Category Archives: NSNG

FFF for Fried Food Fridays

Fuck Fake Foods

In early 2000s when I did tons of cardio, I felt I could afford to eat crap because of all the exercise I was killing myself with. For lunch on Friday I’d sometimes visit a Asian buffet and do a “Fried Food Friday” and eat yup you guessed…all foods fried. Fried this and fried that. I had no concern about my health because I thought no matter what I ate my workouts were going to cancel it all out, which is bullshit. The types of food I ate at that restaurant started out with fried rice, fried chicken wings, fried noodles, fried shrimps. After that was done, I would go for seconds. It was oh so fun but oh so bad. I definitely would NOT stand to do it these days.

Back then I did a ton of cardio, by way of martial arts. Two days out of the week I trained Filipino Kali, Pencak Silat, and JKD Concepts which occasionally had intense cardio work. However, two to three other days out of the a week was spent on 1-2 hours of cardio specific effort through Muay Thai training and conditioning. Muay Thai is brutal and great at the same time. The level of intensity output was so crazy, that I was literally nauseous before every class knowing full well it was time to die. By the time I had my hands wrapped and I bowed and entered the mat I had gone through my own process of meditation and I was calm and ready for it. The point being, I wasn’t a slouch with exercise. As a matter of fact, I would work myself up so hard that I would feel drained afterwards and that I absolutely and immediately needed to eat to feel better.

Back then I didn’t care about food quality. I drank a lot of diet sodas and occasionally supplemented with a metabolic enhancer/ fat burner capsules and felt nothing was wrong with my diet. I figured exercise was everything and didn’t think about what I was eating. At times I would walk into a Japanese restaurant for a chicken cutlet (chicken katsu) and on top of that add an order of sushi and when combined with the chicken katsu, equated to two meals. My choice of sushi back then was the spicy tuna roll. If it wasn’t Japanese food, then it would be whatever fast food place was available at time after a workout. That place was sometimes the local Burger King. Either way, whether it was Japanese food, which costs more money and significantly fresher and better quality, or if it was just fast and cheap old Burger King, I would go to town consuming all that food right after a workout and get myself super nauseous. So nauseous that I couldn’t lay down. I couldn’t sleep and was so uncomfortable, which made sense because the type of training that I did involved a lot of the things to toughen the body and not just the midsection. So basically getting punished, kicked and stepped on. On top of that the usual circuit training of focus mits, burpees, heavy bag, crunches, shots to the gut, jumping toe touches, standing grappling and redirects, and sparring just to name a few. So if you can imagine, the gut is all twisted, blood has been shunted away from various organs for digestion to support everything else that there was no possible way the body could properly process BK Double Whopper with Cheese with a side of fries and a massive diet soda. Since I didn’t know what my body really needed and being so beat up, I just continued to gobble down all this food and junk in a failed attempt to make me feel better. A lot of times instead, it didn’t help I and never learned. As a result, regardless of how tough my body had become, I never looked like those ripped MMA UFC fighters.

So that was my former self. Caught up in the rat race or trap of not knowing how food quality benefits or how poor food quality damages the overall health and body composition. Now I know better. Despite the occasional long run I partake in, I no longer kill myself in the martial arts. I am living proof that food quality trumps exercise.

What is quality food? Well I can say quality food is NOT fake processed foods. Quality foods are nutrient dense and whole. If the food has sweeteners added to it, I stay away. If the food has whole grains, I stay away. Come on! I’m human and imperfect and I will have some things once in a while. When I do , I accept the consequences of zits, puffy eyes, aching in my body from old injuries. In particular, a repaired shoulder, a previously thrown out back from improper cable rowing, a past twisted knee, and various stupid shit that whacky Bruce Lee wannabes do like punching poured concrete walls. WA-TAH!!

Looking back, if I knew then what I know now about food quality, I probably would’ve seen better results as far as my body composition and my health.

