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February 24, 2020

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Trials Time With Curly Guillen


Next up on our Trials Time Q&A is rabbitPRO and 'worlds fastest DJ', Curly Guillen. Curly has run 12 marathons, including his incredible PR of 2:17:35 in 2017. Curly is also a father of two, who works two jobs, and who does most of his training alone on the roads of Santa Barbara. We are so very proud of you Curly and can’t wait to see you take to the streets of Atlanta this week! 


1.) What are you using to fuel up?
I’ll be using Maurten drink mix and gels before/during the race. I have been using the drink mix since 2018 and the gels since last year. Easy on the stomach, and I finish every run with it still feeling well hydrated.
 
2.) Favorite part of marathon training? 
 I love seeing the progress made from week 1 to the final few weeks of training. The intervals have gotten faster and longer with less recovery. 
 
3.) Least favorite part of marathon training? 
Tapering has always been weird for me. The moment I start bringing the mileage down I feel all these aches and pains that I didn’t feel before. I get worried about making it to the start line in one piece. 

4.) What is your goal going into the race? 
 I’m excited to be there and mix it up. It is an honor to be among the best American marathoners over the last 4 years. The goal is to finish as near the front as possible and hopefully PR in the process.
 
5.) What number marathon is this for you?
 Lucky number 13
 
6.) What has been the hardest part of your build up? 
 I got stuck running 80 miles a week in singles for most of my training weeks. It was hard to find the extra time to fit in doubles. I managed one week of 100 miraculously. I wish I was able to get in more high mileage weeks. 
   
7.) Advice for someone giving marathoning a first try? 
Getting to the start line healthy is half the battle is what I always say. The first marathon is about learning the distance, gaining the confidence and experience to know you can push beyond what you thought was possible. Once that is out of the way and you set your initial benchmark, you can focus on adjusting things to do better in the next marathon. So get out there and have fun. I guarantee you will get hooked.
February 23, 2020

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Trials Time with Ryan Miller


Our first ever rabbitPRO, Ryan Miller is taking to the streets of Atlanta with tons of momentum! Setting a new half marathon PR of 63:45 last month and an impressive 2:14 marathon at CIM in 2018, we are so excited to watch Ryan crush it next weekend!


1.) What are you using to fuel up?
I’m fueling up with flexi-tarian diet focused on high quality carbs, proteins, and fats with minimal animal product consumption. I’m using Klean Athlete supplements to support this diet. On race day, I’ll use Maurten!

2.) Favorite part of marathon training? 
My favorite part of marathon training is that sense of accomplishment you feel after locking out a big workout you may not have thought was possible to complete before starting. That and eating a waffle before bed every night so I don’t wake up starving.

3.) Least favorite part of marathon training? 
My least favorite part of marathon training is just that overall lethargic feeling you have to do anything outside of running and the minimally required activities to stay gainfully employed. Sometimes it nice to stay out late and enjoy a drink with friends!

4.) What is your goal going into the race? 
I have tiered goals for the trials. C goal to place higher than I’m seeded (about #50 right now). B Goal is to place in the top 25. A goal is to place in the top 10.

5.) What number marathon is this for you?
This will be Marathon #4 for me. I’ve run Grandma’s, CIM, and San Antonio Rock & Roll.

6.) What has been the hardest part of your build up? 
The hardest part of this buildup has been maintaining consistency through some non-injury related setbacks. Missed about two weeks of training in January due to the flu and have been hit with the “I’m laying in bed, but can’t shut my brain down” sleep struggles.

7.) Advice for someone giving marathoning a first try? 
My advice for a first time marathoner would be to stay consistent in your training, focus on building your long run duration/intensity, and remember that’s it’s a fairly simple activity... one foot in front of the other!
February 22, 2020

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Trials Time with Jarrett LeBlanc

Next up on our Trials Time Q&A with a member of our rabbitPRO squad...

There’s only a small list of people who have run a sub 4 minute mile and a sub 2:10 marathon.  rabbitPRO Jarrett LeBlanc is looking to become one of those few.  With an incredible 3:59 mile PR and a smoking fast 2:13 marathon best, look out for Jarrett in Atlanta. 

1.) What are you using to fuel up?
I have been an avid user of Maurten. Both the gel and drink solution mix. I am able to tolerate quite a bit of fuel while running without gastric issues.
 
