All posts by Edward

I like to run and make art.


Bits and pieces as I remember two weeks after the fact.

My friends Dustin, Erin, and Ed ran the inaugural Franklins 200 last year. We ran together for a bit at the start, but eventually we all ran our own race. Dustin crushed it, taking a 6 hour nap and still beating me by like 5 hours. Erin and I finished within a few hours of each other. Sadly Ed DNFed around 120 miles. It was a freaking hard race and I could not imagine wanting to do this again. And yet here we are.

It might have been because we wanted to support Rob the race director. He is quite a character and asked for our feedback after the race. We gave him quite a bit of input and suggestions. Rob wanted to make it right. So he gave us a decent discount, and we, being the goombas that we are, signed up for the race again.

I guess it snows in El Paso?

The night before was the usual mild panic drop bag preparations and then trying to fall asleep. When the alarm went off at four am, we found out that we had gotten a couple inches of snow! We get to the start and everyone is bundled up. And yet Dustin is wearing shorts! I convince him to put on his rain pants. That probably lasted an hour because the next time I see him, he’s back in shorts.

We take a few photos, do the countdown, and the race starts. There’s a good bit of snow on the ground, but nothing crazy. The usual race start excitement wears off pretty quickly as the realization sinks in that I am going to be out here for a long fucking time. Worse, the field of runners is considerably smaller. Last year saw 35 starters, this year only 16. Even including the 8 runners in the 200K, there were only 24 people spread out on a 38 mile loop. We were in for a heavy dose of loneliness.

None of us -Dustin Erin, and I- had trained very well. Even though I finished last year, I was nervous about something happening and not being able to finish. My mindset going into the race was not a confident one and the inevitable first DNF was looming large. But I figured if there was a race to DNF at, a tortuous 200 seemed like an acceptable one.

I started out sort of running with Erin and Dena. It wasn’t really intentional, but we were going a similar pace and it was nice to have compan. I would scoot past them, slow down and they’d catch up. I was too much in my own head to talk much and eventually I lost them.


The first 20 miles was a mental mindfuck of wanting to quit so bad. Why the hell am I doing this? AGAIN?? Freaking five loops! UGH! Eventually, my body felt okay running. Then my reptile brain settled in and grudgingly accepted what was expected of it.

The laps with the snow were visually sustaining. The Franklins are usually pretty boring to my eyes, but covered in snow, they seemed majestic. (Snow makes everything look cool.) The windblown snow on the bushes at the peak were really neat. As the days went by, the snow melted slowly. It was the perfect snow cone-y texture and consistency and as per my usual, I ate quite a bit of snow.

One of the highlights of the first lap was the sunset. As I was running, I could see the shadows on the hills around me. If I got to the end of this ridge, I would be able to see the sun. There wasn’t much time before the sun would set so I booked it and got to see the sun set.

On the second lap, I got into Bowen AS and it was dark, maybe 3 AM. I’m 70 miles in after 24 hours. I’m the only runner in the AS so I chat with the two volunteers and then try to rest. I laid down on one of the cots, using all four of the crappy felt blankets available, two under me and two on top. It was cold and the wind was blowing like the tent like crazy. There was a metal pole holding down some tent flaps that was banging against other metal. Once again, (like last year) the AS tent seemed like it could collapse any minute from the wind. Not conducive to sleep at all.

Another runner came in and I overhear that she wants to sleep / lay down. Obviously, I have to surrender some blankets. Sleep is impossible anyway; I get up and they take two blankets for her. I get off the cot and sit in a chair, pulling up the lone space heater. New girl joins me and we share the heater. Her name is Julie. We talk and have a pretty good conversation. We were both tired and waiting for the boost that comes with sunrise.

As we talked, we wondered about the other runners. I think both Jessica and Erin had dropped by this point due to rhabdo. We inquired if anyone else had dropped and where was Dustin? Turns out Dustin was asleep in a vehicle and had been for quite awhile. Keeping up with Trevor and Jessica must have been mega taxing. I chose not to go mess with him; I wanted to sneak ahead of him.

Julie and I left together as the sun came out. It was a great mental boost being able to see the trail and having someone to run with. Julie told me about her experience doing the Triple Crown, her and Jessica’s training for the PCT FKT attempt, and other interesting things.

We had just come down the ridge of switchbacks and dropped onto the road to West AS and I was thinking about Dustin. “I wonder how long he’ll sleep?” And LITERALLY as I finished that thought, I turned, looked back and there he was. I could not believe it.

I’m happy and surprised to see him and equally annoyed that he caught up. When he woke up and found out that we’d passed him, I guess he wanted to catch up. He told us he had already run to the ridge we just descended and THEN RAN BACK TO BOWEN AID STATION and slept because – not for inability but for seemingly logical reasons – he had mentally quit last night. But he hadn’t actually told anyone he’d quit.

It’s nuts that he did about 9 bonus miles + whatever vert, slept for like 5 hours and still managed to catch up to us. Dude’s a freak.

Photo credit: Let’s Wander Photography Funny story. Jesse the photographer was showing us photos and told Dustin that he got a good one of him that made it look like he was actually running.

It was great that Dustin had joined us, however now as we commiserated, both of us wanted to quit. We talked about it and there were some pretty sound reasons for throwing in the towel. But I did not want to DNF for a lame reason because I knew we would regret it.

We got to West AS, Dustin and I breezed through while Julie took a bit longer. Dustin was still in race mode and we basically left Julie. There was no way I could keep up with Dustin’s pace, and I felt bad that we didn’t communicate to Julie that we were leaving, so I fell back and waited for her. She and I had a similar chill pace that I was happy to keep. She caught up and we made our way to the Start/Finish.

When we finally got there, who else should be waiting for us? I guess Dustin didn’t want to run alone, so he waited for us. And from that point, mile 90 or so, we actually verbalized our plan that the three of us would run the next 110 miles and finish the race together.


Rob and the volunteers noticed that the three of us were running together and referred to us as the “Three Pack” when really he should have been referring to us as the “Bib Buddies”. I have to say that it is way more fun running with your friends than “racing”. The conversation / distraction is well worth the slower pace.

The last three laps Dustin and Julie got along famously. Both of them have outgoing genial personalities and they hit it off. I was happy to just listen in and occasionally chime in with my two cents. As the miles added up, I spoke less as my reptile brain went further into survival mode.

Some of the good things that happened: Rob had been getting us some great food. Burgers, BBQ, Chic-Fil-A, pizza, real breakfast foods, etc. Although my lips got “salt burned” from too many burgers. And I did again suffer one of the worst cups of ramen ever – lukewarm and with barely any flavor. But overall, Rob really took care of us in the food department. Huge improvement from last year.

After getting a night of sleep, Erin made the best of her DNF and joined Kyra in crewing for us. She seemed happier not running and instead taking care of us. (She is a natural caregiver.) The best was when Erin and Kyra woke us up with Starbucks. I’m not really a Starbucks guy but it was better than the AS coffee. Pretty sure that if Erin hadn’t been at Pavillion, Julie would have had to quit or we would have left her there.


The weather got slightly warmer each day. The third day was perfect running weather. The last day was a smidge warm. Last year it was so cold that it was extremely difficult leaving the warmth of the sleeping bag and getting up to run. This year wasn’t nearly as bad, almost painless.

Because I felt like I was carrying them way more than actually using them, I decided to NOT use trekking poles after the first lap and it was totally fine. I did not miss them one bit. I ate very little the last 20 or so miles and felt surprisingly fine. I was fully expecting to bonk, but it never came. This was awesome because I was so sick of gels by that point.

Weird note that I did NOT poop at all the first day. Normally I poop practically five minutes into a run, so this was a little alarming.

We were starting the last lap and Julie had been dealing with a blister on the ball of her foot. She did some work on her feet and switched into her Olympus’. However, when we left and started climbing up the ridge, Julie was in tears she was in so much pain. I figured she was done, no way that she could continue. Understandably, she didn’t want to quit. Dustin and I talked about what we should do. It seemed cold, but we debated whether we should leave her to fend for herself.

We got to the Pavillion and fortunately, Erin was there. Julie asked Erin to drive her back to the start so she could switch back into her Timps. We all piled into Erin’s rental, went back to the start, Julie changed her shoes and Erin drove us back to the Pavillion. We unpaused our Garmins and started running from the same place. Julie’s shoe swap worked. She was able to run and we were all relieved.