I would have definitely avoided the bad information still prevalent today, which include eat low-fat or non-fat, eat “healthy” whole grains, protein, protein, and more protein, counting calories, and consuming added sweeteners. I would have ignored a lot of bullshit, yet effective, marketing with things like fat burner supplements and replacement shakes. I would eat more healthy fats. I would eat more whole vegetables and fruits. I would moderate my protein. I eat more at home. I would eat till I was satisfied.

By doing so, I would have experienced positive changes much sooner and have suffered less with things like poor skin, acne, migraines, body odor, scalp issues, sluggish energy levels, food cravings, dental issues, and being just plain old fat and any body image issues around all the above things. It seems a whole lifetime of issues that I lived with and dismissed as a normal part of my life and aging. A lifetime of poor health fixed by something so simple. As simple as the four letters in its acronym: “NSNG” (No Sugars, No Grains).

NSNG has been part of my life now for close to three years as a result of the work from Vinnie Tortorich, Anna Vocino, and Dean Lorey. I am infinitely grateful. Now ‘FFF’ stands for Fuck Fake Foods!

If you are interested in learning what I have about NSNG Lifestyle, a perfect place to start is the book Fitness Confidential (affiliate link) I can’t say enough positive things about the book. So please check it out!

Thanks for reading.


Vitamix-ing Never Gets Old

Never gets old. I think it just gets better every time I make one of these smoothies with the Vitamix. The usual suspects of ingredients.

  • Kale (1 cup)
  • Red chard (1 cup)
  • Broccoli (1/2 cup)
  • Apple (1/2 – 3/4)
  • Frozen blue berries (1/4 cup)
  • Avocado (half of a small one)
  • Raw almonds (6-8)
  • Ground cinnamon (1 tsp)
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt (a pinch)
  • Heavy whipping cream (1 tbl)
  • Coconut oil (1 tbl)
  • Plain full fat Greek yogurt (1 tbl)
  • Water (1 cup to start and add as needed)
  • Coffee (1/4 cup previously brewed and cooled)

In a plastic zip lock bag I froze the red chard, the kale, sliced apple, broccoli, and the blueberries. Freezing a bunch of the ingredients has 2 benefits:

  1. Stays fresh frozen until ready for use. Thus avoiding wilting or rotting your awesome vegetables.
  2. Reduce (or eliminate) the amount of ice needed to make the shake. Therefore packing in more nutrients per smoothie.



I Don’t Like My Coffee

I don’t like my coffee. I love my coffee! My coffee can sometimes suck. Most of the time it’s paradise. Hell! Come to think of it, if you’re like me, coffee has been a part of many major moments in your life. When I helped plan our wedding, we chose the type of coffee to serve at the reception. When my wife Zee and I visited the Kauai Coffee Company while on vacation. Around the times each of my children were born, I certainly had coffee. I’m literally sitting in a Starbucks working on this post. When I finished my first 50k, my wife handed me a cup of coffee as I wrapped up the last few miles. My 40 mile run for my 40th birthday and my first 50 mile attempt I had a bunch of coffee too.

My earliest memories drinking coffee was at a really young age. I think I was about 5 , but didn’t technically drink it. Rather had it in food. Definitely at an age when I occasionally was spoon-fed. That is exactly how I had my first taste of coffee. For whatever reason, my grandmother, Nanay,  scooped a teaspoon of her coffee and splash it onto some steamed white rice and fed it to me. And I like it! My grandmother’s coffee likely had sugar in, which made it yummy. It’s a fond memory. Grandma’s brand of coffee was Maxwell House, which was purchased grounded and sold in a steel can. She used a metal stove-top percolator over a gas flame to brew her coffee. Always with a little bit of sugar.

