Writings about Running and Life…
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Category — Inspirational

Anton Krupicka’s New Running Film Sneak Peak: In the High Country

This trailer was just posted up on Anton’s blog. Looks really really cool. Someday I’d like to make it out to Colorado just to run on some of these peaks…let’s face it, I just wanna be like Anton…who doesn’t?

Can’t wait for the weather to turn so I can get up into my own High Country here in Montana! I want to dance down a trail, foot to earth, hard turns, solidly connected….enough of this slippery/wet/icy stuff. I’m whining I know…I’ll stop…but the mountains are calling.

February 19, 2013   No Comments

My Training: Week in Review – Jan. 27th – Feb. 2

This week started out a bit precarious. The morning after my last run up Sentinel with Nikki and Ander I began to experience some pain just below the ankle of my right foot. I’m pretty sure it is the peroneal tendon that runs from the outside of your lower calf, down around the ankle, and attaches underneath your foot near the cuboid. This really freaked me out because my knee is just now starting to feel good!

This little scare reminded me to make sure to get back into things slowly. Runners, myself included, have the tendency to get a little too psyched when things are going good and end up overdoing it. By overdoing it I mean overtraining. By overtraining I mean running too much or too hard before their bodies are ready. I need to keep in mind that I am coming off a 5 month long injury that limited my mileage to 10-15 miles per week. I can’t just hop back into things and expect to be back up hitting big mileage weeks so quickly. The progression needs to be slow and easy, no more than 10%-15% increase in volume per week; that seems to be the standard.

My plan was to dial back the mileage a hair this week and start off the week with two very easy runs on an ever surface that wouldn’t aggravate the ankle. Luckily, it worked! Sunday and Monday I limited my running to 4 miles each day on the roads. While I could feel the ankle, the tendon healed up quickly. Tip: listen to your body! If you feel something funky, take a couple days to do what you have to do to avoid a full blown injury. Don’t get sucked into running too hard or doing too much. In my opinion, this is one of the major keys to sustainable running.

Sunday: Just an easy out and back on the bike path from school heading west.
Run: 28:05
Distance: 4 miles 

Pace: 7:01/mile

Elevation Gain: 35 feet
*30 minutes of strength stuff in the gym. Still working on strengthening my knee and hips.

Monday: Another easy short day on the roads. This time an out and back from my house.
Run: 35:24
Distance: 4.35 

Pace: 8:08/mile

Elevation Gain: 235 feet

Tuesday: After a couple days of rest I decided to go do a speed workout with my cousin and a group call Run Wild Missoula. They meet every Tuesday night at 5:30pm at Runners Edge for a group workout…really lucky to have this. I am completely and totally out of shape for speed stuff and that was spotlighted for me during this workout as I flailed and fumbled through. It was another reminder of how much fitness I lost. But it was also a lot of fun and I look forward to getting back to a place where I can hop in there and burn it up.

The workout was 3 sets of 800, 600, 600 with 90 seconds between intervals and 3 minutes between sets. I ended up only doing 2 sets to keep it safe. I went with my cousin Ander who is super speedy. He tore it up and left me in the dust which is always humbling. But I accomplished my goal of not injuring myself, cleaning out the cobwebs that have built up in my legs over the last 5 months, and I got a great workout in. I’ll be back next week!
Run: 31:00
Distance: 4.5 

Pace: 6.53/mile

Elevation Gain: 43 feet

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: New loop from home. Head down Van Buren street, hop onto the Mt. Jumbo ridge trail to East Missoula, drop into town, take the river road back to Rattlesnake, Greenough Park, home. Great little loop with all the elements; trail, road, steep, flat, etc. Great run.
Run: 52:21
Distance: 6.6 miles 

Pace: 7:56/mile

Elevation Gain: 670 feet

Friday: Did the same loop as yesterday with Nikki and then added on an outer loop in the Rattlesnake…felt heavy but good.
Run: 1:24:24
Distance: 10.38
Pace: 8:08/mile

Elevation Gain: 893 feet

Saturday: Ran from home up into the Waterworks trail complex, headed down past the old homestead and popped out at the Orange Street dead end trailhead, then ran to school, did some weights, ran home.
Run: 1:04:36
Distance: 7.47 miles
Pace: 8:39/mile

Elevation Gain: 828 feet
*30 minutes of strength at the Rec Center.