Safe to say Erin’s excellent crewmanship saved Julie’s race.

We discussed how excited were were to be on the last lap. That every section we finished we would NEVER EVER have to see again for as long as we lived, because there was no way in hell we would ever run here again. So with each section we finished, we gave it the one finger salute.

The last time at Bowen we inquired about the other runners. The closest guy was Vermont. From what Jesse the photographer was saying, he was way behind us. We were thinking we would all tie for second place. But then someone was like, “Is he wearing a yellow shirt?” Jesse was sure it couldn’t be him and left the tent to see who was coming in. Sure enough, it WAS him. We were just about to leave, and this gave us a reason to hurry up. We hadn’t been racing at all, and now we sort of were.

We get going and start thinking race strategy. Dustin wants to book it, but that would mean separating. Neither Julie or I would be able to keep Dustin’s pace. And after running almost 90 miles together, it seemed a shame to split up. I suggested we stick together. Maybe Vermont wouldn’t catch us if we kept a good pace. He wasn’t some cocky jerk who we didn’t want to beat us, he was just a regular determined runner. If he did catch and pass us, good on him, he’d earned it. He might also blow up trying to catch us in the heat.

We found out from Kyra that he left the AS pretty quick. We could see him on the trail in the distance. It was crazy how he seemed to be moving slowly, but somehow covered distance crazy fast.

We stopped to take a sit break. And then Vermont appeared with pacer in tow. He passed us as we three sat in the shade along the trail. We tried to stay close. We tried to play mental games by staying close and Dustin clicked away with his poles extra loud. But Vermont was determined to be done. He dropped us, finishing almost an hour sooner.

As we got closer to the finish, Dustin reminded me that the bottom of his cooler was lined with Michelob Ultra beer. I am by no means a beer snob, but the one time I drank that beer was after a race when ANY beer tastes good, but that one did NOT taste good. Despite this, I was so looking forward to having a beer after finishing the race. Sadly, because alcohol is a no-no in the park, and we were to brain dead to figure out a way to drink it on the sly, I never did get to experience the Michelob Ultra.

We finished arm in arm just after sunset. Rob gave us our buckles. I always get emotional after a race and I shed a few tears, but fewer than last year. Finishing was super anti-climatic. But I was SO GLAD that we didn’t quit. Pretty sure Dustin was glad that he didn’t actually quit as well. And I was really happy that we had a new Bib Buddy, Julie.

While we were out there, we realized that over the course of Franklins last year and this year, the 100 miler, and the 50K, both Dustin and I had run at least 535 miles on this course. And I’m still not sure where Shaffer Shuffle is.

The Franklins 200 Miler

Two years ago, Dustin, Julie and I ran the inaugural Lone Star 100 in El Paso, Texas. Between the ridiculous non stop wind, the heat, the exposure, the climbing and all the rocks, it was an incredibly tough race. Only 8 of the thirty or so starters finished.

2019 was the inaugural Franklins 200. Why in the world would we want to run twice as far on such a brutal course? I’m going to chalk this one up to willful ignorance and peer pressure. Dustin and I hadn’t even completed Bigfoot 200 before we had signed up for Franklins. We signed up early for the discount. That’s probably the main reason.

Training went off the tracks early. i started climbing which was fun, but took time away from running. Didn’t plan much, didn’t make a pace chart AT ALL. Barely had drop bags planned. Figured I would take Dustin’s approach: just show up and run.

I was stoked for the intro section where there was supposed to be some climbing of sorts, but it was called off at the last minute due to the rain. Instead, we had to summit Franklin Peak. This was drag because we were already doing that 5 times.

Rain is never an ideal way to start a race. But it wasn’t heavy and it didn’t stick around too long. The first trip up the peak was shrouded in fog. We were all in good spirits, excited to finally be doing the damn thing we came here to do.

Ed and Dustin were pretty chatty, Erin less so, and I just listened. There were other runners around us forced to listen to our inane banter. At one point I apologized to this couple that was within earshot for several miles. They didn’t seem friendly.

Later i found a pair of Julbo sunglasses on the ground. I picked them up and hustled up to the couple just ahead of us. Sure enough, they belonged to the girl. She said thank you, but didn’t seem overly grateful considering how expensive the glasses are.

Maybe it was the second loop I came up on the couple. Asked them if they were ready for a 4 day long game of leap frog. Had visions of scott and sandra from Bigfoot. They didn’t seem to keen on me passing them, so i just hung with them and chatted. Turns out, they knew me and i knew them. Matt Zmolek super strong runner who had run with Julie a lot. And dena carr who had narrowly beat me at cactus rose a year ago. She told me how she had to keep going when she saw my headlamp and i told her how i was crushed having just missed catching her by minutes.

We had a nice conversation, and eventually I left them behind. They planned and ended up running the whole thing together.

Running the section to Bowen after 140 miles. Unbelievable that i can still run!

Running hard at night. Calories never seemed to be an issue.

Thinking in percentage of race completed. Hit 20 miles and thought, oh hey wow, im 10% done! Every 2 miles was another percent.

Discovering that my left quad was blown and then my right. Struggling to get up the mountain without my poles. Realizing my mistake just as i entered the rock fied to Mundy’s, but not able to do anything about it. Using a stake from one of the signs as a pole. (Whatever signs it held had been blown off.)

Feeling so weak. Feeling dumb for not anticipating this result from running too hard the previous days. Hubris.

Sleepwalking to the same Pandora mix. This was definitely worst lowest point. Couldn’t stop long because it got cold. Struggling to keep eyes open for blue flags. Drinking a RedBull with no effect.

Trail naps by the dozen up and down the peak. Maybe for two minutes, right before actually falling asleep. Afraid to actually fall asleep and freeze. Afraid of losing a position because I fell asleep.

Following Marco and his sleepwalking self.

Getting passed on the downhill to Bowen.

Seeing the sunrise and knowing that would help.

Not knowing how long i slept. Not being warm enough to sleep.

Seeing Elizabeth out of nowhere and her massaging my feet and having the exact size poles that i needed, and since her runner Ed dropped, she wouldn’t need them.

Seeing Dustin coming down and chatting with him. Giving chase.

Hanging with Erin. Her losing sight in one eye. Trying to help her navigate and not freeze to death. Realizing i should’ve done more sooner.

Lapping Ed. Talking-to him a bit and then planning to leave him. Not realizing my friend needs help. Ed runs as much as he can and does well until we get to the downhill. I leave him at the straightaway to West. I feel bad, but I want to catch Dustin.

30,000 clothing changes. Too hot, too cold, take off pants, rain jacket. Not enough space to pack all this shit. Best gear change was just running in my boxers and base layer shirt and finishing the race in them.

Becoming somewhat familiar with the course was nice. But there were gaps, and it took longer between known points. But became challenge to remember at some points. Mistaken some areas,

Taking a wrong turn. Going back to SF instead of back down the hill. Proud of myself for not flipping out or getting worked up. Was just like okay. Went back up and over the longest 1.1 or 1.8 miles.

Switchbacks down the mountain before West. At least 20.

Waiting for the race to begin at mile 150. Playing the long game. Expecting Dustin to crash and burn eventually, but somehow that never happened. Ran my own race and did what i could. Slept about 6 or 7 hours. Need to become more efficient in and out of aid stations. Def need to have someone wake me up.

Remember being cold and afraid to get out of sleeping bag, but once I was dressed and out there. It wasnt so bad. After first night freezing ass off, put on every layer i had. Wool base layer, windbreaker, rainjacket, race hoodie, and vest. Need to have a layer for warmth next time. Had my down puffy, but had lent it to Katherine, didnt have the heart to ask for it back, especially after what she was doing for us as crew.

Breakfast tacos, then whataburger, pizzA in the same day. I was like whoa, dont overdo it, we have three more days. There would also be chic fil a, ( what else am i forgetting?)

Felt bad because Katherine kept missing dustin because was running too fast. And Ed saw Katherine, his girlfriend and HIS crew only on the last night because he was running too slow.

Didnt run with anyone too much. Most s th erin and Joe. I kept trying to lose her. While it was nice have company, i didnt want to compromise my pace.

