1)You won Bandera 100K in January to earn a Golden Ticket to Western States 100. What did you learn from that race (or training block) that you will carry over to your training or racing this year?
Bandera doesn’t have a ton of climbing, though it’s incredibly rocky and technical. My training really focused on long, continuous running and avoid hiking as much as possible, which is so different from my typical daily search for vertical gain. I also started my training block with some fast 200s and 300s, and that greatly improved my running efficiency for all paces and distances. Golden Ticket races inspire me because there’s so little room for error. I’ve come close to earning GTs but always started too conservatively and couldn’t chase down second place. I ran more aggressively at Bandera from the start to be sure I was in a good position to race in the final miles.
2)Favorite trail ever?
The Timberline Trail that circumnavigates Mt. Hood. I backpacked it solo shortly after I graduated high school, it was the first major trail running adventure I undertook, and I have so many good memories doing the loop with friends, so it’s wrapped into my history as a mountain athlete. I’ve dreamt of holding the FKT for years and had a perfect day last fall to finally get it! The trail is a magnificent mix of stream crossings, meadows, and terrain above and below the treeline.
Tyler after setting the Timberline Trail FKT on Mt. Hood.
3)2019 race schedule
I’m treating this as a year to learn and grow as a 100 mile racer, and there’s only one way to do that!
Shamrock Half Marathon
Peterson Ridge Rumble 40m
Tillamook Burn 50m
Western States 100
Cascade Crest 100
Javelina Jundred (depending on how I’m feeling)
4) I read on your blog that you just finished reading Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. What was the biggest takeaway from that book for you? Other book recommendations?
Wowie those guys were tough. That story showed me that the human will to survive is stronger than I ever imagined, and living a good story means facing great adversity. As runners and endurance athletes, we explore the idea of ‘suffering well’, and Shackleton and his men are an extreme example of what that looks like. I recently finished Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. I’m no surfer, but he writes vivid descriptions about his passion for surfing and the vagabond, dirtbag life in pursuit of waves around the world. Trail runners maniacally searching for flowy singletrack and ridgelines will understand. Also, anything by Barry Lopez. Of Wolves and Men, About This Life, and Arctic Dreams are the classics, but he recently released a new book called Horizon that’s on my list to devour. I don’t know of a writer who observes the connection between humankind and the wild better than Lopez.
5) You spend your days teaching middle school English and Health. What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
Well, middle schoolers are awesome. They often get a bad wrap, but I think they’re hilarious and it’s a time in their lives when being authentically known and cared for is so important. This will sound strange, but I feel like I can be myself around them.
I thoroughly enjoy the steady progress I can see when an athlete commits to the process. It’s the kid who shows up on the first day of practice on a whim, and in a month’s time, they’re a completely new person and they’ve discovered this love for movement. Or it’s the veteran ultrarunner who continues the daily practice of lacing up and heading out the door and they continually observe their running improving. Each of us has this beautiful opportunity to do and be something that we’ve never been before, and being able to guide that is a gift.