Adventure Project - Josh Grant - Update 2

Adventure Project - Josh Grant - Update 2

Big goals broken into bite sized chunks

Here we are at the end of February.  I set what I thought was a reasonably difficult goal at the beginning of February; I wanted 15k feet of elevation gain.  I am focusing on elevation gain a lot this year as a metric because it is:

  1. Fun
  2. Excellent strength building exercise
  3. Difficult
  4. Fun

Plus, where else can you get this sort of view?

Adventure Project - Josh Grant - Update 2

As we finish up these last days of February I’m thinking that goal might have been a little light, because I just wrapped up a little over 18k feet for the month.  I feel pretty good about that, probably because I am starting to see the results of these stupid wonderful hill repeats.  I’m feeling stronger and faster with these last few runs, and there aren’t many greater joys than the effortless floating feeling on your feet during a strong run.  Now that February’s goal has been crushed I think I need to come up with one that’s a bit more stout.

I use goals to motivate myself, each one can be an accomplishment, a learning experience or both. Sometimes I like doing dumb, difficult, daring and sometimes dangerous things (see for reference), and other times I like to sit on the couch for hours with a laptop and not move, I think that’s called variety and I like it.  I setup big goals and little goals, short term goals and long term goals, achievable goals and very, very difficult goals. Sometimes I put a lot of effort into crafting them, and sometimes (read as: 95% of the time) I fly by the seat of my pants and make it up on the fly. That feels like where we are at right now with this next one.

This next goal will hopefully help deter me from couching too much as I ramp up for this Badwater Project.  I want to knock out 100,000 feet of elevation gain by July 7th. I’m running Tahoe Rim Trail 100 on July 21 so the 7th allows for a good taper before that and should have me super ready for that mountainous route.  It will also help get me ready for the aforementioned Adventure Project later in the year.

Now, since July 7th is so far away and 100k is such a big number I need to break this down into bit sized goals, otherwise it’s overwhelming.  If I do it on a day by day basis (~81,000 feet left/130 days left) I would need about 620 feet of gain per day, without a single rest or flat day in there.  That breakdown seems a bit too granular, with too many days where I’m likely to fail to meet the standard. It might be better as a bi-weekly goal of about 9,000 feet.  Or there’s the monthly version of trying to hit about 18k, like what I did for February? Again, flying by the seat of my pants is my speciality and this will probably take a little tinkering before I find something that fits well.

Speaking of erratic plans, in March my backpacking partner/pacer and I are supposed to tackle the Mt San Jacinto Cactus to Clouds route.  But California is looking at a pretty major winter storm hitting over the next few days, just before our planned trip. So, we are trying to fire up some backup ideas.  Thankfully, the world is an amazing place so we have tons of options from the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim route, or maybe some peakbagging and/or canyoneering out in Death Valley.  By the next update I write, I will hopefully have done something more than sitting on my couch...

But that’s one of the overarching ways I plan and try to stay motivated.  Making big goals, and trying not to get overwhelmed at the size and scope of them.  Like with the Badwater project, I’m going to break that big, bad beast into smaller bite sized chunks, four of them to be precise:

  1. Salt Flats: ~6 miles of super flat terrain, just don’t trip over the salt lines because it is dark out there before dawn.
  2. Hanaupah Canyon Road: ~9 miles of grinding uphill on an old dirt mining road.  Here I’m just going to concentrate on controlling my pace, keeping it slow and easy.
  3. THE CRUX ~5 miles, off trail and stupid steep.  Don’t blow up the quads, don’t blow up the quads, don’t blow up the quads. This is what all my hill work is building up to.
  4. Final Ascent: ~1 mile on trail but still steep.

Now reverse those four on the descent, trying to keep the quads alive again through the crux on the downhill so I’ll be able to blaze through the final two sections which are eminently runnable.

Big goals broken down into bite sized chunks is life.  

March 14, 2018 — Kevin Goldberg

Winter Triathlon Training - How To Keep In Shape During The Off Months

Just because there’s snow on the ground, doesn’t mean you need to stop training. Here are a few things you can do to get - and stay - in shape in winter.

Three Diet Tips For Triathlon Training

Three Diet Tips For Triathlon Training

If you’re preparing for a triathlon, it’s not enough to train - you also need to evaluate what and how you eat. Here’s a bit of advice to get you started.
Adventure Project - Josh Grant - Update 1

Adventure Project - Josh Grant - Update 1

Josh Grant is training for Badwater to Telescope to Badwater. To learn all about his adventure before diving into this first update you can see his adventure details here:

Now from Josh for his first training update: I feel like I need to start this story with the fact that I’m starting this journey from scratch here.  So every run, every mile, every hill climb is not just training but rebuilding.  These miles and runs are me not only getting a little faster bit by bit, not only get a little stronger day by day, not only dropping weight pound by pound but it’s me, regaining the confidence that I can do these ridiculous distances, races and backpacking trips that I love to do so much.  