I would build up what i thought was a decent lead, but if i stopped even for just a bit, she would eventually be on my heels. Its hard to gauge what a real “lead”. Guessing maybe once you are 30 minutes up, which is maybe a mile or two, then you can breathe a bit. But not much.

It was pretty lonely for most of the race since everyone was so spread out.

No good jokes.

Best joke was leaving ducks for Ed. Someone left a duck for him at the peak. Our Bigfoot joke continues.

Joe as pacer, everyone is dressed for snowpacolypse, joe is wearing shorts. But then changed into… Jeans? Somehow it worked for him. And luckily, that night wasnt that cold. Still….

Puking. Twice. Can recall puking during a race only one other time at Zion. Managed to double that. Blame it on Chrisy asking me if i ever puke. It was nausea at first, but then sat on my knees and my guts tried to cone out my throat, but nothing but bile came out. Think it was the broth.

Funny enough, after the first time, right after the final heave, a good song came on my ipod. I got up and just started running. I was surprised how much better i felt having puked.

Aid station hot food selection was abysmal. Same slim choices: broth (not even good or even hot sometimes) ramen, mashed potatoes, quesadillas. Quesadillas were rarely evenly heated. Beans were a nice add in, but still. They also lacked any fat, so were super dry.

There were some sections of the course that could have used more confidence markers. Luckily, no signs were blown away by the wind like at lone star.

The last miles. Starting out from bowen. Fully dressed. Removing clothes almost immediately and realizing my pack is completely full. Have no hat and the sun is full throttle. Thanks goodness have sunglasses.

Takes forever to get over ridge. See some other guy pop over and running towards me. WTH is he doing? Stop and chat, he’s out training for some ultra in Mexico. Have a surprisingly longish conversation with him.

Make way down mountain side. Think about how windy it was previous times. Think how THIS IS THE LAST TIME I’LL HAVE TO DO THIS SHIT AGAIN.

Remember how i ran almost the entire straightaway to West. Hobbled it. Found a sign post to lean against to poop because i realized i couldn’t squat down.

Ran some of the flats, ever so slowly. Somewhat depressing getting passed by fresh faced 100 milers. Wanting to let then know that hey, ive been running since Wednesday. One guy actually asked if i was doing the 200, and that made me kind of emotional.

Overall, had a decent mental mindset. Wasn’t terribly affected by getting through the distance. The repetition was probably the hardest part, but it also made it easier knowing what was coming up.

Things to work on.

Pacing. First 120-140 should be slow and even. Dont try too much. Then the last bit, give it what you got.

Less time at aid stations.

Have your shit organized.

Know what you need and when and where you’ll need it.

Avoid carrying things you dont need. So check your pack when leaving aid station.

Bring more of your own food. Snack logs should NOT be 99% candy.

Utilize bottles over bladder when aid is close.

It was nice not carrying poles. Maybe save those for last miles.

For God’s sake, new pandora music.

Pretape for blisters. Maybe just tape everything? Next long run, try taping everything.

Food bag.

The Franklins 200 Miler Race Report

Two years ago, Dustin, Julie and I ran the inaugural Lone Star 100 in El Paso, Texas. Between the intense wind, the heat, the exposure, the climbing and the acres of rocks, it was an incredibly tough race. Only 8 of the thirty or so starters finished.

2019 was the inaugural Franklins 200. Why in the world would we want to run twice as far on such a brutal course? I’m going to chalk this one up to willful ignorance and peer pressure. Dustin and I hadn’t even completed Bigfoot 200 before we had signed up for Franklins. We signed up early for the discount. That’s probably the main reason. And because we’re dumb.

Training went off the tracks early. I started climbing which was fun, but took time away from running. Didn’t plan much, didn’t make a pace chart AT ALL. Barely had drop bags planned. Figured I would take Dustin’s usual approach: just show up and run.

The day before the race, Ed kept getting worked up about how windy it was going to be and how it was going to rain. He was giving us weather reports on the hour. The course directions were also giving him fits. Apparently there were contradictory statements between the race doc and website. Ed texted Rob for clarification but that didn’t clear anything up. Ed’s stress was totally stressing me out and I told him so. He finally let it go.

I was stoked for the 12 mile intro section that was supposed to be difficult and involved some climbing with chains, but it was called off at the last minute due to the rain. Instead, we had to summit Franklin Peak, which was a major drag because we were already doing that 5 times. (Sad trombone noise here.)

Rain is probably the worst weather to start a race. Luckily it wasn’t heavy and it didn’t stick around too long. The first trip up the peak was shrouded in fog. We were all in good spirits, excited to finally be doing the damn thing we came to do.

Ed and Dustin were pretty chatty, Erin less so, and I mostly listened. Other runners around us were forced to listen to our asinine banter. At one point I apologized to the couple that had been within earshot for several miles. They didn’t seem friendly.

As we were running, I saw a pair of Julbo sunglasses on the ground. I picked them up and hustled up to the couple just ahead of us to see if they had dropped them. Sure enough, they belonged to the girl. She said thank you, but didn’t seem especially grateful.

Maybe it was the second loop I came up on that same couple. Asked them if they were ready for a 4 day long game of leap frog because this was about the 6th time we had traded positions. They didn’t seem to keen on me passing them, so I hung with them and chatted.

Turns out, they knew me and I knew them. Matt Zmolek, a strong runner who had run with Julie a lot. And Dena Carr, another strong runner, who had narrowly beat me at Cactus Rose a year ago. She told me how she had to leave the last aid station when she saw my headlamp coming in. I told her how I was crushed having just missed catching her by minutes. We had a good laugh about that. I was determined not to let her beat me again. They ran the whole thing together, with Dena taking Third Female.

*Early on, Dustin took off thinking he was chasing me down, when in fact I was behind him. He jumped ahead as I was doing a #2. Maybe a good strategy for next time. No matter how hard or how fast he runs, he’ll think I’m still ahead of him. And he’ll either crash and burn… or kick my butt.

*Thinking in percentage of race completed: at 20 miles and thinking, “Wow, I’m 10% done!” Every 2 miles was another one percent done. I was afraid hitting the 100 mile mark was going to be a mental mindfuck because that would be only half of the race, but it didn’t turn out to be a big deal. I don’t even remember where or when I hit 100.

*Took a wrong turn. Proud of myself for not flipping out or getting worked up AT ALL. Didn’t dwell on it, was just like, “Okay, bonus miles!” The section I had to backtrack is relatively short about 1.5 miles, but is really technical and hilly. This mistake cost me at least an hour and a half. But once I got back to Pavilion, I was like “Okay, back on track!” NBD.

*The first night was bitter cold and I had been wearing four layers: wool base layer, windbreaker, rain jacket, and vest. The only other thing I had was the race hoodie, which I would never normally run in. But I wore it the second night after leaving the S/F because I needed more warmth. But once I got into Shaffer Shuffle, there was virtually no wind. I had to remove the hoodie and pack it; it took up a lot of space in my pack. Too much of my race was spent taking off and trying to pack layers of clothing. I need to either get my system dialed or learn to deal with being cold. Definitely need a better warmth layer next time.

*Hanging with Erin from Bowen, the second (?) night. She had lost vision in one eye due to corneal edema. That had happened to me before, it sucks. You can see light, but there’s no detail whatsoever. Just a big blur. (And oddly enough her pacer Joe had experienced this condition before.) Thank goodness it’s a temporary condition. She said she’d fallen several times because her depth perception was off. I suggested she try and sleep it off here, but for whatever reason, she wanted to make it to the Start /Finish. I told her I would run with her and help her navigate through the night.

Running wasn’t in the cards at this point, so we power hiked. My energy levels had dropped, and I was in constant need of trail naps seemingly every other mile. But we couldn’t stop long because Erin was freezing, her hands in particular. I gave her the hand warmers out of my gloves, but later realized they were probably dead. I should have traded gloves with her, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with my gloves since my hands are the one thing that are always cold.

Erin is not one to complain, and when I realized she was still having a hard go with the cold, I gave her my vest. When I noticed she was still cold, I gave her my rainjacket. I told her I was going to start running to generate heat. The section we were on was super flat, so she didn’t need help navigating. I stopped every so often so we weren’t too far apart.

