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EB62: Practicing Life While Running Ultra – Marathon Des Sables – Our Chat with Liza Howard

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“I don’t like city.”

To scamper along rocky, wooded single-track is Liza Howard’s home, home for her soul.

This Texan’s trail running journey began as a way to reconnect with old friends but it wasn’t long before Liza’s involvement and passion grew for the sport in part due its welcoming community. Liza quickly became one of the fast footed trail runners in the sport which was a “total surprise” to herself. She gravitated quickly to the ultra distances with a deep interest in the 100 miler and the life learning opportunities gently and less gently offered to you.

From sharing this sport through the Team RWB Trail Running Camp, connecting with amazing people from throughout the world, to eating less donuts, the sport is a meaningful part of her life.

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This past Spring, Liza completed the 30th Marathon Des Sables week-long stage race through the Sahara desert that included over 1200 runners from throughout the world for one great adventure.

Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • running the roads after college and the beginning of trail running
  • first trail race at Zane Grey 50k and the shoe malfunction
  • connecting with the local San Antonio trail scene and trying not to die
  • joy of the 100 mile distance and the lessons offered
  • connecting Team RWB to the trail running community
  • weekly training
  • a favorite run related read
  • 7 days of Marathon Des Sables

To add to Liza’s talents and has to be an EB Podcast first, Liza did the entire chat while doing hill work on a treadmill in her garage!

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EB61: The Finisher – Ouachita Trail 50M – Our Chat with Cliff Ferren

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“I would have never believed it.”

That was 59 year old Cliff Ferren’s reflection if he would have seen where he would go in this sport 10 years ago when he simply wanted to support a local Arkansas charity fundraiser 5k.

The spark.

Cliff has continued running ever since with an early focus on the road that transitioned to the trails and ultra distances including the yearly pilgrimage in October to the Arkansas Traveller 100.

To be a part of a great community that includes many hugs and handshakes.

To play outside in the woods.

To finish is the goal.

The trails and its community holds a special place in Cliff’s life and heart.

This Spring Cliff ran another adventure at the Ouachita Trail 50m in 13:09:40.

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Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • memories from that first 5k
  • lovin’ the trails
  • the struggling memories at that first trail race, Sylamore 50k
  • the two DNFs and things to consider if in a similar situation
  • favorite local trails
  • What keeps the excitement high after 10 years of running
  • favorite reads
  • Oachita 50M memories

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EB60: How Trail Running Transitioned a Life of Emptiness to One of Confidence and Community – Austin Rattler 75k – Our Chat with Stephen Moore

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Stuck.

Making poor life choices.

And then one early morning in 2013, Stephen Moore courageously looked at himself in the mirror and said, “I need help.”

This moment started Steven on a new path on his life journey.

A path that led to joining a beginner 5km running group after calling a high school friend involved in triathlon, who listened and offered the idea. This lasted for a few months before drifting back to old habits.

Then Stephen was introduced to some local trails and its community. Stephen quickly grew to love the trails, the challenge, and the fun memories of running in the woods during his youth. The people within the trail community further ignited this new-found passion and interest in becoming a better self.

“I don’t think I found running, it found me. Trail running community is about completing the journey, changing yourself with other people helping you. That’s been the biggest thing for me.”

Stephen has gone onto explore a wide range of trail running distances up to the 100 miler along with a Spring adventure where he finished the Austin Rattler 75km and received a surprise bonus at the finish line.

We all have different life challenges placed before us. Creating a positive mindset while having a supportive community around you, we start to live in a world of possibility.

“I guess what I take away from it all right now is that if you put in the work, try to be a better person, remember who you are, be thankful everyday and never say you can’t, then good things will happen to you.” – Stephen after his Austin Rattler 75km

Stephen Moore at Possum Kingdom Trail Run / Credit Susana Orendain

Stephen Moore / Credit Susana Orendain

Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • personal life struggles and the realization things needed to change
  •  recreating self through running with the support of its community
  • first trail race A-OK 25k (with 18F temps and frozen bottles) – “It’s like a 5k, five times. You can do it.”
  • first mountain race at Jemez 50k that included 6-8 miles of snow
  • favorite local trail
  • training and benefits of added strength/core work
  • memories from the Austin Rattler 75k along with the emotional surprise at the finish line

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2015 Western States 100: 16 TALON Athletes Ready to Run That Extra .2 Miles

100.2 mile point-to-point scamper by foot from Squaw Valley, California to the track in Auburn.

