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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.

Jemez 50M DNF

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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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EB57: Running from the Catcher Car – San Felipe Shootout – Our Chat with Cal Neff


Cal Neff of Texas has lived in various countries throughout our world for much of his youth.

While the address of Cal’s home would frequently change, one constant was running since a very early age.

“It was always my connection to making new friends, being part of the community, and exploring the landscape.”

Through high school and college Cal continued his love of running and performing at a high level.

And then burnout.

After graduating from college in 2007, running took a back seat for a couple years before revisiting the trails. The trails became a home of rejuvenation for Cal. Bringing back the joy of running. The joy of challenging and exploring his mind and body through sport. That fire inside was reignited.

In 2014, Cal was the final runner to be eliminated in the Wings for Life World Run which raises funds for spinal cord injury research. A non-profit very close to Cal’s heart. This weekend Cal will once again be running from the Catcher Car at the Wings of Life World Run held in Turkey.

Recently, Cal won the San Felipe Shoot-out triple which is a unique format that consisted of the accumulated time running a 5k, 10k, and half marathon all in the same morning. Cal knocked it out in 2:08:19!


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

  • the early days of youth – moving and running, moving and running
  • memories from running with his father
  • competing at a high level, the drop, and the return
  • how running translates to life for Cal
  • the 2014 Wings for Life World Run memories
  • thoughts on this weekend’s Wings for Life World Run and big goals
  • running and family
  • favorite reads and some thoughts and experiences with the low carb / high fat nutritional lifestyle
  • 3 races within 3 hours at the San Felipe Shootout

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EB56: Pulling a Tire – Technique, Benefits, Safety, and Drive-by Stares – Our Chat with John Sharp


Tire pulling is hot right now!

It’s sexy.

It’s hypnotic.

It may not be as popular yet as many of the dance crazes you may be familiar with – YMCA, The Twist, Macarena, The Electric Slide, or how about the Texas Two-Step, but in our itty bitty yellow polka dotted micro-world of ultra running, well, there is definite traction.

Have you seen all the social media selfies with that rope and old tire in the background?


After a 3-day 118 mile training weekend that included pulling two tires for 24 miles and pulling one tire for 30 miles, I was able to chat with Texan, John Sharp of Sharp Coaching, who has embraced the Tire Drag as part of his ultra training for some huge adventures this year.


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

  • John’s dandy adventures coming this year
  • memories from 3 days and 118 miles of running and tire draggin’
  • the I-wish-I-was-a-fly-in-the-vehicle conversation John had with a child in a passing vehicle while pulling a tire
  • the story how John got started including ultra legends Lisa Smith-Batchen and Marshall Ulrich
  • the gear – finding that tire. Hint – you can’t go to your local Discount Tires
  • the sensations of the tire drag
  • getting started and technique ideas
  • benefits observed
  • John also includes some huge safety tips to help you stay alive – important!

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Potawatomi 150 Mile Trail Run – 2015 Race Report by Nathan Jackson

Dave: Enjoy as Nathan Jackson of Texas shares his race winning scamper at the Potawatomi 150 Mile Trail Run on the challenging McNaughton Park trail system in the state of Illinois.

Potawatomi_start_nj15150 miles. Simply typing that conjures up images of some lost soul traveling a desolate landscape searching for an oasis. Fortunately for me, there was no desert and my life didn’t depend on making the trek. Not to mention there was plenty of food and water.

I had first attempted this same race in 2014 and to massive disappointment, I wasn’t able to finish. 49 miles in while crossing a creek I had slipped and pulled something in my right foot. Walking became unbearable so I knew my adventure was done. I had walked the last mile back in to the aid station and tried to see if rest would help but the pain was too great to risk further damage. My result was the official “DNF” (Did Not Finish) or Did Nothing Fatal as they say.

I returned for redemption. The Potawatomi Trail Runs are located in Pekin, Illinois, just southeast of Peoria. They have a trail system in McNaughton Park that was not to be messed with. Someone is quoted on their website as saying “comparing the high altitude, long climbs of the western mountains to McNaughton hills is like comparing being eaten by a shark vs. being eaten by a 1000 piranhas … both are unpleasant … just in different ways.” I’d have to agree. There isn’t too much to contend with as far as rocks or roots, although there are plenty but the constant steep hills will keep you walking a good portion of the day. The course is loops of 10 miles with two stream crossings, some open fields and plenty of hills.

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