What’s it Like to Run a Marathon?

Marathon training is no joke. It’s endless mornings of 5 a.m. alarms, otherwise, after a long day of work, you have to make time for it in the evening. You have to fully commit.

I starting thinking about running a Marathon at the beginning of the year. After a really good run, a run where I felt like I could take on the world, I signed up for North Olympic Discovery Marathon and I had about 5 months to train. The beginning of the year ended up being a tough one too. I caught a 3-4 week long head cold followed by the flu. As soon as I started feeling like myself again, I ended up getting the stomach flu. Those 5 months I thought I had to train for the Marathon turned into 3.
My training was pretty solid though. Probably about 90% ended up being on the treadmill before or after work. Having a little one at home you have to be creative…  the treadmill and I have become pretty close friends. My longest long run was 18 miles due to lack of time and needing to build up my weekly mileage safely. I was nervous about not reaching the 20 mile long run mark, I was hoping to have at least two under my belt before the Marathon, but if you can run 18 you can rally out 8 more miles, right?
The night before the Marathon my husband and I drove up to Port Angeles to stay at a Bed and Breakfast. We picked up our race packets and everything was starting to feel really real! We went to grab some Pizza (of course) and made our way back to the B&B which was about 30 minutes from the shuttle to the start. We went out for a quick 15 minute shake out, laid out our clothes and gear and laid down for bed.
Our alarms went off at 4:45 and I remember reaching over and turning off the alarm while staring at the ceiling and thinking to myself “Shit, shit, shit.” We quickly got ready, had a cup of coffee, a banana, a roll and then made our way out the door.

Driving out to the shuttle the sun was rising and the air was crisp. The forecast for the day was a high of 72 and sunny along the coast (North Olympic Discovery Marathon is a point to point course, starting at Sequim and finishing along the coast of Port Angeles). We parked at the finish and were on the very last shuttle to the start. That was the LONGEST bus ride ever, the entire time I was thinking “This is a very long way, I have to run all this way back? They must be going too far or maybe they missed a turn…”
The start was at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn WA. It was a nice cool morning and we were able to sit in the Casino and use the restroom. They even had water and coffee for us. My nerves were high and I couldn’t eat or drink anything… I was just looking at my watch anxious to get started.



I dropped my bag at the bag drop and stood with the 4:15 corral (HA! If only I knew…) Not soon after we were off! We crossed the street and started on the Olympic Discovery Trail, I felt really good and kept reminding myself that I trained for this and I was ready! The first aid station quickly came up and I ran off to use the Porta Potty (the lines were WAY too long at the start) I lost the group I was running with, but didn’t mind all that much.


We took off running. This course was beautiful! It’s on a mostly paved trail through the Peninsula. Trees, mountain views, lakes; the last 5 miles being along the coast with ocean views. I felt really good. My pace was much slower than I had wanted, but my plan was to be very conservative in the first 13 miles, save my energy, and go back to my faster pace the last half. The first half FLEW. I looked down at my watch and said to my husband “We’re already half way done?”


Honestly, I was a little bummed that it was half way over, I was having a blast. The weather was perfect, I was eating my gels every 50 minutes or so, drinking gatorade at every aid station, and grabbing gummy bears and oranges any chance that I could get. I was enjoying talking with volunteers and sharing all this time with my husband by my side.


Mile 16 came and this is when I started to feel tired. I grabbed a handful of pretzels, but after popping a few in my mouth, I started gagging and decided the pretzels just were not for me. We continued to run and I realized that I never picked up my pace how I had planned which meant I wasn’t going to be near my goal time of under 4:30 (I wanted to beat Oprah!). My time goal was lax and I just wanted to go out and enjoy myself, take in the full experience, and finish the distance at that point, so that is what I focused on.


I wasn’t able to eat anything after the mile 17-18 mile point and at mile 18 I was in unknown running territory and feeling nervous about what was to come. I knew these next 8.2 miles were going to be tough. My legs were feeling tired and my hips were feeling a little stiff, but I carried on.


