How I Failed at my First 100 Mile Ultramarathon (And How I Plan to Fix It!)

It hurts up to a point and then it doesn’t get any worse. – Ann Trason


On November 7, 2011 at 1:06am I was shuffling my feet in the dark on a small rugged mountain trail. I was in the middle of the Talladega National Forest in Alabama. It was cold and I was alone.  My knees were destroyed, my hips were screaming and my will to continue was worn thin. I staggered into the next aid station and saw my crew chief (my amazing wife) standing next to our car. She was ready to refuel me and send me back out onto the trail. Unfortunately, I was done. I walked over to her, sat down in a blue fold-up chair and quit.

The Pinhoti 100 is a trail race in the southern portion of the Appalachian mountain range in Alabama. I showed up undertrained and dedicated to the pain that I knew would come. Well,the pain came. After 19 hours of running and only making it just over 60 miles, I DNF’d (did not finish) my first race ever. Since then, I’ve lived with the decision I made to withdraw that night. It hasn’t been pleasant. This powerful memory has become a part of who I am. I have always been glad that I showed up, got in the ring, and danced. But I want my revenge, there’s no denying it.

The Catalyst

Last week after seeing a friend that suffered with me on the Pinhoti , I was forced to admit to myself just how much finishing this race meant to me. I still have pain in my joints from my first attempt. But I figure, if I’m going to live with that pain, I might as well have a belt buckle to go with it! (Belt buckles are the physical memento you receive for completing the 100 miles within the 30 hour time limit.) But really, they are just a reminder that deep down you’re a badass that can run 100 miles.

This week I signed up for the Mt Cheaha 50K in February 2015. If I’m going to make the climb to 100 miles, I’ve got to get started.


I didn’t put in the training runs the first time around. My philosophies were different and less refined. Here’s the new plan.

The Plan and The Process


The Plan

A serious journey needs a good plan. The plan must work backwards from the event and show exactly how to get there. This week I will design and adopt my training plan- a schedule that shows each training run that I need to reach my goal. Too many times I have went to the gym just to “work out.” If you have a serious goal, you carry a journal with the exercises you plan to do and the numbers of sets you plan to complete. A plan crystallizes the way. It’s a road-map to your goal. Without it, you have very little direction and very little chance of success. With it, all that’s left is the process.

The Process

In a book named the Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday explains “the process” as used by Alabama’s head football coach Nick Saban. At any given time, you focus 100 percent on exactly what you are doing right at this moment. If you are running sprints, then running the best sprint you can is all that matters in the world. If you are lifting, then the set you are on is all that matters in the world. When your plan calls for a 4 hour run, running for 3 hours and 59 minutes is not acceptable. This is the process. This go round, I am fully committed to the process.

Now the only question is, who is going to do it with me? If you’re interested then send me an email at or Click here to get more info.


I’m super excited about this weekend. Many of you know that I’ve been planning a group skydive for a while now. Saturday is the big day. With friends traveling in from Texas, New Jersey, and Alabama. It’s destined to be an awesome day! I’ll try to get some pictures up next week of the smiles. A big shout out to my brave mother-in-law Martha who has decided to finally get in on the fun!

As always, I appreciate you. The tribe is growing and it’s awesome to be around people making things happen.

What helps you stay on track with your training goals? Do you normally carry a journal to the gym with a plan or do you have another system in place? What do you say to yourself when you don’t feel like it?


Happen to the World,




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