Monday, January 31, 2011

STREAKED!

And just like that, January has come to an end. The streakers group has been a great success. Eleven started by trying to run 2 miles or more, every day in January.. Seven remain. Those seven are poised to try and make it all the way to February 14th. After that, stay tuned for the next Streak to begin on February 15th. Part of this months competition was the addition of the raffle at the end of the streak. To gain extra tickets for this months raffle, you had the choice of running one mile naked on January 31st. The naked mile is worth five extra raffle tickets and hell... it's great to feel so alive in single degree weather.

So without further adieu, here are this years "Naked Milers" heading out (or in) on their illustrious January 31st run.
Sherpa John and His Frozen Bits - 31 Days and Counting
Liquid Courage - Yeah, I saw their pics from outside.. they did it.

Unidentified Streaker Struttin' Her Stuff On The Dread Mill

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Risen

This is likely to be one of the more emotional posts I've written on this blog and for good reason. Getting to this moment has been the longest road I've ever been down, the longest race, the most time on my feet.. the most work. But the time has finally come, it's here and I've risen.

It was November 2008 when I wrote a blog post below the picture you see above. It was titled, Rise From The Ashes. I went back to that post tonight and read what I wrote then. I was fresh out of the Elliot Hospital's Psychiatric ICU in Manchester, NH. I had checked myself in for four days trying to get control over my life again. I was a wreck. I ended my engagement to Sarah, was messing up in College, was worrying my friends and professors and everyday I walked around feeling like a zombie with a one track mind fixated on how to commit suicide. Rising from the ashes of rock bottom is by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

Tonight, I shook my daily pill box a bit to hear the half piece of pill shake around inside. I smiled, poured some orange juice, put the half-a-pill in my mouth and swallowed. After 2 Years 2 months and 5 Days.. I swallowed my last pill for depression.

Tonight, today, tomorrow... these are the times that you have to take a step back, breathe and think about the journey you've been on. For years I was against the treatment of depression by way of medication. I cannot even begin to tell you how stubborn I was about the topic while some people in my life, for years before, would try to convince me to get help. I held steadfast, convincing them that I could do it on my own. They listened... I should have.

Depression is one of those diseases that is wildly misunderstood. When you're suffering from depression and yes.. it is something you suffer from, people think it's as easy as just "getting over it." It's not that easy. People think that medication alone cures you're illness. It doesn't. People think that they can help you because they're not depressed. In reality, they can't (sorta). The hardest things I learned about depression involved what I just listed above. When you have depression, you're not yourself, you're brain has taken over and it has a mind of it's own. Medication itself cannot cure you. Medication and therapy can. You cannot do it alone.. many have tried.. and tried.. and tried.. and failed miserably. Medication.. works. Believe it or not, they've done research on this stuff. Trust the research. You need to create a support system of family and friends. These are the people who make you happy. They don't bring you down, or stress you out, or make you sad.. they support you and lift you up. They are your biggest cheer leaders. Keep them.. ditch the rest.

I fought medication for far too long. Today I'm wiser, more introspective about it all. I know my depression began in 1991 and was left untreated for far too long. For 17 years I rode the worst life-roller coaster on earth until one day, I couldn't get up. I was down and out, in a bad place, subconsciously deconstructing my life and acting upon the actions of a brain taking over. 2 Years 2 Months later, I'm happier then I've ever been in my entire life.

I wish I could tell you here all that I've been through and what I do still continue to go through. Just because I swallowed my last pill tonight, doesn't mean the fight is over. For as long as I live, depression is a real concern and something I could easily slip back into. Thankfully, through the help of my support system and my therapists, I know what to look out for, I know the warning signs, and I know how to prevent relapse. There are some people in my life who I needed to make difficult decisions about recently. People who suffer from severe depression themselves and are in that rut where they bring the whole world down with them. I was there one day... I can't go back. So unfortunately, to promote my success, I had to say goodbye. A sad thing to have to do, but.. I'm dedicated to my happiness and well being.

This journey hasn't been an easy one and some of my tougher days and tougher decisions are still in front of me. When I agreed to get on medication for depression, I got on with the understanding that it wasn't a life sentence. That someday, I'd be able to get off the med's and live a happy normal non-chemical life once again. Today is that day.. I'd make the same decision again. There's still plenty to be done on my part.. my commitment is for life.

I'm not going to ramble on for too much longer here. There's much I could say. I just want to end it by thanking everyone in my life who made the road a little bit easier for me. I'm not going to sit here and thank them one by one or call out their names.. they know who they are. So Thank You. In many ways, many of you helped save my life. Others.. your contributions continue to make things worse. Hey.. it's true. Thank god I have the power to choose.

Now for that new picture...finally.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sherpa rallye 2010

I have no idea what they're saying in this video or what the over all goal is but it looks pretty simple. Carry a predetermined amount of weight, on your back, up a mountain to the top. Fastest fool wins. Why don't we have more of this in America?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Follow Up

The end of the month is slowly, and I do mean slowly, coming to a head. I'm happy to say that after 27 days my running streak is still alive. Of the 11 of us who started this months Streak Competition, seven still remain having run 2 or more miles every day this month. The 31st is the day in which we figure out who has the balls... er... Guts to get outside and run a mile naked. I know I'll be out there, bare ass naked putting in the miles for the 31st day in a row. The competition goes until and including February 14th. We'll have our prize drawing on the 15th which is the same day that the next streak competition will begin. Hint: The next competition is not a running competition but it's a competition related to human potential. Stay Tuned!

After 27 days of running I am sad to report that my shin isn't getting any better. At first I thought it was a shin splint, then a stress fracture but now I'm convinced that I have Anterior Tibialis Tendonitis. Basically.. the worlds words shin splint on the front/inside part of my right leg. It kills to push off when walking around so I walk with a club foot, dragging my leg around. But when I run, the tendon warms up and stretches out and feels fine. Except on the super cold nights that we've been having plenty of lately. Over the last two weeks I've managed to get my miles in in single digit (or lower weather) and most days during a snowstorm. We went from having no snow to having about 3 feet on the ground in a matter of 3 weeks. it's nuts. The shoulders are gone, the pot holes are a plenty and running the roads is akin to a trail run.

This week I began my final semester at UNH. I'll be graduating in May with my second degree and my first bachelors. I cannot tell you how excited I am yet at the same time, the mountain of work between now and then seems pretty daunting. I'll get there. I've done it before and I'll do it again though I'm excited none-the-less.

This Sunday is a HUGE day for me. I'll have a very special post on Monday which might be on the more personal/emotional side of things. Forgive me now but I'm sure you'll understand. Those of you who have been following this blog since late 2008 will understand and I hope you'll be as thrilled as I am with the news I'm sure to report. Stay tuned!