Around mile 20 I was walking pretty slowly on the uphills and taking my time at the aid stations. I was chugging along as best as I could. I just told myself “It’s only a 10K now! You did this every morning. You’ve made it 20 miles! Isn’t that crazy? You weren’t able to run three miles just a year ago. GO YOU!”  I was really trying to pump myself up; positive talk people! It works.
The final 6.2 were a kind of a blur. My legs hurt, but I discovered that they didn’t hurt any less walking than they did running. The miles just ticked along as I tried my best to focus on the current mile that I was in. “Enjoy this moment… you’ll never be able to experience this exact moment again.” I told myself over and over again. My legs were HEAVY and it took a lot of will power just to lift them up.


The final 5 miles were along the coast. There was a headwind and it was a little chilly, but we were SO close. I asked Korey not to let me stop; to keep me going, and we continued to run. I tried stopping any time he would look away and I did get away with a few walk breaks (mostly little itty bitty hills I didn’t want to run).


Mile 24 : “Anybody can do anything for 20 minutes…”
The miles creeped along and I heard Korey yell in front of me “You can see the finish, its so close… we’re almost there!” I looked up and yelled back “Its SO FAR AWAY” (Dramatic, I know.. but it really felt pretty far). I thought about this moment a lot during my weekly runs. How is the last mile going to feel? What about the .2? How am I going to feel? What will it be like to cross the finish line? I watched mile marker 26 pass by and knew we only had .2  to go. Less than 2 more minutes of running. We grabbed hands and took off! I heard and saw my family waiting at the finish line. It was an amazing feeling!





We were handed water and our medals. We grabbed our drop bags and made our way to the food… and someplace to finally sit down… or kinda do a weird slow fall to the ground.

I was a Marathoner. I never thought in a MILLION years that I would say those words. The entire experience was amazing. I enjoyed every moment (even the not so good ones). I did exactly what I set out to do: I had fun. Isn’t that what running is supposed to be about?

If you’re considering running a marathon, DO IT! Take the plunge.

Running Isn’t Always Fun

We here at Upper Left DT don’t like to pretend we’re a pack unicorns vomiting rainbows all over the place. While we like to have tons of fun and train hard, we leave the over the top optimism to the editors over at Trail Runner Magazine. My Instagram may tell a different story, but I’m here to tell you: running isn’t always fun! Most days it is, and should be (why else would we get up before dawn to grind out the miles?) But some days… it’s just not!

The effects of cumulative fatigue can be a factor that leads to some of those not-so-fun days. If you’re a marathoner or ultra marathoner, you’re familiar with the effects of cumulative fatigue throughout a training cycle. While multiple days of unusual lethargy, irritability and tiredness in a row can be a sign of over training (and should be treated as such) we all have days throughout our training cycle where the miles in our legs catch up to us and we feel heavy and tired. This is cumulative fatigue and it isn’t always fun! The best thing you can do on days like these is slow it down and remind yourself that you’ll be back to normal after a good meal and a solid night’s sleep, and that this too is part of the process.

Quality work is another time when the run isn’t always summertime sunshine and fresh peaches. Let’s not be ridiculous here and make it sound like everyone is going to enjoy whipping around a track at 5 a.m. at 6 minute pace; that’s not always awesome. Some of us might love charging hills and gasping for air like asthmatics, but for others, that’s the last thing we’d choose to do on an idle Tuesday. As hard as it feels most of the time, quality work is essential to improving as an athlete and those improvements will be your reward when your nail your “A” race.

That being said, race day isn’t always fun either! If you’re not competitive with yourself or your peers, then yes! Most of the time race day can be fun. If you’re a trail runner who’s simply out to enjoy the view and the social aspect of the event with the bonus of aid stations, you too can enjoy almost every race and that’s awesome! However, if you’re out to compete with yourself for a new PR, to compete with the front of the pack for the podium, or out to finish your first 26.2, chances are race day is going to be a tough day. Rewarding? Oh hell yes! There’s nothing like crossing that finish line with the feeling of euphoria from achieving a new PR, but giving it all you’ve got takes an immense amount of focus and determination, and that isn’t always “fun”.

