Returning to the Trail Head

Howdy! It’s been a long time.

I can’t express enough how happy I am to be back contributing to URP.

Before I get started, I first need to share my gratitude to Eric and rest of the URP clan – I simply love their dedication to this crazy sport.

Dedication. That’s a good starting point.

If you listened to my interview (If you haven’t – go here, now. We’ll wait.).

Aaaand we’re back.

As I was saying – if you listened to my interview you know that I have fallen away from the ultra running / trail running scene and am dedicating the next nine months to training for and running my first hundo.

Most of you must be thinking, “Oh my God. Who the hell cares!” And you’d be right. I mean, who really cares what I’m up to, especially a band of people who’ve been there, done that? This stuff is child’s play – right?

I’m hoping this regular column will continue URP’s mission to inform and entertain – a nine month long “training log” experience. The column will cover my training, diet, race reports, gear reviews, trail encounters, tips, failures, life experiences and above all – an honest account of going from zero to 100.

So, that brings us to my rocket-sled ride to zero.

WHERE I”VE BEEN

Since I left URP, years ago, I have lost my way from the trail running community. While I have competed at a few races from California’s East Bay to the Sierra, I haven’t been consistent.

Truth be told, leaving URP was more difficult that I thought it would be. Reading race reports or news stories about running were reminders of how much I loved being part of the URP experience. I left URP to get back to running for my mental and physical wellbeing – but my running potential was never fully realized.

Toss in a divorce, losing my best friend (my Dad) to cancer and switching new jobs – life’s priorities and hurdles began to change. Fitting running into my schedule didn’t come easy – at least that’s the excuse I started to believe.

In November of 2015 I got a hip bursitis which is still with me – running now seemed to be fading away even further. I haven’t run consistently for nine months.

WHERE I AM NOW

On a personal note, things really could not be better. I met the love of my life. We are raising three beautiful children in a great community. Although I may be divorced, my ex and I could and should write a book about healthy co-parenting, and I landed the best-job-ever located about two miles from the Western States finish line.

My fitness level…sucks. My eating habits really went into self-destruct mode. Recently, I was having conversations with myself on accepting the fact that I was going to be a doughy-couch-potato. NO offense to having extra cushion. The fact is, having extra weight and being happy with your body image is totally sexy. My fitness level was subterranean and I saw no way of getting my mojo back.

And there is it. My mojo is gone. Running is an important component to making me, me.

If you listened to the interview you know my sources of inspiration to run the hundo
(Again, if you haven’t listened, get to it!)

WHERE I AM GOING

With the help of Coach David Roche, URP, supportive family and the most excellent of friends, I am going after my first buckle at the Rio Del Lago 100.

The race is perfect for me. The start line is 4 miles from my house and I’ve run every mile of the course. I know I can get it done. Its just a matter of how long it will take me.

I have the right coach, right frame of mind and knowledge to get me to my goal. It is time to put all I have learned from URP episode one and beyond to the test and embrace the trail running community that I love so very much.

My days of being zero are numbered.

Follow me on Strava and be unimpressed, here.

Be impressed and check out my running coach, David Roche, here.

I love music and find a lot of motivation from a wide array of music. My hope is to add a new song to my playlist with every blog entry and have a kick-ass soundtrack for my buckle quest. Check-out my Returning to the Trail Head playlist on Spotify, here.

My song pick: Living by Bakermat

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A New Me

Cancer is a four letter word

Howdy, my dirty trail friends.

Well, before I give you the nitty-gritty of my running shenanigans, I must start with an update about my mom’s health.

She’s going to be okay. 🙂

For well over three weeks we have been living under massive anxiety from waiting to find out about a cancer that was recently discovered in her right elbow.

We finally now know that she has a sarcoma that can be treated with radiation and surgery – with a 5 percent chance of occurrence. We’ll take those odds. Its not our worst fears realized and from all we can tell her life is going to be exponentially better.