Weekly Totals: 

Distance: 37.3 miles

Pace: 7:56/mile average

Elevation Gain: 2,656 feet

Elevation Gain/Mile: 71 ft/mile

Memorable moment from this week’s running: On Thursday’s loop that took me down to the river I passed a roadside memorial. I usually don’t like seeing crosses on the sides of roads as it tends to be a downer for me. This memorial though was different. Apparently, on December 26th, 2009 two young girls, Taylor and Ashlee, were killed by a drunk driver while walking with their friends. They were only 15 and 14 years old. On the memorial their were two color photos of the girls printed on tiles. Their youth, vitality, and life stood out to me. I couldn’t believe that those two girls were now dead. Once alive, now dead. It blows my mind when I think about death and how life can just be taken from us in a moment. The upshot was that it got me thinking about priorities in life. For me, those are my loved ones and my christian faith. I don’t know how I would manage without either of those things. Spinning our wheels, chasing pointless dreams, slaving away towards achievements that only fulfill our own desires seem pretty small when you are standing at the place where two young girls had their lives taken from them. While again, this is tragic, there is some good that has come out of it. The parents of one of the girls and other community members started Missoula’s Challenge, an organization aimed at “providing education, promoting healthy choices and reward, with an opportunity for scholarships, those youth who accept the challenge to live alcohol and drug free.” So the question this encounter prompted was, what is REALLY important? If I may, I encourage you to consider the same.

I’ll leave you with a variation of the beautiful quote that was printed in the stone of the memorial…

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye

February 4, 2013   No Comments

2013: School, Newport Marathon, Wedding, Europe, School…Make It Happen.

2013 is likely going to be a bit of a down year as far as running races is concerned. However, it is hopefully going to be an up year in all other areas of my life.

My current race schedule is minimalistic:

February 23, 2013 – Snow Joke Half Marathon, Seeley Lake, Montana.

This race will be a fun little half marathon to re-orient myself to running hard. I haven’t raced since July, 2012 and a low-key event should be perfect. No goals for this one; just run hard and see how it goes.

I am also tentatively planning to run a 10k on the track in the spring as another tune up and fitness check with my cousin Ander. I will do some speed work leading up to this race but it won’t be my focus.

The Newport Marathon (Oregon Coast) on 6.01.2013 will be my “A” race.


I am starting a 16 week advanced marathon training program that is modeled after Hal Higdon’s program. I really want to go for a PR but I’m not sure if that will be possible given last year’s injuries and this year’s crazy schedule…but we’ll see! I would love love love to go sub-2:30 but that would all depend on how my fitness comes back around. I ran 2:35 at the Redding Marathon last year which is NOT a fast course but I was also in really good shape so it’s hard to tell how realistic a shot at 2:29 would be. My Redding Marathon Race Report.

Then I may hop in The Nitty Gritty Trail Marathon on September 21st in Red Lodge, Montana. This year doesn’t lend itself to any real major trail Ultras so this will be as close as it gets. Looks like a fun event.

Finally, I want to take a crack at the Mt. Sentinel Hill Climb in November which races up 2.25 miles for roughly 2000 feet of elevation gain. Mt. Sentinel is the mountain that I run a couple times a week from school, super convenient.


Mount Sentinel

Mount Sentinel

So that is my running/racing schedule. It’s definitely a marathon focus year with some fun shorter events sprinkled in. The reason I’m putting off my ultramarathon trail stuff is basically because I’m going to be gone for 2 months in the summer and I’m not going to be able to get the sheer volume in to attack really long races. I think 2014 is going to be the year of the 100k and 2015 will be the year of the 100 miler.