With that being said. If you haven't friended the site on facebook yet, please do! There is a button box that helps you do that on the left hand side of this page. I've tried to increase the social network functionality of the site with share buttons in various places. You can tweet, stumble, facebook and just about every other social medium as well. Please help us out by spreading the word! We're trying tour best to make the site a more quality place to visit and provide you with some more in depth content. If you have any ideas for things you'd like to see discussed here.. please let us know and we'll be happy to oblige.

This Saturday is Leah's Bear Brook Fat Ass over in Allenstown. We'll be putting the snowshoes on for about 9-10 miles in the snow. Josh and I look to be showing up early for a half marathon before the rest of the group shows up. If anyone else is interested in joining us, please email me at Sherpjohn@gmail.com  Please note that this is NOT a race. It's time on your feet in the snow with fools.

Happy trails!
SJ

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting Sponsored

From time to time I get e-mails from fellow runners asking me questions about sponsorship. It's pretty funny actually because most of the e-mails I get are fellow runners who live under the assumption that I'm making money from my sponsors or that my sponsors are paying for my race entry fees and flights to races. This just simply isn't true and never has been for as long as I've had a sponsor which is now a total of 6 years. So to answer some of the questions that I typically get and to give those of you who are thinking about sponsorships some insight and framework to get started with, I've created this post.

Before we begin however, let's be clear once more. As was briefly mentioned in last weeks interview with Bryon Powell of iRunFar.com, there are very few runners in ultra-running who are receiving any kin of monetary sponsorship from companies. And those who are, are being reimbursed for race entry fee's with a little extra to help get them to the race. The number of runners in our sport who are taking advantage of this opportunity are maybe a dozen or less. So as we begin to talk about sponsorships, lets first throw this notion that you're going to get money to run races right out the window. It's definitely NOT going to happen unless your name is Scott Jurek or Karl Meltzer of Geoff Rowes. I'm talking a snowballs chance in hell gonna happen.. we clear? Cool.

Picking A Sponsor
Since 2005 I've been lucky enough to have been sponsored by more than a dozen different companies. Of those twelve companies I can tell you that none of them came after me, or approached me to discuss the idea of a sponsorship. This means that all of the companies that I've been sponsored by have been companies that I have engaged in conversation to discuss the idea of a relationship. Notice that the word I used is "relationship." That's exactly what it is. The biggest things in picking a company to engage in this relationship with is a company who you believe in.

Believe In The Company
When we talk about believing in the company you're working with we're talking about what is personal to you. You're not going to want a sponsorship with a company whose products you'll never use or wear on a regular basis. Investigate the company as deeply as you can. Perhaps your moral and ethical values will tell you that you don't want to be sponsored by a company whose products are made by a 12 year old in an India Sweat Shop. If these types of issues matter to you, or other issues such as sustainability, philanthropic endeavors, etc; then you'll want to investigate this stuff on your own before even approaching the company about the relationship.

Why Them?
In continuing with the idea of believing in the company, you need to ask yourself why this company matters to you. While you answer this question, type your answer down because you'll need this very answer soon. What is their product to you? Why do you love (not like) their product? Is this something you're ready to tell everybody about? What is it about their company that you love (not like)? How are they going above and beyond their competition that aligns your values with theirs? Once you have all of this typed up.. edit it to sound professional and brief. You're sending this to the company.

Who Do You Contact?
This is the biggest piece of homework you'll have during this process. You need to find out who it is that you need to talk to in order to get this sponsorship. Who at the company is in charge of sponsorships and promotions? Does the company even have an athlete sponsorship program? Does the company outsource their PR to a firm that you need to contact? Chances are you're going to be filling out some kind of online form. This is simply not enough. If you find yourself filling out one of these forms, thats fine, fill it out; but know that you are now just another name in a pile of names. Continue to dig deep, find that person you need to contact and get in touch with them via phone or e-mail and sell yourself. You get one chance, make it count.

Selling Yourself
When you draft your correspondence with the company, you're trying to sell your services to them. What are your services? This is the basis of your commitment to the company. They're not going to sponsor you unless you have something to return to them. Whether it's their logo on your race clothing, use of their equipment during races, advertising space on a blog or website or any variation there-in.. you must have something to give in return to them. Remember, that this company is making an investment in you by providing you with product. The return on investment for them is advertising, getting their name out there, reviews of their product, get people talking. If you don't have some kind of way to provide this give and take, you're sunk. Plain and simple.

Framing The Letter

  • Introduce Yourself - Who are you and why do you matter in this world? What do you do that's exciting? What is your sport? Where do you measure up with the rest of the folks in your sport and BE HONEST.
  • Why Them? - This is where you praise their product. Why do you use their product and what does it mean to you? How does the companies structure or philanthropist interests engage you and make you want to tell everyone about them?
  • What Do You Want? - Put it out there. What kind of product are you looking for? What is it you want from the company? Are you looking for shoes? Socks? Cash? What?
  • What Do You Offer? - What are you offering them in return? Advertising Space? Product Reviews? Media Exposure? 
  • Be Open to Compromise - Make sure you let the company know that none of this is in stone. You're just opening the doors of communication in the hopes that you can come to some form of mutual agreement.
Timing Is Everything
This time of year  (January) is not the worst time to contact a company for sponsorship but.. you're on the cusp of the worst time. Keep in mind that most companies are figuring out their budget for the following year sometime in November. By January, they have their sponsorships and amount of goodwill figured out and it's all been spent/allotted on where they intended it to go. Contacting companies between September-November is really the best time to contact the companies because they can consider you when creating the following years budget. Regardless, be prepared to hear no for an answer and be ok with that. Don't burn any bridges, leave the door open and who knows what the future holds.

Above all else, remember that you're signing a contract to represent a company. Some companies hold truer to their contract then others. Before you sign anything, make sure you understand what you're signing. Some companies will penalize you for breaking a contract with them. For instance, wear a competitors shoe as opposed to the shoes you're sponsored by.. not only could your sponsorship now be void but you may have to reimburse them for product that they've all read given you. Read the fine print! Me personally.. I tend to enjoy my freedom of speech and I do my best to keep myself in check. But sometimes.. I like to be heard. Anytime a company has asked me to silence myself.. I've terminated my contract. I don't so censorship.. I do "Sherpa Style."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Frigid Caboose Fat Ass

Saturday, February 12, 2011
Start: Lake Massabesic - Manchester, NH
Finish: Newfields Station - Newfields, NH
Distance: 25.5 Miles - Elevation: +891.5 ft. / -1091ft.

This point to point run will take place on the Rockingham Rail Trail which connects Manchester, NH with Newfields, NH on the now non-operational B&M Rail Line between the towns. The run will begin at 9am on Saturday, February 12, 2011 in the Lake Massabesic Park neear Manchester's Massabesic Traffic Circle. One aid station will be available a little past halfway through the run in Raymond, NH. Bathroom facilities are available here at the local Dunkin Donuts. This is also a great drop out location for runners not wanting to run the entire length of the trail.

