brazos bend state park

Time to step in front of the camera

Time to step in front of the camera

This might be the first time in a long time I have posted blogs in consecutive weeks so I am really happy to find the time to do so.

Last week I had the pleasure of having a dream come true by hiring a professional photographer to come and shoot aka follow me around for the week. I have really wanted someone to come and show off the trail running culture that is blooming here in Houston. I also wanted to get some shots of Brazos Bend, some trail racing pictures while we were at Cactus Rose and some personal pics for my wife/family.

Derrick Lytle is an immensely talented photographer/videographer from the west side of the US. I can tell you that I have always had this deep appreciation for photography. I can also tell you that I NEVER thought I could meet someone who spend an equal amount of time on his craft. Derrick flat our wore me out haha. Check his instagram for sick pics and his work.. http://instagram.com/derricklytle

brazos bend state park
brazos bend state park

So Derrick arrived Wednesday morning and without a glimpse he was landed and we were headed to Brazos Bend State Park. We say the park and Derrick was like I want to shoot here in the morning I was like cool the park opens at 8. He was like hmmmm how bout 5am. I immediately learned all about “lighting”. We headed home and took the above picture early that morning as Derrick shot. I wont lie I slept in the car after staying up till 2am doing the dream.

Soon after we spent that Wednesday night shooting the great memorial park with the Houston Area Trail Runners. It was a blast to see my friends get to have pro pictures taken of them. Its like being a celebrity for a few minutes. Thursday we were able to find some time to shoot at TEAM TROT member Cal Neff by our houses since we live so close together. Cal is such a strong runner and has been on the Canadian Mountain Team. He knew great spots and had a great base of understand pictures. We were able to get some truly epic shots of him running in Houston as well.

the goyens
the goyens

Thursday Night My wife and I had Derrick take some personal family photos of us. I realized this was not what Derrick does normally but he made an exception for us and did a photo session. As soon as it was over and we saw a few shots I was HOLY COW this was so amazing. Just today we received some of the shots and we are smiling from ear to ear what a great job he did for us.

We took some pictures thursday and then headed friday to Cactus Rose at Bandera Texas. This is a normal yearly HATR vacation to run the hill country. Derrick spent his time running up and down the mountains chasing runners, getting time lapse and video.

I finally was in my element. I was “hired” by Melinda to crew and pacer her the last loop. As the race was close to start I went and looked at the start. Among the first couple rows were 3 TEAM TROT members. I kind of just stood their and thought how proud I was to see our running series and our new TEAM all dawning singlets. I had mine under the shirt and I was like HELL YES…

Soon after the gun struck and it was time to work. I take crewing VERY seriously and I love it.. As the race moved I did a lot of running, icing down, grabbing gels etc. I also got to see so many familiar faces running the race. It was so much fun to see everyone as I havent really run any races in TExas since March. Like seeing family you havent seen in a while.

As the night started to come Melinda was hurting. I was set to pick her up at 75 but she was hurt at 50. I through on my shorty shorts and ripped off cover shirt. I was ready with my TROT singlet to rock and roll. A few miles down the road I saw Paul T headed our way and it really made me realize we were racing. I have the highest amount of admiration for Paul and seeing him run back towards us got me really excited. As Melinda and I headed out we both knew that there was a problem with Melinda. We kept slogging along and a few times I heard “hey man I loved your race in april” or ” cant wait to race your race in december”.. i was like holy crap this is cool.. I honestly forget that people know who I am or care who I am. I have always been taught that “make it hard to find the general by working like a soldier”… I focus on working hard in my life and anything i get more than a thank you is very special to me.

As our day ended with us dropping at 65 the night was fleeting. I woke up at 10am to the breakfast burrito party outside in the RV. I had missed all the finishers while pacing but was able to hear all the amazing stories. Lots of PRs, new mileage goals hit and cussing at all that sotol. Derrick got some great profile pictures of us all and we headed back to Houston on sunday evening,.

We through a small intimate get together Sunday night at our favorite tex mex spot in houston. It couldnt have gone any better. Just sitting around a table laughing, learning about each other and enjoying great people. The time spend at the table was truly beautiful.

As we headed home Derrick asked if we could shoot downtown in the morning. I was like your flight leaves at 12pm.. He asked be in downtown by daylight.. Remember when I told you that I was tired… Derrick is a BEAST at his craft. I can tell you that I have maybe found my equal in regards to someone that lives his dream 100%. If derrick wasnt taking pics or vids he was editing. When he wasnt editing he was running. When he wasnt running he was sleeping. This guy was a pleasure to see work. So there we are 5am on top of a parking garage looking over Minute Maid Downtown…

As Derrick flew out my nerves flew in. I knew it was only a matter of time before they happened. Watching all of these AMAZING runners at Cactus had me really anxious about Javelina Jundred. Today like the last 2 has been me trying to stay busy.

I have worked for Ultrasportslive.tv for the past i think 6 months. I have seen all these amazing people finish western states, flagstaff sky race, the rut and many others. But I have never been on the other side of that camera. I have never been the one racing in a 100 miler and having everyone watch me.

Most people know I have a funky knee so the other day someone said what about the knee? I said to them quite confidentially well the knee is weak but my mind is strong.

I remember when I was in the middle of the snowdrop race. I was like in 3rd place or something just running and i hit a quick patch of low. I told Jose my problems and my knee was hurting. He told me thats great you have 2 knees keep running. I immediately snapped out of it and got those 106 miles done.

Javelina Jundred has always been my race since I attended Western States this year. It has always been on my mind to get my bid their and the absolute pleasure to go to WS100 at some point in my life.

So tomorrow morning I drive off. Solo Road Tripping to Fountain Hills, Arizona. No crew, no pacer. I will arrive with the USL.tv crew their to film but I wont be working.  This is the last trip for a few months for me and I am focused more than ever.

I draw inspiration for those who inspire me. I have always told people that I am open and honest because I have no choice. At times I love it and at times it bites me in the ass.  But either way its honest.

I witnessed true inspirational efforts at Cactus Rose this past weekend. Julie K, Matt Z, Ace G and my own HATR group including the SOTOL STOMPERS really showed me what the love of the trails is all about. I will think of them and probably many of you when I see the start of the Javelina Jundred on Saturday morning.

