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EB50: The Oprah Spark – Cross Timbers Trail Run – A Chat with Mariela Botella

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“If Oprah Winfrey can go out and run and marathon, I  can go run a marathon.” – Mariela Botella

When we look back on our life, we can see those moments that helped to weave the life thread of where we are today.

Mariela Botella of Texas, had one of those moments after hearing about Oprah Winfrey completing a marathon.

This was the spark that inspired Mariela to exploring running, even though she was inactive and a self described “couch potato”.

Mariela at TMBT 100k in Borneo.

Mariela at TMBT 100k in Borneo.

She started and took the first step.

Could barely run for five minutes on the treadmill.

Then she could run six minutes.

Seven minutes.

10 minutes.

And in 1998, she ran and finished the Houston marathon.

Mariela was hooked and knew she wanted to continue exploring the sport.

Two years later, Mariela would complete the Pikes Peak marathon which guides runners on winding trail up to over 14,000 feet before you turn around and run back down.

This started her love of running on trails that has continued to this day.

Mariela at Cascade Crest 100

Mariela at Cascade Crest 100

Mariela recently completed the Cross Timbers 50 miler in 11:51:11 and two weeks later, the Old Pueblo 50.

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

  • the Oprah moment
  • from 5 minutes on the treadmill to a marathon finish
  • memories from the Pikes Peak marathon
  • enjoying the solitude and butterflies on the trail
  • favorite local 96.4 mile trail near Houston
  • Mariela’s training – what does it look like?
  • memories from Cross Timbers including cookies and gnomes
  • memories from Old Pueblo

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EB49: Running to His Own Beat – Sylamore 50k Win – A Chat with Christophe Block

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“I enjoy running, but it’s something I do, not something I am.” – Christophe Block

Christophe Block of Arkansas is not your typical trail runner. (if there is such a thing in this sport)

He doesn’t wear a Garmin watch.

He does care about mileage.

He doesn’t care about tracking the amount of time running.

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Christophe does seem to care about creating a life that is meaningful to him.

A life where running supports his physical and mental health, and is simply a time to have fun.

Where pre-race rituals include “good times and beer typically”.

Christophe recently won the Sylamore 50k in 5:12:36 under snow covered and wet conditions in northern Arkansas. This also was Christophe’s second year in a row to win this highly popular race.

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

  • that first road marathon and swearing he would never do another
  • 9 months later running the Arkansas Traveller 100  – “horrible idea”
  • pacing Podog Vogler at Hardrock 100…and the fantasy of dropping him
  • the hard realization why everyone was running so much slower at mile 30 of the Arkansas Traveller 100
  • how Christophe integrates running into his life
  • thoughts for a trail newbie
  • favorite run related videos
  • the slick and sloppy adventure at Sylamore 50k

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Exploring New Challenges with a Playful Spirit – 2014 Texas Trail Series Ultra Women’s Champ – A Chat with Lise Plantier

“I am always happy to wake up on the weekend and get out on the trail.” – Lise Plantier

In the last race of the 2014 Texas Trail Series, Lise Plantier of Texas, earned the Women’s Ultra division win! Lise put together seven top series race finishes including the 100 mile win at Cactus Rose last October.

Lise’s trail running spark was lit after moving to the United States from her home country of France and deciding to take a break from triathlon.

And that spark quickly led to a warm and passionate flame as she observed her love for the natural outdoors, the love of running trails, and the love of its community.

Lise at Squamish 50.

Lise at Squamish 50.

Enjoy our Q&A chat about Lise’s journey in this sport and 2014 Texas Trail Series memories. (Originally this had been planned to be an EB Podcast but due to the unfortunate poor recording, I instead transcribed it below. Sorry for the delay.)

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EB48: A Run Streaker Since 1992 – Love. Run. Marathon. – A Chat with 73 Year Old Ken Johnson

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73 year old Ken Johnson of Texas is a streaker…a run streaker.

On New Year’s Day 1992, Ken began his first run streak of 600 days that included at least one mile of running per day. Since December 30, 1997 Ken has only missed 18 days of running and enjoys both the road and trails. Ken runs the full array of race distances from 5km to ultramarathon with 101 marathon/ultra finishes.

