Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Love to Run and Run to Love


I am learning as he is learning. 



From 2011-2013, my 10 year old had participated in his school's KROC (kids run the OC) program. It allows the kids to run 25.2 miles over 10 weeks and finish the last mile at the OC marathon. He went from a 9:00+ mile the first year to a PR of 7:10 the second year, then a 8:00+ the third year. 

I pushed him every year and he hated it. I pushed him to go faster ...and work harder as I do myself. For him, he just wanted to have fun and run zig-zags and check out the neighbor's orange tree. It was painful for both of us to run together. I didn't sign him up this year b/c I thought "if he isn't out there to work harder and improve, then there are other things to work on." He barely has enough time to finish his homework.

But part of me always knew that the approach wasn't working. What I wanted was self motivation from him but what I was getting was withdrawal. I was not getting him to understand the joy of running or to develop a love for the sport that has given me so much. 

Late last year we took a family hike up to Peters Canyon Trails and I noticed something in that short hour or so. He ran. He ran and smiled. He got to look at the clouds and check out the brushes (poison oak was his favorite) while he RAN. He asked to go back when we got home. 

Last weekend we ran/walk/hiked 7 miles at El Moro together. He led and dictated the pace and distance. It was the most fun I've seen him have while running. It was the opposite of running at the track where he would whine and complain. He smiled, we joked, and we raced the hills. I introduced him to the term "getting chicked" as a pair of ladies were running behind us... and I saw a competitive side of him I always knew he had. He took pride when other runners smiled and commented about "the kid" running on the trail.
It was just one of those great days in running I will remember for a long time. 
 I hope that the discovery of the trails is something that can continue to teach me to be a better father and teach us to be better at loving each other.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Road(s) Not Taken


The Road Not Taken

in my city

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


- Robert Frost

 in the morning

I remember this poem well from middle school though its meaning has changed much since.  As a kid, the school taught us to take the road less traveled because while it may be unfamiliar and challenging, the poem implies that the road less traveled would lead to some ultimate success. 



near night

I look at this poem in quite a different way today.  I find the poem to be an appropriate metaphor for the roads I’ve run and the journey I’ve traveled.  We’ve all stood at so many forks in the road and stared at decisions big and small.  As a runner, I’ve stood at many forks in the road that lead to all directions.  These forks often lead to more forks in the trails, in a new neighborhood, and in life.  Should I run towards the familiar route or up that hill with the wild flowers, or toward the bay near the ocean?  Should I run the big city race or in a unknown small town in Tennessee?  Twenty six point two or a hundred? 

on the path
These days I often choose the road less traveled.  Have these roads made me more successful?  Not really... in the traditional sense.  However, the road less traveled has given me much in many other ways.  It has helped me to open my eyes and heart to new experiences and enrichment.  I’ve seen the color of sunsets and shadows of trees and buildings.  I’ve smelled the sweetness of strawberry fields and felt the stings of cold hard rain.  I’ve kicked around dust with incredible, amazing, inspiring people along the way.  I’ve spent important time alone and with my family on the run. 


with the kids

with new friends
These are priceless, irreplaceable experiences that I found on the road less taken.  Take the road less taken and you will be surprised at what you find on the journey and within yourself.


One race, one mile, and one step at a time, (with eyes and heart open)


Jeff

2/13/2014

Friday, November 22, 2013

Are runners better people?

11/22/13

This is a safe place to vent and rant right?

I mean its not like its publishing to the world or anything...  So, let me use this safe little space to get some thoughts off my chest.

Most of you, my friends know that I am more of a cynic than an optimist.  I do believe people are rightly governed by self interest and self perseverance.  I think of it as human nature.  That is not to say we are not capable of performing extraordinary selfless acts.  But recent events has pushed me further to believe some people are inherently decrepit, cowardly, and just bad.  (they obviously don't run!)

In bad I mean they do things not only to pursue their advancement but they do so IN ORDER to relish in the destruction of others.  Sometime, we (myself included) do things for our own agenda at the cost (or at some cost) to others.  I am not innocent of this but I try my best so that my benefits can be gained without cost (or minimal cost) to others.  However, I cannot comprehend why, and will not stand for those who act to harm others for the sake of hurting other.  What I've recently witness and experienced can only be described as an act of evil.

The incident has since been declared "closed" and without going into specifics, I will just say that at least I know where the enemies lie.  And that is a great thing.  I do not forget.  Oh yeah, my friends also know that I never "turn the other cheek." I did not back down to the bullies.  I have fought hard not to stoop down to their level but my enemies can expect no favors from me in the future.

That brings me to the question of "are runners better people?"

(how many times have you waved to another runner on the road, and if he/she didn't wave or acknowledge you, you said to yourself "he's not a real runner"????)

Last weekend I had the honor of pacing a friend at a local 100M ultra race.  What I experienced there is what I've always experienced in the ultra community...  that grit, determination, pure will...  BUT wrapped inside is unity, kindness, selflessness, and comradery.  The fellow runners on the trial, the volunteers at the aid stations, and all the spectators who lent their support showed the kind of respect and love that we should all have for one another.  Well, isn't that strange?!