2.) Favorite part of marathon training? 
The long runs. The marathon specific work that builds into long runs!
 
3.) Least favorite part of marathon training? 
I don't get to do as much short faster stuff that just makes me feel like a miler again. 
 
4.) What is your goal going into the race? 
A top 10 finish is a realistic approach on my best day. And if God's timing and my day line up: A top 3 finish.
 
5.) What number marathon is this for you?
This will be my 4th marathon!
 
6.) What has been the hardest part of your build up? 
Just the grind day in and out of the 12-16 weeks before the race. Theres no magic number of miles or given workouts, but just putting together a line of consistent hard  and SMART work.
 
7.) Advice for someone giving marathoning a first try? 

RELAX. Having your heart-rate higher than normal at the start will burn off some much needed calories that you could use later in the race. I try to think of it as a 25-30km race with a rolling 10k warmup to start. 

February 21, 2020

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Trials Time with Allison Cleaver

 

Next up on our Trials Time Q&A with our rabbitPROs is Allison Cleaver who heads into the Olympic Trials with a 2:36:15 PR. She's been logging many miles and many hours studying for the nursing boards (which she just passed!!) and we could not be more excited for her to toe the line in Atlanta next week! 

1.) What are you using to fuel up?

Maurten!

2) Favorite part of marathon training?

My favorite part is grinding out long miles with friends here in Austin. There's a decent size group currently training for the trials right now, its amazing! 

3.) Least favorite part of marathon training?

I'm not a huge fan of all the doubles. So, I try to hit all my runs in a single run.

4.) What is your goal going into the race?

Run tough and be competitive!

5.) What number marathon is this for you?

Number 4!

6.) What has been the hardest part of your build up?

December through January, I was studying for my nursing boards. The long miles in the morning followed by the long hours of studying throughout the day was so mentally draining for me. It was worth it though because I passed. :)

7.) Advice for someone giving marathoning a first try?

The road to marathon training is a rollercoaster. You'll have good weeks and bad weeks but that's okay because you're still putting in the work. All of those weeks will pay off! BE PATIENT!

February 18, 2020

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Trials Time with Tyler McCandless


As many of you know, the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials are just over a week away!! Over at rabbit, we are hopping with excitement for this incredible race, especially because we have so many rabbit athletes toeing the line, including seven members of our rabbitPRO squad! It's going to be a truly epic day. To help get all of you pumped up for the race, we are so excited to launch a daily Q&A on the blog with a member of our rabbitPRO squad who will be racing the Trials in Atlanta next week. And we are so excited to start off with a bang with someone who is both a meteorologist and a 2:12:38 marathoner. Pretty darn cool, we know. Without further ado, let's hear what rabbitPRO Tyler McCandless has to say about the trials!

1.) What are you using to fuel up?

I'll be using Maurten 320 out on the course, which we have at miles 2,6,10,14,18 and 22. It's worked in past marathons so rule #1 is do not change what has worked!

2.) Favorite part of marathon training? 

The process - it's fun to enjoy the journey in route to a big goal. 

3.) Least favorite part of marathon training? 

The downtime afterwards. I struggle with post-marathon blues unless I have my next big goal or season at least partially mapped out. 

4.) What is your goal going into the race? 

Be competitive and execute the race plan I have. Being able to execute a race plan is hard given there's a lot of variables you can't control. My goal is to have a strong and confident mindset to execute my race plan and finish as high as I can to the best of my abilities.

5.) What number marathon is this for you?

I've done something like 17 or 18 marathons. Earlier in my career I did too many where I used a few low key marathons almost as training runs for the key marathon. Ultimately this was a poor choice and now settling in to about 2 marathons per year. 

6.) What has been the hardest part of your build up? 

I wouldn't say anything has been hard, really. It's been a consistent build-up of building positive momentum and excitement towards upcoming races and the Olympic Trials. I've been very fortunate to have the most supportive, encouraging and positive wife that gives me extra motivation to train as hard as I can while balancing a full-time career outside of sport and being a new father.

7.) Advice for someone giving marathoning a first try? 

Be absolutely as patient as you can be! It's really fun to feel good in the last 10K rather than to be holding on for dear life. I remember having vision so blurred at mile 24 of my first marathon that I couldn't tell which direction to turn on the course until I got within 10 feet of a police office waving his arms at me to turn left...maybe do not go out aggressively as I did that day... 