You can watch me live at ultrasportslive.tv  interviewing for the beer mile on friday and also on race day running

and you can follow my lap splits on http://www.aravaiparunning.com/ultracast-results/

i am bib 236 and ill be giving it all i have.

rob

 

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The most valuable gift is experience

The most valuable gift is experience

I always find myself reading my last blog every time before I write another. As a way to find what I was thinking, feeling and experiencing at that time.

Over the past few months life has really changed for me and us as a family. We are on the go go go all the time and when i see friends I get the ole tell me about your adventures talk. It is always fun to share with people the travels of the world although tiring at times.

Once Rachel came home from Asia we had decided to combine 2 obligations with seeing our best friends in Colorado. We decided on driving to do all of this to save money, enjoy the states and to bring the pups.. Apparently dog sitting is the most lucrative business in the world….

We headed up to Odessa where our son Wesley lives to get a day with him and to see the Odessa College. My great grandfather founded the college and it was a wonderful experience to go and see his pictures and to see him on the wall. For some reason this act of seeing all of this really made me wonder about what it meant to have a servant’s heart.

I dont want to sound all crazy but lets just say I was in a situation of mental clarity. It was like I was figuring out a problem in my mind that was all the sudden clear. I can remember thinking that me seeing him on the wall was a very clear picture to me on how I treat Race Directing.

We had the opportunity to head to Flagstaff and I was working for Ultrasportslive.tv and we covered the Flagstaff Sky Race. It was also my first time being the “on air talent:”.. I relished the opportunity to interview the athletes, the race directors and runners. I love trail racing and I really like having fun with people while we talk about this great sport we participate in. Rachel and I both had the opportunity the next day to race. Rachel did her first trail 5k and I did the Vertical K (of death).. We enjoyed the races and really enjoyed flagstaff. While in flagstaff though we were able to spend time with Josh Pauley and his wife Mary. They invited us over to eat and it was such a kind gesture as we were in town. Josh and I have been friends since he started running back in February around Houston and I have always been a fan of him and his running. We also had a great chance to hang out with much of the USL.tv crew it is always such a pleasure to be in the company of awesome people that you work with.

As we booked out of Flagstaff we got in a late run Sunday evening on the 39k course. We let the dogs off the leash and really relished the opportunity to get back on the mountain a bit more. We long hauled it to Colorado. We spend the next few days loving on the Poole’s. We had not seen them since they moved 5 months back and just being in their home was such a wonderful place. We of course got to see Evan Kees Poole who is our God Son and he was growing up so big.. It was the best 4 days as we literally just hung out and shared the love of the Poole Household.

As fast as we came we shipped back out. The final stop on the adventure road tour was something special. Dave James and I developed a friendship after Rocky Raccoon this year and for some reason I really liked Dave. He came to Brazos Bend 50 and really helped us out and he told me about the Old Glory Coast to Coast back then. As soon as he told me we picked a day in Kansas to get up there and do our part.

I was so elated to see Dave James, Amy and MIKE MORTON that morning… I knew we were short handed but when you have these great runners than your ahead of the ball. It was so amazing to just run down this flat highway, carrying Old Glory and running. The people honking, cheering and giving you the thumbs up… I felt very American that day. I am not a veteran but I was so very proud to be rocking the eagle and running with the flag. It was really special to Rachel and I to get presented a flag afterwards from Dave. We are looking forward to flying it at the Brazos Bend 100..

As we came home life is on warp speed. We arrived back home on a monday and by thursday I was back out the door to Ragnar in the hill country.

As I got there I tried to remained open to the experience of the event. I am always business minded and had a lot on my mind heading up there. But once there I took my post as tractor driver all of thursday night and friday morning. I had a good time being sarcastic, cracking jokes and meeting people. I love messing with people and giving them a hard time along the way.

But I was given a gift at Ragnar. I was given the gift of experience. For some reason weeks leading up to the event I kept telling people I didnt want to run. I dont know how many times on facebook I had written i was open to running and deleting it. But something told me that I need to just sit back and help. To be a servant in this situation. I had some of the best conversations with strangers, friends and new runners that I have ever had at an event.

I took every opportunity to just talk to people about running, race directing and travels. Spending time with my own team the HATR GATORS was so refreshing to me. You have to realize at some point that the conversations you have with people are so meaningful if you are listening.  As I listened, volunteered and coached our team I realized that this was why I didnt ever run. The experience for me of just watching, listening and loving was exactly what I needed.

I left Ragnar and made a pit stop at my moms house. I was really happy just to see my moms and hang out for a bit.  I always enjoy just the great conversations I have with such wonderful, talented and smart women. I am blessed to have such a supportive family with my moms.

I had committed myself to volunteering for the Run the Hill Country Marathon with Brad and Josue. I didnt sleep that night at my moms as I was trying to play catch up on race stuff. I crept out of the house at around 3am and headed to marble falls. As Brad and Josue showed up I found myself in the parking lot setting my alarm every 15 min as I kept dosing off. I ended up waking up and getting my assignment to head to an aid station. Got my swag, some breakfast and off I went.

Upon arriving at the aid station I found a joyous group that immediately started telling jokes and laughing. We had such a fun group and I really enjoyed watching the runners and meeting all of the folks at the aid station that day. I cut out a bit early but honestly i was asleep on my feet.

The clock said 3 hours to the door of my house but with my 6 stops for napping, waking up or just resting it would take longer than expected.  I was pretty worn out from the 4 days of just grinding it out.

As the fog cleared Monday morning I was back on the grind. I drove 2 hours to Beaumont to meet with the Golden Triangle Strutters and run with them. What a fantastic group of runners they have and I was delighted to give away an entry and meet their group. I headed home about 7:30 getting home around 9:30…

Its been a crazy few days but worth every second to me. I have MADE the opportunities to experience some really amazing people lately. I find myself really yearning to hear peoples story, to share mine and connect through our travels.

As I write this its 1:15am and I probably have the craziest schedule for the next 4 weeks. My beautiful bride this morning told me she was concerned for my health as I have been going on little to no sleep and grinding for weeks. I love that she cares about me in that way but I have always been this way. I dont believe in fate as life has show me the only way to be successful is to earn it all.

As I grow as a person and as a race director i see that experience is the most valuable gift than I can receive. From the small conversations, to large group talks to a random text from a stranger.

Experience is wisdom and I happy to be recipient of the gift.

 

 

robvertk

Leaps of Faith

Leaps of Faith

After getting home from Mount Saint Helens 50k there was this panic among me as I hit the runway. I knew that I had 2 days at home and then back up in the air to Montana. Over the next few days I kept questioning everything that I had planned out. Why was I leaving again? Why am I having surgery? Why did I schedule back to back trips?