After all, this is a race right?  I mean there are still first place finisher and last place finisher right?  YES.  But to us runners, its not all that matters.  While I cheer and admire the runners up front at races, I've seen the front runners encourage the back-of-packers just the same.  That is the beauty of our sport.  It seems everybody wins. Does that mean we are a bunch of non-competitive pansies?  You better think twice before you answer that question.  Remember, we torture ourselves over 26.2M, 50M, and even 100M for fun...  These are some of the most competitive and toughest MF's I've ever met.

So how is it possible that this group of competitive, tough sons-of-guns are also the nicest, humble, welcoming, and inspiring people I've met?  Now, some of you will say, I know so-and-so runner and he is a real asshole.  In fact, some of you may think I am an asshole.  That all maybe true but I think as a whole, runners ARE better people.  Think back to the Boston Marathon bombing of this year and recall all  those runners who ran towards the blast in order to help those who were hurt.  Think if the same thing happened in your workplace, how many of your co-workers would do the same.  CONVERSELY, I've never seen a runner purposely hurt another runner out on the race for no damn reason.

My experience tells me without a doubt, "yes, runners are better people."  I have no scientific proof and I do not know if good people gravitates towards a sport like running or running makes one a better person.  Maybe it is a bit of both, and maybe it really doesn't matter.  The fact that so many runners that are great people often makes me try to be a better representative for the running community.  Even if I do not perform life saving deeds, it makes me want to at least treat other runners with respect and kindness.

(queue rainbow and music)  The world would be a better place if there were more runners.  Lets get out there, run hard and respect one another.


one race, one mile, and one step at a time

Jeff













Tuesday, July 30, 2013

State #25 - Montana: The Madison Marathon - An Adventure to Remember




7/28/2013

The panorama photo above was not lifted from a postcard.  It was captured during my 25th State marathon at the Madison Marathon in the Gravelly Mountains in Montana.  I had to get out my thesaurus for words other than "amazing," "incredible," "magnificent," "stunning," and "beautiful" to describe the course.  It IS the most beautiful course I've run in my in 33 marathon so far across the country and world.  It was also one of the toughest courses I've ever completed...  but, worth every step in these mountain ranges in Big Sky Country.

running in the clouds in MT


Being a city slicker from Orange County, CA, completing Montana started out as just a check mark on my way to completing the 50 States.  But when I stumbled across the Madison Marathon website I was struck by the photos of the incredible course.  Now, have you ever been fooled by hotel websites with unbelievable photography only to show and and find out that the place was a dump?  Well, make no mistake, the beauty of this race is as advertised.  If anything, the pictures cannot do the experience proper justice.  The endless blue skies and miles of velvet green fields, the smell of the wildflowers, and the touch of the gentle breeze are simple indescribable by words or photos.

My buddy Mike L. from Denver (AKA Yoda, finished in 4:11) and I decided that we'd meet to run this extraordinary race.  Mike brought his wonderful wife Michele and three boys and spent a week in Yellowstone prior to the race.  He was also kind enough to pick me up and transport me throughout the weekend.  My only regret was doing this trip in my usual fashion, which is to fly in Saturday and fly back home immediately after the race on Sunday.  This is a part of the country that deserves and requires days to explore.  The turn-around trip posed some logistic challenges.  The nearest airport to the town of Ennis (race central; hotels, bib pickup, shuttle to start) is in Bozeman approximately an hour drive away.  

first view of Montana at the Bozeman airport
The drive from Bozeman to Ennis is straight forward and scenic.  It immediately screams, "you aint' in the city no more!"  Miles of fields decorated by the occasional barn looked like oil paintings.  We saw families playing in the waters and floating in rivers besides the freeway on our drive in.  Something you just don't see in the city (unless you are into Raging Water parks packed with pool peeing kids).

                           
                                     
                             
                                        view from drive from Bozeman to Ennis
Ennis is a small town of approximately 1,000 residents.  From all the signage it looks like a terrific town to visit and do A LOT of fishing.  We stayed at a modest motel called Rainbow Valley Lodge. Main Street Ennis is the gather place of the marathon on Saturday and has several restaurants, stores and the town pump for our needs.
The fly making station at the Rainbow Valley Lodge

From Ennis, runners would be shuttled to the staging area and start of the race in the Gravelly Mountains approximately 2 hours away.  Sounds complicated?  It is and it isn't.  The race organizers did a tremendous job providing direction and support of this small and intimate race.  In order to meet my flight time on Sunday evening, I requested for and took advantage of the early start option at 7:00 a.m. (regular 8:30) offered by race organizers.  I met the RD Sam Korsmoe Sat afternoon after our arrival at the bib pick-up.  Sam was friendly and we joked about the sophisticated timing device used at the race...  his hand held stop watch.  After a quick bite to eat at the local pizza joint (Pit Stop Pizza; very good by the way), it was off to bed early in order to make the early shuttle pick up at 4:50 a.m.