In other news, I’m getting married on June 16th to the love of my life Nikki Grenier! Honestly, when I think about running races up against getting married, races seem pretty dang small in comparison. However, this life changing event could be considered an ultra in and of itself as the wave of wedding planning has hit like a freight train.

To top all this action off, we are also planning the summer trip of a lifetime and something I am very very excited about. Two days after the wedding we will depart for 2 months in Europe:

Norway: We will spend one week in Norway staying with a friend connection of Nikki’s. We also hope to see some sights and stand on some crazy rocks like this:


France: Being that my parents chose to raise me in Hippie Central USA (Eugene, OR), I have to fulfill the stereo type and spend a couple weeks WWOOFing. This stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Me and Nikki are in the process of picking out a farm which is part of this network of WWOOFing farms where we will basically work for room and board in a very beautiful place….we are thinking the French Alps.


Spain: Finally, the main event will be the Pilgrimage. The What!? It’s a 500 mile trek through Northern Spain that spans the entire length of the country. It starts in a little French village called Saint Jean Pied de Port and ends in Santiago de Compostela in the NW region of Spain. However, we will likely tack on the remained 60 miles or so to touch the ocean in Finisterre. There was a movie called The Way that came out a few years ago that spawned the idea. The trek is called El Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James. It is a catholic pilgrimage but people from all walks of life do it for a variety of different reasons. Our reasons are as follows: we desire to experience the beauty of the landscape and connect with the earth in a new way, we want to discover the unique qualities of the people of Spain, we want to challenge our bodies and minds and find fulfillment in overcoming physical obstacles, and we want to explore our spirituality and further develop our relationship with Jesus Christ as we walk along the path that Saint James, the disciple of Christ, once walked himself. We hope that it is a time of change and growth and development that often is experienced when interacting with different peoples and cultures.


So those are my adventure plans for this year. My other life consists of law school. I will continue to be a full time student from January-May and then again from August-December. Law school has challenged me in so many ways. I’ve read more than I ever have in my life, I’ve doubted myself more than I ever have, I’ve learned more than I ever have, and I’ve pushed myself mentally further than I ever have. I am enjoying this process, although while extremely challenging, I know I have grown because of it. My latest interest is in the area of immigration law and I want to help people in need.…that is why I came to law school…this I can’t forget.

So here’s to 2013!!! I have the most wonderful family and friends and fiancée and nobody but myself can stop me. It’s time to rise up to the occasion and come through in the clutch. 2013 is a clutch year. What a year it will be…

January 19, 2013   5 Comments

Guest Writer Liz Davies Weighs in on Running with Cancer

Run Past Cancer
Physical activity was once viewed as prevention only when it comes to cancer, as exercise for cancer patients was seen as too dangerous and counter-productive to health. A large number of studies are reversing this trend, with the major cancer research organizations calling for all cancer patients to avoid inactivity. More than a generic rule, guidelines have been developed to help doctors and patients utilize the benefits of exercise while keeping patients safe.

What Benefits Does Running Offer?
While guidelines promote moderate-intensity, aerobics for 150 minutes a week, this has been modified in several studies to good effect. All aerobic and anaerobic exercise will help manage common symptoms of cancer and treatment, as well as provide a higher chance of treatment success, longer life expectancy, and lower risk of recurrence.

Obviously, running will not be an option for some cancer patients, and others will need to work up to this level of activity. Once there, patients can expect the benefits to be stronger, though it is important to note that benefits will accrue from all forms of physical activity. In one study, breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy showed significantly lower levels of fatigue with the use of aerobic exercises, including walking, cycling and running. Vigorous exercise was shown in another study to reduce mortality for men with prostate cancer even further than moderate-intensity exercise.
Safety Comes First
Some types of cancer and certain kinds of treatment may contra-indicate running for fitness, which makes this a critical topic to bring up with the doctor. For those with experience, it is a safe and effective form of exercise, though over-exertion is still not advised. Patients with a lack of exercise history will benefit greatly from the guidance of a physical fitness professional trained to work with cancer patients. There are trainers with specialization with all types of cancers, including even rare forms like mesothelioma. They will be able to devise appropriate and enjoyable routines for each individual case that can ultimately build up to endurance running and other vigorous exercises.

