Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Marathoning is Hard

I'm a Coach. I coach people through whatever goals they're looking to reach. I know how to develop a plan and how to execute tactics on race day. I know about fueling and pacing and mental toughness. I can advise you on how to run your race and, as long as you have the proper training and psychological tools to execute, you will do it. But me? I missed the mark this past weekend.
Sunday marked my 4th attempt in 3 years at a 2:30 marathon. People say "That's fast!" but in the world of competitive marathoning, it isn't fast. People say "You should be able to run that no problem, you run 50 milers right?" Not right. They're different disciplines.
If I'm being honest, I had a feeling in the back of my mind that I wasn't ready, but I kept that down and chalked it up to self doubt. Turns out it was legitimate, whether I created it or not. You see, I had a particularly rough start to the year with back to back viral infections during and following my 50 Mile run for a friend. After that I hired a coach. Then I switched coaches in the middle of my training and my new coach and I had a miscommunication. I didn't get the volume or Marathon Pace work required to pull off a 2:30. I thought something was amiss for about 6 weeks, but I kept telling myself "Just trust your coach. That's what you pay him for. He probably has a plan." Turns out he thought my marathon was 3 months later than it really was. We tried to make up for lost time, but there's not much you can do at that point. I didn't spend near enough time at Marathon Pace, never incorporated any hill work, and again, started questioning whether or not I could maintain 5:42 pace for 26.2 miles.

Let's take a look at my training leading up to Cap City:

02/19 - 50 miles around the track followed by lingering sickness and 2 weeks of inconsistency.

Month     Mileage    Key Workouts

March     42 miles - 19 long
               74 miles - threshold @ 5:35 - Long with 14 @ 6:30
               76 miles -14 mile Progression from easy to 5:30 - 24 long with alternating 5:40/easy
               47 miles - "down week"

April -     80 miles - 14 mile progression to 5:30 - 18 long with 6 @ 5:33 / 4 @ 5:45
               80 miles - 6 x1 mile @ 5:15 - 20 long and easy
               46 miles - 1:15 @ whidbey island 1/2
               93 miles - 13 = 5@ 5:30 rest 2 @5:30 - 24 long 3 sets 1x3 miles @ 5:45

May -      102 miles - 14 = 8 x.5 @ 5:00 pace rest 1x2 miles @ 5:30 pace rest 10 x hill sprint. - 20 long,                                       last 5 @ 5:45
                50 miles - 11 = 3 @ 5:30 rest 3 @ 5:45 - taper
                60 miles - 05/22 - Capital City Marathon in 2:46

Anyone who's trained for and raced a marathon or who's even read a damn book about it can see what went wrong. Yes, the workouts were stout, but the volume wasn't there, there were no hills and the peak was too late.

I still believed I could do it.

I executed my strategy perfectly on race day. I started right on pace. I drank at every water station. I consumed as many calories as my stomach could handle (God bless my wife and daughter for rushing around to meet me - I love you, girls) but no matter how perfect your execution is, you will be incapable of maintaining the pace if you didn't practice it and you won't have the aerobic capacity if you didn't put in the work in.

Admittedly, I'm not always the strongest competitor. Some days I'm tougher than others, but developing my "competitor self" has been huge challenge for me. In the past, when things would get too hard, I would often give up; the very thing I would tell my athletes not to do. Some of the fundamental principles I work to develop in my clients, I seem to lack at times. This doesn't make me less of a coach, it just makes me a person, like everyone else.
When I met my wife I made a resolution to never give up, because I don't want giving up to carry over into the rest of my life. So, I NEVER give up, but sometimes I slow down and sometimes I say "This isn't my day."

I guess the difference is that now I'm ok with the disappointment. It's sometimes part of the process and it doesn't feel quite as crushing as it once did. I know that it will pass and I know I will grow from it. And if I'm lucky, no matter how fast I get, I'll never quite reach my potential, which means I'll never have a reason to stop trying.

Monday, February 20, 2017

50 Miles For A Friend: A Recap

How many of you have lost a loved one? How many of you have felt the world go black?

Well, we dodged a bullet when Britt opened her eyes after this accident and the world is a brighter place because of it. I decided to do this fundraiser not just because Britt is a very good friend of mine, one of my best friends, but because she is an amazing human being. She's always been positive and adventurous and when I saw her in the hospital after she had just had her feeding tube removed, her mindset was no different than it's always been. Even so, it changed something inside of me. Every time I think about her I feel something well up. While I knew that running 50 miles around a track wasn't going to make a big difference in her recovery, it's the only thing I could think to do. And as my friend Andrew put it: if you're good at something, use it to help others.

