Western States 2013

Escarpment. Photo Luis Escobar

My Western  States 100m Race Report on iRunFar. Thanks to iRunFar for putting it up and all the live coverage on race day!!!

Western States was another incredible experience, I love writing my reports and re-living the day. I’m not the finest writer out there, but I speak what I feel and in doing so my goal is to put you in my shoes while you read, taking you through my day and how it unfolded.

First off I want to thank my amazing sponsors who are helping me make my dreams come true. The North Face has been incredible team to be apart of, I look forward to growing with them as I keep exploring the world. Natura Health Products keep me strong and healthy, adapting to the rigors I put my body through daily – I’m so stoked that this local company from Ashland, OR has my back. And of course Injinji, my little piggies have never been happier, that blister I used to always get between my big and second toe is no more and I am quite happy for that.

My hats off to Craig Thornley on his first time Race Directing Western States, you did an outstanding job and I love your enthusiasm for our sport. Also, a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers and staff that make WS happen so successfully each year; so many people are apart of this and work long long hours to make it flawless, I am so blessed to be able to run it these past 3 years.

Congrats to all the WS finishers and participants. Just showing up and giving your best is all you can do, I hope you all had a great experience.

Also, thank you to everyone there and afar cheering me on and sending positive vibrations; friends and family who support me and encourage me continually, it pushes me to give everything I’ve got.

Finish. Photo Shahid ALi

Great moment! Photo: Shahid Ali

And finally thank  you to my crew; running WS is a team effort and I could not do it without all of you, you all made the day perfect (Krista, Tristan, Bob, Debbie, Amber, Dom, Chris, Aaron, and Shahid)! Dom and Renn with their mad pacing skills, it was a pleasure to run with you both; you get to witness all the good and weird stuff! Krista, you are amazing and give me the strength to push on, thank you for always being there and supporting me.

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The crew post race. Thank you!!!

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Love these two! Photo: Shahid Ali

Products used before and after race.

The North Face

Injinji

Natura

Pre-race Breakfast

Race food

  • 1-Justin’s Hazelnut package in first hour.
  • VFuel, 1-2 an hour. I love the peach cobbler flavor, but use all 3.
  • Sierra Mist with ice after 50 miles. Not sure how much I used, but I would drink at aid stations and then fill up one water bottle with it when I saw my crew.
  • Salt caps, 2 an hour for most the day. One an hour the last few hours.

Music – Western States mix, I used on my ipod shuffle the last few hours

  • Lake house – Of Monsters And Men
  • Into the WIld – LP
  • Thrift Shop – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Can’t Hold – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Little Talks – Of Monsters And Men
  • Ho Hey – The Lumineers
  • Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) – Daft Punk
  • I’m a Thug – Trick Daddy….lol, dont judge me, I thought it was perfect to go from this to MMMBop
  • MMMBop – Hanson
  • Same Love – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Hold On – Alabama Shakes
  • Get by – Talib Kweli
  • King and Lionheart – Of Monsters And Men
  • Forest Whitiker – Brother Ali
  • Comback kid (that’s My Dog) – Brett Dennen
  • 40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  • Hey Hey Hey – Michael Franti
  • Be – Common

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Trail Hippy. Photo: Luis Escobar

Post-race interviews and articles

The family and I will be hitting the road for the next few months, I’m always looking for new and good sponsors that don’t compete with my already existing top notch sponsors. 😉

Thanks for reading and I’ll continue to update as we hit the trails…cheers!

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Transvulcania 2013

Transvulcania

So many good memories intoxicated my senses as I drank in the sights, sounds and smells of Transvulcania. The day’s heat penetrated the earth, wafting out smells of wildflowers, fennel and lava rock as I zig-zagged my way down to the Port of Tazacorte. Lizards zigged in and out of rocks demonstrating the way to maneuver appropriately down the rocks. Still kilometers away from the finish I could hear the thundering, boom-chic-a-boom of drums, screams of “anima-anima” (meaning courage) encouraging and nudging me along every step of the way. The town of Los Llanos was buzzing, awaiting our arrival and I think they were more stoked than I. There was an energy on this Island before, during and after that went beyond running or racing, its hard to explain in words, but the emotions felt here will be carried with me for a long time. I am grateful.

photo-1

First photo on la Island.

I lived on the beautiful Island of La Palma for the 2 weeks prior to the race. I was able to see much of the course and could not wait to string the whole route together in a single push with so many others as we discovered more of the Island and of ourselves. Knowing some of the course was a huge help as I passed different points and knew where I was most the day. Sections of this course take your breath away. This is one of the best places on earth to run and I look forward to coming back, running this race again and hopefully doing a project where I run around the whole Island next year.

It was a pretty wild start to the race, down by the Atlantic ocean, with 1500 other people, all willing to wake-up by climbing up to 2500 meters (8200ft) in the next 57k and then bomb our way down technical lava rocks back to the ocean! After the start when you look back a few switch backs, you see the string of head torches lighting the way and slithering all the way back to the ocean. It’s quite the sight and pumps you up as the journey just begins to unfold.

trail

Checking out the course days before the start.

I could see the leaders just up the way and thought I was running a smart race. At 6:30am we went through the first check point, where the streets were lined with people cheering us on. All it took was one fist pump and the crowd exploded…what fun! Besides passing through the town, most of the first 20k were on black lava rock crushed into sand that never gave us a true footing. The steepness at points gave you the tricky decision of slip-hiking or slip-running. Either way, it worked your legs and lungs well and you knew you were racing.

Early on By Saul Santos

Sunrise. Photo: Saul Santos Diaz

After an hour of this, Adam Campbell and I came to a short ridge section where the sunrise crept up from the mountains. Glowing reds lit up the sky as we looked across the ocean to the neighboring Tarifa Island away in the distance. We soaked in the beauty, talking a little bit, but then went back to breathing and another steep gritty climb adjacent to Volcanoes. It was awesome to enjoy some k’s with Adam as we pushed each other along meandering black pine forest etched with black volcanic rock until it reached the ocean. I continued onward prepared for the big decent down to El Pilar after 2200 meters of climbing. There were already so many unbelievable views and the day had just begun.