The key to gaining the benefits of exercise is sticking with a regular workout program. Some people will need more motivation and others will have to start with the basics before progressing to even moderate-intensity aerobics. A personal trainer can help provide this motivation by making exercise more enjoyable, and including family or friends may be a critical part of establishing regularity. The benefits of running for cancer patients are too important to let this recommendation slide.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April. If you would like to contact her she can be reached at healthylizd@gmail.com

February 17, 2012   No Comments

Guest Blog Entry: Author Jackie Clark offers another reason to RUN

Running for Two
By: Jackie Clark

Pretend there’s a Grizzly Bear hunting you. Imagine one of those end-of-the-world action movie scenes with collapsing buildings and cracking highways. Think of how fast you would move if you heard that someone you love was in trouble. Then run.

Running may strengthen your heart over time. It may ward off osteoporosis. You may even get that lean dream body you’ve always wanted. But running won’t save someone else’s life.

Not officially, at least. But a life isn’t measured in years, breaths, survival rates or diagnoses. It’s measured in quality.

Running for a cause like cancer will inspire. It will convey how much you support the cancer survivor, patient or victim who you think of with every push off the pavement. You will be proclaiming your love for the cancer-stricken (and your hatred for the disease) with your entire body, your heavy breathing, your thirst. If only for a few hours, you will put your body and mind through rigorous exercise that drains your energy – a small sacrifice compared to those you are running for.

Running is an excellent bang-for-your-buck, cross-training exercise. It can be done anywhere, in just about any type of weather, and it tightens both your legs and the hard-to-tone midsection while burning calories and increasing our stamina. Runners also experience better, more restful sleep, improved memory and reactions times, and a higher level of energy.

If you’re going to run in a marathon, you don’t need to be a seasoned runner. Jog. Walk part of it. Take a break. Whatever it takes to get you to the finish line. When running for cancer, the point isn’t your form, speed or how clean your new running sneakers are. The point is to show your support for those who have looked cancer in the face and to get other people up and running at the next marathon. Plus, cancer benefit runs collect donations that go right back into cancer research. You may even encourage cancer survivors to hit the streets with you – running can be great recovery for bodies that have gone through Hell and are on the mend.

Read more from Jackie Clark

*Guest Bloggers with a cause are welcome anytime on Run Until I Die*

October 24, 2011   No Comments

Geoff Roes will get you psyched to run FAR!

I want to share a few things about Ultra Runner Geoff Roes that have really inspired me recently. They are helping me to really think about why it is I run and how I can take my running to the next level as I transition to ultra running.

Audio interview…its a little long but super interesting. Geoff talks all about training, nutrition, view of running, competition, Alaska, food, past, present, and future.

And here is a sick video of Jeff training up in Alaska. I can see why Jeff is probably one of the top 5 ultra runners in the world after seeing him run up that crazy terrain outside Juneau…FREAKIN BEAST. I consider Geoff to be a little out there with his views but not so out there as Anton Krupicka…a little more relatable to the average person. The other thing I like about him is I can he is an INTENSE competitor. He wants to win…BAD. I like that.

Hope this stuff gets you excited to hit the trails…I have one more week in Costa Rica….when I get back im (sorry, I cant find the apostrophe on these costa rican keyboards) ready to start training HARD. I have a 50k in September in Oregon and a 50 miler in October in New Mexico…very excited to see what I can do.

Post a comment if you listened to the interview or watched the video…what do you think about Geoff?

August 5, 2011   2 Comments

Best Distance Running Video Compilation

As the collegiate and professional Track and Field seasons are coming into full swing I find myself spending more and more time watching race footage of today’s best competitive runners. They are all very inspiring and incredible athletes. However, today’s greats would not be where they are today if not for the amazing runners in years past.

I searched for the best compilation of the great races of all time and the video below was by far the best (for men). It features Steve Prefontaine, Sebastian Coe, Hicham El Guerrouj, Kenenisa Bekele, Billy Mills, Bernard Lagat, and more.