Stay tuned for another great Q&A on the blog tomorrow! 

January 15, 2020

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Am I As Good As I Once Was?

rabbitPRO Eric Senseman ran the Bandera 100K last weekend, which was the first Western States Golden Ticket race of the year. Eric didn’t quite have the day he was hoping for and he shares his powerful and very relatable experience on the blog. This is another incredible read from Eric and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do:

If you’ve ever had a running nightmare, it’s probably come in one of several forms. The setting is typically race morning or during the actual race. In the nightmare, it might be that you can’t tie your shoes properly or that you can’t find them (your shoes) at all. Other times your jersey doesn’t fit properly or you forgot your shorts. Perhaps, in the nightmare, you went horribly off course while in the lead or you couldn’t find the course at all. (As an anecdote, I’ve had a nightmare in which I typed in the race address to Google maps only to arrive at the destination in complete darkness and with no one around. Apparently it was the wrong address.) Probably the worst type of running nightmare is when you’re running but you’re not running well and in fact you’re running quite slowly and it feels like you’re running through quicksand while everyone else if floating along and people are passing you and there’s nothing you can do to keep up. 

I’m not sure how many people have running nightmares or why they occur. I guess they develop out of insecurity or the harrowing depths of uncertainty. Maybe you’ve had some decent race results in the past and you fear that you might not be able to replicate those again and maybe those solid results were the exception instead of the rule and perhaps it was all a fluke and you aren’t as good as you thought you were and there’s a growing bundle of anxiety deep within your psyche that causes them (the nightmares).

Rarely in life do we have a metric so objective and consistent as time by which to compare ourselves and the sport of running allows us to use that metric with absolute precision so that if I cover a certain distance in a certain amount of time one day and then I cover the same distance in a greater amount of time four years later (and if in both cases I’m trying my hardest), then I can rightly conclude that I’m not as good as I was four years earlier. (Coaches will often tell you not to compare times present with past times, especially in training, but good luck with that.) 

Then there are the oh-so-easy to compare race results that take that objective, consistent metric of time and combine it with an equally universal metric that is a race course (provided of course (pun not intended) that the race course does not change year-to-year) and suddenly you can compare your current self to your former self with an unforgiving level of exactness. So much so that if like me you’ve run 5:46:54 at the JFK 50 Mile or if you’ve raced your way into the Western States 100 twice by finishing fourth at the Lake Sonoma 50 and third at the Black Canyon 100k, then you can later say you aren’t as good as you once were if you run a slower time at those races or don’t finish among the top ten or whatever.

This past weekend in Texas I ran the Bandera 100k, the first of five races that grant entry to the Western States 100 to the first two male and female finishers. I had anything but a good race and it was quite a lot like the worst type of running nightmare where people keep passing you and you’re completely impotent and rather early on in the race it got to a point where I had to repeatedly ask myself why I should even bother to continue. I decided each time that I should continue and ultimately I finished and I came in 12th place and I’m not sure that I was relieved or happy or anything except for sad when I finished. In continuing on and finishing despite another underwhelming and disappointing day (I was coming off a rather unremarkable performance at The North Face 50 Mile Championships back in November when I finished 29th), I don’t think it made me heroic or courageous or anything besides persistent. What it really made me was a bad professional runner. And if you want to be good at something, and I do want to be a good runner, then the last thing you want to be is bad at it. (If it occurs to you that you might be bad at the thing you want to be good at, you’ll probably be sad.) So during the race and after I reluctantly found myself asking some rather unappetizing questions about how good I really am at running and perhaps how really not good I am at present. Those types of questions inevitably lead to deeper questions about why you’re doing what you’re doing and whether you should keep doing it. I’m not sure that anyone can answer such troubling questions with complete honesty but if you really force yourself to be sincere (and I should note that when you’re 50 miles into a race you’re rather vulnerable and it’s a very opportune time for sincerity) you can find out who you truly are and why the hell you’re continuing to run when anything you wanted from the race is no longer achievable. 