Race morning started with a gathering of the early starters at the town pump promptly at 4:50.  About 10 of us gathered and exchanged pleasantries in the early dawn.  Then we were divided into three cars for the two hour drive up to the start line at the base of Black Butte Mountain.  Now, I had the misfortune of getting the cherry seat in front of an extra cab pick-up truck with five other dudes.  And I don't mean little dudes.  I think most of us stood at about 6 feet tall.  Imagine a two hour ride with six dudes in the dark with a little space and lots of morning breath of coffee...  But the ride actually turned out to be an entertaining treat.

the early starters on the way to the starting line

Our driver was a local triathlete named Cory.  Cory is like a character straight out of "Born to Run."  Between the sideburns and big laughter was one funny dude.  Between Cory and the elder European gent on my other side we got stories about marathons in Poland and living in Tokyo.  We also found out about the magic qualities of the coffee from the town pump and vodka in the morning.  With a few more stories about bear and sheep dog attacks on the marathon course we were almost at the start.


last pit stop before the start
We arrived at the start promptly at 7:00 a.m. and began one of the most memorable runs of my life.  The course "road" is a dirt trail of mostly loose gravel and small pebbles.  There were a few sections with fist sized rocks.  The climbs are challenging and some descend are steep.  I was glad to have worn my Hoka Ones!  They saved my feet.  Ok, I'll let the photos below do some of the talking...  


At the start with fellow 50 Staters, Marathon Maniacs Cowboy Jeff, Melinda, and Sandy


view of Black Butte

At Monument Ridge rocking my RIF shirt for the first time





somewhere near the valleys of 13




one of the challenging hills at 19
The Madison Marathon is billed as "highest road marathon in America."  The course peaks at near 9,600 feet near mile four of the course at Monument Ridge.  My Garmin recorded a total elevation gain of 2,894 (drop of 3,547) throughout the course.  The first four miles presented the most major climbs but climbs continued throughout the course with some real tough SOBs after mile 19.  The last six miles were "hard" as the knees began feeling the effects of the descends.  I finished the run with a time of 5:23 which is one of my slowest recorded marathon time.  Am I unhappy about the finish time?  Not at all.  Do I feel like I let down the "Run It Fast" shirt I was wearing?  No.  Just the opposite.  This was a run for the adventure and a run for the unique experience of being in one of the highest and most beautiful races.  Was it "fast?"  Yes.  It was my fastest marathon at  9,600 feet.  It was my fastest marathon with the amount climbs and descends.  I ran it as fast as I could...  but more importantly than speed, I ran it with my eyes wide open like it was my first marathon.  There were places on the course so beautiful I wanted to cry.  At times during the run I forgot that I was running altogether.

Madison Marathon is a must do and I hope everyone gets to experience it in person.

Yoda and me at the finish

One race, one mile, and one step at a time,

Jeff
http://connect.garmin.com/player/350762269




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Turnaround

7/23/2013

In five days I will reach the turn-around, state number 25 of my 50 States marathon journey at the Madison Marathon in Montana.  Just like in a single race, this is a point to do a quick self-check of the first 15 (great Scott!) years.  I am going to take a moment to inventory of what has been accomplished, see exactly how I feel now, and visualize how the second half may unfold.

What started at the Los Angeles Marathon in 1998 as a "one time deal" ended up becoming "THE way" of life today.  Today, marathoning, running has become a part of my identity.  I can proudly call myself a runner...  granted pedestrian, but still I AM RUNNER.

birth - My first marathon was a painful 5:31 experience that required redemption the very same year in NYC where I ran a pedestrian 4:49.  At that point in time, I was only hooked on the thrill of finishing races. Over the next three years, I added only one marathon a year until 2002 when I tore my Achilles tendon.  The injury sidelined me until 2005 from running when I thought I'd give it another go at the SD race with Christine A. That 5:00 finish was a humbling experience but reminded me of the joy of the finish.

childhood - I begin taking advantage of some trips and vacations and ran races in places like Portland OR, Albuquerque NM, and Philadelphia PA over the next few years.  I began to push myself towards better running, fitness and faster times.  I was thrilled with setting PRs race after race.  By the time I ran Albuquerque, I had cut more than an hour from my first marathon time.  Little did I know that while I was running faster, I was just "learning to walk" in the world of running.

adolescence - Some time in 2008 when I took notice of these people at the marathon with their 50 States Marathon Club singlets and t-shirts.  "Now that is a cool idea!" I thought.  What better way to see cool new places and run faster races than to join this club.  I found a new home.  With 10 States under my belt, I officially joined the club in 2009...  it started a new chapter in my running life.  In the next 2-3 years something else changed in me.  My wife was amazed that I'd actually talked to people at races and met new friends.  "what happened to my anti-social hubby?"  I came across so many great runners who were good people.  They were generous, passionate, and shared the same love for running that other didn't seem to understand.  My passion for running evolved once again as I found a community to call my own.

adulthood - In 2011 and 2012 I continued to improve as a runner.  My PR improved and I became a sub-4 marathoner.  I ran my first double (back to back days) marathons and saw that limitations and fears that once tangled me no longer existed.  I also began running more marathons... going to 4 races in 2012.  This year, I tackled the 100 mile run at Nanny Goat and plan to complete a total of 7 races. My love for running has never been deeper.  I feel blessed to continue to be surrounded by new friend in the running community like fellow Troopers from Running Troops and friends from Run it Fast.  I have become more humble than ever as I witnessed incredible feats by awesome runners year after year.  What motivates me today is the satisfaction of helping, motivating, and inspiring new runners to discover this wonderful sport that has really changed me physically and mentally.

future - I have high hopes of completing my 50 State journey sooner rather than later.  If timing permits, I would like to finish my tour in the next two years.  I plan to take on bigger and faster challenges.  Who knows, sky is NOT the limit!  Ultra running is intriguing and I hope to get more experience and become a tougher and stronger runner.  I also hope that 3:51 is not my fastest marathon race...  Most importantly going forward I hope to treasure the remaining experience and make meaningful friendship with the awesome people in the running community.  Its time to push and time to get that negative split!

one race, one mile, and one step at a time,

Jeff

Monday, May 27, 2013

The 2013 Nanny Goat 100 - An Unforgettable Experience


Nanny Goat 100 Mile Run.  5/25/2013 - 5/26/2013


With new friends.  Sorry for not pulling off "the Zato" Gotta give the rookie one pass.


