Trails of Glory

Welcome to Trails of Glory brought to you by The Trail Aficionado. This is the best place to get insight, learn trail running secrets, and discover new and unusual trails around the country. Follow the rest of my page with links to interesting running events locally and nationally. Read race reports, trail reviews and stories. Find informative posts on training methods, injuries, and running gear.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Profile and Interview with Alli LaCroix: Relentlessly Positive

I recently had a very engaging conversation with Alli LaCroix regarding her athletic endeavors. My wife Trish and I have known Alli since she was 19 years old. She has become quite an accomplished athlete. This is a must read interview for anyone trying to figure out what it takes to keep going. The photos are courtesy of Alli's boyfriend, Charles Denson.


A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?
Alli LaCroix, 35 years old-leap year baby, Tucson AZ been here since ‘94

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?

I was born in Albany NY, moved to Sunnyvale CA when I was 1  and lived there until I moved to AZ for college.  I went to Homestead High School (same as Steve Jobs!) and I went to U of A for college.

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?

I have 1 cat, Diablo, who is still chasing his tail at 16 years old.  I teach art at a middle school in Rio Rico AZ.  I am currently training for Ironman Arizona taking place in Tempe AZ on Nov 20th.  This will be my 8th Ironman.  I enjoy listening to books on tape, especially since my drive to work is an hour each way, I’ve recently found cooking and baking enjoyable.  I was never good at it, but I took lessons for a chef, and he gave me the confidence to try new things.  So far, most things have been successful.  Charles has been on the receiving end of this new found hobby.

D.  Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road?

Well, I really like the 50k trail distance.  As far as road, I’m realizing that I can be quite successful at the marathon distance.  I’d like to see how fast I can actually be.
E.  Favorite race course or event?

Avalon Benefit 50 mile run on Catalina Island

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?

Gosh, I am not sure I have a favorite, its been a while since I’ve been on trails-training for road marathons have kept me on the road for the most part.  I certainly do miss it.

G. Favorite vacation destination?

Vacation?  What’s that?  My favorite summer trip so far has been riding the coast of CA on bicycles with Charles Denson.  We went from the Oregon border to Santa Barbara.  It was an incredible experience.  Then maybe would be Yosemite. I just can’t describe the feeling of being in that park, all its beauty and grandure makes me feel so insignificant, but also so lucky to be able to experience it.

H.  Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?

Right after a race, I like chocolate milk or chocolate muscle milk.  I also crave a fountain diet coke.  That night I like to dance the night away!

I.   Pet Peeves?

Hmmm.  Not sure I have one.

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?

I am reading Nutrition Periodization for Athletes  by Bob Seebohar.  I am listening to a Michael Connely book on CD currently.  I really have enjoyed Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels.  Highly entertaining!

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by? 

“Don’t ask me why I run, ask yourself why you don’t”

L.  Person you look up to, emulate, hero?

I tell people that my hero is Ronnie Lott - his work ethic, his dedication and determination.

M.  What has been your worst running injury?

KNOCK ON WOOD!!!  I have been very lucky and really my worst injury was an inflamed IT band.  It didn’t last too long.

N.  If you could no longer run or lost the use of your legs what sport or activity would you pursue?

After I stopped crying and feeling sorry for myself, I think I would become a wheel chair athlete, and continue to do the sports I do currently.

TA:  Hi Alli, it’s nice to see you. You’ve been awfully busy lately just completing your 7th Ironman.

Alli:  It’s great to see you too. This was my 7th completion out of 8 attempts and my 3rd Arizona finish. I finished in my second best time.

TA:  That sounds good. Most of us know that the race starts with a 2.4 mile swim and then a 112 mile bike ride finishing up with the 26.2 mile marathon. Talk about how your race went.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Profile and Interview with Christy Hall: Trail Running - Falling in Love Again

What follows is a profile and discussion I had with Christy Hall a few weeks ago regarding her new found love for the desert and mountain trails in Southeast Arizona. Christy has an exuberant personality and thoroughly enjoys the outdoor life. She and her husband Dave like to travel and train to participate in triathlons and enjoy the good things that life has to offer.


A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?

Christy Hall, 38, Tucson, AZ, 7 yrs

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?

Born in Charleston, SC, raised in Columbia, SC, College in Fayetteville NC at Methodist University

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?