What I realized this past Saturday amidst some tragically slow miles is that I don’t know if I’m as good as I once was. Could I once again win a prestigious event or race my way into a prestigious one? I hope so but I really don’t know. What I do know is that I still want to try to achieve those results again and so I want to train hard and make sacrifices for the sake of getting better and show up to competitive races and attack them with a fearlessness that suffocates any real-life running nightmares. And I also realized that it’s the trying and attempting to be my best rather than the success itself that keeps me racing. (To that end, there are countless aphorisms that make the same general point about the process being more important than the outcome. They are almost cliches. A few gems: “Success is a journey, not a destination.” “It’s not where you end up, it’s how you got there.” “One bad day doesn’t make a bad life.”) 

Ultrarunning will teach you a lot about yourself if you let it and if you’re truthful. You’ll learn the most on days when things aren’t going your way. I think I kept moving forward on Saturday instead of dropping out because I knew that even though it wasn’t a good race for me, my best race that day meant finishing. And if I dropped out early and knew that I hadn’t given the race my best, I think I would have had a very hard time looking at myself in the mirror this week and I’d go to bed each night with regrets and I’d struggle to speak honestly about why I dropped and I’d make excuses and basically lie to people to cover up the fact that I really didn’t give the race all I had that day. The truth is that I might not be as good as I once was. At least not this very moment. But in a way, as a person, perhaps I’m better than I once was because the race forced me to ask and ponder and listen and answer honestly. 

Ours is a sport that exposes performances for what they truly are. It can also allow us to find out who we truly are, deep down. I hope you can do some searching the next time the going gets tough. You might not always like what you learn but you’ll be better for it. 

January 08, 2020

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Running Into 2020

Dear Runners and Dreamers,

Now that the busy holidays are behind us, we want to take a moment to say how grateful we are for the immense support that we’ve received over these last three-and-a-half years. rabbit has evolved from a simple, but at times seemingly impossible, idea between two running friends into a cutting-edge performance running apparel brand represented by runners (you!) all over the world. Seeing how much we’ve accomplished in the three-and-a-half years that rabbit has been around, it’s hard to possibly imagine how much we’ll accomplish together in the coming years!

But we runners like to look forward. We wait with anticipation for the next season, or race, or workout or product launch. As a forward-thinking brand, we at rabbit have our sights set on an exciting year in 2020 and we can’t wait to share it with you. We hope we’ll see you on the roads, trails or somewhere in between. Here’s a sneak peek at our busy and bustling year ahead: 

  • As you probably know, this year is an Olympic year and whether you’re participating at the Trials or planning to complete your first ever race or somewhere in-between, we want to help you step up your game. That’s why this month we’re launching our highest performance collection to date, the PR Collection. For the elite runner to the weekend warrior, won’t you join us in making 2020 the year of the PR. 
  • We can’t wait to cheer on more than 30 of our athletes at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta at the end of February. We’ll have details to come soon on how you can get involved with us in Atlanta! 
  • In April, we’ll return to the Boston Marathon and then back to our home state of California the next weekend at the Big Sur Marathon, as we are the official apparel sponsor of the Boston 2 Big Sur double. It’s gonna be a crazy two weeks and we are so stoked about it. 
  • In May, the rabbit track classic is back in Santa Barbara! This is a last chance opportunity for athletes trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials on the track. With multiple distances, including youth, community events and elite races, this is one you don’t want to miss. 
  • You’ll see us all over the trails this year, too. In mid-March, we’ll launch our new trail capsule during Nine Trails, a 35-mile race held on our backyard trails. In June, you’ll find us supporting runners at the historic Western States 100. Then, in October, you’ll once again find us in Arizona as a sponsor of the Javelina 100.

As a brand and as a community, we are so very proud and amazed at how far we’ve come and we could not be more excited about our future. And we know none of this is possible without you. For the years of support and love we’ve already received and for the many more years to come, we want to say thank you. 

We don’t just have your back in the coming year - we’ve got you covered from head to toe. Here’s to making memories, building friendships, and running in style and comfort in 2020. 

-Monica and Jill, co-founders

December 19, 2019

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An Unlikely Journey to a Life of Ultrarunning

We are so incredibly proud and excited to introduce our newest rabbitPRO, Adam Kimble. Adam has been a member of the rabbitELITEtrail team for the past two years, but after numerous outstanding performances, it was clear that Adam earned his place on the PRO squad. On the blog, read all about Adam's journey from D1 baseball player to professional ultrarunner to rabbitPRO, all from Adam himself.