Rachel at the time was about 4 weeks on her trip to SE Asia and just getting a text from her or getting to facetime for 10 min meant the world to me. A couple of times I kind of laid it on her with the stress of the house but I quickly realized that I would have to grin and bear the course I was on. I couldnt change that she was so far away and I couldnt but that burden on her either.

As the plane soared me to Montana I began to finish a book called Relentless by Tim Grover. He was the personal coach to Michael Jordan through the years. As I read and finished the book it really gave me the insight that I was looking for with some clarity. I made the decision once again to cancel knee surgery as soon as I got back home. As much as I realize that I need knee surgery I also need to be able to move right now not only for myself but for the business. I have parks to finalize, races to gps and I cant rely on others to do my work.

As we hit Montana I felt clear in my mind. I was working for USL.tv so we all gathered that night at the lodge that we were in. It was very nice and Montana was cold as all get out. That morning I had the chance to run the Vertical K at Big Sky Resort in Montana up Lone peak. So 10k feet in the air, 22 degrees, 3700′ of climbing in 3.2 miles… I could taste blood in my mouth the whole time and all i could hear was me breathing… Holy crap was this an adventure I thought as I was going up. I can say that I have never wished for a finish like this one.

It was an amazing feeling to conquer the Vertical K which was a race that I had been dreaming about doing for years. I think i finished right over mid pack which on 5 days of rest after Volcanik 50k and it being at altitude was fine by me. I spend the rest of the weekend covering the Rut with USL.tv and the last day I spend by myself climbing some mountains in montana.

For the past few weeks life has been dragging on. The days waiting for Rachel to get home have been exhausting. I have been honestly in a good little funk that has just had me moving at a different speed. I never let myself get stagnant but I know when my fire isnt burning all that hot. As the days got closer I kept pressing on. Just pushing to get things done for the race, started to hire my coach again and really just put things back in place.

I call this time auto pilot. Its very much in an ultra when you have a 20-30 mile stretch where nothing is too bad but it just kind of sucks. You are going through the motions but there isnt much emotion. I was right there just pressing on daily. As the time Rachel started to come home the hard work started to pay off.

Over the next 10 days my business has had opportunities and even today.  Some of the opportunities are ones that I created, others are ones that I saw that I couldnt pass up, one is a for childhood obesity awareness and the other was when you treat people right along the way. As my wife flew in and we spent time together I reminded her to stop me from taking on too much more. With our schedule booked till the end of the year I have to start scaling back extra items so that I can hone in on the Brazos Bend 100 and beginning of next year. It is truly hard for me to pass up on anything that I think is worthwhile no matter the cost. I mean its 12am as I write this blog haha.

But these leaps of faith that I am now taking on arent blind. These are leaps that I have to be 100% in to make. From hiring a coach, to signing up for some 100s, to advertising, donating to charities or buying pieces to a business you have to take those leaps but you also have to be willing to fail.

I started a golf ball business when i was 5 years old. Is the truth. Most people at 5 are thinking of kickball or playing with GI Joes. I started by diving in the golf course lake where golfers hit their balls and retrieving them. I went to the pro shop on my bike and saw the prices for balls and then started selling them on the weekends.

My dad was furious that I was in that lake because it was nasty. So with my first weekend I bought a wetsuit. He told me that I couldnt dive in the lake there was a fine. With my 2nd week I set a side a fine fund.

My the 3rd week I was selling golf balls on my parents back yard. I would sit all day sat and all day sunday. As I learned the golfers I also learned what they wanted. I started offering club cleaning on the spot for a bag of clubs.. I started to sort the balls and separate them into different costs as the balls were a better quality. Soon after this I would also leave a cooler with water next my station so that I would get more traffic to and from where i was sitting.

And then I discovered recycling and I would ride all 18 holes sat and sunday after the last golfers every weekend. Once a month my mom would take me to Julius metals in stafford to dump my cans. I would pay my mom gas money to do do and I kept it all in a ledger.

By the time i was 6 years old I can remember making anywhere between 100-400 weekend depending on traffic.  My parents never gave me money after I was 6 years old.. Not for school lunches, not for clothes and not for my first car.

Those things I earned though hard work, determination and leaps of faith. I knew that if I listened to my customers, worked hard and was smart that I would be successful.

I am beyond excited over the next 3 months. The thoughts of spending time with fellow runners, friends and family in the trails will be the finest hours. To launch new ideas, new races and new opportunities for others is what makes race directing for me full circle.

I wanted to become a race director because I wanted to give people what trail racing gave me. It gave me hope, it gave me a sense of pride and it made me feel confident as a person. These attributes have changed my life forever and I wanted people in my city of Houston to get those chances.

So people lately have asked me how to you chase your dream everyday.. The answer is below.

«What would you have to sacrifice to have what you really want? Your social life? Relationships? Credit cards? Free time? Sleep? Now answer this question: What are you willing to sacrifice? If those two lists don’t match up, you don’t want it badly enough.» (relentless Tim Grover)

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LEARNING TO SUFFER BETTER

LEARNING TO SUFFER BETTER

At times I have ignored the signs. I have put my head down and walked past the arrows that would lead me in the right direction. Some people say its hard headed and some say you have to learn first. But the struggle and the suffering for me has made all of the difference over the past few months.

For the past 9 months I have failed at running. As quoted by many I am the DNF King… The title is relevant if you look at the track record. I think i have quit/stopped everything I have done over the past 9 months. From bandera, rocky, grasslands, pandoras, 2 unsupported LHST attempts… But i never gave up. I realized there was a flaw in my mechanics. But there was also a flaw in my mind.

The constant failings weighed on my mind like most. Instead of sitting back in the trench I listed to people that I admired in the sport and started changing the way i trained. Less mileage, more vert. More strength, less speed. Through the pain, the suffering and the time i grew stronger. My mental capacity for suffering became better and my legs got stronger. Not faster but able to push without stopping further, steeper and quicker.