After you drop through El Pilar (26k) you are once again greeted with many more amazing people cheering you through! Being from the States it’s quite incredible to see so many people cheering you on the whole way. It would be cool to see people get into a healthy sport instead of sitting around drinking beer and eating junk food while watching some game on TV. The mountain scene is infectious and I hope to run many more races over the big pond.

Tim Olson Photo by Jordi Saragossa

Entering El Pilar. Photo: Jordi Saragosa

I hit the single track and was on my way to El Reventon (34k). Our trail for most of the race, the GR 131 kept creeping around which was sorta hard to follow. It kept crossing a dirt-jeep road, but I just figured I should stay on the trail. I eventually hit a dead end and retraced my steps. As I came back to the jeep road I ran into Francois D’haene. He informed me we were suppose to be running the dirt road, oops, you know me, I always like to throw in a little extra.

I only lost a little time and was quickly back to the grind. The dirt road continued up for the most part, but was not steep and not technical at all. It was much like a road named 2060 back in Ashland Oregon, fast dirt road with many pine trees and needles a foot. The only difference was the pine trees were much smaller and black and the views of the road dropped 300 meters down into ravines below. We had to run it fast, so I put my head down, jammed out to some tunes and clicked off the next section as fast as I could. Not fast enough, as the leaders still gained on me, about 7 minutes up (relayed to me by champion and good friend Anna Frost who showed me much of the Island in my 2-week stay and got me a fresh bottle of auga at El Reventon). I knew I needed to work hard up to Roque de Los Muchachos and see if I could gain some ground.

I eventually saw a few people ahead and pushed to reach them. All day I felt solid with my eating and drinking, steadily consuming to keep my energy where it needed to be. I had no stomach problems and enjoyed using a Justin’s nut butter in the morning and some VFuel gels (around 14) the rest of the day. The day kept heating up, but I never was too hot until the finish.

Lizard

One of many lizards on the trail. Photo: Timothee Nalet

I caught Miguel and Patrick around Refugio Punta de Los Roques (40k) and ran with them a bit. We kept switching back and forth giving words of encouragement. I was trying hard to get past them, but anytime I pushed a little harder I couldn’t catch my breath and needed to hike a bit. The track was rocky in sections, but nothing too technical. The trail mostly led upwards, but would give you quick breaks of down or flat to allow a quick break and maybe a moment to pop a gel. I ran this last 42k section the week before and was happy to take in the beauty much more on that trip around. Huge drop offs, expansive views of the Island and incredible spires shooting out of the mountain rock making the ridges look like a kings crown. These spires were some of the first I’ve seen in person and probably one of my favorite parts of the mountains.

Tim Olson Mountain

One of my favorite views of the rock formations below.

After struggling through those sections, I saw the blond lengthy stride of Cameron just a few switch-backs up. It was good to see him and this also meant I was catching up to the leaders, if just a little bit. I could tell Cameron was tired, but like always in a great mood and encouraging me along. More than a few times we past spectators which kept calling me Krupicka. I was too tired to correct them, but Cameron was graciously on it, yelling, “no, no, Timothy Olson!” Thanks Cam, maybe someday they will not think I’m Tony’s look-a-like. I even signed an autograph for Tony down at Puerto de Tazacorte days before the race despite explaining i’m not him (they wanted one anyway), funny stuff, I mean come on, I’m better looking 😉 but I’ll take it as a compliment, cuz Tony is such a bad-ass. Love you Tony.

The day was definitely heating up and water was a necessity not to be forgotten. Los Muchachos was always in sight, but this high altitude (2500m) technical section was both impossibly challenging and so amazingly fun. I’m a novice when it comes to technical running, but to me, technical running and scrabbling over rocks is about as good as trail/mountain running gets. I was loving it, struggling and thriving at the same time. The spectators were multiplying, miniature helicopters were in the air buzzing and catching the action for live TV updates. It was incredible and the atmosphere inspired me to keep pushing; my lungs burned, my body ached, but my mind and heart were strong and ready to pounce.

Tim Olson by ian corless

Photo: Ian Corless

Reaching Roque de Los Muchachos (57k), knowing very little Spanish, I didn’t really have any idea how close I was too the top 3. I figured it didn’t really matter how close I was, I was going to bomb down the track as fast as I possible could. I was feeling, not-bad; the last climb was punishing, but my mind was solid and my heart was willing to lay it all out. I was having the time of my life and so grateful to be enjoying the beauty and the day with my first taste of sky running. After you reach the top, you’re under the illusion that it’s all down hill from here which is not exactly the case. There are still a few tiny climbs that just down-right sock you in the gut, you gotta love it!

I had two goals as I plummeted down the last 20k kamikaze-style; don’t let up and don’t lose my front teeth. The time leading up to the race I did a lot of fast descending and learned how to dance with the trail. At first it was an awkward tango that was quite comical, but by the day of the race I felt sufficient enough and was even looking forward to it. I much prefer technical down hill than mindless trashing of the quads down a buff dirt path. Every step was the only one that mattered, you watched for the next rock, you bounced back-n-forth like a pinball machine as you gracefully fell off the mountain. If you don’t bend with the trail, it will destroy you; you need to lean into it and let each move be with purpose, picking the best line and confidently executing each step.  I remained grounded focusing on each of my Injinji wrapped toes, yet flexible as I imagined myself as water flowing down stream, not using force, molding around the contours of the rocks. I by no means have this somewhat technical running figured out, but I really enjoy it and look forward to dialing it in.

Big hike

Photo: Bichillo Runner

I felt like I was doing ok and maybe even gaining a wee bit, I could tell the legs were fatigued and starting to cramp every so slightly. I took a few salt-pills which helped a little, but the heat and pounding of the day was taking its toll. I rolled my bad-ankle once again, it hurt proper, but I wasn’t going to let it affect me. I knew where I was on the course, I knew I could make it down, embrace the pain and focus on each step. My mind felt sharp and my heart really wanted to go all out. Muscles, tendons and ligaments were screaming at me, but I was too – in the moment – to let some silly aches make this not one of the most enjoyable runs of my life. I felt alive and free.