My road to becoming a professional ultrarunner has been an unconventional one to say the least. I’ve always been an athlete, but wasn’t a runner until much later in life.  I played Division-1 college baseball at Bradley University and during my career, I really didn’t enjoy running at all!  As a baseball player, running was often a punishment or just what we did at conditioning, neither of which I enjoyed very much.  It wasn’t until after my baseball days that I started to develop a love for running.  After I graduated, I realized that I really missed the “game day” competition and camaraderie of teammates.  As such, I was looking for a new outlet.  Enter distance running.

After my wife convinced me to run a half-marathon to “get in shape” in 2011, I ran my first ever marathon a year later in 2012.  Upon completing the race, I can very vividly remember telling my friends that “I’m never doing that ever again.”  Less than two weeks later, I signed up for my next one!  However, with ultrarunning, it was different.  I signed up for a trail 50k in 2014 and showed up at the race underprepared for the trail conditions.  Less than a mile into the race, we were trudging through knee deep water.  And though you might think that would have left a sour taste in my mouth, it actually made it more memorable and appealing to me. I was attracted to the challenges and obstacles that trail racing presented, and it made me curious for even longer distances.  So, just under two months after that first 50k, I ran my first 50-miler.  After crossing the finish line, I was intrigued by the thought of what happens after Mile 50, so I signed up for my first 100-miler two months after that.  Each and every time I ran a longer distance, I found more joy in the process and ultimately, more success in the races.

In 2015, while traveling internationally with my wife, I decided to test my merits on the international level and compete in the 4Deserts Gobi March self-supported 250km multi-stage race.  I raced for five days (150 miles total) against competitors from over 40 countries and to my surprise, I ended up winning the race! At that moment in time my eyes were opened to the possibility of a career in professional ultrarunning.  Since that race in 2015, I made one major promise to myself: build your life around your greatest passion.  For me, ultrarunning and its incredible community is that passion and calling.  From the time I won that first big ultra, I’ve been able to run across the US, set the FKT for running self-supported across Great Britain while summitting the Three Peaks, set the second-fastest time ever for the 172-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, and finish on the podium at four different 100-mile races.  I’ve also become a USATF-certified running coach, a Race Director for the multi-stage race organization called Beyond the Ultimate, and a motivational speaker.  All these things fulfill me and allow me to intertwine my love for running across a variety of platforms. 

As I mentioned earlier, I was missing both the competition of sport and the camaraderie of my teammates after I finished playing baseball.  Racing at the highest level of competition in ultrarunning fulfills the first part, and the community around our sport fulfills the rest!  After moving to Lake Tahoe from Chicago three years ago, I was thrust into a different world of running.  Rather than the flats of Illinois, I was running at elevation and mostly on trails in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  It took to time to adjust to that, but what didn’t take time was the love the trail and ultrarunning community in Tahoe showed to me from Day 1.  When I told myself to live a life built around my passions, I had no idea that ultrarunning was going to lead me to cross paths with some of the kindest, most supportive friends I could have ever asked for.  And I’m not just talking about running friends and people I met at races; I’m also talking about sponsors who treat me like family. Just over two years ago I started wearing rabbit clothing, and instantly fell in love with the product.  It’s the most comfortable running clothing I’ve ever worn!  But that’s not the only thing I look for in a sponsor.  More importantly, I want the support of rad people who believe in me and are doing rad things to give back to our sport.  To be a part of the rabbitPRO team means the world to me, and I couldn’t be more excited for the journey ahead!  My 2020 race season kicks off with the Tarawera 100-Miler in February in New Zealand (part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour), one of my favorite countries in the world.  After that, I’m slated to run some combination (TBD) of the Pioneer Spirit 50, Lake Sonoma 50, UROC 100k, TRT 100-Miler and California International Marathon.  One of my biggest goals for the year is to set a new personal best at every distance from the marathon to 100 miles.  Knowing that I have the full support of the rabbit family behind me on these endeavors makes me that much more confident that I’ll get it done.  I couldn’t be more stoked for huge accomplishments in 2020 and beyond!