Nanny Goat 12H/24H/100

Raising Funds for the WWP


The Barn - Start/Finish of the 1 mile loop.  

I just finished the Nanny Goat 100 mile ultra run.  It was the most difficult physical, mental, and emotional activity I’ve ever attempted.  I want to share this journey with those of you who may wonder what it is like to attempt the distance of 100 miles on foot.  I also hope to share with you the ups and downs in my mind’s space before and during the journey.

I’ve often said, “I don’t set goals to fail them.”  It’s not meant to be a boastful.  It is something I truly believe in and reach for.  Maybe it’s just my way of psyching me up for a challenge.  I love things that are difficult, just out of reach enough to be a challenge.  And the Nanny Goat 100 was definitely a stretch challenge…   a gigantic challenge.  I am an average guy, an average (pedestrian) runner, but I refuse to be constrained by limitations.

I got through this run with the wonderful support I received before and during the race.  I got through this run by digging deep inside.  By this I mean using both positive inspirations and the negative ones as fuel as I often do.  In the spirit of the 100 miles, I have come up with 100 people, things, or thoughts that have either directly or indirectly supported; brought me joy, inspiration, or fuel to burn in preparation and during this race.



My stall-mates, amazing runners Mitch Chan, Joshua Holmes, Katrina Mumaw, Colleen Zato, and Eric Waterman
With Colleen and Mitch 
Colleen and Katrina made the stall feel like home


Meeting the great Jester

With Mitch and Giovanni
(For those who are not familiar, The Nanny Goat Ultra is a 12 Hour, 24 Hour, or 100 mile footrace around a 1 mile loop around a private ranch in Riverside, CA.  Yes, an one mile loop...  )
Pre-race with Eric

Pre-Race with Andrea


Mile 1 - Ben and Julia Chan.  Our long time and dear friends, thank you for your visit @ Nanny and taking Ayn for the night!  Thanks for being so kind to our family throughout the years and thank you for your generous donation to the Wounded Warrior Project!
(Crap, is this really happening?  Crap!  forgot my sunblock!) 10:49

Mile 2 - Nelson Au.  One of our most charming and successful friends and one I call “biggggggy boy.”  Thank you for your generous donation.  Hope all is well and you are conquering whichever part of the world you travel.
(Exciting start to the race.  A little intimidating to be surrounded by all these amazing runners.  I'm thinking, "I'm in over my head?") 10:45


Mile 3 - Jimmy Pham.  One of the nicest people around.  We need to play "heart attack" for beer again soon brother!  Thanks for your generous donation the the WWP.
(Getting a feel for the course, the grass section with soft unleveled footing presented major problems...  especially at night) 11:35


Mile 4 - Chris Rush.  Thank you for your more than generous donation to the WWP.  We shall survive that crazy place we call work.
(Feeling really good early on and using my Garmin's Run/Walk alert at 10:00 run and 2:00 walk) 11:25

Mile 5 - Quentin Eng.  Who I've heard much about but only had the pleasure of sharing one run with.  Your story of Boston qualifying is inspirational.  Perhaps one day I can be there as well.  Thank you for your generous donation the the WWP.
(Goal was to run at about 14 minute pace.  Felt like I was running at 12 minute pace.  Ran these early miles at < 11:30 pace.  Trouble ahead) 11:03

Mile 6 - Lei and Dave Kirgan.  Our dear friends who we share the love for running, food, and drinking (ha, yes in that order).  Thanks for your friendship, love and support.  Thank you for your generous donation the the WWP.
(The cloud covering of these early hours have been God-send.  It was supposed to be hot no?) 11:13

Mile 7 - Cannon Chang.  Thank you brother for your donation.  Word of advice for you and your beautiful bride to be…  when your child grows up to be about 8-9 years of age.  Keep a watchful eye out for the whereabouts of lighters and or matches in the house…  I have a feeling…
(Must eat now.  Baby food fruit + PB&J) 11:22

Mile 8 - Katrina Mumaw who I met on this race.  Her advise to me prior to the race was (paraphrasing) "Its a mental race, you've got to decide whether you loved the idea of being a buckle holder or you really want to be a buckle holder."  Thank you for that.
(I do believe I am already being lapped by some of these amazing runners.  That is okay...  I checked my ego in at the barn.  The goal is to FINISH) 10:47

