Allison and Allison

Road racing has always been a special part of my running career. When I plan my spring season, I usually go back and forth on the road or the track- I like to keep this sport interesting. There is a feeling I get when racing on the road… I feed off the positive energy the crowd gives me and its AMAZING! (I’m sure other road racers would agree) Sorry track but I think the road wins this race.

I was very fortunate to begin my 2015 campaign at the 3M Half Marathon two weeks ago and IN AUSTIN! Woo Woo! Although it was a very last minute decision- I trusted my gut and wanted to see what my body could do from a minor injury I had a few weeks prior. After a couple of days of rest and an immense amount of Anti-Gravity treadmill workouts (Thanks Steve), I was able to bounce back pretty quickly. I did my physical therapy exercises religiously and continued to stay positive to get me back on the ground. Patience is not my strong suit so this was extremely difficult. I’m SO glad I made the decision to race because I had the pleasure of running from start (almost to finish) with my former teammate, Allison Macsas. I could not have successfully accomplished this race without her by my side. With the friendly competition we had going on- we executed the race very well without even communicating to each other what we wanted to do beforehand. We simply raced and magic happened that day….We both achieved huge PRs in the half!

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Anne-other Update

by Anne Jones

Fall training this year has been going really well! A total 180° turn from last year, in fact. I began to associate cold weather and grass workouts with feeling like death after my iron-deficient stint of training last winter, but have been so pleasantly surprised lately with my fitness. Particularly because I am taking 21 hours of school and feel completely overwhelmed about 99% of the time. I have only been able to do one quality session per week and can only go to about half of the RogueAC practices due to class conflicts. But I have found that this may be what my body responds to best and is exactly what I need, both mentally and physically. I have always been afraid to back off from training, believing that I will get behind, but this semester has forced me to take two steps back in my approach and intensity. I am able to really focus on my one weekly workout and get more out of it than had I been trying to split my energy between two tough days, and can focus on school and recovery for the remainder of the week. In fact, I ran a low-key 5k in Houston two weeks ago (my first race since June) and ran 25 seconds faster than last year on the same course despite training only about half as much this year. Although this more relaxed approach obviously won’t and can’t last through track season, I think that coming out of this Fall fit, motivated, and healthy will really do a lot to help my track season.

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En route to the aforementioned PR

In other news, pharmacy school has been pushing me to my breaking point this semester, but, all things considered, is still going pretty well. I’m counting down the class days left, though (13!). Next semester I will have a much lighter class load, which is going to be great for traveling to meets and for focusing more on track. I will move to Houston next summer for one year of rotations then will graduate the following summer in 2016 (finally!). My fiancé Daniel is in medical school at UT Houston, so I am really excited to finally be with him and start our wedding planning (eee!).

I have one more race planned for the Fall (the Dallas Turkey Trot) and am so excited to get another good 5k effort in before I transition my training for track. I have never felt so strong coming out of Fall training and am more optimistic for this track season than I have been in years.

5×5: Life After Running

by Mia Behm

Many people wonder, what’s out there for us once our running careers are over. After surveying several candidates, one interviewee in particular stood out the most – Mark P. Feigen.

For those of you who don’t know Mark Feigen, he’s best known for being one of the tallest runners to partake in Columbia cross country and track and field, for his role in The Real Maine and for his World Record viewing of all 4 seasons of Game of Thrones in a mere 36 hours, 34 minutes, and 35 seconds (disbelief can be addressed with proof seen below).

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An achievement so great it brought time to a halt.

More important, though, is his recent muscle growth.

Since the completion of his running eligibility at Columbia, Mark has decided to hang up the spikes and pick up the iron, specifically via 5×5.

If you’re not familiar with 5×5 (or “StrongLifts”), there’s a good chance you’re not interested in getting “swoll.” Mark knows 5×5 and is obviously very interested in getting “swoll.”

Here’s a quick rundown of how 5×5 works:

You alternate between workout A and workout B completing 3 of 5 muscle exercises every day: Squat, bench, row, overhead press, and deadlift

A:  Squat, Bench, Row

B:  Squat, overhead press, deadlift

Each day you do 5 sets of 5 reps for each of the 3 exercises, 3 days a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

The goal is to start at a reasonably heavy weight for each exercise. Once you successfully complete all 5 sets for that exercise at your goal weight, the next time you do that exercise you will add 5 pounds (or 10 pounds for deadlift). This will ultimately lead to larger muscles and a more masculine frame.

A typical day in the life of an Austin-based, Columbia track and field alum.

A typical day in the life of an Austin-based, Columbia track and field alum.

When asking Mark why he chose 5×5, he had much to say regarding his new lifestyle and pursuit of happyness [sic]:

“As someone who has spent many years, going through countless workouts, injuries and comebacks in an effort to run faster on the track and seeing only marginal improvements at best, it’s a refreshing change of pace to be working at something (5×5) and feel like I am getting out as much or even more than I am putting in. Runners spend years trying to improve by seconds or even tenths or hundredths of seconds, but in less than 10 weeks of doing 5×5 I added hundreds of pounds to my squat, deadlift, etc. I won’t get into specific numbers because I don’t want to embarrass anyone (myself) but I am confident in saying that I am well on my way to being one of the stronger humans over 6 foot 2 inches to ever have come somewhat close to breaking 4 minutes in a mile relatively recently. Deep down, every man, and 50% of women, just want to be as ‘swoll’ as possible, and pushing the envelope in the weightroom until failure and also consuming 300+ grams of protein per day is the easiest way I can see to achieve that goal. There is currently a group of once-somewhat-elite-level track athletes from The University of Columbia in New York City who have rededicated themselves to pursuing ‘swollness’ at all costs. No one can be sure of how all of this will end, but it is surely an interesting development and worth following for some small subset of the general populous.”

