provide enough replacement sodium on their own.   Maintaining a proper sodium level will allow your cells to absorb water and effectively continue the cooling process.   There are many “salt” replacement products available with different sodium amounts.  Start off at the lower end and experiment until you find the appropriate amount of additional sodium you need, as taking too much is also detrimental. 

Done with some care and a little practice you don’t have to just survive, but you can also thrive in those high temperatures and sun that summer has to offer.   See you out on the trails!

Chad Hause

IG: @2_run26


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San Diego 100 - The Ups and Downs of the Ultramarathon June 21 2017, 3 Comments

San Diego 100 - The Ups and Downs of the Ultramarathon
I had everything to be grateful for. I was doing what I loved. I just watched the sunset, which is one of my favorite things in this world. I was on single track trails in the mountains east of San Diego. I had friends crewing and pacing me. I had family, friends and my girlfriend tracking and cheering me on from home.
But every miscalculated step was a rock stab to the foot. Every howl of the wind was grit in my face. Every second put me further into sleep deprivation.
As I dwelled in the misery, I lost perspective of the gratitude that filled me. It wasn’t very long after that, when I lost touch with my motivation. I became indifferent to my goals and became more and more interested in taking a break and feeling, even just a little bit of comfort.
I was 65+ miles into the race at that point. Still a long ways away from the finish line.
But with the conditions the way they were, windy and getting colder, and my pacer doing as he was instructed, keeping me moving, I could only grasp a few seconds of relief at aid stations and periodically on the side of the trail.
I became my own worst enemy from then on.
I was extremely positive to myself throughout the day but as night fell, so did my walls of fortitude. I know it’s perfectly human to go through the spectrum of thoughts and emotions during a day but I find it sometimes impossibly hard to overcome negative talk late in a race. I think that’s a reason why I want to do 100 milers. To have my positive self win over my negative self. But when I give in to the negative self talk, I feel like I’ve lost the battle and that I didn’t have the race I dreamed of having.
Eventually I did finish. It was such a relief to see the sunrise and I felt renewed with energy seeing daylight and feeling warmth. I still didn’t really care about finishing in a certain time. I just wanted it to be over with as soon as possible.
For me, it was a weird mix of activity going through me at the finish line, including relief and dissatisfaction.
On one side, I am very proud of my finish and the accomplishment for having covered 100 miles on my feet. But on the other side there are the shouldas, couldas and wouldas. Depending on my mindset, I can let those outweigh the overall experience that I had.  
And that’s exactly what I did.
Being congratulated at the finish, part of me felt like I didn’t deserve to be congratulated. The other part deeply appreciated the kind words. Part of me knew I could have done better. The other part of me knew I did the best I could on that day. The internal battle continued on even after the race.
It wasn’t until I got home after a few days of driving back to Colorado that my positive self started to win out.
Getting out of the car, I could see my dog wagging his tail and squirming his body on the other side of the gate waiting for me to pet him. I realized he was excited to see me no matter what. Whether I got last or first, it wouldn’t have mattered to him. He still loved me.
And beyond myself, I realized it doesn’t matter to anyone what my time was or what I placed. What mattered, was that I finished in one piece. Everyone would still treat me the same no matter the outcome. My family and friends would still love me just the same as before the race.
And for that, I’m forever grateful.
I’m happy with how San Diego 100 played out for me. I’m no longer wanting to fill the desire to find a redemption race. It was tough, which is to be expected, and I got through it. Every race is a learning experience and I am more knowledgeable now, about myself and about ultra running, than I was before the race.
Our races, and most of everything in life, won’t play out the way we want them to. What matters the most is the mindset we choose to have when things don’t go accordingly. And from what I can tell so far in life, a heart and mind full of gratitude can find peace and joy in any situation in life. Because if you’re alive, there is always something to be grateful for.
And make sure to smile as much as possible along the way.
Written by Joey Schrichte
IG: @ JoeySchrichte
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8 Fitness Hacks That Will Make Your Running Life Better in 2017 June 14 2017, 0 Comments

8 Fitness Hacks That Will Make Your Running Life Better in 2017

Running is one of the best ways to blow off steam, stay in good shape and give yourself some alone time to clear your mind. Unfortunately, like with all repetitive actions, running can get quite dull after a while if we don’t do our best to shake up our routine from time to time. You need to stay motivated to go on your runs, so you constantly have to find ways to improve your running experience and your performance. Here are 8 fitness hacks that will make your running life better.