During winter months, the Rockingham Rail Trail is open for X-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing and Snowmobiles. It is most heavily used by Snowmobilers who pack the snow down to a hard pack. Traction is not required but highly recommended. Best options are Yak-Trax. We welcome those with x-country ski's to join us on ski's.

This run will occur Rain/Snow or Shine.. and Snow or Bare Ground.

To see a map of the run with elevation chart: CLICK HERE

If you would like to join us for this run, please e-mail sherpajohn@gmail.com All are welcome!
This run marks the grande finale of Streakers Competition I.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Diet

In November 2008 I weighed 148 pounds. During that year I weighed as little as 145 pounds. It was in November that I was diagnosed with severe depression, began taking depression medication, and my life changed. Last year I tried getting my weight back down to 155, I managed to make it down to 163 at best.

Early last year while running with Nate Sanel, he was eating an Almond Butter and honey sandwich  with flaxseed on it. I turned my nose up at him, said yuck, and listened to him tell me about the new diet he was on. When I saw him in June he was a completely different person.. and then again in August out at Leadville the guy was a machine. Nate started in the low 170's and made it down into the 140's for weight. You could see every cut on this guys body, veins popping out. While in one sense it was kind of gross, I'll admit I was jealous, in awe and deeply respectful of what he had accomplished during the year. A lot of what Nate was doing was running insane weekly miles but it went deeper then that, Nate changed the way he ate and he eventually wrote about it on his blog.

I read Nate's post and really took it to heart. I look up to this guy more then I think he knows. He's the biggest success story (in every phase of life) that I know. So I dug around a bit more. I read the index of where certain foods lay on the Glycemic Index (GI). I read excerpts of the book he read, I talked to Sarah about it.. I mulled over it.. and stalled and stalled and stalled. I'm the pickiest eater any of you know. My favorite foods are Pizza, Steak and Cheese, Chicken Tenders, Grilled Cheese with the crust cut off and Macaroni and Cheese. My friends used to call it my "Orange Diet" because everything I ate was the color orange. Last summer I quit soda for 2 months. But when I didn't lose much weight, even while running.. I started drinking soda again.. and drinking more of it. I weight 165 in June.. 171 at the Vermont 100 in July.. And then, I weighed in at 178 Pounds on January first of this new year. I've never weighed so much in my life... and I was angry as hell.. but.. Step back for a few minutes..

The whole idea of a diet excited me, but the idea of changing the things that I ate.. did not. I heard on the radio just two weeks ago that, "Researchers say the obesity epidemic is related to the cost of food. Sources say that the woods we are supposed to eat cost too much money for the average American. The foods we can afford, are causing us to eat unhealthy foods that cause weight gain." NO CRAP! But I thought about this. When I was much younger, I was the youngest of four children. My mom and dad both worked, Dad sometimes worked some odd jobs. I remember going to the city dump to pick aluminum cans, copper and brass out of the trash pile to turn it in for money. That money would go towards buying eggs for us to eat that week. Please don't get me wrong. My parents worked VERY hard to feed our family of 6. My father got his GED at 40 something years old. Neither of my parents have a college degree.. they work hard. They work their hands to the bone, always have, always will. They put on the table what they could. Super processed meats, potatoes, canned vegetables... portions were small and we best eat everything on our plate. Be damned if anything went to waste.

After reading Nate's Blog in September, I downloaded the Book he spoke of to my iPad. It's called UltraMetabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss By: Dr. Mark Hyman. Because of my diet apprehension, I showed Sarah how to read it and put her to work. She read a bit.. then I slowed into it and started reading myself. It didn't take long into the book to begin to understand that.. it was time for a change. For my life, for Sarah's life (especially with her diabetes).. the time was now. So on Christmas I was opening gifts and in my lap appeared the Ultrametabolism cook book. The jokes started rolling on about how no one in the family could see me eating ANYTHING that was in this book. A giggle here a guffaw there. I was pissed at myself.. that I'd gone this long in my life without the change.. that I had allowed my family to rib and joke.. and get their jokes in at my expense. So I decided... January 1.. it was on.

After weighed in at 178 pounds we started the detox phase of the diet. Immediately out of our diets went soda, candy, sugar, junk food, hydrogenated anything, high fructose corn syrup, processed and fake foods, alcohol and caffeine. I wouldn't say that before the beginning of this diet that I the diet I had was particularly "poor." I ate healthy, I ate well.. sorta.. But this.. became one of the bigger challenges I'd had in some time. But tied of feeling like a slob, my stomach skin tight from stretching out.. it was time. I dove into the detox. Two days in.. I was all ready feeling with drawls from certain foods I had to cut from my diet and the with drawls got even worse. Night sweats, nightmares, trouble sleeping, headaches, anger, annoyance.. you name it.. I was living in hell. But after the one week detox phase we worked into Phase 1 of the diet.. and cut more out of our life. Gone was dairy, honey, anything with gluten, nothing with flour. Gone were High GI foods and meat is now Turkey, Chicken or Lamb.

I've really been learning to cook with lean meats. Chicken and Turkey has become a staple in the house. I'm actually eating fresh vegetables (no canned), couscous, Quinoa, flaxseed. I've stuck to this diet every day so far and at last weigh in I'm down to 171.8 pounds. Thats right, IN TWO WEEKS I've lost more then 6 pounds. I'd tell you the secrets of this diet, but I don't really believe in that. I really feel that if YOU want to lose weight, you'll do the research too. The basic premise of this diet is, however, to change the way your body thinks. From burning sugar to burning fat and boosting your metabolism. You eliminate many of the foods in our lives that case allergic reactions or inflammation.. then slowly reintroduce them into your life (phase 2) to see if they do cause a negative reaction. These are the basics.. the rest is up to you.

So.. I've changed my life. I am eating things I never thought I'd be eating on a daily basis. I'm 2 weeks away from taking my last depression medication. I'm back to running with a current streak of 20 days.. and I'm losing weight on my way back to the 140's. I've got my eyes set on a return to Leadville for redemption. I'm oiling the machine, literally, and I'm on the way.

I've really given a lot of thought to this dieting thing. I like how the name of the book has the words, "Simple Plan" in it. yes.. the plan is indeed simple. The work is not. There are what seems like an endless supply of weight loss programs out there in the world. From Atkins (who ironically died of a heart attack), to Mediterranean, to Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. I'm not going to sit here and tell you what works better, best or doesn't work at all. I'm not a dietitian. I don't know your body, your struggles, your hang-ups. But here is one thing I do know.. from personal observation/conversation and experience... people have a million reasons..sorry... EXCUSES to do nothing at all. This is the time of year when people start off great with their fitness resolutions. By March, they've run out of time for one of a half dozen reasons. I'm one of those people... no matter how far I've run.. I've had reasons to not eat right.. or better. This was my first step.. get rid of the reasons and get to work. I hear of people who want to "borrow" a friends Weight Watchers plan instead of paying for and doing the work in going.. and doing it themselves. This is step one.. You MUST help yourself before anyone else can help you.