Mile 9 - "Every race I get into, I hit a wall. In a race that is so long, you hit several walls. Every time you hit a wall, its a big deciding factor, in that race or in your life if you are not running. You have a decision to make. You can stop at that wall or you can go parallel left or right. You are looking for that door, and when you get to that door you have a decision to make 'should I open it or should I keep it closed'? If you keep it closed you've made a decision to quit. If you open that door you've made the decision to carry on with your journey or mission. I always open that door. Because once you open that door your mind resets and gives you a few more miles."- David Goggins 11:14

Mile 10 - Kristen and Dean Wong.  Thank you papa and mama Wong for your generous donation.  You guys are a great example for me in your own efforts in charitable fundraising.  We appreciate your friendship and support over the years!
(The pain in my left foot is giving me concern.  Even with one Aleve I can still feel the sensation.  I forge forward) 11:17

Mile 11 - I was never a big fan of Michael Jordan but his HOF speech showed me what a deeply competitive and driven man looked like inside the heart.  He used every slight, every disappointment, and every obstacle as fuel to accomplish his goals.   11:23

Mile 12 - Roxana and Cedric Chamouille.  Our new friends and such wonderful people.  Thanks for your donation and we are so glad to have your friendship.  And yes, thank for putting up with our stubborn kids!
(Eric Waterman points out to me that the cloud covers are starting to part) 11:20

Mile 13 - Andrea Kooiman’s blog post about the 2012 Nanny Goat 100 pushing me further toward the start line.  Inspirational read!
(I see Andrea on the course, manage to say a few words.  Amazing runner, amazing spirit) 11:14

Mile 14 - Jane Lu.  What can I say, Big Al is a lucky man.  Big Al, lets get that marathon in together!  Thank you very much for your generous donation to the WWP.
(Honey Stinger waffles and coconut water, trying to keep those calories coming) 11:24

Mile 15 - Bob Beachler, our old Boeing buddy who was there when I was  5:00+ marathoner.  Thanks for those miles in Seal Beach and your friendship.  Thank you for your generous donation to the WWP. 12:18

Mile 16 - Ann Chinen.  Thank you so much for your support and generous donation to the WWP, and likely for listening to my wife's complaints about my running madness. 11:55

Mile 17 - Twila Bing.  We sure miss you guys.  At least you don’t have to hear Audrena complain about me during your daily lunch runs!!   Thank you for your friendship and generous donation to the WWP!
(It's officially HOT!  I swap out my bandana for my Sahara hat.  This thing is fantastic!) 12:35

Mile 18 - The return of Twinkies.  I cannot wait to have one.
(S-Cap salt tabs, I take one every hour after about 11:00AM.  Took them about every 40 minutes in through the afternoon) 11:20

Mile 19 - Donna Jacob my fellow 50 Stater and Marathon Maniac.  Always fun and smiling and have been an inspiration to follow in the completion of her 50 States journey and 100 marathon finishes.  Thank you for your friendship and your generous donation to the WWP. 11:57

Mile 20 - The Hat!  We need to go after this Nanny Goat race.  Wet Pastrami Fries (best kept secret) with Orange Bang baby!
("I am 20% done!" I think to myself, oh God...) 11:50

Mile 21 - Melissa Tellez Seifen.  It is awesome to reconnect with you after all these years.  You are doing a great job raising a beautiful family.  Thanks for your support and generous donation.
(Buying these Dirty Girl gaiters for this race was one of the best decisions ever!  There is so much dust, rocks, and stuff on this course!  Anyone thinking about running Nanny NEEDS to get some.) 12:01

Mile 22 - Christopher McDougall ‘s “Born to Run.”  The book that introduced me to chia seeds, barefoot running, and (much more on) running.  Awesome story that provided many hours of entertainment.
(beginning to feel anxious to have my family here.  My food and water on hand are getting low and the rest was in the car off course) 12:19

Mile 23 - Gail Peter Wong.  My gun toting, right-wing loving, bald headed friend.  It’s funny how different yet similar we are after all these years.  I think the best thing we both did for ourselves is finding beautiful, smart, and strong women as our wives.  Thanks for your friendship and the generous donation to the WWP. 12:33

Mile 24 - Linsanity.  An inspiration that an average person can do great things.  A story about believing in yourself and not giving up.  Fingers crossed that the story continues…
("I am almost 1/4 done!"  I think to myself, oh God...) 12:41

Mile 25 - Christopher Bielinski who I met in El Paso in the freezing cold marathon start.  Nicest man who saved me (my nipples to be exact) with 2 band-aids pre-race that morning .  Thank you for your more than generous donation to the WWP.  I hope we will cross paths on the road again.
(Other runners are having veggie burger!?  Amazing what the organizers are offering in terms of food and drink!) 12:07

Mile 26 - My P.E teachers Mr. Chew and Mr. Santana from Macy.  Both taught me and the other boys many life lessons besides sports from sports.
(Marathon Done! Three more to go!) 13:46

Mile 27 - The feeling of awesomeness after a run in 90 degree weather or down-pouring rain.
(Audrena and the kids arrive.  I am relieved!  I immediately "order/ask" her to make me some food as I pass them.  Then immediately felt bad for not being nicer) 12:04
Greeting from the family with signs!


Mile 28 - Kia Running & Walking club.  Looking at the progress every individual have made through the last several years inspires me to reach for my best.  Thank you all very much. 16:35

Mile 29 - Bridgette Adams, who I met through the Kia Running Club.  Although I don’t know Bridgette very well, I do know that besides being a kick ass runner, she is beautiful in person and in spirit.  Thank you very much for your support and generous donation to the WWP! 12:27
(Visit from my best friends Ducky & Sharon!)


