Endurance Sports on the Web

Three Canyons and the Rocky Mountains

Run and Become - 12 October, 2013 - 10:51
Neil and I recently returned from a trip that took us to the Grand Canyon (North Rim), Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise and Emerald Lake). It was a very active vacation!
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Our cabin where we stayed - it had some unwanted guests  - mice. We should have clued in with all the Hanta Virus warnings. We caught them eating Neil's Ginger Snaps at 3 AM. Good thing Neil is a rodent control expert and was able to chase them out and secure us a few hours more of sleep.  The Lodge at the North Rim - beautiful big rooms for nightly entertainment and views of the canyon.
 Sitting on a stone wall at the Lodge - spectacular views. Neil enjoying the views on the Adirondack chairs at the lodge.Heading down the North Kaibob Trail into Roaring Springs Canyon which leads to the main Grand Canyon.Rock overhangs!It was fun running down on fresh legs. Last time we were here we had already completed Rim (South Rim) to Rim (North Rim) and were heading back to the South Rim. It was great to just enjoy the outing.  More Kaibob Trail.The trail continues across the canyon.  Large canyon walls - we look pretty small!Pathways to run on with drop offs - we stayed close to the walls!Almost done - the climb back up was tough (high altitude!)but not as bad as the last time.At the top of the trail on the North Rim. The North Rim has an Alpine forest at 8,700ft above sea level which is quite a contrast to the rest of the Grand Canyon.  It was a great out and back, fun running down and an awesome climb up. We went to Roaring Springs (the main water source for the whole Grand Canyon) and then turned around...our  plan was to get to Zion National Park before dark that day.  Zion National Park Climbing up Walters Wiggles - this was fun! 21 steep switch backs that are a marvel of trail engineering.  We hiked/ran down here on our last trip - the Zion traverse, at the end of our long journey in May. Great to revisit on fresh legs. Switch back! The trail up Walters Wiggles takes you to the trail to Angels Landing. This is the most popular trail in Zion National Park.  It was very busy with tourists, many griping the support chain for dear life as they made their way up and down.  Good thing the chain was there as the drop offs were severe - 1,500ft straight down to the canyon floor!  High walls of rock. Plenty of slickrock to play on. Plenty of squirrels around - last visit Dave dropped his pack before the climb up the North Rim and the little critters chewed through his pack and ate his Fig Newtons. Looks like this guy was eating bread - another tourists lunch. The trail to the Narrows - you can start your canyon water experiences from here.  The sport activity is called Canyoneering where you wade or swim through water using the riverbed as your trail.   Bryce National Park  From Zion National Park, we enjoyed a day trip to Bryce National Park, just over a 2 hour drive away.  The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. There is accommodation in the rustic lodge or you can stay in a cabin close by.  There is a path from the lodge that takes you to this overlook of Bryce Canyon below. You would have no clue this view was there unless you come and stood on the canyon rim. Many trails to explore! We chose the Fairyland Rim Trail which provided us with spectacular views of the many formations in the canyon and the Queens Garden trail that took us down into the canyon and up showing us many incredible rock formations... one of which is said to resemble Queen Victoria. It actually did!
Views from the Rim Trail.A perfect hole in the rock to frame the perfect picture! Lighter coloured rock on the other side.Having a seat on an inviting rock to take it all in.Neil running up to the Bryce Canyon Lodge - a tourist shouted out "show off|".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Banff, Emerald Lake and Lake Louise  We arrived in Banff to much colder temperatures than we had been experiencing south of the Canadian border. For our first outing we climbed Sulphur Mountain which is 7.800 feet. It is a steep climb from Banff where we came upon snow about half way up the climb. We also visited Lake Louise and Emerald Lake some of our favourite spots in the Canadian Rockies. It was snowing lightly which made some of the hikes so beautiful. Snow in the Mountains.On the trail up Sulphur Mountain.Banff is way down there - it was a big climb up! We opted for the cable car down. Views from Tunnel Mountain in Banff, the local "Grouse Grind" climb. Top of Tunnel Mountain with the snowy Peak of Sulphur behind.Emerald Lake, one of our favourite spots!
 Mt. Burgess, towers over Emerald Lake. We have climbed this one.Wapta Mountain, with the Wapta Highline Trail that passes through the Burgess Shale, a World Heritage site of geological significance.  The shale beds here contain marine fossils laid down approximately 550 million years ago when the area was all under water! The end of Lake Louise looking back at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.  We enjoyed a few more nights in Banff to end a great vacation of Canyons and Mountains! 

2013-09-29 MuthasNature 2

Club Fat Ass - Photos - 10 October, 2013 - 08:59

ClubFatAss posted a photo:

2013-09-29 MuthasNature

Club Fat Ass - Photos - 10 October, 2013 - 08:59

ClubFatAss posted a photo:

The First 10 Days of the No Meat Athlete Book Tour

No Meat Athlete - 10 October, 2013 - 06:23

Speaking at JackRabbit NYC. Photo courtesy Ben Ko.