Growing up in a Filipino household in Guam, I was around a lot of family gatherings which ended up being all-nighters and carrying into the next day or days. They lasted so long because of gambling tables that were often set up. Primarily cards and mahjong. It seemed a cultural thing and was all in social fun. Since the adults were doing all-nighters with these games, the host would provide some food and coffee. As a way to pay back the host for, every game winner would put a portion of their winnings into a tip bucket or the tong. If the gathering was at someone else’s home, my brother Albert and I would get bored out of our minds. If we weren’t playing cards or mahjong ourselves, we’d be bored out of our minds and drinking coffee. A foam cup, maybe some Maxwell House brand coffee, Carnation brand coffee creamer, and C&H brand sugar cubes. If not the sugar cubes, the granulated sugar which sometimes had ants in the bowl. This is where I had my own self-prepared cup of coffee and it was a rare thing for me to have.

I didn’t start drinking coffee again till after high school when I started a job. There wasn’t a Starbucks in Guam at the time. There wasn’t a Starbucks at all at the time. Just the office coffee and often times the coworkers and I would provide the grounds and the coffeemaker. A lot of coffee and with great variety. The varieties of coffees were: strong, weak, fresh, old, or burnt.

For a long time I enjoyed my coffee black in all the varieties mentioned above and avoided added sweetener. Since becoming fat-adapted on Vinnie Tortorich’s NSNG Lifestyle I’ve learned to add some fat into my coffee. I’ll switch up depending on what is available, my mood, or my energy needs. Sometime it just black coffee. Most of the time its with a splash of heavy whipping cream.  Sometimes I’ll use some unsalted Kerrygold butter, MCT oil, coconut cream, or coconut oil.

At one former dot com job in the early 2000s, which had the fancy Italian espresso machine along side the regular coffee maker, I watched a coworker pour himself a cup of day-old room temperature coffee. I pointed out that fact to him in case he didn’t realize it, and he simply shrugged unconcerned and said “It’s coffee”. You see this guy is also a U.S. Marine, which meant he ain’t a pussy and clearly not a pussy coffee drinker. I learned something about drinking coffee that morning. HUA!

When my brother and I were growing up, there was a great WWII movie that our dad used to watch, starring the true American hero Audie Murphy, called “To Hell and Back” (affiliate link). For some footage of the film, but not the coffee scene checkout the YouTube clip below. It was based on Audie’s real life experience and I recommended it if you’re into true stories and WWII movies.  Anyway, there was a scene where a few soldiers met up, while the enemies were away repairing their busted tank, and one of the America soldiers had a metal coffee pot to make coffee for himself and the rest of the men. Nothing but destruction, death, guns, and ammo. Despite the blood, smoke, and grime, probably the only pot of coffee in the area. Possibly the last pot of coffee they’ll ever get to see. Whenever I have coffee that is not spectacular, I think about their pot of coffee and it being all there is. That thought doesn’t make my crappy cup of coffee taste better, it helps make it the best fucking coffee on the planet, to be thankful, and to not be a pussy about it. It’s coffee!

Thanks for reading and please enjoy whatever you are drinking. If it’s coffee I’d love for you to share a picture of you, your coffee, or both on Facebook where you can Like and follow Ru El’s Running.


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Don’t Shat my Fat Coffee

An interesting blessing, curse, phenomenon, or slap in the face when you no longer crave sweet, is the ability to have hyper-sensitive taste to things naturally and artificially sweetened. Naturally sweet fruits and vegetables taste amazing, while artificially sweetened edible products taste wickedly sweet and not in a good way. Like a sugar monster taking a dump on you. Check out ‘Don’t Shat my Fat Coffee‘ from my food blog.