While I did state above that buying healthier foods is a bit more expensive on the wallet; I'm not going to contradict myself a little bit. Before this diet, I could do my gorceries in about a half hour tops. Shopping has been quite the experience now. People at the groceries stores are animals. They ravage the aisles to get whatever it is they want/need and they do it wihtout care or any real thought. Now that I've been forced to slow down, read the labels and look for those whole products, those products that cost a bit more, I do my groceries in about an hour and a half. The time it takes goes down a bit if I go on the off hours at the store. My gorcery bill is anywhere from $30-50 more per week then it used to be. HOWEVER.. the money I am saving by not going to fast-food establishments, buying unnecessary snacks or drinks.. wow.. there's my weekly $30 right there. So while buying food is a bit more expensive; the choices we make put better value into the investment of our lives.

(off soap box)
SJ

Monday, January 17, 2011

Successful Blogging

Bryon Powell is the editor-in-chief of a website known as iRunFar.com. After quitting his job as a Washington D.C. bases attorney, he turned his life to full time trail-running. To read more about Bryon's story, click HERE. His website was morphed into a running website in 2007 and since then has welcomed over 1.5 million hits. I had to talk to Bryon about how his hobby became a full time job, what he contributed to his success and a few other topics that include athlete sponsorships and controversy online. Below is the interviewed I conducted with Bryon on Thursday, January 13, 2011.

For Mud, Mountains Miles and More visit www.irunfar.com 

SJ:
So I wanted to talk to you about your blog only because, from my perspective it looks like your blog is pretty much what you’re doing for work these days.
BP: Yeah, it’s a primary draw on my time. I do some other things like coaching and freelance writing associated with it. So I don’t have a traditional job as it were.

SJ: So what I really wanted to talk to you about was getting some information from you just to share with other people, how you came to doing this for work. Because when I met you in 2006, your blog was more or less a hobby for you like it is for me.
BP: Yeah I mean in 2006, it was just like everybody else’s personal running blog.

SJ: So when you started blogging, why did you start blogging, what was it for you?
BP: I started blogging originally back in 2002 when I started law school. I was in law school, working full time and trying to run so I had pretty much no free time to keep up with my friends and family. So rather then try to send emails off to everybody I sort of created a personal blog. Eventually toward the end of law school, 2006, it started becoming more and more about running and I didn’t want all my non-running friends to have to read about that. So I separated a running blog out and just keep going with it.

Some people read it, a few people read it, mostly close friends but over time it kept growing. Then in 2007 I was out at Wasatch just going from aid station to aid station, just hanging out, waiting to pace later, when I met a woman who was writing a story on ultras for Runners World. We just got to talking, me and Andy Jones-Wilkins and a few others were just talking to her and she eventually got our contact information to follow up with us about training and picking out a first ultra. Eventually we did an interview and in prep for that I came up with some thoughts and it was in that moment that I decided to sort of just change it from a personal blog to being informative. So it was in Late October 2007 that I made the switch of focus.

SJ: There’s a few people out there who think blogging is a way of self promotion. How do you feel about that?
BP: For some people it is. Some people explicitly have made a name for themselves doing the running blogging thing and that’s totally fine. I think there’s some people in trail-running/ultra-running that have a problem with self promotion but our sport has definitely grown not just in size but in prominence and in many different aspects because a couple people self promoted.

Some people don’t like Dean Karnazes because he was and is terribly good at self promotion. He’s a good runner, they discount that, he’s not the best but he’s a very good runner. But they’ve been turned off by his self promotion. I don’t think that’s a problem.

On a lower level I think increasingly sponsored runners are sort of expected to be out there by their sponsors, blogging, not necessarily all the time but if you look around, the vast majority of sponsored trail/ultra runners in the US are blogging. You can call that “self promotion” but I think it really just creates a way for them to be in contact with the community. They would be just as friendly with open communication in person but there’s only so many races a person goes to in a year. So blogging creates extra avenues for access and interaction which ultimately I think is a good thing.

SJ: Do you have any running sponsors?
BP: Not running sponsors, no. I used to, but I kind of got out of that when I started doing freelance writing and doing this website thing, to decrease bias and now, now I continue to do that because I don’t want to be sponsored by company “X” and have so many judgements of me thinking I’m only going to work with the “X” and not being able to work with other companies. And now, not being sponsored, I have good relationships with many companies.

SJ: So in terms of these sponsorships, while we’re on the topic; without getting into the details of who; most of your sponsorships were they product sponsorships?
BP: In the past? They were all just product sponsorships. I was on Team Montrail in 2007 when it was the huge team. I got two or three pairs of shoes a year and some clothing and pro-deals with a couple different companies. And when that got cut massively in 2008 I was on the Wasatch Speed Goat team which was a small amount of free product and some pro deals. So on the running side I was never a paid athlete.

SJ: How often do you think that that occurs, paid athletes in the ultra world?
BP: These Days?
SJ: yeah..
BP: There’s definitely a couple dozen people. For the most part its very low level. $1,000 or less. And I say $1,000 is low level because the people that get that generally it helps people pay entry fees for races for the year and a little bit of travel. Not many people are making more then their race fees for the year, It’s just easier for a company to give a small stipend. Thats basically what it is, they’re given cash. A dozen people might get significantly more then that.

SJ: So back to your blog, so you use Word Press..
BP: yeah..
SJ: Have you always used word press?
BP: No I used blogger from 2006 to the beginning of 2010.
SJ: And how easy was it for you to change over from Blogger to Word Press when you did?
BP: The actual mechanics of the switch are super easy. There is an import tool on Word Press that you can import blogger blogs from. And that was super easy. It was harder to get links to redirect because at the same time I was all ready blogged on irunfar.com and not irunfar.blogspot.com. But in moving from blogger to word press I also switched to irunfar.com with no blog sub domain. The actual switch from Blogger to word press you could do it and be done before dinner. I mean it would import the posts in 15 minutes and then it’s just tweaking stuff.

SJ: And did you find it easy for folks to find you again? I mean obviously since you all ready had the domain name.
BP: Yeah, I set it up so that no one could get lost. All of my subscribers via iss or email was seem less. I use Feedburner, a google tool, to manage my subscription so that was flawless. I put in redirections on my old address blog irunfar.com to the new irunfar.com. So basically I didn’t lose any readers. A couple issues for a day or two where I lost readership for sure but in the grand scheme of things I didn’t lose any regular readers.

SJ: Are you more pleased with the Word Press?
BP: I am, I like it in that, for most people blogger is a perfect tool. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s hard to screw up. There’s so many plug-n play options. But I found that as I was looking to expand and modify the general look and theme of the website it was much harder to do that on blogger. I couldn’t modify it as much as I wanted. Blogger is a very robust community but so is word press with tools and plugins and widgets. I enjoy the freedom to modify the website. You can start a Word Press website and work with it with the same ease as blogger but learning how to write some HTML code has allowed me to work with my website without restrictions that I would have had on Blogger.