Between our slow pace, the intense cold and wind, and the utter repetitive nature of hiking in the dark, this section seemed to go on FOR. FUCKING. EVER. I can only imagine how tough it was for Erin.

After several hours, we finally made it to the S/F. I was in desperate need of sleep. The wind was thrashing the tent, the structure was swaying and the poles were grinding on the ground. I was afraid the tent was going to collapse. I requested one of the volunteers wake me up in two hours. Laying on the cot, cocooned in my warm sleeping bag and several blankets, I easily fell into glorious sleep. But it was short lived. The volunteer was in my face, “Edward, time to get up.”

It was so hard to rouse myself and leave that warmth and comfort. In my mind, it was going to be super cold again. But the worst was behind us, and once I got dressed and moving, it wasn’t so bad.

Joe, consummate badass.

Erin was also up and Joe was ready to pace her. Luckily for her, her vision had returned to normal! After the first night, everyone was dressed for a freaking Snowpocalypse, and Joe is wearing shorts. But then he changed into… Jeans? Somehow it worked for him. Fortunately, that night wasn’t that cold. Joe, badass that he is, paced Erin for around 70 miles.

Erin, Joe and I left the S/F at the same time. I tried to put distance between us so that I wouldn’t succumb to the comfort of company. While it’s nice to have someone to run with, I needed to set my own pace.

Squint to see Erin and Joe in the upper half. Look at all those rocks!

*Puking. Twice. Can recall puking during a race only one other time at Zion. Managed to double that. Blame it on Chrisy asking me if I ever puke. It was just nausea at first, but it wouldn’t go away. And then finally… I sat on my knees and it felt like my guts were trying to escape out my throat, but only bile came out. I think it was the broth. It was def the broth.

Funny enough, after the first time, right after the final heave, a good song came on my ipod. I immediately got up and started running. I was surprised how much better I felt having puked.

*Didn’t hear any good jokes. Although Dustin surreptitiously bought a three pack of ducks at Walmart. We then hid the ducks for Ed to find. Somehow, one of the volunteers left a duck for Ed at the peak. Our Bigfoot tradition continues!!

*I saw Dustin coming down the peak and chatted with him. I hadn’t seen him in forever. He told me how he had been in second trying to chase down John Kelly. He also said his feet were fucked, which gave me hope that I might catch him. Dustin in the past has gone out fast only to crash and burn at the end, and I was counting on this. I was trying not to get too anxious about catching him, I was playing the long game. The race didn’t actually “begin” until mile 150.

After I got down from the peak, I began giving chase. The section before Bowen is mostly downhill and very runnable. I was 140 miles into the race, and I was amazed (and shocked) that my legs still felt good enough that I could actually run.

When I saw his shorts. Hmm… those look familiar, Oh snap, it’s ED!

*Lapping Ed on fourth loop. Chatted with him and was going to take off, but then he said I’ll see if I can run with you. I wrongly assumed he wouldn’t be able to keep up, but he did. He was probably just as surprised as I was. He said this was the first time he’d run since the start. I felt guilty that I didn’t realize my friend needed help. So we ran a good stretch of several miles. Ed’s issue was the downhill was hard on his knee. We slowly made our way down the crazy switchback section and got to the straightaway to West. I felt bad leaving Ed, but we had a good few miles together and I wanted to catch Dustin. So I ran.

Katherine, CREW QUEEN 19.

*Texting Katherine after leaving West AS. Told her how Ed was doing and when she might expect to see him. I told her I was maybe a third of the way to the Pavilion AS, and as I ran, I realized how SO NOT CLOSE I was. I kept running but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, I was still out in the middle of nothing. She asked if I wanted Chic-Fil-A. That sounded amazing and made me run harder.

Katherine is definitely Crew Queen ’19. First time I saw her, she had breakfast tacos, (Steak tacos, OMG….) then Whataburger, AND then pizza, AND THAT WAS ONLY THE FIRST DAY! Honestly, I might not have finished if I had to rely on Rob’s meager offerings. And poor Ed saw her only once during the race! I hope I can provide the same level of service for her at Leadville.


*Normally, I always carry my poles with me. But during the second loop, I felt I was carrying them more than actually using them, and they were taking up too much room in my pack. So I ditched them and it was NBD. There were a few sections where I wished I’d had them, but for the most part I was fine. Until I wasn’t.

My left quad was getting increasingly sore, and I didn’t think much of it until I realized it was blown. And shortly after, my right followed suit. This made life incredibly difficult. When I left the S/F on the last loop, I left without my poles. I realized my mistake as I entered the rock field to Mundy’s, unable to do anything about it. I managed by climbing Eurostyle (hands on quads).

When I got to the base of the peak, I grabbed a stake from one of the signs to use as a pole. (Whatever signs it held had been blown off.) This was about 25% as effective as a pole. The whole time I felt so weak and dumb from running hard the previous days and not anticipating this result. Hubris.

I took at least a dozen trail naps on the peak. I was constantly scanning the trail for any sheltered semi-grassy spot to rest for two minutes. When I found a spot, I’d collapse onto the ground, close my eyes and slightly hyperventilate for a minute, and just as I was about to actually fall asleep, I would countdown from ten and force myself to get up. Fear kept me from fully falling asleep: I didn’t want to freeze to death or worse, get passed by someone and lose a position.

*Heading towards Bowen for the last time. It was late, so I grabbed a Red Bull from the aid station. I normally never drink these, but I needed something to keep me awake. I drank maybe half of it, and it didn’t do anything for me. I think I was just too dang tired.

I was full on sleepwalking, barely able to keep my eyes open. I couldn’t stop to rest for too long because I would get cold. I was trying desperately to keep my eyes open for blue flags because I was paranoid about getting off course in my zombie state. I listened to my music in hopes of it keeping me awake, but the mix I had was the same mix I’d had for ages. It was permanently seared into my brain during this section.

Despite being half sleep, I was trying to catch up to the runner just ahead of me. He was having the same sleep deprivation issues and somehow I passed him. But later, he teamed up with a female runner and they passed me on the long downhill section, which was a little disheartening.

Getting passed at sunrise.

When I got to Bowen, I was primed to sleep… but couldn’t. Marco, the guy who passed me, was lying in the cot next to mine and we chatted. We tried to warm up a bit in front of the heaters. I had three blankets, but it wasn’t enough as I could still feel drafts. I had no idea how long I’d been laying there unable to really sleep, but I knew the sunlight would wake me up.

It’s morning now, and seemingly out of nowhere, Elizabeth pops out and is helping me. She starts massaging my feet (which feels fucking AMAZING. Dustin and I have both made the observation that just touching your feet after so many miles feels incredible.) She came to pace Ed, but he had since dropped. So she was helping me out. I asked if she had her poles with her, and she did. I asked if I could borrow them and she said I could. This was the greatest stroke of luck because the poles basically saved my ass.

When I left Bowen for the last time, I was still cold and dressed for warmth even though it was sunny out. This mistake I chalk up to being too tired to think straight. I was shedding layers immediately and my pack could barely contain all the layers.

It got warm enough that eventually I stripped down to my Smartwool boxers and base layer shirt. I felt weird running in boxers, but it was surprisingly comfortable. This was by far the best clothing change.

Once again, it took forever to get over ridge to West A/S. Just as I’m about to crest the ridge, some guy pops over, running towards me. WTH is he doing? Stop and have a surprisingly long conversation with him; he’s training for some ultra in Mexico. It’s nice to talk to someone after so many hours alone.

Make my way down the endless switchbacks of the mountain side, glad it’s not as windy as previous times. Overjoyed that THIS IS THE LAST TIME I HAVE TO DO THIS SHIT! Last lap I ran the entire straightaway to West, this time I hobbled. My quads are so gone, that I literally could not squat down to poop. Instead I had to lean up against a sign and poop standing up. That’s a new one for me.

Get to West AS and sit for a bit. Get going and try to “run” some of the flats, albeit ever so slowly. Somewhat depressing getting passed by fresh faced 100 milers. I want to yell at them to let them know that, “Hey, I’ve been running since Wednesday!” One guy asked if I was doing the 200, and that made me kind of emotional.