The Volcanic 50 was a reminder of why I love to run. All i did was run my race. I walked the flats, shuffled easy the dowhills and bombed the uphills. Every step up the mountain I knew I was walking people down. Although not at 100% i am as competitive as ever in regards to pushing myself and racing when its race day. As we headed to the back half of the course I slowly but surely starting reeling people in. One by one I passed them as I hiked up the mountains. With a little over 4 miles left we hit a 2 mile stretch of uphill climbs, boulder fields and just gnarly crap. I thought to myself Rob here is your chance to just lay it out and the last 2 pure suffering. Over the next 2 miles I probably past 8 people that were taking it easy on the boulders, just trying to survive or exhausted. I was focused, fueled and ready to push harder. As I hit the 2mile mark I knew it was downhill from there on out. All i had to do was suffer till the end. With a runner right behind me who was pushing the pace all day with me I let the cord rip. As I ran I kept tabs on the runner behind me and she stayed about 20ft behind me. I kept thinking in my mind that I wished she would stop or pass me since the pace was hurting. With 1 mile to go we passed 3 people walking it in and I thought to myself if Jeremy was right behind me what would I do right now.

With that visual in my mind I dropped the gear and continued to push hard. I kept telling myself that you need to suffer till the end of this race. That I would regret it if i let someone come from behind at this moment. As the time slowed down, each passing stride my quads burning I just kept running. At about a .5 mile i started dry heaving and looked back to see no one behind me. I kept the pace hard and heard the cowbell with about .1 to do.The last few steps I remember thinking holy shit… we finally finished a race.. As I finished the race I kind of just walked around and saw Mark G… I remember yelling Mark whats up man.. His surprised look was priceless and he told me that he didnt expect me to come in. When I heard that he finished 16 min in front of me normally I would try and figure out why i spent time chatting at aid stations, having fun on the trails or just generally taking it easy on the course.. That ego driven mode is what had helped me to DNF most of the year.

The only thing that I have learned more than anything else over the past few months is to listen to what I need. Although others have persuaded me, criticized me and doubted i remain committed to the dreams in which i have. These past few weeks where the greatest running days i feel in my life. Maybe it was the time off I have had, the people, the beauty and the volcanoes. All i know is I fell in love with running again day after day. I couldnt figure out why I was having so much fun running and playing in the mountains. My mind moved from ego, competitive, all or nothing to enjoying the journey, welcoming the breaks and expecting not to finish 1st.

Today as I vigorously tried to make the schedule fit over the next 5 months I realized the truth. It dosent fit. My dreams will require more work than I can give commit to. With one facetime with my wife the changes are made. I am looking forward to the work, the time and the dreams becoming a reality. my knee can wait.

This year has been my year of growth as a person, a runner and a friend. Much has changed in my outlook in life, love and running in general.

My time spent in Oregon/Washington was amazing and far beyond my comprehension. I think I want to start blogging again and I think i will tell some of the stories from these trips along the way. Its impossible for me to do so in one blog..

Im happy to be happy. Im grateful for the experience and I am thankful for the journey.

lone star hiking trail

Resting, Recovering and Re Adjusting

Resting, Recovering and Re Adjusting

I would never began to complain about my life. I have chosen every path that i exist on today. I have always been someone who was confident enough to be own my own in the world. I have found that the saying of Why have a Plan B in life if it deviates from Plan A.

With that being said much has changed from the Lone Star Hike that put me in places mentally that I have never been in. I was very happy at least 3x times bringing myself back from the depths but at the same time intensely  hungry for the victory. As I nervously write this I have never wanted to finish something more than this.

As the LSHT past me we were set to go to vacation to the Keys. My wife, son, mom and aunt fly into the Florida Keys to see my Aunt who is a local there. We had a great time snorkeling, paddleboarding, seeing manatees and enjoying the time there.

Once back a 1-2 punch to my heart. My son left Saturday Am back to his house and his school. My wife left with her brother to SE Asis for 6-8 weeks. Letting my wife go on the place was a very similar experience to waiting for her to come down that aisle.

I remember the sun on my face that day we got married. I remember feeling my chest tighten as I stood up in front of our family and friends. I remember being so nervous and so anxious. As the car ride to the airport we spent our last few moments together. We took a picture and I kissed her good bye.

It an instant everything changed. I visited with my wifes parents and came home. The dogs laid at the doors waiting for mom to come home. I couldnt fall asleep watching plane flight statuses till 2am. The next day the power of technology brought us together in facetime. I was so overjoyed to see my beautiful bride although thousands of miles away.

As Rachel chases the rainbows so do I. Never stop exploring is a phrase that I resonates in me this year. I have a notepad full of ideas for races, things to do and life in general.

I was asked the other day what I did for a living. I uttered LIVE before I could think of anything else. The man laughed and said ” No Really”. I said thats what I do, I try and chase every rainbow I can. He smiled and said that sounds like fun.

Everyday I wake up and the list is still there. I move things, i do things but its never work. The emails, maps, questions, thoughts are all the things that I could ask for.

I decided in this process to give up knee surgery. It would normally seem to be me procrastinating again on this but quite the opposite. With us trying to finalize races for 2015 i need to be able to move.. I need to me able to go to parks, run some races and honestly i want to run snowdrop again. The thought of showing up with a band aid on my knee is too much for me. With any decision comes more after. As i decided not to have surgery i decided to run 2 events haha.

So I am back here again preparing to run Lone Star Hiking Trail unsupported. 96 miles of overgrown, hot as fk, jungle in august in texas. As i went out to drop water monday for the race as the streams are dry (which is what did me in last time) i didnt really realize how effing big this trail was. Took me 4 hours to drop 9 waters and everytime I was headed down some forest service road for miles.

I am happy to get the chance to do it again. I have been lifting really heavy as of late so i feel strong, my legs are good and i am better prepared than before. More water, more planning and ive seen the whole trail now so I know what to expect.

My buddy mark told me that I couldnt keep it a secret that he was coming with me even though he wasnt there. It was very nice of him to say that and it really helped me mentally realize that this is more than just a hike. This is a really neat way to explore the earth and show people this awesome, gnarly, beast of a trail.

So i am headed out tomorrow to start the trail. I look forward to seeing Jose when he drops me off. And when I finish.

And when people say that its okay not to do it all. They are liars.

Quitting shit hurts your soul if you truly care about it.

 

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Welcome to the Jungle that is the Lone Star Hiking Trail..

Welcome to the Jungle that is the Lone Star Hiking Trail..

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Welcome to the jungle
We’ve got fun ‘n’ games
We got everything you want
Honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey
We got your disease

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
knees, knees
I wanna watch you bleed..

I had this really great blog planned to tell you all about this journey i had. Then in an instant the feelings were drained.

Thank you for those of you who supported me on the journey. It was an experience I will never forget.

Live, Learn and Never Stop Exploring.