December 14, 2019

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Running and Dreaming Together

On the blog, RADrabbit Sam Snyder delivers a powerful recap of his meaningful CIM experience and the incredible impact a single marathon has across the running community. 

Hobbling through the Sacramento airport every runner gave the other a knowing nod, an understanding of chosen suffering, and an embrace of a common bond, forged through both shared and distinct experiences somewhere between Folsom and Sacramento the day before.  

Walking off the plane, congratulating other runners and parting with high fives I couldn’t shake the notion that CIM 2019 might have been one of my most profound experiences in recent memory.  

 

Looking backwards to 2015, I vividly remember a cold, slightly snowy November morning.  Running with my friends Kate and Jen as they spoke of the California International Marathon, of qualifying for Boston. I chuckled as we moved. “No way.” “Not a chance.” An easy dismissal, like brushing the falling snow off the sleeve of my jacket. Suddenly here I am having achieved those goals this past weekend at that very race, yet moved by so much more than the click of a clock.  

Back then I knew so little. A late in life runner seeking some sanity, not speed and certainly not races, goals, BQs . . sub 3s?.  I gave little thought to the larger questions about running and its impact on community or society.  

In early 2016, when I applied in that first round to be a rabbit brand ambassador - a RAD rabbit - I did so out of intrigue for this startup brand that appeared motivated by a similar set of shared values. Looking back I had no real idea what it meant to be a Runner and a Dreamer.  

None.  

I think, after this last weekend, I finally do.  

 

A year ago I watched CIM from afar, vowing that I must run that race. Largely because it seemed like one of the greatest meet ups of all the other rabbits, the brand I had grown to embrace for its community, character, and collective spirit. The FOMO was palpable. Sure I was intrigued by those seeking that OTQ or setting and besting their own goals last year. But all the possible friends in real life, in one place, had me internally committing to run CIM.  

Leading up to this year’s race, while focused on goals and hanging onto training, I occasionally admitted my excitement to meet so many friends in real life. I was only half joking when I told Mary Schneider, that the prospect of friends perhaps excited me more than the race. She rightly cautioned me to focus on the task at hand.  

Yet that Sacramento meetup held so much more than I imagined. So many faces I knew virtually were now around me. Initial handshakes upon introductions led to deep embraces as if long lost friends seeing each other after ages. These were connections forged online, through the pursuit of running now manifest as real, powerful relationships that felt decades deep.  

 

 

Perhaps the secret gift of running is community. So much of running is personal, individual, and at times very, very lonely. The long runs with tempo work forced to do alone in the dark, the time spent away from family and friends, focused on what outsiders may see as odd, arbitrary and sadistic goals. Yet, we know there are other runners out there doing the same thing at the same time. Whether we know them or not we share that bond. And when you put us all into a room together, it’s like we’re long lost childhood friends in a candy store.  

 So, while we all run for our own and varied reasons, one cannot deny the power of these connections, this community as a central tenet of our efforts. And on Saturday in Sacramento, we shared an electric excitement for what lay ahead.  

Throughout the day, perhaps the most common conversation centered around the ever shifting weather forecast. My routine response: “it’s going to be a beautiful day. Just wait.”  

The weather turned out pretty darn good - drizzle, clouds, a bit of sunshine (which this Alaskan hated for its quick heat), drizzle, and . . . OK I could have done without the headwind at mile 15 or so). But, the day? The day itself was pure beauty.  

For some that breathtaking sunrise of goals set and achieved, PRs, BQs secured, and OTQs punched. For others, the crumbling heartbreak of goals missed by the whisper of time. And others, finish lines missed as bodies revolted or gave in to the unanticipated.  In all cases, profound, raw, emotional beauty. As David Melly eloquently penned, it was the “beauty of humanity laid bare.”   

My own race, like others, held a roller coaster of emotions. Calm, excitement, and nerves balanced between confident attack and fear of blowing up. The early miles were fun and full of opportunity. The middle miles a hopeful analysis of things to come. And those final miles, that last 5K, defined by sheer will to keep moving as the wheels threatened to wobble off the bus and into the ditch.  

 

Three, four days later, I cannot get enough of the videos and reflections. Never mind the “shoe debate.” The video of 75 plus humans working on that OTQ train is absolute beauty. The commentary of sharing and support on board that train, an example of humanity we seem to lack in everyday life anymore.  

