New Year New Gear=FREE STUFF!

Ok, So, here is the deal, pretty sweet deal you might say. For the next week (In the spirit of the Holidays, and to get 2016 off to a great start) I’m going to be giving away free stuff on Instagram. Some Nike Trail Shoes, Some of my favorite running gear and some other rad swag from companies I like.

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Here is the pile of giveaway stuff.  Also…The shoes will be new and your size!

The details: Each day there will be one winner that will win the gift that corresponds to the day below.  Can you enter more than once? Sure, you can enter a picture every day.

How do you enter? Each day has a different photo contest, just take a picture, and put @davidlaney12  and use #WAFFLESANDMUSTACHES so I can find your submission. (Day 2 you just have to write a funny caption on the photo I post, you don’t have to post any picture)

If you win I’ll shoot you a direct message on instagram and get your address so I can mail you your winnings.  All the stuff will be mailed out at the end of the contest.

January 1: Prize- Nike Trail Mug, Hand made Nike Trail coasters and stickers

TO WIN: New Years Picture, I know you have them, don’t delete them, post them.  If you have a throwback new years picture thats even better, yes I realize January 1 is not Thursday, but really, who’s keeping track.

January 2: Prize- Simple Hydration Bottle

TO WIN: Caption contest.  I’m going to post a picture on Instagram, funniest/best caption wins.

(Even if you don’t win this one I can give you a 35% off promo code, just email me at  davidlaney12@gmail.com)  THEY ARE AWESOME BOTTLES

January 3: Prize- Ugo Bar Pack and Run Gum

TO WIN: Holiday dessert, picture and recipe, I need some baking inspiration people.  Best looking dessert wins. If you make a dessert that can be considered “BREAKFAST” bonus points.

January 4: Prize-Trails and Tarmac Mug and stickers.

TO WIN: Lets see your Goals for 2016,  Post a picture of a race or adventure from last year and write the goals for 2016 in the caption. One entrant will be drawn randomly.

January 5: Prize- Pair of Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3’s

TO WIN:  Picture of a recent rad adventure on the trails or in the mountains!  Add a great quote and get extra credit.  I’m sure there will be many great submissions so it might come down to a draw.

January 6: Prize-Ninkasi Swag.  Really cool stuff from the Eugene Oregon Brewery

TO WIN:GPS/STRAVA art, get out there and draw or write something creative.  Take a screenshot of the route on Strava or whatever you use and upload the picture. Most creative one wins.

So its easy to enter, just take a picture, upload it to Instagram and make sure I see it by using #WAFFLESANDMUSTACHES and commenting at me so I can find your contest submission. I WILL “LIKE” ALL THE PICTURE SUBMISSIONS SO IF I HAVEN’T LIKED YOUR PICTURE I HAVEN’T SEEN IT!

At the end of the contest I will announce all winners on Instagram, and send out the gear!

Thanks!!

Trails and Tarmac

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Trails and Tarmac is an idea and a business that started years ago as we were freshman in college.  Now its alive, check out the full story at TrailsandTarmac.com

5 ways to Better Slay the Mountain Ultra Gnar

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Photo from Elana Mate at UTMB

This summer there were some major successes and major failures, or nicely put, learning experiences. From these experiences I learned a lot of lessons that made me, and will continue to make me a better runner.  I think a couple of them can make you a better runner too.  I’ll share a few and hope that they will be applicable for anyone running a mountain ultra distance trail race.