Ru El's Food Blog

Don’t Shat my Fat Coffee: A sugar bomb tale

Got sugar-bombed today. That first swig of my grande heavy whipping cream latte was NOT meant to include their whipped cream. It was a shocking WTF is this moment. G R O S S. I spat the crap out the car window, but some went down the hatch and damage had already been done with predigestion occurring under the tongue and all over the inside of my mouth. A massive sweet and chemical aftertaste. The hit floored me in the car. So much that I dribbled onto my shirt. Not an exaggeration. I couldn’t fix it. Unlike a other foods like a regular cheeseburger which can be rectified by wiping away the ketchup and peeling away the bun used only as a wrapper. So I did the u-turn and drove back to the Starbucks to get it fixed. The barista apologized…

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DNF 50 (aka 41 for 41)


Well I DNF my first 50-mile solo attempt 🙂

Iron Horse Trail. Legs gave me problems. Started with right leg upper calf niggle that got worse. Then the knee had twinges. Around mile 24. Got up to 91deg. Was good with salt sticks, fuel, and hydration. Managed heat. So last half was miserable mentally because I was losing time and couldn’t catch up. I allowed myself to worry about making my family wait a couple more hours for me to finish. So at second to last crew meet-up at mile 41, I ended the day.

Despite all the physical stuff, I was able to run a decent stretch to my family. I had another 1hr15m on the clock to cover more distance, but I was out of it mentally. I stepped off the trail and sat on a bench with my boys.

I think the leg issues were a result of under-training. I did 5 months of low miles, no long runs, and practically no running a month leading up to the run.

In the end, this attempt became a 41 for 41 (run 41 miles for turning 41 years old).

The What:

A 50-mile solo run attempt.

The Who:

  • Runner: Me
  • Crew Chief: Zenaida
  • Crew Rascals: Kaleo and Makoa.
  • Crew Special Friend: Nate

The When:

Aug 30, 2014. After turning 41yrs old and basically a year from my last ultra run the 40 for 40.

The Why:

I want to renew my ultra runner card in 2014.  Challenge myself to do 50. Didn’t want to wait till age 50 to do it as I originally conceived. Last year’s 40 for 40 set the stage for me to believe 50 could happen at 41. Challenge set.

I can’t remember exactly when the distance goal popped in my head. I knew I wanted another ultra distance run for 2014 after last August’s 40 miler. I just wasn’t sure as I intentionally put off running for 5.5 months because my wife was pregnant with baby #3.  We were expecting Hali’a in October and I wanted to focus on the family.

So I literally didn’t run from Sep 2013 to mid Feb 2014. I was ok with it. Viewed the time off as one long recovery period.


Stopped running after last August’s 40 miler.

2014 Runs

Not a lot of mileage leading up to August’s 50 mile attempt.

The Where:

From home and head north along the Iron Horse Trail several cities up and back.

North of Dublin, up San Ramon Amador, through San Ramon Valley, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, to Concord, and back around.

The How:

Training and not:

From start of running mid-February to end of July, I put in measly range of 4-10 mile per week. Basically, except for one short easy run, August was a taper. All before my Aug 30th attempt at 50. In that 5.5-month timeframe the first couple months incorporated sprints. The rest of the time I focused in zone 2 efforts. No weekend long runs. Just midday lunch hour runs once or twice a week maybe three once.

Aug 2014 run chart:

Image 2014-09-07 at 3.42.56 PM

Advanced preparation:

  • A second pair of shoes. I was planning on a shoe change after mile 32.
  • Generation UCAN Superstarch. Pack of 6 pouches.
  • New handheld sports bottle.

Last minute preparation:

  • Mophie Juice Air Pack for iPhone 5s. An iPhone case/battery backup. A birthday gift.
  • Planned my 50 mile course along with points my family could meet me with the help of the website Gmaps Pedometer.

Fuel, hydration, metabolism, and nutrition:

For about 2 years, I’ve trained fat-adapted and will use the same strategy.

What I carried:

  • 1- 24 oz. Handheld bottle with fuel mixture (plain UCAN, 1 tsp. coconut oil, 1 tsp. Jarrow plain whey protein, water, and ice)
  • 1 snack zip bag of raw almonds
  • 70 oz. water in a Nathan’s Hydrapak
  • 1 roll of fruit flavored Lifesavers hard candy
  • Salt Sticks in a Nuun bottle.