Pets:  Yellow Lab and Boston Terrier.  No kids and no plan to have kids. 
Current Employment:  Physician Assistant at Skin Spectrum, Cosmetic dermatology
Hobbies/ Interests:  Trail Running and Triathlon training, Traveling with my husband

D.  Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road? 

I am having a hard time answering this because I’m not sure if I have a favorite distance yet, maybe 12-15 miles.

E.  Favorite race course or event?

Thus far the 50k Northface Endurance Challenge we did in Madison, WI last month

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?

Phoneline trail in Sabino

G.  Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?

Coconut water, smoothie, and anything chocolate.  Warm bath.  Sometimes a lot of wine with friends.

H.  Favorite vacation destination? 

Everywhere!!!!  Top of list Big Sur, Scotland, Napa Valley

I.  Pet Peeves? 

Working on not having any

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author? 

Not necessarily my favorite but for now I’m reading True Blood series book 11 Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris.  Don’t really have one favorite author. 

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to's learning to dance in the rain. 
~ unknown
L.  Personal hero or someone you look up to, emulate? 
Tonja and Julie- I hope to be as fast as they are on the trails. 

M.  What has been your worst running injury? 

Tripped and fell on Douglas Springs trail last year.  Tweaked my knee and ankle, which took a while to heal. 

N.  If you could no longer run or lost the use of your legs what sport or activity would you pursue? 

Swim, bike, para-athlete

TA:  Hi Christy. Thanks for inviting me to your beautiful home. Let’s get started by talking about your most recent 50K up at Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin.

Christy:  You’re welcome. The 50K was part of the North Face Endurance Challenge. It was part of a series. The reason we chose Wisconsin is because my husband Dave’s best friend John lives there and he was jealous I had run further than him when I did Pemberton 50K. John is a marathoner.

TA:  So you and your husband and his best friend all ran the race together. How did you get ready?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Race Report: JFK 50-Mile

I spent last weekend in and around Hagerstown, Maryland participating in the JFK 50-Mile race held on the 19th of November, 2011. This was the 49th running of the largest and longest running ultra-marathon in the United States. Traveling to the East Coast for races is not the norm for me especially to run an ultra event. I had recently visited Washington, D.C. in early October to participate in the Army 10-miler as a member of the National Guard Marathon Team. Our team coordinator had listened to several of us that had been on the team for awhile talking about our experiences with the ultra-distance and decided to field a team for our first ever team ultra race.

JFK 50-Mile is the perfect race for military team competition. The race has a rich military history dating back to 1963 when the President, John F. Kennedy challenged the Marine Corps to match the Marines of 1908 by marching 50 miles in 20 hours according to President Teddy Roosevelt’s challenge. After the JFK assassination in 1963 the Washington County, Maryland event continued the challenge and memorialized the event calling it the JFK 50-Mile Memorial which today is known as the JFK 50-Mile.

Nine All-Guard runners toed the line for our team. Only two of us had completed a 50-mile race previously. The top five runner’s times are added together for the total team time. I studied recent team results and found that we had a slim chance to give the US Naval Academy team a run for their money. They had won the Kennedy Cup the past 6 years in a row. With 7 rookies on our team and hoping to have five runners have a good day in a 50-mile race all on the same day would be difficult.

At the start of the race in Boonsboro, Maryland it was 28 degrees at 7am. The course heads out of town on a paved road for 2.5 miles and then joins the Appalachian Trail.

The trail is rocky and covered with autumn leaves. At mile 3.5 the trail turns into a narrowly paved uphill road for 2 miles at which point it again becomes leaf covered rocks and roots in the woods. The course continues like this over hill and dale for the next 10 miles. The 1000 feet of elevation gained from the start to mile 6 is all lost in one downhill mile from 14.5 to 15.5 miles. At this point the course continues on the C&O Canal Path for 26.3 miles of mostly flat gravel trail meandering through tree-lined bluffs. At mile 41.8 the course comes off of the canal path and hits a paved road for 8 miles into the finish line in Williamsport, Maryland.

The key to this race is to be able to run as far as possible on the runnable sections of the course. In other words, walk the early hills and run conservatively on the AT. The canal section is a marathon in itself but is all very runnable unless you have a good run/walk plan. The last 8 miles on the highway have no difficult hills and a good time can be made here if you have the strength left in your legs. A quandary for me and a couple of my teammates was what type of running shoes to wear and if we started with a more rigid style of trail shoe, should we change into road shoes along the canal path. After a short recon of the AT the day before the race I had decided to run in a fairly worn pair of Montrail Badrock trail shoes, (previous worn for 100 miles at Angeles Crest.) We had a small support contingent at a couple of pre-designated points on the course; miles 15, 27, and 38. I packed a drop bag and stowed a pair of road shoes just in case. I did not know what the surface of the canal path would be like ahead of time. The Badrock held up well on the trail and felt comfortable along the canal. The canal was more gravelly than I expected with leaves and mud puddles scattered along the way. Even through the 8 miles of pavement the Badrock proved to hold up well.