Mile 30 - Dr. Albert Saisho for making the proper diagnosis in 2006.  Thank you…
(I make my first sock and shoe change of the day.  I am amazed at how dirty my feet and toes are from the dust!  The KT tape is holding up on the left foot but I am afraid to see what hides underneath. 15:24

Mile 31 - Dr. Herbert Lee for taking care of me since.
(pain from left foot is back, take my second Aleve, what happened to the 12 hour effectiveness?) 14:44

Mile 32 - My torn Achilles as a blessing.  Without it I may not have turned to running.
(Magic's number!) 20:40

Mile 33 - California Beach Sushi.  Can we go tonight?
(Kareem's number!  My favorite player and number of all time.  Yes, I was a Laker fan once upon a time...  I am 1/3 done!)13:21

Mile 34 - Lance Armstrong.  For reminding me that no man should be idolized.  If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
(Visit from Ben & Julia!) 16:02
The Chans visit Nanny


Mile 35 - Beverly and Derek Kishida who are the nicest and most grounded people we know.  Thank you for your encouragement and generous donation to the WWP.
(Sharing a mile with my 9 year old son was uplifting)14:35

Mile 36 - Overuse of the word warrior.
(Its about 3:00PM and I am chatting with other runners about why the sun isn't setting fast enough)15:53

Mile 37 - Overuse of the word hero.
(A few miles with Audrena, she told me "you are going to do this, I have no doubt")17:00

Mile 38 - Being a parent is harder than this race.18:54

Mile 39 - Joshua Holmes (AKA Mr. Run It Fast http://runitfast.com/) .  I met Joshua at the Run Like the Wind Marathon in Santa Monica as he passed me MANY times on the looped course.  Thank you for the great advice and encouragement for the 100 mile race.  Love the Run It Fast philosophy.
(Joshua is kicking ass and I've lost count of how many times he has lapped me) 14:43

Mile 40 - Living in Irvine, CA.  The most beautiful city, with perfect weather, and beautiful trails.  There is no other place I’d rather call home. 13:35
Sharing a pop with my boy


Mile 41 - Vibram Five Fingers.  They rock.  They work.  Period.
(Around here I hit my fist wall.  It wasn't the kind of wall I encountered in marathons where it hits you suddenly.  Rather, it was like a quicksand that takes you down slowly where doubts of not finishing began to creep in.  Cramps and pain began to set in and you think about how many more miles there are to run.  All of a sudden 50 seem like a respectable number to stop... I began to understand what Katrina had told me) 13:39

Mile 42 - Arrogant mother f*ckers.
(Seriously, why am I doing this) 12:49

Mile 43 - Coconut water.  So good.
(My co-worker and dear friend Richard arrives.  He rescued me from the quicksand.  Richard ran the next 10 miles with me!  "why are you running these uphills?" "I didn't even notice it!?"  "Look at the experienced runners like the Jester, see where they run and where they walk" Richard was right, with his observations we changed our run walk strategy and it gave me a much needed boost) 18:23

Mile 44 - My Garmin Forerunners.  Hard to put you down. 14:21

Mile 45 - Boston marathon 2013.  Reminder to live, run, and never back down from evil. 14:01

Mile 46 -Boston marathon.  ONE DAY!
(Its beginning to cool and my spirits are lifting) 14:15

Mile 47 - People who front religion like Dean, who coached my son’s basketball team so that his sons can shoot the ball on every possession.  A good reminder that claiming to be religious does not make anyone a good person. 22:22

Mile 48 - Lowlife bosses like Ed Lowe.  A scumbag of a boss I had in my early 20s who made it a point to make each of our day as miserable as his. 13:40

Mile 49 - Idiots who talk too much.  I will refrain from naming my current co-workers. 20:02

Mile 50 - Richard Yiap.  My running partner.  Thank you for running with me throughout this last year.  Your encouragement and words of wisdom has helped me grow as a runner and as a person. 16:20
Richard and me at mile 50

Mile 51 - Mike Laity (aka Yoda).  Bad ass runner.  Thank you for the time we spent running together.  You pushed me to be a better runner.  You are missed on these trails every day.  Looking forward to Montana in July!
(Yeah!  counting down!  49 to go!) 15:22

Mile 52 - My foam roller.  I hate you.  I love you.
(Richard's last lap with me.  I tell myself I will finish this race.  I just ran 2 marathons, Im not letting that go to waste) 14:43

Mile 53 - Howard Choi who I met in El Paso.  Thanks for all the encouragement on tackling the ultra distance.
(Its completely dark.  Out comes the headlamp.  Pray that I don't break my ankle) 20:18

Mile 54 - Thank you Lara “running fox” Michelle, fellow MM for encouraging each other as we started thinking and tackling the ultra distance around the same time.  Awesome job in completing your 100!
(I realize it has passed the 12 hour mark and the field and course had thinned out significantly)23:19

Mile 55 - Whiners.  Shut up.
(Double nickel baby!)15:12


Mile 56 - Vinay, who decided that he would run a marathon and went out and did it.  That’s the spirit I love to see in new runners!  Thanks for pacing me at NG! 17:54

Stacey and Vinay who paced me for 14 miles!!