The heat was blasting off the black lava rocks, the senses were high and my nose was drinking in every aspect of this race. I reached Torreta Forestal El Time (71k), legs cramping, I took another salt-pill, dumped water on my head and kept moving. I had ran this technical section mixed with a couple 100 meters of really steep road sections a handful of times. I knew what to expect, this didn’t mean I was excited for it, but I knew I was almost home. These next kilometers swept past a million plantano (banana) trees and wildflowers booming with colors and smells, whisking by your legs. Hopping from rock to rock, I had so many emotions going through me, feeling like a wild animal.

lion

Near the final decent. Photo by Borja Guaje Villa.

I came crashing down the steep decent of off-kilter cobbled stone zig-zags that lead to Purto de Tazacorte. My legs relentlessly cramping, making me flinch yet with only one thought, to keep pushing hard. You could hear and see the people below, drums and screams echoing in the air. I made it down and got word from Frosty that I was around 7 to 8 minutes back, but should go catch him. She also told me Francois was only a minute back. It felt good to start going up again and being on stable pavement. Anna handed off a fresh water-bottle, dumped water on my head and I took off as fast as I possible could go. I felt like I was flying, but then I looked at the ground and saw it was not moving too fast below; I tried harder.

I came to the last 300m (1000ft) climb up cobbled stone switch-backs, people lined the streets yelling words of encouragement. I ran, I growled until I could no more; I hiked, I sipped some water, I ran more. I reached the last kilometer with a police escort. The next scene, I’ve only seen in videos; it was pandemonium. People lined the streets screaming, the music and people were deafening; I cramped once more, I thought I was going to have to hobble my way in. I took another salt-pill for good measure with less than a kilometer to go, I laughed at my comical display and eased into the finish. I took a deep breath and remembered to soak it all in. It wasn’t my best race, but I learned a lot and had the time of my life, I gave it my all and felt very satisfied with my day. I buzzed like a plane back-n-forth, high-five’n as many as I could. I was ecstatic to finish and finally rest my beaten legs. What a day!

Tim Olson Finish by Saul Santos

Finish. Photo: Saul Santos Diaz

Two-weeks prior to this race, I didn’t think I was going to even race. I had hip and knee issues that kept my last month of training very minimal. Days before I arrived in La Palma I had a few acupuncture sessions and a massage that finally clarified the issue. Every day since landing on the magical-healing land of La Palma my issues kept resolving with the aid of self massage, stretching and glute strengthening. I was amazed to even race let alone have a solid effort. My time in La Palma was very special to me, La Island es Bonita and I look forward to coming back and soaking in the magic once again next year. I could not have had a better journey and am so grateful for the opportunity to run on this Island, explore so much of it, meet so many amazing people and form friendships with ones that are very dear to my heart.

I can’t explain how much I missed Krista and Tristan back home and It felt so good to hold them in my arms when I returned. This journey was very good for my heart, filling me with emotions as I said good-bye. I’ll stop trying to describe feelings that can’t be explained, but the Island and the people of La Palma have forever touched my heart. Thank you, muchas gracias!

sunset on La Palma

Enjoying a sunset on La Palma. Photo: Timothee Nalet

I recovered smoothly thanks to a balanced whole-food diet, some Emily perfected Spanish tortilla and herbal supplements from Natura Health products. I cant believe how well i’m feeling and ready for my next journey at Western States.

Necessities for my race.

The North Face better than naked shorts and tank-top

Injinji 2.0 light-weight mini-crew socks and buff

Natura Health Products
-Amino-max
-Botanabol
-Power-Adapt
-Beyond Essential Whey protein drink
-InflamAway

 

Recent interview before and after Transvulcania

Run Tramp interview

Talk Ultra interview

Carreras pormontana interview

Talk Ultra Transvulcania

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Lake Sonoma 50m 2013

Lake Sonoma 50 2013

I’ve enjoyed many runs in my life; this year’s Sonoma 50 miler was not high on my list. I went into this race debating if I should even start; my knee has been out of sorts – as of late – and I did not have much faith in it holding up for 50 miles. It didn’t. I made it 15 or so miles before it buckled on me and proceeded to nag me the rest of the day. This was a race that I should have stopped, enjoyed the beauty of springtime in Sonoma and rested up with a good bottle of vino. You might have guessed that I am a stubborn person; this both aids me and hinders me in life. I’ve accomplished dreams and have also made mistakes. I feel, even when the waves crash in my face, life is a perfect storm, enjoying the ebb and flow of the waves of life. It all balances out and underneath the uncertainty there is stillness and a place of peace where I belong and where my path keeps coming back too.

Sonoma was humbling and a needed reality-check; after the dust settled it has allowed time to reflect on my daily choices as I proceed onward with the rest of the season. Sometimes when life moves at such a fast pace, it can be challenging to go within and listen to the subtle signs your body is giving you; my goal is to listen more intently and make choices that heal and nourish and don’t break me down. Enjoying what life brings, being present within each moment and moving consciously with each step and action. My race might have not gone as planned, but so it is and it is just another building block as I continue my path, growing along the way.

The race pace from the gun was brisk, leaving little breath for small talk or breathes at all. I was all business and maybe a little to focused on my boo-boo’s when I should have been enjoying springtime in California and the rhythm of my feet connecting with the ground. Things were just not in my favor come race day; I tweaked my ankle the prior day which gave me two things on one leg to worry about. My good buddy OOJ (who had a stellar race) taped my ankle the night before which was great, but my left leg was a train-wreck waiting to happen. From the start of the race I was quiet, trying to focus on each step and let the day unfold on how I wanted it to go, I was not willing to go with the flow and I paid for it. A lesson I’ve learned time and time again, maybe this time it will stick.

