Posts Tagged ‘50 miler


White River 50 Miler Race Report! Long post with pics.

This was by far the most difficult event that I have ever experienced!!  I did this same race last year but this year was much harder.  Many ups and downs.  Many calm and chaotic moments.  In fact, it seemed as though I experienced just about everything during this race.  It was an intensely humbling and cleansing 11 hours and 48 minutes.  I have several pictures and stories of the race so keep reading.

WR50 001

Here I am at the start of the race at 5:30 a.m.  I have my three drop bags in my right hand and my water bottles in the other.  At this point I am a bit nervous about the journey but also very excited.  The early starters took off in into the mountains with a calm spirit.  Two miles into the race my watch beeped to let me know that the signal from my foot pod (the thing that tells me my pace) was lost.  I stopped for about 10 minutes to look for it and finally found it.  Then I looked at my shoe to find the clip that holds the pod onto the shoe and it also was gone. I got mad and threw the foot pod out into the forest.  About a mile later I realized I was looking at the wrong shoe and the clip was still there. DAMN IT!!  I thew a $100 foot pod away for nothing.  This was mentally discouraging because from that point on I never knew how far nor how fast I was running.

WR50 009

Here is a nice shot of what much of the 50 mile trail looked like.  Lots of roots, lots of elevation change, and lots of dust.  My legs were almost black at the finish line.  The fact that it was a trail run is also a major factor in what and how sore I get.  My ankles are very sore now because of the different terrain.  There is also a lot of leaping and jumping involved.

Miles 1-8:  After losing the foot pod my mental side of things kind of pooped out.  Around mile 6 my legs were burning on the up-hills.  This was also alarming but I knew I had to press on.

Miles 9-17:  This was basically the first climb up the first major hill.  It is a very steep and long hill that occasionally had ladders/stairs to get you up to other parts of the trails.  I was still in pretty good spirits though and I usually pass a lot of people going up because my walk is pretty fast.  The down hill sections are the ones were I usually get passed by others.  Once I got to the top of the first hill it was a relief but I knew that it was still only the beginning.

WR50 003

Here I am at the 27.2 mile aid station.  It took me 5 hours and 23 minutes to get there.  My wonderful wife met me with some water and socks.   I washed off my feet and changed socks.  What a refreshing feeling it was just to change my socks.  I had a blister developing on the ball of each foot at this point.  These blisters were not show stoppers by any means but they were still there.  At this point I told my wife that I was having a tough time with the run and that it was harder than last year.  It did feel good to be half-way finished but the long down-hill tromp took a tool on my legs.  The turns at the switch backs were really hard because you have to come to almost a stop to make the turn and that takes a lot of leg power when going down hill.

WR50 004

After a 3 or 4 minute rest, I am off again to tackle the second major climb of 8 miles.  The second climb is a bit shorter but also a bit steeper.  By the time I got to the top I was stumbling around a little. HAHAHAHA  Feeling a little fresher from my rest felt good mentally but I knew that the next 8 miles was going to hurt.  This section is also mostly exposed to the direct heat of the sun.  This complicated matters for my attitude.

Miles 27-37:  This was gruesome.  I inched my way up that gigantic hill running any flat or down hill portions.  This hill also contain lots of rocks which frustrated my ankles and hips.  When I got to the top one of the aid station volunteers was worried about me because I was stumbling and maybe swaying a little.  I told her that I was stumbling and that I planned to sit down for about 10 minutes to rejuvenate.  So I did just that.  At the top of the mountain I sat down and the aid station people when to work on me.  They sponge bathed my head, arms and legs.  Got my water bottles filled up with my calorie drink.  Got me some Mt. Dew to drink to get me pepped up right away.  They asked me questions to make certain that I was coherent and ready to run again.  After that I was off to tackle the most difficult section of the race in my opinion.  It is a steep 7 mile down hill on a gravel road.

WR50 007

Here are two photos of the view from climb #2.  That is Mt. Rainier with the snow on it.  Keep in mind that the trail that I was running on was basically a ski resort without the snow so that gives you a small glimpse of the steepness of the trails.  And believe me, running down the trails IS NOT EASIER than running up the trail.

WR50 008

This is just another view of the majestic wilderness of the Mt. Ranier National Forest.