1.    Change of Scenery

One of the easiest ways to make things more interesting and challenging when it comes to your running routine is the change of scenery. If you’re going to the same park every other day, running on the same route in the same rhythm, sooner or later, it will all get old. That is why we always suggest trying out something new – if you’re a fan of the treadmill, but you’re tired of being stuck in the gym when the weather is beautiful, take your run outside. If you feel like your well-established route isn’t a challenge for you anymore, try something different, like running by a river or uneven terrain that will test your strength and efficiency.

2.    Lemon Water as Soon as You Open Your Eyes

We’ve seen so many eye-rolls on the subject of lemon water, but opinions change dramatically when people actually start drinking a glass of warm water with a drizzle of lemon in it every morning. If you wake up early to go running before work or before the rest of the family needs you, then drinking something sour and nutrient-rich on an empty stomach will give you the boost you need before you head out the door. There’s no reason not to try drinking lemon water, it energizes you momentarily and it chases away all the drowsiness that might still be lingering in your body. I always feel like there’s a current running through me when I drink it and it feels good.

3.    Strength Training

Running is one of the best forms of cardio there is and people often think that’s all you need to be in shape. And though it’s true that with a running routine you will feel better in your own skin and you won’t have to worry about cellulite and being flabby, if you really want to make the most of it, then strength training will be great for you. Not only are you able to acquire more muscle mass and make your body look amazing, but weight lifting and other forms of strength exercises will positively affect your running performance too. You will be able to run longer and faster, not to mention that recovery period will enable you to burn more calories when you’re not working out.

4.    Plyometric Exercises

In the beginning, the explosive jumping around will be tough, there’s no doubt about it, but the benefits you will reap won’t go unnoticed. Besides, the more you do plyometrics, the easier they’ll be and honestly, they become fun as you challenge yourself to be better. Adding plyometrics when you’ve already got a hang of your strength workout will change your body in the matter of weeks, so just make sure you do your explosive jumping after you’re done with your run. Also, be careful when it comes to your posture and form while you’re doing plyometric exercises, you don’t want to hurt yourself because you’re not paying enough attention.

5.    Eat Real Food

Like we said, running is a great way to stay fit and keep your bodyweight under control, but too many people have taken this fact for granted and eat whatever comes their way because they’re burn it later. Ok, calories will melt away, but the lack of nutrients and excess of sodium, fats and sugars will stay in your metabolism and can cause real health issues. That is why eating real food is something you should think about seriously - fresh produce full of vitamins, minerals and protein can nourish your body and prepare it for any kind of physical activity, running included. Focus your attention on eating organic fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, lean meats and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated at all times.

6.    Change of Dynamics

Just like we talked about changing the scenery in which you run, you should also consider changing the dynamics of your runs to make them more fun and yes, more demanding. Alternate sprints and jogging will make your blood flow and will be great for your endurance too. Doing hill sprints and crescendo runs will melt away all the unwanted fat in no time, not to mention that it will spike your adrenaline that will enable you to be even better. However, it’s important to know your limits and when to stop – there are days when just going for a light jog will do much more for your body than sprinting until you’ve lost the will to live.

7.    Running Is Better In Good Company

There are plenty of us out there who truly disliked running before someone finally put us up to it. Having a friend or a partner run with you will make the whole running experience infinitely more fun, you’ll be more motivated and you can even compete with one another if the competitive spirit is strong. You can also join running groups if you don’t mind running with more people, you get a chance to get fitter and meet some new friends, which is always a good thing. Plus, when you’re running with someone or with a group, it will be much harder to miss your run – you will want to show up for yourself and for the rest of the group.

8.    Let the Music Move You

All those runners with headphones and music pounding in their ears know what they’re doing. Choosing the right tunes for your run will not only spur you on to give it all you’ve got, it will put you in a good mood, just like every time you listen to your favorite music. Some choose power metal hits for their workouts, others go for lively pop hits, and it’s completely up to you to pick and choose your set list, but don’t miss out on all the fun that good music can give while you’re burning some calories and keeping yourself healthy. – Vanessa Davis


Vanessa Davis is 32 years old, lives in New York and is currently a full-time content-writer at Her areas of expertise are fitness, nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle, and in her free time she enjoys skiing and mountain climbing.