For seven months, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do any of it again and even now with a solid couple months of being able to do these things, I’m still not one hundred percent sure that the pain is entirely gone.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to run 30, 50, 60 or 100 miles again, I probably won’t be sure until I actually line up at a start line and do it.  So the confidence building aspect of these miles is almost as important as the physical portion.  Especially at those longer distances, for me so much of it is a mental game of pushing through and having the confidence of knowing I can do it.

So that’s what I mean when I say I’m starting from scratch.  I’m making progress, slow and steady progress and it feels great.  After my doctor gave me the go ahead, I spent the first six weeks of this recovery just rolling real slow and easy, trying to cut some of these 20 lbs I gained while sidelined.  I shifted into second gear two weeks ago, I’ve been extending the runs (out to 15 miles so far) and concentrating on hitting hills and trails.  I’m trying to accumulate 15k of elevation gain in February, which isn’t a whole lot, but it is another substantial step in this recovery process.

On the left there (obviously?) is my foot the day after surgery.  The next picture is how the foot looks right now.  No, it’s still not pretty but it does get the job done.  I’m not looking for perfection right away, I’m just happy with progress.

Adventure Project - Josh Grant - Update 1

Speaking of progress, my absolute favorite tool for tracking progress is Strava.  It is also by far my favorite form of social media.  I like the fact that you have to do something, be active somehow to post.  That little bit of effort gives the interactions there some ownership and a little more meaning to me, because I know everyone on there is working as hard or harder than I am.  They are all goaling towards something, and I love the shared community all that effort represents.  I even met my my local running partner/fellow Star Wars superfan thanks to Strava.

I have a dozen standard routes around town and the local trails here.  When you complete the same route multiple times, Strava automatically groups all those efforts into one chart to have an easy visual guide to see your progress (or lack thereof).  This last weekend I ran what I consider to be my baseline trail test route, it’s 8.4 miles with a little over 1,300 feet of gain (almost all up front in the first 4 miles).  It has miles of beautiful single track, soft dirt and here in California the grass is currently a beautiful green since our winter (hahahaha!) has been even shorter and warmer than usual.  See the above picture for reference and tell me how you wouldn’t love to just go ripping along that single track.

This trail test route went well, really well.  My playlist consisted of the Hamilton Soundtrack (which is amazing and I save it for special occasions like this).  The temps were in the mid to high 70’s and I was wearing my lucky red shorts, which have the obvious side effect of making me run faster.  I felt good, the run felt fast and the trail test went great.  Looking at the data, I’m not as fast as I was BI (Before Injury), but I’m faster than I was the last two times I ran this route. One (July 15) was in the deepest depths of being injured and the other was just ten days after (Dec 25) I got my doctor’s blessing to run after surgery.

In the chart you can see that the fastest I ever did that loop was a ridiculous 8:54 pace, and the slowest was an equally ridiculous 11:13 pace.  So with this recent 10:14, I’m closer to my trough that I am to my peak, but I’m moving in the right direction.  Now it’s just a matter of spending more time on trails with trees (and maybe some tears too).  By the way, I fucking love charts and graphs, give me Excel and some numbers to play with and I’m like a cat chasing a laser.  

Adventure Project - Josh Grant - Update 1

Looking forward, here’s what I’ve got coming up for biggish events in between here and the Badwater -- Telescope -- Badwater project.  These are some of the steps that I need to help get my groove back and to start feeling ready for this massive amount of work I’m going to ask my legs to do on one day in November.

  • March: Mt San Jacinto Cactus to Clouds (and maybe back down to Cactus again depending on how we feel)
  • April: American River 50 Mile Endurance Run. This year will be my fifth consecutive AR 50, so I think I get a commemorative toaster this year?
  • May: hopefully some backpacking, depends on the snow level in the Sierra and how quickly it melts.
  • Late June: nice multi-day family backpacking trip to the High Sierra (again depending on snow levels, melt and mosquitos).
  • Later June/Early July: Rae Lakes Loop, solo day trip to scout it out for aesthetic reasons and evaluate for FKT potential depending on how spicy I’m feeling.
  • July 21: Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run
  • August, September, October: Concentrate on recovering from TRT100 and getting completely ready for this here Badwater Project.

So that’s where I’m at, slowly and steadily working my way back to where I was and where I want to be again.  I’m patient, I’m determined (sometimes described as stubborn)  and I have a goal.  I think I’ve pretty well beat this beginning chapter into the ground, so next time I can talk about my rash or open the floor to questions, I’m flexible either way.

February 16, 2018 — Kevin Goldberg
What to keep in mind when teaching your dog to race with you

What to keep in mind when teaching your dog to race with you

Dogs are known as man's best friend, and there is no doubt that they make for very loyal and devoted companions. You can even train your dog to run and race with you – and with his natural enthusiasm and gregariousness, he will certainly make a great work-out buddy for you, motivating you to get out on the track in the first place, whilst his energy and buoyancy will easily rub off on you once you are out there as well. Unfortunately, however, and no matter how energetic, not all pooches come equipped to run. Here are some of the things you will need to keep in mind when getting your dog in shape and teaching him to race with you.

