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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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Profile and Interview: Adrian Korosec - The Leadville Experience


A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?
Adrian Korosec, 41, Tucson, AZ, 4 years

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?
Milwaukee, WI., Brookfield, WI., Marquette University HS, Regis Univeristy – Undergrad, University of Denver – MBA with International Emphasis

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?
Rock climbing, skiing, mountaineering, tennis, canyoning.  Pets – Our 4 chickens (Matilda, Ruby, Gidget, Mrs Doubtfire), Tucson Racquet and Fitness Club

D.  Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road?
50 mile trail, Marathon road

E.  Favorite race course or event?
Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?
Sunset to Aspen(lower to upper) to Wilderness of Rock and back

G. Favorite vacation destination?
The Italian Dolomites

H.  Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?
Burgers, potato chips, Coke, beer. A nap.

I.   Pet Peeves?
Rocky trails, arrogant people, bullies, current state of politics in the USA and most other countries.

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present”  Lao Tzu

L.  Person you look up to, emulate, hero?
My father, who passed away 10 years ago.

M.  What has been your worst running injury?
Just a pulled hamstring…lucky so far.

N.  If you could no longer run or lost the use of your legs what sport or activity would you pursue?
Distance (open water) swimming, scuba


TA:  Adrian, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk about your recent Leadville 100 finish.

Adrian:  No problem at all. I’m happy to do this.

TA:  You just finished your first 100-mile race at Leadville. Before we talk about that I want you to tell me about your past and what kind of influences you had in your early life that led you to love the outdoors and the trails.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pacing and Crewing - Leadville 100

In the middle of August I traveled to Leadville, Colorado at the request of a friend who planned to run his first 100-mile race. While Tucson and most other places this time of year are in the throes of heat and humidity, Leadville’s temperature rarely gets above 70 and quite often drops below 40 degrees overnight. The historic mining town of Leadville is situated above 10,000 feet of elevation and sits among several famous ski resorts such as Breckenridge, Aspen, and Vail.

Leadville 100 has been around for 30 years and has a storied history. Its popularity seems to have skyrocketed after Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run which tells about the epic battles of yesteryear between the Tarahumara Indian runners from Mexico and Ann Trason’s early feats of accomplishment. My friend and National Guard Marathon teammate, Troy Frost, a Colonel in the Montana Air National Guard, called me up three weeks prior to the race and asked if I could help pace him during a hefty portion of the race. I have always wanted to run Leadville 100 myself so I took the opportunity to lend a hand and get a glimpse of what this race has to offer.

As a pacer for an ultra-runner there are many things to be prepared for. The biggest challenge for pacers is that they are usually picking up their runner somewhere late in the race typically after 8, 10, or 12 hours and 40-70 miles of running. This is a challenge because as a pacer you have a lot of energy and are wide awake, prepared to be on duty possibly overnight and your runner is feeling the opposite physically and mentally. Your vital job is to keep them going on the right path and encourage them to eat and drink when they don’t always have their wits about them to do remember on their own.

Your runner may be fatigued and sleepy and your challenge is keeping them awake and moving forward through encouraging conversation, storytelling, singing songs or cadence, or whatever creative method you can come up with. Depending on the slowdown that inevitably takes place in the second half of the race you may be out on the course 2-3 times longer than you would normally be for that distance. Another difficulty is that the runner that has been on the course all day is working hard and staying warm by generating body heat or cooler by sweating. As a pacer you may not be making as much of an effort and need to dress for the occasion. The pacer needs to be prepared for all conditions carrying extra clothing, calories, more water than you think you will need, and extra supplies like headlamps and spare batteries.

The most important job as a pacer is keeping your runner on the course. You need to study the course details and be aware of course markings. There is nothing worse than running extra miles after missing a turn because you weren’t prepared. This is especially difficult at night when it is easy to turn on a headlamp and put your head down looking for good footing when the course marker flags are at head level in the trees.