The best rewards aren’t handed to you, you have to work hard for them. That’s a fact of running and a fact of life. While day to day running adds joy and fulfillment to our lives, it it isn’t always going to be easy, but that’s ok! Getting through the hard days makes the easy days that much sweeter and you know what? 90% of the time you’ll be out there having loads of fun and puking rainbows all over social media like the rest of us.


Happy Trails!


Coaching Red Flags

So you’ve got a coach, and while you enjoy having a schedule laid out, you feel like there’s something missing from your $400 dollar monthly coaching package. Well, you could be right!

Here are some common red flags to look for while working with a running coach:

1. They don’t listen. Sure, your Coach may have many athletes to attend to, and all humans make errors from time to time (if this is the case, address it, forgive and forget!) but if you’ve verbalized an important race multiple times and your coach keeps forgetting, it’s time to look elsewhere. Do you keep mentioning your lingering shin pain, yet keep getting prescribed speed work? Time to talk. Have you said time and time again that weekends don’t work for your long runs, but they keep getting scheduled and left for you to move yourself? No dice! Listening isn’t hard, but that simple skill should definitely be a prerequisite for coaching.

2. No Response. We have contact guidelines for a reason here at Upper Left DT; everyone has to separate work and home, but the last thing we’d want is for you to be left hanging for long periods of time or to get no response at all to important questions. If your coach doesn’t respond to texts or e-mails in a timely fashion (hopefully by the guidelines they laid out when you started your relationship) then it’s something you should address. Part of hiring a Coach is having someone there for you when you have questions or need advice about the activity you’re passionate about. Expect responsiveness!

3. Lack of specificity. We can, and should, include all types of workouts into our training to ensure we hit multiple energy systems so we stay fast and fresh, but if you’re training for something like the White River 50 Mile Endurance Run and your Coach hasn’t put a single hill session or endurance focused, trail centric long run into your training plan, then they have no business guiding you through that 50 Mile training. Specificity is key and this goes hand in hand with listening.

4. They’re Self Centered. “I do this. I do that. I like to run like this. I like to eat that. When I was in Europe this worked for me…” No. Being coached isn’t about what your Coach or mentor likes or what works for them, being coached is about finding out what’s right for YOU. You are an individual. You are the focus. You are the athlete and your goals should be front and center while you work together with your Coach to reach them.

5. Egotism. This is by far my biggest pet peeve I see in the modern age of digital coaching: Coaches use their athlete’s success to bring attention to themselves and their coaching skills by bragging on social media to boost their “value” and inflate their ego. Sure, a good Coach feels pride when their athletes succeed and do amazing things, but a good Coach doesn’t seek fame or notoriety from that success. A professional Coach operates in the background, puts their athletes first and doesn’t feed off of constant recognition. The athlete comes first. End of story.

Now before you go ditching your Coach for another, try having a simple conversation about the issues you’re having. After all, a healthy coach/athlete relationship revolves around communication, trust and mutual respect – just like any other relationship. So, try talking it out first, but if you feel the issue doesn’t resolve, don’t be afraid to do what’s best for you! Having a coach is about having someone there to guide and support you through the grind of distance running, and sometimes, life.

Happy Trails

How Do I Start Running?

I get this question often. People see an active lifestyle and it peaks their interest. Why? Well, I think that we all want to be healthy and to live long lives with our families. We all want to look and feel good. We all want a full and rewarding life and to feel motivated when we wake up everyday, but somehow, the habit of physical activity gets broken and lost in the day to day shuffle of growing up. I’ll tell you one thing though, it’s never too late to start good habits.