SJ: So it seems like it wasn’t that long ago when you hit 100,000 hits. I think maybe it was a year ago.. what is it up to now?
BP: It took me 655 days to reach 100,000 page views. I started the blog as a personal running blog on December 7, 2006 and I hit 100,000 page views on September 21, 2008. I have this information on a little note on my website. So it went from 655 days to 162 days for the 100,000 and it kept going down and right now, this past 31 days I’ve had over 110,000 in the past 31 days. And it’s hard for me to get all time numbers real quickly but from October 2007 to today I’ve had 1.5 Million Page views.

SJ: That’s page views?
BP: Yes, so that’s individual hits on a specific page. The total numbers are probably not that much higher then that. I mean basically, irunfar.com has had 1.6 million views to date.

SJ: So google analytics is just a really neat way for you to keep track of the numbers if you will. So my next question is, how the hell do you go from 100,000 page views in 2008 to 1.5 million.
BP: The short answer is, a lot of hard work.

SJ: What does that hard work consist of?
BP: I think a lot of that hard work is... consistently posting is one. Doesn’t necessarily have to be on a schedule down to the day but if you’re going to post every week, post almost every week. If there are periods where you’re going to be busy you can preschedule posts. I’ve done that on more than one occasion. So I’d say posting regularly, not just regularly in meaning often but I mean frequent so that people can say, “Oh it’s been a week, Sherpa should have a post up.” I see that a lot. People will post 4 times in a week or twice in a week and then not post in a month. I would encourage a lot of people to use RSS in terms for reading blogs because no one misses them. But for those who regularly go to websites, that regular publishing is very important in terms of keeping and captivating that audience.

Publish what you’re passionate about. That’s important in that it’s not only posting frequently an regularly, but doing that over a long period of time. Blog burn-out is easy. If you try to start going in the direction of an informative blog and then burn out on ideas after 3 months, you’re going to stop posting. So, for most people if you like sharing your adventures, just keep doing that. You’re going to be motivated to continue doing that through time. Unless your Anton Krupichka or Jeff Rowes or Scott Jurek you might not be getting 100,000 page views a month based on that but I don’t think most people are going to be shooting for that. They’re just going to use blogging for an interact tool.

For those who want to grow as a blogger or who’s primary goal is Bret the voice and readership, publish informative things. Now thats going to be different things for different people. It’s going to be what you’re able to do and what your skill set is in. My girlfriend Meagan is probably not going to have 100,000 page views but she focuses on writing about adventures and connecting herself with others through adventures in the wilderness. Some people focus on minimalist shoes and barefoot running. Some people like to write about gear. They have a passion for running shoes generally. If you don’t have a passion about the details and technical details of running shoes, then don’t start writing about running shoes. Yeah sure you might have a favorite pair of shoes and you start writing about that but it’s going to be pretty apparent if you start writing about things that you don’t have or aren’t willing to build technical expertise about.

Same thing goes for race coverage. Most people can’t get to many races. So starting to do race coverage on your blog; if you can’t add beyond what those who are going to those races can say then what are you adding to the conversation? That’s actually an important point. Write things you have a passion and maybe some knowledge about but also try to write things maybe you can offer a different take on.

SJ: Did you try at all to be controversial in some of your posts?
BP: No. There have been some controversial posts. I mean, that is a useful tool. Online, controversy gets page views. There are people who have made a name for themselves by being controversial; not necessarily in the running world but more generally. There are people who post controversial stuff that post stuff, opinions about race lotteries and junk like that because those are their feelings. And that comes through and people accept that. It’s all good but just trying to be controversial for the sake of that... I don’t know how much that’s going to be controversial. Especially in the ultra-running community. In a sport that is small and niche and community oriented; making enemies purposely even if you’re not directly attacking a person, you’re going to piss people off. And if you do that continually that’s going to turn people off your website. Why make enemies instead of friends?

One time I wrote an article on people over racing and I used Dean Karnazes as an example. It wasn’t meant to be an attack on Dean at all. It’s just that he’d been racing a lot and after seeing him at a couple races he looked fatigued. I know he’d run well at Vermont that year and always at Western States for years and he was a good runner; he just wasn’t able to do that at that time. It was more my trying to address a situation and provide an example that people thought I was trying to out him but that wasn’t my intent at all.

SJ: So I have to ask where is your blog going as you head to the future, do you have a vision?
BP: I wish I had time to sit down and think about vision. I have to back track and address another point first. You asked about controversial things or do I suggest posting controversial things to get viewers. I don’t. I rarely post stuff with the intent to get viewers. I more post things because I think they will be interesting or useful. So I guess in looking forward I’m going to continue to write about things I enjoy writing about or finding contributors to write about those things. In the future I’ll build out resources for new runners and ultra-running. more how-to content. I haven’t talked much about it publicly but I’m writing a book that’s coming out this spring thats more of a How-To guide to ultra-running. Gear coverage, gear reviews and no other major shifts. I’m not going to fix what ‘aint broke.

SJ: Well I thank you for your time Bryon.
BP: The pleasure is all mind Sherpa. It was great talking with you and good luck this year!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Never Too Old..

Betty did her first marathon when she was 59 years old, and Don did his when he was 65 years old. Watch to see what inspires them to continue running after 57 years of marriage. A truly inspirational couple that shows us, you're never too old and Human Potential is unlimited!

Video Courtesy of "Runvermont" via Youtube.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Message

Winter Break... my final winter break.. is just about over. As I head into the final semester of my senior year at UNH, I can't help but be retrospective about this journey as well as forward thinking in regards to the journey ahead. Unfortunately, when I think to and fro about the subject I get all fired up. So, as I move ahead with this post it's going to sound an awful lot like a rant. Perhaps it is, but trust me and bear with me when I tell you that there is a point and I hope to make it loud and clear.

Last semester I took Leadership Practicum within my major at UNH. As some of you might remember reading a few months ago, part of my project was to investigate this idea of "messaging." When I talk about messaging I think about it in the sense that... sometimes the words we say don't come out the way in which we intend them to. Our intent, or our message, is not delivered in a way which promotes what it is we're trying to say. Allow me to provide a few examples...

Recently I had a discussion with an important person in my life about some things that were said in the past and how they came across, and how they made me feel. "The message." When I first told them that I was going to hike the last 34 of the 48 Four-Thousand Footers I had to hike in NH between Memorial and Labors Days of one summer.. they told me, "Pretty ambitious. You're crazy for thinking you can do that. If you don't get hurt. Good Luck." It's hard to type these things because I can't afford you the opportunity to hear the sarcasm and cynicism that comes with the words. Yet I'll continue with more...