WR50 015

My beautiful wife came to the race with me.  Boy she makes it so much more fun.  I love my wife so much and her presence at this race made so much difference to me.  You know when you are a kid and you hurt yourself out of the presence of your mom. You don’t cry at all but the moment that you see your mom you start to cry.  Well, that is exactly what I did.  After I finished the race my wife asked me how it was and I told her it was the hardest thing I had ever gone through and started to cry.  I held it in because so many people were around but if they weren’t I would have just balled right there in her lap.

WR50 016

Crossing the finish line was a major relief.  I thought probably 100’s of time that I just couldn’t make it but I did.  Races like these go much deeper mentally than shorter ones.  It was a very trying experience but I would certainly do it again.  When I finished, there were still about 90 people out on the course and about 50 of those would eventually finish.  The rest either did not make the 14 hour cut-off time or just had to stop running for whatever reason.  Whatever happens, everyone who gets to the starting line is a winner in my book.

WR50 017

Moments after the finish I took a much appreciated rest on my wife’s blanket to take in some hydration and watch others finish.  The after glow was nice and the amazement of the accomplishment was very heavy in this picture.


Q&A Post: Weight gain after events, sore muscles, and hard efforts.

weight gain ratsI was asked this weekend about gaining weight after an intense effort or an event.  This is an extrememly common question to me and one that I also hear in my WW meetings all the time.  Here is the basic question that I recieved:

“I read that one can gain 2-4 pounds in water retention when muscles are sore ……….  Do you have any experiences with how some of your hard runs/races have affected your weigh-in’s?”

Here are some simple points directly from my own experiences.

  • I have gained weight after EVERY event that I have run in. 
  • I have gained weight most of the time after HARD EFFORT workouts.
  • I have gained weight EVERY time when I do my weigh-in with very sore muscles.

Now I don’t have a Doctoral degree in musculo-skeletal issues, but I do have some experience with the issue at hand.  I have found that hard efforts (that is whatever pushes YOU hard), your muscles get sore, and this translates (for me) into gaining weight on the very short term.  This NEVER ends up being permanent weight gain.  In fact, after a gain  at the school I will almost always post a loss the next week after the healing process of my muscles.  Hear is what I have heard as to the reasons a person can gain weight even after buring 4000+ calories:

  • After are hard workout, glycogen is depleted and when you eat sugar (from simple or complex carbs) your muscles will soak up a fair amount of it along with some water right away.
  • When you work out hard, you get tiny micro-tears in your muscles.  To repair, they retain some water to help the process along.
  • Once your muscles get better even though maybe not fully healed, your body starts to move the water, waste, blood, etc. through you muscles much more normally causing you to “lose” the weight.

In reality, the weight gain is false.  It is part of it.  It is possible to lose weight after events especially if you get dehydrated but once you begin to re-hydrate you will gain it back.  This little yo-yo in your weight should not be taken to seriously.  I do not weigh-in anymore after most of my hard events just so that I don’t feel bad for gaining because I am pretty positive I will and I also know that it is essentially meaningless.

So keep your head up and don’t worry to much.  In this type of circumstancial weight gain, the weight will come off just as easy as it seemed to come on.


Another good marathon experience

My 16th marathon (The Foot Traffic Flat Marathon) went very well.  It was a hot day but it did not bother me at all.  It was a smooth and controlled effort which produced the desired training effect: Run 30 miles on tired legs that are not yet recovered from last weeks 36 miles.  I finished the marathon portion of my 30 mile run in 4:29 with negative splits meaning I did the second half faster than the first. The marathon was much larger than I thought it was going to be so it was festive and fun.  The course was very beautiful as is snaked through the farms of Sauvie Island.  All and all it was a great experience which helped increase my fitness for the 100 miler.

My next race will be on July 25th at the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.  This will be a 50 mile trail run with around 17,000 ft of elevation change.  It is a tough race but it will also end up being a good experience regardless of how it goes.  The race is called the White River 50 Miler.


Endurance athlete fueling, hydration, and electolyte

For all of you that are doing or want to do endurance type events and activities, it is very important to understand fueling, hydration, and electrolyte intake.   As some of you may have heard, some physical states that endurance exercise can induce can be potentially very dangerous.  I wanted to just briefly talk about a couple of things and then point you to a world of knowledge regarding these topics by linking to an endurance library that you will find very helpful.  The link is at the end of the post.  Most of the information in this post comes from Hammer Nutrition’ website.