Inevitably many ultra-runners experience down-spells caused by nausea, cramps, altitude headaches, dehydration, or just plain bonking. Most pacers aren’t medically trained physicians but the reason they are pacing is typically because they have been there and done that in races of their own. They have a plethora of experience and know what it takes to alleviate cramps and avoid dehydration to begin with. They have experience with nausea and vomiting and know which foods or drinks relieve those symptoms. Sometimes it might just be knowing when and how long to take a rest break between aid stations. The hardest job can be keeping a runner ahead of cut-offs preventing them from being pulled from the race.

At Leadville I was joined by two other pacers and Troy’s wife Pam Frost, a Chief Warrant Officer Three in the Montana Army National Guard, who also helped crew. In a race like Leadville where there are over 800 starters crewing can be complicated in the early stages of the race. Crew access to aid stations in the early part of a race have a lot of traffic and limited parking because everyone is arriving near the same time. This could mean parking a couple miles away and walking to the aid station. With this in mind we opted to bypass the first aid station at 13 miles and catch up with Troy at the mile 23 aid station. Without knowing the runnability of the course it becomes an educated guess as to what pace your runner will average so you should plan to arrive early or make alternate arrangements like the placing of drop bags.

We estimated too long and arrived at mile 23 after Troy had gone through already. Since we knew this was a possibility ahead of time, Troy made a drop bag for this aid station in case he needed to stash excess clothing and flashlights from the early 4am start. Since this is an out-and-back course the same drop bag had dry warm clothes for later that evening at mile 86 when the temperature would plummet. After we looked up what time he came through we had a real good idea of his pace and the rest of the day we were able to make reasonable estimations as when to expect him at the remainder of the crew stops.

Drop bags – a quick definition – for those of you who don’t know the term “drop bag.” It is a bag used to stash clothing, special needs drinks and food, shoe and sock changes, inclement weather gear, and anything else that the typical aid station does not offer or can’t be brought in by your crew. Most races of long duration offer this service and are fairly prompt about getting your gear back to the finish after the race.

Leadville allows for pacers to join their runner at the halfway turnaround point of 50 miles at Winfield aid station. Mike Zeigle, a former National Guard Team runner now retired from the military and living in Wisconsin, picked Troy up at 50 miles and went the next 10 miles back over Hope Pass at 12,500 feet of elevation. The course gains 2500 feet over four miles and then descends the same amount before crossing a thigh high creek crossing into the Twin Lakes aid station. Mike’s 10-mile leg was valuable because Troy had just done this climb in reverse; having a pacer to accompany him kept his spirits up when the last thing he was looking forward to was another monster hill all over again. Mike looked more tired than Troy coming into 60 miles and had stories to tell about llamas and the climb over Hope Pass and an unfortunate fall on the way down.

Our team coordinator, Sergeant First Class Mike Hagen, from the Army National Guard in Lincoln, Nebraska, picked up with Troy for the next 16 miles to 76.5. As a crew we helped Troy change his shoes after the water crossing and handed him food and drinks from the aid station tables. The aid station volunteers were outstanding taking care of refilling hydration packs and finding drop bags. We replenished Troy’s pack with gels and made sure he had a working flashlight for after sunset and sent him and Mike on their way.

One note of mention for crewing runners; handling is an important job even though the aid station volunteers are willing to do all of the work. The runner typically has some preconceived ideas about specific things they want at different times of the race. If it isn’t already in a drop bag then you should have it available for them in an easily transportable container or bag that has been organized beforehand. Also, an encouraging positive attitude and familiar faces are extremely helpful to the runner who is fatigued and may be questioning why they are even doing the run.

Another thing to think about as a crew is to have a base camp of sorts; a hotel room, campsite, or house in the general area. This is useful because many times you will drive into and out of aid stations for many miles bringing you close to where you started. Take advantage of the opportunity to go back to camp and freshen up, get a nap or a meal. Your runner could be several hours before reaching the next crew accessible point.

Mike and Troy were out a bit over 3 hours and came into the Fish Hatchery aid station mile 76.5 around 9:30pm. It was dark now and headlamps and handheld flashlights could be seen like lanterns swaying in the night coming up the road into the aid station. My pace section was next and entailed the remaining 23 miles of the course and running overnight to get Troy to the finish. I knew we had one more major climb of 1000 feet before the last aid station at May Queen mile 86.5. I also knew that after a warm day of temps in the mid-70s the overnight temperature would be as low as 32 degrees. I was prepared with a full 70 ounce hydration vest, a handheld water bottle filled with electrolyte fluid, headlamp and flashlight, e-caps, energy gels with caffeine, ginger capsules, Tums, ibuprofen, gloves, stocking cap, rain jacket, garbage bag, and arm warmers.

