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Bee Stings and Twisted Ankles, 500 Miles of Cactus Rose, and the Art of Stealth Running – Our Chat with Chris Russell

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If you have played at Texas trail races, you have likely seen, heard, and even chatted with Chris Russell.

Standing at six foot big inches tall with a size 15 tread, Chris’s booming voice and welcoming smile has been know to share a story or two across the trail miles.

Chris played competitive hoops through his college years for the United States Air Force Academy as one of the big men of the team.

After school, exercise faded from his life until a humbling encounter while climbing Piestewa Peak in Phoenix, Arizona relit the movement fire. Chris began running 3.5 mile loops around the corn fields surrounding his home in Illinois and started exploring the trails to feed that growing internal hunger for adventure.

Besides the simple enjoyment of running in nature, being involved with its community provides a deep sense of happiness and belonging.

Enjoy our chat from this Spring after running 26 miles at Pandora’s Box of Rox Trail Run in central Texas.

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The Quest for Great Views, Reducing Injuries, and Playing Chicken with Falling Mountain Cantaloupes – Our Chat with Phil Uecker

 

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Disbelief.

The scale doesn’t tell the whole story, but one morning it told Phil Uecker of Texas enough to inspire a change.

“I’m not supposed to be 200 pounds. I need to get active.”

With no running background from his youth, the simplicity of heading out his front door and running the local dirt roads was an easy win. A 5km out and back run would be repeated throughout the week and a new-found joy in running progressively grew inside.

Then inspiration came from some of Phil’s favorite reads of adventure, exploration, and overcoming hardship. Phil started extending the miles, heading deeper into nature looking through the lens of adventure, as an explorer looking in the distance for the highest point and wondering, “What’s the view like up there?”

The next adventure began…

Enjoy our chat from this Spring after the Durty Spur 30k in north Texas.

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Becoming a Better Version of Self – Our Chat with David Infante

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“Everything shook. The whole world shook.”

David Infante’s first run out his door in New Mexico wasn’t pretty.

Do you remember your first run or your first anything where you hadn’t developed many (or any) of the skills for the activity?

It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and even painful. Yet, sometimes there is something inside that says keep going, keep doing it anyways, there is something here for you.

David kept running. The world began to shake less. Running would become a sacred home to reflect and process life.

In 2012 after a weekend at the Team RWB Trail Running Camp, David brought home a new found appreciation for nature, for trails, for the real connection through shared experience, and the positive spirit of this running community.

“I found my place, where I need to be.”

Enjoy our chat after David’s Spring adventure at the inaugural Cactus to Cloud 50k in southern New Mexico.

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Filling the Emotional Cup, Body Resilience, and Bamboo Scrambles – Our Chat with EJ Gonzalez

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235 pounds and inactive. 170 pounds one year later.

EJ Gonzalez of Texas made a choice. A choice to return to the active life. To work on himself as much as he was supporting others in the corporate world.

Lacing up the tread and heading out the door was the most natural start to EJ’s endurance sports journey that would expand to include triathlon and followed by an introduction to the trails thanks to a friend asking if he wanted to play in a five mile run on the dirt. Special memories of youth quickly return.

“This is pretty cool.”

The Trail Snake had bit.

The active life would became a place of physical transformation, emotional renewal and joy, and an opportunity to support and motivate others of all ages.

Enjoy our chat from this Spring after being first across the finish line at the Toughest ‘N Texas 20 miler in Waco, Texas.

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Hill Running Lessons, Increasing Mental Toughness, and Being One of Five to Survive the Prairie Spirit 100 Snowmageddon – Our Chat with John Nobles

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“Hey, do you want to join us?”

How many of us have started a journey in some area of life based on someone asking if we would be interested in giving it a try and taking us under their wings? I may not have found endurance sports if a good friend in 2000 didn’t share a simple ask, “Would you want to go mountain bike riding some time this week?” A simple, non-threatening ask completely re-vectored my life. Thanks Joel!

John Nobles of Oklahoma had been a Lacrosse player in college and after acquiring his Law degree, a couple friends shared the ask to join them on a weekend run.

John laced them up.

Eight miles of anaerobic bursts due to that Lacrosse muscle memory led to a week of hobbling but John wanted more.

John would connect with the TATUR crew in Tulsa and quickly developed a joy for running through nature and a real connection with the trail community.

Enjoy our chat from this Spring after John completed the Lake McMurtry 50k in 4:54:36.

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EB67: Managing Depression and Reawakening your Soul with the Running Pill – DanMan Challenge – Our Chat with Nikki Davis

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“Why don’t you go for a run!?!”

This absurd thought passed through Nikki Davis’s head while drinking another cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette.

Athletic – never.

After returning home from the 30 minute walk/run, Nikki surprisingly felt empowered, she “felt good”. This became a small win that created a significant positive ripple through the rest of her life that included periods of darkness and depression.

The courage to start, to go out the door and run when all the internal mind chatter told Nikki to stop, running would become the self-prescribed pill that would transform her life.

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EB66: Running 587.5 Miles Across Texas – Our Chat with Eddie Yanick

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How about running 22 back-to-back marathons (plus a bit more) across 24 days?

That is what 23 year old Eddie Yanick of Texas did during his 587.5 mile adventure at the Race Across Texas earlier this year that included hail and snow, body breakdown and adaptation, speaking to children in schools along the way, support from a legend in the sport, and so much more.

The active life has circulated through Eddie’s blood and mind since early youth while running miles with his grandpa. “Live to train-Train to live” has become a theme where ultrarunning is a place of freedom and a fun way to explore the nooks and crannies of our world.

With inspiration that included Forrest Gump, the Race Across Texas became a required experience.

“I have to do this.”

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