So for those who worry about what will happen once they’re done logging miles, this study provides that that there is something to look forward to (at least for males), and that’s achieving a body representative of a very masculine build.

Joining Mark in the post-collegiate running, 5×5 scene are a few former teammates: Michael Weisbuch, Jeff Moriarty, Paul Corcoran, and Michael Murphy.

[In the event of full disclosure, Mark Feigen is the boyfriend of Mia Behm, the author of this blog].

Old-Man Strength

by Carl Stones

Benny and Me

Reunited with Andrew Benford at Scotty’s wedding.  Photo props go to Josh Baker at AzulOx

Today is our first full day in Eugene.  After picking up Carlos from the Portland airport we made the 2 hour drive south on I-5, which provided views of many tall haystacks for Carlos to “Ooooo” and “Ahhhh” over while taking photos with his phone.  Every couple minutes I’d hear him say something along the lines of “Look how high that one is!” and then snap a few more photos.  The drive was significantly less exciting for me, having gotten over my hay-bale craze nearly 20 years prior.  As we drew closer to Eugene and the haystacks lost their luster, Carlos began pointing at mountains and saying “Hey, why don’t you go run up that mountain over there, runner boy?”  I laughed, thinking about how far I was from being fit enough to run up a mountain.  But foreshadowing is a son-of-a-gun sometimes.   

As we sat around the Magee residence for the rehearsal dinner yesterday evening, sipping drinks and catching up with old and new friends, Scotty taps me on the shoulder and says “Hey, we’re running up a mountain tomorrow.  Want to join?”  I turn to look where he’s pointing to see a large, tree-covered mound rising prominently above the south-Eugene horizon.  Crap.  “Uh, yeah, sure,” I muster with as little confidence as is humanly possible.  It’s a painful reminder of my inability to say no to challenges of machismo, but it’s also Scott’s last run as a bachelor, and I don’t want to miss that.

It’s looking to be another warm August day in Eugene, but a warm day in Eugene is a cool day by Texas standards, so I’m not sweating it – pun intended.  After a short warm up and some strides – the first time I’ve done strides for an “easy” run, ever – I’m hanging out by an empty playground trying to look as un-creepy as is possible when you’re hanging out alone by a playground.  I hope I’m at the right trailhead.  My stomach is in knots and my heart is thumping in anticipation of the pain.  Scotty, [THE] Andrew Benford, and Eric Fernandez will be here soon, and then it will begin.    

After a month off for a sprained ankle, and another month off for a bad foot infection, today is my 8th run back.  Andrew unknowingly took me through the gauntlet on a 45 minute – my longest run yet – tour of Pre’s Trail yesterday, so I fear to even imagine what today will bring.  Scotty has been logging upwards of 120 miles a week in his marathon build, and Andrew and Eric now has several months of altitude training under their belts after moving to the rarified air of Flagstaff, Arizona.   But they all cower in the shadow of my cumulative 35 miles over the past 8 weeks.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself in a last-ditch effort to justify what I’m doing.  I’m trying to push these things out of my mind, but I can’t help but remember the last time I threw up on a run: Gunnison, Colorado, running up a mountain only two weeks back from a long injury.  Eerily similar settings, minus the altitude.

Scott, Eric, and Andrew are running from the Magee household to get a few extra miles in, so it shouldn’t be much longer before they arrive.  The Spencer Butte trailhead sits at the far southern end of Eugene at the corner of West Amazon Drive and Martin Street.  Once off the street and on the trail, the only way to go is up.  My nerves aren’t settling, but I have what I think is a good plan for the run: 28 minutes.  All I have to do is run up for 28 minutes.  It won’t be easy, but I’m fairly sure that I can make it at least that far.  No matter how spent I am at 28 minutes, the second half is all downhill and at the very least I can just roll back down.

A month after my foot infection and two months after my ankle sprain, I decided it was probably time to start jogging again.  Not because I missed it and was itching to get back – I still wanted nothing to do with running – but rather because in three weeks time I was set to be a counselor at a high school cross-country camp on the Oregon coast.  I knew I should show up being able to at least run a little bit because it would help the camp run smoother, but also because my ego wasn’t ready to be mercilessly pounded into the ground by a bunch of teenage kids.  More specifically, on the second to last day of the camp there is a 2,000 meter time trial on a trail up a hill, and I really had no intention of doing anything other than being the first to the top.  As far as a serious advancement in fitness, three weeks just isn’t going to cut it, and I knew that, but I also knew that the end goal had nothing to really do with fitness; at least not in the traditional sense.  Three weeks, though, might just be enough to spark a different kind of fitness: Old-Man Strength.

Cape Lookout Climb

The author pictured here dusting the field [of kids] at the inaugural Ultimook Running Camp

I realize here that it may sound as if I’m referring to myself as an old man, but I’m really not.  I’m getting younger by the day.  You see, Old-Man Strength has much less to do with age than its name would imply; it has to do with experience, and the knowledge that you posses a certain level of “umph” that you’ll never get rid of.  It’s why my dad, when I was 10 years old and practicing basketball all day every day, could still beat me in HORSE without touching a basketball for years.  It’s also probably why Doug Consiglio had such a good disk-golf record for so long, but that’s a story for another time.