First, of all, make sure your dog is healthy and in shape. If your dog is sick, unhealthy or too young or old, he won't be able to keep up with you. Generally speaking, pooches younger than 18 months should stick with strolling. Running before this age can interfere with the healthy bone development of your canine friend, and leave him with physical problems later on down the line.

If, however, your dog is 'age-appropriate', get him into running the same way you would do for yourself, ie. start out slow and gradually up the intensity. For example you can start with a 5-10 minute jog, and then add another 5-10 minutes every week until you reach whatever time or distance of running you are satisfied with. You know from your own experience that gradually building up your mileage will enable your muscles and tissue to adapt naturally to the increased activity levels without suffering injury.

Over time, your canine friend will adapt to your speed. Keep in mind, though, that this process will not be free of hiccups. Initially, your pet will be frustrated at the restrictions you have placed on him, and will chafe at them. You will literally find yourself attempting to hold onto his or her leash at times. Other dogs will not understand what you are trying to do, and will become distracted and lag behind. It is up to you to teach your pet how to run and race with you.

When it comes to the leash, ideally it will be quite a bit shorter than when you simply walk with your dog. If you are used to keeping your dog on a 6 foot leash, then shorten it to two to three feet so that your dog runs with you by your side, not ahead of you. About dog leashes and the proper length of them you can read more on pupsbest.

There you have it then! Just like anything else when it comes to dogs, you have to train him or her to do your bidding. Getting your dog to race with you without any prior experience is not something you will be able to accomplish right off the bat, but with consistent practice and by taking things slowly, you will get there in the end. Good luck! Your pooch has the potential to be the best running companion you could ever ask for.

Guest blogger:


February 07, 2018 — Kevin Goldberg
Long Distance Rides - The Do's and the Dont's

Long Distance Rides - The Do's and the Dont's

Last year I upped my time on the bike while training for the Dirty Kanza, a 200 mile gravel bike race in Kansas. Before training for the DK200, the longest I’d ridden was 106 miles, once...several years before. I was very comfortable in the 1-2 hour bike ride range. So there was a little bit of a learning curve when I had to up my training rides. The hardest part about a long distance ride should be the actual ride, not planning that goes into it. Below I’ve outlined some of the Do’s and Don’ts of long distance bike rides.

The Do’s:

  • Friends: Try to recruit people to ride with. If you’re trying to cover a lot of distance, teamwork makes the dreamwork. Not only do conserve energy while drafting, but you can cover more ground, faster. And it’s nice to have company.
  • Food and Hydration: Plan where you are going to refuel. Depending how much water and food you carry and the rate and which you consume these, your refueling stops might be ever 50 miles or maybe every 100. If you aren’t able to fill up bottles for a long time, consider wearing a hydration pack.
  • Equipment: Bring extras. For the sake of safety assume that you’re going to get at least  one flat. Make sure to bring tubes, extra CO2 or a hand pump for when you do.
  • Chamois cream. Just use it. If your ride is going to be a multi day tour,  you might want to bring extra with you.
  • Route: Plan your route on Strava or MapMyRide and upload the route on your computer. I use my Wahoo Element for this and it gives me turn by turn prompts and a detailed overview of my route.

The Don’ts:

  • That new new: Avoid riding a new bike or saddle. Also avoid riding long distance in new shoes or even bibs. Now is not the time to figure out a new bike position or that a new chamois doesn’t agree with you.
      • Hydrate poorly: Not only do you need to make sure you have ample water with you, but plan ahead and mix in/bring extra hydration mix such as Skratch Labs. Plain water won’t replace the electrolytes you lose.
  • Forget to Eat: Sometimes having an eating schedule, say eating every 30 minutes or hour, prevents you from eating too little. For instance, a 140 lb male can burn 600-800 calories an hour at endurance pace. Generally, you want to try to replace those half of the calories burned each hour, 60-85% of those calories coming from carbs.
  • Batteries: Don’t forget to charge your phone, bike computer etc.. especially if you need them for navigation or emergencies.

  • Long distance riding is amazing. You get to see so many different things all powered by your own strength. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you ride or if you’re riding for fun or as a training ride. The  goal should be to have an enjoyable ride. Follow the helpful tips above to set yourself up for success.

    Guest Blogger - Reese Ruland 

    Instagram: @Reeseruland

    Picture Credit: @Adamjcon

    Long Distance Rides - The Dos And The Donts

    January 31, 2018 — Kevin Goldberg
    When to Listen to Your Body

    When to Listen to Your Body

    I can tell you that ultra runners and the ultra running community can provide some of the most interesting stories you could ever ask for. You get humor, gross, heartfelt, cringeworthy and everything in between. Time spent talking to any of the individuals that participate in these events, or those around them, is time well spent.

    During the Marquette race this year, I honestly thought I had the mother of all one liner stories when I got into an aid station and looked Katara straight in the face and said, “I need you to follow me to the bathroom so I can drop my pants and you can check my testicles”. The look on her face was priceless! Look, there was a medical reason…as near as we can figure, I had a partially twisted testicle after a nasty little slip a few miles previous that literally dropped me like a rock and had me dry heaving. My friend Peter didn’t even blink, but he knew I needed to make sure it wasn’t a hernia. I just wasn’t thinking at all at that point, so those are the words that came out. Classic right?