After finishing those four-thousand footers, I told them I had filmed video and was now making a documentary film about hiking said peaks. Not only that but I had rented a 200 seat auditorium for a public film premier, at the High School I was told I'd never graduate from and who also told me I'd never get a college degree. The message I got was, "I don't think renting an auditorium is a good idea. Who would want to come watch and/or pay for a DVD of your home movie? I think you should save yourself the potential embarrassment and call it off."

When I told them I was going to run 100 Miles, "You have a history of biting off more then you can chew. I don't think you can grasp the idea of how much hard work and determination this is going to take. Why not stick to the marathon?"

When I told them I got into and would be attending UNH and continuing my quest in running 100s and hiking, "I don't see how you're going to be able to attend and finish college as well as run these races."

The list goes on and on. However, Recently I'm beginning to finally have enough and am afraid that I am going to have to start cutting some informational cords in my life. (ie. Who I give information to). In December I told two very important people in my life that my psychiatrist is finally weening me off of my depression meds. That I had won the battle with depression and it was finally time to get off medication. Their responses were.. silence.. no excitement. Nothing. Stone cold bull shit. It really hurt me and I'm not sure they know how much it did.

So as I start to head into my final semester at UNH, I've informed them that I'm moving to Colorado upon graduation. "Ha! You need a job first." And then when I told them I had a job interview for my dream job with the dream company, "Just because you have the interview doesn't mean you've got the job."

When I think about Human Potential, I think about the ideals behind "You can do anything you put your mind to." These are words that my parents fed me when I was growing up. But then I started to think lately, "Did they mean it when they said it?" Or were they just feeding me that inspirational BS you feed a child to give them hope in something? Then I thought again.. that it didn't matter if they meant it or not or even how they meant it. What mattered was if I believed it or not. News flash.. I did believe it.. but it took me many many years to realize that. Why?

The messaging. You know.. I do get it. When people respond the way that they do, they're not doing it to be malicious or negative Nancys. They say and do it because they care, they're looking out for you, they're concerned. But that is not how the message comes across. I wish that people would take more time to think before they speak and ask themselves a few questions before they respond to the dreams and hopes of a loved one.

The Questions to Ask:
What are the intentions of my comment?
What is the purpose of my comment?
How can I best give the message without it being skewed by my emotion and personal opinion?

If people could ask themselves these questions, the ideals of Human Potential would become much easier for each of us to realize. To realize that we can do anything. We can realize this more readily because we'll have the unconditional positive support of our most important and respected cheer leaders. My journey through this life would have been a lot easier if I realized years ago that I believed I could do anything I put my mind to without the thought of disappointment or persecution from others. Instead, it's been one unnecessarily bumpy and painful ride, a ride where I'm driven by the desire to prove people wrong instead of the desire to achieve dreams.

So just like I hiked those 48 peaks that summer, then made a documentary film, sold out a theatre, sold 800 DVDs, hiked the 48 in Winter, ran 100 miles, ran across an entire state, graduated with an associates degree, got into UNH, got into the Athletic Training program.....  I'm graduating from UNH with my bachelors and then.. I'm moving to Colorado where I'll be working as a professional guide. Once again, prooving them wrong instead of achieving a dream.

(I want to be clear that when I say "they" above, I'm actually am not referring to one person but to a collection of people in my life.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 New England Ultra Calendar

The pickings have always been slim as far as Ultra-Running goes in New England. However, a popularity increase in the sport has welcomed an increase of races. For all of those runners out there who are fed up with lotteries and sold out races, this is where you benefit as there continues to be much more to choose from. I've done some pretty extensive searching on the web and have found every race to my knowledge) that New England Ultra Running has to offer. Each race has a link that brings you to the events website or last years website. It is my hope that the New England ultra-running community will continue to grow through runner participation and the need/desire for more races. Think about it. The more people want to get outside, the more conservation there will be in an overcrowded area.

I've also included links below each race for which I've run. These links will take you to a respective years race report. New England has 20 Races in 12 Months in 6 States. The lowest of any region in Ultra-Running.


February
2.12.11: Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K - Sandy Neck Beach, MA - 25K/50K

March
3.5.11: Peak Snowshoe Challenge - Pittsfield, VT - 6.5M/13M/26M/100M
'07 Report(mia), '08 Report, '09 Report
3.26.11: Fells Trail Ultra Fat Ass Winter Solstice Edition - Stoneham, MA - 32M/42M

April
4.16.11: Traprock 50K - Bloomfield, CT - 11mi/50K
4.23.11: 37th Annual Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug Ultras - New Preston, CT - 50K/50M/100K

May
5.7.11: McNaughton in Vermont - Pittsfield, VT - 100M/150M/200M/500M
'10 Report
5.7.11: Wapack and Back - Ashburnham, MA - 21.5M/50M
5.8.11: 17th Annual Mother's Day Six Hour Walk/Run - Topsfield, MA - 6H
5.29.11: Pineland Farms - New Gloucester, ME - 25K/50K/50M
2007 Report

June
6.4.11: Peaks Ultra Challenge - Pittsfield, VT - 10M/50K/53M
'07 Report, '08 Report, '09 Report, '10 Report

July
7.16.11: Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run - Woodstock, VT - 100K/100M
'06 Pacers Report'07 Report, '08 Report, '09 Report, '10 Report
7.29.11: 14th Annual 24 Hour Around The Lake - Wakefield, MA - 26M/12H/24H

August
8.6.11: The Rock Run - Nantucket, MA - 50M 
8.??.11: More And More Difficult (MMD) 50K - White Mountains, NH - 50K

September
9.20.11: Pisgah Mountain Trail Races - Chesterfield, NH - 23K/50K
'08 Report
9.25.11: VASS Vermont 50 - Brownesville, VT - 50K/50M
'06 Report, '07 Report, '08 Report, '09 Report, '10 Report

October
10.17.11: Maine Track Club Pennellville - Brunswick, ME - 50M
10.25.11: Bimblers Bluff 50K - Guilford, CT - 50K

November
11.15.11: Rhode Island 6 Hour - Warwick, RI - 6H
11.??.11: 10th Annual Stone Cat 50 Mile & Marathon Trail Race - Ipswich, MA - 26M/50M
'07 Report


December
12.04.11: Fells Trail Ultra Fat Ass Fall Edition - Stoneham, MA - 32M/42M

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pushing It

I've been surfing the web the last few days trying to find examples of people pushing the limits. Whether they be living out life long dreams, pushing themselves, or really just doing anything that most people would never consider. What I found made my mouth open wide as I read and sparked some of that old fire within myself in thinking about "what is possible." Here is what I found...

THE INITIATIVE
Samuel Gardner has faced many mountains during his life. Leg braces when he was younger, he's gone nearly deaf in both ears. After graduating from college in Michigan, he moved to Boulder, CO to continue a life of adventure. The kid has previously spent 6 months living in a snow cave in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He survived a 100K-Day Hike in the Porcupine Wilderness. But all of this is nothing compared to what he's taking on right now.