Running, aside from sarcasm, is arguably the field that I’ve garnered the most experience in during my short time here on Earth.  I’ve been running competitively, for better or for worse, for the last 11 years, and having only just turned 25, that’s 44% of my life.  It really doesn’t matter how little I did during my two-month layoff, because two months can’t even begin to undo 11 years.  I just needed some time to find it, and what better place to do that than the mountains?  I gave myself three weeks, but in the end I really only needed 8 days.

I see them come around the bend in the road and know I have less than a minute before the run starts.  And here we go.  30 seconds gone.  I’m sucking wind, but I learned about this in physiology.  This is oxygen deficit, not oxygen debt.  That’s the increased heart rate and respiration associated with any significant increase in effort, and it shouldn’t last more than two minutes.  Just settle down and it’ll be better soon.  And it is.  We make a turn to a connector trail which provides a brief downhill respite before turning onto another trail that continues up.  And up.  And up.  The incline is starting to catch up with me and I start wondering how much time has gone by.  5 minutes?  7 minutes?  I check the watch.  11 minutes.  Nice!  I look around at the flora and fauna that engulfs us in an attempt to zone out a bit.  Alder, Douglas Fir, and the occasional Redwood trees tower high above the soft dirt floor, with all the space between owned by the fern.  It’s pretty, but it’s also short lived.  12 minutes.  Damn.  13 minutes.  Damn.  13:30. Stop looking at the damn watch!  14 minutes.  Damn.  

The next few minutes drag on, but soon enough we hit another trail intersection and pause a moment to make sure we take the right turn.  It’s just enough rest to get me a few more minutes.  We hang a right on the Ridgeline Trail and keep on heading up.  Now it’s past 20 minutes.  I’m pretty sure I can make it to 28 now.  Everything is burning, but just keep moving forward, no slowing down, one foot in front of the other.  Momentum is key here so don– oh no. Switchbacks.  This is unfortunate timing at best.  The trail steepens – trails only get steeper with switchbacks – as it begins its upward zigzag to God-knows-where.  I’ve long since passed the point of oxygen deficit and I’m well into oxygen debt.  There’s no denying that.  No physiology lectures can help me now.  25 minutes and we’re clear of the switchbacks, but the toll has been taken.  The grade hasn’t relented and the end is nowhere in sight.  The tall trees, once beautiful and majestic, now seem to be closing in on me as I suck in shorter and more desperate gasps of air.  Andrew, Eric, and Scotty continue on with their conversation as if the run hadn’t even started yet.  27 minutes.  This is it; the last minute.  Anybody can make it one minute.  27:20. C’mon, 40 seconds to go.  That’s like Devin’s 200 meter PR. 7:37. Oh no, not now.  Here it comes.  I gag and retch and cleanse myself of some bile as my body searches for the breakfast that I didn’t eat. The guys continue to glide further and further along up the trail.  All I can manage between dry heaves is to quickly yell “I’m finished!” gasp, “See you back at the house!” before dropping my head again and giving in to more coughing and heaving.  Not quite 28 minutes, but close enough.  Now I just have to go down and that’s not so bad. 

“Hey, Carl,” yells Scotty.  I lift my head to see Scotty standing a little ways up the trail, having run back a little ways. 

“Yeah?” I reply, wondering what he could possibly want right now.

“I don’t know if you care or not, but it’s really not that much further to the top.  It’s a nice view too!”

Damn you, Scott MacPherson.  I look up, not sure that I’m fully comprehending the situation correctly.  I’m spent, but can I really let myself quit this close?  Wait a minute.  This is Scotty.  What constitutes “not that much further?” That could be anywhere from 10 meters to another 4 miles.  Doesn’t matter, just finish the run. 

Up I go again, but I’ve lost contact as I slog toward the top.  29 minutes.  I’m dead, but still moving as the trees break, giving me a clear view of the top.  I do really hate life right now, but not as much as I hate Scotty.  Now it’s a part jog, part walk, part scramble up the rocks leading to the summit.  I can still hear the guys joking around with each other as they summit.  That jackass.  This is so much further than he let on.  Not too much farther for me now.  32 minutes.  Just a few more steps and, finally, I’m there.  I collapse to my hands and knees and then flip over to lie down for a moment.  Everything is burning and I just want to throw up more of the food that I never ate.

I realize that the guys, still standing and laughing, weren’t all that phased by the climb, but I don’t care.  And then I notice the view.  I hate to admit it, Scotty was right, so I probably won’t push him off the top.  With all of Eugene to the North, and a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks, I’m in awe and my hatred of Scotty quickly vanishes.  This is fantastic.  Take that, Carlos!

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Running up and over the clouds later in the summer

It took me 32 minutes to find what I was looking for.  The term Old-Man Strength had become a bit of a running (no pun intended this time) joke that I had with my friend Drew – the camp director that I would be working with – in the weeks leading up to the camp.  Immediately after arriving back to my car I texted him to let him know that the Old-Man Strength was there and we were good to go.  Just over a week later I was the first to crest the hill at camp – as I should be – but more surprising was that I bested my time from last year when I came in with several solid months of training under my belt, and significantly more fitness.  It definitely hurt more this year, though.

