Thursday, June 21, 2012

Inspiring read by Scott Jurek, "Eat and Run"

When I first heard about Scott's Jurek's new book "Eat and Run" I was very intrigued and purchased a copy on which arrived at my house on the release date of June 4th.  I have finished reading the book and wanted to write about it and highly recommended.  It is a great read at many levels as I will try to illustrate in this blog post.  If you want to get a copy check this site:

To begin with, Scott Jurek, is an ultramarathon legend who has among his many wins 7 consecutive Western States 100 mile races.  The race is the first United States 100 miler which started in 1974 and is run on the 3rd Saturday and Sunday in June.  The next event takes place June 23 of this year.  For more info on this particular event, check out their web site at
Scott Jurek was born and raised in Minnesota and the book begins with his early childhood and conflicts with his father and having to deal with his mother's chronic illness.  He goes on to describe his early athletic career where he excelled in cross-country skiing.  Subsequent chapters go on to describe in detail his training and races at Western States and other events he participated in including the Badwater Ultramarathon, Copper Canyon Ultramarathon, Hardrock 100, and the Spartathlon in Greece.

In addition, throughout the book we find out about Scott's discovery of the vegan diet in 1997 and how he felt this influenced him as an athlete.  At the end of every chapter, he provides some of his favorite vegan recipes such as 'Lentil mushroom burger" and "Minnesota winter chili" which he says tasted so good that is when he decided he could be a vegetarian.
Lastly, he includes training tips on issues such as breathing, stretching, and finding the time to exercise.  Several color pictures give a glimpse of the beautiful places he has been to in his career.

I came away inspired and I think some of you may also be able to take away quite a bit in reading this.

Lastly, as part of his book tour, he recorded several podcasts about his book and the best one in my view was his interview with   and at

Monday, June 11, 2012

Forest Fire June 2012

As part of my quest to do as much altitude training as possible in the area, I made plans to go to Ruidoso for the June 9-10 weekend.  I had planned to summit Sierra Blanca peak (12,000 feet elev.) but my access via Ski Run road was thwarted by the Little Bear Fire in nearby Alto and Capitan.   So I studied my Lincoln National Park maps and google earth to see how I could approach the mountain from a different approach.  I headed out from Ruidoso off Mecham on Cedar Creek Road until the trail head at the end of the road (about 4 miles).   At the trail head, I ran into a hiker who told me that the trail ended in Indian land, that is The Mescaleco Indian Reservation.   With this in mind, I went up until the trail ended and then followed my compass on the I phone to navigate the peak which I could see from that location.  There was no true trail but the forest is being thinned to prevent forest fires from spreading and so I was able to find some "trails" where people accessed the forest to cut down the trees.  Since there was no trail it took a bit of work and following several falls on loose ground.  The climb reminded me of You tube video I had watched from the Barkley Marathons in Tennesse which is 100 mile race with 5X20 mile loops with a lot of navigating with compass with no trails. 

Along the way, I encountered a little plant that stung like hell, I thind it was poison oak but I am not sure so I took a picture of it. 

After that, I was paying attention to little plants like this,  having learned my lesson.

I arrived at the foot of the mountain that I had spotted from Ruidoso.  The remaining 1,000 foot climb was on the bare mountain with a significant incline (21% grade) .  There were no trees or vegetation and I made my way up by creating my own switchbacks to get up.  I arrived to the summit after 3.5 miles which took me 2:14:11.  The views from this summit which was 9,400 feet were spectacular and I got to see Sierra Blanca which will have to wait for another day.

Sierra Blanca Peak and Little Bear Fire

Little Bear Fire

To the north, I also had a spectacular view of the Little Bear Fire and the city of Ruidoso as well. As I started my descent, I realized it was going to be hard to find the trail again where I had left my car.  I decided to follow the creeks as they would take me back to the city.  I passed a lot of dry creek beds but then reached what I would later find out was the Ruidoso River where I was able to drink some water and pour some on my head.  I followed the river into town and then went back to the road where I driven to the original trail head.  I had to go back uphill and finished the entire hike/run in 5:20 having covered only 15 miles with 5,200 feet of total ascent and all above 7,000 feet.
The next day, I ran an easy 10 miles with 2,000 feet of total ascent.  Overall, I feel a good training weekend as I approach 4 weeks until Leadville 50 miles on July 15.