Coming into the race after studying the elevation profile, course conditions, and historical time comparisons, I had some idea of what to expect if I ran the perfect race. Taking into consideration my training over the previous two months I also had some confidence built up due to faster trail times in the 15-20 mile range as well as a 1 hour and 1 minute 10-mile time at Army 10-mile 6 weeks ago. Three weeks ago I had a nagging pain in the ball of my left foot which was strangely presenting like metatarsalgia. I decided to take a week off and cross-train. Since then the pain has subsided to a dull ache and is progressively going away. So I decided that an overall average of sub 9-minute pace would be a respectable effort which would put me around a 7 and a half hour finish. As far as team competition went we would have to post at least 4 times under 8 hours and post a 5th time not much slower than that.

I followed my plan closely and maneuvered the trail section without falling or twisting an ankle and came off of the AT just under 2 and a half hours as predicted. My next time goal was a sub four hour marathon split which I reached in 3:54. Aside from water bottle fill-ups at aid stations every 3-4 miles I maintained a running pace of 8-minute miles from mile 16-33. At 33 miles I intentionally employed a one-mile run/one-minute walk strategy. My gut feeling was that if I continued to run non-stop I may reach 37 or 38 miles and not be able to run anymore or only about 50% of the time. By taking the enforced walk breaks I felt I was preserving my ability to run farther. The strategy worked wonders. With the one-minute walk I was still averaging 8:30 miles. There was a steep hill on the road right after the 41.8 mile aid station but past that the road was fairly flat with occasional easy up and down grades. I paid close attention to my Garmin 405 until it gave the Battery Low alarm and I had to shut it off. From mile 38 on I would do the math in my head to figure my finish time under the worse case scenario. I had been averaging 9 minute miles to that point. If I slowed to 10-minute miles then I would be out for 2 more hours. Upon reaching mile 45 I figured I could crash to 12 minute miles and still finish in one more hour and still finish under 7:45. With 2 miles remaining guts have a way of taking over and you begin to have a reliable sense of a finish time. My watch said 7 hours and 18 minutes with one mile to go and I managed an 8-minute mile to the end for a 7:26:20 finish.

Throughout the race I never had a sense of where my teammates were. I was impressed with the fact that all 9 of us ultimately finished the race. We had four times under 8 hours; 7:26 Chase Duarte, Arizona; 7:39 Michael Streff, South Dakota: 7:55 Aaron Bratka, Ohio; and 7:56 Troy Frost, Montana with a 5th time for scoring purposes of 8:22 Barry Brill, New York. The rest of the team posted 8:36 Trent Sinnett, Illinois; 9:24 Michael Hagen, Nebraska; 9:24 Michelle Elliott, Missouri; and 9:52 Marie Fritza, South Dakota. This turned out to be very competitive to the Naval Academy’s tally but just short enough to put us in second place.

My finisher stats are 43rd overall, 6th in the 40-49 age group and I got chicked 7 times. A couple other impressive notes on this race are the fact that since 1994 Eric Clifton has held the course record with a time of 5:46. A couple of elite speedsters were in attendance this year with their eyes on knocking that down. David Riddle and Michael Wardian ran an intensely competitive race. Riddle had the early lead holding it to mile 27 until Wardian overtook him running 6-minute pace on the canal path. Riddle came back and passed Wardian after mile 46 and finished in a new course record of 5:40 while Wardian came in second also under the previous course record in 5:43. See more results including the impressive women’s finish times here:

The JFK 50-Mile is an excellent first time ultra for those inclined to go to the next level. It has a great mixture of trail, dirt and pavement. It is the third weekend of November just prior to Thanksgiving so it promises to be cool with fall colors abundant. In preparation for next year the Guard team is already recruiting its prospects for a team that can end USNA’s streak and take home our own Gold Cup.    

Monday, October 31, 2011

Profile and Interview with Jerry Riddick: Exceeding the Boundaries

I spoke with Jerry at his house on the westside of Tucson and had an in-depth discussion about his running life and his outlook on the future. I found Jerry to be a consummate professional. He truly loves the trail and the outdoor experience. He has an impressive resume of 100-mile finishes over 10 years and counting. What follows is his profile and a transcript of our conversation. Enjoy!


