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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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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Profile and Interview with Jane Larkindale; A Real Trail Running Mother

I recently sat down and talked with Jane and her husband Jim in their home in Northeast Tucson. I was interested in getting Jane's story due to the fact that in the prime of her running life she and Jim planned to start a family. Both of them are dedicated to outdoor living and endurance activities. I found Jane to be a very focused runner who really enjoys exploring her limitations. We talked about her pregnancy and some of her secrets to trail running success. Even I learned a couple of new things. Here is her profile and the conversation we had.


A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?  
Jane Larkindale, 36, Tucson, lived here for 9 years.

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?
Born: Vienna, Austria.  Grew up on planet earth (I’ve moved country 10 times).  High school - Wellington Girls’ College in NZ and St. Paul’s Girls’ School in England.  College - Otago University in NZ then Oxford University in England.

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?
Hobbies: Adventure Racing, Search and Rescue, Hiking/Backpacking, biking, kayaking, canyoneering, orienteering and anything else outdoors.
Interests: Outdoor stuff/ cooking/ reading
Pets: 2 dogs, Dingo and Hopper
Kids: Baby Amelia (3 months)
Employment: Director of Translational Research for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

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

Trail.  Any trail.  50 milers are probably my favorite.  I don’t run on roads much.

E.  Favorite race course or event?
I have a soft spot for Old Pueblo 50 as it was my first ultra, but Zane Grey has to be the favorite.

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?
I don’t have a favorite - I like to explore new places and make up new loops.  My favorite is anything I haven’t done before! I like variety - Blacketts one day perhaps, and Bear Canyon the next, then loops around the low trails in Sabino another day.

G. Favorite vacation destination?
New Zealand

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

I.   Pet Peeves?
Treadmills, running in circles.

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?
Currently reading a “Fire Season.”  I don’t have a favorite author.

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.” (which gets translated into “It’s the other kind of fun”).

L.  Person you look up to, emulate, hero?
In terms of runners:  Karl Meltzer (success in tough races for a really long time), Darcy Africa (success in tough races, quick come back after having a baby), Krissy Moehl (just fast). Diana Finkel.


Trail Aficionado (TA):  Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk and share your thoughts and ideas about life and running.

Jane and Jim:  You are very welcome. It’s good to see you again.

TA:  I hear you are running a 50-mile race this weekend…that’s impressive for four months after your daughter was born. How are you managing?

Why We Run 100-milers - by Bruce Gungle

Chase raised the question “Why does one run a hundred mile race?” and then went on to surprise, neh, startle me, by writing an entirely serious response to that question. I both agree and disagree with his answer. I agree that running ultras, and especially hundred-milers (and up), provides us with the skill set or ability or confidence or self-reliance to be able to succeed at other difficult, arduous, and/or tedious challenges that life throws our way or that we purposefully pursue. I disagree that this is why we do it. And I seriously doubt that one can fully articulate why we are driven to run 100 miles, but nonetheless, I’m going to take a crack at it.