Early on photo by Monica Morant

12 miles in and sloshing through a creek. BP doing his thang. Photo: Monica Morant

I’m not going to go into detail about Sonoma. I had a fun day with friends and family but frankly the race turned into a rather comical display of frustration, off-key singing and a relatively monotonous pace to not damage my knee further. I started out feeling fine and rolling in a good groove, the pace was fast, but it was fun to push it early. Everyone was flying and i always enjoy being a part of the excitement. I enjoyed some early miles with mi amigo Jorge as I puffed along trying too keep the leaders within reach. I was feeling off from the start and then around mile 15 my knee gave out on me and I continued to have problems with it the rest of the day. Up-hill’s didn’t bother it much, but my main goal the rest of the day was to take it nice and easy-in and hopefully be able to recover as soon as possible. I like problem solving and I’m good with dealing with pain throughout a race, but being in good shape and having a knee not cooperate and worrying that it might give out on every step was an anxiety I should not have bared and next time I will just take the DNF, lesson learned.

Hurting but my wife is crewing and keeping my spirits up Photo by Willy OnateMy wonderful wife crewing at the turnaround. Always so good to have her cheering me in. Photo: Willy Onate

Broken but moving with Skaggs

Skaggs and I enjoying some NorCal track. Photo: Monica Morant
sonoma pic by Maria Sharoglazova

Photo: Maria Sharoglazova

I look forward to running this race again next year. It’s my favorite early season 50-mile race with the beautiful backdrop of Lake Sonoma. Tropical John puts on a fantastic event that I hope to partake for many years to come. Thanks to everyone who was out there and for all the hard work and effort that went into putting on such a fun day. Even the next day was amazing with wine tasting at Wilson’s winery. It was also fun to hear the stories from the day; Max and Cameron pushed the pace to the extreme. Sage had another amazing day and ran his own race with a steady and strong performance (it’s been really fun watching him tear it up these past two years, excited to keep watching him grow). It’s so awesome to be a part of Ultra running right now, there is so much talent and more and more people keep digging the trail and mountain scene.

Finish pic by Kelly GentineAlmost home. Photo: Kelly Gentine

When is daddy coming“when you coming dad?!” Tristan, kicking it in the BOB stroller waiting for me to come and play. Photo: Monica Morant

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Enjoying some sun and wine at Wilson’s winery the next day. Tristan was camera shy that day 😉 Photo: Chris Jones

I’ve spent  last week taking a break from running. I’ve spent the time working on a fence around my yard to keep deer out allowing my garden to flourish and produce yummy food for the summer. My upper body is sore, but my knee has been giving the proper time to recuperate and regain energy for Transvulcania, which will be on May 11th. I’m really excited for my trip to La Palma and visiting a place I’ve been obsessed with for basically a year. I’ll be traveling there a few weeks early to check out the track and soak in the suns rays.

This week as I’m finishing up this post, I’ve had some recent insight on my knee situation. While painfully trying to run I found that if I poked my butt right in the piriformis muscle the knee would feel somewhat strong again. After talking this through with my acupuncturist friend Mark, we think the problem is nerves being impinged which cuts off the connection to relay action to my vastus lateralis (lateral quad). This makes the most sense as my knee feels and does give out randomly and it was hard to verbalize this to the body workers helping me out. I think we have a hold of the matter and I’m moving in the right direction. Now it’s time to listen to my body and see what type of shape I can get into for Transvulcania in these next few weeks of training. I still need to remember to listen and take care of my body; there are so many fun journeys I’ll be on this summer and I just want to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

Ultra trading cardLimited edition trading cards from my friends Micah and Noah of Texas. It was a pleasure to meet him, his brother and parents at Bandera this past year. I collected trading cards when I was young and am honored that anyone would look up to me. I hope to be a good example and inspire kids of all ages to go play outside and enjoy nature. Thanks Micah and Noah!

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Nutrition

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I started to explore what I put in my body as I was studying massage therapy in 2009. We had a naturopathic doctor come in and talk with us about what our body needs and what might be possible irritants that lead to pathologies, sickness and discomfort. We also learned that each body is uniquely different, so what works for one might not work for another.

My wife has JRA and I wanted to help her figure out a natural way to keep her RA in remission without nasty medication. She had blood work done and found out different foods she was allergic too like gluten and dairy products. We didn’t have money to get my blood tested too, but an elimination diet revealed irritant triggers for myself. I found wheat/gluten to be very tough on my system to digest and also leading to inflammation and GI distress. I cut out most wheat products but really had a hard time giving up beer. I mean, come-on, I’m from Wisconsin; that’s what we live on.

As I started running more and more, connecting with my body and taking better care of my health I decided to give up the beer too and was completely gluten free. My running transformed and I felt so much healthier! I kept improving in the sport and also kept tinkering with what I ate.

I was GF for over a year with much success, but would still have gi stress in the latter stages of races and daily runs. Also, anything with caffeine in it made my stomach upset. In 2011, I decided to go mostly grain free. I still have a corn tortilla or rice on occasion.  I read different articles addressing a more paleo/low-carb lifestyle which intrigued me. I’ve played around with that the last couple years. I still use carbs, but mostly in the form of sweet potatoes and fruits. When I do eat carbs I use them strategically; I’ll eat sweet potatoes with lots of coconut oil the night before a race or long/intense run. I’ll have a green smoothie after a hard run with fruit and whey protein to replenish my glycogen storage and rebuild my muscles. I also take some amino acid supplements to rebuild my muscles after long/intense races or training sessions.

I don’t like labels and would not call myself low-carb, paleo, etc. I would say that I follow a diet with more protein & fat and less carbs than most people and that it has helped me recover faster, reduce inflammation and overall just feel healthier. My diet consist of mainly organic and local if possible grass-fed meats, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, sweet potatoes and coconut oil.   I keep tinkering with what works best for me and continue to read articles and others opinions and experiment with it. I believe each person/body is very unique and you need to find the best way of eating for yourself, each body accepts or rejects foods differently. Eating and cooking should be fun; experiment with new recipes, invite friends over and cook them a meal. There are so many awesome choices of food and a plethora of ways to prepare and have fun in the kitchen.