What would be waiting for me in a cooler and van:

  • 2- frozen 24 oz. mixture (plain UCAN, 1 tsp. coconut oil, 1 tsp. Jarrow plain whey protein, water, and ice).
  • Jar of almond stuffed Spanish olives (Nob Hill brand).
  • 4 frozen plastic bottles of water.
  • 2 1-gallon bottles of water.

Fueling strategy:

The strategy was to layoff any calories until about after the first two hours. I did start the morning with a simple cup of black coffee. Dinner the night before was normal and like every other night. On the run, I would sip on UCAN mixture when I felt I needed the energy. I would only drink water when I felt thirsty. I would take in salt sticks if it got too hot or if I found myself taking in a lot of fluid. When I found myself in a funk and feeling I needed to push myself, as a quick energy boost, I would trickle sugar using Lifesavers hard candy. Most of the time relying on fat for fuel.

On my person:

  • Nathan Hydrapak and contents:
    • 70 oz. bladder of water
    • wet wipes
    • debit card and ID
    • small zip bag of almonds
    • roll of fruit flavored Lifesavers hard candy
    • iPod Nano
    • 24oz fuel bottle mixture (plain UCAN, 1 tsp. coconut oil, 1 tsp. Jarrow plain whey protein, water, and ice)
    • Salt Sticks in a Nuun bottle
    • tiny tube of Aquaphor
    • lip balm
  • Handheld pouch
  • iPhone & earbuds
  • GPS watch
  • Visor
  • Headlamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Tank top
  • Light jacket
  • Shorts
  • Gloves
  • Injinji socks
  • Brooks Pure Grit

iPod Nano:

The night before I made a last minute decision to dust off an old iPod Nano gen 2 which contained a bunch of stuff that I hadn’t played in literally years. I had hoped to load it with a bunch of my favorite podcast episodes from America’s Angriest Trainer but I didn’t want to waste more time trying to figure out how to do that. Quite honestly iTunes app on the Mac sucks balls. However what I had was already awesome and I didn’t know it until I was running. The music of All American Rejects, Jay Z’s Black Album, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, 50 Cent, Eminem, and (wait for it) THE ESSENTIAL BILLY JOEL Disc One. I really enjoyed last year’s 40 miler without any music. This time I started it with music to keep me company in the darkness of 3am.

The Run:

My usual last minute prep caused me to have practically no sleep. Down at 1:30 to rise at 2:45. Planned 3am start but actual 3:11 start.

The first 8 miles were fine. Kind of sweaty actually. I started with the light jacket expecting the 3am temperatures to be chilly. I didn’t peel that layer off until mile 8. A whole lot of Jay Z played in my ear over and over and made the 8-mile stretch go real quick. I played around with headlamp a bit too. I can’t remember my last run in the dark so it was kind of fun.

Miles 8-10 seemed the darkest, loneliest, and slightly claustrophobic stretch. Running between freeway sound wall and trees on a narrow dark residential road isn’t that great. Closer to mile 10 looking east through trees and between silhouettes of houses I could see the dawn. It was a wonderful site. For some reason it was coldest between miles 10 and 11. Cold enough that I could see my breath. It was a where the first section on my route where the trail went under the freeway. despite it being brightly lit it always felt like a cheesy gang of troublemakers lead by a character played by Bobcat Goldthwait would come out of nowhere.

After mile 12 that I had my first sip of fuel, the UCAN blend and a couple salt sticks. I also started comparing my progress with my estimated splits, which I printed out and kept folded I my vest pocket. I needed to know I was moving along as expected because I wanted to be at the first crew point on time. I was also anxious to get to mile 14 where I would be close to a Starbucks. The thought of a cup of coffee with a splash of heavy cream was exciting. Unfortunately when I got to mile 14, I didn’t want to spend the time hunting for the Starbucks somewhere in an unfamiliar shopping center. I had hoped for it to be easily spotted. Coffee would have to wait. I settled with the idea that it was a luxury too soon and besides my splits were on track and a long wait in a Starbucks line is not worth it. Proceeded up the trail accompanied by Billy Joel and since it was no longer dark, the headlamp went in my pack. Not a lot of activity on the trail except for a couple woman and dog walkers. Felt good and alive early in the morning. Must’ve been the daylight affecting my mood.