Troy held up well and made great forward progress although every muscle in his body ached and his mind was telling him to stop. He never got sleepy but after 90 miles his legs were shot and we were relegated to a brisk walk. A lot of this was on a hilly rocky trail around Turquoise Lake. We eventually got around the lake and hit the road for the remaining 6 miles of the course into the finish in Leadville. The temperature did drop into to the 30s so we took out our cold weather stuff and walked as fast as we could finishing at 4:06am for a 24:06 finish time. Troy’s goal was to break 25 hours which awarded him the gold finisher’s belt buckle.

Now it’s time sleep and celebrate a hard earned accomplishment. It was a very successful day for Troy and his crew and pacers. As you can see, this review from a pacer and crew perspective at the Leadville 100 highlights most of the important things to consider and be prepared for when assisting the 100-mile ultra-runner. Surprisingly the day goes by quicker than you would imagine when you are privy to watching the race unfold while sitting back and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Good luck.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Destination Races and Places

I compiled the following list of 15 races based on my desire to visit these beautiful and challenging courses. I broke the list down into 3 categories: Top 5 for Beauty and Challenge; Top 5 in the Northwest United States - an area where many of us in the Southwest do not frequently travel to; and my Top 5 Vacation Locales. Check out the links and plan your own destination race.

Top 5 for Beauty and Challenge

Hardrock 100 - Silverton, Colorado, July

It is kind of crazy to call this a dream race but in modern times it is very difficult to get into as an entrant. You need to qualify by running one of several of the most difficult 100-milers in the country. Then you have to beat the lottery where 1,000 people are vying for 130 spots. This will be my third year of trying to get in. The race itself is in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, dotted with 14'ers like Handies Peak which is the highest point on the course. The elevation profile boasts of 33,000 feet of ascent and 33,000 of descent. Most people don't really want to get in the race but if they don't enter then they never stand a chance...scary.

Superior 100 - Lutsen, Minnesota, September

Being originally from Minnesota I had always wanted to visit the North Shore in the fall when the leaves are changing color. We traveled to this race in 2006 and I ran the marathon distance covering the last 26.2 miles of the course. It was gorgeous with bright yellow, orange and red leaves next to cool running creeks and views of Lake Superior. I would like to see the first 75 miles of the course as well. It's also a Hardrock qualifier. It's a great time of the year to visit Minnesota, especially that far north. It hasn't started to snow yet but is cool enough to kill off the mosquitoes. An extra Boundary Water Canoe Area sidetrip after the race wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Western States 100 - Auburn, California, June

Western is billed as the oldest 100-mile race in America starting in 1974. I ran Western States in 2006 and it became my first 100-mile finish. The course is challenging with more downhill than up but also absolutely beautiful with well-stocked aid stations and volunteers galore. Going to Western is like attending a running party. With the increased popularity of ultrarunning, this race is entered by lottery and must have completed a 50-mile race of less than 11 hours to qualify. I want to go back just for the Western experience and then soak my legs in the Yuba River with a craft brew for a week after I finish.

Miwok 100K - Marin Headlands, California, May

Miwok is held on a variety of trails in the Marin Headlands north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Trish and I ran the Headlands 50K two different years and enjoyed the trails as well as the area and everything you could do before and after the race. Like Waldo it is a 100K and is a distance that I have not put emphasis on in the past. The Miwok course is non-stop ups and downs and the ridges are not filled with trees allowing expansive views of the coastline. Miwok is an annual trainer for many who are entered to run Western States 7 weeks later.