My wife, Alicia, is a great example. In June of 2016 she started taking brisk walks on her lunch break with our dog. That July she decided she wanted to start running. I remember going along with her for her first non stop mile, covering the distance in about 15 minutes. Alicia’s average pace on her easy days is now 9:45 – 10:00 per mile and in 12 days she will completing her first marathon. Is that not amazing?

So how did Alicia get there?

“Commitment. You just have to get up in the morning and put your shoes on. You have to enjoy it, or at least enjoy the process. I mean, I don’t enjoy it every single day.” She admits “Some days it doesn’t feel very good, but I have goals that I want to meet and the not-so-pleasant runs don’t outweigh the good runs.”  

“It also helps to have an achievable goal and a plan to follow. I wouldn’t want to wake up in the morning after running a mile and think ‘200’s are the new thing. I’m, gonna go do that.’ You want to have a reasonable goal… I picked a half marathon. I needed to have something there to motivate me every day, but more than the goal, I enjoy the time to myself; to get ready for the day or to wind down from the day. I get an hour to myself.”

Even though Alicia gets her mileage in every day, she knows being committed to the sport isn’t always easy. “If you’re having trouble committing on your own, get involved in the running community. Go to the running store and join a group. Get a run buddy. The social aspect [of the sport] can help people a lot.”

Alicia’s story is really inspiring to me and also reminds us that the answer to the question is very simple: You have to want it. You have to want a healthier lifestyle. You have to want to get out and run each day. When it’s raining, when the wind is blowing, when the snow is coming down, you have to make a choice. Once you do that, the rest is simple.

Common Chores That Double As Cross Training

We’re all busy people and strengthening our supporting muscles is probably one of the most slacked-upon aspects I see in distance running athletes, but I get it! You’re busy, I’m busy, we’re all busy! Well, if you’re especially strapped for time, consider trying the following exercises while simultaneously knocking out common household chores that almost all of use are “required” to complete.

Bill Pay Planks – I strongly believe that planks are the best ancillary exercise for runners. It’s a true “core” exercise. A good plank activates the the muscles that run up the spine, your abs, your chest, your shoulders, your glutes, your hamstrings and your quads. All of these muscles help to stabilize you throughout the gait cycle, reduce the “wobble” or “snake” and have the possibility of making you a more efficient and less injury prone runner. WE ALL NEED MORE PLANKS! But, if you’ve been missing out on them because you’re strapped for time, try doing planks while you pay bills, check your [credit union] account balance or while responding to Facebook messages.


Garden Squats – Spring is here! Which means we’re planting things and sooner or later we’ll be harvesting things as well. Next time you’re doing some gardening, instead of bending over to complete whatever task you’re completing, try incorporating a classic squat. Squats help to strengthen the hips, thighs, hamstrings, and glutes; all of which lead to a stronger, healthier lower body and better, more efficient running.


Laundry Leg Balance – Laundry. It never ends. I’ll literally be doing laundry for the rest of my life, which sucks, but the silver lining is that I can simultaneously improve my running! The single leg balance helps to strengthen the lower leg muscles and ankle muscles, activates the arch and improves both balance and proprioception. You can start without a pillow and add that later when the single leg balance on a flat floor has become too easy. Add a slight bend to the knee and engage the glutes for an added challenge.


The Push Lawn Mower – Ah, the decision that got me writing this post. Ditch that old gas guzzling hunk of junk in the garage (by recycling it) and invest in a push mower. This can easily turn into a full body workout, flushing the toxins out of your legs from the morning workout and getting your upper body RIPPED by targeting the same muscles that are targeted in a bench press (pecs, deltoids, triceps, biceps, back, etc). A little upper body strength never hurt anybody (especially if you carry bottles in ultramarathons) and you’ll be looking damn good running down the highway screaming “SUN’S OUT, GUNS OUT!”


I hope these tips and ideas enable you to start incorporating some cross training into your daily routine and help you become a stronger runner. Thanks for reading!