Wow, what a week! It’s been 10 days since I started my book tour, and I’ve had two events each in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Ohio, plus Boston and New York City.

If all that weren’t enough for 10 days, I took a two-day “break” to run the RAGNAR Relay in DC on an ultra team … which meant running 40 miles of our team’s 200 total. In 90-degree heat. From a smelly, crowded, always-moving van. Over the course of 28 hours. Fun times!

Actually RAGNAR was a lot of fun, even if doing it in the middle of the book tour wasn’t my best idea ever — see Doug’s RAGNAR recap if you’re interested in more about how our team did and Doug’s do’s and don’ts.

The No Meat Athlete RAGNAR DC team. 28 hours, 199 miles, 1 seriously disgusting van.

Being on the road has been fun, too. I’ve met so many great people and longtime fans of No Meat Athlete, and every event feels just like hanging out with friends — exactly what I had anticipated, and the reason I wanted to do a book tour in the first place. It’s been especially awesome to see, in the flesh, people who have made major changes in the past few years as a result of this lifestyle – WendyTomShane, and Greg (who paced me for the last 35 miles of my 100 this summer), for example.

At Life Alive Cafe in Boston, with Tom Giammalvo and his cousin Mike. (Click image for Tom’s story.)

What I was unprepared for is how little time there would be for anything else. Mornings are an hour or two of writing, email, or running with a friend, then it’s into the car to drive to the next city, and soon enough it’s time to do the event, grab some food or a drink with people I’ve met, then to bed to do it all again.

Even getting up a blog post is tough, but being on tour has generated lots of new ideas for when I do have time — eating vegan while traveling, for example, has reached a whole new level of challenging, and how I’m managing (quite well, thanks) will be the subject of an upcoming blog post.

At Park + Vine in Cincinnati, with Susie Crossland-Dwyer, owner of Studio S fitness center.

NMA Around the Internets!

With all of this going on, it’s been hard to properly share the many interviews, book reviews, recipes, and book giveaways that people have graciously published since my book has come out. In these days when I can’t write quite as frequently as I’d like, there’s plenty of me all over the internet, so please check these out!

Signing books in NYC after a run in Central Park. Photo courtesy Ben Ko.

Amazon Update, and the FINAL Chance to Get Bonuses

Something of a fiasco occurred last week with Amazon — if you had pre-ordered my book there, you likely got an email from them last week saying the book would not be delivered until November or December. That was due to a stock error, which has now been fixed, and as of today, Amazon finally says “In stock”!

Thanks for your patience — believe me, this mix-up has been incredibly frustrating for me, too. Nothing has pained me more on this tour than when a loyal reader who has pre-ordered the book can’t get it signed at an event because it hasn’t arrived yet.

Last week I had planned to announce an extension of my pre-order offer for just a few days, to say thanks for all the support. But to avoid further confusion during the fiasco, I’ve kept quiet until the issue was resolved. Which is now.

So here’s the deal, one last time: Buy or order the book by the end of the day tomorrow — that’s Friday, October 11 — and forward me a copy of your receipt (matt@nomeatathlete.com). To say thanks for being an early-adopter, I’ll send you 6 great bonuses, three of which are ready now, the other three of which are in the works. (And if you’ve already ordered and sent me your receipt, thanks — look for an email today about the bonuses.)

Click here to learn more about what I think is a pretty incredible package of stuff!

One more from Park + Vine in Cincinnati.

And thanks, once more, for helping this book do as well as it has these first few days. We’re reaching so many new people with this message as a result, and I know a lot of good will eventually come of that.

Hope to meet you at an event soon!

ITR Announces Early 2014 Races, Including New Ordnance 100k in Monterey, CA

A Trail Runners Blog - 9 October, 2013 - 10:12
Are you ready to plan for 2014?!? Inside Trail Racing has released the dates of their late 2013/early 2014 schedule, and there are some great ones, including the new Ordnance 100k race in the Fort Ord trails near Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA, on Feb 1st, 2014. You can even get 10% off for a limited time (until 10/12/13) when you use UltraSignUp and the coupon code "AUTUMNTRAIL13".

(Cruising through Fort Ord) I ran the inaugural Fort Ord 50k earlier this year, and loved the winding trails of the Fort Ord National Monument on the banks of Laguna Seca. Now a 100k option is available the same day as the 50k for those who can't get enough. With the beach and Monterey Bay Aquarium nearby as well, this is a great ultra family weekend escape!

(Sunol) Also for those looking to add an October race, the Catra Corbett-designed "Dirty Dare 50k" will be a great tour of the Sunol Regional Wilderness in the Bay Area's East Bay. Well worth the trip to try out these awesome trails, and will happen on Oct 20th.