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Sound Familiar? May 31 2017, 0 Comments

Sound Familiar?

I’ve spent plenty of time over the past few years at ultramarathon events; from packet pick-ups to aid stations to finish lines, and I’ve gained an appreciation for some of the shared experiences of those of us left behind when the starting gun sounds.  I’ve met some wonderful people along the way and have relished in the chance to laugh, cry, worry, and celebrate alongside one another as we support our runners.  In addition to sharing food stuffs and first-aid supplies, we have learned that living with our runners means we tend to hear the same questions over and over and OVER again! 

Regardless of your runner’s level of experience or running community involvement, I have a feeling you’ll be able to relate to at least a few of these.  And if, by chance, these questions haven’t yet been uttered by your runner, consider yourself forewarnedJ

Honey, where’s my butt cream?  No kidding.  This question never gets old, and my immaturity gets the best of me. Every. Single. Time.  It’s really awesome when he hollers this in front of family and friends, or in a public place!  I can’t even describe the expressions this question garners.  Our youngest child has been out of diapers for approximately 14 years now, but here I am, still venturing down the baby aisle, picking up butt cream.  Worse yet? He can never seem to find one of a dozen partially used tubes when he needs it most!  

Have you seen my head lamp?  Yes, as a matter of fact I have.  It’s in the pile of gear on your nightstand.  Oh, wait…no, it’s in the kitchen junk draw along with all your extra cords, chargers, shoe ties, and abandoned headphones.  On the other hand, have you checked your gear bag? Car? Bottom of your closet? Under the bed?  How about your tool box?  Ummm, on second thought, do me a favor.  Take your hand and touch your forehead…there you go.  Found it!

Are we out of pickle juice?  Ahhhh…the magic elixir!  The power of the pickle juice!  Not just the ultimate cramp reliever, it’s become his go-to and in some cases, the ONLY thing that he can keep down during a race.  Therefore, we are NEVER out of pickle juice.  If I had the patience or time to learn how to can (sorry for not listening to your wisdom, grandma!), I’d be jarring and canning and pickling like a mad woman!  As it stands now, we always have at least 2 large jars of pickles in our fridge at all times and more often than not, we have pickle juice pops on-hand in our freezer. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried itJ

Are you talking to me?  I’ve had entire conversations with him, only to find out he either had his ear buds in or he was so focused on reading/watching a new post by one of his favorite fellow runners, he didn’t hear a word.  I’ve also had many a conversation while he bear crawls across the floor or as he hangs upside down from the door frame.  I’ve found that sometimes, he is most able to focus when he’s doing repetitive work-out routines.  Planking, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, bear crawls, wall sits…all great times to get in his face and grab his full attention!  Some of our more serious decisions have been made while I’m holding his sweaty feet in the air so he can do handstand push-ups.  No lie!

Did you pack the beer?  Of course I did.  Silly boy.  There is a well-documented relationship between ultrarunners and their penchant for beer.  The brands vary, but there seems to be a stronger than average following for classic old-school (PBR, Miller High Life, etc.), as well as craft and IPA’s.  Whether the race ends with celebratory cheers or commiserating tears, beer is both part of the ceremony and part of the recovery (or so I’m told!).  This holds true for him AND me.  After chasing him around the woods all day, being at his beck and call, I think I deserve a little indulgence as well!

What do you think about (fill in the blank) for our family vacation this year? Insert any number of God-forsaken places with names like Bad Lands, Death Valley, Salt Flats, Tombstone, Devil’s Den, Bloody Springs, or Satan’s Kingdom.  The question is innocent enough, but don’t let that fool you!  There is most certainly a race in the vicinity which they are either considering, or have already signed up for! The race names are even more reassuring that you are headed for a fantastic time; Blood Rock, Hurt 100, Devil Dog, Lost Soul Ultra, Sinister, and Hell Hole.  I mean, honestly, who doesn’t want to spend a week in Slaughterville or Gnaw Bone checking out the sites??!!

Can you help me with my manbun?  Okay…this one makes me giggle.  It all started on a lazy weekend afternoon when I casually glanced over at him and said, “You know, I bet I can French braid your hair!” “No way!” he said.  Not one to turn down a challenge, I quickly went to work.  And, it looked fabulous!  He was shocked, but admittedly, he liked the fact that it kept his hair out of the way.  That little experiment led to teaching him how to use hair bands to create his very own manbun.  Having only manchildren in our family, little did I know my first hairstyle tutorial would be with the hubster.  Now we’re adding hair ties to the ever-growing list of packing needs for race day!