As things lie now, I’m just over 7 weeks into my recovery from reconstructive ankle surgery.  The boot is gone, I’m running on the unloaded treadmill, and I’m ready for the next step.  I’ve been on the bike, in the gym, and in the pool more than I care to think about, and I’m very fit as a result.  The running will come slowly, but with my new secret weapon by my side I’m confident about what’s to come.  If nothing else, my search for Old-Man Strength helped me enjoy running again and realize how important it is to me.  So here’s to whatever comes next.

Treadmill

Long legs and short shorts: the only way to live life

Tracktown

by Becca Friday

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Kristen trying to distract attention away from her mismatched socks

This past summer I skipped the Austin heat and had the opportunity to reconnect, run, and work stride-by-stride with my old teammate, Alexi Pappas, in Eugene, Oregon.

My senior year at UO, Alexi transferred from Dartmouth College to finish up her 5th year of eligibility while starting grad school. Alexi brought just the right kind of energy the women’s team needed.  She seemed to be the missing link that unified our team and allowed us to believe in our bold dreams.  She’d come storming into the Bowerman Building wide eyed, ready to take on whatever challenge was set up for practice that day.  She always seems to be carrying several bags and backpacks stuffed with goodies from whatever local grocery, several workout outfits, and actually I just really have no idea what she was always carrying around… Anyways, Alexi’s unapologetic, aggressive “WE-CAN-DO-IT” attitude spread like wildfire. Her athletic talent and dedication to running is equally matched to her relationship with creative writing and filmmaking.

When Alexi wasn’t working out her first year at UO (2012/2013) she could be spotted around town at varies coffee shops or posted up in the living room of our crappy college house off campus.  Head phones on, huddled over her lap top with a sea of peppers and notes, Alexi was hard at work crafting the screen play for her second feature film, Tracktown. After a year plus of writing, re-writing, and re-writing, Alexi and co-director Jeremy Teicher had created a complex, quirky world of the elite runner and Eugene local, Plum Marigold.  Alexi and Jeremy had asked me to play the role of Plum’s training partner and best friend, Whitney.  I believe in Alexi and Jeremy’s authentic vision for their art and admire their passion and relentless determination to complete their vision.  I said yes to the role having zero experience in front of the camera and no idea what I was getting into.  In May we spent a weekend filming the first scene at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward field, and completed the production late in August.

TRACKTOWN, the movie: A film about running to and running from.  Filmed on location in Eugene, OR.  Currently in post-production. The new independent film set in Eugene, OR.  Written & directed by Jeremy Teicher and Alexi Pappas.  Produced by Jay Smith and Laura Wagner.

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“When running for a movie, between takes, we do like this, see.” -Alexi Pappas

WHO is in Tracktown???

  • Andy Buckley, who played CEO David Wallace of Dunder Mifflin in “The Office,” plays Pappas’ father. Rachel Dratch of Saturday Night Live plays Pappas’ mother.
  • Olympian Nick Symmonds
  • Renee Baillie – Elite runner in Bend, OR
  • Recharge Recovery Sport lounge specialist
  • Kimber Mattox – Elite Runner and 2014 Warrior Dash World Champion

Also, Nick Symmonds announces the Launch of Run Gum™
 The track and field star introduces his new performance enhancing gum, the smarter caffeine kick for athletes.

 

My current Austin Hot spots for training and adventure:

-Rogue Running Store Downtown

-Sports Performance Physical Therapy…back-popping-toe-bench-pressing stuff

-Blenders and Bowls acai cafe DT

-Public library (you might also run into local street corner celebrity or Austin Bussing)

-Hycalon Coffee DT

-Boggy Creek Farm local veggies and produce!

-Fulmore middle school coaching with Marathon High.

-Biking around town lake sat morning making sure Marathon High the kids aren’t running all the way to the airport…

-Thrift-store sifting with Mary Goldkamp. Searching for the perfect rug that ties the room together.

-Yoga! Pure Austin gym, Wanderlust yoga studio

-Whole Foods (it’s so Damn convienent…)

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“You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!” -Davy Crockett

Favorite Austin location:

-My new front porch playing with the neighborhood pit-bull

A Tale of Twin Cities

by Jeff Sadler

It was a cool August evening in Ocean City. We had just finished dinner, and I made my way downstairs to get ready for bed. The windows were open, and the stars now seemed near enough to reach out and touch in all of their twinkling brilliance. A gentle breeze made its way across the room, dropping the temperature and bringing with it a scent of memories from past trips to the beach as a kid.

Bob, my employer from a newly-minted job opportunity, had invited me up to the Jersey Shore for the week prior to the US 20k Championships. This was both for work-related purposes and also as a short reprieve before I hopped on a train bound for New Haven, CT. I had come to know Bob as a friend through his son, with whom I ran and roomed at Baylor. Over the past several months, I’ve been grateful for his example of 1) how priorities should be shaped and 2) how to balance God’s many gifts and entrusted responsibilities. Rest had been no exception to his example, and I’m reminded that it is an action of humility, as if to say, “My energy and capabilities are limited, but You, O Lord, still sustain and restore me time and again.”

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The only Baylor flag in Ocean City.

My trip to the NE for the 20k Champs was definitely the more urgent item at hand, but the more important race would be the US Marathon Championships in a month. Thus, I had sent a brief email to an elite athlete recruiter for the host Twin Cities Marathon and received a reply informing me they would respond if they opened up the field, given my time was just above the qualifying standard. It was now Thursday, a week later, and restlessness was building.