Imogene Pass Run 17.1, Ouray, Colorado, September

Imogene Pass Run (IPR) takes place in the Western San Juan Mountains. The distance is just over 17 miles but the challenge is in the elevation gain of over 5,000 feet in the first 10 miles and then a descent of over 4,000 feet over the next 7 miles. It is a point-to-point race from Ouray to Telluride held the weekend after Labor Day. The whole thing sounds fun to me; a great time of year transitioning from summer to fall; the high alpine mountains; and two great towns to hang out in and tell trail stories, of course with a craft IPA in hand.

Top Five Northwest Destinations

Gorge Waterfalls 50K - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, March

I discovered this race by reading the 2011 race report after its inaugural run just outside of Portland, Oregon. I came very close to hitting the "send entry" button this year before it filled up but I was supposed to get deployed and wasn't sure if I would still be in country on race day. The pictures of waterfalls abundant and greenery everywhere make it look like you are running through an enchanted forest. The race is in March so it will be wet and chilly but exhilirating.

Cle Elum Ridge Trail 50K, Cle Elum, Washington, September

Another Northwest destination race located outside Seattle, WA in the Wenatchee National Forest. The race is held in mid-September on an oblong loop course with 7,000 feet of elevation gain. It is advertised as Washington State's second oldest ultra at 16 years running.

Whiskeytown Trail 50K, Redding, California, October

Whiskeytown Lake is just outside of Redding, CA. This race is a low-key ultra in Northern California with just around 50 people in the 50K and another 50 in the 30K. The area is beautiful and there are multiple creek crossings on the course (15 times across Mill Creek between miles 18-21) which has around 5,000 feet of ascent and descent. The main draw for me is the road trip possibilities that can be done in this area. Fly into Sacramento and drive to Redding for the race. After the race take Hwy 299 to the west over to Eureka, spend the night and then the next day take the Coast Hwy 101 down to Ukiah. The last leg takes you back to Sacramento. The drive goes around the Mendocino National Forest and through Humboldt Redwood State Park. We plan to take an extra day and drive the Lost Coast - Mattole Road and stop in and see Ken Young. Check out more info here:

Cascade Crest 100 - Easton, Washington, August

I have raced so often in the Southwest that I have a real desire to travel to the Northwest and check out more races. I had previously traveled to the White River 50-mile in 2002 and was treated to far off views of Mt. Rainier. The Cascade Crest course is a loop 100 which appeals to me because I like to feel like I reached a destination. The course is also run around the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range. Cascade has over 20,000 feet of elevation gain and is a Hardrock qualifier. Also, this race is hard to get into as it filled up in 7 minutes in 2012.

Waldo 100K - Willamette Pass Ski Area, outside Eugene, Oregon, August

Waldo is interesting to me because it is also in Oregon, a state that I haven't yet visited much less run in. I have also never run an official 100K and this one is tough, primarily single track with 11,000 feet of elevation gain. Here is a little better description of the course: There are three major climbs of more than 2,000′ each and two minor climbs of more than 1,000′ each. The highest point is 7,818′ at the top of Maiden Peak and the lowest point is at Gold Lake, about 4,900′. The name of the race was decided on when it was clear that runners could only ever “see” Waldo Lake from the high peaks and never arrive there. Cool!

Top Five Vacation Spots to Run

Tarawera Ultra 100K/85K/60K, Rotorua, New Zealand, March

Ok, I know there are famous ultras in France, England, Switzerland, Greece, etc. but New Zealand beats all of the old countries in my mind. Biggest problem with getting to this destination is the airfare - typically around $1700. Here is the description of the course: The Tarawera Ultra is a point to point run from Rotorua through to Kawerau. The vast majority of the run is on singletrack trails through native bush or forestry roads with less than 10% being on a sealed public road (between Blue Lake - Tikitapu to just past the Okareka Aid Station). In the Tarawera Forest you will be on deserted forestry roads, some of it, alongside the river. This is a trail run - not a road race.
It is a net downhill with a 357 metre (840 foot) elevation loss. The running surface is excellent with free-draining volcanic soils with some technical roots and rocks on the Oaktaina and Tarawera section of the course from Humphries Bay to The Outlet. There is a river, lakes and creeks for you to cool off if you start to feel hot during the run. Total evelvation gain for the 100k is estimated to be 2776m or 9100 feet.

The main draw for me is the exotic location and multitude of outdoor activities available on a week long excursion away from home.