Nearing the end, my thoughts gravitated to food. Ed texted me:

  • Ed: “Do you want food at the finish? If so what kind?”
  • Me: Yes please steak tacos or mushrooo swiss Whataburger. And a beer please!
  • Me: Last fucking 1.1
  • Ed: Badass! We have cheese quesadies and ramen.
  • Me thinking: Ha ha, Ed you dick! You better have some real food.

The last 12 miles or so were a lot of climbing, so they went by incredibly slowly. Mentally, it was tough being so close, yet still so far away. Once I made it up to Pavilion for the last time, I had only the 1.5 mile section to the finish. The wind had picked up and the downhill sections were tortuous because there was a LOT of loose rock here, but it didn’t phase me. I took my sweet ass time, savoring the fact that I was going to finish and be done. A lump formed in my throat when I could finally see the S/F tent.

Normally in Rob’s races, there is WAY TOO MUCH cowbell; you hear it at every aid station and it annoys the hell out of me. But during this race, I hadn’t heard any at all, and while that made me happy, I also missed it. They could see me coming in and began ringing the cow bell and that made me soooo happy. I tried to run it in, but I had nothing to give.

Rob handed me my buckle and gave me a hug. I felt weird getting all emotional in front of everyone, so I went and found a chair, sat down and cried. I don’t even know what I was crying about. It’s really overwhelming to finally finish something as mentally and physically drawn out as this.

Or I’m just a baby. Maybe a little of both.

Finish time: 81:53:32. 7th Overall, 6th Male.

Overall, had a solid mental mindset throughout the race. Wasn’t affected by getting through the distance. The repetition was boring, but it also made it easier knowing what was ahead. Hardest part was sleepwalking the last night, but I chalk that up to poor sleep in the days leading up to the race. Banking sleep is crucial next time.

Dustin was able to take a SIX HOUR break and still finish FIVE HOURS before me, which blows my mind. He finished Fourth Male, Fifth Overall. But I shouldn’t be surprised, he is a badass. Next time, I will adopt a Race mentality instead of just a Survival mentality. I want to #BeatDustin.

A few hours later, Erin rolled in taking Second Female and a sweet check for $1500, and a mega hug from Dustin.

Notes/ Things to work on.

  • Actually train. Like for reals. Seriously. No joke. Do all the things.
  • Know the course, avoid wrong turns.
  • Pretape blister prone spots.
  • Pacing. First 120-140 should be slow and even. Give what you got at the end.
  • Less time at aid stations. Know what you need before you get there. Have your shit organized and KEEP IT ORGANIZED. After two loops my gear was all over the place.
  • Plan ahead. Know what you need and where you’ll need it. Check your pack for unnecessary items before leaving aid station.
  • Bring more of your own food in case aid station food sucks. Snacklogs should NOT be 99% candy. Make a food bag.
  • Save poles for last portion of race.
  • For God’s sake, new Pandora music!
Me and my bro Dustin, whom I intend to kill #Rematch@Wasatch.


So I’ve been climbing a lot. Like probably to the detriment of my “training” for Franklins 200. My mileage has been erratic. I certainly am not overtraining. Probably climbing is just a way to avoid being disciplined and actually putting in the work. For sure, climbing has opened up a whole ‘nother world for me. And I’m really happy about it.

Lexi, Self Proclaimed Bad Beta Contest Winner

My friend Zach and I used to climb back in high school, which was over 20 years ago. We were pretty consistent about doing it for maybe three years. Then life went on, I moved away, then moved back. We tried to climb again, but it wasn’t the same. We didn’t have the same free time and strength and youth. We dicked around on his small climbing wall, but nothing ever came of it. We definitely never went anywhere to rope climb or even boulder.

Brian, Mr Onsight Everything

And now I’m here in Utah. I work at REI and there is a Momentum gym literally next door. I hesitated about getting a membership because I was afraid I’d not go often enough to make it worth having. I bought a month pass, and I was pretty much hooked within the first two weeks. It really helped that there are so many climbers that work in our store. Black Friday offered a 6 month pass and I snapped that up, and I’m glad I did.

Annette, also getting back into climbing.

It took a few weeks to get to where I was “in shape.” The first two or three weeks, my forearms would get pumped super quick. The only thing I could get on were the purple V0 and V1’s with the giant holds. Much of my time then would be spent sitting and watching others climb as I waited for my forearms to relax. But I’ve made pretty decent progress, and a 2 -3 hour session in the gym isn’t unusual.

Nate, aka saltiest guy on earth.

Probably the best part is the social aspect of it. Not everyone likes to run, but almost everyone likes to climb. I can now engage with some of my coworkers in a sport that we both enjoy. If I hadn’t ventured into the gym and started climbing with them, I wouldn’t know them nearly as well. I’ve told everyone that I am always up to climb, and And there are a few of them that I get to share both sports with, and that is really cool.

Ethan, AKA Big Cat, chillest dude ever.

Perhaps the funniest thing (to me) is that I still don’t consider myself a climber. Even though I’m climbing quite a bit, I have yet to fully embrace that as part of my identity. Maybe because it’s all been gym climbing thus far, maybe it will change once I get outdoors.

Omar, #notaclimber, but giving it a go.

And now I understand my friend Dustin’s point of view. During an ultramarathon, he told me he didn’t consider himself an ultra runner. I was thoroughly confused. I was like, “Dude, you’re running an ultramarathon right now. How the heck could you not consider yourself an ultra runner?”

So yeah, Dustin, I get it now. Even though I’m climbing in this gym, every time I jump off the wall, I’m thinking #notaclimber.

Walking Johnny Down the Mountain

Had planned to do something big for Black Friday. Had a good day doing Mt Raymond, and felt like drinking to celebrate. My roommate’s girlfriend had some cider we had to drink. So I did my part, a little to well. Like blackout drunk and doing dumb stuff and not remembering any of it. And puking on the living room rug. And on the rug in my room. Mushrooms and carrots. 

On Thanksgiving day, I pretty much slept till five pm. I didn’t want to get up. I could hear my roommate vacuuming the puke. Turns out, he had to get a steam cleaner. When I finally did get up, I had no desire to leave the house. So I binge watched The Office and ate a sandwich. The next morning I felt a million times better. 

Did laundry and finally worked up the courage to clean my rug. The weather was beautiful outside. I felt incredibly guilty for not taking advantage. I turned on some music to get psyched. I got dressed and got out to my car, and kind of sat there for a bit, debating whether I really wanted to go out. There was a winter storm warning that was still in effect. I didn’t want to be fooled by this weather and get up into the mountains and then get stranded or blown off. After waffling for a minute, I decided to go anyway. I could always bail if it looked bad. 

Gorgeous start of the hike. 

Got to the trailhead at 2 pm which is a very late start. It was warm and I felt overdressed. At least a dozen people passed me coming down. I saw a guy that used to work at my store. 

I saw fewer and fewer people. And then I ran into this bird. He was just chilling on the trail. I was surprised that he didn’t run away or freak out. I took out a granola bar and fed him little pieces. He was a little nervous, but he’s probably seen (and been fed by) other people before. I fed him another bit of granola and told him I’d see him later. 

Two minutes later, I see a hiker just standing on the trail. It’s a Chinese guy. He appears to be waiting for someone. I ask him if he’s okay. He was tired and had run out of water. He gave me his bottle and I filled it up halfway or so. He said his phone was at 15%, so I lent him my charger.

We started hiking and a minute later, this other Chinese runner guy comes down the hill. “Here Johnny. This is for you.” and the guy gives Johnny a bottled water. I assumed they must know each other and was confused. This guy left his friend behind?? 

Then the runner guy, Wan Ho, wants to get a picture of the three of us. He does, and then he heads down. I ask “You’re leaving him?” He says, “Yeah, I gotta get down before the storm gets here.” Right, that Winter Storm Warning…

Screenshot of Wan Ho’s Strava image. 

Turns out, Wan Ho had just met Johnny on the way up. Wan Ho was just doing his own hike and Johnny was moving too slow. So Wan Ho went to the summit and was going back down. They weren’t friends, they just happened to both be Chinese. 