Mile 57 - Stacey, the running fairy, and future marathoner!  Thanks for pacing me at NG100.  I am glad to have your company and support at Kia!  Best of luck to you and Vinay at the SD marathon. 18:00
Tinker Bell pushing me ahead

Mile 58 - People who say “run Forest run.”  It stopped being funny years ago.
(Sensing more pain from left foot, put off more Aleve as long as I can) 24:14

Mile 59 - Bacon.  For making everything better. 20:15

Mile 60 - Egg on top.  For making everything better.  Why do you think I run?
(Another dose of Aleve, now pain in both feet.  A second sock and shoe change.  I decided to strip the KT tape as the corners began to curl.  Not good.  Left foot is swollen.  Forge on) 21:04

Mile 61 - Hyper-active people.  It’s not you, it’s me.  I can’t keep up.  Please chill.
(I don't know if its mental or real but the Aleve kicks in fast) 23:44

Mile 62 - 50 States Marathon Club.  I am SO that glad I joined the group to chase the dream.  Met amazing people and seen beautiful places big and small.  Turnaround (State #25 - Montana) is just around the corner. 20:03
Visit from our best friends Jay & Jen @ mile 62
Mile 63 - Why is cardio so important?  Because its rule #1! 17:41

Mile 64 - Marathon Maniacs - a group of crazy people like me.  While we are a diverse bunch, we share the love for running and a perspective that others (the normals) do not have.  I especially appreciate all of the cool Maniacs I’ve met.  Even to those I’ve not spoken to, those “go Maniac” sound offs on the routes of the many marathons have all helped me to each finish line. 31:22

Mile 65 - This video to explain the above. 21:12

Mile 66 - Excuses.  Save them.  I don’t need them. 17:53

Mile 67 - People who say they are going to “work up to it.” I say, just do it. 25:32


Mile 68 Ed “the Jester” Ettinghausen.  Ultra veteran who was kind enough to offer his advice and encouragement starting with my first back-to-back marathon, then the 12 hour ultra in Taiwan, and then for the Nanny.  Thank you. 17:43

Mile 69 - “Running on the Sun: The Badwater 135.”  Strangely watching this documentary about the toughest footrace in the world where people vomit and lose toenails didn’t discourage me from the ultra world; it inspired me. 21:18

Mile 70 - Running Troops.  I’ll do my best to live up to “To inspire, to challenge, and to serve.”  Thank you for your generous contribution to the WWP!
(Last lap with Vinay and Stacey.  I hope I was able to communicate my appreciation sufficiently.  They insisted on staying but I said my good-byes.  Time to brace the darkness alone) 18:00

Mile 71 - Waking up at 1, 2, or 3 AM on Sat.  Most difficult part of the weekend long run.
(Made the decision to take a shower.  Best 20 minutes I spent the whole night.  With new clothes, socks, shoes, and lubrication, I feel a major lift in my spirits and a second wind) 37:45

Mile 72 - Tony Ngo.  Aka Uncle “toe-knee” aka Tony the Tiger.  Thanks for coming through once again.  Thanks for your friendship and support.
(Tony Ngo helped me with food and water so that Audrena could get some shut-eye.  You are awesome NGO!) 16:38

Mile 73 - Pete Mingwah.  Thank you for inspiring me to run this race and to live life to its fullest.  "No pacers needed, Nor-Cal's in the house." is what you said to me in our last communication about Nanny.  Your passing was the final straw to my decision to run this race.  RIP. 17:53

Mile 74 - Charlene Ragsdale.  Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and being a sounding board for everything from running to raising kids.  What I love most about you is your compassionate but yet no nonsense personality.  As real as real gets.
(One marathon to go.  I do that every weekend.  Lets do this!) 15:05

Mile 75 - A few friends that we lost touch with.  You know who you are.  We hope you are well.
(I say to myself I've got a 1/4 to go.  I must finish this.  The Korean cup-o-noodle was heavenly) 18:33

Mile 76 - My stall-mates.  The words of encouragement prior to and during the race will never be forgotten. 20:38
Mitch, Katrina, Joshua, Colleen, and me


Mile 77 - Terri Perez, fellow Trooper.  Your encouragement meant the world to me in the late part of this race.  15:44

Mile 78 - Reaching taper weeks.  One of the best feelings in the world.
(whoo, dark brown pee, thats a first) 16:03

Mile 79 - Breaking down during taper week.  One of the worst feelings in the world. 18:06

Mile 80 - "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift." - Steve Prefontaine
(My wonderful wife shares the next 4 miles with me in the dark!) 15:14

Mile 81 - "Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death." - Ayn Rand
(I see many runners who decided to call it a night.  Kind of wishing I was one of them.  But I NEED to forge ahead) 17:57

Mile 82 - #JUSTBRINGIT (how I feel before any race.  Ask me at mile 80… #SURVIVE)
(Having company brought me a third wind.  I am feeling well and no cramps since the 30-50s) 18:42

Mile 83 - #RUNMORE!  Thank you Chuck “Marathon Junkie" Engle, champion marathoner in all 50 states for the phrase.  It is the answer to so many question/problems.
(Holy smoke!  a 14:28 mile!)