Big Sur Trail Marathon, Big Sur, California, September

This is a trail marathon and not the road version of Big Sur which attracts a "few" more people. The run is held along the Old Coast Highway and is an out and back along a gorgeous hilly trail with constant views of the coastline. The event is limited to 300 so you have to sign-up early.

Equinox Marathon, Fairbanks, Alaska, September

Here is an interesting marathon which also has a 40-mile option. The race is in Faribanks, Alaska on the day of the Autumnal Equinox. The website states the race is in its 50th year. The race is run on trail and just below the Arctic Circle. Technically I have run a marathon in Alaska when I ran the Frank Maier Marathon in Juneau on the very southeast leg of Alaska along the Canadian border. Fairbanks is almost in the center of the state and leaves no doubt that you are up north.

Copper Canyon Ultra-Marathon 50 Mile, Urique, Mexico, March

If you haven't heard about this race then you haven't read Born to Run. For 2013 the race does have a new director after the passing of Micah True, the race founder. Some proceeds and prizes from the race go to the local Tarahumara people as well as many donations of food and clothing. It is billed as a 50-mile (80km) run at the bottom of the Urique canyon, in the Barrancas Del Cobre or Copper Canyons of Mexico with side canyon trips. I've never run a race in Mexico and this destination with the community of runners coming together with the local people looks like a worthwhile event.

Tahoe Rim 50K - Lake Tahoe, Nevada, July

Trish and I ran Tahoe Rim Trail 50K/50M in 2003. A couple of the races on my dream list are races I have done previously. That tells you something about why they are still on the list. One, they are worth going back to and secondly, they can be impossible to gain entry into either due to lottery or filling up so quickly that you get left out if you're not paying attention. Tahoe Rim Trail race is run on the eastside of Lake Tahoe and has spectacular views. The race has expanded to include a 100-miler. I did the 50-mile which is an out and back and would not be interested in covering the same terrain four times and in the dark.

Where would you like to travel to for a race? Please share your ideas of a destination race and explain why.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tonja Chagaris: Loving the Family Life

I recently sat down with Tonja and talked with her about being a new mom and what her future holds as far as motherhood and trail running. I found Tonja to be completely enamored with her new life as a mother and also discovered that she is focused on attaining some challening goals. What follows is her profile and then her interview.


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

Tonja Marie Chagaris

39 years old

Tucson, AZ 21 years

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

PHX AZ, grew up in Bagdad, AZ and Grants New Mexico. I went to high school in Grants New Mexico. I then went to Cosmetology school in Tucson to become a hair stylist

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

Gabriel my seven month old son, health and the human body, we have two dogs (Cade and Layla). I currently own a hair salon.

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

On the trail I like 50 Milers and on the road I like the half marathon distance.

E. Favorite race course or event?

Avalon 50 miler on Catalina Island

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

Sabino Canyon trails to run and Mt Wrightson to Train

G. Favorite vacation destination?

Anywhere there is mountains and water.

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

Sleep and then eat cold food.

I. Pet Peeves?

Not having my chapstick or gum while running

J. Current book you are reading or favorite author?

Favorite Author at the moment is James Patterson and I'm reading one of those books that you’re not supposed to tell anyone… EL James.

K. Favorite quote or saying to live by?

Always looking forward to the next adventure

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

My husband for his patience and his ability to think things through. Julie for her relentless drive and stamina and my mother.

M. What has been your worst running injury?

A bulged disc in my back

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

Arm cycling


TA:  Well, we both have the day off from work so it’s nice to come over in the middle of the afternoon to talk about your trail experience.

Tonja:  Yes, thanks, it should be fun.

TA:  Let’s get started. How did you first get involved in trail running?

Tonja:  Actually, through Alli and Trish, your wife. I met them through the Hash House Harriers. I did a few half-marathons and marathons and then Crown King 50K. I hadn’t really run that much on the trail before I went out and did Crown King.

TA:  So that was also your first ultra as well? Were you athletic as a child and into your early twenties?