Hard to go wrong with the Woodside Ramble 50k if you're looking for some nice redwood-lined climbs - ITR has both a Winter and Spring version.

Here's the full schedule - get yourself committed!

Upcoming 2013 Events DateRaceDistanceParkLocation Oct 20
SunDirty Dare10K, 25K, 50KSunol Regional WildernessSunol, CA Nov 2
SatFolsom Lake10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KFolsom PointFolsom, CA Nov 16
SatMt. Tam Trail Run10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50KMt. Tamalpais State ParkStinson Beach, CA Dec 15
SunWoodside Ramble10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KHuddart County ParkWoodside, CA

Upcoming 2014 Events DateRaceDistanceParkLocation Jan 18
SatPacifica Foothills10K, Half, 30K,
Marathon, 50KSan Pedro Valley ParkPacifica, CA Feb 1
SatOrdnance 100K100KFort Ord National MonumentMonterey, CA Feb 1
SatFort Ord10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KFort Ord National MonumentMonterey, CA Feb 22
SatChabot Trail Run10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50KLake Chabot Regional ParkCastro Valley, CA Mar 15
SatMarin Ultra Challenge10K, Half Marathon,
50K, 50 MileMarin Headlands & Mt. TamMarin County, CA Mar 22
SatKnickerbocker Canyon10K, Half Marathon,
30KAuburn S.R.A.Cool, CA Apr 13
SunWoodside Ramble10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KHuddart County ParkWoodside, CA Apr 26
SatFolsom Lake10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KFolsom S.R.A.Folsom, CA May 10
SatChina Camp5K, 10K, Half, 35KChina Camp S.P.San Rafael, CA  

Elites at The North Face Endurance Challenge SF for 2013

A Trail Runners Blog - 8 October, 2013 - 10:33

Earlier this week, I started asking some local elites about the remainder of their 2013 race schedule. Seeing how Kilian has tied up the Skyrunning competitions again, UROC was quite a showdown, and the 2013/14 Montrail UltraCup is still a mystery, what's left for big races/prize purses that can attract the uber-ultra-elites into some head-to-head madness? Usually there is one big one left - The North Face Challenge - San Francisco, the grand finale of TNF's year-long global competition, which often boasts a $10k winning prize. So I asked around and guess who is coming?

[Ed. Note - TNFEC-SF is now accepting elite athlete applications - if you are interested elite, please send e-mail to endurancechallenge [at] hawkeyeww.com]

So far, I can't find anyone.

From what I can tell, the elite invites that attracted 100+ from around the globe last year is mysteriously gone. The press I contacted have no info, and I didn't get a response from the race organizers. Could it be that the TNF Series has headed the route that Competitor.com took with their Rock n' Roll series, and have ended their outreach/prizes to elites? Given all the longer distances of the race are sold out for TNFC-SF, it's not like they need it to draw attention to the race. Still, that would be a bummer. It was so great to see all the international athletes in SF last year, even when the weather forced last minute course changes.

We all know that VFC, the holding company for The North Face, makes tons more money selling jackets and backpacks to everyday folks. But I've always been impressed with their use of elite runners to promote an iconism that is inspiring, and their willingness to put some money on the table to draw the greats into competition. Let's face it, there were one of a few sponsors willing to do so, and it helped pull us into the golden age of trail running. But when the financiers at the Competitor Group did the math, they felt the price of drawing elites wasn't as good as say, another rock band on the course (I mean, why draw the line at one per mile?).

Let's hope this isn't an early signal of where the TNF brand is going.

[Note - per the sleuthing of commenters below, it appears the $30k in prize money is indeed intact, and there are some elites rumored to be coming including the defending champion, Miguel Heras.]
- SD

Challenge Penticton Race Report

Trainharder - 5 October, 2013 - 19:12

2013 saw the debut of Challenge Penticton, an Ironman distance race, and part of a global series of races held in 13 countries.  Better known in Europe, the Challenge Family is just starting to make inroads into the North American market and has announced a second race in Canada in 2014 in the Maritimes – Kingsbrae Garden Challenge St Andrews in New Brunswick.

See below a race report from Richmond’s Erin Lee:

So it is October 2nd and I am updating my blog after giving it a long rest.

After my training camp in July, I regrouped, reviewed my training and racing plans for the remainder of the year and refocused on my goal of Challenge Penticton.

Needless to say, this took a lot of time and effort.  Training for any endurance race takes a lot of time and training and an iron distance race is no exception.

Here is my race report, better late than never.  It is a bit choppy and detailed around nutrition

Read on to read the rest of the race report …


Jon Olsen Sets New 100-Mile American Record - 11:59:23!