A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?
Jerry Riddick /59/Tucson AZ /21 yrs

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?
Brooklyn NY / Massapequa ( Long Island NY) / Massapequa High/ Hofstra University BSEE

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment? 2 dogs/2 kids / Engineering Lab Manager Texas Instruments / Backpacking-hiking -cycling/ fixing my house

D.  Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road?
50K (race or run) but 100 miles is a special experience

E.  Favorite race course or event?
 Old Pueblo 50Mile- still fun and beautiful

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?
Tucson Mountains/SNP west. Hiking the canyon can’t be beat

G. Favorite vacation destination?
Mexico although I haven’t gone there for several years.

H.  Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?
Sitting in a chair.

I.   Pet Peeves?
Laziness and Extremism. I work hard and think of myself as extremely moderate.

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?
I just finished the Millenium trilogy by Steig Larrsson
I love reading Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?
Nowhere is too far to run if you have the time.
L.  Person you look up to, emulate, hero?
Dalai Lama

M.  What has been your worst running injury?
Broken hand- it hurt a lot. Torn Meniscus- all better

TA:  Thank you for having me over to your home and the excellent dinner. I forgot you lived on a dirt road.

Jerry:  Don't mention it. You were here once before but probably don't remember much. It was when you and Chris attempted the Four-headed Monster and dropped out at my house.

TA:  Oh...I remember. We will have to revisit that someday. Well, first of all, let's talk about your most recent 100-mile race completion.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Profile and Interview with Chris Fall: Running for His Life

I visited Chris Fall and his family at his home last week and enjoyed a brat and a beer before we sat down and talked about his running career. In fact, I know Chris so well that I skipped the preliminaries of all his past accomplishments and jumped right to his post race synopsis of his most recent 100-mile finish. He finished Pine to Palm 100 on September 17th near Ashland, Oregon in just over 29 hours after a three year hiatus from the distance. Chris is a very accomplished and well balanced runner as well as a funny story teller. He made me laugh. He runs every distance from the 5k on the road to the 100-mile trail. He and his wife Denise are avid sports fans who raised their two kids in an active outdoor environment. What follows is his profile and a discussion between two old friends trying to keep on keeping on and enjoying life while doing it. By the way, his favorite color is periwinkle.

A.    Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?
Chris Fall
Tucson, AZ
23 years
B.    Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?
Anchorage AK
Spent first 25 yrs there.
Robert Service High School,
Electrical Engineering degree from Univ. of AZ,

C.    Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?
Traveling but usually to races
2 new kittens
Grant 21 year old
Ashley 18 year old
Engineer at Raytheon

D.   Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road?
Have done more 50-milers then anything, but nothing beats finishing a 100.
I love every distance on the roads but I guess the marathon is my favorite. 

E.   Favorite race course or event?
       Mount Marathon in Seward, AK… Great memories  and great mountain race. Wasatch too.

F.     Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?
Any Lemmon ascent, I love leaving the desert and running to the pines.

G.    Favorite vacation destination?
Probably Alaska

H.    Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?
Any race where I can have a beer and watch others finish their event.  I like chips after I finish, if my stomach can handle it.

I.     Pet Peeves?
Going out to fast
A**hole sports fans

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?
     Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card.. Currently reading the Ender Series
     Loved The Hobbit so Tolkien is my favorite.

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?
      Ski to Die, Run to Live

L.  Person you look up to, emulate, hero?
       Steve Prefontaine;  run fast, play hard.
M.  What has been your worst running injury?
       Plantar Fasciitis; a mild case. 
       A bout of runners knee as well.  I have been very lucky

N.  If you could no longer run or lost the use of your legs what sport or activity would you pursue?
     I’d bike or swim if I could
     If not, wheelchair events

TA:  Thanks for having me over to talk about your most recent 100-mile finish at Pine to Palm.

Chris:  Well, I’m pretty happy with the outcome. I finally got it right.

TA:  How was your race experience? Give me some details.

Chris:  Great race. It was the best 100-miler I’ve ever had…

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Search of the Meganeura, a.k.a the Giant Dragonfly; on the Island of Kauai

On my last day of our trip to Kauai I dropped Trish off at the Lihue airport at 11am for her flight home. Our flights were separate and mine didn't leave until 10:30pm later that evening. With over 8 hours to kill I was determined to discover something rarely sighted but known to exist up by Mount Wai'ale'ale, also known as the wettest spot on earth, receiving on average 450 inches of rain per year.