Does this look pretentious? As he stands here shirtless in bike shorts, sporting what seems to be the obligatory facial accessory better known as a trail beard, a sexy DIY manbun, and sunglasses, all while striking a pose.  No, love of my life, you don’t look pretentious.  You look confident.  Strong. Fierce. Manly.  Powerful.  Prepared.  Fearless.  But your humility and willingness to encourage others to unleash their best selves, leaves no room for pretension or conceit.  So, own it, live it, and just do you!

Why do you put up with me?  Because I love you.  You’re all kinds of crazy, but you’re mine…all mine! I was there when running was just a once-in-a-while way for you to blow off steam, and I’m here now as it has become a huge part of who you are and who you want to become.  I’m watching as you make your dreams come true, inspiring myself and so many others along the way.  I’ve even managed to find my own space within this zany community; embracing (and defending) the long-distance trail runner stereotypes of long beards, manbuns, beer talk, gear envy, taper madness, and trail-hoarding.  I’ll continue to document our journeys, offering glimpses of hope, humor, and insight and loving you more every step of the way!

So, if you see a short blond in a baseball cap wandering aimlessly in a grocery store baby aisle, elbow deep in pickling juice, or carrying a 30lb, triple-decker, all-you-will-ever-need first-aid kit across a grassy field, feel free to say, “Hi!” After all, we’re all in this together.  Sound familiar?

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How To Train For A Race And Still Have A Life May 24 2017, 0 Comments

How To Train For A Race And Still Have A Life

Training for a marathon can be a stressful experience, especially for new runners. It is important to prepare properly and learn to manage the stress, possible anxiety and fear and actually be able to still have a life while at it. Here is how to get ready for a marathon and at the same time be able to go on with your normal activities, work and family obligations:

Make sure you are committed to your training regimen

If you are following a regular training or running regimen already, it will be much easier to prepare for a marathon. Exercising or running 4 to 6 times per week is going to make things much less stressful and much easier for you. So, sticking to a regular running or cross-training schedule on a weekly basis is crucial. Of course, when you start training for a marathon, the emphasis should be on the running. Try out running longer differences, as well as slow and fast running. Being physically prepared by your weekly exercise program will definitely help. If you are not used to regular physical exercise, jumping into marathon training will be more difficult and can cause stress to your body.

Make sure you don’t overdo it with bigger distances

In many cases, regular running at shorter distances can be more effective than pushing yourself to run longer distances all the time. Adding too many miles to your daily runs can stress your body,

lead to overtraining and cause injuries. Try to train by running comfortable distances which will help you prepare your body safely and gradually for your race. Getting a coach, or adding no more than 10% of the mileage to your runs per week is a safe way to go without stressing the body and risking injuries from overuse. Also - don’t forget to stay hydrated and consider getting a hydration pack.

Make a training schedule to allow for other activities

Make sure you keep in mind any vacations, family or work events and other important dates in your life when planning your training program for your marathon. Unless you are a professional runner, running and training should not be the top priority of your life. You need to balance between your other obligations, family and work time too. So, even if you are going on a business trip or a vacation, you can still run, but make sure you set your mileage goals and running timeline, so that your training doesn’t interfere with your life. Don't forget the right footwear for exercise – visit our website Comfort Hacks if you need specific footwear.

Also, make sure you schedule your runs for the time of day when it will not hinder the other chores and activities you have planned. Getting up earlier than usual and pre-dawn or early running could be a good option for those who need time for other chores later on in the day. Set a time limit for your run, and stick to it - do not run more or less for that particular run. This will allow you to be able to plan the rest of your day and will help you lead your life as you normally do when you are not training for a marathon.

If you can - ask your loved ones or running buddies to join you

Spend more time with your family and friends when training for a marathon by asking them to join you for your runs or other exercises. You can go to the gym together or play basketball in the backyard. This will also keep them involved in your pursuit as well as motivate you to perform better due to the support and approval of your hard work. Also, make sure that you communicate your needs to your support network, so that they can help you stick to your training program and run the marathon. You will probably need help with some of the chores at home and at work while training and racing, so make sure you have pre-arranged all that before the race.