So at 9:01AM  on Sunday 02/19 I started running. I ran 201 laps around the Yelm High School track over 7 hours and 11 minutes. It rained. The wind blew. The sun broke. And the clouds came back. I kept running. People came and went, but you know what was amazing? People who didn't even know her came and shared laps with me. People who I haven't seen in years pledged $1 a lap to her GoFundMe account. My mother in law set up an entire aid station like I had never seen before and my wife, Keith and Andrew stayed ALL DAY long to support me.

During a lap with Alicia I turned to her and said "Can you believe all of the people that came out? Or some of the people that are donating? People that don't even know her!"

"Genuine people, Korey. That's what it is. You have genuine friends that care about you, and if you care this much about something, they know it's important."

She's right.

Thank you all. To all of you who took time out of your day to come and support Britt at the track. To all of you who donated to help her recovery when I know you don't have a ton of extra cash: thank you. It's the most touching thing I've witnessed and I certainly have a different outlook on humanity after this experience.

But one thing that Britt said at the hospital about settling still sticks in my head:

"Not to travel? Not to do what you want? To live in a bubble? That doesn't make any sense."

And she's fucking right. It doesn't make any sense not to live the life you want to live.

You could get hit by a car and die tomorrow.

What would you say to the people you love if this was the last day you were going see them? Where would you go if you only had a week left? Where would you want live and what view would you want to wake up to if you only had a year left here? Don't wait until it's too late. Do not waste what you have. Show the people you love that you love them and live the life you want to live.

Photo by David Detrick

photo by David Detrick

Monday, January 9, 2017

50 Miles To Help Britt Heal

So maybe you've heard and maybe you haven't, but my friend Britt was struck by a car when she was crossing the street in West Seattle. Her pelvis was shattered and had to be rebuilt, her legs were broken, she fractured her neck and skull and had serious brain trauma. I'm probably missing something in this list of injuries, but that's not the point of this.
In the 27 years I've know this beautiful human being, she's never once asked me for anything besides a hug, yet she would be there if I called no matter what time it was or what I needed or what she was doing. She's seen me through most of my darkest days and picked up the phone anytime I called with a broken heart. She's a light to everyone she touches. She loves adventure and change and animals.  She's selfless and humble. She cares for all living things and as far as I'm concerned doesn't have a bad bone in her body. She's one of my best friends and one of the best humans I've ever met.

I visited Britt today.

Speaking quietly under the screams of the patient on the other side of the thin cloth that separated us.

"I've been here for a month. Look at my hair. It was long, and curly, and pretty. And no one brushed it. Now I'm going to have to shave it."

"You're beautiful Britt. You'll get one of those hip haircuts and you'll be stylish and cool. You know? Short in the back with long bangs? It will be real pretty. Don't worry."

"I just can't make sense of any of it. You know that I slept through Christmas? I woke up and didn't know it had past. That's one of my favorite days of the year."

"I know. It's just another day. You'll have 65 more Christmas'. At least. What will you do after this?"

"I'm not sure. Life is fragile. It doesn't make sense not to do what you want. Not to adventure? To live in a bubble? That doesn't make sense."

When I left I told her how beautiful she was.
I got in my car and I cried.
I am so thankful she's alive.

I regret making excuses not to come up when she asked if I could visit.

She will recover, but the road is long. Very long. And expensive. So on 02/19/2017 at 9:00 AM I will be running 50 Miles around the Yelm High School track to raise money for her Go Fund Me account. If you have an hour or 10 minutes, come out to the YHS track. Run a lap or a mile or 5 miles or even walk for 15 minutes. Post on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook about why you're here and share this link:


Britt would never ask for help. Ever. But I will.

Share this.

We are only $15,000 away from the $50,000 goal, but if you've ever known anyone who spent anytime in the hospital, you know how fast that will go.

If you can't come out to the track PLEASE share her Go Fund Me link.

Do a run for her wherever you are. Wherever you live. Run a mile for Britt and post about it.

Help us spread the word and HELP BRITT HEAL.

She deserves every penny.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Defiance 50K Race Report 2016

I hadn't heard of Defiance 50K until the night prior, but I was signed up for Oregon Coast 50K and decided that due to my poor planning, it was unrealistic for me to get up at 2a.m. to drive 11 hours round trip to run that race. So I got online and found Defiance, which had plenty of space left as well as day-of registration.
This 50K is held on the trails at Point Defiance starting at Owens Beach. It's a loop course of roughly 10 miles with about 1,000 feet of gain per loop and it's all runnable. Even my favorite descent, Nelly's Gnarly Descent, is runnable; it has a rope from top to bottom, so you just hang on tight and bomb down (I recommend bringing gloves for this). The trails are gorgeous and I sure do love a course where you can get a steady rhythm and good turnover, it makes for a fast day.