I couldn’t help but have frustration from the past few years. Was this worth continuing? Amidst all of my chasing of the wind during recent months, I had come to the brink of calling it a career. My patience and motivation were waning as I thought back over the last 5 marathons that I had attempted to train for and compete in…injury, injury, injury, injury, cancelled due to weather. Was this going to be a disappointing sixth missed opportunity? Was I overlooking some clue here? Should I move on and focus solely on my post-running career? I decided to take a walk and left my phone on the bed. I couldn’t bother refreshing the email any more hoping for that blue dot and corresponding ding.

I stepped into the night and crossed the street barefoot to reach the sand. Most of the tourists and residents had long since made their way home, so the only conversation came from the waves. The moon was full tonight and provided subtle light and gravitational pull on creation below. I walked a bit down the coast, the occasional evening jogger and solitary seagull gliding by, trying to enjoy the evening and shift my perspective. We had flown down this same coast earlier in the day on a friend’s private plane. It was amazing the new insight that flight brought as to the ample activity transpiring around us…a boardwalk with thousands of people that had gone unnoticed, a Ferris wheel, and miles of marshland sprawling off into the horizon. Kind of like this moment and many times before where I’m so focused on the now and the me, that I forget to take into account where I’ve been, where I’m going, who’s involved, and the unseen pieces being orchestrated into place.

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Bay-side shot of the Jersey Shore, looking out into the Atlantic.

I turned around and ambled towards the house still pondering. Stepping across the threshold, I found a lone email in my inbox:

          “Congratulations!!!

          We are opening our field and will be able to provide you a comp entry into the US Men’s Championship field on Oct 5th in the Twin Cities.   I have attached a registration link along with directions. Please do this as soon as possible.

           Let me know if you have other questions.”

Hmmm…yeah, I’d say that’s a prime example. Praise God!

One month later – US Marathon Champs…

What is that sound?!!…oh yeah, my alarm. Reaching over, I slid my finger across the screen…5:00AM. I laid there a second, gathering my thoughts, before slowly making my way to the bathroom. Singlet and bib, shorts, and flats with timing chip lay off to the side – the white Rogue AC lettering contrasting nicely against the cool blue Adidas apparel in the ambient light. I had organized everything the night before, knowing that I wouldn’t want any unnecessary responsibility this morning.

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 One of the cooler kits I’ve worn – race-day blue!

I stuck my head underneath the sink, threw on some clothes, and made my way up to the hospitality suite. Many of the athletes were already bustling about…some stumbling around, others teeming with excitement like they had been awake for hours. Coffee, bagels, bananas, granola, yogurt, peanut butter, toast, oatmeal, and more were spread across multiple tables – every possible request on the morning of a marathon accommodated. I saw Dave and gave a quick, “Good morning” and “Thank you!” Not only had he accepted my entry into the field (email above), but yesterday, he had made it possible for me to have access to an elite aid station setup. Typically for this race, only the top 20 seeded athletes are allowed their own fluids throughout the race, and my bib read “41.” So, clearly this would have meant utilizing the cups of water and Gatorade handed out by volunteers if not for his suggestion to see if one of those top athletes had withdrawn.

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The bottles that went Rogue.

I walked back to the elevator, shoeless and with bagel and steaming cup of coffee in hand, turning my attention to the race. I had a few minutes to read and relax before gathering my stuff and heading down to catch the bus to the start line. The exhaust visible in the crisp air indicated to every onlooker that it was a chilly morning…good news!

Scotty was already on board, and I made my way back to an open seat next to him. We exchanged a few words before I put in some headphones and started thinking about what my coach, Steve Sisson, and I had talked about…conservative early, first 5 miles at 5:50 pace…then, no faster than 5:40 until the hill at mile 20…run the hill, time will most likely be 15-30 sec slower…then launch down the hill…resulting in a PR. The bus lurched forward as nerves stirred a bit and lyrics streamed truths into my head and heart.

After arriving and resting for half an hour in a hotel lobby across the square, Dave led the procession of athletes to the baggage drop area, adjacent to the starting line. I wondered what the average spectator or runner thought as we passed by…if they knew the thoughts that each of us carried. Did they see us as unapproachable with Adidas plastered over everything, or did they realize that I would relish having a genuine conversation with them? Scotty, Allison, and I had done a 10-minute warm-up and were now incorporating drills, stretching, and strides. A few minutes later, the national anthem, a last-minute bathroom break, and then game time!

The horn rung loud and true – piercing the morning chill with swift reassurance as runners poured across the line. I couldn’t help but smile as I settled in, confidently letting the first group go, and preparing myself for the effort to come. This race was the culmination and continuation of a great amount of growth that had stemmed from this latest stretch of the story.

A reassuring nod of encouragement came from Steve at mile 4 – very conservative as planned. Scott’s dad, mom, and wife were at mile 7…thumbs up – feeling good and starting to get into a rhythm. I grabbed a quick swig of water and PowerBar gel at mile 8. Dad and mom cheered on at mile 11…big smile…well, at least on the inside – starting to roll now. Guys are coming back, as I begin to reap the benefit of patiently waiting my turn. My aunt and two cousins wave and take pictures at mile 14…sub-5:30 pace now. Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm, Jeff. Lyrics from this morning, “It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise,” flood my mind. Deep breath, calm…focus.