For racing I do use carbs; I try to keep them minimal mainly to keep my stomach under control and to promote fat burning as another viable source of fuel. I also do many workouts where I’m really depleted afterwards. I’ll run up to 5 hrs on 1 or 2 gels which is around 200 calories. During a race I stick to 100-200 calories an hour with gels and at the later stages of a race I might drink some Sierra Mist or Coke. There reaches a point at the end of 100 mile race that I’m tired of gels and liquid calories just go down easier. Also Sierra Mist or Ginger Ale can help settle my stomach.  I don’t drink soda any other time, but for races I make the exception.

What I eat…

Here is a sample of what I eat on a daily basis and days prior to a race. I hope to continue to put up some recipes on my blog for you to try out.

I like to have a tablespoon or two of hazelnut or almond  butter in the morning before heading out for a run. On training runs 3-5 hrs I might use 1 or 2 gels. I like to keep the calories low to promote fat burning and if I don’t need it I like to not have much sugar in my diet.

After a long day out on the trails I might have a green smoothie with kale, banana and some type of berries. If I don’t do a green smoothie I’ll have some scrambled eggs with sautéed kale or spinach and any other vegetables I have laying around the house with coconut oil and maybe some avocado too.

For snacking, I make Kale chips which I try to always keep on hand. Other options for snacking are carrots or other raw veggies, nuts and seeds. I really like walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. I also indulge in Justin’s hazelnut butter or some sweet potatoes chips after a hard run or race. And YES, I do enjoy a nice glass or two of red wine in the evening.

As for dinner I’ll have some type of meat (normally chicken or venison), some vegetables (zucchini, brussels sprouts, avocado, artichoke, broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, cabbage, peppers, onions, mushrooms…etc) either sautéed or raw, washed down with some tasty water.

I also take natural herbal supplements every day by a local company in Ashland called Natura Health Products . I take these products daily during hard training sessions, but make sure to take weeks off sometimes so my body balances itself out and does not rely on certain herbs. I use them as tools to keep my body strong by not breaking down muscle and promoting a healthy immune system. The food I eat and herbs I take are all huge recovery tools. The healthier I am after races and hard training runs allows me to get back out in nature and enjoy life with my wonderful family.

Natura Health Products

  • Power Adapt helps you adapt to the stresses of life and intense training sessions.
  • Amino-Max supports the bodies ability to create protein, sustain energy and optimize recovery time.
  • Botanabol helps build strength and endurance, optimizes energy levels and recovery time.
  • Beyond Essential Fats are a perfect balance of Omega 3, 6 and 7 fatty acids which support a healthy function of the cardiovascular, neurological and immune systems, while promoting a healthy inflammatory response.
  • Beyond Whey is great after workouts or races. I add this protein powder to my green smoothies to promote a healthy recovery.

2 days before race
Breakfast – 200 cal of Justin’s Hazelnut butter or just plain almond butter.
Snack after run – green smoothie (kale, bananas and strawberries)
Lunch – chicken in a cabbage wrap, maybe some avocado and veggies of some sort (like kale, carrots or zucchini)
Dinner – chicken, veggies, sweet potatoes with coconut oil

Day before
Breakfast- 200 cal of Justin’s Hazelnut butter
Lunch – chicken, veggies, sweet potatoes with coconut oil
Dinner – chicken, sweet potatoes with coconut oil

Race day
200-300 calories Justin’s Hazelnut butter
100-200 calories an hour using VFuel and maybe some soda in the later stages of an ultra
2 salt-caps per hour
16oz water at each aid station. I drink a few cup at each AS too if possible.

This is what works best for me but take some time to experiment for yourself and see what foods work best for your body. Keep trying new things, most importantly enjoy preparing and making your food. Be mindful of the foods you choose and how you cook and prepare them. Enjoy going to a farmers market and maybe tonight try cooking something you’ve never cooked before.

peace, timothy

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Tarawera 100k

Tarawera 100k

Tarawera-Ultramarathon-logo

New Zealand is a land I’ve been looking forward to visiting for quite sometime. Arriving to my first international race to see the world on my own two feet was a dream come true. After a long red eye flight, picking up my rent-a-dent car with proper dent decor and cruising to Rotorua in the left lane, it all started to feel real. I’m a runner by trade and mountains and forests are my game.

My life has become very interesting these past months; I’ve learned how to balance being both a mr mom and professional runner. I’m still learning and it seems Tristan has something new to teach me every day, but I’m very content with how life is flowing. Basically, I take care of a little one, run, eat, play more with my son, play with my wife and go to bed; repeat. I know it all sounds pretty glamorous, it is, but I also clean up poop, a lot.

I haven’t traveled much in this life yet, but I’m pretty positive I know how I like to see new lands, I like to run all over them and really far if possible. Paul the amazing RD gave me the opportunity to come and run Tarawera 100k and how could I pass that up?! Thanks so much Paul!

2013 Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon

Photo: Lyndon Marceau

From the very start of the race, the track dwarfed by redwoods, I knew it was going to be a blast. And fast, with the line up Paul had assembled I knew we were going to take off hard and early. Through the first few aid stations I kept the leaders of Brendan, Sage, Mick and Vajin in site. We were easily doing 6 min miles/4 min km’s and I was feeling quite comfortable. We continued on with a brilliantly fun section of techy track before Blue Lake (13.7km). Roots and rocks made the narrow track tricky especially when I tried to enjoy the surrounding flora. The NZ ponga silver ferns and fern trees (Wheki) gave the run a very tropical feel. After pretty tame track for the first few km’s I was looking forward to any type of terrain to slow down the steam engine that is Sage Canady. I knew he’s an incredible athlete and I was looking forward to having him get the best out of me on this particular day.

2013 Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon

Blue Lake. Photo: Lyndon Marceau

I kept the leaders in my sites till Okareka (19.5km) and then watched them disappear on the preceding road stretch, in route to our first long 15km section till the next aid. I was feeling the effects of a fast start and was also trying to run somewhat of a smart race. I always think I should “run smart” and they’ll come back, but I truly know in races with this caliber of runners one of them will hold on and I should try my best to stay up there.