  1. Chill in the outdoors: I spent most of the summer training, eating, reading, working and sleeping outside, usually in big forests and near big mountains. Using lakes and creeks to shower,  sleeping at trail-heads and, having plenty of time to chat with strangers at Laundromats, makes you a little more flexible and little less reliant on consistency.  Making yourself better at adapting to change on the fly and rolling with challenges in normal life with make you better at rolling through big ups and inevitable dark points during an ultra.  Our Air B&B host in Chamonix named Mihai was always saying “tranquilo” or “It’s chill”  his attitude is imperative in ultras. Sometimes things get gnarly in the mountains, you run out of water, you get sick, roll an ankle, things start to go downhill fast.  You always have time to catch your breath, realize you trained for this, hit the mental reset button, and get back after it. Spending a lot of time in the mountains allows plenty of opportunity for this practice.
  2. Eat fat: This summer I ate a lot of fat, cause french fries taste good and are cheap, Ok ok in actuality I ate a lot of nuts, avocados, and all that stuff people consider “healthy fat” in addition to french fries.  I didn’t notice a huge difference in daily life, what I did notice was the ability to spend really long days in the mountains with very little food, and without getting that “bonk” feeling.  I could feel my body utilizing fat as the primary energy source.  I’m not a scientist but as the average pace in the mountains is much slower, I think relying on the slower burning energy is beneficial.  The ability to use fat more efficiently allows you to not only carry less food and water but allows blood to be used in the running muscles as opposed to stomach for digestion.
  3. Roll with your nutrition plan: Nutrition depends on conditions, not only on race distance but also on pace, temperature, technical aspects of the course and hydration.  Nutrition is super dynamic, fueling during an ultra is like bowling on a canoe during a hurricane, the variables are constantly changing.  If you don’t account for the changing variables and choose to simply follow your prescribed 400 calorie an hour plan you might end up in a rough place.  Quite often mountain races are slower and cooler than most ultras, often this allows runners to eat more than they normally would.  Have a tentative plan for eating, and have plenty of food options, but let what you actually eat roll with the race.
  4. Be battle ready: Having the right gear is vital.  Be prepared for anything the mountains throw at you.  I live pretty minimally, in fact everything I own fits comfortably in the back seat of my car.  After being under prepared and under dressed at this years Chuckanut 50k I over packed my pack for much of this summers adventures and runs.  UTMB requires a ton of seemingly unnecessary gear, but at 2AM when its 40 degrees at 6000 feet and blowing wind the gear suddenly feels really really necessary. Be ready for whatever might come your way.
  5. Geek out on tech: Run the most technical trails you can find.  Find steep rocky mountain ridges and steep rugged canyons that mirror the course you plan to race on.  Get to a place where you can roll through really rooty, rocky or steep downhill sections.  Find those trails that allow you to practice the more technical aspects of running. Do them again and again and again, pretty soon running downhill feels like skiing.  That’s when things get really fun.  Yeah you’re probably going to roll an ankle a few times.  I know I did more than once, run within your limits.  Ankle rolling is one thing, falling is another. Be careful.

The mountains are big and free and wild and powerful.  Use those emotions to inspire your next race through the alpine. Good Luck!

UTMBSUNRISE

 

Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc – 170K Of Big Free and Maybe Pain?

“Running is like getting up every morning and shooting yourself. You know that you are going to put yourself through something really painful, but you also know how much strength and speed are going to come with it. The passion of a runner is to force forgetfulness on that pain and embrace the benefits that will without fail make you a better person.” -Mark Wetmore, coach of University of Colorado XC team

They say Everything’s Bigger in Texas.  Well it turns out everything is bigger in Chamonix as well.  (except the food sizes, I’m convinced the French have stomachs the size of grapes) When I arrived at my Air B&B two weeks ago I was greeted by the biggest Newfoundland I’ve ever seen, a 130 pound pup that looked more like a bear than a dog. Her name was Guaya and judging by her smell, she avoids baths like…well like a dog, who hates baths.  Within an hour of my arrival in Chamonix, my teammate Ryan Ghelfi and I were headed out to run the Vertical Kilometer from town up to the top of Brevent (A Vertical Kilometer is a trail that has 1000 meters of ascent in a distance under 5k, the Brevent VK climbes the 1000 vertical meters in 3.8k) Over the course of the week we climbed a ton of vertical, saw massive glaciers and huge, jagged peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif.  We got to experience a taste of the suffering we would without a doubt swim in during the following weeks race. photo 1 (25) photo 2 (23)

Two days before the race I wrote in my training log, “BATTLE READY. Race of attrition. Hammer last 50k”.  When race evening came I didn’t have the usual pre race jitters.  I was really calm, relaxed and ready to run a really relaxed 50 miles, followed by a really hard 50 miles.  I felt very prepared for the tough climbs as well as the technical descents as I had spent the entire summer training on similar terrain in Mammoth Lakes, The Wallowas, The North Cascades and various other ranges and volcanoes in the American West.

The first 50 miles were really chill, treating it like a training run I was able to relax, enjoy the mountains and stars and preserve my energy for the later stages.  The moon was huge, stars were bright and crowds were ecstatic.