Last gel at mile 17 as I pass a few runners…spectator yells out, “22, 23…Sadler (written on my bib), you’re #24! Catch those guys.” What…? My seed is 41. Don’t be overwhelmed, keep your cadence. Forget the seed times, they’re meaningless. Mile 20 came just before the hill – 5:16…oops, a little fast. Legs are fatiguing a bit, but I’ve come too far. Come on, Jeff, lift your head and keep picking guys off. Steve at mile 21… “This is it. You have to focus.” The pace is dropping off, but I recalled what Steve had said… “The pace will slow on the hill.” Don’t let go yet. More lyrics fill my mind: “I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.” Another wave of determination takes hold.

Jeff 5

Mile 14 – Photo cred to my cousin, Nicholas, and his brother, Christopher.

We finally crest the hill and I see St. Paul’s Cathedral – majestic and reverent with the sun beginning to peek around the historic dome rising above. There it is; the finish line…one quarter of a mile left straight downhill. My calves are shot; lights are starting to flicker…just…hold…on. The masses line both the left and right sides of the finishing stretch. The chute takes up the entire street, and I am nearly all alone…giving it a surreal atmosphere and magnifying the aura of a US Championship as confirmed by the banner in front of me now. This…this is the completion of so much more than just a race, more than just answering the question, “How did I get here?;” but a checkpoint to remind myself of Who this is all for and the purpose of this striving.

My body was spent in those last steps, as I struggled to stay on my feet. 2:25:58, :59, 2:26:00, :01. 2:26:01 for 26.2 miles, over a 3-minute PR. Deep breath. Volunteers rush to hold me up and walk me to the recovery tent. No matter how feeble I was in that moment, I had run with perseverance and finished with a full heart. I could rest, be still, and know that God is good. This is a race worth running.

A Weekend Away

by Kristen Findley

This past weekend the masses flooded into Austin to indulge in the ACL experience, which mostly consists of intoxicating your body with sunshine and alcohol, and your mind with music and maybe some drugs. I did it last year and apart from it being G-rated compared to Manchester’s Bonnaroo experience, it was decently enjoyable. This year, now that I am mature and all, I was not sorry to abandon the debauchery and take to the back country of Texas with my Rogue AC compadres for our team retreat.

Kristen 1

A $275 view of Downtown Austin

A weekend away from the ongoing stimulation and vehicle exhaust that Austin emanates seemed like a shoe-in for relaxation and a literal breath of fresh air, but there wasn’t too much relaxation between the 30 miles of running, the 6+ hours of emotionally charged discussion, the 8 meals, and the many rounds of some card game that involved no winner and some asses, some kissing, and some ass kissing, amongst other publicly humiliating events. Instead, there was something else that transpired, equally as needed, and in many ways similar to JT Sullivan’s recent transformation.

KFin 2

JT: Homeless bum to dashing young man!

Our team went from having its true feelings veiled by some amorphous unkempt obstruction to full expression, exposure, and embracement of who we really are underneath all that hair. Through defining and admitting our personal goals to ourselves and each other, and by elucidating how to shape the team to best reach those goals, we emerged from the depths of the back country feeling motivated, united, and more handsome than ever.

Kristen 2

Feet

I feel extremely lucky to have such a wonderful support system at Rogue and I’m feeling completely inspired for the next chapter of my running (which will involve calf and arm sleeves). I’ll be racing the Run for the Water 10 miler at the end of October, and the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving Day, so check out my twitter (kfinstotheleft) for results from those. In the meantime, I will be running lots (working up to 85 miles per week!), sleeping lots (a new commitment to myself for recovery purposes), and saving my spare $$ for a planned relapse to my festival days at Fun Fun Fun Fest (taking place in early November).

As always, PEACE, LOVE, and ROCK & ROLL ❤

KFin

This Week in Poetic Prose

by JT Sullivan

Hello World. Good to see you again. Welcome to the third installment of JT’s Blog. Seeing as how it has been probably 6 months since my last blog entry, I certainly have a lot I could tell you about.

For one, I could update you on my training and the state of my achilles injury – it’s going great by the way…very little pain and happy to be getting my ass kicked in workouts again. Thanks Pieter, Katie, Dr. Spears, Emily, Kip and Doug. It takes a village. Or maybe I could tell you about the new house I moved into, with my big room and king size bed. Or perhaps I could regale you with tales of the epic Eminem show I went to last weekend – check that one off the bucket list. He played every song you would have wanted to hear, minus Superman. I love that song. Or I could recount the amazing night of dancing/karaoke I had at Mary’s birthday party after the Eminem show –see my facebook page for a little taste. But all of that writing would be overly boring and long-winded. Instead I’ve decided to keep things short and sweet by utilizing my favorite poetic form, the limerick. And what better subject of these five lined rhymes than my Rogue AC male counterparts. Here we go.