We rented a Jeep Wrangler and had not yet found a chance to get it muddy. I drove 12 miles up Highway 580 from the eastside of the island along the Wailua River. The last 5 miles are on a 4-wheel drive road which receives several rainfalls a day. That day was no different with potholes filled with muddy water and several stretches of 6 inch deep muddy trails.

I had researched the route and had a few trail options to explore along the way but opted to bypass all of them in order to hike through the jungle into the headwaters of the Wailua, the Wai'ale' ale Crater.

I finally found the end of the road and spotted the gauging station.

Just as I pulled into the roundabout a Giant Dragonfly buzzed across my windshield.

It was very large, at least an 8-inch wingspan and a long blue body. My camera was in my pack and I lost the opportunity to snap a photo. But now I had hope that as I wrangled my way through the upcoming jungle trail I would find more even larger dragonflies.

Wrangle turned out to be an underestimation of how I managed to follow the trail. I started out by crossing a bridge over shallow flowing water coming from the crater.

I could see the back wall of the crater in the distance covered in lush green vegetation. I was told that the Blue Hole, the actual headwaters, was about a 2-mile hike in along a gnarly muddy trail and several stream crossings with a lot of boulder hopping. I found the beginning of the trail on my right and went in about 200 feet before the trail quickly turned to shoe-sucking mud and moss covered branches that I had to low crawl under in order to continue.

I began to notice that someone had recently wrapped orange duct tape around tree limbs at key decision points. These markers saved me a lot of time but were sparse and not always where I needed them. At those times I ended up in the stream and boulder hopped until I spotted another tape marker. I got lost twice and scrambled through wild raspberry bushes, scratching my lower bare legs. 

I wore Teva sandals which turned out to be a wise choice. Many times the only option was to step ankle deep into the mud and hang onto the thin trees on the side in order to not lose my balance and fall down. I spent an hour traveling just over a mile when I found an orange piece of tape draped over a rock.

A couple feet away I spotted the empty cardboard tape roll laying amongst the rocks on the side of the trail.

This was a bad omen indicating that the trail was unmarked from here on out. I continued for several more meters and quickly lost any sign of further trail options. I made my way back to the stream to see how close I had come to the crater wall. The wall was daunting and huge with a thick cloud covering the upper part of the crater.

There were several helicopters flying below the crater rim carrying tourists on sightseeing excursions. I wondered if anyone could see me with the white hat I wore on my head. I took a couple of photos and low and behold I spotted another Giant Dragonfly whir past me along the rushing stream. He did not linger and I lost another opportunity to snap a photo.

It was 3pm and I was getting hungry. I decided that it was a good time to make my way back and get down the road back to Lihue before dark. The return trip was just as difficult coming back as going out.

I recognized several landmarks and plants which helped but the footing was terrible. It took me an hour to return the one and a quarter mile journey. I felt a sense of accomplishment in that I was weary from the hike but mostly because I did in fact spot two Giant Dragonflies and got the Jeep dirty enough to get a snooty look from the rental agent.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bruce Gungle: If You Can't Stand the Heat - Get Out of the Oven!

I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Bruce Gungle and talking about his running career and exploits in Death Valley at the Badwater 135-mile race. Bruce is a unique kind of runner in that he thrives on running and living in desert heat. The following profile and interview provides excellent insight into what it's like to manage your body in extreme temperatures and also details what drives the trail and ultra-runner to reach higher goals and limits.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ultra-running Tips and Advice

How to Prepare for an Ultra (any distance over the marathon)

Food - Normal marathon training programs will suffice to finish an ultra-distance race. The biggest difference is training yourself to take care of your body past three or four hours on the course. During the typical marathon a runner can survive on water, electrolyte fluids, and gels. On an ultra you must consider caloric intake; real food like potatoes, fruit, soup and sandwiches, and energy bars. It takes practice in training to get used to handling food on a running stomach.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Angeles Crest 100 Mile 2011; Eight Years in the Making of a Comeback

Let me quickly clarify the title of this race report. In 2003, I attempted my first 100 mile finish at the Angeles Crest 100 Mile race. Due to a number of problems, mostly mistakes and inexperience, I DNF’d the race. I shied away from the 100-mile distance for a couple of years and finally got my first finish in 2006. Since then I have completed four 100-mile events. After another DNF last year I was anxious to get back on track but still daunted by the difficulty of the event. I chose to go back to AC this year for a number of reasons; it is a qualifier for Hardrock 100; I can use it as a qualifier for Western States 100 next year if I am not deployed; it is within driving distance; and most of all, it was time for redemption.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Profile and Interview with Joe Dana; A Man of Endurance and Character