Enjoy your marathon preparation

Since this is supposed to be a hobby for most runners, training and participating in a marathon should be an enjoyable experience for you. If you are too stressed you can lose the joy of running. Also, be ready to do some sacrifices and to be able to handle skipping a run or a training session because of unexpected work or family-related events and needs too. Running is supposed to be fun, so you need to find the proper balance: train properly and yet be able to enjoy the other things in your life as well!

Written by: Cara Haley


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Love of the Run May 17 2017, 0 Comments

Love of the Run

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

It's been some time since I've been able to truly enjoy the Love of the Run. Some have asked where I've been and what have I been doing? Are you still running?                 

The truth is 2016 left me in unchartered territory.  Not fully myself as everyday became a struggle. These struggles consumed the one thing that gave me purpose and direction. It's hard not to lose sight of life's big picture when it seems you are bound by uncertainty. It causes you to pull away.  In these moments others see you as distant, unfriendly and not present.  

Pardon my language but for those in this situation will totally understand. For those that don't, let me give you some insight. Injuries/setbacks or whatever is keeping you from moving forward, fucking suck! 

There is no good way to fully describe the emotions that injuries and setbacks can bring. If we push through the pain, dig deep, and give it all we have at times, the scars from that resurface when we least expect it. I know I'm not alone in this. We all have been there, done that. Many athletes, including runners either have or will go through this at some point. From a minor injury to a major injury or just life in general.  Finding out that you may not be able to run is like having your heart ripped out. Yet in the big picture it ends up as a blessing in disguise. You wake up and realize that you are not invincible. That you are not super human. It is in these moments you realize something needs to change. 

My injuries are not because I am logging crazy miles right now or pushing through pain. Last year work had consumed me. Continuous 80 hour weeks for almost a year took it's toll. I went from running 40 to 70 + miles a week down to running under 10. It wasn't until the later months in the year, struggling to stay in shape when I noticed some unusual pains on a normal 2 to 5 mile run. Although very active at work, the long hours worked against me.  I was unable to maintain my conditioning. I was not taking care of my body mentally or physically. My mind and muscles grew weak and imbalanced. Subtle injuries surfaced that occurred when I was pushing my body physically to its limits over the years. A MRI showed a bulged lower disc in my back, a small left hamstring tear that had scarred over and torn cartilage in my left hip. I did not know what was wrong until I stopped taking care of myself. I struggled with the news for a brief second. Not once did I feel sorry for myself. It was difficult to comprehend that all the years leading up to this that were so meaningful, coincidentally became my wake up call. I am lucky. My injuries are not tragic- they will not keep me from moving forward. With physical therapy it can all be corrected to some degree. Instead I am even more aware and smarter about my passion.  

Adding insult to injury- literally, last year a routine doctor visit early in 2016 landed me a visit to the ER. After getting a shot, passed out and caught the fall with my head to the floor. Although I sustained no long term brain damage,  I've learned head trauma will leave lasting effects (good and bad) long after it happens. Soon after it happened, I lost motivation, became irritable and moody, I craved sugar constantly and became very emotional. I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, priding myself on being kind,  but my emotions were out of control. I didn't understand my state of mind. I cried at the last Avengers movie during an action scene when Scarlett Johansson was kicking ass and taking names. A year later and I am feeling more like myself again. 

Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. 

It's been a long road back. I still face challenges as I am recognizing that things have changed.  The long distances I so desperately crave may now only be a once a year endeavor. But, I can still run. I may never accomplish that 200 or 300 mile race that I dreamed about as I was running my first 100- but I know as long as I keep doing the right things I will be running for a long time. Bringing back cross training and conditioning is making all the difference. I am not super fast, I'm not an elite athlete by any means. By running less to run more I am still able to run a 5:40 mile and enjoy the long run.  I continue to move forward and run each run like it is my last. My schedule Is normalizing and I finally have time to focus. Every day I am getting stronger.  I stay driven, determined and positive. 

My running direction used to be clear- distances I wanted to accomplish and bucket list races to check off- but last year was a wake up call. I am proof that in the blink of an eye things can change. When these changes or setbacks happen we have a choice to stand still or climb that mountain. 

I choose to climb that mountain. 