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Happy to have morning light and feeling great.

Miles 11-16 were pleasant in the cool early morning. A nice quiet stretch of trail passes through Danville and Alamo. At 16.5 the trail cuts under the freeway into Walnut Creek. Leading up to mile 18 is uninspiring. The concrete sound barriers and hardness and filth of the man-made canal were not pleasant.

A little after mile 18 I got to Civic Park and I crossed a bridge over the creek where a man intently rolls himself a “cigarette” being careful not to lose it off the side of the rail. From the parking lot of the park I did a little out and back to cover up to mile 22 and had the first meet-up with the crew. By this time the trail had more activity. At a circular paved clearing is a spot where a local doctor leads free tai chi and qi gong. A site to see and apparently been happening for about 10 years on the weekends.

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On my way to the first crew aid station mile 22.

When I returned to the parking lot I spotted the van and made my way to the playground and found the crew rascals at play. Makoa said “Hi dad!” after he struggled to recognize me. He rarely gets to see me in a visor and vest. Kaleo was on the swing. He called out to me smiling and gave me a “Good morning daddy!” Zenaida asked me how I was feeling. “Fine” I replied, because honestly I was and especially because I got to see her and kids. I asked how the morning was so far were her since she had to round-up the crew, get them ready and fed before meeting me on this adventure. She said I looked fine and way different compared to mile 18 of my first marathon where I bonked and could not utter a clear sentence. We got to the van where I topped off my hydrapak with more water, replaced empty fuel bottle with a full and frozen bottle and shoved it on my vest pocket. I also grabbed a frozen water bottle and kept it as a hand held and mainly used it to help cool me down later in the run. I popped open a jar of almond stuffed olives, sampled three and washed it down with some water. I posed for a few pictures, got hugs and kisses from the family/crew. Kaleo didn’t care about me being sweaty and funky and gave the best hug. As much as I wanted to stay with the family I couldn’t. But plans were made to meet again up north in the next town just 5 more miles. The tricky part for me was making good time for the next crew spot. I had to be there on time because our guest crew mate, Nate, had to be brought back home. Missing it would mean not seeing crew until mile 40. Sure I had places to stop in between via “the other aid stations” aka Starbucks, but seeing family always beats seeing any barista any day. So before leaving my family, I hit the public bathroom, check my pee color, and headed back onto the trail as Makoa bid me bye. I crossed the bridge where cigarette man was long gone and replaced by transient looking guy with a cell phone. The tai chi group was large and they formed an impressive circle while all following the good doctor’s movements. This time I believed qi gong movements were in full effect.

On the trail, I covered a familiar two-mile stretch and by mile 24 I noticed some tightness developing behind my right leg from the top of the calf and up. I took in more fuel, water, and salt. I moved cautiously since I was not halfway yet. I wasn’t tired. Energy levels were fine, but my leg started to betray me. My right knee started to have occasional twinges and I became hypersensitive to the camber of the surface I was trying to run on. Mainly the right side of the trail. By this time I employed frequent run-walk-runs. At this point, running and walking was the same pace. Running just produced cramping and twinges. At any rate, I pushed myself mentally to physically be somewhere by a certain time. I told myself I wasn’t going to trickle sugar till the second part of the run. So after mile 25 I slipped a Lifesavers hard candy inside my cheek. I couldn’t remember to last time I had one of these. Probably 25 yrs ago. After most of the candy had dissolved in my mouth, I felt slightly nauseated. So I spat it out, cleaned out my mouth with a sip of water, and ignored the gross feeling because I really needed to be somewhere.

