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


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


“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


“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


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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EB65: Super Nerd to Ultra Athlete, How Running Can Adapt and Support Your Life Today, Benefits of Volunteering at a Race when Injured, Confessions of a Cookie-aholic – Possum Kingdom Trail Run – Our Chat with Lesley Jones


To support a race with a beneficiary close to Lesley Jones and her family’s heart brought her back to the sport of running after a 10 year break. The half marathon at the Dallas White Rock Marathon provided some tough-love lessons on training, nutrition, hydration, and one from her supportive father at mile 10 when her legs felt like bricks.

“Anybody can run three miles!”

It was a one foot in front of the other journey to the finish…and she did.

While the discomfort was real, so was this amazing feeling of accomplishment.

Over the next months and years, running became not only an activity Lesley deeply enjoyed, but a lifestyle that has adapted with her journey as a mother and eventually a trail runner.

While trail running didn’t come easy and “was not love at first sight”, it would become a place of peace, challenge, and deep friendships.

Lesley at the Possum Kingdom Trail Run (Credit: Susana Orendian)

Lesley at the Possum Kingdom Trail Run (Credit: Susana Orendian)

After taking some time off to heal from an injury last Fall, Lesley returned to the ultra distances and finished the 52M scamper at the Possum Kingdom Trail Run in north Texas in 13:54:52.

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2015 Western States 100: Moments that Build a Life

“It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

15 TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) athletes made the trip West for a trail running adventure of traveling 100.2 miles by foot along the mountain trails at the historic Western States 100. A race you need to have spicy tread or leprechaun luck (lottery) to be a part of. Nearly 400 athletes were just that.

A race that highlights the beauty of our world, of a community, of this life.

A race that has 1500 volunteers selflessly supporting a run in the woods.

A race that celebrates the first to the final finisher (watch 70 year old Gunhild Swanson’s finish – awesome!).

A community that celebrates those that had the courage to start.

Our tribe covered from 29.7 up to 100.2 miles.

Paul Terranova of Texas led our athletes across the finish, hanging in the top 15 of the race from the earlier miles, took three dust cloud creating diggers, and methodically moved himself up through the field to get himself into 10th position with less than 10 miles to the finish. Paul held strong to the Auburn track to cross the line and knock out a few push-ups in 17:43:17 and earned that spot back to Western States in 2016.

In her Western States 100 debut, Nicole Studer of Texas added a bit of bonus mileage but remained determined and consistent throughout the day to finished 6th female in 20:19:56 and receive a ticket to next year’s dance.

Our final TALON athlete to reach the track in Auburn was Darren Christiansen of Texas in 28:27:10.

Western States 100 Moments

A race like this has much more depth than finish times, aid station splits, and calories per hour. So I asked (or challenged 🙂 ) many of our athletes to reflect on Western States and share the detailed story of one moment that made an imprint on them, that touched their soul in some way.


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EB64: The Joy of Running with the Crazies – The Maze 30k – Our Chat with Jess Chaffee


Soccer flowed through Jess Chaffee’s blood.

After college, she quickly transitioned to a sport that had many of the same special components the made soccer such a joy – the preparation, the challenge, the competition, and a surprise – the community.

Instead of cleats, Jess laced up some running tread and began preparing for her first 5 km.

After a great 5 km experience, the feeling of team, of community, further boosted her new-found joy in the simple act of running.

” It was almost like being on a team again…surrounded by a group of people trying to achieve a common goal.”

A move to Austin, Texas led to Jess’s first exploration on the trails and a last minute sign-up for her first trail race running with the crazies at the Bandera 25k in south central Texas on a course known to create a few memories and sotol scars.

“After that I was hooked.”

Having fun on both the roads and trails, this Spring Jess enjoyed a trail adventure at The Maze 30k and was first to cross the finish in the women’s race.

Credit: Jake North /

Bandera 25k / Credit: Jake North /

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

  • finding that competitive outlet in running after a life of soccer
  • the joy running brings to Jess’s life
  • memories from that first trail race at Bandera 25k
  • enjoying the differences between the road and trails
  • favorite local trails
  • running the Houston marathon
  • training 5 days per week, what does it look like?
  • how consistent Yoga has helped her running
  • biggest running lessons learned since her early days on the trail
  • running reads
  • the 3 loop adventure at The Maze 30k

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