HATR

There is no tomorrow. My Lone Star Hiking Trail FKT preview

You know this blog will be my most personal i have written. For those who read this I will do my best to convey to you my thoughts, how I feel and just how much this means to me.

You know back in 12/31/2014 i had the opportunity to run for Kees Poole our sweet God son that passed due to pediatric cancer. I ran that day for him and in honor with the Snowdrop Foundation. I till this day have never ran that well.

Shortly after that race I fell into a trap. I fell into an hole of ego. I felt like I had to prove to everybody something and I didnt. I left that race and I let my weakness and insecurities win. I decided shortly after to run bandera and rocky raccoon 100. With my wifes miscarriage on my mind i toed the line both times.

But you the truth is the weaker man showed up those days. What i did was put myself before others. I asked friends, family and loved ones to believe in me, to trust in me and to give their time for me when I wasnt willing to do the same for myself. I took these people and their time for granted.

Shortly after this happened my relationships began to crumble with friends. I finally had to realize that my knee was too bad to keep this up. I realized that my time was up to keep running. This was the most humbling experience that I had to deal with. Over the next few months i battled back and forth with those friends to show them that I did care, that I was wrong and I was sorry.

Over the last 4 months my life has changed beyond anything I could have imagined.  The last 4 months closed and opened another chapter in my life.

Soon after March I decided to get an MRI to know the truth. I have always had problems with my right knee from being obese and already had surgery. As the MRI results came back it was as bad as it gets. The truth of my knee is that I have no functioning meniscus, i have worn through my cartilage and i have bone spurs as well. The surgeon recommends knee replacement if i was older. Its a strange thing to realize that you started running 2 years ago and that I have never run without pain. I often thing i wonder what it feels like to run and never hurt.. Must be nice.. Well my only other option is oats surgery, cartilage insertion, (stem cells if my insurance will cover it), and some bone spur removal… that and 6 weeks of no walking.. Surgery is set for sept 20th btw..

The knee diagnosis didnt really surprise me as my knee is a mixed bad of hot magma and swelling anyways. I started to seek other things i could do since running was a no go.

As march passed Brazos Bend 50 came up in april. I started to watch John Sharp and what he did online. I started to really dig all this vertical stuff and my love for the mountains and climbing really set in. I began to start to do climbing specific training rather than running. Hard climbing, fast walking and weighted packs.. As Brazos Bend 50 came to fruition it was the shot in the arm for me and for my family.

I came away from Brazos Bend 50 changed. I sat their and witnessed people being amazing right in front of me. I immediately had all these people who befriended me and I was overwhelmed with the support of our community.

As time passed I started working more for usl.tv and Rachel decided to quit her job to help us get a schedule made for next year and focus on BB100. As I climbed here in Houston and felt better I got the opportunity to head to Western States 100. This was another moment that I cant forget. Watching people finish this beautiful race is under 30 hours was a blessing for me.

As I came home an impromptu trail weekend in Austin pushed me over the edge. It was the training run that i needed in my life. I did run this day for a hour or so and it reminded me of when the HATRs first started just me, jose, jerms and rachel. When we would have group runs it would be us 3 and we used to call ourselves the dirty bums since we fell on the ground a lot and laughed.

As this past weekend went passed I had the opportunity to hit the speedgoat 50k course the day after. I spent 6 hours climbing around those mountains like a playground. Although my knee didnt care for walking downhill the ups power hiking were amazing and left me feeling great.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFxhmhWDus0

I am back tracking because all of this leads to the next adventure. I spend 2 days on the LSHT a few months back with my brother in law. It was enjoyable and we stopped after a few days. I hated it. I had been like 2/2 for not having to quit stuff and I really didnt like the taste in my mouth and I told my wife that day I wanted to go after it all.

So here we are technically when you read this probably 24 hours away from the FKT attempt unsupported of the Lone Star Hiking Trail. I will be starting sometime thursday on the 96 mile hike. I will be doing this by myself and will document.record the event as well.

I am writing this blog though to tell you not that I am doing the FKT but also to point out the significance of inspirational people.

I watch closer than I ever have before at what people are doing. I am constantly trying to figure out why they are successful and what makes them great.

From Jeff millers workouts. To John Sharpe killing Hardrock. Jeremy Hanson losing weight like a mad man. Jose Q deciding to grind like never before. Mark Kenney for methodically hitting his own personal CEO goals and not stopping. For Liz M for kicking ass in huntsville. From Marie Ramsey for winning that Cash..Killian Jornet playing his way to destroying hardrock’s records.. Rob Krar’s look at green gate. Tim Olson’s refusal to submit at Hardrock. To my buddy Dylan Bowman at Western States looking like a million bucks.. To Nick Clark and Kaci L for making an agreement and getting it done.

You see these people are all the same. From the 5k to the 100 milers they are all still people that are working their asses off to get those dreams. They are willing not to be out worked to get where they need to be,.

I see these people as opportunities. I see them as people that are killing it in life. These are IRON swords my friends and IRON sharpens IRON. Over the past 4 months of I hit the iron and done more vert than I probably ever thought i could or would.

I am addicted to climbing, I am addicted to lifting that heavy weight and I am ready mentally to take on the challenge ahead.

So as I sit here to right this I feel grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to go chase this rainbow.. Grateful that I have the best wife, friends and family that I could ask for. Grateful that some companies believed in me when the HATRs were zero and I had never done anything.

And I am grateful that Jose over 5 years ago now told me that I was going to die if i didnt change. Yes I did the work but he cared enough to let me know and thus the ball started to roll.

I cant wait to fight the ticks, flying brigade of insects and have a 30 hour sing a long with my new play list.

Thank you all for the support.  I told myself after grasslands that I wouldnt enter anything that i wasnt willing to die for like i used to and this is that journey.

And as My wife asked me today as I printed maps..

“babe are you ready for this?” my answer without hesitation.

FK YES I AM..

Live life like there is no tomorrow.

 

HATR

A trip with my HATRs just what the mind needed

A trip with my HATRs just what the mind needed

The past few weeks after coming home from Western States have been a blur. Rachel and I have patiently awaited the news of the LLC and the logo to be done while honestly getting used to spending all day together working on this.

So last friday my intentions where to just take it easy on the weekend, get some vertical and just lay low.  It was Jose’s bday that week and by buddy Jeremy said he was going to head to Austin to meet them. The Houston Area Trail Runners where meeting up to have a weekend of running Austin and buffoonery.