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At Grand Col Ferret I started rolling a bit, and by Champex-Lac (122 Kilometers in) it was hammertime.  With a conservative strategy early, this was the time to take a BIG Texas sized risk.  I was focused, hungry and attacking every step. Every climb I was able to hike and run strong, the flats and descents smooth.  My summer focus on technical downhill was paying off in a big way.  For the first time running steep technical downhill was fun, rather than stressful. I was jumping off rocks and roots, sprinting the smooth sections and charging through rollers.  The experience felt more like skiing than running.

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Every runner I passed gave me a huge surge of energy.  On the final climb up Tete aux Vents I was finally in 4th and both hunting and running scared.  I knew I was redlining and it wouldn’t take much to blow up and spend an hour in an aid station.  Every time I came to what I thought was the top of the climb it would continue another few 100 meters up.  My mind was totally focused on grinding up to the top, and then hammering back down.

At La Flegere I was finally done with the 10,000 meters of climbing, and I started blitzing down the final descent.

When I finally hit the pavement of Chamonix with under a mile to go I saw teammate Zach Miller (Previous days CCC 100k Champ) he had fire in his eyes and was yelling that I needed to sprint to the finish.  Finishing any race is hard, but kicking from a kilometer out in a 105 mile mountain race is…Well, I honestly don’t remember.  I imagine that it was painful because such an act usually is painful, and it has been 4 days since the race and I’m still sore.  So I have to imagine the finish was pretty hard, but I think my brain could only process so much information and I believe it decided to remember the screaming fans rather than the pain. Thanks brain!

Coming down the final stretch was surreal.  The crowds, hands outstretched waved us home into the finish line.  Huge mountains, dirt, hills, rocks, cows, mud, sweat, sunrises, sunsets, chaffing, blood, coke-cola, and 105 miles make a trail race, but the fans are what make this trail race an experience truly unique and memorable.

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Mountains and emotions are bigger here.

Thanks Chamonix. I’ll be back; soon.

Thanks                                                                                                                                Huge thanks to the amazing fans, volunteers and organizers! You all made it an awesome experience. Thanks to Bighorn Bistro (THE place to eat in Cham) for keeping us well fed all week. Thanks to the Ghelfi Family for coming out and supporting the team, Thanks to everyone back home cheering, and Bryon and Megan of IRunFar.com for being all over the course and providing great coverage of the event! Thanks also to Like The Wind Magazine for hosting two great social events before and after the race.   Thanks to all the Nike Running crew who came out to shred the trails and cheer us on! Thanks to Billy Yang Films for documenting the weeks adventures. Finally, huge thanks to Trail Boss Pat Werhane for regulating like Warren G, keeping food in our stomachs and shoes on our feet.

UTMB Gear List                                                                                                                 Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3                                                                                                     Nike Kiger Jacket                                                                                                               Gu, Sport Beans and UGO Bars                                                                                        Simple Hydration Bottles (email me at davidlaney12@gmail.com for a 35% Off Promo Code)  Check them out at SimpleHydration.com

Trail Running in Mammoth Lakes California

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If you have a free weekend get over to Mammoth Lakes. If you don’t have a free weekend then make a weekend free.  If you can’t make a free weekend then quit your job and move into your car (ill advised advice not recommended…)

There is a lot of big, steep, wild country to explore our here.  Hundreds of crystal clear lakes are scattered around the area. Each lake is surrounded by steep granite walls and most are easily (relatively, considering most are at 10,000ft) accessed by the 1000’s of miles of trails that criss cross the Easter Sierra.  Just a few minutes drive from downtown Mammoth Lakes you can be on the PCT and a few miles after that you can connect with the John Muir Trail. These are some of the best trails I have ever run and the accessibility is unbelievable.

Here are a few brief runs I would recommend that Nike Trail teammate Tim Tollefson and Gnar Boss Hayden Teachout helped me discover.

Duck Pass– Park at Cold Creek Campground. I did an out and back but can be a loop as well. Strava link

Agnew Meadows to 1000 Island Lake– Park at Agnew Meadow (before 7AM to avoid shuttle)  Make this a loop if you have time.  Here is a link to my strava segment, basically just lots of lakes and beautiful views of The Minarets. The JMT section is much more challenging, rocky and technical while the PCT is super plush runnable trail.  Strava Segment

Mammoth Mountain Via Dragon’s Back- Short, steep and technical but pretty awesome and ends at 11,053. Strava Link

For a complete list of awesome running in the area check out Sage to Summit

Here is a picture gallery from the weeks running, but don’t waste your time looking at my pictures.  Get out there and take your own.