 

There once was a boy named Jeffrey

Whose legs could run quite deftly

But for each mile he ran

He ate more and more bran

And too soon his bowels did empty

 

There once was a fellow named Ethan

Who apparently didn’t need to be breathin’

He could talk on and on

Even when all ears had gone

Whether or not there was reason

 

I once met this giant named Carl

A Greek god of a man, with a snarl

He had Herculean strength

And I knew if I came within length

My arms he surely would gnarl

 

There once was a young boy named Matt

Who I heard started dating a cat

I hope he knows what he’s doing

Felines need lots of wooing

I hope they don’t get in a spat

 

I heard about this guy they called Buss

He rarely ever made any fuss

He was so nice and gentle

And never judgmental

But man, that guy knew how to cuss

 

I once knew this guy nicknamed Hicks

Who sure loved taking his licks

And I don’t mean on lollipops,

Hard candy, or gummy drops

I think you all know I’m talking ‘bout…ice cream (duh!)

 

Greg was this guy we all met

I’m not sure he’s spoken just yet

With words he is frugal

A big number is googol

Rhyming with frugal is no sweat

 

A long way away there is Scotty

Who couldn’t race without going potty

No matter the pace

This was always the case

I think we’ll start calling him Squatty

 

David is another guy on the team

Though for a while he hasn’t been seen

Some think he’s a ghost

Though I know better than most

He’ll come back when Eli’s a teen

 

I guess I’ll also include Andrew

Who really knows what that guy is up to

He now lives in Flag

That must be a drag

A place where running is all that you do

 

There once was an old man named Chris

He hailed from Wales if I’m not remiss

Though he could run with the best

He was constantly stressed

For his prostate forbade him to piss

 

Devin was the name of this fellow

Whose manner was mild and mellow

He crunched all day long

But I guess he was doing it wrong

Because his belly still jiggled like jell-o

 

I hope you enjoyed all the limericks

Hopefully this will silence all of my critics

“Your blog is past due”

“Tell the people what you are up to”

Well here it is world, no cheap gimmicks

All Roads Lead to Rogue: a Love Story

by Cate Westenhover

Cate 3

Just under a year ago, in the throes of procrastination at the end of my last semester of grad school, I set up a profile on the online dating site OK Cupid. I got extremely lucky and the first guy I met ended up becoming my fiancé. In three weeks, Jake and I are getting married. I think it’s an incredibly romantic story even if my brother describes us meeting online and starting a serious relationship two weeks later as me “ordering a boyfriend off Amazon.”  Believe me, John; if I were capable of that, I’d have done it much sooner.

As much as OK Cupid played a role in Jake and me finding each other, we have Rogue, and our whole great pursuit of running, to thank as well. Sit yourselves down, and get ready to hear our cheesy but true story.

I’ve run almost my whole life – since I was 8 years old, running next to my mom because she said it was the PE Credit for my home schooling. I’d always hoped to fall in love with a guy who ran – how could anyone understand me if he didn’t get why I ran? But somehow it hadn’t happened, all through college, and after graduation I settled with the idea that I might have to date outside the running circles.

I joined OK Cupid to meet some diverse people, but when I saw on Jake’s profile that his ideal girl would “be able to run 5-10 miles at 7:30 pace,” I thought maybe I wouldn’t have to branch out too much. As dorky as that criteria is for a potential girlfriend, I didn’t mind it when it was applied to me.

In Jake’s first message to me on OK Cupid he casually dropped that he had run in college, but he now trained with a marathon group at Rogue. When we became friends on Facebook, I saw we had 12 mutual friends already. This was before I had started working at Rogue downtown or joined Rogue AC, but I had worked at Rogue the summer before so I knew a few great Rogues. All of this really mitigated the potentially creepy factor of our online meeting and first real-life meeting.

As the months passed, Jake and I kept realizing all the connections we’ve had through running even before we met. Of course there’s the shared understanding of what it is to be a runner and live the running lifestyle, but in addition to that we’ve been on adjacent roads for a while now. It was only a matter of time…

We both ran for our college teams (Jake at TCU, me at Baylor), and since we were in the same conference we had been at several of the same cross country and track races over the last few years. I had no idea who he was, but Jake claims to have recognized me at races as “that fast girl from Baylor.” What’s weirder is that we were at one of the same races before Jake had even moved to Texas. In 2008, both of our teams were at the Paul Short Invite a thousand miles from here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

It blows my mind that we were in the same place at the same time, again and again. There was Lehigh, the Baylor Twilight Invite, the TCU Invite, Big 12s, Regionals, the Austin Turkey Trot last fall, and then the Rogue connection last summer. There was the 7 at 7 social run which we both attended but on varying weeks, there was my boss who was one of Jake’s running buddies, there was the pub run downtown last summer that I went to but Jake skipped out on…We’re almost kind of mad that no one in Rogue tried to match-make us earlier.

Cate 2The couple that takes selfies on a run together stays together.

However, left to our own devices, our paths did cross eventually, and here we are today. Through training and working at Rogue, I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with Jake in our day-to-day busy lives. Last winter I got to see Jake finish his Saturday long runs back at the store when I was working. I got to train next to him this summer, hopping in his marathon group for base training. Now we get to see each other coming and going from practice. I get to see him sweating during the core class that goes on during my Monday night shift. My coworkers have started to joke that he’s at Rogue so often that he should start working there too.

The point is, we owe Rogue a lot of thanks for fostering our relationship and helping it grow. Our story is full of Rogue. And what’s cooler is that this fall, things are going full circle. In December, Jake and I plan to travel with our respective teams to compete in the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships. This year the race is on my birthday (holla! Turning 25), and it’s at Lehigh University, on the same course where Jake and I both stood together, unknowingly, over six years ago.

I’m glad the paths have finally synced up.