My wife Trish and I recently visited Joe Dana in his home on the far eastside of Tucson. He is a very gracious host. He gave us a tour of his beautifully decorated home and backyard desert garden. Then we sat down and talked about his running career and what the future holds for him; especially after medical setbacks that would have stopped the normal human being dead in their tracks. After the interview he cooked us a delicious dinner. Here is his profile and what we talked about. 


A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?
Joe Dana, 75, Tucson, AZ.  Arrived in Tucson 14 Nov 1999, so 11 years, 8 months.  Moved to my current home 21 June 2004 therefore I've lived here for just over 7 years.

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?
Born 23 April 1936 in Bradford PA; a small town in Northwestern PA.  It's the home of Case Cutlery, Zippo lighters and Kendall Oil.  As a teenager I worked for my father helping with the harvest of hay in the summer for our dairy farm.  I also worked on maintaining the oil wells we owned and as a clerk in the men’s clothing store; again, my father’s store.

After high school I spent one year at St Bonaventure University where I majored in beer drinking which landed me on the school’s probation list.  School not working out for me I joined the Air Force and spent 3½ years starting at Samson AB NY, to Lowery field (Denver) for school on to Orlando AB in Florida and a tour in Tainan, Taiwan.
Another semester at St Bonaventure, managed to get off probation but still directionless.  Then an opportunity arose to go back on active duty and go through the Aviation Cadet program.  Success!  Graduated second in my class and as a new 2nd  lieutenant navigator my military career was launched.  Time passed; I made Lt. Colonel and retired in 31 Jan 1981 with 25 years of service.

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?
Hobbies, I've always had a garden where I lived growing the plants that were appropriate for the climate.  I like physical work and working with my hands.  A friend and I built a geodesic dome and a regular house doing everything except the duct work.  Photography has been an interest of mine for most of my adult life and occasionally I produce a good photo.  I'm very interested in science in general and astronomy in particular.  Employment, I'm retired.
I'm a big fan of the U of A women Softball team.
I have two children, daughter Cara 47 currently an Army CWO 4 with about 4 years to retirement and Son, Sean, 42 freelance motion graphics designer and aspiring professional photographer grandson (Sean's) Jack, age 4.

D.  Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road?
Anything 10 miles or longer, this gives me time to settle in to a pace.  I find shorter runs to be way to much work.  I avoid running on the roads as much as possible, trails are much more fun and a whole lot quieter.
I've been running trails since about 1980 but most of my races were road.

E.  Favorite race course or event?
OP 50 is my favorite event.

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?
The Douglas springs trail system is my home ground and where I do most of my running, hiking and walking.

G. Favorite vacation destination?
Just about any wilderness area but my preference is the desert.

H.  Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?
A hardy soup and a cold micro brew.  The cold river soak is wonderful but not available around here.

I.   Pet Peeves?
Loud obnoxious people in any setting. Horse dung on trails. Leave the trails the way you find them!
Reckless drivers who suffer from hurry-up-syndrome (Steve Kanoza’s term) out to save 30 seconds even if it kills them.
The overuse and misuse of the word “Hero.”
People who allow their beliefs to get in the way of facts. Climate change, evolution, etc.

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?
Bill Bryson “A Short History of Nearly Everything” , Alexandra Horowitz “Inside of a Dog”
Favorite author Edward Abbey.

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?
Abstinence is best if practiced in moderation.


Trail Aficionado (TA):  Thank you for taking time out of your retired schedule and answering a few questions about your life and running experiences?

Joe:  This is fun; usually nobody wants to listen to my stories.

TA:  I love hearing the old stories. It wasn’t until the age of 39 that you started running. What did you do before that? When did you first call yourself a runner?

Joe:  I’ve always been active just not an athlete. I was on the varsity high school rifle team for four years and the county pistol team. I remember as a junior in high school I hung around the track team and made myself useful by retrieving the javelin and the shot-put ball. I thought it was really cool how they could race around the track again and again. I didn’t know how to train so I went home and measured a quarter-mile to the next driveway. I took off at full speed and after 100 yards I was shot. That was the end of my running. I couldn’t figure out how the hell they did that.