A Week With The Best: Masazumi Fujioka

Today on a A Week With The Best we have Masazumi Fujioka. Masazumi is as humble as they come, but don’t let that fool you when he toes the line with you at your next Ultra.

Masazumi was born in 1971 (45 years old) and is a Pacific Northwest based Trail and Ultra Runner sponsored by Team Seven Hills. He has won and placed in many Northwest races and national Ultra races as well. Some of his best times include 1st place at Sun Mountain 50 mile (2015) 1st place at Zion 100 (2016) 1st place at Orcas Island 50k (2016 and 2017) and 3rd place at H.U.R.T 100 (2017).

Thanks for joining us, Masazumi.


How and when did you start running?

I liked any kind of sports and especially soccer when I was young, but I had never been a track and field athlete. In my mid-30’s, I was too busy at work and gained weight. Believe it or not, I was heavier by 40 pounds than I am now. I started running in 2008 for health.

Your biggest accomplishment ?

Personally, it’s H.U.R.T 100 this past January. The race is well known in Japan and has many Japanese participate every year. I became the first Japanese male podium finisher in its 17 years’ history

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I am a software engineer. I have never thought I am a pro in the sense that I am not running for a living. A good thing is that I am working from home and have no need to commute. That enables me to work without curbing time for training.

Describe a days general diet for you:

In general, I eat carbs at breakfast and lunch, and protein at dinner. I drink a little, but only on weekends.

  • Morning
    • 2 slice of bread with banana, almond butter and raspberry jam
    • orange juice
    • coffee
  • Lunch
    • Either ramen, soba noodle or okonomiyaki
    • Small ice candy
  • Snack before and during workout
    • cookies
  • After workout
    • chocolate soy milk
  • Dinner
    • large salad
    • soy food such as tofu or natto
    • meat (chicken or pork) or fish (salmon etc.)
    • yogurt with fruit

What’s a typical training week like for you? An example from your training log:

Except for  the weekend, I normally train in the evening. Below is a typical training week during daylight saving time.

  • Mon … Rest
  • Tue … 13 mile road run (effort: hard) + 1h elliptical machine
  • Wed … 13 mile road run (effort: easy or moderate) + 1h elliptical machine + core strength exercises
  • Thu … 13 mile road run (effort: easy or moderate)  + 1h elliptical machine
  • Fri … Interval run (3 min x 6) + road run (effort: easy) + 30min elliptical machine
  • Sat … 20 mile trail run (effort: easy or moderate)
  • Sun … 13 mile trail run (effort: easy or moderate) + 0.5 h cross training + core strength exercises

I use treadmill heavily instead of going out to run in soggy cold winter.

What is your favorite workout?

Running in a mountain under the sun with nobody in sight!

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?

The thing I always ask myself is “what is the goal ?” That makes it easier for me to figure out what to do to achieve the goal.

The goal will vary among runners. It can be to run as many races as possible, as fast as you can or anything. For me, often it’s to do my best run in one or two target races in a year. Running all the races in top performance is difficult especially when you get older, like me, as it takes more time to recover. By finalizing my “A” race, I can plan when to take a rest, start building up my base, increase volume and bring myself to the peak condition. That increases the probability of reaching my goal.


Thanks for sharing, Masazumi!


If you are or know a pro runner or industry pro who would like to be featured in our series, please e-mail me at and be sure to check out the hashtag #Team7hills on social media.

*Featured image by Glenn Tachiyama

A Week With The Best: Sion Lupowitz

Today on A Week With The Best we have Sion Lupowitz, fresh off of a 3rd place finish at the competitive and rugged Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance run!  Sion grew up in Corrales, New Mexico, but now lives and trains in Tucson, Arizona which is surrounded by four mountain ranges. Sion runs for Aravaipa Running, Honey Stinger, Squirrel’s Nut Butter and Bioskin.