Tonja:  Yeah, I kind of just jumped into Crown King and fell in love with the sport. I never did sports as a kid. I just ran. I was grounded a lot so I was only allowed to run. I picked up running from my mother. She made me run because I was chubby.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pre-Race Rituals and the BPP

Establishing a routine before a race or big training run can be daunting without some preparation and thought ahead of time. After many years and races I have finally established pre-race rituals that give me the confidence I need going into a race. With the Backward Planning Process (BPP) you can toe the line feeling ready to go without forgetting the little things.

When I was attending the Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course as a prerequisite to a promotion to Staff Sergeant in the Army I had to give a brief on the BPP. The Army has a methodology for everything and most times reading about it in a manual or presenting it on Powerpoint will put you to sleep. I was able to draw on personal experience gained from running marathons and ultras to help with my presentation. Essentially, the BPP starts by identifying when the event begins - let's use 7am - and then identifying the task that needs to be completed just prior to the last task and so on until you reach the start of the plan. It goes like this:

- 7:00am - The race starts.
- 6:50 - Line up for last minute instructions, shoe-lace re-tying, find a good position, listen to the national anthem, turn my GPS watch on...
- 6:45am - One last chance to use the latrine.

Be respectful and use only designated areas.
- 6:40am - Leave after-gear bag, (Note: this is different than the drop bag), pre-packed with warm-ups and clothes to change into after the race, comfortable shoes, sandals, maybe baby wipes or a wet washcloth in a ziploc bag for cleaning up.
.- 6:35am - Remove warm-ups and keep items you will need on the run; water bottles or hydration pack, gloves and/or hat, sunglasses, gels, e-caps, NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). Also, this is a good time to apply last minute body-lube in those places that need it.
- 6:20am - Warm-up; depending on the race you may not need to jog around beforehand. Shorter faster race efforts are enhanced by a 10-15 minute pre-race warm-up followed by 5 minutes of easy stretching. If it's longer than a marathon you're probably better off saving your energy.
- 6:10am - If the race offers to place drop bags for you then this is a good time to find where that is and drop them. The drop bag can contain a variety of items and is a subject in itself for another post but in essence the drop bag is primarily used for a change of clothing when the weather is unpredictable or expected to change. It's a good place to pick up a jacket, flashlight, or extra water bottle. It's also a good place to leave items you no longer need to carry and would like to see again.
- 6:00am - Arrive at the race and find a place to park. If you haven't entered yet or still need to pick up your race packet and number then adjust this time to 15 minutes earlier: 5:45am.
- 5:30am - Let's assume the race is a 20-minute drive from where you are staying and you already have your bib. Leave with 10-minutes to spare in case of detours or last minute necessities like stopping to use the restroom or grabbing a cup of coffee. Not only is coffee a great bowel mover but the slight stimulant of the caffeine helps focus the mind. Caffeine is also proven to release fatty acids into the bloodstream which is burned as energy before using glycogen stores in the early part of endurance events. Why do you think cyclists are always hanging out in coffee shops before their ride?
- 5:20am - Do a physical check and gather all of the items you want to take with you; drop bags, warm-ups, gear bag, water bottle, coffee, race number, keys, money, identification, phone, sunglasses. Shades are easy to forget when it is dark in the morning.
- 5:15am - Attach race number or timing chip and put gels, e-caps, NSAIDS in pockets where they fit best and are accessible. Also, grab a handful of toilet paper; you never know where this might come in hand; even porta-potties run out.

Do you think there will be any paper left?
- 5:05am - Get dressed; all of your race clothing should have been identified last night and placed together in one spot in the corner of the room or on a chair. I like to vaseline my toes before putting on my socks. I also use calf sleeves so it is a good idea to put those on before lubing the feet. Depending on past race experience you may want to use a couple of band-aids or medical tape for your nipples. Trust me, if you haven't heard of this before then watch some of the runners later in a race and look for the fading red streaks on the front of their singlet. If you are lucky, chaffing won't hurt too much until you are in the shower afterwards. Chaffing has caused many runners to DNF.
- 5:00am - Drink fluids; I like to have some form of electrolyte drink in the morning mixed with a tablespoon or two of Chia seeds. This is also a good time to ingest any vitamins or supplements that you choose to take. I like to take 400 mg of liqui-gel ibuprofen to offset any last minute aches and pains. I also take an electrolyte cap to pre-load my sodium intake especially if the weather is going to be hot and/or humid.
- 4:50am - This is a good time to brew some coffee, cook some instant oatmeal, eat a banana or bagel, eat an energy bar. You have 2 hours until the race. Unless you are running a 10K or shorter your body can use this extra bit of nutrition and will have plenty of time to digest before the run.
- 4:40am - Take a hot shower. You don't have to use soap, just get your muscles warmed-up. I like to do the wall stretch while the hot water sprays onto my lower back, hamstrings, and calves.
- 4:35am - Alarm clock goes off and you have a couple of minutes to remember where you are and then stretch your body in bed like a cat. Brush your teeth.

