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The Duel Trail Race

2014 Western States 100: Taper Chat with Shannon McFarland, Ryan Holler, and Jeremy Day of Arkansas

Enjoy our pre-race elevate the legs Western States 100 chat with Shannon McFarland, Ryan Holler, and Jeremy Day of Arkansas!


Arkansas

Shannon McFarland #221

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Credit: John Watt © wattdesignphotography.com

How has trail running impacted/enhanced your life?

Trail running has enhanced my life in a few different ways.

I appreciate the outdoors much more than I ever had before, previously I was taking something very special for granted. The beauty of the Ozarks here in Arkansas and the many other places that running has taken me cannot be understated and I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to see it.

The people it has brought into my life, I think trail runners are the coolest people in the world, and I cannot think of any group of people I would prefer to spend my free time with.

Then there are the physical impacts, the “By-product’ of running through the woods for great distances has helped me improve my fitness and maintain that fitness over time.

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2014 Western States 100: Taper Chat with Danny Ponder of Oklahoma

Enjoy our pre-race elevate the legs Western States 100 chat with Danny Ponder of Oklahoma.


Oklahoma

Danny Ponder #308

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2014 Western States 100 – Taper Chat with Steve Grossman of New Mexico

This weekend is the highly buzzed dirty trail run from Squaw Valley, California, to the track finish line in Auburn – the Western States 100. A passionate group of folks comes together as a community to crew, support, volunteer, or wear the highly coveted bib.

Fast feet, courage, determination, and compassion will be displayed in spades across the 30 hour window to complete the 100.2 miles. The TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) tribe will have 17 athletes representing the region at the Big Dance of nearly 400 runners! We originally had 19 making the trip, but fast-footed Texans, Liza Howard and Nicole Studer, had to drop out due to unfortunate injuries.

Texas will pin the largest number of bibs from the region with 12. Arkansas will claim three bibs and Oklahoma and New Mexico each with one.

I was able to get in contact with a number of the tribe excited to play and share a little pre-race elevate-the-legs taper chat with our community.

First up, Steve Grossman of New Mexico!

Enjoy!


New Mexico

Steven Grossman #54

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Awakening the Tribe Within

The sun was now hidden behind the mountains to the West and temperatures were dropping like a big stone tossed off the edge of a cliff as I prepared myself to start pacing at mile 60.5 of the Leadville 100, Twin Lakes aid station. Twin Lakes is a hot spot for friends, family, and fans of the sport to welcome and support runners before and after the double Hope Pass grunt for those fortunate enough to make the mid-race cut-off.

Over my left shoulder I overhear people talking about pacing.

“I can pace him in.”, said a youthful male.

“Are you sure you want to do that? Let me talk to your mom.”

A few minutes later. “OK, you can do it if you want. Jim will love it.”

From my observations I don’t think these people knew each other before this day or this moment. Yet one person willing to help another.

Feeling a bit excited and anxious, I was wrestling with my sky blue The North Face shell like a dog chasing his tail. Round and round I went.

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Mud, Miles, and Munchkins: On the Trails and Out of Sight, Not out of Mind

lmcgarraughartI have a strange mind.

I wake up every single day with a song in my head. It doesn’t have to be a song I heard the day, the week or the month before. I am not sure how it works, but before children it was something cool like Dr. Dre or Pearl Jam and now it’s theme songs to cartoons, children’s movies or children’s songs.

One of the reasons I chose Palo Duro as my first 50 miler was my in-laws live in the panhandle of Texas, so babysitting was a short 2.5 hour drive from the start line. Jason and I got rid of cable before I started staying home with Morgan but Mimi and Papa Doug have cable. So the entire day leading up to the race my girls were getting their Disney Jr. fix.

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The Guads: Trail Running in the Mountains of Texas

joe_prusaitis_art1In the state of Texas, it’s hard to find a set of trails finer than the Guadalupe Mountains, the Guads. This land, where the Mescalero Apaches ruled over 100 years ago, has a spiritual atmosphere to it. At altitudes between 5000 and 8600 feet, it’s one of my favorite playgrounds. This is where I go for a final tune-up, to get right, to heal whatever is hurting my head or my soul. My body, on the other hand, is about to be abused.

theguads14

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Jemez Trail Run 50M Race Report 2014: Snowflakes Gone Wild

What started as wonderful running conditions earlier in the morning was now rain and falling temperatures as I left Pajarito Canyon aid station at mile 31.4 of the 52.2 mile New Mexico adventure. I was thankful for the large black garbage bag that currently kept my core mostly warm and dry. The extremities on the other hand, were wet and cold. The next 7.2 miles would include over 2800 feet of climbing to the highest point of the course (10,400 feet) – the top of Pajarito mountain before bombing down a steep ski-run and twisting singletrack to the course oasis, the Ski Lodge aid station.

I left the Pajarito Canyon aid station with Oklahoma local and friend, Nancy. This mountain scamper was familiar to both of us, but the dynamic weather conditions were not.

I sensed some apprehension in Nancy’s eyes, but we left to begin our grunt up the mountain hopeful and focused.

“Let’s do this!”

And then the rain turned to ice crystals.

The ice crystals turned to snow flakes.

Snow flakes became flurries at 8,000 feet and the top of Pajarito mountain was now white.

Step by step we hiked our way towards the top of our final big climb of the race. We headed directly into the wind and snow. Head down. Step. Step. Step.

Nancy followed closely 10-20 meters behind. We both felt the comfort in being with another person as conditions worsened. We told each other we would stay together through this mountain climb.

And then a runner came towards us down the mountain, heading the wrong direction.

Shivering. Wet.

“It’s crazy up there.”

Nancy and I briefly chat with the runner to make sure they are OK as they continue back to the Pajarito Canyon aid station alone.

Nancy and I continued on as we both begin to feel a bit more anxious.

I mentioned, “We really need to focus. We can do this! But you need to be in charge of you.”

And then we see more weather impacted carnage coming down the mountain.

And another.

After the third runner retraced their steps and headed back down the mountain to warmer and safer conditions, Nancy and I stop any forward progress and simply look at one another.

Silence…


This year’s Jemez Mountain Trail Run was my fourth consecutive year of play in the surrounding natural playground of Los Alamos, New Mexico. This race is a home away from home for me. Great organizers. Great volunteers. Familiar faces. Great trails and wonderful post-race community vibe.

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Also, love they are a paper-cup free event!

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