    Little did I know the joke was on me as maybe the mother of all one liner’s I would hear came a few weeks later. See, I had been having some issues dating back to June which had me heading back to the doctor for bloodwork every few weeks. Each test was showing different results and they were having trouble nailing down a cause. Then I got a call from Doc and after a pregnant pause I heard, “You’re hormonal”...... uh, excuse me? What did you say?? I certainly never expected to hear that statement thrown in my direction, yet there it was.

    Funny, I know. If I’d have had a drink I’d have spit it out I’m sure! As it turns out, the additional body stress of the multiple races back-to-back had pushed me over a line my body couldn’t adapt to fast enough. A cascade effect resulted. You see, I have always been mildly hypothyroid. The thyroid controls a multitude of processes and as the thyroid went bananas, so did those processes apparently. In the end it was as simple as adjusting my thyroid medicine by 25% and within three weeks I was back to normal.

    It’s a good thing I have a close relationship to my doctor, but it is worth talking about his process here as well. When we think of things that sideline runners or anyone that pushes that bodies hard, the first and usually only thought is always a physical injury. There is so much more that can happen though, so here are a few things to watch for that should signal you to see your doc:

    1. Fatigue - I don’t mean like, “Man that was a tough day and I need a few extra hours of sleep.” I’m talking the kind of fatigue that never goes away; sleeping 10 hours a day, taking naps and still feeling like you’re constantly ready to fall asleep while you’re awake.

    2. Muscle Soreness - Again, this is not like the, “Hey, I just had a hard workout,” variety and it goes away after a day or two. More like, “Hey, I just ran three miles and feel like it was 100!” Muscles that constantly ache and keep you awake at night kind of feeling.

    3. Unquenchable thirst - This one is particularly tricky as we are so often worried about dehydration it can be easy to confuse. But if you are constantly drinking, going to the bathroom excessively and your urine is unhealthily clear at all times (a sign of being over hydrated) it is something to take note of.

    4. Random spikes in heart rate and blood pressure - You’ve done this workout a million times and suddenly in the middle of this one you can feel your heart racing, you’re having trouble catching your breath and you feel dizzy like you’re going to pass out. Yeah, that kind of ‘not normal’. We all have rough days, and some days this can happen and you should just adjust accordingly. However, if it happens repeatedly it’s a definite warning sign.

    Look, We all know our bodies pretty well. These symptoms can present for a multitude of reasons and sometimes they aren’t so serious or resolve themselves. It can also be easily ignored or brushed aside in our constant drive to push ourselves. I just encourage you to listen to your body. Even non-traditional signals sent by your body can be warning signs you shouldn’t ignore, and with any luck the next story you tell to add to the lore of our sport will be one of epic success, humor or an example of the human spirit.

    Chad Hause

    @ 2_run26

    December 20, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg

    So You Had a Bad Race?

    Us runners are a funny lot. We train for months, sacrificing sleep and social time, enduring early mornings, late nights, cold, heat, wind, rain and snow, with our efforts and hopes pinned on a single event. When things go right, and we have a great race, we are jubilant and left with a sense of satisfaction and purpose realized. But what happens when a race or event doesn’t go as planned or hoped? When, after months of training, we don’t achieve the outcome we toiled so hard for (be it a goal time painstakingly planned out, or a DNF – did not finish) how do you reconcile the outcome?  What then?

    No one sets out to have race that leaves a sour taste in your mouth and that sinking feeling in your gut. Inevitably, after a race that doesn’t go as planned, there is a lot of second guessing, feeling of disappointment and even bewilderment. What happened? What went so very wrong?

    I think it’s important to realize that if you race long enough, you are bound to have a “bad race.” (more on why I have this in parenthesis later) No matter how much you train, whether you are at the front or the back of the pack, crappy races happen.  And while I can’t tell you not to be disappointed in a race that doesn’t go as planned, I do have some advice on how to overcome such an event, and how to use it to your advantage the next time you line up at the start line. Let’s turn a negative into a positive, shall we?

    So You Had A Bad Race

    For starters, I think it’s important to keep perspective. One (or two) lousy races doesn’t define you as a runner or person. You may laugh reading that, but fresh off the burn of a disappointing race or a goal unmet, I am always astounded how many people use this as a barometer of judging their self-worth. Your value as a runner or individual is not in any way directly related to your finish time or place. Period.

    On that note, don’t compare your results to someone else’s! I cannot stress this enough. It’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison game we find all over social media, where it ranges from subtle to overt (who hasn’t scrolled through their feed to see a plethora of PRs and impressive splits) to websites like Ultra-signup that literally ranks runners and assigns them a % based on past performances in races (as well as predicting future race performance). It’s amazing to me how so many get caught up in this game of comparing times and places at races. While I think a healthy dose of competition can be fun, constantly comparing yourself to a person in your Insta feed who is nailing race PR after PR is not productive at all. You are not them, just as they are not YOU. So they won their age group at a gnarly race this weekend while you tanked at yours. News flash – this doesn’t make them better than you. Your ability to be gracious and cheerful when things aren’t going your way, encouraging to others, and grateful no matter the outcome, speaks volumes more than a time or placing.