I planned a counterclockwise 2 mile loop on my route through Concord and then planned a crew meet, but since I started falling off pace, a last minute change was made to meet up first and do the loop clockwise. This way Nate could be taken home on time and I can still see family. When planning the route, crew points had to be kid friendly that way the rascals wouldn’t be bored out off their minds. So at mile 27 I met the everyone at the parking lot of Krispy Kreme where I picked up a new frozen bottled water and frozen bottle if fuel. Also Makoa had a car seat accident and wet himself, so even after running more than a marathon distance I make time get him into fresh clothes and find a small towel to line his car seat with. The crew heads into the donut factory and I say goodbye again, thanked Nate for his support, and went on my way. By this time it was about 81 degrees, so I decided to skip the full loop. The last half of the loop was an unfamiliar section of the trail and I predicted it was exposed to the sun and I wanted to be smarter about keeping live on this adventure. So I did half the loop and back tracked onto the trail to cover the same distance and remained on as much if the shaded part of the loop as possible. The next best thing to meeting up with family was accidentally coming to a Starbucks at the turnaround point. Did I go in? Bet your ass I did!

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Turnaround point ad hoc aid (coffee) station

By mile 29.4, my GPS watch lost power. I switched to backup GPS, located a bush and tree between me and the freeway and proceeded to whiz on the ground, as the cars whizzed by, while Billy and I sang “Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard. And mostly what I need for you…”

Getting to mile 32 was more battling with my legs. I was compensating for the right leg that somehow developed left shin tightness. It was around this stretch where I finally had a few almonds. These were raw almonds. My taste buds must have been heightened because wholly smokes did they taste especially sweet. Weird and yummy! Just before 50k I stopped by some picnic tables alongside the trail to losses my laces a little bit. I was beginning to think my feet were swelling slightly enough for my feet to hurt. True or not I needed to trick my mind to thinking I was fixing things. While there I met a man with some serious hardware on his knees. One knee was braced and the other wrapped and with  signs of previous knee surgeries via lines of scars. We greeted each other and he asked how long I was running for. I told him 50 with 32 just covered. We chatted about the trail and he had a map with him as he described how he was planning to bike thirty some miles of the trail. I told him as much I knew about the trails, which was not a whole lot, but expressed interest learning more about all the various connected trails. I adjusted the last shoe and I wished him the best. He recognized I spent a long time on the trail running so far and he wished me well too. As I jogged away I made like I was fresh and full of energy but I was really looking for my next pick-me-up. A couple hundred feet later and around a corner, I see a mermaid. She had a crown, two tails, and sold coffee in an air-conditioned store. Not a hallucination, but a Starbucks. Sure I just had some 3.5 long slow hot grueling miles ago, but Let’s see what happens. What happens was me walking in like a hobo, used the restroom to give myself a monkey bath. Just head, face, neck, and arms. I had to use paper towels to wipe up the floor I dropped water on. I took a while in there but it was so worth it. I hoped the staff wasn’t thinking I was a transient person stinking up their facilities and trying to steal their toilet paper. I took a few more minutes to grab another coffee with heavy cream. Admire the place and headed back outside to go of course slightly before correcting.

By about mile 34.5 it is pretty warm, and what was left in my fuel bottle is close to rancid. By this point I’d taken an alternate route to bypass the uninspiring stretch of the trail between a sound wall and apartments. I turned a corner right by a different coffee house and I stop in. I quickly made my way to their clear plastic dispenser of ice-cold water with lemon slices and poured myself a full glass and I took care of it pretty fast and left just as fast. I was grateful and promise to stop by again and spend some money.

Working to mile 41. This section felt like a lot of work. The temp got up to 91F degrees and it felt endless as I was still trying to make my estimated time to the next crew meet-up. I had about 4-5 Lifesavers hard candies during this stretch.