After a quick discussion i was bags packed and headed to Austin. I stopped at Buc-ees for the best coffee ever and met Jeremy just before 10:30. It was nice to surprise Jose with coming and I was looking forward to the running.

The next morning and we are all at the Hill of Life. I was really excited to get to try and run this as Rachel and I had been there the weekend before with the pups.

I have had these re occuring dreams that my knee splits open in 2.. I have had this dream probably 3 or 4 times in the past few weeks. My knee is really deteriorating faster than I would like and running seems so foreign to me but hiking has been a great chance of pace. As we were about to go down the first time I just kept hoping that my dreams wouldnt come true. As we started bounding down the rocks I felt really good and was keeping a great pace all the way to the bottom. Once down we started the ascent back up. It felt so amazing to climb rocks. Its all i have been doing really since March of this year but the treadmill has been my source of 20-30% grading. It was nice to climb hard, sweat and feel the ground underneath me.

As we went up and down we stopped to swim a bit, chill on the rocks and just enjoy life in the sun. We enjoyed that night by going to Jester King brewery and eating on 6th street. All in all was a great day to just be out of Houston in Austin.

Day 2 was the day that we were going to go to a local spot Jose had been to. I was able to jump out of the hotel a little early and get some great local coffee and meet everyone at the spot which was bull creek.

As soon as we started running I knew it was going to hurt bad. My knee already swollen and feeling like garbage in general but I was having fun for once. As we started running it really reminded me of when we all started to run together. Jose, Jeremy and I would run saturdays together for months. I can remember when there was a group run and it was just me. Seems to forever ago but was really only 1.5 years ago.

As we ran so did my mind.. For once i couldn’t feel my knee swelling and I was able to get out of my own head. We played on the trails like kids do swapping spots, high fiveing the occasional playful bumps.. And all the way through this great trail of up and down and up and down i was smiling. I hadn’t been that happy running since snowdrop and just really enjoyed the time with friends on the trails.

We show a go pro video and I made the movie.

After we got done eating with hit up the Torchy’s Tacos (which are amazing) and headed our separate ways to the house.

As my week has started I have had taper nerves all week. I am preparing to do the LSHT (96mile trail) next week unsupported and its been on my mind for a few weeks.

As i saw WS100 with my own eyes and we followed Hardrock 100 last weekend I am reminded of gutty performances. From Rob Krar, to Tim Olson not quitting at Hardrock these guys put it on the line. We watched our good friend via the web John Sharp finish the Hardrock 100 and we cheered every aid station he was at.

When i see this happen before me I think I have that in me. Yes my knee is a wreck but its going to get new hardware in september but mentally do I have what it takes to do something big..

The LSHT from what I know has no FKT for unsupported other than 4-5 days hikes. Probably because there is 0 water on the course for over 48 miles. No water, no streams no nothing. This obviously makes it difficult to do but its something that I want to do.

Since I took my stand against quitting shit i am 2/3 as my brother in law stopped 2 days into our hike of the LSHT but im going to erase that one quickly. As I spoke to a good friend today we talked about not quitting no matter what. Crawling in the line, being last or just realizing that there isnt another race…

I am very honored to have some many pieces of iron in my circle. Guys and gals that push the pace all the time and set wonderful examples. I am ready to taper for a week, I am ready to see what I am made of and I cant wait to see all those fiesty lil ticks on the trail…

gordy

Western States 100 Endurance Race- The best of the best

Western States 100 Endurance Race- The best of the best

I really thought I would write this incredible awesome blog on how much I was looking forward to the Western States 100 a week before the race. Life, training and time slipped quickly and I dont like forcing pieces out just to ship the sugar..

But in hindsight I get to write this one with nothing before it so I guess it works out in the end. I feel like I had a real unique opportunity going into Western States 100. I am first a trail runner at heart, 2nd I am a race director and 3rd I do new business for Ultrasportslive.tv which was LIVE STREAMING the race live.

You know its honestly really hard for me to be all business in this sport. The truth is that this will probably never happen. I will probably always yell for my favorite runners, get nervous meeting the celebs” and root for the runners. I think that my passion for trail running wont go away and always seems to get right in the way of the professional side.. But i think I manage to combine it all and people see that I genuinely care about them, the races and my job.

I feel like I could tell you all about these stories, happenings or unforgettable moments for days.. I feel like i should start a kickstarter and write a book to tell you everything i saw from friday-sunday. I often feel like my writing is indicative of how i speak which is usually filled with stories, run ons etc..

So here goes.

The 2014 Western States 100 was the greatest sporting event I have ever witnessed or watched. I am biased in this opinion but who cares im writing this. As we approached Friday and the press conference there was this massive amount of people in the convention center and around Squaw Valley area. Just to see all these fine tuned athletes ready to run and feel their emotions was incredible. When they started the meetings and giving out awards for trail maintenance you could feel the power of the people. You could see the dedication, time and effort these volunteers/parks staff committed to having this trail open.

It made me really value what has been done as a community to work on those trails and keep them open. As Saturday started we were taken to the starting line by the Squaw Valley fire chief and met the volunteers around 3am.  As we headed up to the top of escarpment I couldnt help but see the Fire Chief hat and all the firefighting gear in the truck. He told us stories of almost sliding down the mountain in a dozer years previous and how he barely got out. As we reached the top the volunteers moved to action. It was probably 40 degrees with a 40 mph winds at the top. It was cold but the volunteers starting setting out all the gear, food and preparations.  They did a wonderful job of taking care of the runners and helping them move up the hill. As the time came to end I asked the group to take a group picture for me. I wanted them to realize that they were the most important group on that hill. I told them that I was sure the racer’s enjoyed them and thanked them along the way. I also did an interview with the captain of that aid station who had worked it for over 20+ years.

As we came back down with the Fire Chief again many of the volunteers had chosen to walk down and it was fun to see them enjoying the course. As we went to Green Gate we were passed the aid station but again volunteers manned the gate. We had a great time with them over about 8 hours showing them their wives could watch the camera and they could wave to them. We explained to them who runners were and what places they were in. They helped make sure runners got to the turns and kept cars from coming to close as well.