But, it’s not just the elites and sub elites who exemplified this humanity. From the start to finish, the marathon, and certainly CIM, brings out those silent, distant bonds built on our own trails and streets, training plans, and individual efforts to get to this point. On those roads between Folsom and Sacramento the metaphysical became physical  

While I didn’t have the pleasure of working with a pack of dozens like that OTQ train, somewhere between the 3:05 pace group and the 3:10 pace group there was a rotating dozen or so of us, who chuckled at signs, offered comments or encouragement along the way, and when the headwind found us at mile 16, we had a moment of acknowledgement working together toward calmer roads.  But the power of my race came in that final mile and a half, when the wheels were mostly off. A much faster friend whose race had deteriorated due to a nagging injury, slid up beside me and then willed me to the finish. I, like others, attained a goal through the selflessness of others.

 

Upon crossing that finish line, avoiding puking and catching my breath, I took a moment to ponder all that I had accomplished. Then I quickly scanned the crowd for friends. Where were other rabbits? Or my Alaskan crew? Did Ryan break 2:30? How massively did Julianne crush her goal? I urgently wanted to hear their stories and celebrate their work. And, there in the celebration of their pursuit, I lost sight of my own self.  

And in the end, what seems to some like a selfish pursuit, is so very selfless. Yes, we run for ourselves, but it’s the others around us who do everything from directly supporting to unknowingly inspiring. It’s the friends lost to tragedy (#fuckcancer) for whom we run and embrace the privilege to suffer. It’s our children who silently watch us grind and greet us at the finish line, asking if we “won.” It’s those faster or slower than us who inspire the additional step when we feel there are no steps left.  

That, I have learned, is what is all about. That is the lesson of Sunday.  

It turns out, Sunday was indeed beautiful. Sunday exemplified the power, emotion, and meaning of the marathon. To borrow again from David Melly, the beauty of running and dreaming was laid bare on those roads between Folsom and Sacramento.  

 

December 02, 2019

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Race Recap: 24 Hour World Championships

rabbitELITEtrail athlete, Jake Jackson competed for Team USA in the 24 Hour World Championships last month! Read all about his incredible experience and an amazing top 10 finish!

Life and ultra running share many similarities. If you're not very good at adapting to problems thrown at you, you'll never be very good at either one.

 

I was fortunate enough to be selected to run for team USA at the 2019 IAU 24 Hour World Championships in Albi France, held on October 26th. My qualifying distance of 157.589, run at last years Desert Solstice, placed me in the number 3 spot on the men's team consisting of Olivier LeBlond, Rich Riopel, Steve Slaby, Harvey Lewis and Greg Armstrong.

Both the US men's and women's teams were comprised of some the the best ultra runners in the world and I was feeling extremely under experienced compared to my teammates. My training leading up to the race had been going well and as the race day closed my confidence grew. Experienced or not, it was only running and I knew how to do that.  

After a long flight out of LAX the family and I settled into one of the host hotels, Grand Hotel d' Orleans.  Jet lag was nothing I had ever dealt with so I was happy to arrive a few days early.  We had one day of team meetings, team photos, and sightseeing.  Then, the Friday before the race, the 45 teams from all around the world gathered for a opening ceremony parade starting from the Sainte Cecile Cathedral and ending at The Grand Theatre. While the town of Albi isn't very big,  it has a rich history and is quite beautiful.

 

The race started the following day at 10am under clear, cool skies.  The coaches, crew and athletes frantically got the aid tent prepared and before long the race was starting.  The plan prior to the race was to have my wife Missy crew me while the kids were looked after by my mother-in-law.  Unfortunately my mother-in-law fell ill before our flight and couldn't make the trip leaving me without a designated crew.  We got word the day before the race that only a handful of passes were to be given to each team limiting the amount of crew available.  Thankfully Camille Herron's husband Conor offered to crew the both of us so things were set.

The few moments before the starting gun was sounded I had an overwhelming feeling of pride to be wearing the American flag on my chest and to be able to represent our country, on the highest level of this sport, was all too surreal.

 The race takes place on a looped 1500 meter course.  400 meters on the track inside the Albigeois Sports Stadium, the rest on a slightly uneven blacktop and concrete surface around the stadiums perimeter.  We started on the opposite side of the stadium so getting to run past the crowds and all of the aid tents only added to the electricity.  