Duration: 12:3:34

Actual/Goal Distance: 41.3/50 miles

Here’s what actually was consumed:

  • Black coffee(pre-run/breakfast).
  • 36 oz. of UCAN mixture.
  • 15-20 raw almonds.
  • 3 almond stuffed Spanish olives.
  • Several salt sticks.
  • Half a roll of lifesavers
  • 70-100 oz. water.
  • Two tall Starbucks coffee with heavy whipping cream.


Chafeage of the inner thighs.  It started as a nuisance. I let it go, then eventually at mile 10 used a small tube of Aquaphor to lube the chafe hot spots. At mile 36 was too tired to reach back into the pack to fish out the tube of lube. At mile 38 I figured it’s never too late to stop on the side of the trail while a lady walks her dog, assume a Captain Morgan stance with the help of a bench along the side of the trail, inspect the damage, and proceed to smear lube inside my upper thigh in a non-pervy way.

The legs deceived me to some extent. Sure they carried me along and I am thankful. But niggles on my right calf began at mile 18.5. By 20 it impacted the run. I suspect a lot of reasons. Under-training, heat of the day, nutrition, or all of the above.

To quote David Goggins, “When you think that you are done, you’re only 40% into what your body is capable of doing. And that’s just the limits we put on ourselves.”

I was my own limiter. I chose to call it quits, which made sense at the time. After I did, I wasn’t destroyed. I just smelled bad. I knew I could have kept moving forward, but doing so would have kept my family out waiting for me to finish longer than I would have wanted.

Did I disrespect the distance?
I don’t think so. I was confident in covering 40 miles because I did it without destroying myself last year. I didn’t think it was going to be easy. I was highly aware of the amount of time it would take. I just wasn’t counting on my legs cramping they way they did.

Did I neglect training?
Perhaps. I worked with what I had. I always knew I could rely on confidence and muscle memory to get me to at least my furthest of 40.

Memorable moments:

Always meeting Zenaida and the boys. They have fun being out and about getting to spots along the course to provide aid and encouragement.

Around mile 37 it was 91F degrees on the side of the trail was a man sitting while his dog, a boxer, lied flat on its side on the hot trail pavement. It had its mouth open and it was heavily panting really loud and painful. I offered the owner the bottle of water I had in my hand, which I kept for cooling me down. It was half full regrettably. The owner looked like he was trying to use his cellphone to call for aid. The trail is in the middle of residential homes and businesses. Easily accessible. I sure hope they got it. I felt horrible. I don’t know anything about it but I think the pooch was suffering from severe heat stroke. I hope I’m wrong.


  • After the run and had general tired legs but able to walk.
  • Day 1  after still sore and the unavoidable active recover of picking up children and walk through the mall.
  • Day 3 post run – made not just in time for kindergarten drop-off. Son and I ran for parked parking to classroom felt good knowing I could still run after a few days. But soon after right knee niggle.
  • Day 4 left shin soreness. Evening roller.
  • Day 5-6 shin still sore.
  • Day 10 shin tightness completely gone. Ready to do stuff again.


  • 145lbs:  start weight
  • 142lbs:  5 days post run
  • 145lbs:  9 days post run

What I would change if I could do it all again?

  • Have a couple long training runs beforehand.
  • Prepare to be out on the trail longer.
  • Try MAP Master Amino Acid Pattern.
  • Not a big issue, but curious to do it again 5lbs lighter at 140lbs.

What lessons did I learn?

I can suffer. I don’t know it at the time, but I like it. Walking away from completing 40 miles last year, left me a little confused. I did it but it felt almost like an empty accomplishment. I shouldn’t feel that way. The fact that I was able to handle covering 40 miles at the time was gratifying. I believe it goes back to learning more about you when there are struggles. A lot went into DNFing a 50 mile run. It’s a failure, but man do I feel like I’ve grown because of it.

Makoa deciding if he wants to run an ultra some day and smell as bad as dad.

Makoa deciding if he wants to run an ultra some day and smell as bad as dad.


Back home after post race meal with the family.