Some of his tops performances include 1st place at the 2016 Stagecoach 100M in 17:42:17, 1st place at the 2014 and 2016 Old Pueblo 50M in 8:48:10 and 8:05:41 (New CR respectively), 1st place at the 2016 Inaugural Oracle Rumble 50M in 8:10:17, 1st place at the 2016 Cedro Peak 45M in 6:56:53, and 2nd place at 2015 Mogollon Monster 100M in 26:05:00 which was his first 100 miler! He also summitted Blackett’s Ridge (we used to train on together on this ridge in Tucson) an astonishing 100 times in 2015. That’s 170,000 feet of rugged vert! Not counting the other 265 days of the year. The dude is a monster.


How and when did you start running?

I started running as a kid. Don’t all kids run?! In high school I ran track and cross country. While I wasn’t very fast at any of the track meets, I thrived during the long training runs. That was a telling sign of what was to come! Following high school, I didn’t run a step for over 10 years. My life kinda spiraled out of control during my twenties and I began going on short runs as a means of escape. My sister talked me into running a half marathon and while the idea of running 13 miles seemed insane, I was game. I managed to quit smoking and focus on training. When I arrived at the start line of the race, I knew I had found my home! I was later introduced to trail running and ultras. That was simply a life changer and I haven’t looked back.


 What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?

Keeping that mental edge. Sure running is physical, but it is also very much mental. Training for long races takes a lot of time and dedication. Sometime I don’t feel like running! But, thats what separates me from being an average runner to being a great runner.

Gotta keep that edge!


Your biggest accomplishment ?

My biggest accomplishment has to be winning the Stagecoach 100 miler just five minutes shy of the course record! It still hurts knowing I was that close, but that was an incredible feeling finishing that race.


You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

While I do enjoy the spoils of comped races and free gear and snacks, I am yet to hit the big time. I work full time in the medical field to pay my bills.


Describe a days general diet for you:

Hopefully a lot of pizza.


What’s a typical training week like for you? An example from your training log:


Mon – Rest


Tue – 8-10 miles with 1,500 plus vert


Wed – 8-10 miles with 1,500 plus vert (depending on what I am training for. This could also be a spadework day)

The – 10-12 miles with 2,000 plus vert


Fri – 10-12 miles with 2,000 plus vert


Sat – 12-15 miles with 3,000 plus vert


Sun – 15-25 miles with 3,000 plus vert


What is your favorite workout?

Running up steep stuff.


Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals? 

Don’t make running a business, enjoy the ride and always remember that we do this because we love it.


Thanks for joining us, Sion!


If you are a pro runner or industry pro who would like to be featured on this weekly blog, please shoot me an e-mail at


*Featured image by Howie Stern Photography

Marathon Tips For Beginners

So you’ve decided to tackle the beast! 26.2 miles. Besides having a sound training plan and working with a knowledgeable coach, here are a few tips you should consider.

First off: Gear. Use it. Know it. Love it. LOVE YOUR GEAR. Any small gear issue will be exacerbated over 26.2 miles (and even more so in an Ultra) so it’s important that you know your gear and know what to expect from it. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

Shoes: Do they fit properly? Do they feel good to you? Do they cause any hot spots during long training runs?

Socks: Do they fit properly ? Do they slide down after too many miles or when they get wet? Are they moisture wicking?

Shorts: Have you done long runs in them? Do they cause any chaffing? Do they have pockets for gel packets?

Shirt: Does it fit well? Is it moisture wicking? Does it cause any chaffing?

Bra(ladies): is it supportive? Does it provide “coverage”? Do the straps dig into your back? Does it put pressure on your neck ?

Your next item of importance? Caloric intake. You burn roughly 110 calories per mile (give or take). This all varies from individual to individual based off of your fitness level, race speed, age, sex, and various other factors, but let’s use me as an example. I’m a 5′ 10″ 140lb male.

In general, we burn 1 calorie per kilogram of weight per kilometer run. To find your weight in kilograms, simply divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.