Gear that kept me alive during the week of training

Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3 – Get em here Backcountry-Nike Trail                                          Simple Hydration Bottle – Message me at Davidlaney12@gmail.com for %35 off Code. Ugo Bars and plenty of GU and Sport Beans.

Huge thanks to Visit Mammoth and the Mammoth Crib for putting me up in an awesome house for the week.  I can’t thank them enough and hope to be back soon! Many more trails to explore!

IAU World Trail Championships

As we drove the curvy mountain roads toward the starting line at 2:30 Saturday morning the van was pretty quiet. Especially quiet for a team that had been chatting constantly all week about everything from GU flavors to training plans. My mind was still a little fuzzy (as it usually is at that hour).  As we got into Annecy and got closer to the starting line, the years of dreams about competing for Team USA started becoming clearer…and scarier.  I started thinking, “I’ve never climbed 17,000 feet in a day before, I’ve never run with a pack on before, I’ve never eaten real food during a race before! This terrain is far more technical than anything I’ve ever run. How much blood did they take for yesterdays drug test? Will that effect me?! Did I eat too many baguettes yesterday? Did I eat enough baguettes yesterday? This could be a very rough day…”  But as we got to the start line, put on our head lamps and stripped off our USA warm-ups the worry melted away, and I remembered, This IS GOING to be a rough day. That’s what ultrarunning is; rough. Expecting anything less than getting your bell rung is a mistake.   The sport is a marriage of freedom and suffering that will make you extremely tired but also unbelievably free.

The starting gun went off at 3:30 A.M. We ran through a tunnel of fans holding fireworks and flares, down the boardwalk on Lake Annecy, and then began the first climb up Semnoz.  The trail was dark, wet, and fairly quiet.  Near the top of the climb the trail popped out in a campground complete with large expedition tents, campfires, and huge geo-domes lit up with purple and green laser lights. The place looked like it had been the scene of a pretty spectacular alpine party the night before, but maybe that’s just how people camp in France. From the campsite to the top of Semnoz the trail was lined with flaming torches, it made for a pretty spectacular sight.  From the top we descended down through the ski resort on a fairly rocky jeep road, and continued down to Saint Eustache. On the way we passed though many tiny towns where spectators were cheering and ringing bells. From there we went back up and down 5 more major climbs and descents from which I will spare you the details.   Here are some pics from the day.

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Alex Nichols and I heading up Roc Lancrenaz.

 

Along the course we got a few beautiful sections of road. We had just came down the mountain in the background.  Photo Credit @ IRunFar.com
Steep Rocky downhill, and miles of it.
Steep Rocky downhill, and miles of it. Photo Credit @ Endurance Trails

 

Power Hiking up the final climb of the day.
Power Hiking up the final climb of the day.  Lake in the background. Photo Credit @ IRunFar.com

On the ascent up Col de la Forclaz I started hearing the ringing of cowbells in the distance. I was pretty hungry and thirsty and was looking forward to an aid station, or at least a town to fill up a bottle.  The higher I climbed the louder the bells got, and the drier my mouth got. I was really looking forward to an aid station.  As I crested the hill, I looked down to a green valley full of cows eating, bells swinging in the wind…It was not from the encouragement I was looking for but in its own lonely way, it was far better.

Over the final climb up Mont Baron I ran out of water, got hot and started bonking pretty good, it was really motivating knowing my teammates were counting on me to power through the hard sections, and it was really inspiring knowing they were doing the same thing.  In the end the US men’s team took home the silver medal.   Here are a few post race photos.

The 2015 IAU World Trail Championship Podium.  France with the gold, USA with the Silver and Great Britain with the Bronze
The 2015 IAU World Trail Championship Podium. France with the gold, USA with the Silver and Great Britain with the Bronze. Photo cred @ IrunFar.com
Team USA
Team USA

Gear List

Here is a brief summary of what I used during the race.                                                     -Ultimate Direction AK 2.0 Pack                                                                                         – 3 Simple Bottles- Great hands free bottles that fit in pockets, waist band or pack(message me at davidlaney12 at Gmail.com for a 35% off promo                             code) simplehydration.com                                                                                                 – 2 UGo Bars- Really good, fast and easy to digest, Check them out at UgoBars.com      -Special Edition Nike Zoom Kiger 3’s.  You can buy them soon at Nike.com/Trail              – A bunch of GU, Shot Blocks and Coca-Cola.

