Running Tweets

First things first: We’re not on Twitter. We’ve never tweeted. We’ll never make our fellow columnist Laura McCoy’s top five list.

However, we were curious as to whether Twitter had any value when it comes to dispensing sage running advice – so we asked many of the best local runners and coaches to tell us how to be a better runner. We only gave them one rule: their answer had to follow twitter rules and be 140 characters or less.

Here are our favorite responses from the experts …

Former Olympic marathoner Nelly Wright from Pacific Grove: “It is all about attitude. Be positive. Be a good sportsman. Be consistent. Be passionate. Don’t let setbacks get you down. Have fun.”

Professional triathlete Alexis Smith from Seaside: “Set a goal. Write out the training plan. Follow through with your workouts; consistency plays a major role in becoming a better runner.”

North County coach Gus Ibarra took the team approach: “Everyone is a winner. Running takes work. Expect the best. The Team/Family concept overrides any individual achievement.”

Chris Zepeda, Hartnell College coach: “As you get older focus less on the mileage and go back to your youth and hit the track. Train like you did in high school and college.”

Jeff Magallanes from Marina was very specific: “Get Fast! Mon. do 3 to 7 one mile repeats at 10K pace. Weds. do 16 one minute “pulls” at 5K pace. On Sat. a four to 10 mile tempo run at half marathon pace.”

Jim Scattini from Salinas showed impressive versatility, as his answer qualified as both a tweet and a rhyme: “You want to run fast? Just get off your behind or you will place last!”

Matt Clayton, a former 2:14 marathoner from Salinas: “There are no secrets or shortcuts in this sport. Train hard, but be smart enough to listen to what your body is telling you. Don’t let your ego get in the way.”

Some local runners didn’t even need the full 140 characters to dispense their wisdom …

Former Olympic Marathoner and Runner’s World Magazine runner of the year Maria Trujillo: “Run fast and work hard.”

Patty Selbicky, former winner of the Big Sur Marathon: “Intervals, intervals, and more intervals…..and listen to Glynn Wood.”

Of course, we then went straight to Glynn Wood, the dean of local runners, with over 65 years of competitive running and coaching experience. His tweet? “Run Run Run!” It’s kind of eloquent in its simplicity.

We were actually fairly surprised to discover some valuable lessons in these short bursts, and considered our Great Twitter Experiment a bona fide success. Each individual tweet is interesting on its own, and when we put all the recommendations together, an ideal overall strategy emerges:

1. Be positive and optimistic.
2. Be consistent in your training.
3. You have to be thoughtful and have a plan.
4. To be fast you have to practice running fast.
5. There are no secrets and there is no substitute for hard work.
6. Enjoy the process and the running life.

Sounds like great advice to us.


Western States 100 Race Report

Hello! If you're looking for Donald's full report and photo tour from the Western States 100, it's right here on his website. Previous editions of his Western States training diary are on the right-hand sidebar of that site as well.

Thanks for reading!


Western States 100 Summary

This week, Donald reports on his experience at last month’s Western States Endurance Run …

Last year, I wrote several articles about training for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, only to have the race cancelled due to wildfires. Don’t worry - I won’t take it personally if you’ve forgotten.

On the other hand, I never forgot about the race – if anything, my desire to participate grew even stronger during the fall and winter. This spring, I trained my tail off, and finally toed the line last month with the best ultrarunners in the world.

Western States took me to some unbelievable places, both physically and psychologically. Some were wondrous and exciting. Others were dark and terrifying. A few were just plain bizarre. The end result was a journey that was both humbling and empowering, discouraging yet ultimately uplifting.

The race begins in the former Olympic Village of Squaw Valley. When you’re milling around the start area, rubbing elbows with the superstars of ultrarunning, seeing the Olympic rings everywhere, and gazing at the tall mountains you’re about to climb, you can’t help but be inspired - and more than a little bit intimidated.

Over the next 100 miles, I would complete 18,000’ of climbing, and 21,000’ of descent traversing one rugged canyon after another en route to the finish line in Auburn. In the two steepest and tallest canyons, temperatures reached 105 degrees on race day. Fortunately, there were river crossings at the bottom of each canyon, where I soaked in the water for several minutes in order to lower my body temperature enough to survive the heat.