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Blue Lake. Photo: Graeme Murray

A little way down the trail I could see Mick and figured the rest were not that far ahead. I passed him after a few friendly words and kept on trucking forward. There was some light climbing through this section, so I tried to push hard to catch up with the others. Half way to the next aid I popped my ankle, which was very frustrating because I was starting to feel really good. It took a few steps to put weight on it, which led to some frustrating f-bombs as I limped down the track a ways. The rest of the way to Okataina Lake aid (37km) I slowly moved on and came to terms with the ankle. I remembered to accept what was and just breath, each step the pain was somewhat dissolving and as I tweaked my approach down the trail I knew I could continue onward. The ankle did not entirely enjoy all the roots the rest of the race and as I write this days later its the only lingering soreness that remains.

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Early on through the forest. Photo: Graeme Murray

Even with this little hiccup, my ankle did quite fine for the rest of the day with only a few other tiny tweaks. With a bum wheel it allowed me to really zone in on the trail and make strong conscious steps the rest of the day, a blessing in disguise. Ultra running is all about adversity and how you handle it. If its not broken you can normally keep moving. Pain is the reward for living a full life. Having struggles in a race or life makes the good times that much more memorable.

2013 Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon

Photo: Lyndon Marceau

Entering Okataina Lake aid I had word that they were 7 minutes up, damn. I remained calm and reminded myself that there was many km’s left to click off. From here we entered a supremely technical section, which was beautiful and quite fun! The track led us around the lake and had a new twist and root at every turn. I was starting to get in a groove and caught up to Brendan who said Vajin was just up the way a minute. I kept rolling with some good grunts until I reached Vajin, happy that I was creeping up a bit and still feeling strong with the fast pace.

Vajin and I made it to the next aid having a good time and chatting about fun adventures for the rest of the summer. We are both running UTMB and he plans on being over there for sometime before. Vajin is a great man and it was really nice to spend some km’s on his native track as we got to know each other.

2013 Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon

Photo: Lyndon Marceau

I eventually passed him even though I wanted to keep enjoying a nice conversation, but I knew Sage was all business up front and figured I would try my best to run the speedster down. At the next aid Bryon Powell, who was all over the place to give you the great play by play coverage from irunfar, said he had 14 minutes on me. Knowing he was putting space between us made me keep pushing it through the turn around.

The section from Humphrey’s Bay (47.5km) to the turn around was by far the highlight of my whole trip! It was the most technical terrain I’ve ever run on and sections had me flying under logs, hopping over roots and rocks, and shimmying down crevasses of boulders. Yup, pretty awesome. After all this, the experience jumped up to a whole other level as we started to run along the Tarawera River and hear the beginning rumbles of the waterfalls. The first two waterfalls were thunderous and made me do a half a dozen look backs to take in the stunning views. Thinking I made it past the temptations of stopping to enjoy the falls I came to the BIG Momma! A stunning 100ft waterfall stopped me in my tracks and I briefly stopped to say WOW as my jaw dropped to the ground from the beauty. The sound of the falls boomed like a techno club and the vibrant colors of the river had me on a psychedelic ride back to the 60’s. The river was a bright teal and the plant life in the water was Kermit the frog green; it was incredible and most definitely eased the pain of 60km in and 15 minutes in rear of Sage.

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On my way back. Photo: Graeme Murray

I preceded back the way I came, hungry to eat away at the gap between Sage and I. It was nice to see everyone else on the way back, saying cheers to each runner I passed. It also gave me a chance to calculate how much time I had on the peeps behind me. Vajin was only 3-4 minutes back and I figured he would be breathing down my neck soon enough. I pushed on and dug deep hoping to catch up a little and put some space between the chasing pack and myself.

Every time I felt tired I told my self “don’t let up just move forward, no pain,” it hurt but was manageable. The good people at the aid stations, other runners, and Paul and Bryon (in their boat) encouraged me to keep trucking. The aid stations felt like they were spaced further and further apart and I ran out of gels with 12km to go before I would see my sweetie Krista at Okataina (km 85) for refuel and a good-luck kiss. I was pretty damn tired at this point of the day, but stoked to wrap this thing up.

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In pursuit. Photo: Graeme Murray

Reaching the aid was a big relief! I downed some coke, put in some tunes, and grabbed some gels, water and a half a bottle of sprite for the next 15k. I was ready to go despite the news that I was 20 minutes back of Sage. I had some renewed energy and finally there was one legit climb for the day. Climbing up was hard and it was hot, but I knew I was gaining and hopefully no one was catching up from behind.

This next section was mentally very difficult. The sun popped out to heat up the day and it seemed this section stretched on and on. I ran as hard as I possible could, praying Vajin wouldn’t catch me from behind. I had no clue I was gaining on Sage that much, it would have been nice to know, but didn’t really matter as that was all I had on that day.

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Another day, another run. After the race I was able to meet the little girl and her younger sister. So adorable! Photo: Graeme Murray

In the end I ran out of kilometers to catch Sage, he had a great race and I’m very happy I came within 3 minutes of him. It stokes the fire to keep pushing hard in training to see what’s possible and hungry for the next race. Lake Sonoma is next and there is a bunch of fast people on board and ready to fly. All of this is great prep for Tranvulcania and WS, which are approaching fast!

Moments after the race the lake was calling my name so I had to go jump in; it was cold but very refreshing! The lake was the perfect way to cool off the body and clean up from the long day out in the trails.

What a great holiday in New Zealand even though we missed our little man back in the States, who was on his own holiday with his awesome Grandparents! My wife Krista joined me for this journey where her presence was imperative to a successful race and relaxing holiday. So much fun to see her crewing for me at a few of the aids stations to get me refueled and lift my spirits. Continuing onward our journey moved us north to check out the Coromandel Peninsula with their hot water beaches and stunning views in route around the Hauraki Gulf. The beaches were beautiful and we even tried to enjoy the beach with geothermal activity bubbling from below. At low tide, you can dig your very own hot pool right next to the ocean, heat up in one and cool off in the other, very magical. Unfortunately we missed the low tied by minutes which was pretty fitting as I ended up just a few minutes short of Sage. I’m beginning to become a fan of 2nd place, lets hope there’s a 1st every now and again.