Ramon Hernandez

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Encouraging Women to Run! May 10 2017, 0 Comments

Encouraging Women to Run!
Starting anything new can be daunting, but as someone who loves being in nature and running I always want to encourage everyone else to do the same.
This past fall I was at the USTAF Trail Running conference and joined a discussion about women in trail running.  We noted that many women often have the same reservations about running and especially trail running.  I'd like to address and suggest ways around some of these concerns.
1. I'm not a runner, I feel like a fraud.
Ladies, and men too, if you put on shoes, and you move one foot in front of the other and you do this at any pace- you are in fact a runner.  Runners come in all shapes and sizes.  Recreational, professional, fast, slow, trail, road, ultra, 5k, whatever.  Don't worry about labels. Do your thing!
2.  I feel unsafe.
This is probably something I heard the most.  I'm sure almost every women at one time or another has been cat called or whistled at (and unfortunately even worse), and often the result is that the woman is left feeling uncomfortable, especially while alone.  I lived outside of Baltimore city when I first graduated college and after one week of watching the local news and seeing all the gun violence was terrified of getting shot so I ran on the treadmill for a whole year.  Eventually as I got comfortable with my surroundings I built up the courage to run outside alone at 6 am.  After a while it became just an every day thing for me.  I decided that I was not going to let what might happen stop me from doing what I loved.  While we cannot change other's behaviors and where we live, we can change what we do.
  • Run in a group!  Safety in numbers can be key.  Join your local run club, or start your own running group in your neighborhood.  For example, Myself and a few other friends lead an all woman's trail run through our local REI store, I also know of several group runs from all the other outdoor/running stores close by.  Get online or pop by a running store and see what kinds of group runs they offer.
  • Leave a map of your route.  Sometimes just leaving a map of where you will be running and what time with friends or a spouse can make us feel safer.
  • Run with mace.  My mother bought me mace years ago, its been hanging on my fridge ever since.  For myself, running in the woods I feel quite safe, if anything I bring a small pocket knife on really long runs more for first aid than anything else, though.
  • Carry your phone.
  • Don't run with music, or keep one earbud out so you are aware of your surroundings.
  • Run a different route at different times of the day.  If, on the off chance, there is someone watching you changing up your route and time that you run it will make it that much harder for someone to anticipate where you will be.
  • When running at night wear reflective gear, and even a low powered headlamp so cars can see you.
  • Get your spouse to join.  I know several couples, myself included, that will bike while the other runs.  Also, if I am going to run a really long loop and need refueling I will have my husband both check on me, and refuel me at a pre-agreed upon meet up spot in the car.
  • Run smaller loops around the house, or other busy public area.
  • Adopt a dog to run with.  The last thing an attacker wants to deal with is your dog.  Plus you get to save a pups life when you adopt!
3. I don't have time. 
We all do it, we pack our days full of things, putting ourselves and our self care last.  Keep running clothes/shoes in your car for last minute runs!  Run laps around the soccer field while your kid is at practice.  Don't mindlessly scroll through social media while your kids are at practice/art lessons/music/after school activities.  Use that 30 min, hour, whatever as a chance to get out for a few miles.  If at all possible, get up really early.  I have started many a run at 4:30 in the morning.  There is something to be said about the early morning quiet and watching the sun rise. 
4.  I want to, but can't motivate myself! 
 This one is hard sometimes, and is often only alleviated by having very good running buddies who will encourage you to go out in the rain/snow/heat.  Other ways are;
  • Hire a coach.  If you can afford this, it can be quite liberating to just wake up and look at some already planned mileage for the day.  Also, you're paying for it, so might as well get your money's worth.
  • join a gym. This can satisfy both the fear of running alone in the dark, and also accountability because, again, its something you're paying for.  Also, many gyms have great daycare center, which also frees up some time when you have kids all day.
  • Make a date on your calendar, or with a friend!
  • Don't put pressure on yourself to use it as a weight loss tool. Running will make you healthier, but expecting to lose weight and checking your scale often will just turn it into a chore.
5. Its too hot/cold/rainy. 
One of my favorite quotes I tell myself when the weather is just blah is; "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear."  Invest in one good outer layer for each type of weather; rainy, cold, windy, hot. Also, there's always the treadmill.
6. For more advanced runners who are already trail running but want to go further but fear the unknown, take an wilderness first aid course and learn how to survive in all sorts of conditions to boost your outdoor confidence.
7. Chronic injury keeps me from running. 
To this I would suggest a few things. Invest in a really good PT and figure out what it is that is causing your chronic injury. Are you lacking in strength? We, especially women, lose muscle faster as we age, so keeping basic strength training can be important to injury free running. Also after having children women's bodies change, a good PT can also help you address your body changes.
8. I might get lost. 
Many watches now have features that allow you to pre-download a route into them.  When I run in new places I have done things like carry my phone, or write a turn sheet.  A turn sheet, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, is basically what it sounds like.  I go look at a map beforehand and write on a little piece of paper either RIGHT or LEFT turn onto each road, and sometimes I will write the distance between each turn.  For trail running, learning to read a map is actually a pretty important skill. 
One last comment, be prepared.  When I go out for long trail runs in places I am unfamiliar with I always leave extra water in the car, I usually carry a small first aid kit and some sort of lightweight blanket, a map, maybe even a headlamp and usually more calories than I think.  If there is a trail map at the start of the run, I will take a picture of it, keeping in mind those maps aren't always to scale, but it will at least help me orient myself on my own map.
I really love how I feel through running; it brings me peace and makes me feel grounded; connected to the world.   It also has created and strengthened friendships I would not have otherwise made. I hope these suggestions can help entice other women to lace up their shoes and explore all that running has to offer.
Guest Blogger Rachel is an avid trail and mountain runner, she can often be found exploring trails with her dog and friends.  When she's not out running, she's often dreaming of mountain adventures from her art studio where she relives her adventures on canvas. Check her out on Instagram @wisp_kelly
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Running for your Life May 03 2017, 2 Comments