First off, I wanted to talk about caloric intake.  When you are going to be out there doing your thing for a long long time it will be much more manageable if you take calories in.  Now you don’t have to take calories in up to a point, but the longer you go, the more important it is.  I take calories in from the start of my runs if they are longer than 13 miles.  It helps my mind and body to do so.  I can run much further without calories, but it is far More difficult to do it.  I burn around 700-800 calories per hour while running but the human body will only digest around 350 plus or minus some each hour.  You still end up in a deficit but you increase your endurance by doing this.

Dehydration is bad

It is important to take fluids in during your endurance activity.  As with food, you body can only take a certain amount of fluid in.  You will not be able to replace all the fluid you lose without putting yourself in danger of “water intoxication”.   Below  is a chart from this link to demonstrate the importance of hydration and its effect on endurance.

Symptoms by percent body weight water loss:

  • 0% — none, optimal performance, normal heat regulation
  • 1% — thirst stimulated, heat regulation during exercise altered, performance declines
  • 2% — further decrease in heat regulation, hinders performance, increased thirst
  • 3% — more of the same (worsening performance)
  • 4% — exercise performance cut by 20 – 30%
  • 5% — headache, irritability, “spaced-out” feeling, fatigue
  • 6% — weakness, severe loss of thermoregulation
  • 7% — collapse likely unless exercise stops
  • 10% — comatose
  • 11% — death likely


One of the most dangerous conditions that can happen to us is hyponatremia.  This is the state where the sodium levels in your body have been “watered” down by to much hydration without proper electrolyte replacement.  It is a common occurrence with marathoner who will take 6 hours or longer to finish their race.  This condition can be and has been fatal at the marathon levels. Here is a little blurb about this condition from hammer nutrition.

Tragic consequences

Hyponatremia usually results from drinking too much, especially when one drinks fluids such as plain water or a sports drink lacking the proper electrolyte profile. Training and fitness levels, weather conditions, and, undoubtedly, biological predisposition, also contribute to developing this form of hyponatremia known as “water intoxication.”

Sadly, we must note that this condition has lead, directly or in part, to the deaths of otherwise healthy runners in major American marathons. It is hard for us to comprehend the grief of the families they left behind. These athletes went out to run a marathon, to achieve a personal victory. Improper hydration took away their day of glory and also their lives. They collapsed and went into an irreversible condition involving uncontrollable brain edema, coma, and death. We report this to help prevent any future such tragedies. Over-hydration represents a very serious problem. Unlike dehydration, which will generally only result in painful cramping, possibly a DNF, or at the worst, IV treatment, over-hydration can incite a chain of ultimately fatal physiological consequences.

So you cannot replace all fluids lost but you can drink to much.  The reason for writing this post is because I used to be very scared of this condition and also of generally hurting myself doing these long runs. I want to share with you the most important resource I have found for learning about endurance activity and it’s necessary caloric and fluid replacement.

The complete endurance library


Post marathon video: Funny

For all of you marathon hopefuls, I wanted to share this video with you so that you could have a laugh and know what you get to look forward to after you finish your first 26.2 mile push. I hope you enjoy it, I found this video at milebymile’s blog.



Running commandments by runfar!

Boy running for fun

I came across this list of running commandments at Runfar’s blog.  I really enjoyed it so I thought I would let you guys in on how cool the list was.

You can see the original post here.



Running Commandments.  There are 53 so keep on reading down the list.

1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. During group training runs, don’t let anyone run alone.
5. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
6. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who’s missing.
7. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
8. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
9. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
10. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others. Continue reading ‘Running commandments by runfar!’


Marathon Maniac #930



 If you would like to subscribe to this blog and be updated on my newest marathons, go HERE.

Running has really been a beneficial thing in my life.  I tried time and time again to get started with it to no avail.  Finally, once I lost 60 lbs, I went after a lifetime goal of finishing a marathon.  My first marathon finish was the 2007 Portland Marathon.  The pictures above, in clock-wise order from the top are from the: 200 Portland Marathon, Timberline Trail Marathon, Peterson Ridge 60K, White River 50 Miler, and the Orange County Marathon.