There you have it, less than 2 and a half hours before race-time and you are guaranteed to be prepared. For some of you this might be overly-detailed and a bit OCD but it is tried and true. For me, the Backwards Planning Process kicks in when my alarm clock goes off but it is useful in many other areas of life as well. It would be helpful to do a little planning and preparing the night before by putting out race clothes and shoes, pinning your race number, preparing the coffepot, filling water bottles and hydration pack, charging the GPS watch, just to name a few.

By the way, that Army course I gave the BPP brief in; I came out Honor Grad with the highest score in the class.

Happy and successful running to all of you!

Profile and Interview with Julie; Running as Long as I Can

What follows is the transcript of a discussion I had recently with a female trail runner I met in 1995. I remember the first time I saw Julie coming around a bend on a hot dusty trail in July of 1994 somewhere in Sabino Canyon. I was on my way to getting lost on one of my first trail runs in Tucson. I didn't actually meet Julie until about a year and a half later on my first TTR run. The following interview provides some very sound advice that has changed very little over time; namely, never regret where you've been, live for the moment, and run as long as you can.


A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there? Julie (known by many names), 50+ years old.  Been in Tucson 33 years.

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other? Phoenix, attended the University of Arizona

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?  Currently employed and lately haven’t had a lot of time for running, let alone any other activities.  I am trying to learn to play the ukulele but haven’t had much time for that either.

D.  Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road?  100 milers are definitely my favorite but I haven’t done that distance for a few years now.

E.  Favorite race course or event?  That’s a hard one.  There are so many great runs and I’ve been running ultras for almost 25 years, it’s hard to narrow down to one.  I love running in Colorado and Utah though.

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?  Catalinas – I have a number of routes where I train.  I have a special tie to the Catalinas.  My great grandfather rode the trails on his mule in the early 1900s and was said to have known the Catalinas better than anyone at that time.

G.  Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?  I like to sit down and get off my feet.  Sleeping is good too.

H.  Favorite vacation destination?  Grand Canyon.  I never get tired of going there.

I.  Pet Peeves?  People running on my heels.  I like my space.

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?  Currently reading “Quiet” by  Susan Cain.  Also recently read,  “Death Clouds on Mt Baldy” about the boy scouts that died on Mt. Wrightson.

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?  My personal philosophy is to never look back.  Don’t regret decisions you make or things you can’t do anymore.  Live in the moment.

L.  Personal hero or someone you look up to, emulate? My husband is one of the toughest people I know.  He finished Wasatch 100 on his 4th attempt with bad feet on sheer guts.  His perseverance astounds me.  When I get tired or whiney I think about what he did.  I have a lot of respect for Jerry Riddick who sacrificed his Leadville 100 run to wait for me when my pacer dropped.  I finished the Leadville that year as a result of his unselfishness.  My current running buddies, Tonja and Christy, have a lot of qualities I admire.

M.  What has been your worst running injury?  Calcaneous stress fracture

TA:  Thanks for inviting me over to your home and taking the time to talk. You have a great view of the mountains here.

Julie:  That’s one reason we moved here. I love the Catalinas. My great-grand father used to ride his mule into the Catalinas around the turn of the century. He would check the UofA instruments.

TA:  What routes did he use?