 


My nutrition plan was to take one Spring Energy gel every 30 minutes and consume one bottle of water mixed with Spring Electroride every hour.  The first 6 hours went off without a hitch averaging 8 minute miles and feeling very comfortable with my effort.  Conor was putting one of each of the two gels types into the pocket of my Orange Mud handheld which made hand offs at the aid tent flawless.  Every 30 minutes it was consume gel, drink fluids and drop bottle a lap later.  

The day started to warm and I noticed quite a few runners using ice bandannas but there was a nice breeze and I wasn't sweating nearly at all so I continued on without needing any extra cooling.  There were two stations set up along the course that had tubs filled with cold water and sponges so I'd occasionally dip my hat or hands into it to clean my face and stay cool. 

 

 

Hours 6-12 my pace had fallen between 8:15-8:25 but my legs were still feeling good.  By this point the winds had picked up some and there were a few stretches outside the stadium where you'd turn a corner and get blasted.  Some drafting techniques I'd learned marathon racing came into play but we were all grateful to be out of the heat heading into the cool night.  I was sitting in 10 place at the end of 12 hours and feeling determined to help the men's team secure a podium spot.  Steve and Greg were having some issues earlier but I wasn't that much ahead of Olivier, Rich, and Harvey so we were still on the hunt. I believe at this point we were sitting in 5th place but had heard the Japan team was starting to falter and losing steam leaving the Hungry, France and Poland team still ahead. 

Hours 12-18 was where things started to get somewhat more difficult.  I was still able to click off miles at a decent pace but Conor was trying hard to get Camille on track and our communication each lap was starting to be interrupted.  There was a few laps I was expecting a bottle or something else I needed that got missed.  Thankfully 1500 meters isn't very long but this late in the race a missed hand off can mess with your mind and rhythm.  Not having Missy crewing and knowing exactly what I need was difficult but I was determined to make the best of the situation and keep a positive mindset.

I had started to get some flavor fatigue from all of the gels and was relying on whole foods from the aid station.  Mostly dark chocolate, crackers and crushed Pringles in a cup.  Megan Alvarado, who unfortunately had to pull herself from the race due to an injury, thankfully offered to take over for Conor and crew me the rest of the race.  At some point I got the craving for some of the fries I kept smelling. Megan put out the word and the US coach Howard Nippert was kind enough to pick some up for me.  I don't think I'd ever been so happy to be eating fries and by the looks of the runners I passed I was causing some jealousy towards me.

Hours 18-24 were as you would expect rough.  The men's team had methodically moved up into contention and were charging.  I was sitting in 7th place and closing.  At 20 hours my legs were having a hard time staying underneath me.  I'd find myself leaning forward too much and with the momentum having to play catch up.  I knew we were close but 4 hours of running might as well feel like 100 when you've been at it for that long.  Rich had come up with a quad strain and was struggling so he was out of the top scoring 3. That left Olivier, Harvey and myself to go after gold.  Steve and Greg were still on course giving support and pacing whenever they could.  

Greg, in-particular, was my saving grace the remainder of the race.  We shared many laps together and with his constant encouragement, motivation, and help with pointing out when I was leaning to far forward, I was able to move at a good pace. (Thank you Greg!! Despite not having the race you'd hoped for, you were a huge part of the success of my race and I will forever be in debt to you for your kindness and generosity.  I hope our paths cross in the near future my friend)  

Sometime before the sun came up, crew chief Zane Holscher, gave word that if we all just kept moving the pace we were at we'd have gold locked up.  What an amazing thing to hear!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I finished 7th overall with 265.650 km(165.07 miles) and Harvey Lewis was the 3rd scoring member finishing 13th with 258.620 km (160.7 miles).  Not only did we take gold we set a new record for men's team distance with 799.755 km (496.94 miles).

When the final second clicked off I couldn't quite grasp what myself and more importantly the US teams had accomplished.  I had just run nearly 7.5 miles further than I did at Desert Solstice on the biggest stage I had ever run on.  The monkey that had been on my back for nearly a year since was finally gone. I wasn't a one hit wonder.  My final distance places me 6th all time on the US list of 24 hour performances.  Just shy of legends Rae Clark and Scott Jurek.  Not too shabby for a truck driver.