    Let’s talk expectations; were yours realistic going into the event? Time to be 100% honest with yourself!  I am a big believer in setting big goals and going after them, but this must be balanced with a solid dose of self-awareness and honesty. What were your expectations going into the event? Were they realistic based on how your training cycle went, your past experience with races and similar terrain/conditions, as well as your strengths and weaknesses and how that factored in with the course you were running?  Are you a flatlander that signed up for a high-altitude mountain adventure, with little hill training under your belt? Did you come up short on your marathon goal time, but your last training cycle reflects that you missed all of your key long runs and speedwork? Sometimes it’s easy to dream big (yay!) but lose a sense of realism at the same time.  There must be a fine balance between the two.

    Evaluate! I believe every race is a great opportunity to learn, grow and fine tune ourselves as athletes. In fact, I have come to find that the races where things DIDN’T go as planned have always been the ones I learn from the most. I encourage all of my clients (and you bet I do this too!) to reflect post-race and write down what right, what didn’t go as planned, and what they learned that they could apply to future training and races.

    This goes into the “bad race” disclaimer I mentioned earlier. While no one is immune to races that come up short and leave us feeling deflated, I truly believe there are no “bad” races. There is an old saying that goes something like this; you either win, or you learn. Every single race is a chance to improve, learn and grow. Yes, even the DNFs. Sometimes those epic crash and burn events are the stepping stones to reaching that elusive PR or completing a distance you never would have attempted before. Try to use this experience to catapult you to future success!

    If you do find yourself in the post-race doldrums, I find it best to remember why you started racing in the first place. Was it about a PR or a podium finish, or was it more about pushing yourself, becoming part of a larger community of people, of traveling to new places to experience them on foot? Was it about setting goals you never imagined you could reach? What were your motivations in the first place?

    Give back – nothing lifts me up after a tough race or injury like volunteering at an event. You get to be a part of the amazing energy that goes hand in hand with races, all while helping and encouraging others to reach their goals. Whether it be officially volunteering at an aid station, pacing a friend at event, or simply standing at the side of the road, cowbell in hand, showing up at an event you aren’t competing in can almost be more rewarding than doing the event yourself.

    Look ahead – use what you learned from this event, and use that to look ahead and plan a future race.  You’ll have that fire in your belly train smarter, more effectively and hopefully with a little less pressure and more joy. Alternatively, pick a race with a “no pressure” clause.  I often pick “rebound” races that are simply for run and to reconnect with myself, a good running buddy, and the running community in general, with no pressure or expectation of a time goal.

    So You Had A Bad Race

    (nailing this “having fun” thing)

    Killian Jornet said it best “Winning isn't about finishing in first place. It isn't about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality.” Thinking this way can put a whole new spin on your racing experience, no matter the outcome.

    Adventure on, friends!







    December 07, 2017 — Ash Bodel
    Cheetah Tracker 2017

    Cheetah Tracker 2017

    2017 has been a year of balance. I started the year recovering from a broken 3rd metatarsal in my right foot and I am ending it after dealing with some sort of mystery pain in the same spot as the break, which has left me walking to the finish line at times and even causing me to withdraw from other races.  The balance has been to manage the pain through training and races while resting enough to heal the injury to get me to the finish lines.

    In January, I decided to get back to running after breaking my foot the previous October.  Mrs. C, another friend Dave Wiskowski and I accepted a generous offer from our friend Paul Sinclair to stow away on his boat for a ride over to Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California for our second go at the beautiful Avalon 50 Miler. The run was epic, as always, and we saw buffalo roaming freely along the course. The run was tough with little conditioning behind it, but to run again at all after a broken foot is truly a joyous feeling. I ended up finishing the 50 miles in 9:38:09 and was glad to have survived.

     After being selected for a second year as an ambassador for the Los Angeles Marathon’s through race owners, Conqur Endurance Group, I opted to run one of their newest races, the Pasadena ½ Marathon. On a chilly and rainy morning, I toed the line at the Rose Bowl and gutted out a finish time of 1:42:38, which was good enough for 16th in my age group. I clearly still hadn’t found my groove or endurance.

     Heading towards the Los Angeles Marathon in March, I knew I had to start dropping the weight, running hills and running with faster people again if I wanted a shot at a SUB 3 hour marathon. So Mrs. C went into action preparing my meals and I went into race mode as I dropped the weight and added the miles. Road marathons are a different sort of grind with high, fast miles mixed with fartleks, heart rate training and other speed-work. I did just ok in my preparation as I was using LA as a springboard for Boston. I ended up with a finish time of 3:27:16. This wasn’t exactly a barnburner, but it was progress and showed that I was within striking distance of getting that SUB3 in Boston.