Running for your Life

I grew up with riding my bike alongside my dad as he trained for marathons during my childhood, which influenced my desire to begin a lifelong career of running at the age of 12.  Running was a sport I could find myself in, connect with countless others around the world, compete against myself and build a whole new network of a family.  As my life has changed into a working mom, my running and fitness goals have changed too.  For 2016 my goals included running 1000 miles for the year (first time since my collegiate running days) and compete in my first 50k ultra marathon trail race.  I was pumped up about these goals as my love for trail running had grown over the years and this was a new challenge to embark on.

I started off the year with a pulled achilles, then slipped and fell on a bridge and hit my tailbone that set me back on my mileage.  As I was healing and gaining miles back, I continued on my training plan and was back on track.  I ran a 30k trail race as a start to my official training for my 50k on June 5th, then six days later, my goals would have to change dramatically.

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning on June 11th, 2016 with excruciating head and neck pain, then quickly became dizzy and numb on the right side of my body.  I knew this wasn’t something I could cure on my own, so I called out to my husband to call 911 as I knew I needed medical attention.  Doctors weren’t quite sure what was happening to me at first as I still had most function in my body and was communicating, until my whole right side lost all function and I was beginning to have trouble breathing.  It was then that doctors put me under to stabilize me and could see that I was having a stroke.

How does a perfectly healthy 31 year old female, with absolutely zero risk factors have a stroke?  This is the question that still boggles my mind and my doctors.  My specific stroke, which was a right vertebral artery dissection, is generally caused by extreme neck trauma.  Still mind boggled because I hadn’t really experienced any trauma.  I had just ran a 30k trail race and been going along business as usual the week prior to my stroke.  My only conclusion is that I gave myself whiplash from some extreme violent sneezing during a seasonal allergy attack.  But still..seriously?

Nonetheless, I had a stroke.  My running and fitness goals changed in an instant and new goals emerged.  I would have to learn to walk again, regain my balance, and gain mental and physical strength.  Learning to walk again came back to me slowly after a week of intensive therapy at a rehabilitation facility.  Being young and healthy helped me get there fairly quickly.  I continued to do my own therapy at home, then found an amazing therapist who was an experienced triathlete and has worked for many years with stroke patients, as well as young stroke patients.  

Since working with this therapist, I continued to grow stronger both physically and mentally.  With guidance, I incorporated underwater jogging and balance work, HIIT workouts in both running and in the weight room, and yoga. I am now almost 10 months post stroke and have competed in a 5k, have an upcoming 10k trail run, and am looking to continue bumping up my mileage. I have learned to change my workout regime to match my current health safely and effectively.  I pay even more attention to my nutrition and to how my body is feeling.  My stroke has in no way limited me, but has made me a better and smarter athlete.  That 50k will sooner or later be mine!

Guest blogger,

Stacie McGraw   (Instagram @scmcgraw2012)

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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, 1 Comment

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, 1 Comment

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, 2 Comments

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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