Johnny and I continued upward toward the saddle. I wanted him to see it since he was so close. He seemed kind of out of it, but he told me he had just flown in from Buffalo, New York on Wednesday. He failed to earn two different degrees at school, and was too ashamed to go back home for Thanksgiving because of his super traditional parents. He had been hiking the last few days to clear his mind. He was leaving tonight at midnight. 

I had no idea what to say about this. I terrible at it but I tried to make small talk. I asked him what he had in his backpack- a laptop (??) and a book. I told him about the bird on the trail. I sort of let the conversation die. His mind was elsewhere. Add to that the elevation was taking a toll on his lungs, he’d hardly eaten anything all day, and he was slipping and sliding in his shoes. Just not a conducive environment to talking. 

I gave him my poles, but he was still sliding so I took off my microspikes and put them on his shoes. He was able to hike much better. We finally got to the saddle and took a few photos. I made him eat some of my food. 

At the Saddle.
The mountains look great in snow. 

I’m not sure if he thought the view was worth the struggle. We didn’t hang around too long. It was about 4pm by this point, so we didn’t have much sunlight left.

I thought going down would be quicker, but it was just as slow, if not slower, than going uphill. He was very tired and taking very small, slow cautious steps. There was a lot of slushy ice on the trail. I slipped a few times, but just small slips. 

This was actually the first time I saw the bird. 

We got to a spot and there was the bird again! He was still there just chilling! And I think he remembered me. I fed him again, at one point he ate out of my hand. I could tell he associated the sound of the wrapper with the food. I don’t know why, but this little bird made me happy. 

There was a constant, slight rain. I was getting chilled moving at such a slow pace, so I  put on my rain pants and rain jacket. It got progressively darker until it was time for a headlamp. I tried to follow Johnny and light his way with my headlamp, but that didn’t work so well. So I had him wear it. I could see surprisingly well without it.  We crept along ever so slowly. 

One other “exciting” thing was that I discovered my phone now has “Night Sight” for taking photos at night. It’s about damn time, Google!

Usually you can tell you’re getting closer by the traffic. It’s weird what a relief it is to hear traffic. It makes me feel like I’m not in the middle of nowhere, although we were still really far from the trailhead. Then the cars start getting slightly bigger as you get closer. The cars seemed tiny for sooo long. But then we got to the last switchback. Then the last staircase. We made it! I was probably more excited than Johnny was. 

Before I dropped him off at the Air BNB he was staying at, we ate some food at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. After being out in the dark and cold hiking for a few hours, some hot soup and hot tea were just what we both needed.

Johnny should be just about to get on a plane for Buffalo right about now. 

Dead Horse 50K

Traffic delayed us, finally left REI at about 6:30 pm. A stop at Cubby’s for some tasty sandwiches set us back another 45 min. Then somewhere in the middle of nowhere a serious accident held us up for another 40 min. We arrived at out hotel close to midnight. 

Wake up was 5:30 am, with a short 20 min drive to the start. As were approaching the turn to the start, we could see a line of headlamps high up on the canyon. The 50 milers had just begun their journey. 

All smiles at the start.

It was chilly but crisp. We got our bibs and chips and started shortly after. The first mile was a long climb that offered a great view. The sun peaked over the mountains and would gradually warm us throughout the day. 

Nate had never run more than 17 miles continuously, so he was in for a day of PR’s. Even though Nate had been putting in more miles than Lexi, I wasn’t concerned about her finishing. Lexi and I had run a Timp double which was about 30 miles, so I knew she would survive. 

The first mile was all uphill so we started out slow and I tried to get a shot of the sun rising. We would run the whole thing together which was pretty fun. Both of them are pretty relaxed and Nate can be a funny guy. One of his jokes set the stage for a joke off of sorts. 

Scenery wise, I may be a bit spoiled, but after the first few miles, it felt like we settled in some boring views. We were just out in the middle of the desert surrounded by scrub brush and a smattering of scrub trees. We could see the canyons off in the distance, but they were so far! On the plus side, the single track was soft and runnable. I would have appreciated the soft soil singletrack more if I had known how much slickrock was ahead of us. Although when we we on the slickrock, the scenery was more interesting. :/

“If you don’t care about your time, check out Gemini Bridges.” The Joke Girl and her BF. 

One thing I neglected to do was to pay attention to where the aid stations were mileage wise. Nate had said 9 miles was the furthest apart they were. Luckily, none of us had any issues with water or calories. The aid stations were well stocked. Several had Halloween candy which was sweet.

Nate had a goal to leave with more Gu’s than he came with. He also had a joke for when he acquired one, which he forgot to do at the first aid station. I had forgotten about the joke. I was eating a delicious Pierogi(!) from the aid station, and he walked up to me with Gu in hand and said, “Don’t mind if I Gu.” I gave a halfhearted chuckle. 

Lexi came back from a bathroom break and I told her she needed to go with Nate to get something from the aid station so that Nate could tell his joke. They walked up to the table, Nate grabbed a gel and loudly said, “Don’t mind if I Gu.” A girl standing nearby burst out laughing and several other volunteers laughed. The girl’s boyfriend was nearby and asked what she was laughing about. She repeated Nate’s joke and got more laughs. 

So she started telling some jokes of her own.. What do you call fake noodle? an Impasta!!!  What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator!!! She had about a dozen jokes. And Nate had a few too. As someone who is always harping about having jokes for races, I was disappointed that I didn’t have any jokes to offer. 

We left the aid station at the same time as the other two. I kind of hoped that they might want to run with us and keep this joke fest going. But they were moving better than we were, so they took off. I was the caboose following Lexi, and as they passed, I whispered to Lexi, “We have to beat them.” And I guess the joke girl had super hearing because she laughed and yelled, “I heard that!” I was shocked and slightly embarrassed because I was joking. Well half joking.

Later we ran into our joke friend at the aid station. Nate was hurting a bit, and attempting to roll out his butt with a 2 liter bottle. I asked her if she had anymore jokes to help lift his spirits. Before she could say anything, her boyfriend chimed in with, “Have you seen her run? That’s the joke!”

Puppy not having it. 

Also there was this puppy. We wanted to pet him, but he started growling at me, which was pretty surprising. I chalked it up to the little guy being fed up with everyone wanting to pet him. I’m sure even dogs have bad days. 

Two topics dominated the rest of the run: Nate’s sore butt and Lexi looking for a place to poop, although she wasn’t sure if she actually needed to go. Lexi was concerned about the lack of cover. And also talking about having to dig a six inch hole to bury the waste as per LNT standards. We leapfrogged with several people around us. Occasionally we would be running the same pace as them and so they could hear our conversations about Nate’s butt and Lexi’s poop dilemma. 

As we passed this one lady, who I assumed had heard our conversation, I jokingly asked her if she would massage Nate’s butt which totally shocked her from whatever she was thinking. 

Nate stretching for the 34th time.

We stopped on a dirt road for Nate to stretch. The people we had passed came by one by one. An old guy ran by Lexi and asked her, “You dig that hole yet?” We had a good laugh at that because that was totally unexpected. Just as the hilariousness subsided, another runner ran by and asked Nate, “How’s your butt?” It was too perfect. 

We got to the last aid station and found out that we were closer to finish than we expected. This lifted Nate and Lexi’s spirits. Lexi’s foot was hurting her and she had been smelling the barn since mile 20. Nate’s butt was slowing him down, but he was excited to be finished. He put on some music to get himself pumped. He was still “struggle-bussing,” but in good spirits. 

Earlier, Nate had shot a quick story for Instagram to see if he could get some good vibes from his followers. Unfortunately, service wasn’t great and his story didn’t post. Lexi filmed Nate feeling pretty crusty and coined the hashtag #PrayForNate which became an instant classic.  

Cool rock. 
Lexi excited to finish.
Nate thugging. 

There was a good bit of climbing in the last few miles, which was tough since we were so close to the finish. But then finally there was a long downhill which we could run. Near the finish, they decided to sprint the last portion in the chute. I think Nate beat her in the sprint, but Lexi was announced as having a faster time. But in the final results, they are both listed at 6:56:59. Nate’s final Gu count was four, I think. 

Sprint to the finish.
They did it! Stoked for both of them. 

BST Hills Report



Run went well.