A Trail Runners Blog - 3 October, 2013 - 16:05
How many people do you know that have broken 12 hours for the 100-mile? Well, if you know Modesto, CA's Jon Olsen, you know one! The 39-year-old teachers recent North American record was set last weekend at the Sri Chimnoy Ultra Classic 24-hour race, and his write up is well worth the read (poop cans and all). He took down a nearly 30-year-old record and broke an incredible psychological sub-12 barrier. Congrats fellow Injinji and Vespa teammate!
(Jon Olsen with wife/crew Denise) Also want to give a shout out to JB Benna who recently set a new unsupported FKT for the Tahoe Rim Trail (140+ miles) of 58 hrs, 43 minutes.

And one last shout out to Canadian Robert Grant who found and returned the camera I lost at Ironman Lake Tahoe! Gracias, my man!

Dick Beardsley Headlines GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon Speaker Series

Trainharder - 2 October, 2013 - 21:17

Running legend Dick Beardsley, author and editor of Marathon & Beyond Rich Benyo and Olympian Hilary Stellingwerff are among the speakers at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon Speaker Series, to be held on Saturday October 12 at the Marathon Race Expo. The Speaker Series runs from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm and will be held at the Victoria Conference Centre, Level 1 in the Auditorium.

Beardsley, known for his famous ‘Duel in the Sun’ with Alberto Salazar at the Boston Marathon in 1982, is now a passionate motivational speaker and he will be talking about how being a runner taught him to turn roadblocks into stepping stones despite debilitating circumstances. Benyo will be on a panel with race announcer Steve King, 2010 Women’s Marathon winner Catrin Jones, and Women’s Half Marathon world record holder Betty Jean (BJ) McHugh. The panel, chaired by CBC broadcaster Paul Kennedy, will discuss the allure of destination marathons and running in extraordinary places.

Olympic 1500m runner Hilary Stellingwerff and husband, Physiologist Trent Stellingwerff will discuss the specifics of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and 19-time Canadian Champion Lucy Smith will share her secrets and passion for running. Mena Westhaver, founder of Sole Sisters, and Sara Joy Erickson, founder of Running Moms talk about the growing number of female runners, the fastest growing demographic in North America, and Cathy Noel, Rob Reid and Bruce Deacon from the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon host a pre-race information and discussion session.

“Our Speaker Series continues to grow, and we continue to offer participants high quality sessions from internationally renowned presenters,” say Race Director Rob Reid.

For the fifth year in a row the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon will host the BC Marathon Championships. There is $37,300 available in prize money with $3,000 each going to the top male and female and a $5,000 bonus for a new men’s or women’s course record. The Men’s and Women’s Marathon course record was set in 2011 by Thomas Omwenga (2:14:31) and Lucy Njeri (2:37:56).  Natasha Fraser set a new Women’s Half Marathon record in 2012 (1:14:06). The Men’s Half Marathon record is held by Jon Brown (2002 – 1:02:32). Gary Barber holds the Men’s 8K course record (1989 – 23:23) and Ulla Marquette holds the Women’s record (1991 – 26:24). For more details, visit www.runvictoriamarathon.com

The No Meat Athlete Book is Out Today (Saying Thanks)

No Meat Athlete - 1 October, 2013 - 11:28

Today, the first day my book is officially available in stores and online (serendipitously, World Vegetarian Day), is a surreal one indeed.

I’m typing this post from the passenger seat of a car, driving to Boston for the second stop on my book tour, in just a few hours. Even that phrase — “my book tour” — feels very odd to actually say or write.

But it’s underway, and the faces, names, and stories of the people I met last night in the small town of Media, PA made it feel very real, reminding me why I decided to take on this tour in the first place.

The book is at the top of several categories on Amazon. All morning I’ve been doing phone interviews and email interviews and scheduling new ones, amidst excitedly reading early reviews of the book on blogs — some of my favorite blogs, no less. It’s like a dream, and one that I’m doing everything I can to appreciate while it lasts.

It is beyond incredible that all this has happened. And while I’m feeling lots of different emotions right now — giddiness, nervousness, excitement, fatigue, missing my wife and kids — the one keeping me centered and integrated is gratitude.

Gratitude that so many of the blogs, podcasts, magazines, and people I’ve reached out to have been so eager to help the book reach new readers. Gratitude that the message — one that is so meaningful to me — is being spread in a new way. And gratitude, of course, that my book and the scary, crazy, who-do-you-think-you-are idea to do a self-supported, self-organized tour across the country, is being so enthusiastically embraced by No Meat Athlete readers.

It’s convenient and easy to call it “my” book. But just as I don’t want to be called “the” No Meat Athlete (I’m only one of many), it doesn’t feel like the book is “mine.” On the front cover alone, there are three names! Open it up, and gracing the inside covers you’ll find pictures of the 40 or so others, kicking ass in their own way in their No Meat Athlete shirts. And in the book, there’s of course plenty from me and co-author Matt Ruscigno, but there are also contributions from 23 experts, chefs, and readers. The book is not mine, but ours.