The river crossings continued throughout the race – in fact, the biggest one came in the middle of the night. It’s situations like this – standing waist deep in class 3 rapids of the American River at 1:30 in the morning, after running 78 miles with another 22 still to go, so fatigued that you have spasms in every muscle of your body and so sleep deprived that you start to hallucinate – that make you either fall in love with ultrarunning or realize just how crazy the sport is. Or, if you’re like me, both these things happen.

During the 28 hours I was on the course, I battled blisters, muscle pains, dehydration, mild renal failure, and severe nausea. I danced on the razor’s edge of medical stability, needing several minutes of observation at some mandatory health checkpoints. I was so debilitated that I could barely walk at times, and so discouraged that I wondered why I wanted to.

There’s a popular saying that the person who crosses the finish line of a 100-mile race is far different than the one who starts it – and at Western States, that’s especially true. The course breaks you down in every conceivable way - physically, spiritually, psychologically - and makes you question every aspect of your being. It strips you of all pretense and reveals the very nature of your soul.

Sure, it’s not the most pleasant place to be, but surviving such a gauntlet instills an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment, as well as a sense that anything is possible. All from the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.

If all this sounds insane, believe me – this summary barely scratches the surface. There’s a very detailed race report and photo tour of the Western States 100 on my website which may give you the full measure of how crazy and amazing ultrarunning really can be.


Carmel Valley Fiesta Run

Carmel Valley is known for its blue skies, warm weather, and adventurous spirit. It also enjoys a small-town charm – and one of the best examples of this ambience is the Fiesta in the Park hosted by the Carmel Valley Kiwanis Club, held in Carmel Valley Village on the first weekend in August.

This year, local runners have an extra reason to celebrate the Fiesta: the inaugural edition of the Carmel Valley Fiesta Mountain Run, an 8.3-mile trail running adventure through the hills and canyons of Garland Ranch Regional Park. The race takes place on August 1 at 8AM at the Dampierre Little League Field off Paso Hondo Road.

In creating this course, the race organizers weren’t messing around: the route includes single track trails through remote canyons, and challenging climbs up to beautiful vistas. Runners of all ages and abilities are welcome – but be sure to bring your spirit of adventure. As the race brochure explains, “The terrain is often rugged, twisty, steep, rocky, dusty, narrow, challenging, and dangerous.” You sure can’t blame the committee for lack of disclosure.

The Mountain Run is a second-generation race of sorts, and is especially nice to see in light of an article we wrote this winter lamenting how many local races had disappeared over the past decade. For several years, the Carmel Valley Fiesta featured a 5K and 10K run, but the mid-summer race calendar remained vacant after that race folded (sadly, under somewhat tragic circumstances) about eight years ago.

With the sponsorship of the Kiwanis Club, a group of Carmel Valley runners have reinvented the Fiesta Run this year – but it’s an entirely different event than its predecessor. Race committee members Mahir Agha, Richard Averett, Brian Rowlett, Grant Swanson, and Chris Hanson are all prolific trail runners, and the race reflects their dedication to enjoying our natural surroundings.

This year’s race features a completely new course that is 100% on trails, and is significantly more challenging than your typical neighborhood 10K. The committee also provides many of the perks that runners appreciate such as generous sponsors, tech fabric race shirts, and awards in each age group.

The race is unique in another way as well: since the official distance is unconventional, no matter how slow you run, your time this year will be a guaranteed PR – unless, of course, you happen to have done another 8.3-mile race somewhere. You won’t have to worry about getting faster for another whole year!

When you come to the Fiesta Run, be sure to bring the family with you, because there is a 1-mile kids race through Carmel Valley Village beginning at 10 AM. This fun run is sponsored by the Big Sur Marathon’s Just Run kids program, and parents are welcome to include strollers and dogs in this event as well. There is a parade immediately following the kids race, and a classic car show and free concerts throughout the remainder of the day. It all makes for a pretty great way to spend a midsummer’s day.

Race fees are very reasonable, and benefit the Tularcitos Technology Fund and trail maintenance at Garland Ranch Regional Park. Register for $25 online at by July 22, or for $32 on race day (registration begins at 6:30 AM on race morning). You’ll have a great time for a good cause, then enjoy the rest of the day under the Carmel Valley sun.


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