On January 1st, Sam started walking. His journey? 12,500+ miles on foot. His "All-In-Trek" is supposedly the first of it's kind unassisted trek. Sam is on his way to completing a journey like no other. He's walking The 4600 Mile North Country Trail then without stopping flying to California to walk the 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail. Then, without stopping, he's off to Montana to walk the length of the 3100 Mile Continental Divide Trail. He's not done.. after that he's flying to Maine to walk the length of the 2178 Mile Appalachian Trail. 12,500 Mile +.  I'm looking at all of this and I have pretty good knowledge of what this young man is looking to undertake. But when I think about someone in their mid 20's doing this unsupported.. I certainly hope he makes it.

Sam has a website where you can learn more information about his trek as well as read updates in his journal. You can find it at: http://www.theinitiativesite.com/

THE WORLD JOG
77 Days 12 Hours 15 Minutes... is how long this guy has been running as of the writing of this blog. He started on October 25, 2010 and then ran across Ireland, his homeland. Then he hopped on a plane for New York, drove to the eastern most point of North America and started running West. His name is Tony Mangan and his goal is to run around the world. I can't even begin to tell you his biography here. The guy holds a slew of world records, has been at this stuff since the late 70's. Even tried to ride his bike around the world once. And now.. his World Jog. You can check it out here: http://www.theworldjog.com/

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"O"

It was the Winter of 2005-2006 when I came just a few peaks shy of hiking all 48 four-thousand footers in one winter. If memory serves me right, I came up 9 short. Since then, I've had it in my mind that I'd like to go for it again. Seeing as I'm planning on moving to Colorado this year, this Winter is my final chance. Hell, more people have climbed Everest then have hiked the 48 peaks in one winter. Consider the population of Nepal and nearby Katmandu vs. the Population of the New York/Boston Metro-Area. The white mountains are a 3 hour drive from Boston as opposed to a 3 day yak drive.

Winter officially started 2 weeks ago. I'm two weeks behind. Two weeks, no peaks. I'm all ready very much doubting my ability to pull this off. As the price of gas increases I continue to run out of money to even try this. However, I love any trip I can take into the White Mountains. It's my backyard. I know more about the White's then I do about any of the towns I've lived in in the last 5 years. So it's always a mini-homecoming when I peel off the highway and find myself at a trail head.

Today it was Patrick and I. Pat is getting ready for his upcoming Winter Backpacking class with the UNH OE Department. He has limited winter hiking experience but knows he's in good hands. I trust the kid an awful lot, competent and a good head on his shoulders. The kid is strong, I know he can hang. We meet up at a Park-N-Ride with a plan. We'll hike the Osceola's and then head just up the road a whole quarter mile and hike the Hancocks. Pat thinks the 17.6 miles is a bit more then we can chew.. if everything goes according to plan, it's a no brainer for me, just a long day of walking for 8 hours. He's up for the challenge and so am I.

As we drive down the Kanc from Lincoln and look out the window, our jaws drop. There's more snow in our towns (Derry and Epping) then there is here. As we park the car and get out, we see that the trail has been very well travelled. It usually is. Pat has everything.. including the Kitchen sink.. in his pack. He asks me if he should leave the sleeping bag and pad behind, I chuckle and he says, "Oh what the hell.. it's weight training." So, my with my minimal gear and Pat with everything under the sun, we head out.
The weekend warriors.. peak baggers that is.. have packed this trail down to death. Coupled with this past weekends temps in the 40s to near 50 degrees cause a melt. A cold front blew in and there was a flash freeze. What was left over was a trail you could ice skate on. In all the years I've been hiking in the Whites, on all the winter hikes I've been on previously, this trail is in the worst shape of any trail I've ever been on. We move at a very good clip down on the flat surface as we make our way up and into the Greely Pond Area. We hit the junction of the Osceola Trail.. and start to head up. It didn't take long for us to look up, jaws wide again, scratching our heads, knowing that if we even got these 2 mountains today we'd be lucky.

Despite all that we brought with us for this hike we forgot one important piece of equipment, Crampons. The trail was a huge frozen waterfall. From top to bottom. What a mess. All I could do was look up and smile at the challenge that the Earth had placed before us. If you can envision all the snow at elevation melting into a slow watery soup and then flash freezing.. where you need to walk.. thats what we had before us. And so, we took it on, stepping very carefully on any piece of ice free rock, root or snow patch we could find. Grabbing onto fir branches with every step. Crawling at times, spread eagle, looking like a star man, you name it, we struggled all the way up.

Soon we came to the famous East Osceola Slide. We were pleased to see that a rock ridge was visible right up the center of the slide. We walked the line up, then jumped off and back into the woods. Finally, we reached the top of East Osceola where we took our packs off and had a long snack. I had almonds, dark chocolate, raisins and craisins then chased it down with a strawberry banana fruit smoothie from Stonyfield. After our brief break and a few photos, we slung our packs back on and started to head over to Osceola main peak.
Anytime the trail went from a gradual slope to any form of steepness, the trail turned into frozen waterfall. Neither one of us wearing a watch, we had no clue how long this was taking us. We agreed, sun comes up, sun goes down, we have headlamps. Onward. Soon we came to the chimney. A section on the trail where it's about 25 feet of vertical rock. Or of course, you can take the "go round" to the right. In the winter I've always taken the go round, not today. I tackled the chimney, right up the center of a frozen waterfall spread eagle and arms straight out. About half way up, I came to a point where I couldn't see anywhere to go. Can't go up, can't go down... so I went to the right and made a new route. Clinging to tiny rocks, stepping with care, feeling for ice free footholds with my feet as I couldn't look down. Eventually I hoisted myself up and off the cliff, looked down and commenced hyper ventilating. That was enough for me... enough to garner a laugh.

Pat made it up, all the way, we shook hands at the to and carried on to Osceola's Main peak. The top was mostly clear of snow and ice having been sheered into large piles up against the trees. The summit was socked in, it was snowing lightly, there was only a view of the a piece of the valley below. We smiled, we'd made it.. now came the tough part.. getting down that 3+ mile waterfall without breaking anything.
As we left Osceola we ran into another hiker. He came up the trail rather quick and left us even quicker. Of course he had crampons on. He caught up to us again before we even made it up East Osceola on the return trip. How embarrassing. I turned my camera on to see the tim and noticed the camera clock said that it was after 1pm. NO WAY! We started at 8:30am and it's only 3.8 miles. We could only chuckle as we continued to slowly pick our way down the mountain. Everywhere we looked was frozen ice. The falling snow made things even slicker. So we took it to the woods, opting to bushwhack most of the way down, cutting corners and trying to be safe while not destroying the forest. We sang songs, laughed, told riddles and jokes. It was just a great day to be outside, great day to be alive.