As I had my 3 hour car nap I awoke with I think 25:00 on the clock. I kept thinking many I wonder what it feels like to be on the course with 5 hour to roll. As the runners came in I really wanted to capture some of the finishers. Armed with my iphone I headed in the track circle to get some pictures. As the runners finished the volunteers again were there to see them. From handing them the medal, to walking them to the weight stations. As I looked around I saw many of these faces helping in med tents, walking runners around or just telling the runners you did AMAZING today. As the time got closer to the 30 hour mark you could feel the intensity. I could feel it in my chest as I was very nervous for friends of mine coming in and also those I didnt know. I continued to take pictures doing my best to chronicle those amazing finishers along the way.

At times in the last 2 hours I got emotional. I could feel myself on the edge of the cliff. I didnt know if i missed running at those moments, if I was just genuinely happy for those coming in or if I just was taken in the moments before me. The last hour was AMAZING and i got texts from friends watching live on ultrasportslive.tv as the runners came in the volunteers came forward. The runners quickly around the track, one at time, 2 at a time or more. It was a sight to see as multiple runners with their crews came in.

As It was told the last runner was hitting the track you could feel True excitement. It didnt matter that the last runner was a legend. It mattered that he was a runner and in the western states 100.

The Western States 100 in its purest for is trail racing. It is everything I wish one of my races to be and pure in its intentions.

I met a ton of athletes, ultra-runners and great people that day that I admire and respect. I was honored to see volunteering and sacrifice at its best.

I also got the chance to spend the weekend with my USL.TV family. Many of us working 55 hours straight on a handful of sleep hours. Determined, relentless and committed we stayed on course making sure that we were doing everything we could to keep the cameras stream, pictures snapping and interviews going.

As I left Cali and headed back to Texas someone asked me on the place what I did for a living. We chatted and he had heard of the WS 100. He asked me what I thought of the race and my response was…

It was the BEST of the BEST that trail running could offer.

here are my pictures  https://www.facebook.com/runningrobg/media_set?set=a.272452619608598.1073741833.100005315859454

 

Lone Star Hiking Trail

Lone Star Hiking Trail

So we decided to hike the Lone Star Hiking Trail

My brother in law has asked me to go on a few hiking trips with him last year and most of them I had other things arise or work got in the way. Last year after him and I talked about the AT (Appalachian Trail) doing a few weeks before too long he decided to do the whole thing. So last year from end or march till october we sent him packages, followed his journeys etc till the end.

So a few months ago he talked about doing the LSHT in the Sam Houston National Forest and I finally said lets do it. We talked about doing a 5 day thru hike which would cover the 96 mile trek. I had been stocking up grabbing a new salomon hiking pack, some new skratch lab bottles, a tent etc for the hike.

We had decided to start on Thursday Am and Finish sometime Monday. So my mother in law took us out to the start which was Trailhead #1 Richards.

As we started I knew that I had a lot to learn as I have never hiked with a full pack and I was also interested in how my knee and training would hold up. Since January my running has been minimal and I have chosen to focus on incline hiking and weights as my knee needs surgery and that will happen in September.

So off we started and I soon felt the weight of a 35lb pack. I was very surprised and was soon trying to figure out the straps, positioning and way to make this feel comfortable. Within the first .3 miles i felt something at the back of my knee and it hurt. I leaned back to swat it and the pack came with me so already on my ass and figure out horse files love walking meat.

As my brother in law and I trekked through the first 8 miles before we took a break I was really enjoyed the hike and also realizing that this is nothing like Rocky Raccoon. I think more like a gnarly version in parts of a rain forest and EVERYTHING out there was biting me. If it wasnt horse flies, biting flies, ants it was TICKS… I have heard of ticks and im my day I have seen a few but this WAS CRAZY..

As my brother in law hiked I got a chance to let my mind wonder finally reminded very much of an ultra as I got to just think about life, business and enjoy the quietness of the road. We ended up stopping at mile 8 for a break and i remember eating some nut butter and an EPIC Bar. My sombrero was my shield from the sun and also it was nice to keep over my face so I could get in a nap. As I awoke 15 min I felt refreshed. We headed back out with the intentions of getting to the Stubblefield area which was at 19.7. As you must realize there is NO POTABLE water and no one to save you on this trail. So we randomly filled our water with creek or lake water heading to Lake Conroe. About mile 13 or so I started chafing bad. I had worn by Salomon shorts hoping the longer shorts would suit me better but to no avail.

So i broke out the A&D as I didnt want to get it anywhere than it was. I also broke my Iphone cable that was connected to my solar charger. So the grand thoughts of being on my phone before bed etc and checking in went out the windows as well. From 13-16 i was hurting from the chafing and the mosquitos, gnats, flies and ticks were HUNTING us. It was around 5-6 when we came into the Lake Conroe area. Feeling like rotting meat we came in and both out of water. We got some good ole Conroe water and got hydrated. After sitting for about 30 min we decided to call it a night. I think the total walking with breaks was like 10 hours.  I was able to use some lake water and take a soapy lather to get the chafing areas clean. I was fearful of the size of the chafes between the legs because I knew I couldnt hike like this. So i put on my infamous shorty shorts and lathered the A&D on thick.

As soon as I ate a Thunderbird Bar, Avacado and Goldfish I began to feel inflamed a bit. I knew I hadn’t slept good the night before so I went ahead and set up my tent and bedding. So around 7pm I laid in the tent with the open as I talked to David as he read his journal. He read some of what he wrote a year ago that day which was on the AT trail. It was really cool to hear his stories on the AT and learn some of the trail lingo they use. Within minutes I remember David asking me are you awake? I responded yes and then the next thing i remembered was rain on my face. I looked up at God knows when in the am to see rain coming down in my torpedo tent. I quickly moved my things (which i had in a zip lock bag) and then sealed the tent up and pulled the cover over. I didnt get really too wet except for the edge of the bag that was exposed.

But sleeping after that was just this constant turning over and over. Wresting with the sleeping bag, irritated and just restless. As I awoke around 7am i realized that while i slept my bag was open. While my bag was open the mosquitoes needed a place to live. So all of them came into my tent. When i was half way asleep in my tent i sealed the tent.

Like fresh meat in a locker for them. All night long as i tossed, turned and slept they ate. I woke up the next morning to find no less than 100 mosquitoes in my tent all full. While my legs, sides, feet, and every part of my body was ravaged with red marks where I had been eaten. What a way to wake up.

Day2 we wake up and at least the chafing healed up well. I slathered on some A&D and put a fresh pair of injinji socks  on. I used trail toes on my feet and also my shoulders and waist area where my pack was. I wore a cotton shirts cause it was HOT as hell and as learned with Pam Smith at WS100 last year it keeps you cool.