PC: Marylee Martucci

The first mile or so of the course is on a concrete path along the waterfront before you climb a set of stairs up into the park. From there, besides a few road crossings, you are on soft, groomed North West trails under beautiful old growth and typical PNW flora. It's an easy and scenic course, two things you don't often get in one trail race. There is only one steep climb, Achilles Hill, and it's very short.
Despite running an average of only 50 miles per week for the past two months following my back to back 50 Milers, I was feeling pretty good. I came through the first loop in 1:15 and the second in 1:17, but during the third loop I lost a lot of time. When I started the third loop I was on pace for a short course PR, I even sent my wife a photo and message that said "I have the lead and I'm on pace for my PR!" but I spoke too soon.
Mid race selfies are a bad idea
PC: On The Run Events

Getting tired had a lot more to do with my slower time on the 3rd loop than anything else, but I will say that this was one of the poorest marked courses I have ever run. There was no mention of what color ribbon to follow pre-race, which thankfully ended up being pretty self explanatory since there was only one color out there, however, during the first loop myself and two 30K guys (one who was really pissed about it) got off course a total of 3 times. On my last loop, after coming to an intersection with pink ribbons in multiple directions, I took a wrong turn and added 1-2 miles to my run. The volunteers were very friendly, but they didn't seem to know what was going on as every one I asked either had no idea what distance they were stationed at or told me a distance that made no sense and contradicted the previous volunteer's estimation. Maybe I'm Spoiled by Rainshadow Running and Destination Trail, but the lack of course marking and volunteer organization became very apparent on my last loop.
Even with those little bumps, I stayed positive and had a blast. Can I really complain about getting some bonus miles?Besides, it was a fast and beautiful course and I managed to snag the win. Nelly's Gnarly Descent was by far my favorite part. It was thrilling to hold on to that rope and pretty much free fall down that steep section of trail. So much fun!
The aid stations were well stocked and at the finish there was endless pizza. Can you really ask for more than beautiful Pacific North West trails and endless pizza?

We went back the following day for Wifey's Long run. Here are some photos of the beautiful trails out there:

Thank you to all of the volunteers who make these events possible.

Thank you to Clifbar.

For personal coaching visit Upper Left Distance Training.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

SOB 50 Mile Race Report 2016

The last time I ran 50 miles was in 2013. At this race. And I did not have a fantastic day. In fact, I swore off 50 Milers all together and decided to stick to the "short stuff" after that.
But here I was. 5:44 AM sitting in the car in one of my favorite places in the word with my beautiful wife and daughter in law, watching the morning sun cascade over the mountain range with snow capped Mt. Shasta in the distance, waiting patiently for 16 minutes to creep by.
This year I felt very comfortable with the starting pace (mid 7's). My breathing wasn't labored like in 2013 and my legs finally felt fresh. I yo yo-ed a bit with Brett Hornig, Rod Bien and a couple other guys who's names have escaped me (sorry dudes!). Coming into the mile 9 aid station, my favorite aid station; captained by one of my best friends, Joseph Chick, I was leading and feeling strong.

Leading in to mile 9 A/S

Best aid ever

Captain Chick
If you haven't had the pleasure of running in Southern Oregon, do yourself a favor and GO! It is absolutely amazing. This particular race has over 8,000 feet of gain and descent over the course of 50 miles, and meanders mostly along the buttery smooth PCT between 5,000 and 7,000 feet. Joe describes the gain and loss as "rollers" but after mile 40 when you have to climb 1,000 feet over 3 miles, it doesn't feel like a roller. But I train on flat roads 90% of the time, so I'm probably just soft.
I tried to hang on with Brett for a while, but he slowly pulled out his RVR legs and I was soon left in the dust. Rod and another gentlemen pulled away from me around mile 30 during a 1,000 foot climb and I didn't try to keep up. If I could change one thing about my training leading up to this race, I would have done more hills, but I didn't. I was here and alive and happy to be, so I just kept clicking along the best I could and tried to think about what my wife said which was "Remember to have fun out there!"
The course is beautiful. It runs through blooming meadows, warm pine groves and a few fast fire roads with views for days. It's easy to get lost in the beauty of it all and catch your toe on a root, so be careful when you go. 

Mile 33 or so

It's hard for me to remember the events of the day by now, but it was amazing. I had a moment around mile 39 where almost every emotion I felt when I had to move away from Ashland flooded back into me. How I didn't want to go, how I couldn't stop drinking, how my shitty race in '13 felt like a direct reflection of the mediocrity I felt in life at the time. I couldn't stop from feeling the sadness while simultaneously feeling fortunate to be alive and to be here. How after all of the darkness, the nights I can't remember and the mornings I woke up hating myself, I changed. How I came home and found the woman that made me want to be better. How I have a healthy body and a good job and more than any man could ask for and how I could die happy today if it came down to it, but that I didn't want to because there's too much life left to live. I felt immense pain. And immense joy. I was proud of myself. And then I said to myself "You can't run well like this, Korey. Knock it off." So I stopped. I was happy I would get to see Joe and eat watermelon at mile 41 and tried to get there as fast as I could.