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Top three: Sage, myself and Vajin. Photo: Graeme Murray

Enjoying the next few days was delightful allowing my body to heal properly and spend some time with Krista. I made sure to eat lots of good whole foods and take my Natura health products of InflamAway, Power Adapt and Amino-Max to flush out the rigors of a hard race in a beautiful place. I’ve been blessed to have the body respond well and heal up quick allowing my body to adapt and strengthen so I can get after my next adventure. These journeys would not be possible without the support and love from my family, friends, you and my amazing sponsors of The North Face, Injinji toesocks (the farthest I’ve ran in them and the best my feet have ever felt) and Natura Health.

Thanks Paul for a great trip and a special thanks to all the people I met and interacted with in New Zealand, I felt right at home.

Irunfar pre-race interview

Irunfar post-race interview

Ultra-running interview by Abel of Ultra Life Team

Equipment and food used.

Clothes

  • Ran in The North Face Better than naked shorts and tank.
  • Wore the new Injinji 2.0 ultra lightweight socks and a new buff to keep my hair in control for a little bit 😉 Love these so much!!!

Food- Always Organic

Day before:

  • Eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns and garlic mushrooms from a local café for lunch
  • Chicken in garlic sauce with sides of kumara (sweet potato) and other root vegetables for dinner

Pre-race:

  • Natura: Amino-max, Botanabol, Botanical treasures, Power Adapt
  • A couple scoops of Justin’s Hazelnut butter

Race:

  • I used VFuel gels and a few drinks of coke and sprite with a couple Saltsticks every hour

Post-race:

  • After the race I had a BurgerFule chicken sandwich (no bun) with kumara fries and a chocolate malt shake followed by some NZ Pinot Noir wine
  • Natura Post Race: InflamAway, Amino-Max, Botanabol, Beyond-Whey, Botanical Treasures and Power Adapt

Timothy Olsen - The North Face

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Timothy Olsen - The North Face

Photos: Lyndon Marceau

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“Cheesy” Kale Chips

RECIPE – “CHEESY” KALE CHIPS

I thought i would try to add some of my favorite recipes from time to time. My go-to recipe for snaking or trips is “Cheesy” Kale Chips.

Kale is one of my favorite foods, there are many varieties and countless ways to prepare it and it’s always delicious right from the garden.

Ingredients (all organic):
1 1/2 large bunches of  kale                                                      
2 cup cashews (soaked, i only do about 5–10min but can be longer)                
1/4 cup chia seeds (soaked with cashews)                                                                        
3 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped                                              
2 medium sized lemons squeezed                                              
1 Tablespoon honey (optional)                                              
3-4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast                          
1 teaspoon garlic granules                                                                                                             1/2 Tablespoon turmeric powder                                                                              
1/2 teaspoon  sea salt or to taste.

*all measurements are a rough estimate. i don’t really measure, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that. 🙂

How to prepare:
Blend all ingredients (besides kale) till smooth.
Tear Kale off stem and into 2-3″ chunks.
Pour sauce over Kale in a bowl and mix till kale is covered on both sides.
Layer in dehydrator making sure not to overlap so they dehydrate properly.
Dehydrate at 135f-58c for 2-3 hrs
Then lower temperature to 115f-46c for 8 hrs or until moisture is gone, they should not be soggy but crunchy.

Enjoy! yum yum in the belly.

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Ray Miller 50m

CircleX1200262bSanta Monica Mountains. Picture – Gary Valle

When I think of Los Angeles, I normally don’t think of mountains. I think of way too many people for my taste, too many roads to navigate and crazy drivers to dodge. It’s definitely a chaotic city. But once you move past that and take in a glimpse of the Santa Monica Mountains and are greeted by La La Land’s hospitality, the weekend was a total blast!

As I sit in Ashland writing this, it sure feels good to be back home. I’ve spent the prior 10 days traveling and it’s nice to sleep in my own bed. I made a trip back to Wisconsin the weekend prior to Ray Miller for my Grandma’s funeral. She was a wonderful woman that is the epitome of selflessness. I spent much time with her growing up and am blessed to have a grandma who has been there for me for the almost 30 years of my life. As a kid I can’t count how many times I ran around her house, playing games and getting into trouble. During high school I had a 6 mile running loop to her house where I was greeted every time with cheers from blocks away to sprint it in and a smorgasbord of food to fuel me up for the trip home. Everyone processes these feeling differently. It was nice to be back home, spending time with family and celebrating that my grandma’s pain with cancer was complete. She’s in a far better place now and showering her love down from above. I was really looking forward to running 50 miles and processing through the emotions that stir when you lose someone you love.

After some wild plane-delaying weather I made it back to Ashland, packed my running gear and was back on a plane the next day to a much warmer spot, Los Angeles. I was joined by a huge Ashland crew and my family. Our host for the weekend was non other than the wonderful Shannon Farar-Griefer. Her backyard farm allowed Tristan to see horses for the first time and also pet some new born goats.

IMG_2086Debbie Loomis (Does everything while we run around, Thank you!), Krista (finished her 3rd 50k!), Stinky guy, Tristan and Amber Loomis (who finished her first Ultra with a sprained ankle!) and Bob Loomis (with his 4th Ultra finish)!
IMG_2024Shannon, Tristan , myself and the baby goat!

Ray Miller 50 Miler

With the sun still hiding behind the mountains, we blindly flew off into the Santa Monica foothills. What a fun way to start a race – we couldn’t see and we couldn’t go fast as the plethora of oddly shaped rocks interrupted any smooth movement for the first few miles. Our patience was than splendidly rewarded as the sunrise rose and the florescent orange, red and pink sky exploded with color over the Pacific Ocean. I wanted to stop and enjoy, but just slowed the pace to take in the morning views.  I was so happy to be where I was, breathing in fresh air, surrounded with nature and sharing the experience with so many like-minded people.