Whew!

Diagnosis limbo is a scary place, but it certainly did a lot to recenter my outlook on life and my appreciation for it.

Hi, Mojo, you’ve been missed

Damn, a lot has changed since I sat down to chat with Eric.

Starting from zero miles is a tough spot. All the difficult things that I thought would happen did.

Primarily, fighting my motivation to get up in the cold dark mornings wasn’t easy. The hell with that, it flat out sucked. To be honest, what got me out bed was my public decree to run 100 miles and the promise I made myself to get my mojo back.

What I now understand is that the difference between being stuck in a rut and finding my mojo was .5 miles.

With happy music pumping into my ears and my legs and arms working together and my lungs expanding and contracting I soon found what I’d been missing. Making a choice to change my sedentary ways and get out of my comfort zone was key to pursuing my goals and rediscovering my happiness and part of my identity.

I noticed that after my runs I was able to shed the problems weighing down on me and connect with loved-ones with a renewed self-awareness of my connection to them. It is hard to explain, but for the most-part I was more engaging and light. I guess I hadn’t realized how much of my stressors were interfering with the people around me. Trust me, life before running wasn’t drastic, but it is now better – and I’ll take it.

Doubt has no place here

Here’s a conversation I was having with myself a few weeks ago when I was experiencing self-doubt during a run, out loud, like a crazy person.

(Heart and lungs pounding)

“I think I can do this”

(heavy breathing)

“I know I can do this.”

(heavy breathing)

“YOU’VE DONE THIS!”

(@#$% it! Push harder!!)

And like that, I smashed my doubts and sprang away. Reminding myself of the runner I used to be gave me the confidence I needed to fight off running’s biggest liar.

Check the ego at the door

I wasn’t sure what to expect with running coach, David Roche. I have to say, it has been amazing and difficult.

It’s amazing because of the information and motivation he provides.

It’s difficult because I have to be patient with how much I can run and how fast.

Prior to Coach Roche, my training runs typically would be three 6 mile runs in the middle of the week – going out as hard and fast as I could. And where did that lead me every time? Yep, suck-ass injury.

Under coach’s direction the first couple of weeks my runs would be 15 to 20 minutes long. That’s it. But it was the right approach.

As much as I’ve wanted to go out hard and my fast like I used to, I have resigned myself to putting my faith in coach. If his daily run says, “easy”, well, later-days speedy, I am running easy. And that is hard to do, especially when you see other runners out. For me, I always feel like I have something to prove. I always have. But that is when you have to check you ego and surrender to Coach’s plan. Believe me, I am not going to stray. Coach has taken a chance on me and will adhere to his direction.

Over the last month or so my training runs have increased from 15 – 20 minutes up to 40 minutes during the week and up to 75 minutes during the weekend. Coach has started to incorporate hill repeats and speed intervals into my runs, which is new territory for me.

A return to the trailhead

I am so very excited to share with you that I ran 9 miles on the trail, yesterday. I know, right?!

This adventure really isn’t about getting a buckle. It’s a means to an end. It’s about the journey getting there. It always has been.

I feel compelled to share with you a moment I had two weeks ago. I took my 10-year-old daughter for a 3 mile trail run at Lake Natoma in Folsom. While we were running our feet were in unison, treading on the decomposed granite. It was a moment of Zen for me. A thing all dads long for. We were pursuing something we love, but we were doing it together. And she just chatted away at me the entire time…..double score bonus.

My return to running has done much for me than just set an ambitious goal. So far it has regained my mojo, connected me to my family in a glorious way and opened new shared experiences with my daughter.

Now the real work begins.

Bring it.

Follow me on Strava, here. (Thanks everyone for all the Kudos! You keep me going!!)

Check out my running coach, David Roche, here.

Listen to my Returning to the Trail Head playlist on Spotify, here.

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Returning to the Trail Head: The Process

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Love the people around you.

Now go out and run.

 

Scotty

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