Mile 39 or so

The rest of the race was a real grind. My climbing legs were gone, but I still had to climb. I dropped a couple 14+ minute miles and felt ok with that. I just put one foot in front of the other; sometimes that's all you can do. I arrived at mile 45 feeling a little woozy and I must have looked like shit because the volunteer said "Here. You need a sponge." And doused me in freezing water. I had some grapes and continued on.

Coming out of the pain cave

I came through the finish line in 07:13 which is a PR for me and was good enough for 4th place.
Alicia and Jordin were there looking proud as ever and I was a happy man.

Gear Used:

Pearl Izumi Trail N2 v3
Pearl Izumi Custom Tee
Pearl Izumi Ultra Split Short
Clifshot Gels and Blocks
Feetures! Elite Crew Socks


Monday, August 1, 2016

Pearl Izumi Trail N2 v3 Review

*Pearl Izumi has decided to exit the run business and will no longer produce shoes as of January, 2017*

Are people going to think this review is bias because I run for Pearl? It's certainly possible! But keep in mind that I've never wasted my time reviewing a shoe I didn't like regardless of my sponsors and I decided to review these bad boys on my own because I haven't put on a trail shoe this comfortable in quite some time. To be honest, I mostly train on the roads, so I never even tried the TN2v2. My v1's have plenty of life in them and I find them to be a perfectly acceptable trail shoe in most situations.
But my buddy Ryan sent me these and I loved them so much that I only put one 8 mile / 2,000 foot test run on them before I took them out for SOB 50 Mile and then turned around and ran them through White River 50 Mile the following weekend for a total of 108 miles and 19,000 feet of vert. If that doesn't make you want to buy them and you're a nerd like me, then read on for sweet and short review. 

The TN2v3 Weighs in at 10.5oz for a men's 9 with an 8mm drop at mid stance and an MSRP of $125.


The upper is as comfortable as ever with Pearl Izumi's well known and loved seamless construction. A bonded toe cap provides plenty of protection against aggressive rocks and roots (I kicked plenty of gnarly rocks in the middle of White River and I still have all of my toe nails).
The overlays are bonded and flexible and the heel counter is firm, but not ridged. My heels feel locked down, my midfoot feels secure and the toe box opens up comfortably giving just the right amount of wiggle room. The upper almost moves as an extension of your foot and feels extremely natural with great breatheability. They fit true to size.


The midsole features Pearl Izumi's 1:1 energy foam coupled with a crash pad in the heel and EVA throughout. There is just the right amount of cushion and response in these kicks. Not too much, not too little. The midsole is firm enough for clicking off 6 minute miles on fire roads and cushioned enough for bombing 4,000 foot descents. The balance achieved here really is spot on for a trail shoe. 
The midsole also features Pearl Izumi's Dynamic Offset. With the toe spring positioned lightly further back than most shoes and a slightly concave midsole shape, it eliminates a static offset and forefoot slap. According to Pearl Izumi, Dynamic Offset "allows the foot to move continuously and smoothly through mid stance, rather than pausing briefly, as weight is transferred to the forefoot in preparation of push off." So the drop of the shoe changes throughout the gait cycle providing the runner a very smooth feel under foot. If you haven't had the pleasure of feeling this, do yourself a favor and try any pair of Pearl's E:Motion shoes.


The outsole features carbon rubber with multi directional lugs for superior grip and a forefoot rock plate for added protection. They have the same lug pattern you've come to love from Pearl; the pattern you'd recognize if you saw the foot print on fresh snow or dusty single track, but they've decreased the durometer of the rubber providing a stickier rubber on wet surfaces. 
Like I mentioned previously, I didn't try the N2v2, but this outsole is a pleasant departure from the v1. I'd have no qualms about running slick ridges in these, whereas the v1 made me fear for my life on slick, mountainous terrain. The improvement is noticeable and would be a big confidence booster if running in the aformentioned conditions. 


If you want a shoe designed for the mountains, in the mountains, then this is your shoe. I've never liked or trusted a shoe enough to take them on one test run before hammering a 50 Mile race, so that alone should say enough. The fit and comfort is unmatched in the trail market right now and the durability makes them worth every penny. Get yourself a pair and let me know what you think.

SOB 50M finish in the TN2v3 - PC: Terry Croft

Running the TN2v3 at White River 50M - PC: Glenn Tachiyama