For me 140lb /2.2 kg/lb = 63.3kg

Calories burned during the marathon = 42.195 (marathon distance in kilometers) x 63.3 (weight in kilograms) = 2,670 calories total calories burned during the race.

The faster you run, the more carbohydrate you will burn as fuel. I’ll be running at at least 70% of my VO2 Max, which puts me close to a ratio of 65% carb cal / 35% fat cal burned. If I burn 2,670 calories / 26.2 miles = 102 calories per mile. 102  calories x .65 (65% carbohydrate as fuel per 102 calories burnt) = 66.3 calories from carbohydrate per mile run. 66.3 carbohydrate calories per mile x 26.2 miles = 1,737 calories from carbohydrate during the race.

Now we need to figure out how much glycogen can be stored in your body. Leg mass (where usable glycogen available for running is stored) is roughly 21% of your total body mass for males and 20% of your total mass for ladies. Take your weight in kilograms (your body weight in pounds divided by 2.2) and multiply that by 20 or 21 percent. For me that would be 63.3 kg x .21 = 13.29 kg. Multiply the amount of carbohydrate calories you can store per kilogram to find your potential storage. For me, 13.29kg (leg mass) x  80 (carb cal stored per kg.) = 1,063*

If I only have 1100 calories (max) stored as glycogen in my legs and I’m going to burn 1700 carbohydrate calories, I need to figure out how to consume roughly 600 more carbohydrate calories throughout the race to try and make the wall as bearable as possible. No easy feat! It’s important to practice this in your long runs and Marathon Pace work. As a beginner you’ll be running on the lower end of the effort spectrum, simply worrying about conquering the distance. In that instance it’s not quite as important to worry about the specific numbers, but keep the importance of fueling in mind.

Last, but not least… Body Glide! This could arguably be added to your gear list, but it makes such a big difference, it deserves it’s own mention. I can’t stress it enough. Find a body lubricant you like and lather up! Toes (even in between) thighs, nipples, armpits, anything that rubs and any spot you believe may get chaffing; lube it up! I’ve seen people’s nipples bleed. I myself have had the inside of my thighs bleed. If you forget this, it will not only be one of the most painful runs you have ever completed, but THE most painful shower you have ever taken afterwards (unless you’re a burn victim).


Those are our tips for beginning marathoners! Of course, there are many more aspects of training and racing to be considered, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel you would benefit from some guidance.



* Referenced equations: Humphrey, Luke. Hansons Marathon Method. Boulder: VeloPress, 2012. Print.

A Week With The Best: Joe Gray

Today I ran the Whidbey Island Half Marathon in 01:15 and all I could ask myself was “How the hell did Joe run this in 01:09???” So I decided today would be a good day to share his interview.

Joseph Gray is a 21 Time Team USA member, 11 Time USA National Champion, 2 Time Xterra Trail Running World Champion , the 2016 World Mountain Running Champion and a 5 Time NACAC Mountain Running Champion with the consecutive record.

How and when did you start running?

In middle school to stay out of trouble basically!

What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?  

I think finding time to prepare for races. There are so many awesome races that pop up and many of them are very different in terrain and challenges thus, it’s difficult to train for all of them to perform at your best

Your biggest accomplishment ?

A long career of winning and being consistent at major events.

You’re a pro, but do you work work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I currently coach privately.

Describe a days general diet for you:

My diet is really based on cravings! I regularly eat Electrobites and Garden of Life protein after extremely tough days.

What’s a typical training week like for you? 


(Joe does not like to share his training. The secret’s in the sauce, as they say.)

What is your favorite workout?

Progressive tempos.

Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?
I think the best advice is to stay in your lane! Be concerned with your training and your personal goals and avoid trying to mock the training and goals of others. It’s easy to see social media posts about someone and to be influenced to try something that is not genuine or perhaps you aren’t personally prepared for, so be natural and follow your path at your own pace. Being smart will allow you to have a long career


Thanks for that short and sweet interview, Joe!