Had to change starting point because I realized with no water on the route. Started near the middle of the route. Kind of an error in planning that I didn’t return to the car at the halfway point. I was near the car at one point, but it didn’t even dawn on me to go and get my other bladder of water. There’s a lesson for route planning on longer runs: either know where there’s water on the route or plan to circle back to the car.

img_20181111_083619If it’s cold out, park your car in the sun.

You don’t need a cooler for drinks! Figured that one out on the 24 hour run.

If swapping bladders, figure out how to prevent the water from getting cold. No fun putting a chilled bladder on your back.

Bacon should not be cooked crispy because it crumbles into bacon bits.

Cornbread muffins turn into dust.

Totino’s pizza rolls were pretty good. I was concerned about the acidity causing indigestion, but I ate only two at a time and I had no issues.

The Cuban sandwich was good, but not nearly as good as it is when it’s hot.


Those hand warmer dealies work pretty well. I wondered why the warmer placement on gloves is on the back of the hand. My theory is that once the blood is warmed there, warm blood goes into your fingers, making your fingers warm. They lasted quiet awhile and are certainly worth having.

Need to wrap the middle section of poles with some insulation. Those things get cold.

Need gloves that I don’t have to take off to use my phone. I must have removed my glove and then put it back on at least 50 times today.

Got to use my Microspikes!!  I was debating whether I should put them on. Why else did I carry them? Duh. There was a bit of snow at the start of the run. I didn’t think it was really worth putting the Spikes on, but it helped out a lot. They felt very secure, and gave excellent traction. I ran in them up Red Butte and then Mount Wire, down and back up Mount Wire. The second time down, I took them off. I wondered why they needed a bag to carry them. It’s because they get all muddy and dirty.

Lone Peaks were again great, although my toes grabbed some rocks a few times.

Tights were good for the most part, although they often felt like they were being pulled down. The drawstring is too thin. Needs something more belt like.


Tons of mountain bikers. Several times I didn’t hear them approaching, startled me.

Saw so many dogs!! Thought next time to take a photo of every dog, Dogs of Strava.

So many trails, many of which don’t show up on the Gaia app. Very tedious stopping every so often to double check which trail to get on. Late in the run, I said the heck with it. Just run. Get somewhere and then figure out where to go next. That was freeing. Took some crazy steep slippery downhills that way. But also ran this awesome rocky ridge that went on quite a ways. That may have been the highlight section of the day.

Some GoPro footage might be neat. Or doing a video call home while on a peak.




Weekend Warrior

Haven’t run since last week’s 23 hour effort. Not because tired or sore – could have run the following day – but combination of work and just not motivated to get out. It’s weird because I want to run, but do I really if I’m not making the effort? Maybe something is missing… I don’t know. Anyway, going to try to make up for it tomorrow. Probably dumb, cramming almost a weeks worth of mileage into a day, but I’m not a smart man.

Going to run on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Want to do another 24 hour there. I think it would be easier on whoever joins me. It would also be easier to find the trail, no bushwhacking! While I’ve run there with Nate several times, I’m going on my own which means I have no time constraints.

Tried unsuccessfully to plan a route on the Gaia website. I could only map out a portion of a route. I’m not super familiar with the route creating process, but to me it seems like the app/web site could use some work.  I want to like it, but there are several things that seem retarded.  I could not figure out how to make it get double back on the same trail. (It’s not a straight out and back. More of a lollipop.) Route will be maybe 25-30 miles, with guesstimating 10,000 vertical, hitting three peaks.

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 8.49.06 PM.png

Hopefully, this is a feasible route and not just my kid in a candy store hit all the peaks too much at once approach. There are definitely more bail out options. Pace should be quicker than last time, maybe even as quick as 15 minute miles. But I’ll plan on slower 20 minute miles. Probably looking at 10 -12 hour day. Starting early, would like to hit Mount Wire or Red Butte around sunrise. Or whenever. It’s hard getting up early.

While I would rather have a more solid route so that I can plan a bit better, there is also a little adventure in the unknown. Not sure there are any water crossings, so I may have to either cut this short or dip into town if there’s a store nearby. Ugh.

Notes from last time.

Wore new North Face winter tights. Those worked out really nice. Never really had the need to wear tights, but here it’s necessary. Kept my lower half pretty warm. Did choose to wear underwear with them for added warmth. Forgot to lube up, but luckily had no chafing issues.

Also wore new Altra Lone Peak RSM’s. Those were great as well. Bought my normal size 10, it looks way long on my foot, but my heels don’t slip at all. I had zero issues with my toes bumping into the front. These definitely fit different from the previous version. Size appearance aside, they worked out great. They kept my feet dry and warm the entire time, although there was hardly any water or mud on the trail. Zero issues.

Did not get to use Microspikes. Conditions were never bad enough to warrant their use.

Food wise, thought about packing little pizza poppers. Bought some tonight and will test those out. May cook up a cuban sandwich in the waffle maker. And maybe waffles.



Saved by Thoughtfulness

This is loooong and booooring. You’ve been warned.

Planned to run 24 hours after working a full day. Idea was to be awake at least 36 hours. Had an ambitious course that I’d never set foot on. Toned it down to Plan B which was just a simpler loop. But it turns out even that was a no go.

First thing I learned: In the Canyons, there is no cell reception unless your on a peak, and even then it can be iffy. So if you make plans where you might or will be out of communication, make sure the plans are bulletproof. Know exactly where to meet.  I’ve only run with her Madison before, so I should have asked her what kind vehicle she was driving. She parked in the next parking lot, so I moved my car next to hers.

We left promptly on schedule at sunset, 6:21. Headlamps came out shortly. We had a pretty pleasant run up Church Fork to Grandeur Peak. When we got to the top, we saw someone had left a sword there, maybe from Halloween. Madison definitely won the “Dramatically pulling the Sword from the Stone” acting award. (Even though the sword was barely in the ground.)

When we got on the unmaintained and untraveled Mill Creek Crest trail, it was really hard to see where the trail was. And the ground was covered with these short bushes that further obscured the trail. So having the full brightness of our headlamps was critical. Always start a big run with brand new batteries, especially if time matters like in a race. And always have spare batteries. In my experience, batteries start to dim to unacceptable levels after 8-10 hours. The difficulty of the terrain may dictate how soon you should change them.

We would find the trail, run for a minute and then be looking again for the trail. Repeat this for two of the slowest miles ever. This was frustrating and one of the main lessons of the night. Just because you can see the trail on map, doesn’t mean squat – and even a phone app might not help. My dumb ass thinking I could find the route AT NIGHT was wildly mistaken. I should have gone and pre-run the course, especially since I invited someone to run with me. I felt like a jackass getting us lost. Thank goodness Madison was not upset.

We discussed that sometimes it’s okay to not know where you area all the time. Sometimes it’s okay to struggle to find the way. But after awhile of constantly not seeing the trail, of having no idea where to go, I started to get worried. I started to get that feeling when you’ve been drunk or tripping too long and you just want it to stop. It was more annoyance than panic. I would have killed for some small orange flags or cairns.

We persevered nightmare level bushwhacking until we reached a small peak. There was a steep drop off in the direction we were headed. We looked around the sides for a less steep route, but found nothing. After a fruitless search, Madison suggested we bail and backtrack. I fully agreed. This was a good example of being mentally flexible and not getting fixated on an objective.  As much as I wanted to keep going since we were so close to Mount Aire, I knew she was right. And looking at a map now of where we were and where we were trying to get to, she absolutely made a smart call.

We turned around, and even backtracking was a bit of a challenge. At one point, we decided instead of going all the way back to where we split off from Church Fork, we could just drop into the canyon towards the road and eventually hit the trail. While that was true and we did eventually hit the trail, it was super sketchy. We had to slide down some steep scree fields. The whole time I kept thinking if anything happened to Madison, it was my fault. Fortunately the trail was relatively close which was a HUGE relief. We were ecstatic to be back on a trail and made our way back to the cars. I apologized for getting us lost

After Madison left, it was about an hour before Nate and Brian were scheduled to show up. I loaded my food and water, put on my down jacket and wrapped myself up in my down sleeping bag. I rested my eyes and brain a bit. Saw a few cars drive by. I turned on some music to rouse me as I got out of the car. Then two cars coming from each direction pull in on either side of me. I was like “Fuck yeah!” I don’t know why, but I thought it was so cool they both rolled up at the same time. They got situated, and we started off.