     Against my better judgment, because it was only 6 days after the Los Angeles Marathon, I chose to race my friend Sarah Mista’s awesome inaugural Rambla’s Run ½ Marathon. This just happens to be a pretty challenging trail race with a few technical trails to keep you on your toes. I finished in 1:57:37 and was lucky to have pulled through injury free. 

    So instead of just focusing on training for Boston, which was now less than a month away, I chose to race along side my Brother Mike who was running the Hollywood ½ Marathon. Again, my thought was to use this as a springboard to Boston, and it worked! My work was beginning to pay off as I saw my effort in the half marathon fall from a 1:42 in Pasadena in January to a 1:29:25 in early April in the streets of Hollywood. I was almost ready for Boston.

    So the funny thing about the Boston Marathon is that you never quite know what to expect. I’ve seen rain, wind, freezing cold temperatures, been injured and have felt the heat there. And this was only my 4th time running it! This time we got the heat again. It wasn’t so bad at the start, but this was my first time starting in wave 2, which starts 25 minutes after that actual race gun goes off. So those 25 minutes you get the sun coming up higher and the temperatures rising. My saving grace was that I was in the very front of wave 2 and, therefore, had wide-open road to run in the beginning of the race. I pushed myself, but still came up short of my goal on the day with a finish time of 3:09:38. This was my 19th Boston qualifying time (BQ-15:22) but still not the SUB3 I’ve been chasing in Boston.

    Mrs. C and I celebrate our anniversary in April. We tied the knot 4 days after Boston and this year decided to spend our anniversary in Europe on the way to run the London Marathon a mere 6 days after Boston. Oh, and for fun, we threw a side trip to Paris in the middle of the two races. Paris was awesome but London was a party! There were so many people running that it wasn’t exactly a PR course and I certainly didn’t expect to run fast. But somehow those English fans brought it out of me. I cruised the city of London in search of a party and ended up with my second BQ of the week and 20th overall BQ as I finished in 3:20:46. (BQ-4:14) Bring on the TRAILS!!!

    Cheetah Tracker 2017

    Mrs. C and I decided to get right back into the trails after our Boston to Paris to London adventure. After all, she was going for her first 100-mile finish, just over 3 months later at AC100, which was also my next race on the calendar.

    So we went at it with everything we had. So on Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, we chose to train along with some of the best runners out there at the Western States Endurance Run Training Runs. By “some of the best” I am referring to Jim Walmsley, Jamil Coury, Kaci Lickteig, Jeff Browning and Chris Mocko just to name some of them. We saw most of the WSER racecourse and it made this race one that we both want to race even more. This event had us fired up for AC100

    After a tough training cycle, Mrs. C and I were as prepared as we think we could have been. It was my third time running the race after a 24:12 (Second Sunrise buckle) and a 22:58 (Silver-SUB24 buckle) the previous year. I trained Mrs. C the same way I trained. I taught her the course by sections. 25 miles at a time, we grinded out the vert and we learned the technical aspects of the course until we were, as Dominic Grossman, described it as a “ball in the groove”. You get to know the trails so well over time that you just roll through it. I personally felt fantastic. That is until I didn’t. At mile 80ish, just after the crest of Mt. Wilson, my foot hit a rock. One of about a million of them. But this one hurt me as I saw “white hot pain” in my eyes. I hobbled into the Idlehour Aid Station and knew I was in trouble. I was till well on SUB24 hour pace, but I had to stop to figure out if I could continue the final 17 miles of climb and then through the technical descent to the finish. I was at that aid station for over and hour and 15 minutes being tended to expertly by my friend Pete Sercel, before deciding to walk to the finish. I walked that last section of about 17ish miles in a lot of pain, and after being in around 10th place, was only passed by 9 people to finish in 19th overall. So I definitely I earned that 33 hour finishers (SOLO division) buckle to complete my AC100 set. I won’t run that race again but next year I look forward to pacing my friend, and fellow Orange Mud sponsored athlete, Jake Jackson to his first AC100 finish after he has paced me for 2 years and Mrs. C this year to our finishes on the final 25 miles of the course. 

    After AC100, I had just under a month to get my injury sorted before the most epic and anticipated race of my life. I had to find that balance between training and pain to get myself ready for the incredible journey to UTMB. I made a fun decision to buy myself a mountain bike for cross training while my foot wasn’t at 100%. Although it wasn’t a major part of my training for UTMB, it absolutely kept my legs moving enough to give them a shot to make the journey around Mount Blanc.

    If you’ve never been or don’t know, you should Google the 3d video of UTMB. It’s the real deal. It’s about 33K of vertical elevation gain, about 105 miles long, travels through 3 countries and showed me every type of weather you can imagine in a mountain race. I saw rain, snow, hail, mud, both freezing and hot temperatures and even fog and wind. It was ridiculous. I loved it. But unfortunately, my foot didn’t and I re-injured it coming down a particularly muddy descent at around mile 60 of the race. So I took the DNF with pride knowing I had done my best to balance and get as far as I possibly could safely continue. It was totally worth it and I will put myself back in the lottery for next year’s race to try again.                                                                                                                                                   

    After the DNF at UTMB, I worked on my rest, recovery and training for the next 8 weeks to give myself a shot at finishing the last race on the calendar for the year, The Javelina Jundred. I rested quite a bit, dieted well and ran terrain that was similar to the course. That would be sandy and rocky trails that had about 100 feet or so per mile in elevation gain and loss. When I wasn’t running, I was back on the mountain bike, grinding the gravel on some good climbs. I really think this helped my overall fitness and propelled me to the result I ended up with at Javelina. Biking will remain a staple in my cross-training moving forward.

