The idea and motivation for Chasing 100 has slowly been cultivated over my whole life. It goes all the way back to some of my earliest memories of my father. I can remember coming down the stairs in my jammies, hair disheveled, and rubbing my eyes. I had just woken up but my super-man-like father had already read, prayed/meditated, and run an ungodly distance. The smell of sweat was so strong in the kitchen that you could almost taste the salt. This was my morning reality almost everyday. In my mind a real man got up early, took care of his soul, and ran. I knew when I grew up, I wanted to run marathons like my dad.
Unfortunately, his desire to run didn’t really rub off on me. Waking up early and running seemed like way too much work. So, I didn’t start running until my Jr. year in High School. My close friend David Taylor, an amazing runner to this day, convinced me to run the Beach To Bay Relay Marathon in Corpus Christi, TX. The race is broken in to 6 legs and each member of your team runs about 4 miles. That distance seemed impossible to me at first. Up to this point I hadn’t run much at all and was actually really bad at it. I had no clue what I was doing. My form was sloppy and I would beat the pavement like a dirty rug.Lets just say David taught me a lot. To me, It was about pushing yourself to go faster and further without any concern to my body or efficiently. The Marine saying, “Pain is weakness leaving the body” would play over and over in my head. However, as I trained with David I learned more and got increasingly excited about running. I also started to noticed something strange. Some days I would run without any cramps or stitches in my side and on others it felt like I was getting the snot kicked out of me. I would have to stop and walk till I felt better. When I started to think about why this was happening I realized that if I drank a bunch of soda the day before I ran I would get cramps. The answer was simple don’t drinking soda. This was the first time I realized food and performance where linked.
The time for the race finally came. I ran Beach To Bay and had a blast. From that point on I was hooked. I didn’t become a crazy runner. Honestly, I wasn’t really fast and couldn’t go very far. However, I saw how running helped me with my high school drama/stress and overall happiness. Over the next 6 years I kept jogging off and on, ran a lot of 5Ks, and made my pilgrimage back to Corpus Christi to Run Beach To Bay. It wasn’t until 2010 that I really got into running. That year my beautiful wife Bethany and I lived out on a farm house in the middle of no where. We didn’t have a TV or internet and the cell signal only worked outside. Needless to say this left LOTS of time for running. During this time two major things happened to me; 1. my sister introduced me to Matt Frazier’s blog nomeatathlete.com, and 2. I started experimenting with barefoot running. By January of 2011 my wife and I had transitioned to a 100% vegetarian diet. It was just like when I stopped drinking sodas. I started to have less problems while running and simply felt lighter and faster.
In addition to tweaking my diet I started changing the way I ran. For awhile all I did was walk and jog 1 to 2 miles completely barefoot. I would go out sans phone or earbuds. I didn’t care about speed or distance. I just wanted to listen to my body, my footfall, and enjoy the world around me. I took it very slow and only made small changes. Every time I pushed the process I would get injured. It was a long season but it was a good one. I learned a lot about running with and without shoes. I’m not here to advocate for or against minimalist running. But I am 100% for learning to listen to your body. We are all different and need to discover what is best for our bodies.
Over time, I started to get burned out and my running slowly died off. Then one of the best things happened to my wife and I. We decided to start fostering children. This change our lives completely! I didn’t have time to think about running with two kids, then no kids, then two kids again and so on. Then, on top of all of the visits, therapies, paperwork, continuing education, emotional stress, and running a business, we decided to move to Austin. Needless to say running wasn’t happening. But then the unexpected happened, we had a super-human 2 year old name Erich placed in our home. All he wanted to do was run. And I mean run! I honestly hadn’t met a child like him. We would go to town lake trail and he would run a whole mile with me! A 2 Year Old! I was shocked. I had never seen a two year old do this! Then we borrowed a balance bike for him to use and he took of! We seriously had to run/jog to keep up with him. He loved the bike. He wouldn’t stop. 1 mile turned to 2, that turned to 3, and then to 4! He would ride his balance bike for 4 miles! A 2 year old! Erich had forced my hand. I had to start running again. Especially since we were able to adopt him! I thought to myself, “If I’m going to keep up with my son I need to get serious about running again.”
A month after adopting our son we went to the Rockies with my family, a family tradition since before I was born. The mountains, like always, were calling my name. I went out for a run one day and came back 8 miles later. It was beautiful. I had found my joy for running again. I knew it was time. No more excuses. I needed to do something big. I needed to run Leadville. When I got back to Austin I set the wheels in motion. I started training more intently, and contacting ultra runners I knew. If I was going to take a year of my life to train for a race, I knew it was worth documenting. Thus, the Chasing 100 documentary was born.
Over the next year, I will be documenting my training, interviewing ultra runners, and blogging about the experience. The film will be about the sport, the runners, their passion, training, and what drives them to run 100 miles. I hope you keep visiting this site to get updates on the project, interviews, post about nutrition/Vegan eating, and product reviews.
READERS: What would you like to see on the blog or in the film? Let me know in the comments.