Races Road Running

2019 in Review – December

2019 Gilbert 12Ks of Christmas

My final race of the year was the Gilbert 12Ks of Christmas, an annual tradition that goes back to 2012. I ran the 6K that year, and every year since then I have run the 12K. 2013 was my fastest 12K there, and every year since then has seen me go progressively slower. This year, I really wanted to reverse that trend, so I made beating last year’s time my one and only race goal. And I did it!

Races Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – November

2019 Ragnar Trail AZ

More races!

The first one was Ragnar Trail AZ, which—if you’ve read much of this blog (haha, nobody has)—you know is an event with a lot of history for me, and I love it. I fell out of love with paying the registration fees for it, though. For the last couple of years, I’ve told my Ragnar-running friends that I’m on their permanent reserve list. Happy to come out and help if someone on their teams isn’t able to make it and they need a substitute. I didn’t get that call until pretty late this year, and I thought it was going to be my first year missing it since 2014.

Hiking Races Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – October

San Tan 50k

October was a lot of fun. I did a long, hot, grindy 50k training run out at San Tan and then it was special events of some kind or other for the rest of the month.

Backpacking Races Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – March

Monument Valley 50k

The Monument Valley 50k was the race I was training for. Kris and I made a weekend trip of it, going to stay at The View Hotel in Monument Valley itself, and it was amazing. Just staggeringly beautiful. 

One of the awesome things about the race is that runners get to go through some areas that normally either require a guide to access, or they are completely off-limits to non-tribe members altogether.

Hiking Miscellany Races Trail Running

2019 in Review – January

For a lot of reasons, I haven’t been blogging much lately. Over the next few days, I’m going to do a bunch of mini-posts to catch up on some of the notable things I did in 2019. Enjoy!

San Tan Scramble Volunteering

I started the year by volunteering at the San Tan Scramble with my running club, the San Tan Trail Runners. It was my first time volunteering for a full shift at a race, and it was a lot of fun.

Races Trail Running

2018 Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100


It was 2014. Early that year, I ran my first half-marathon. Then, for the first time, I trained consistently with long runs through the summer. I started trail running. At group runs and races, I rubbed elbows with marathoners and… ultramarathoners? 

I had known of marathons for a long time, but ultramarathons were new to me. I had never even heard of people running 50 or 100 miles, and there I was, all of a sudden, meeting some of them. I was surprised at how normal they seemed. 

I finished my first Ragnar Trail, running my 15-mile share of the overall distance, and thought to myself, “I think I could probably do twice that, as part of an ultra team.”

And somewhere around that time, as I was stirring this soup of thoughts and ideas around in my brain, I stumbled across the movie “Finding Traction,” a documentary of Nikki Kimball’s attempt to set a new fastest known time traversing a 273-mile trail in the northeastern US. 

I was riveted. I had never seen anything like it. 

Over the course of her attempt, as I watched the miles and the days take their toll on her, something happened inside me that I have been utterly unable to explain to anyone who has asked why I do this. All I can say is that it happened. I watched her struggle through pain and fatigue and exhaustion, and her suffering called to me. I wanted to face something like that, to see how I would measure up against it.

That was how and when my dream to run a 100 mile race was born.

Races Trail Running

2018 Zane Grey 50: Analyzing My First DNF

This might read like a list of excuses, but that’s not what it’s meant to be. It also might read like some sort of extended self-flagellation, but that’s not what it’s meant to be, either. I made a lot of mistakes leading up to and during the race (only one of which was really out of my power to affect), so this is my post-race analysis of those mistakes, written with the intent of helping me to remember them so I don’t repeat them in the future.

For the record, I make mistakes in and around most of my races, but up until now I’ve managed to keep them from snowballing into a mess that takes me out. I just didn’t do that this time.

Races Trail Running

2016 Javelina Jundred 100k

I don’t know how I’m going to do another 20 miles.

I said more than that, but it seemed like that was where my pacer, Lisa, got worried and stopped listening. I was actually trying to be a little inspirational, leading with a complaint, but finishing with resolution. Instead, I shot wide of the mark and made her nervous about how I was feeling just as we were about to get going together. 

In fairness, being concerned about me was a totally justified response. I was a little over 41 miles into the Javelina Jundred 100K. It had been a long, hot day, and the sun had set two hours ago. I had come into the main aid station after two loops of the course, with one more to go, and that was where we were meeting up. Nobody told me at the time, but apparently I looked pretty rough.

I wasn’t feeling great. I had crossed the threshold of the longest distance I had ever done at mile 33 and had been moving into uncharted territory ever since. I was tired and surprised at how much my feet hurt, and how sore my lower back was. It seems dumb in retrospect, but I had thought that sore feet was a thing I’d just gotten over experiencing. I couldn’t remember the last time my feet hurt just from running on them.

I wasn’t looking forward to the next several hours.

Races Trail Running

All Day in the Desert: McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K

If you want to read about how I trained for the race, you can find it here.

Race Day

I showed up early on race day to see the 50 mile runners start. Partly because one of my friends from San Tan was running it, and partly because I just wanted to cheer for them as they started. As I get closer to committing myself to doing a 50-miler, the more I appreciate how badass each and every one of those people are. You better believe I’m going to cheer for them.

It was cold and windy early. Thanks to a really cold night at Ragnar, I’ve just given up completely on light jackets when I think there’s a chance it’s gonna feel real cold and have dug out my bulky coat, and that was what I walked around in for about an hour, any time I was outside of the warmth of my car. Shortly before the 50K start, I shucked off the warm stuff and headed over to the chute. My friend and Ragnar teammate, Francisco, was running the 50K too, so I wished him luck and headed to the back of the group to get ready to start.

Races Trail Running

Half as Many Going Twice as Far: Ragnar Trail Ultra 2015

Last weekend, I ran my second Ragnar Trail Relay! As before, it was on the trails out at McDowell Mountain Park.

I talk a lot about my first Ragnar Trail Relay—a lot of the posts on this site reference it in one way or another—but there’s a reason for that. It planted so many important seeds of my running present and future, it boggles my mind.

Here’s a brief list: