Paul Jesse Bio
Athlete: Paul Jesse
Lives City/State: Highlands Ranch, CO
Go to Orange Mud Gear: VP2
Primary Sport: Trail & Ultra Running
What sports do you participate in?
Trail/Ultra Running, Hiking and Skiing.
What is your favorite race food?
Fruit! I have a tough time with most solid food during a race so I love watermelon, bananas and grapes when nothing else is looking good.
What is your go to hydration mix?
In the process of testing out some new products but most of my calories come from a powder mixes like CarboPro, Tailwind or F2C which I’ve recently discovered and am liking so far!
Do you have a major quirk you’d like to share?
I can clap with one hand. Is that a quirk or just weird?
If you were relate to an animal, what would it be?
Sasquatch is an animal right?
My long legs and lanky arms earned me the nickname Squatch when I was on the John Muir Trail. Based on some profile silhouettes I’ve seen of myself it’s frighteningly appropriate.
If a newbie to your sport asked for one piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy it! The great thing about taking to the trails is the scenery, the community, and the connection with nature. Even during a race it’s so important to take a moment and appreciate your surroundings and the fact that you’re traversing incredible landscapes under your own power.
Do you have any racing pet peeves?
(Gel packets, mud, thorns, smelly runners, etc). Unfriendly runners. We’re all out there suffering together and there’s no reason to be a jerk to your fellow runners and especially not towards volunteers!
What do you do for fun?
Running IS fun!! But other than that anything that gets me outside in nature is great. Hiking with my wife and dogs is towards the top of that list and the recent move to Colorado has got me back into skiing which was my first mountain love.
What is your post race ritual?
I don’t have anything specific but usually about 12-24 hours after a big race I begin eating copious amounts of food. Anything and everything that looks good!
How long have you been running?
I started playing soccer at 4 so I guess I’ve been “running” my whole life but I never enjoyed running until I moved to San Diego after college. I found the trails through a triathlon team and gave up the bike to spend as much time running dirt as I could!
Why do you enjoy the sport?
I guess the two biggest reasons are the people and the challenge. The trail community has given me a second family and some of the best friends I could have ever hoped for. Ultra-running has also shown me more of myself than I ever thought possible. It has revealed my weaknesses and helped me develop strengths I never knew I had. It constantly pushes me to want to be better as a person and athlete.
What's your favorite trail race?
Too many to choose from! I love every race I’ve done for at least a few reasons and I’d be showing my bias if I named one of the ones I put on so I’m going to stick with my standard answer of, “My next one!” That’s the race that gets me out of bed on cold dark mornings and keeps me motivated to set goals and find new limits.
What's your favorite local trail?
Being new to the Denver area, I haven’t explored enough yet, but Mt Falcon and Deer Creek have become two of my local, go-to spots with some really great trails! In San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park was far and away my favorite place. The miles of trails, tough climbs, convenience, and memories I have in that park are amazing. I will always think of MTRP as the place I truly became a trail runner!
What's your go to piece of Orange Mud gear and why?
The Vest Pack 2, no doubt about it! While I love everything OM, this pack is my #1. Bottles will always top bladders for me for ease of use, cleaning, and regulating fluid/calorie intake and on race day there is no comparison when going through an aid station. Combine the 2 bottles with good size chest pockets for baggies of nutrition powder, gloves, headlamp, etc and it’s my ideal pack!
Profession and educational background?
Graduated from Pitt with an Engineering degree but that only lasted me about 3 years. I hated the office lifestyle, but it got me to San Diego so no complaints here! Since then I’ve been in the running industry working in a running shop, as a race director and sales rep. I’m much more suited to this life!
What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?
I’ve had a few podiums in smaller races but what I’m most proud of is continually pushing myself to see how I can improve. I’m far from a great runner but I love trying to find out how good I can become at this!
Do you have a set training schedule and if so, what's it like?
If not, how do you decide what to do? Yes, in the past it’s been about getting mileage and vert depending on the race. Going into this year, I’m focusing on more structured workouts in my running to try to help improve some of my weaknesses and doing more of my runs based on time. I’m fortunate to be married to a coach that is a huge supporter of my goals and major contributor to my training plans.
What's your dream race? Hardrock 100 and nothing else comes close!
Favorite book for athletes? “Once a Runner” is by far my favorite running book and one of my favorite books ever. I’ve read it multiple times and it’s one of the few books I still own not in digital form. “The Boys in the Boat” and “How Bad Do You Want It?” are a couple more I’ve read in the past year that really stood out.
Do you listen to audiobooks or music during exercise?
I like to listen to music when I’m doing harder runs but prefer podcasts for my long slow days. I just got into audiobooks so I have a feeling they will be joining me soon too.
What advice would you give to a new runner coming into the sport?
Same as above. Focus on the enjoyment and you’ll have a lifelong passion!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
So many places! My internal desire to be better is my biggest driving force, but there are so many amazing people that inspire and motivate me in this sport. People like Scott Mills who is still crushing brutally difficult 100 milers in his mid-60s. I hope to someday become half the athlete and person he is! Watching athletes at the top of the sport challenge the limits of what we think is possible pushes me to find out what my own personal limits are.
Have you struggled with any injuries? How do you manage them?
When I started ultrarunning, I was the poster boy for what not to do. I signed up for a 50K, 50 Mile and 100 Mile all within the first 6 months of deciding to try Ultras. I got sucked in to following other people’s training plans and perfected the too much too soon error that is so well known. I had a great 50K and never even made the start line of the 50 Mile. I was out for about a year from running with a lower leg injury. Since then I’ve become much better about listening to my body, sticking to my training plan, and being forgiving to myself when I need to make adjustments to the plan when my body needs it.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I think we’ve covered more than people wanted to know about me already!
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Be yourself! Whether in sports or life, we’re only doing this thing for a limited time. There’s no reason to waste any of it trying to be someone else.
What is your favorite local running or biking store?
I’ve only hit a couple shops in Colorado so far, but Runner’s Den in Golden is a great spot and Palmer Divide Run Co is a really cool gear shop and has one of the best Instagram accounts out there.
What blogs and social profiles would you like us to feature here?
I primarily stick to Instagram so you can follow my adventures and check out pics of my dogs here: https://www.instagram.com/offroadpursuits/