I used to skip the acknowledgements page at the beginning or end of a book. I still don’t really read it, but I force myself to at least skim it, because more often than not it leads me to someone else, someone who influenced the author and whom I can learn from.

Which is why I’m posting the acknowledgements page from the No Meat Athlete book here — in hopes that you might discover a new source of information and inspiration in someone who has inspired me.

Thank you to my mentors and inspirations, in writing, entrepreneurship, and (in several cases) veganism:

Seth GodinTony RobbinsLeo Babauta, and Tim Ferriss. What I’ve learned from you — not just what you teach, but the way you teach it — is the foundation for everything I do.

Sonia Simone, Brian Clark, Tony Clark, Jon Morrow, and everyone at Copyblogger Media. It’s easy to look at No Meat Athlete’s history and pinpoint the exact moment when I started learning from you all, and to this day I continue to do so.

Caitlin Boyle, whose support in the early days of No Meat Athlete made all the difference.

Karol GajdaGena Hamshaw, and Robert Cheeke, without whose examples I might never have found the inspiration to become vegan. Brendan BrazierRich Roll, and Scott Jurek, the pinnacles of what’s possible that I always like to point to, all three of you generous supporters of No Meat Athlete from early on. And Douglas Hofstadter and Richard Dawkins, the first to (very likely inadvertently) plant the seed in this one reader’s head that maybe I didn’t want to eat other thinking, feeling beings not all that different from me.

The No Meat Athlete team, who somehow make this operation seem halfway legit: Susan LackeDoug Hay, and Erin Frazier. We can get back to normal now.

Charlie PabstBren DendyJenny Leonard, Christine Hein, and Kevin McCarthy, all of whom have helped to make No Meat Athlete look sharp. Alright, cute.

The experts who contributed their collective wealth of knowledge to this book: Matt RuscignoBrendan BrazierJason Sellers, Christine Hein, Mo Ferris, Jason FitzgeraldRobert CheekeMeredith MurphyEd BauerErika MitchenerSara Beth Russert, Hillary BiscayAdam ChaseLeo BabautaGena HamshawMike Zigomanis, and Susan Lacke.

The readers who were kind enough to share their stories to inspire others: Tina Žigon, Pete DeCapite, Greg Watkins, Tom Giammalvo, Janet OberholtzerTori Brook. Hearing stories like yours is the best part of this gig, bar none.

Recipe testers for this book: Tim Frazier, Vickie Craven, Christine Hein, Bren and Joe Dendy, Pete and Kristin DeCapite.

My family: Mom, Dad, Christine, Erin, Holden, and Ellarie. You’re the reason for all of this.

Supporters of No Meat Athlete from day one: Colleen and Joel Baldwin and Pete and Kristin DeCapite.

Jamie Halberg, who helped me keep my head on straight throughout the daunting task of writing a “real” book.

Marcus Leaver, Cara Connors, Winnie Prentiss, Kevin Mulroy, and everyone at Fair Winds Press, for your help in making this project a reality and reaching far more people with this message than I could ever do on my own.

Last and most important, the No Meat Athlete audience, including but extending far beyond those who contributed photos for the inside covers of this book. Without you to support, share, interact with, and care about our work, No Meat Athlete would be a long-ago abandoned blog with a few recipes and a clever name — and I would still be a guy searching for something meaningful to do.

Thank you all. So much.

Mogollon Monster 100

David Crockett's Running Frontier - 28 September, 2013 - 15:46

Mogollon Monster 100 runs below and on top of the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona.  The Mogollon Rim rises out from the earth 2,000 some feet for a span of 200 miles across Arizona and into New Mexico.  The race gets it name because it is a monster of a race, but also because of a legend that Big Foot roams the course.

Pictures by Michael Miller

The course runs on sections of the Highline Trail shared by the very tough Zane Grey 50.  I’ve run and finished Zane Grey 50 four times and after that fourth time vowed that I wouldn’t return because it hammers you and isn’t particularly scenic.  However, when I have run there, I was always intrigued about the possibility of also running on top of the rim.  Well, I now had my chance.

I went into the race with my eyes wide open, fully aware of how difficult this 100-mile (really 106-mile) course is.  Last year in its first year, there were many problems and only nine runners finished, most very familiar with the trails.  In my email exchanges with the race director, Jeremy, I could tell that preparations had dramatically improved and I was willing to take a chance and run it.

My expectations for a good finishing time were low.  I decided that my only true goal was to cross the finish line.  Finishing in about 30 hours seemed reasonable for me. I liked the fact that the race was “traveler friendly” meaning that I could show up at the start with an hour to go, deliver my drop bags, and listen to short race briefing.  Thus, I went to work on Friday, flew afterwards, arriving at Payson, Arizona in the evening with plenty of time to get ready.