I feel blessed that I am the type of person who’s heart races and blood pumps faster while watching a video like this. It reminds me that I am alive and motivates me to work hard and become the best runner I can. The athletes in this video earned every second of glory they received from participating in these storied races. Mucho blood, sweat, and tears over the span of years got them to these peak performances. Their effort has paid dividends for not just themselves but also for today’s runners who strive to see where they stack up in running history.

Tonight I’m going to the NCAA West Regional Track and Field meet at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Check back tomorrow for my highlight commentary, some admittedly sub-par photos, and maybe even some corny video footage from the stands.

Hope you enjoyed the compilation…

May 26, 2011   No Comments

The Key to Sustainable Running

Running Tip of the Week #5

I think a lot of people are way too anal about the way they get their runs in on a daily basis. People have this image of ‘real’ runners being immune to the difficulties of getting out of bed every morning and running. This is far from the truth. In my opinion, you have to balance. Yes, you must do whatever it takes to get your run in on any given day, but do it in the easiest most pleasant way possible.

Here is an honest statistic about my running; the only occasions I have gone on a run this year before 9am were on race days. It would be one thing if this were a conscious decision, but no, probably once or twice a week I would set my alarm to run at 6, 7, or even 8am only to decide when the alarm went off that, “no, I’m not feeling this right now. I’m going back to bed.” It’s as simple as that. I would then shut my eyes and fall back into a deep peaceful harmonious sleep that my body and mind apparently thought was more valuable than running. The key is to not beat yourself up for this decision.

Since I almost always passed on running in the mornings I therefore did A LOT of running after work in the evenings. Often I would be tired from being on my feet all day selling shoes or at my other job running around a physical therapy clinic and the last thing I wanted to do was run right after my workday. But since I chose to sleep in, I had to deal with the consequences and run in the evenings. For some reason, after all was said and done, this was easier for me to do than to run in the mornings. This worked for me.

During other times of my life my running routine would be completely the opposite. The thought of running after 4pm would not even cross my mind because at that point I just felt slow and sluggish and unmotivated.

What you can’t do is slap the snooze button and then also pass on your run during the day or in the evening. You have to know that no matter what you are going to get your run in but that maybe it won’t necessarily be when you originally expected it. It has to become a given that you are going to run, that way, when you give into your desire to not run in the morning, this is not a decision to not run that day, but just a postponement.

I also feel like there are certain negotiable items in relation to the running lifestyle. For me the areas that come to mind are nutrition and strength training. I have been known to take my time to drive to the gym, go into the locker room, get dressed into my workout clothes, walk into the weight room, look around at the weights and people and equipment, and then immediately decide that this was in fact the last place I wanted to be at that time and continue to return to the locker room, get my stuff, and leave. Yes, I do have those thoughts like, “Man Chase, you are such a wuss” or “Dude, so and so would totally not walk out of this weight room” or “if you can’t even get yourself to do workout then you definitely can’t expect to run fast.” In the long run, these types of thoughts get you nowhere.

What I feel like I’ve come to learn is that you need to listen to your mind and your body in order to have a sustainable running lifestyle. Who knows, maybe if I would have forced myself to workout those mornings or nights that I really didn’t want to, I would have burned out and stopped running altogether.

All this being said, if you find yourself routinely deciding to skip workouts altogether, then we have a problem. I’m saying that there is grace and even potentially a benefit for passing on an occasional workout in order to maintain your determination and sanity.

All of this really boils down to the following idea; you must do what works for you. Find a routine that makes running the most enjoyable it can be. If you want to run at midnight, run at midnight. If you want to run 6.7 miles on the treadmill at 6.7mph everyday of the year, don’t listen to people who say you need to diversify your running, just do your thing. Don’t beat yourself up about anything, do your best to run everyday that you planned, and create the ideal personalized routine that allows you to accomplish your goals and enjoy the sport we love.

Check out more Running Tips of the Week!

May 18, 2011   2 Comments