Told them Mill Creek Crest trail was a shit show and that we would have to resort to Plan C. Ascend Church Fork, down Grandeur west face, and then over to Pipeline and back. As they were getting ready, we had a bit of discussion on how to dress appropriately. It was pretty cold, there was a possibility of rain so it was important for us all to have the right clothing. I had been wearing a base layer, with a tech tee, and my windbreaker which had been working well so far. Later, I would find that I would like to have something more substantial for next time. Learning to dress for your temperament is critical in cold weather and comes with practice and experience. 

We made it to Grandeur Peak easily. We took photos with the sword. Nate (in the red) looks like he’s pooping, I think he said as much.

As we descended the West face and began making our way towards Pipeline, there were some hiccups route finding. Nate seemed a little agitated, and rightfully so. I again felt I had let my friends down by not knowing the route. As we struggled uphill, it occurred to me that I should have done this at Bonneville Shoreline Trail. That is a much easier, flatter trail. Nate had even suggested that to me, but I thought it was too flat and I wanted to be a badass. Ahh, hindsight. The value of simplicity cannot be overstated. We finally made it to Pipeline. After plodding along, it was great to actually run on a flat wide trail.

As we got closer to the cars, I was sad and anxious. I was extremely jealous that they would be going home to shower and sleep in a comfortable bed and not be cold and not have to run anymore. I would be on my own for the next 6 hours.

We were done an hour early, so I took a nap. I had planned for 20 min which turned into close to an hour. Looking at the time, it was hard to will myself to leave the relative warmth of my down cocoon, go back into the cold night, and start running again.  Memories of Julie’s “Don’t be a lil bitch!!!” stirred me into action.


I loaded up and was ready to roll, it was 6 am. I was right on schedule, which made me happy. I headed in the opposite direction from the last loop. Since I was on my own, I wanted to do the west face of Grandeur which is considerably harder than the Church Fork route. I warmed up and turned on my music which helped me feel less alone.

For the most part, I feel like I had been on top of my hydration and nutrition. My mental state had been pretty good up to his point. No injuries or gear issues. The weather was NBD. I had done this peak plenty of times to know what I was in for. I figured two hours and I’d be at the top.

It was tougher than usual. I kept stopping and checking my heart rate, which never seemed to be that high. I was huffing and puffing. The higher I got, the more I stopped. It began to flurry and the wind kicked up. It looked worse at the peak, so I stopped and put on my rain jacket, rain pants, and another pair of gloves. That was a smart move. I kept climbing for what seemed like an eternity. The wind intensified even more, blowing the snow into my face. All I could think was how bad this sucked.

Normally, I am pretty good at putting The Suck in perspective. I tried focusing on just the steps in front of me, but also kept looking up to see how much more I had to go. It was always A LOT.  I tried to keep in mind that even though it looked super far, I would be there soon enough. FutureSelf usually reminds me of the long view, but was now conspicuously silent. PresentSelf was in full on pity party mode.

Since I was basically crawling, I had plenty of time to think up “reasons” to quit. I was “being smart so that I could live to run another day…”  I didn’t Lexi to drive out here expecting to run and find that I could barely walk… I didn’t want to get sick and screw myself for Dead Horse on the 17th… I wasn’t having fun anymore… I was tired and cold and had had enough… None of which held much water.

Bottom line: mentally, I had given up.

I started thinking how I would explain to everyone why I gave up. What would I tell them? Did I have a legitimate enough excuse? Would I have to make something up? There would always be some silver lining to find. People would still give your credit for what you did do. It’s okay to fail. There was no real consequence to quitting.

Armed with all my “reasons” and assurances that no one would shame me for quitting, I texted Lexi that I was pulling the plug. As I hunkered down, shielding my phone from the oncoming snow, I was still completely conflicted about sending the message. After I hit the send button, I felt a mixture of 3% relief and 97% guilt and disappointment.


Recently, I have been concerned with knowing when to call it quits. Maybe in the back of my mind, I thought this was one of those times it would be prudent. I wanted to show myself that I could be smart. But I think if you really should quit, you’ll feel it in your gut, you’ll just “know.” And on the flip side, you should also feel it in your gut when you should NOT quit. I think I knew in my gut that I shouldn’t quit, and that’s why I felt so conflicted and disappointed.

Shortly after sending the message, I reached the peak and immediately started descending. Literally, within the first few steps down, I realized my legs were fine. (Which shouldn’t have surprised me. By this point, I’d only run about 30 miles.) Was this some weird kind of fluke? I kept running, expecting to feel worse. Nope. Not a fluke. Legs are fine, it’s just your dumb, weak brain couldn’t manage to keep it together.

Excited by this new development, I got my phone to text Lexi to “put the plug back in.” She had sent a message 20 minutes ago. There might be a chance to catch her. I replied, but realized I no longer had cell reception and the message would not go through. I had needlessly bailed on my friend.


Happy I could run, but dejected and extremely disappointed that I had let another friend down, I stewed and tried to dissect what happened. My thinking has always been that during really long races, you’ll hit a low and want to quit. It’ll suck and seem like the end of the world. But if you can wait it out just a bit and take a step back, things will probably be okay.  If I had waited till I got to the peak and gotten over the literal hump, I would have seen that I was fine, or at least less inclined to want to quit. Round and round my squirrel brain went, unable to pinpoint exactly why I gave up.


The snow came down a bit more. I was grateful that it was snowing and not raining. After hours of solitude, I passed a hiker. Then a couple, and then several more couples. And then I saw a girl trail runner.

She smiled at me. She had two hoods on, I didn’t recognize her; it was Lexi! OMFG! She decided to come out anyway and run me in the last mile. She parked way down the road next to some other car with Texas plates, had run the other direction, got the feeling she was going the wrong way and turned around and headed this way. She’d already run four miles. She was just as excited that she actually found me. I couldn’t believe the luck!

The whole way back, I was floored that she chose to run me in the last few miles without even knowing if she could find me. Most people would have just stayed at home and called it good. Even after I realized my legs were fine, I was resigned to quit. Her thoughtfulness saved my run. And for that, I thanked her profusely.

We ran back to my car and I resupplied. I wasn’t hungry, but Lexi suggested that I should eat whether I wanted to or not, which is almost always smart advice.  We tried to cook up an instant heat up O-meal. You add water to this heating element and it cooks the food super fast. We added the water, wait almost 10 minutes…. nothing happened. Maybe the element is bad? Throw the wasted heating element in my bag. Took out the heating element from another meal, added water… again nothing!  Then all of a sudden, the first element starts steaming furiously. I grabbed the bag and pluck out the element. Then again the other element goes off. It might be the cold, but I will never buy an O-meal again. I didn’t end up eating anything, but did have two beers as were “cooking.”

We discussed where we should run. Since I hadn’t been able to reach Mount Aire, I suggested we give that a try. The route was clear and involved no bushwhacking. I felt good physically. More importantly, mentally and emotionally I was a new man.



We ran down the trail and found the entrance to Mount Aire. We trucked upward in the muck and snow. I was moving as fast as a glacier. Eventually we made it to the peak. Surveying our surroundings, there was a huge peak to the east. Curious, I looked at the Gaia app. It was Mount Aire. We were on the wrong peak. (Insert eye rolling emoji.) It looked pretty formidable and was at least another 800′ of climbing. We were both pretty tired at this point and neither of us wanted to climb it, but we were so close and FutureSelf piped up that we would regret it if we didn’t.

So we started up the switchbacks.


It again began snowing. I don’t know how she does it, but Lexi was wearing short shorts and wasn’t fazed at all by the cold. We made it to the peak and couldn’t see much. We took a quick photo and immediately headed back down to get out of the cold. We saw a sliver of blue sky on the way down. Incredibly, once we had reached the ground, the sky behind Mount Aire was all blue.


The return run was fun. As we drew closer, I could smell the barn. We did some fartleks, and for a few of them, I ran hard. It was fun, joyful running.

I finished with 23 hours, but I still consider it a success considering I was going to quit after only 18. No need to find a silver lining here. Still cannot believe how this turned out. Super stoked to have had friends join me for this adventure. No one got hurt, we didn’t die, and we’ll probably do it again sometime.