Me in orange

The weather was on the cool side, no rain in the forecast and seemed perfect for me.  There were about 47 starters this year and I started running with the top six for the first mile or so. The first section of the course presented a nice view of the town of Pine below and then made its way up Pine Canyon to the top of the eastern edge of the Rim.  This would be our first of four trips up to the rim.

I led a small group of runners in the second pack as we made our way up switch-backs for an 800-foot climb. As usual, after a while I let them pass and continue on, preferring to slow a little and go at my own pace.  I arrived Pine aid station (mile 8.4) at 2:08, probably in about 15th place.

The next section was very enjoyable as we ran through forests on the rim in a place called Milk Ranch Point.  We were becoming much more spread out and I enjoyed the solitude of running alone in the cool trees about 7,500 feet.  I arrived at Dickerson aid station (mile 13.4) ahead of my pace schedule doing well.

Mogollon Rim

The next section involved a very technical long descent down to connect with the Highline trail (Zane Grey course.)   I discovered with all the technical descents I had run recently that my legs loved the rough trail and it wasn’t long before I passed several runners.  I was having a blast pushing the pace on the technical downhill.  My shoes, New Balance 1210’s seemed perfect for this course, with a good rock plate and some nice cushioning.  Hokas would not have worked well enough because of stability factors running on the constant rocky trails.

Looking good on a climb

By the time I arrived at Geronimo (mile 18.4), I had passed six runners, and arrived there at 4:14, about 45 minutes ahead of my planned pace for a 30-hour finish.   I was doing very well.  Next up was the trail I was very familiar with, the Highline Trail, a rugged, rocky trail that goes up and down constantly as it traverses across drainage areas below the rim high above.

The miles between aid stations in this race are generally long, normally between 7 and 10 miles.  This next section going to Washington Park includes a three-mile section of exposed burn-out area and it already was becoming very warm.  As expected, my two hand-held bottles were not enough, so I dipped them into a couple passing streams, deciding to take the chance rather than going into dehydration.  The water was cool and tasted amazing.

Arriving at Washington Park

I reached Washington Park (mile 27.1) at 7:12 to loud cheers and friendly greetings.  This was the race headquarters and I enjoyed talking some with the race director there.  He noticed dried blood that trickled down my arm and asked if I had fallen or was just getting too close to the nature.   It was the latter.  I since learned which nasty bushes to avoid bushing by. I must say that at every single aid station in this race were very helpful, kind, experienced volunteers.  At times it felt like I had my own crew there helping me cut down the time.

Trail heading up to the rim

Next up was a monster climb straight up to the rim along some power lines.   There were no runners to be seen either ahead or me or behind so I made the climb alone.  The final section was very steep (45 degrees) and very rugged but I enjoyed it and made it to the top, greeted by some radio guys.

Looking down at the steep trail

Once up, there was 4.5 miles of dirt road running to the next aid station.  The road went along the rim providing spectacular views.  I could look back or ahead nearly a mile, but could see no other runners.

View from the rim

I arrived at Houston Brothers (mile 34), a forested aid station on top of the rim, at 8:57, about 30 minutes ahead of my planned pace.  From there, I would run across the rim through the forest going up and down across little canyons.  After I climbed to the top of a ridge, it was finally time for a bathroom break in the trees.  My break was about ten minutes and finally a couple runners caught up to me.  But I now had plenty of energy and pushed on ahead.  At a road crossing were kind radio guys who took our numbers and pointed to the continuation point.  The course markings and volunteers at intersections made route-finding almost idiot proof.

The last three miles of this section was nice single-track downhill.  The guy behind me with trekking poles caught up, passed me going fast.  That woke me up and I started clocking 8-9 minute miles all the way to the next aid station.  I arrived at Pinchot (mile 41.2) at 11:00, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.  It was now 5:00 p.m. and the sun was getting low in the forest.

Next up was more rolling forest back to the huge power-line decent off the rim back to Washington Park.  First up was a dirt road section.  With the low sun, I pulled my hat down to keep it out of my eyes, but I totally missed a well-marked turn.  After a half mile I could not find any runner tracks in the road.  As I pulled out the course directions a crew car drove by.  They stopped and I asked if I was still on the course.  They explained that I should be on a trail to the west.  So back I went back and found the missed turn, wasting about ten minutes.    The sun soon went down and it quickly became cool up at 8,000 feet.   I took the steep descent off the rim pretty fast although my feet were now feeling pretty punished on the rugged, rocky sections.   I arrived at Washington Park (mile 50.9) at 13:25 about ten minutes ahead of schedule.  At this point I took a very long 30-minute break to change into my night clothes and get everything ready for a long night back on top of the rim.

Next up was one of the toughest sections for the course.  It was only 5.2 miles of Highline Trail to Hell’s Gate, but at this time of the year there is about two miles covered with thick three-foot grass.  It was impossible to run it.  Normally I would let my feet feel the trail, but the trail under the grass was loaded with big rocks and holes to trip over.  So it was slow going and that section took me 2.5 hours.  It was pretty well marked with reflectors but I would have to stop many times to look around and figure out where the trail went next.