Nearly 400 runners with ages between 19 and 71.

1500 volunteers.

A race where many of the top ultrarunners in the United States and world meet up for a sub-30 hour adventure. Include a big group of lucky runners that had their name pulled during the lottery system and you have this great mix of passionate athletes from our sport.

A race that started back in 1974 and today is one of the most buzz’n 100 mile races on the globe.

If it’s June, we are talking the Western States 100 and it all begins Saturday morning at 5:00am.

16 TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) will be lacing them up and pinning on a bib early tomorrow morning. Every state besides Louisiana will represent with Texas going big with 10 athletes.

From fast tread, Grand Slammin’, to their first Western States 100 experience, we have it all.

Fast Tread of Texas

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Jemez 36M 2015 Memories – Plus Drooling, Camping, and the Return to EB

Just wanted to provide a quick update on my Jemez 50 Mile DNF last month and why it has been so quiet on EB for the last six weeks.

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The Jemez Mountain Trail Run is a favorite race of mine and takes place in the beautiful New Mexico mountain terrain surrounding Los Alamos at the end of May. Great organizers, local support, and fellow runners. This was my 5th year in a row making the road trip west for a weekend of trail running goodness.

Beautiful conditions for a run in the mountains at the 5:00am start for the 50 milers.

A few of the stronger memories from my 12 hour adventure…

Enjoying the early miles with the tribe. Sun rising. Mountains coming alive.

The first climb up Pajarito mountain (by mile 16) was ugly. One step forward, two steps back. I had no response. Spirit crushed and ready to drop at Ski Lodge aid station (mile 18.6).

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EB59: ALL IN! – Ultra Running and the Art of Creating Organic Energy Bars – Our Chat with Caleb Simpson of Bearded Bros

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A passion for the outdoors.

A passion for creating healthy, tasty, and portable energy bars to fuel weekend’s of rock climbing and running.

And then the birth of a business, Bearded Bros.

Caleb Simpson of Texas is filled with focus and passion and once directed, he is “all in!”

In this podcast we get to hear about Caleb’s transition from rock climbing to running half marathons before jumping into the trail and ultra running scene and taking on his first 100 at Wasatch later this year. The journey along the way includes an uninterested weekend of eating vegetables with his to-be brother-in-law Chris, a vegan / raw foodist at the time. To Caleb’s surprise, this weekend was hugely transformative and sparked a vegetarian lifestyle almost immediately.

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The finish line at the Nueces Trail Run.

Caleb and Chris’s love of healthy foods and making their own energy bars eventually led the two to combine this interest into the launch of their healthy snackfood company, Bearded Bros. Caleb shares an insider look into the birth of this Texas based business, the art of bar creations, and the development of their new non-sweet savory bar line-up.

Within our chat we will hear about many topics just as valuable to running and many areas of life including the value of mentors, a supportive community, and perseverance.

And did you know – The catchy Bearded Bros name wasn’t what they were about to launch with. You will hear the interesting story of what happened.

Enjoy!

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EB58: Exploring Our World by Foot – Grasslands Trail Run – Our Chat with Omar Venzor

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Weighing 235 pounds his sophomore year of college, Omar Venzor of Texas “needed to do something.”

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 

Omar decided to run.

3-4 miles a few times a week.

The weight started dropping.

Inspired by a co-worker’s husband, Omar went after a bucket list item – run a marathon.

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, but he finished and like many of us before too long, Omar was thinking how he could improve his run…next time.

“Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. Oh! The places you’ll go!”  – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 

From marathon and various road scampers, relays, and the Pike’s Peak marathon on mountain trails, Omar has explored a variety of what this sport offers. And he enjoys it all – those places around the world where no vehicle dare tread, to special time with friends wearing their favorite running shoes.

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Omar recently ran his first 50 miler, the Grasslands Trail Run 50M and won it in 8:38:54!

Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • the college 30
  • first race – St. Louis marathon. Lessons and discomfort
  • Pike’s Peak, mountain trails, and 30 minute miles
  • TIR Relay Awesomeness, the fun of relays
  • Omar’s favorite local trail
  • why trails?
  • training and the benefits of swimming
  • Grasslands 50 with many great miles with Sabrina Little and John Martinek, plus the late race nutrition that saved his race

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