Friday, March 23, 2012

IPA For a Better Body

It is my pleasure today to reveal an old discovery of mine and share it with you. This is somewhat similar to my theory of Electromagnetic Destiny from several years ago in that my experiences in life are the main support for my argument. I have researched several clinical studies that provide scientific connections to support my clinical impressions. In absence of medical proof, I submit that drinking moderate amounts of India Pale Ale and some heavily hopped Stouts will decrease inflammation in the body, enhance the processing of lactic acid in the muscles, prevent atherosclerosis, and strengthen the liver.

Profile and Interview with Joe "Cool" Plassmann

I recently sat down with Joe Plassmann and had an entertaining conversation about how to enjoy life. I was also enlightened about a couple of running injuries and how to overcome them. Joe has a great attitude about everything it seems. I wanted to call him Joe 'I never had a run that sucked' Plassmann but opted for Joe Cool instead because of his ability to discover the cool things life has to offer. Enjoy!

A.  Name, age, city and state, how long lived there?
Joe Plassmann, Tucson AZ, 46, in Tucson for 24 years.

B.  Place of birth, where did you grow up, high school, college, military, other?
Born in Santa Fe, NM. Grew up in Los Alamos, NM, NMSU Computer Science.

C.  Other than running – hobbies, interests, pets, kids, current employment?
Kids, home and apartment repair. I work at the University of Arizona as an IT Manager, managing systems for PIRL (the Planetary Image Research Laboratory) and HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment).
D.  Favorite distance to run or race on trail and on the road?
Any, but generally prefer longer and on trails.

E.  Favorite race course or event?
I have a soft spot for any loosely organized running event, racing or not. It’s just great to hang out with other runners; they tend to be such cool people.

F.  Favorite Tucson area trail to train, run, hike?
Bear Canyon Loop is da Bomb.

G.  Favorite vacation destination?
Places where it’s cooler than Tucson in the summertime. Sometimes way cooler. 

H.  Favorite post-race/run food, drink and activity, ie. hot tub, ice cold river soak, etc?
I especially enjoy post-Ultra fridge surfing. I already love food, but that focused state of nutrition deficit correction is such an intense experience - I really enjoy it. It seems to become my mission after every long run to attempt to consume all caloric content in the house.  Maybe it’s because I can’t eat turkey at Thanksgiving, I don’t know.

I.   Pet Peeves?
Negative people.

J.  Current book you are reading or favorite author?
I like to read a lot of things, right now I’m reading a lot of young adult books that my 11 year old son has read and wants me to read too. There’s a lot of fantastic stuff out there for pre-teens now, I sort of feel like I need to do it to stay in touch with him. Also, we’re working through the “classics” together, Tolkien, things like that. For myself, I recently read a massive tome called the “Bastard Battalion”, written about the 83rd CMB (my Dad’s unit) in WWII. Also a few books on Autism to see if they can help me figure out my 13 year old. 

K.  Favorite quote or saying to live by?
Run! this ain’t no walking club!

L.  Person you look up to, emulate, hero?
Gandhi. How someone like him could convince an entire nation to eschew violence and effect incredible social change under such adversity is such an amazing story. Seeing those ideals being taken to heart and being used even today gives me hope for us as a species.

N.  What has been your worst running injury?
On the scale of maximum awfulness, it has to be plantar fasciitis. A few years ago I had sciatica aggravated by a ruptured disk, which required surgery. The injury management, surgery and recovery for the sciatica took a long time, over 2 years, but for some reason the journey, even though the pain was often intense, was mostly positive. I learned a lot about myself and how to take care of myself during that time. The PF however, was just terrible. I couldn’t run a step for 6 months, and that, compounded with other issues, just kept me depressed for months.

O.  If you could no longer run or lost the use of your legs what sport or activity would you pursue?
I suppose swimming and/or hand cycling to stay in shape. Drag racing or downhill skiing on one of those ski sleds would probably have to do it, or maybe I could become the first paraplegic BASE jumper. 


TA:  Hey Joe, thanks for taking the time to meet with me and talk.

Joe:  You’re welcome. The Meet Me at Maynard’s event is a great place to get together.

TA:  From looking at your profile, your job at the UofA sounds very interesting. Do you actually see the photos of Mars? Have you found any good trails to run or cool mountains to climb?