    After all of the epic elevation gains of the year, I was ready for a relatively flat course. Javelina Jundred isn’t exactly flat with around 7k in gain over 100 miles, but what it lack in gain it makes up for in heat! It’s hot AF out there in that desert and we saw temps in the 104º range on the day. I was pretty out of shape as I had been balancing more to the side of resting and recovering then I had in training and doing the right things with my diet. I admit I had gained about 15-20 pounds and was still trying to work them off as I went into the race. But all I wanted was a finish. A SUB24 buckle was a secondary goal. As the day went on though, it was pretty clear that I had done enough to get both goals as I finished in SUB22 for the 100 miler in the desert. It was a great race with excellent support from the organizers and, especially from Mrs. C who selflessly crewed many others along with me during the race.

    Now with all of the races of the 2017 behind me, I decided to take a real rest from running in order to heal my foot properly and get ready for an amazing and epic 2018. But this time I’m gonna do my best to do all of the races on two feet instead of one. Imagine how that might work out for me. All that keeps going through my mind is lose the weight, run with faster people, run hills and eat the VERT every chance you get! Fingers crossed for WSER and UTMB lotteries!! See you in the dirt!

    Cheetah Tracker 2017 

    November 30, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg
    Heart Rate Training - Getting Started

    Heart Rate Training - Getting Started

    Are you curious about heart rate training and ready to take your trail running to the next level? 
    I’ve been training by heart rate for a few years and really enjoy the structure it offers, without having to be concerned with a specific pace (which is often irrelevant in a trail situation).
    Heart rate training provides feedback to you that is specific to your body on any given day. It also allows for flexibility to adapt your training to suit your terrain, and an opportunity to modify a training plan from the road or track to the trail. It doesn’t take a PhD! All it requires is the desire to monitor your heart rate data and a willingness to run and adapt.
    I measure my heart rate using wrist-based reading on a Garmin 935. If you use something similar, as soon as you wear it, it will begin to gather data. It is important to wear it around the clock if you want accurate resting heart rate data for training.
    If you use a chest strap properly, you might be getting a more accurate reading than with many wrist heart rate monitors. Be sure to lubricate it before each use and clean it regularly! Also be sure to check your batteries.
    It’s not necessary to wear a chest strap around the clock; but, you will need to check your resting heart rate as soon as you wake up in the morning, for accuracy.
    If you’ve been wearing your heart rate monitor for any length of time, it is possible you’ve already achieved a max heart rate reading; but, most likely, you have not performed at your max heart rate and will need to determine your accurate maximum value. To do this, I recommend Pfitzinger and Douglas’s simple, (but physically taxing), performance test.
    1. Find a hill that is moderately steep and   1/3 to 1/2 mile long. (600m)
    2. Warm up with gentle jogging for 10-15 minutes. Consider stretching for a few minutes, but stay warm.
    3. With your watch on, run uphill as hard as you can for 600 meters. (This should be intense and feel like there’s not another gear left on your body.) Do not stop your watch!
    4. Jog back down and repeat step 3 two more times. (You may not be able to jog back down for a minute or two, but keep the watch running so it can gather data.)
    5. Two minutes after running the last uphill, stop the run and save your run. There should be sufficient data for the watch to adjust your heart rate max, and a new heart rate max should appear on the watch.
    TRAINING – Once your max and resting heart rates have been determined, some watches will personalize the training zones to suit your current fitness.
    If you prefer, you can calculate your own zones, which is useful if your watch zones get “out of whack”, or you heart rate train without a smart watch.
    To train by heart rate, I follow a simple formula found on Pfitzinger’s website. 
    Heart rate reserve X Percent of intensity + Resting heart rate 
    First, using my max heart rate of 172, and my resting heart rate of 41, I determine my heart rate reserve: 131 (172-41=131) and calculate all of my training zones for heart rate. 
    If you want to do this, multiply your heart rate reserve by the proper percentage and then add your resting heart rate.
    Heart Rate Training - Getting Started
    For example, my recovery heart rate is
    131 (my heart rate reserve) x .70 =
    Add back my resting heart rate to it, 91.7+41= 132. 
    So, using the formula, my recovery heart rate should be < 132.
    You will notice that things like sleep and climate will have an effect on your heart rate.
    If you have poor sleep, are fighting illness, or are exercising in hot weather, your heart will be working harder, and you will be running slower to reach each training zone. But, be assured that your workout will be what your body can handle and what it needs for the day.
    The opposite is also true. If it is a cool day and you are well rested, you may need to go faster to run within your heart rate goal!
    EASY AND AEROBIC (or recovery) 
    It is a good idea to build a strong base of easy, aerobic running before adding in more intense workouts.