Dylan and I separated from the others after a few uphill miles with Hal just a few turns back and settled into a nice groove for the early miles. We spent the first 10+ miles of the race catching up and chatting about our excitement for so many great opportunities this coming year.  We both plan on partaking in all the hoopla of Western States and UTMB and I’m pretty confident I’ll be sharing many of those miles with Dbo as I did at Ray Miller.  Dylan is a gifted runner and just a super chill guy to run with. I forgot we were racing until we hit Danielson aid Station (mile 19) and started a 3000ft climb on the beautiful backbone trail.

Tim Olson and Dbo. Ray Miller

Photo – Jayme Burtis

On a side note, earlier on in the race we were making our way down a trail and I caught a big pointy cactus in the leg – ouch. Just running Bandera a few weeks prior with sharp serrated cacti around every turn, I was use to taking cactus in the leg, but this time it penetrated straight into my quad. It made me flinch backwards and limp for a second as blood oozed down my leg. I put some dirt on it and got back into my rhythm and dealt with the ache. But now even after a week of recovery, everything feels great except the bruised area where the cacti attacked, and so it goes.

So far the race had been pretty low key with maybe too much chatting (by me), but I wanted to make sure this race was chill and just a good workout to get me fired up for the rest of the season. We got into the groove of the climb and I jumped ahead a little bit. With 3000ft of climbing I thought the trail would lead us up at a good grade, but with many switch backs there was nothing very steep which meant no walk breaks for the whole day. I always appreciate when the grade goes up 20% so I can pow-hike for a bit and transition to the use of other muscles. I thought I put a little gap on Dylan, but after I started going down again, along came the lengthy runner flying past me. I decided to roll with it and embrace some pain as we crashed down the trail always within site of each other.

Every now and then we would switch positions for the lead, I would go ahead on the climbs and he would lead on the downs. The day was heating up compared to the 30’s and 40’s (F) we’ve been experiencing in Ashland and much much warmer than the single digit weather I experienced back in Wisconsin. It was always comfortable with the overcast clouds and trees that graciously offered shade. This eased my dehydration as I only used one bottle on a few 9 and 11 mile breaks between aid.

Ray Miller, Big rock 2013

Photo – Jayme Burtis

Between Yerba Buena aid (mile 34) and Serrano Canyon aid (mile 45) I lost my steam. I was tired and the mid day heat and miles were leaving me dehydrated and worked. I was really enjoying the run, but I knew my lead wasn’t going to last long. After some descent we entered a flat meadow. I turned around and there Dbo was. Poop.  I just sort of watched him whisk by and away he went. I tried to throw down a little surge, but he’s fast!

A few minutes after he passed me I came upon a man laying on the ground groaning. I wanted to chase Dbo, but had to make sure he was all right. I asked if he needed help and he immediately replied to help him stretch his cramping legs. Poor guy was in a lot of pain and his legs as stiff as a board. I helped him stretch for a minute, told him to take some salt and then I was back at it. Dbo already gaped me good and even with the pit stop i wasn’t going to catch him . I love this sport. It’s fun to run hard and go for the victory, but in the end we all just love to go for a good run, push our minds and bodies to new highs and celebrate the day together afterwards.  It doesn’t matter if you’re first or last, running an ultra can be a struggle, but it’s worth every leg pounding moment.

Reaching the last aid, I finally filled up on some water, which I was lacking for a while and went back to work. The crew there said he was just a few minutes up, but I did not have much desire to chase after him. Come on its February…ok, I’m just a slacker and there’s no way i was going to catch that speedy guy. This left me with a 1000ft grunt up and then 3 miles of buff single track to arrive at the finish. I pushed the climb and could see Dbo up a head. He was running really strong, so I came to terms with a 2nd place finish and enjoyed the last few miles.

Tim Olson with Mountain background Ray Milleer 2013

Photo – Jayme Burtis

I was rewarded at the top of the climb with a beautiful lady finishing her race as well. My wife was running the 50k and I was hoping to run into her at some point. I stopped to talk with her and suggested I run it in with her. She thought about it for a second and then yelled at me to get my ass moving and go after Dbo. I rolled my eyes and said fine as I maneuvered my way down the last few miles taking in the last views of the ocean from above. I had a very enjoyable day, running hard, thinking of my grandma and remembering her love and the light she is. I can only keep living life, each moment to the utmost.

What a great race, in a warm scenic location. Keira and Jesse put on an amazing race, which was an excellent way to get me ready for a hard year of racing.  It was so much fun to share the day with family and friends and stay around for many hours after to watch more people finish their day and continue the celebration with good food, drinks and smiles. Cheers 😉

Tim n Tristan Ray Miller

Equipment and food used.

Clothes

  • Ran in my The North Face Better Than Naked Shorts and tee.
  • Wore the new Injinji 2.0 ultra lightweight socks. So happy to be on Team Injinji for 2013. My toes have never been more cozy and they’re the only socks i wear day or night. During the race i had a rock in my shoes, having all my digits to play with, my toes played Futbol with the rock for miles 🙂 Love these socks so much!!!
  • Highgear XT7-Alti-GPS watch
  • Ultimate Direction Handheld

Food– Always Organic

Day Before

  • Eggs and turkey bacon (don’t normally eat turkey bacon, but it was in the house) with yams and kale for lunch
  • Chicken, Sweet potatoes with coconut oil and asparagus for dinner

Pre-Race

  • A couple scoops of Justin’s Hazelnut butter.
  • 6- Cliff vanilla goo’s and a few drinks of coke and a couple Saltsticks every hour.
  • After the race I had leftovers from the prior night, some vino and later had amazing beef and shrimp tacos at Shannon’s! Thanks so much!

Herbal supplements by Natura Health

  • Amino-Max – Supports the body’s ability to create protein, sustain energy and optimize recovery time
  • Botanabol – builds strength and endurance while optimizing energy levels and recovery time.
  • Power Adapt – Elevates mental and physical performance and promotes a healthy stress response.
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