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Ken at the Texas 10 Series in Conroe, Texas.

Ken recently ran the half marathon distance at the Love. Run. Marathon. on pine needle covered trails in Huntsville, Texas and crossed the finish line in 3:23:03! Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • being in the Army for 22.5 years and the two mile wall
  • the surprise of Ken’s first four mile run courtesy of the division Commander
  • that first 10km race experience at Ft. Hood with 2500 other runners starting at 3:00AM
  • the continued involvement in running after retiring from the Army, then the run streaks begin
  • strongest memories of the people and community in this sport
  • reflections on the half marathon scamper at the Love. Run. Marathon.
  • a special Team RWB experience from his marathon finish at Love. Run. Marathon. in 2014 – Mighty Awesome!

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EB47: Chasing Running Dreams Since Age 14 – Rouge Orleans 126.2 Win – A Chat with Tim Neckar

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Since the age of 14 and running his first marathon, Tim Neckar of Texas has been chasing his running dreams.

Tim has always enjoyed challenging himself and finding that next adventure. After the marathon, it seemed natural to explore the ultra running world once he became aware of it thanks to a few running friends during his college years at Baylor University. This led to his first trail race, a 50 miler back in 1986 where he was looked at like an alien and would DNF after 30-some miles.

Not deterred, Tim would learn what works for him in training and nutrition, and come back to finish this race as well as pursue many more ultra adventures and mountain races as a lowlander.

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Recently, Tim won the Rouge Orleans 126.2 mile point-to-point adventure in Louisiana with a finish time of 26:19:50! Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • that first marathon at age 14
  • 50 miler as Tim’s first trail race
  • Tim’s approach to race nutrition and what works for him
  • the joy of exploring places few others have been before
  • the joy of the challenge, exploring new distances
  • memories from recent ultras pulling a sled at 10-below-zero temps
  • Tim’s reason for enjoying these winter snow races
  • Tim shares how he gets ready for mountain races while living in Houston
  • managing the mental low points
  • those dream races
  • favorite running read
  • the 126.2 mile journey at Rouge Orleans

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Way Too Cool 50k Race Report: A Welcome Back Never Hurt So Good

Enjoy as Jason Taylor shares his return to racing at the Way Too Cool 50k in California. – Dave


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It’s been nearly two years since my last “race”. In that time I finished PT school, had a baby, started a new career, started a post-doctorate residency…blah blah blah. You know, you’ve all been there. Time is scare, I get it.

For me, I have kept running but at much, much lower levels than previous seasons in my life. This past Fall I got the opportunity to go to the Team RWB camp in Texas and met a runner who highly recommended Way Too Cool 50k. He also recommended the Lake Sonoma 50 miler and I thought I’d sign up for both lotteries. God has a sense of humor and I got into both races. Thus began the slow trudge back to fitness. Training started slowly but I started to see some fitness come back and then in January, my family got the cold that never stops giving. You know the one, the kind that goes round and round like a merry-go-round.

So needless to say I wasn’t planning on breaking any personal speed records at the WTC50k, and my “race plan” was to take it easy, enjoy the day, stop and smell the flowers and generally just try to soak up this new area and the race itself.

Yeah, whatever!

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EB46: Finding Accomplishment and Fun on the Trails – Creepy Crawlies & Critters – A Chat with Shae Vaughan

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“…it all has to do with yourself…that feeling of accomplishment. Even when hurting you can push through it.” – Shae Vaughan

Between going to classes and cheerleading during her college years, Shae Vaughan of Texas was looking for something else to keep busy. She laced up some sneakers, headed out the door and very quickly loved to run.

Shae Vaughan at Creepy Crawlies & Critters (Credit: trailheadrunning.com)

Shae Vaughan at Creepy Crawlies & Critters (Credit: trailheadrunning.com)

And then a mountain bike purchase led to exploring some of the local trails.

A realization – “I can run these as well.”

Shae recently won the 10km adventure at the Creepy Crawlies & Critters 10km women’s only race in 45:52, on the relaxed trails at YMCA Camp Cypress in Buda, Texas. Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • why running?
  • memories from those first trail runs and races (plus lessons learned)
  • training
  • tips for road to trail newbie
  • memories from Creepy Crawlies & Critters – “Hey, a fox”

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