UGo Bar In one hand, Coca-Cola in the other. Time to fuel up
UGo Bar In one hand, Coca-Cola in the other, Simple Bottle in the waist band. Time to fuel up

 

Big Thanks

Thanks to Bryon Powell and Meghan Hicks of IRunFar.com for their coverage of the event for friends, fans and family around the world.  These two do an awesome job and are all over the course taking pictures and tweeting standings/updates.

Thanks to Team Coach Richard Bolt for being an awesome support system, crew, and manager while in France, and thanks to Nancy Hobbs, USA UltraRunning and ATRA.

Finally a HUGE thanks to Trail Butter for creating a “TEAM USA” flavor and supporting us with the proceeds from sales of that flavor.  It is amazing to see a small Oregon company volunteer big support for the team.  Without support like this the elite component of trail running would not survive.  The small companies that give back to the sport in a big way are necessary for dreams to come true, and to you we are all very grateful. Check them out at TrailButter.com trail butter

 

And for those of you that are still reading, here are a few more pics from the event.

Beautiful Lake Annecy and the mountains behind it hidden in the clouds
Beautiful Lake Annecy and the mountains behind it hidden in the clouds. Photo Cred @ Richard Bolt
Doping Control. Always a joy. But necessary, and very thankful for the work they do
Doping Control. Always a joy. But necessary, and very thankful for the work they do. Photo Cred at Richard Bolt
Just a few hundred meters to go.
Just a few hundred meters to go. Photo from Richard Bolt
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Post Race Food Time. Photo Cred@Richard Bolt
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Team USA Rolling around Downtown Annecy.
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The picture myself and every other tourist took. https://instagram.com/davidlaney12/


As all things must eventually come to a close, here is my ten hour layover in the Paris airport, along with all the other travelers who decided to not get a hotel.
As all things must eventually come to a close, here is my ten hour layover in the Paris airport, along with all the other travelers who made the terrible decision not to get a hotel.

The Ups and Downs of Dream Team USA

My Sophomore year in High School I got a tibial stress reaction, not a full stress fracture but basically an injury from repetitive stress on the tibia. If I continued to train on the injury a stress fracture was likely. The doctor told me to take 6 weeks off from running. Those were a rough six weeks, but I biked, swam, did 100’s of sit-ups, pull-ups and push-ups daily. I did just about everything I could imagine to get ready for the fall cross country season. When the fall came I was fit, but far from fast.  Our first time trial of the season was a disaster. In an all out effort I came across the line clocking a 6 minute mile, slower than I was 5 years earlier as a 5th grader… saying I was discouraged would be an understatement.

Galen Rupp, The Central Catholic High School Alum and 2012 10,000 meter Olympic Silver Medalist, occasionally dropped clothes and shoes by practice. Usually it was USA gear, outgrown shoes, shorts, sweats, etc.  At the end of practice we would dig through the box of treasure and take a few things.  The next day at practice we would all proudly wear our new clothes.  The day of the discouraging time trial a box of clothes was delivered to the track, as it was a particularly good box of gear, CCHS Coach Dave Frank had us guess numbers for who got to choose an item first.  Whether Dave knew I could use some encouragement, or if I really guessed the right number I’ll never know, But I went home with a new USA track warm up jacket.  It was dark blue with red piping, USA stitched in big white letters on the back, and the winged USA emblem on the chest.  I don’t think I took it off for a month.  I was so excited to have a USA jacket (earned or not) that I went home and started researching the USA cross country team.  I came across an article about Dathan Ritzenhein, I read about his history of stress fractures and injuries, and his ability to come back, get healthy, train smart and run fast again.  I figured if someone can come back from three stress fractures and many other injuries, I can comeback from a few more trials.  This planted the idea in my head that someday I could make a world cross country team.

That decision was a realization for me, that distance running was going to be a roller coaster. There are major ups, and long, dark, drawn out downs.  The ups will excite you, but coming back from the downs is what inspires others.

12 years later I’ve passed the USA jacket on to someone else who found inspiration from it, And I’ve earned my own USA team gear.  I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to represent The United States of America.

For the last month I’ve been increasing my training load.  Doing a lot more running in the mountains on steep, technical trails and preparing for the IAU World Trail Championship. On May 30th I’ll put on the Red, White and Blue and race 86 kilometers through some very rugged country.  Not exactly cross country… but it will do.

Thanks to all those who have cheered me on over the mountains and through the valleys of long distance running.