    To run easy on trails, you will need to have a lot of self-discipline! When going uphill your heart rate will rise. To keep your run within the easy /aerobic zones, you may need to slow down to a hike. This is perfectly acceptable in trail running. (And, I know of no other way to finish a trail ultra-marathon that has any amount of climbing, than to purposefully hike some sections.)
    Starting early with this tactic is good practice, and using your heart rate monitor to tell you when you are extending above the aerobic limit, will keep the you from going out too fast.
    If you are training for a trail marathon or longer, it’s possible that your goal for every run should be to stay within the training zones of recovery, easy and aerobic. 
    For the rest of us, running shorter distances in trail races, easy and aerobic running should be the foundation composing 75-90% of the plan.
    Running up hills is more useful if you are training for shorter races. Still, it is important not to do this too often because of the stress on your body. (In my own running, I have phases of uphill running where I start with one uphill run a week. And, as my body adapts, I may add in one or two more hill workouts a week, until a taper, where I reduce the climbing quite a bit.)
    Running uphill will quickly send your body into the tempo / THRESHOLD zone. You can create specific tempo or threshold workouts using hills and your heart rate monitor.
    Something I like to do when training for trail races is to substitute a 30-40 minute tempo run (you might do at X:xx pace) with a run that includes a long uphill section on a favorite trail.
    After a mile or so of warm-up running in the easy zone, I will run for 30 minutes uphill, keeping an eye occasionally on my watch to see that I am staying within the threshold zone. If it gets above threshold, I need to slow down, or I won’t be able to run for the 30 minute duration. Also, if I run only in the green/ aerobic section, I’m not getting the intensity I need to improve my lactate threshold for races.
    Threshold running does not have to be done strictly as one long brick of uphill running. This intensity can be reached on flat trail, road, the track, or can even be done in shorter segments that are repeated. 
    A workout with similar benefit to the one above would be to run for 10 minutes in threshold zone, then jog (green / easy zone) or power-hike for two minutes, and then repeat these steps two more times.
    The main idea is to spend time at the threshold zone. (However, if you are training for a race that will be longer than an hour, you may wish to get at least a few runs in with a longer time block of threshold-intensity running.)
    It is important to note that this zone is the most intense zone, with the most potential for running injury, if done too often or for too long.
    Once a week at this maximum level is plenty for most athletes. Coach Jack Daniels, PhD, suggests these workouts should consist of no more than 10% of your total weekly running volume.
    Typically these workouts are done on the track, and look like 6×800 meters at x pace, but for trail running, you will need to think in terms of “time spent running”.
    If your workout is 6×800, and your interval 800 would take 4 minutes on the track, shoot for 4 minutes in the Maximum zone, followed by a recovery jog or hike of 3-4 minutes long, repeated 5 times.
    You might opt for a short hill to do this on, jogging down the hill after each bout. Or, you might choose a flat bark path that is smooth and soft. Either way, the goal is to spend as much time in the red/ Maximum zone as possible during each 4 minute rep.
    To improve in trail running, it’s important to spend as much time as possible on surfaces that mimic your goal race. Doing these workouts on the track are not a bad idea though!
    One last workout type is terrifically useful for trail runners.
    Once a week it is a good idea to intentionally incorporate some downhill fast running on a short hill, or during a longer run with some short, technical downhill sections. Heart rate zones will not matter for this one, because when running downhill , your heart rate drops significantly.
    If your race will contain a good portion of paved surface, it is a good idea to run this as 4-8 30second long bursts of top-end speed, followed by walking or very slow jogging.
    If you plan to race on technical trails, doing this on a similar surface will help improve your ability to navigate roots and rocks without tripping.  Just make sure to watch out for other runners!
    With all of these tips, training with your heart rate monitor should be fun and produce some fantastic results. Happy trail running!!
    Other tips:
    On wrist-based heart rate monitor:
    • Ensure the device is snug tight to the point it cannot move up and down your wrist but not so tight as to limit circulation
    • Wear watch on outside of wrist, above wrist bone (closer to heart than your hand)
    • Avoid wearing it over dark tattoos
    • Don’t wear sunscreen under the watch
    • Ensure watch software is up to date 
    • Ensure green lights (LED’s) are functioning
    Be aware that in VERY rainy situations, wrist-based readings should be disregarded. And, on chest straps, occasionally readings get thrown off because of static electricity, especially in cold, dry weather.
    To manually adjust your heart rate zone on a Garmin Forerunner or Fenix, follow these steps: 
    • On desktop go to
    • Sign in at the top right of the screen
    • Click on the three bars at the top left of the screen
    • Click Devices
    • Click on your device if you have multiple
    • Click on User Settings
    • Scroll down to Heart Rate Zones and save when done adjusting
    • You will not need to sync your device

    Guest Blogger: Raina Rausch

    IG; @Seenonmytrail

    Twitter: @raina_runs 

    November 16, 2017 — Kevin Goldberg