Here is my official Marathon Maniacs Page

Since October 2007 I have finished the:

  1. 2007 (Oct.)   Portland Marathon
  2. 2007 (Nov.) Seattle Marathon
  3. 2007 (Dec.)  Christmas Marathon
  4. 2008 (Jan.)   Orange Country Marathon
  5. 2008 (Feb.)  Jed Smith 50K (30 miles)
  6. 2008 (March) Easter Marathon
  7. 2008 (April) Peterson Ridge 60K (37 miles)
  8. 2008 (May)  Strolling Jim 4o miler
  9. 2008 (July)  White River 50 miler
  10. 2008 (Sept)  Timberline Mountain Marathon
  11. 2008 (Oct.)  Portland Marathon
  12. 2009 (Feb)   Valentines Marathon

Doing these races is probably one of the greatest accomplishments in my life.  Audrey really helped get to the finish line in all of these races.  Not only did she help during most of the races, she ran with me all the time while I got ready for them.  It was a great time to talk with each other.  I am also pretty proud that I made it into the Marathon Maniacs club.  You have to run at least 3 marathons in 3  months to qualify.  Running is a great way to escape, get fit, and feel good.  I must admit though, running at mile marker 37 at the 50 miler was pretty tough.  Great life experience.  I learned that a person can endure far more than they ever imagined.  Also remember that I started out only being able to ride a stationary bike for 12 minutes.  If you want to get started with health and running check this out

Get Started Running Here


Perseverance: Key in losing weight, attaining goals, and living life!


Chinese symbol for perseverance

Hi there.  My name is Jason.  I have basically been fat all my life.  Even in times were I was actually not fat, I still felt or thought I was fat.  I am sure that many of you can relate to that.  Between Dec. 13th 2006 and Dec 13th 2007, I lost about 130 lbs.  Not only did I lose the weight then, but have kept it off since and have also been blessed enough to finish 7 marathons and 4 ultra-marathons.  I tell ya, it has been a tremendous journey to get here today.  The journey wasn’t always fun though, it had many ups and downs, it came with joy, it came with discouragement.  Although I am still on the journey, I think things worked out pretty well.  I want to share  with you a little of the journey because I want you to know that a normal, regular, obese or over weight person can accomplish amazing things.  If I could do it, I know you CAN do it.  A key ingredient to weight loss, fitness, health, and life in general is perseverance.

Perseverance: To keep at something in spite of difficulties, opposition, or discouragement (Websters). 

Throughout my journey, I have learned that this simple little trait can bring a person further than ever imaginable.  This word is in every aspect of what we are trying to achieve in our bodies, minds, and emotions.  It may take time to loss the weight and get healthy, but if you can just hold and persevere YOU WILL MAKE IT!

Here are some examples of cross-roads that I reached (we all reach)during my own journey when perseverance took me through.

Continue reading ‘Perseverance: Key in losing weight, attaining goals, and living life!’


May your dreams come true!


Well, here I go again.  I am going to go for it this year too.  I am putting my goal schedule up on the blog as a way to motivate me to achieve these finishes.  I have no time goals for these races.  I just want to finish comfortably and safely.  I believe I can do that.  It is not as crazy as last year, and I won’t be training as much either; but this is a good thing since I am trying to learn balance.  Oh and by the way, the pic to the right is the logo for my favorite of all races: The Strolling Jim 40 miler. It is in a tiny town called Wartrace, Tennessee.  It usually has from 50-70 runners in all and it is done on the back asphalt roads in the country. 

So at the request of a fellow ultra runner who lives in my area, I am going to display my schedule of events.  I will keep you posted on the results and if I accomplish these goals.  I will probably not do the races labeled maybe, but if I am feeling extra good and time permits I might do them.

There you have it.  Also, check out this runner.  She is pretty cool.


Weight loss and life lessons learned by running 50 miles

white-river-finishIn July of 2007, I participated in a 50 mile endurance run.  For some odd reason, even before I lost my weight, I always wanted to run an ultra-marathon.  What an experience the race and the process of getting there turned out to be.  I learned a lot during the months of preparation and a lot during the 11 hrs, 46 min, 51 sec of running that I did during the event.  The run was on a trail in the mountains.  It had two very steep, huge hills about 8 miles long each (running down those hills was a son-of-a-gun!).  When you run these ultra-marathons, you have a lot of time to think upon your life, your weaknesses, your strengths, and sometimes you learn.  I think that what I learned can be used by others to attain their dreams.

Here is what I learned and I hope it will inspire you towards your health and life dreams. Continue reading ‘Weight loss and life lessons learned by running 50 miles’