Mile 84 - Jean Ho.  Thank you for your countless encouragement @ Nanny especially later in the race.  The love and warmth of the ultra community @ Nanny is something I've never experienced in my years of running marathons. 17:02

Mile 85 - Steve Harvey.  Thank you for organizing this wonderful and unforgettable event.  I wish we had more time to chat and perhaps share a beer or two.  I hope Nanny 2013 won't be the last time we cross paths. 17:24

Mile 86 - Tony Nguyen (AKA Endorphin Dude)’s first attempt at Nanny.  This was one of the very first things that inspired me to want to attempt a 100 mile run.  It was impossible not to be inspired when you see someone leaving it all on the course. 18:22

Mile 87 - Ducky & Jay.  I think our friendship doesn’t need much more explanation.  If ever there was family beyond blood, it would be our families.  Ducky, your donation to the WWP was more than generous!!  OMG! 20:09

Mile 88 - Christina Liu, my little sister who is a grown woman today.  She’s had the courage to do what she’s wanted and be who she wanted to be.  Continue to be you and don’t let them get you down.  Keep it New York.
(Only a half marathon left!) 19:47

Mile 89 - Chevvy.  My brother.  I am very proud of you and what you have been able to accomplish.  The road may not have been easy but you’ve definitely grown from the kid I met years ago to the man that we see today.
(Its been 24 hours since I started running.  I made the 86 mile minimum cut off required at 24 hours.  I am doing the math in my mind.  I think I am safe to finish under the 28 hour cut-off...  unless something catastrophic happens...) 15:41

Mile 90 - My grandma who I miss dearly.  It was only the times I spent with her as a kid that I truly felt spoiled.  I hope you are proud to see the man I am today from above. 17:01

Mile 91 - Mom, who has endure the many struggles in her life.  Then she kicked cancer twice.
(I NEED to maintain a 20 minute mile to complete this mission is ALL I can think of.  I've come too far) 17:50
Mile 90!
Mile 92 - Being a fat kid.  Although looking at photos I was never really a fat kid as I was told so. 18:37

Mile 93 - I was beaten but never broken.
(I am on an island.  There are fewer and fewer runners on the course.  At the "U-turn from hell" part of the course, I don't think I've ever felt so alone.  The death march continues)  16:43

Mile 94 - "Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves - or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth." - Ayn Rand
(just one foot in front of the other.  Just end the pain) 18:10

Mile 95 - Learning to live in the moment.
(Longest 10K in my life) 18:40

Mile 96 - Learning to appreciate the good things in life.
(I hear the eruptions of cheers from the barn as other runners are obviously finishing their 100th mile.  I am broken.  I feel envy, desperation, pain, near joy..  I think this suffering is strangely peaceful.  The sun is back up for just another day) 20:02



Mile 97 - Seeking emptiness.  I wanted to know if I can give everything I had physically and emotionally and I wanted to know that feeling of being without burden.  
(I think I found it in these last few miles.  For moments, I felt no competitiveness, no rage, and no joy.  Just moving forward...) 20:13

Mile 98 - This mile is for Athan.  I love you kid even though you drive me completely insane at times.  The brightest little boy with endless promise.  I see so much of myself (good and bad) in you and I want nothing but to guide you through what I’ve been through.  You might not understand or fully comprehend our little adventure here today, but I hope it left an impression on you for all the good it represents to me.
(Tony Nguyen found me on the course and paced me through to the end.  Tony, you are the embodiment of goodness in the running community.  Pacing me, a stranger to the very end...  I'm babbling to him and his positive spirits lifts me enough to keep moving forward on the longest 5K in my life) 21:31

Mile 99 - This mile is for Ayn.  As clever and as stubborn as your big brother.  Know that daddy loves you and will always be there for you.  You and your brother bring me endless joy…  when you are good! 
(Tony Nguyen tells me I am a rock star, funny I didn't feel like one at all...) 21:12

With the Tonies, Dennis, and Athan

Mile 100 - I dedicate this mile to my crew chief, my partner, my beautiful wife who had always been my biggest supporter in life and became my biggest supporter in running.  Thank you for being supportive of my crazy goals and having more confidence in my than I did for myself.  This would not be possible without you being there for the months before and the 27:32:12 during the race. 24:12

(I have with me in my entourage a real life super hero (E-Dude Tony), Ms. Run-it-Fast (Katrina), Audrena, Athan, Dennis and Tony Ngo for this final lap around the Nanny Goat 100 course.  To be honest I don't remember too clearly all that was said during the walk.  I do remember rounding the "cone of death" at the dreadful u-turn for the last time...  I asked Athan to turn around and gave it the double finger salute...



As we round the goat pen and toward the finish at the barn, Tony yells "100 mile finisher coming through!"  Athan is holding me up for these final steps to the finish line.  Cowbells go off and the volunteers, remaining ultra runners/supporters cheer, and I am fighting back my tears... (finish video here)


Looking up on the screen to see 100 next to my name

I am a buckle holder

I am finally a 100 mile finisher.  I hug Audrena and I tell her "WE DID IT" and all the pain and emotions hit me at once.  Relief, pride, joy, disbelief....




Truly an experience I will never forget!


one race, one mile, and one step at a time...

Jeff