I arrived on Hell’s Gate (mile 56.1) at 16:36, now a half hour behind schedule.  I didn’t plan for the very long stop at Washington Park.   I really looked forward to the next section, a very tough, rugged climb back up to the top of the rim.  It indeed was tough and at times required hands to steady myself on very steep sections.  But generally there were also switch-backs to help.  I was well ahead of the next runners and it was fun to flash my green light for them to see far below.  I could see many lights making their way up toward me, or back further on the Highline trail.

When I reached the top of the rim, the trail was marked kindly by true lights and I eventually was greeted by a nice radio guy who gave me water and commented that he had been tracking my green light down below for a couple hours.  He said it could be brightly seen down below.

It was much cooler on the Rim and I put on my jacket and made sure I stayed warm.  I put on some tunes to help me push the pace down a dirt road to the next aid station.  I arrived at Buck Springs (mile 63.8) at 19:20.  My times at the aid stations were increasing significantly as I was trying to eat plenty and warm up.  I was now more than an hour behind a 30-hour finishing schedule.

Going out of the aid station, the volunteers said to go up the trail about 75 feet and turn right on a single-track trail.   I went up the road but failed to find the trail.  I searched and searched.  I hit a red flag which means stop and turn around, but no good flags.  I went back to the station and they admitted that they had just arrived and were just relaying directions from those they had replaced.  So they went with me and we figured things out.  The big problem was that this turn had no reflectors or glow sticks.   The first flag seen was a red flag and later a good flag.  It was very confusing in the dark and wasted another ten minutes.

The next section was nearly all forest single-track with some significant climbs and descents across some little canyons.   It became significantly colder.  Thick frost formed at the low points and I put on a garbage bag to wear to keep me even warmer.   It worked for a little while, but soon I became chilled, then a hypothermic (drowsy), and finally what always happens to me in these cases, my stomach lacks blood-flow, gets stressed, and stops processing well.  So, things started to fall apart.   The faster I pushed the pace, the more I became cold because of a slight breeze.

Finally, I had to stop and take periodic cat naps.  It was warmer lying beside the trail.  Just shutting my eyes for a couple minutes made a huge difference.  It was a lonely time.  I made stops that probably totaled about 20 minutes, but even with that, no runners passed me.  I was having a rough time.  It took me about three hours to do this 8.2-mile section.  These night sections were just too far apart from aid stations.  A little before the aid station, I stopped at the historic cabin where a volunteer was camped.  He was there to give directions near a confusing intersection.  He was stoking his fire and I stayed a few minutes to warm up.   Finally a couple runners caught up from behind and we arrived again at Pinchot (mile 72) at 22:35.   I stayed by the fire for quite some time, trying to dash away the hypothermia.  My mood was somber.  The volunteers were quite concerned, but I assured them that I was going on and could recover from this low point.  It turns out they radioed ahead for the next checkpoint to watch out for me.

I continued on.  Some sections were bitter cold.  But as dawn arrived, the temperature quickly went up and as usual, my stomach recovered.  It was still very tender, but at least was processing again and I could once again run with speed.   I arrived again at Houston Brothers aid station (mile 79.2) at 25:34, now more than three hours behind my schedule.  I knew that my race was shot.  For the first time since my rookie ultra season, I became concerned about cut-offs.   I was still 1:30 ahead of the cut-off but I didn’t think that was much of a cushion if something else went wrong.  I heard the aid station guys comment that more people had dropped behind me and that now there were only three more still coming.  Wow, I was truly at the back of the pack.  What is funny is that while I lost about three hours, I wasn’t passed by anyone except for the two guys I was now leap-frogging with.  The back-of-the pack just disappeared one by one because of DNFs.

Now, with new energy, a beautiful morning, and great views at the rim edge, I really pushed the pace hard running the dirt roads and the huge descent off the rim back to Washington Park.   I passed three runners on the way, and gained a half hour on the cut-offs.   But my stay at Washington Park was again about a half hour as I prepared for the heat of the day.

I left Washington Park with the two guys I had been leap frogging with for the past eight hours.  I was confident that I could blast ahead, but within minutes, as the warm sun hit me, my body temperature went up and I felt really sick.   I knew it was early stages of heat exhaustion.  First the cold, now the heat.  This next 8.8-mile section would go through very hot and exposed sections.  What should I do?  I started to go VERY slowly.  The two guys disappeared ahead.  About a half mile out, I was still feeling terrible and worried about the hot miles ahead.  I stopped, looked back, and seriously considered turning back and DNFing at Washington Park.   It was the right thing to do.  However, I kept considering all the hard work I had put into at this point running 87 miles.  How could I quit now?   So I faced forward and hoped for the best.