3 miles into the day 2 and we were at the campground. A restroom, potable water and we took a little break. There was a momma cat and 3 kittens that heard us and came out to play. It was fun to see kittens digging, climbing trees and wresting around. I knew it was wrong but i gave them some goldfish. Well i “accidentally” dropped some. As we filled our packs I went ahead and filled about 120 oz of water. Per the map we might not have a good source for over 16 miles and I didnt want to be the guy out of water and hiking.

As we started hiking my brother in law and i shared stories of life and made up funny things we would like. Much like an ultra we talked about ice cream, sodas. Every time I saw a Tick i would rhyme it with some obscene work and then pic..  It was funny till i had 5 on me at once. As we trekked through this part we went over some road areas and we laughed and hoped someone would come out and offer us there home. We talked about scenarios that would never happen but sure did seem great. We ended up stopping just at the Y in a whtie rock road and took a break. I think we where at 26.4

My brother in laws feet were bothering him and we were talking about realistically getting into Hunstville State Park for the night. The grand dreams of showers, a vending machine and maybe a shelter sure sounded nice. After our talk I kind of decided to just try and lead us to into the park. So i told David i think we have 4 hours and 20 min left to get us there. Lets hike for 2hr 10 min take a break and then well have it done.

Off we went I was up front this time taking cobwebs and flies on like no tomorrow. We were moving good and I checked my watch a lot for time and also just to know where we were. The trail is marked really well and the mileage was there. We hit a neighborhood with a lake right at 33.2 and met a home owner. He gave us a bottle of water and some advise.

As we hit the spillway it was time for the break actually we did 2 hr 20 min so only 2 hrs left.  We both felt good and decided to just hike it in. A few minutes after this the rain came. As the rain came we started down a path that had a creek nearby and it was over flooded recently. The trail was slick and as the rain came so did the increasing weight of us and the packs. My pack felt 2x as heavy and I could feel it start to dig in deep into my shoulders. But we were determined to keep moving. Soon after on the ice like train i slipped and fell. It feels different to fall with a pack on though as a 40lb weight kind of goes where it wants to. I got up a little pissed and ready to get this shit over with honestly. We were closing in on 20 miles and would keep us on track to get this trail done and get me a DAMN DIET COKE and a shower.

The rain didnt stop and neither did we. Around this time i did notice that the strain had my feet feeling sore and the pack was really starting to dig harder. I could hear 1-45 and the cars and I knew the mileage. With 1 mile to go i put my head down and started to count the min at this point with a 40lb pack I was doing all i could in the slick shit to keep it near 20 min miles. Once out of the forest it dumps you right on the feeder. I took off my pack and grabbed some food. My brother in law came out shortly behind me. We spoke and decided to keep pressing on down the feeder road.

Once at the guardrail is when the bolts starting coming off the train. My brother in law was fighting some taint chaffe and some feet blisters bad. He was hobbling at best and we decided to swap our trail shoes for flip flops to dry them out and the shoes. It was getting late now so I made a call to the park to check on campsites. They had water only which was good for us. But the only problem is that it was a few miles away.

After much deliberation the night started to fall and we could not get to the park by the time it closed we decided to call it over. My brother in laws blisters were nasty and the chaffe was causing him not to be able to walk much less hike. So we called in my mother in law who God bless her soul drives to huntsville from cypress at 9pm to pick us up. I kept laughing thinking how cool it is that I am with my brother in law, im 36 years old on the side of a feeder and my wifes kick ass family sees nothing wrong with this at all.

She picks us up and we STINK… I dont mean like ohh you just got out of the gym. Im talking about we hiked for like 22 hours in 2 days with the same clothes on STANK.. My brother in law and I spoke of Whataburger. I thought this was the greatest idea ever. I havent had a real meat hamburger in like 3 years.. Why NOT tonight i think i earned it haha. So down the hatch went a diet coke, fries and a Monterrey Burger with peppers. HOLY CRAP whataburger is good as I took a shower at their home all i felt was pain from the bites. My body was covered in red bites, scratches from thorns, whelps everywhere.

I got home late that night around midnight and got a good nights rest. When I got up in the morning I told the story to my wife and to a few friends etc. I wasnt really disappointing that we didnt do it all. My brother in law enjoys the relaxation of the trail and hiking so he had a great time. I had a good time as well but for a bit of time on the trail I got something i havent had in a while.

I dug maybe like 5% into that old Ultra well. The reason I havent raced anymore this year is honestly I cant run. My knee is tore up to the point where its hard for me to walk some days. Oddly enough it dosent mind me hiking so thats what I do. But this hiking dosent really hurt it much and it was fun to feel the physicality that comes with sweating, grinding and working for something.

But I learned with Mt Elbert a few weeks ago that I am a hiker right now. Im not a runner. I am really good at hiking as this has been what I have done for the last 6 months. So hiking this really made my might start to wonder. Being out there let my mind escape like an ultra would and it made me at times dig into that competitive well just a tad bit. I think Rob you just climbed Mt ELbert, you ran Ragnar which i thought i would do horrible at but it was on mountains so i did well.

I owe the LSHT a fight. I wasn’t pissed that we didnt finish. It just rubbed me the wrong way that I came home with all these fked up bites and crap and I didnt feel satisfied. Thats the word is that I hadnt had enough yet to quit.

So I want to go at the LSHT one on one. No support. No big pack on my back to slow me down. Just a Ultimate Direction fast pack, food, water and a map. Ill need to pack on water at times cause its 20 miles between streams but I want to try and hit it all. 96 miles, unsupported effort and just me. The date is set Tuesday July 22nd. I want it as HOT as Hell.  The goal sub 30 unsupported start at 1 finish at 96.

I finally feel confident in my abilities again. Not being able to “run” really fked my head up and only after DNF’s, pain and finally submitting the truth am I able to see the light in this. I dont have to “run” to be successful in athletics. Right now I need to be great at “hiking” since that is what I can and have trained to do.

I will spend the next month cross training, hiking with a weighted pack and also continuing to work on hip/glute strength. I have added in yoga 2x a week and also have been dropping weight as well to further my progress as I am still chasing 173 lbs as my goal for this year.

I enjoyed the trail immensely and spending time with my brother law under the sun with my sombrero on was truly a blessing. It taught me many lessons on how to hike, camp and what not to do. But it taught me a valuable lesson in life.

Love where you are at not where you were.

 

 

From Obesity to Ultra Trail Runner.