If you’re a pro or know a pro who would like to be featured on A Week With The Best, please reach out to me at


A Week With The Best: Maria Dalzot

Welcome to A Week With The Best! This week we have PNW runner Maria Dalzot. Maria is a trail and mountain runner sponsored by La Sportiva, BioSkin, Native Eyewear and Trail Butter. A few of her career highlights include winning the 2011 NACAC Mountain Running Championship as well as the 2014 USATF National Trail Half Marathon. She is also a multi-time U.S. mountain team member and constantly wins races throughout the Pacific Northwest.  

Thanks for joining us, Maria!


  • How and when did you start running?

Running has always been my life’s passion. When I was a kid I ran circles around the yard for fun and tag was my favorite game in gym class. I started running competitively in 7th grade cross country when I was 11 years old. I remember the day leading up to my first race I was so nervous; I felt sick to my stomach and distracted from school work. “This is awful,” I remember telling my mom. “After I get this race over with, I’m never doing it again.” After the race, I was buzzing with elation, and asking when the next race was –I couldn’t wait! Fast forward 18 years, and I am still nervous, still addicted, still in love with the buzz, and still in pursuit of my best.

  • What has been your biggest obstacle as a runner?  

My biggest obstacle as a runner is overcoming my anxiety. Through the years running has provided me relief from obsessive, scary thoughts and has calmed my monkey mind. The trails have been an escape from the stress of life and a way to refocus and prioritize. But sometimes running is the cause of my anxiety and leaves me dead in my tracks, stranded on a mountain top shaky and unable to breathe. It is a constant challenge for me to overcome such debilitating feelings to keep pursuing what I am most passionate about.

  • Your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment is never giving up. Over the last 18 years of training and competing I have had too many injuries to count: stress fractures, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, strains, pulls, tears, broken bones, foot reconstruction surgery and bunion removal. Despite so many set-backs and heart breaks, I still get up every morning with determination to reach my goals.

  • You’re a pro, but do you work as well? If so, what do you do for a living?

I am a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science. I have a private practice, Maria Dalzot RD, where I work with people of all ages and disciplines to help them reach their health and performance goals.

  • Describe a day’s general diet for you:

Food is a major priority in my life. I usually eat 4 large meals a day in lieu of snacking. I do not have any intolerances or sensitivities so I eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, fiber, dairy and seafood. I cannot live without bananas, apples, yogurt or nut butter. I must eat these things at least twice a day.

  • What’s a typical training week like for you?

Mon: Strength training followed by 8-9 miles

Tue: 8-10 miles easy

Wed: 12 miles with 8-mile tempo or progression

Thu: Strength training followed by 8-10 miles

Fri: 8-9 miles easy

Sat: 20-24-mile trail run

Sun: 8-9 miles easy

Mileage: 70-80 miles a week

  • What is your favorite workout?

My favorite workout is one that we used to do in college all the time at West Virginia University, the famous 90-60-30. It is a fartlek of running 90 seconds hard with 90 seconds off, but keeping the ‘off’ pace honest. After four sets, cut to 60 seconds on, 60 seconds off. After four sets of 60, run 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds off, and then finish with four times 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off. I do a lot of long, controlled tempos and so this workout takes me back to being a kid and just running hard. It’s also easier mentally, because you can do anything for 90 seconds.

  • Do you have any tips for new runners or runners striving to reach big goals?

My advice to new runners is to give yourself grace. Running is not a linear progression. Embrace the lows and learn from them. With so much sharing on social media and Strava, it is hard not to compare yourself to other runners. I encourage you to look for others for inspiration, but you need a diet, a training plan, a coach and shoes that work for you, and only you can determine what is best for you.

For more stories on Maria’s running journey visit her blog at or follow her on Instagram @mariadalzot and Twitter @mariadalzotRD.

Thanks Maria!


If you are or know a pro runner and would like to be featured on our blog, please shoot me a message at