Back at the car, after having a really great time out in the whites, we knew that the Hancocks were out of the question. It took us almost 8 hours to do these peaks, one of my all time slows up here. But what the hell, our slow slog of the O's beat a ay inside watching crummy TV shows on cable. Until I return again...

Happy Trails
SJ

Monday, January 3, 2011

Keeping Track

The streak is still alive.. not bad for only 3 days come and gone. It seems like an eternity all ready. I have something wrong with my right leg. It's either a muscles strain, shin splint or a stress fracture. I think I know what it is.. but I'm going to continue like its nothing until the leg falls off. We'll see. There are about 9 of us who have decided to play along with the streak and as of this writing, I assume everyone is still alive. But the idea of a running streak has me thinking. What do you use to keep track of your miles?

EXCEL
The first thing I use, and have used since I started running is Excel. Yup, I have an excel spreadsheet with every single run I've ever done recorded on it. Then I have accumulated miles for the month, the week, the year, etc. Pretty OCD, a bit over the top but in a way it's fun.

RUNNINGAHEAD.COM
This, in my opinion, is the best way to keep track of your miles. Running ahead is more then that though. It has calculators on it, mapping options, a forum, community groups and on and on and on. This website offers the runner a great way to keep track of their miles, engage in friendly competition with others and keep it together. They even have software that allows you to integrate your runs via your Garmin, Android or other devices right to the website. Best part.. it's free! www.runningahead.com

DAILYMILE.COM
Dailymile is another free website where you can keep track of your daily runs. When you're done, you share your runs via Facebook and/or Twitter. A really great way to stay in touch with friends, compete, have fun and keep track of those miles. www.dailymile.com

If you don't all ready keep track of your miles, I highly recommend it. I know a few runners who ran for more then 2 years without ever keeping track. While it was enjoyable for them, their results increased for the better once they started keeping track. They became more motivated to run to meet goals, they ended up getting faster and more efficient. These are just a few of the benefits. If you don't keep track all ready.. give it a try!

SJ

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thawing

It's Warm
We're experiencing a mini-thaw here in New Hampshire. Not a bad way to welcome in the New Year with temps reaching the 50's yesterday and 40's today. Because of this, most of the snow we received from the Christmas Blizzard is about gone. We didn't get much here in Epping, about 6", but other places got over 1 to 2 feet just a short 30-40 minutes drive away. So.. I'm pretty happy. I made it out for a run today and got muddy on the short trail section I snuck in up the hill. Forecasts are calling for us to sink back into the deep freeze with some snow by next weekend. I hope to get out on Tuesday for a hike in the Whites. Should be an adventure.

The Diet
It's week 1 of the diet I started. I've been reading a book called Ultra-Metabolism. Right now is Detox week... getting rid of soda, alcohol, junk food, anything with high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, super processed foods... While I'm kind of going through withdrawals all ready, and I'm pretty hungry, I'm fighting pretty good so far in my attempt to shed the pounds. I weighed in at 177.6 pounds this morning.. unacceptable to me.. I want to get back to at least 150 (or more). So.. I just ate a Natural Peanut Butter with Flaxseed and natural fruit spread sandwich on 12 Grain organic bread. And I topped it off with a small glass of Chocolate Almond Milk. Those who know me.. know that this all ready is a huge win for me..

The Streak
2 Days in and I'm still running strong. I actually have a busy month ahead with at least one 50K run planned.. maybe two. Hoping to get some long hiking days in to get some time on my feet. Lots of excitement and adventure to come as we work our way towards the Snowshoe 100 (March) and the year ahead in Colorado. Hoping to find out at the beginning of February that I'm in for Hardrock and trying again at Leadville.

Sponsors
I'd like to thank my sponsors Brooks, PowerBar, Headsweats and Peak Races for being the first 3 to stay on with Team Sherpa for 2011. Here's to many more miles together!

Content
Im trying to find ways to make my site more user friendly and offer you folks a way to share my content and stories here with your peers in Social Networking circles. While I try to add buttons and fun features for you here, I wonder what it is you guys would like for content. So.. tell me with a comment below.... what do you guys want to hear more about. What do you enjoy most on this blog? Lets make this an internet destination together.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 By The Numbers

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you found many success in 2010 and at the very least, valuable lessons learned. Here's to an even more successful 2011. I hope you've made plans in terms of how you plan to push yourselves harder in the New Year.

As 2010 comes to a close, I wanted to lay the numbers out there and compare them to previous years. I'm doing this mainly to kick my own butt in gear here as we head into the New Year. So lets start with the December recap. December didn't go quite as planned for me on the running or adventure front. It was spent wrapping up the Fall Semester of my Senior year, finishing projects and heading into the Holidays. Traditionally this time of year is tough for me to begin with and I coin it my "off season."

December Re-Cap
Miles Run: 29.9
# of Runs: 9
Avg. Miles: 3.32
2010 Total Miles: 1,272.5

Health:
Month Starting Weight: 174 lbs (2008 Weight 148)
Month Ending Weight: 178 lbs (2008 Weight 145)
Weight Change: +4 lbs

Race Results:
No Races

Goal Results:
Weight: 174 to Sub 170 (FAIL)
Time: Threshold 5K in 26:07 to Sub 25:00 (FAIL)
Days: Run on 20 Days (FAIL)
Repeat Goals for January

2010 Re-Cap
Miles Run: 1,272.5 (Lowest since 2006 - 1,181.29)(1,533 in 2009)
# of Runs: 146  (97 Jan-Jun/48 Jul-Dec)
Avg. Miles: 8.72

Min Weight: 161 lbs.
Max Weight: 178 lbs.
Diff: 17 lbs.

Miles By Month:
Jan: 126.75
Feb: 93.7
Mar: 92
Apr: 117.6
May: 108.3
Jun: 207.2
Jul: 124
Aug: 94
Sep: 91.8
Oct: 115.5
Nov: 54.7
Dec: 29.9

Sherpajohn.com
Total Visits: 112,000+  (THANK YOU!)
2010 Visits: 39,398 (+5,000 from '09)
2010 Unique Visitors: 15,215 (+4,000 from '09)
Geography: All 50 US States and 105 Countries/Territories Worldwide (+15 Countries from '09)

Looking Ahead
Hard to believe that this time 2 years ago I weighed 30 pounds less. It is my hope to get back to a lighter weight class in 2011 and increase my miles back above 2000 for the year. I'll be training more and racing less, this way I will remain healthier and less burnt out as the year progresses. I also plan to be eating healthier as I've started a new diet, more on this later.

I'm humbled by the number of visits this website entertains during the given year. The numbers are up including the 4,000 new visitors we welcomed in 2010 from 15 new countries. It is my hope going through this New Year that I can continue to offer my readers quality posts that both inform and inspire. I'll also continue to tackle the issues with a candidness not many would employ.

Here's to 2011!