February in California can be a total crap shoot weather wise. Some years it’ll be sunny and warm in the foothills of the Sierra. Others well, not so much. This is my third year in a row racing near Auburn in the middle of winter. In 2017 I ran Fourmidable, 2018 Way Too Cool, and 2019 back to Fourmidable. All three races have been complete and total mud baths. So much for drought plaguing the state, I think maybe not this year! While much of my personal racing focus has moved towards longer distances I still love to do 50k races! They are hard, and I get to run fairly fast for a change which is not so much the case when I employ my pacing strategies in 100 mile races. My wish was granted as we began the first descent in a pack of about 20 guys running solidly under 6 min pace.

 

 

A little background might help. 2018 was pretty much a year off from racing and a significant reduction in training. All the training and racing of the previous 10 years just piled up and it was clear some real rest was in order. So that’s what I did. As the year came to a close I found myself happily fit. I cut an hour off a favorite 26 mile mountain loop, all of the sudden I was running faster on my everyday runs (still at easy effort) and started doing some light workouts. I’d heard great things about Rocky Raccoon 100 and since I really prefer the 100 mile distance I decided it would be a good first race of 2019. 

Last weekend Trails and Tarmac coaches Camelia Mayfield and Cole Watson raced the California International Marathon, both punched tickets to the 2020 Marathon Olympic Trials.  Camelia finished in 2:42:38 and Cole in 2:18:05. We got the chance to ask them a few questions about their training, the race, and their new plans for 2019 and 2020!

Trails and Tarmac is a relatively new company in the grand scheme of things. We are small, but we had been talking this year about how we might start to give back and make a difference outside of our coaching programs as a small company. After a long search through different organizations we settled on a group called the Siskiyou Mountain Club. Our monetary contribution would barely crack four figures, which would not go far in large organizations, but with a small grass roots non profit like SMC we can make a real difference. This article talks about why we chose to give to SMC, what they do here in Southern Oregon and Northern California, and how their model for trail restoration may be extremely important beyond our region.

Wildfire and wildfire smoke seem to be the biggest reason races are cancelled in the Western US right now. Smoke used to roll through the small towns bordering wild lands, now smoke blankets major metropolitan areas for weeks cancelling events from 5k’s to ultramarathons. A cancelled race pales in comparison to the devastation experienced by people and land that suffer directly from these huge fires. It is still a big bummer to have apocalyptic conditions become the norm, and have something you worked hard and trained for, cancelled. This has been a reality for me every summer since 2013 when smoke over took the Rogue Valley for weeks. Events were cancelled and running moved indoors to the dreaded treadmill. This week the North Face Endurance Challenge events, for very good reason, were cancelled, leaving many runners wondering what to do. Zach Miller wisely advises runners on twitter to make lemonade out of lemons! I could not agree more, so lets dive a little deeper into what your options are, and how to make the best out of possible future cancellations.

This is the first installment in what will become an ongoing series of interviews with different Trails and Tarmac athletes. We coach runners from all over the world training for all types of races. What we know as coaches is that there is so much to learn from each and every runner we work with. We will let our runners tell their stories in their own words and I think we’ll all come away with motivation, new ideas, and an appreciation for every type of running under the sun.

In episode #1 we talk with Jacob Robert. He lives in Michigan with his fiance near Detroit. He’s run races from 5k through the 100 miler while training with Trails and Tarmac with fervor and focus for both the long and the short. We thought he’d be the perfect athlete to start our interview series with. Shoot us an email (info@trailsandtarmac.com) or message on Instagram to let us know what you think and what you might like to see from these interviews in the future.

Failure is a funny term. It means different things to anyone that uses it. It has been sighted that I am someone who happily fails a lot, especially when it comes to attempting FKTs. I have set out on dozens of different attempts on trail and mountain records over the past 15 years, and I have succeeded no more and no less than four times. When people use the word failure to describe all but the four successful attempts well , I get why they use that word. But the reason I am able to come back again and again to the realm of the FKT is that I don’t see missed attempts as failures, for me they are just part of the deal. The main weapon in my athletic arsenal is my ability to shrug off the misses without losing my confidence that most anything is possible. After a failed attempt on the Wonderland in 2016 the trail had woven it’s way into my mind, this year I had to go back and try again.

It’s been a little over a month since Alex Nichols set the Nolans 14 supported fastest known time (FKT). For those unfamiliar with Nolans 14, it’s basically 100 miles that links 14 Peaks all over 14,000, much of it is off trail and very rugged. This record is a mountain of a feat, in fact it is 14 of them. We also thought Alex Nichols and the Nolans 14 would be a great band name… but I digress, Here is our quick interview with Alex.

PC: David Hedges

 

Mental and Emotional Training for Ultras

A perspective from Camelia Mayfield at Western States

About three weeks ago, I was one of the lucky participants of the world-renowned Western States Endurance Run. This was my first hundred-mile race and I thought it might be helpful for me to share more about the mental and emotional experience of running 100 miles. Before this race, the longest I had run was 100k. My finish time of 19:47 means that I ran nine more continuous hours than I had ever run before.

I’ve been asked a thousand times why I run, or how I started running. I’ve probably answered this question a thousand different ways but it always comes back around to me waiting on the porch for my Dad to get back from his morning run, so I could join him for a few laps around the block. My Dad never really pushed me to run, if anything it was quite the opposite.  Seeing as my Dad is 70 and still running strong I thought folks might be interested in his perspective on running.