I offered a silent prayer for help, and pushed on.  I reached a stream, soaked my hat and wetted my shirt.  I replaced my water bottle with cold stream water.   My pace was terribly slow, and I knew by the time I reached the next aid station, my cut-off cushion would be gone.  How could I DNF at mile 95? This was the most depressing moment of my race.

Something wonderful next happened.  A breeze was felt in my face.   Within minutes, the terrible sick feeling went away and energy reappeared and I felt cooled.  I tried to run.  It worked.   I continued to squirt myself with cool water and filled up again at the next stream.  I pushed the pace even more and very soon I could even run the uphills on the tough Highline trail.  Could I catch those two guys?  They were probably almost a mile ahead but I could try.  I kept looking for them around each corner but they didn’t appear.  At one point I thought I took a wrong turn, went back and ran into a female runner who I had passed on the rim.  She was doing well.  We ran together for a while but I knew I could run faster so I soon bid goodbye and started running up and down the trail like crazy.

I arrived back at Geronimo (mile 94.8) at 31:06 with less than an hour cushion on the cut-offs.  The two guys were still there.  I didn’t stay long, just ate quickly and refilled.  We all left together.  I had caught up.   As we made the two mile very rough dirt road trek to the Webber trail, a terrible deep blister had formed on my forefoot.   I decided that I needed to stop, see how bad it was, and clean the foot.  The guys disappeared ahead.   After I did the best I could for the foot, the girl runner had caught up. She went ahead and I kept her in my sights even as we began the terrible climb up Webber Trail to the top of the rim.  I looked forward to this climb but it was longer and steeper than expected.  The switch-backs were steep and never-ending.  I wish I would have counted how many there were.   Another woman runner appeared below and caught up to me.  She explained that there were two more runners behind.

I considered that it was quite possible that I would finish in last place. (DFL).  That would be pretty cool.  But I looked far down the mountain and could not see any more runners below.  The two women teamed up and ran the rest of the way together.   I was struggling, but ate more, and took yet another pain killer, and soon could push the pace again.

Finally we reached the top together.  We had reached the 100-mile mark at 33 hours.  But there was still six more miles to go.  It was all downhill, how hard could that be?   Well, it turned out to be by far the hardest section of the course.   The trail down the other side of the rim consisted of endless switch backs, but the trail was the most rugged, nasty loose rock section that I had ever run.   I considered that I would never even want to run this section in training.  The trail was narrow and nasty bushes pushed out into the trail that scratched up the legs and arms.

The final descent down the Donahue Trail

Despite this nastiness, my pace was good and I quickly caught up with the two guys.  We talked about how cruel this finish was.  I became angry about it.   I could not see the point of it.  First, it made the course more than 100 miles.  There were plenty of adjustments that could be made to make the course the standard 100.  Second, this finish is just cruel.  The terrible rocks started to rip away at any forming blisters.   As I finally saw the Pine trailhead come into view (our start point) something ripped in my forefoot deeply, the pain shot up like crazy, and I could hardly walk.   I stopped, took off the shoe and tried to consider what to do.  The guys caught up, talked to me, and then went on ahead.

My car was in sight, so I limped to my car, retrieved some tape and a thick clean sock, and went to work.  Once finished, it felt much better, keeping the deep blister in place.  As I started out for the two miles of pavement into town, the lady runners appeared.   We ran together for a little while, but I knew I could run faster and didn’t want to risk being DFL.   My pace was strong and I almost caught up to the guys.  But then the finish came with a few people left to cheer at the finish.   I crossed the line feeling good at 35:11, certainly my slowest 100-mile finish ever.

I was satisfied.  I could have quit many times.  I had faced some terrible lows, but kept going and came out of them.   How hard is Mogollon Monster 100?  For me, it was the toughest 100 I had ever run, not because of the 18,000 feet of climbs, but because of the terrible rugged nature of the trails.   I believe in ranking 100s, it is tougher than both Plain 100 and H.U.R.T 100.

Will I run this one again? That is very unlikely.  Two reasons:  The length needs to be fixed to be 100 miles.  Second, the finish seems unfair. But perhaps Jeremy wants this to be one of the toughest races ever.  He certainly has worked hard to make this a great, tough race.  The volunteers were numerous and amazing.  The course markings were pretty much idiot-proof this year, in fact too many markings.

Of the 47 starters, I came in 19th.  Amazing!  Only 23 finished.  So “buyer beware.”  If you sign up to run Mogollon Monster 100, prepare yourself for a tough adventure run, not a 100-mile race.  If you like rough challenges, this run may be for you.  I’m glad I did it once and actually did finish.  This was my 58th 100-mile finish.


2013-09-08 Fall Mountain Highway Madness (2)

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2013-09-08 Fall Mountain Highway Madness (1)

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2013-09-08 Fall Mountain Highway Madness (5)

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2013-09-08 Fall Mountain Highway Madness (3)

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2013-08-31 Go Home (29)

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