Marriage, Mountains, and the Manifestation of a Marathoner

by Scotty Mac

Scott

On Sunday [August 3rd] I got married, kissed my wife, did a dance, went to a cottage on the coast, consummated the damned thing, and got on an airplane (sans the Mrs.) to fly from Portland to Seattle to Los Angeles, and finally to Mammoth Lakes, California, all before Wednesday.

You see it all started a few months prior when I finished the Boston Marathon. Disappointed – I was in discourse with my coach, Steve Sisson – we pondered the future.  What was I capable of? What was my training missing? What would we do different?

We established two main objectives upon which to focus before I competed in my next marathon: one, run more mileage, and two, train at altitude.

I realized that out of the top 30 finishers at Boston, I was probably running the least amount of weekly mileage. I would later come to realize I was running even less than originally believed.

At altitude, sure, the physiological benefits would be good; however, for me it would be more about immersing myself in my training; totally shutting out the world and focusing mentally and physically on the task at hand.

I would go to the mountains and run, eat, sleep, run, eat, sleep etc. This would be my day-to-day for an extended period of time.

Steve said, “You need to be at altitude for at least four weeks, and then come down to sea level at least 4 weeks before your race.” A grand total of 8 weeks before my marathon, which of course, as Murphy would have it, meant leaving for altitude immediately after my wedding…

Luckily, I have who some suggest to be the coolest wife in the world. You see many women, for whatever reason, would not approve of their significant other departing after their wedding day to train in a remote mountain village for a mere footrace. My lady, though not excited, did understand, and was willing to make the sacrifice.

We compromised on 3 weeks at altitude, and I would leave 3 days after our wedding. 3 weeks is just about enough to receive minimal physiological benefits of altitude. Again, I was more concerned with focus and solidarity than the actual physical gain.

I chose Mammoth because it is home to a college teammate, and my agent. Also, the Mammoth Track Club is based there, and they were nice enough to let me tag along for a few weeks.

I had a superb time in Mammoth! It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and I have never seen so many trails in my life!!! Honestly hard to beat when it comes to training grounds. Picture perfect trails covered with pine needles, weaving through evergreen forests and running under clear cobalt skies. The air, although lacking oxygen, was clear, cool, and crisp.

The members of the Mammoth Track Club are not just talented athletes, but truly amazing people. I felt welcome from the second I landed to the moment I took off, and I made what I hope will be lifelong friends. I feel that as runners it is easy to bond with each other. When we run, we all go through a similar experience, emotionally and physically. As runners, we understand each other; we understand the sacrifice, the suffering and the reward. Whether you run a marathon in 2 hours or 6 hours, we are all the same, we are all runners.

Most of my time not running was spent in my apartment sleeping and eating. When your body is working that hard, all it wants is nutrition and rest. I tried to give it as much of that as possible. I would lay there in my bed, day and night, eyes closed, dreaming of victory as my heart fought against the thin air, ever so leisurely dropping into a state of repose.

That’s not to say I didn’t get out to see the village once or twice. I needed to get out every now and again in order to maintain what little sanity resides in my mind. Plus, I like booze… I can explicitly recall a brewery, a dance party at a Hawaiian themed bar, and three naked hippies in a hot spring… but that’s a story for another blog.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Before migrating to the mountains I had raised my mileage to average of 115 miles a week. This is something I should have done a long time ago. My aerobic strength is at an all time high!

What does a week of 120 miles look like? Well since you asked, here is (verbatim) a week from my training log complete with commentary on each day. This is what I send to Steve every week so he is up to date on my mileage and how I am feeling:

Sunday 7/6: 19.5 miles in 2:03

Felt okay. My back was sore to start. It loosened up. I felt heavy legged, not smooth at all.

Monday 7/7: AM- 12 miles PM- 6 miles

Ran slower in the morning. Kinda tired. Ran fast in the evening so I could get home for Dinner! Felt better in the evening! Worked in the shop all day. Tired.

Tuesday 7/8: AM- 9 miles PM- 8 miles

Felt pretty good today. Ran a little too fast this afternoon. But my back felt great.

Wednesday 7/9: 12 miles with 6 miles of fartlek alternating 30/60/90 secs.

Felt Awesome!

Thursday 7/10: AM- 12 mile trail run PM- 6 miles easy

Felt light on my feet and much smoother than I have recently. Even picked it up a few times. Nice to feel good with all this mileage. Also very happy with my mileage…Bout Time Huh Steve???

Friday 7/11: AM- 15 miles easy

Ran easy with Jo for a few miles and then finished easy with myself.

Saturday 7/12: AM- 14 miles PM- 6.5 miles

Felt okay, not my smoothest run, but not too shabby! Afternoon started sluggish and finished strong. Feeling confident about my next season of racing.

Week 11 total- 120 miles

I feel that the mental and physical edge I gained training at altitude, along with the increase in mileage I have run over the past 4 months will help me get much closer to my goals in the marathon. I am truly excited, albeit nervous for the next year and a half of my career.

I have taken a much more professional approach to my training this season and can’t wait to reap the rewards for my hard work.

On a serious note about my wife, our wedding was the most beautiful thing I have ever been a part of, and I had a blast every second of every day we were in Oregon for our nuptials. I am so happy Casey Jo agreed to marry me, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.

In a nutshell, I am the happiest man alive, and on my way to becoming one hell of a runner. Stay tuned for more rambling.

Love always,

Scotty Mac