‘Twas 30 Days Before Statesmas

AJWs TaproomBack in the fall of 2011 when Bryon and I decided to launch AJWs Taproom, we were hoping to provide a consistent online venue for trail and ultrarunning-related editorial commentary. And, while some of the material is intended to be provocative, much of it is, as we’ve said from the beginning, just the kind of stuff you and your friends might talk about on a weekend long run or over a couple beers at your local pub.

One of my worries with the concept, at the time, was that I would not be able to reflect as personally on my own running as I was able to do on my own personal blog. Bryon and Meghan assured me that the Taproom would be my place to write what I chose and to this day the editing they do on my columns is limited to typos and commas. They have truly given me free reign to express my ‘voice.’

So, I am writing all this as a way to introduce what you’ll be reading here in the Taproom over the next month. Anybody who reads this column knows I am passionate, some say obsessive, about Western States. In fact, many have criticized my maniacal, somewhat myopic, view of the ultrarunning universe as one that revolves around Squaw Valley and Auburn, California. Alas, if you are one of these critics, you may want to direct your reading energies elsewhere over the next four Fridays.

The reason: I am running my 10th and final Western States on June 28. Why is this my final race, you ask? Well, the answer is pretty simple: I have run the race nine times with my 10th coming in a month. That experience has given me a lifetime of memories in a race that has literally become an inseparable part of who I am. I happen to believe that 10 times is plenty. Additionally, I have a strong desire to volunteer at the event and I have told Craig Thornley, the Race Director, that I will commit 10 years to volunteering at Western States once this 10-year run is over. It is the least I could do to give back to the event that has given me so much.

Therefore, over the next four Fridays here in AJWs Taproom, I plan to write personal, reflective pieces on my run-up to this year’s race. These columns will likely not be editorial in nature but will rather be highly personal, perhaps emotional, reflections on my last month of training for the race. I am sure, at times, these pieces will seem self-absorbed, egocentric, and pointless and for that I apologize ahead of time. It is not at all my intent to promote myself or my accomplishments in these last 30 days. Rather, it is my hope that in chronicling my experience with the event I can share a bit of my joy, passion, and excitement with others and in so doing inspire folks to share in the experience along the way.

Until next week!

Bottoms up!

Fossil Cove Brewing CompanyBrew’s Beer of the Month

A few weeks ago we visited Fayetteville, Arkansas, which is situated in the northwest part of the state and has a booming craft-brewing industry. The brewery I fell in love with–and the one that won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Foam Fest (the Fayetteville Beer Festival)–was Fossil Cove Brewing Company. Ben and his crew already have a fine line-up including the T-Rex Trippel and the Paleo Pale Ale, but my favorite was the La Brea Brown, a smooth, sweet, drinkable beer perfect after a Razorback football game or a run through the gorgeous Ozark Mountains.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Statesmas month starts now! For those of you who are prepping for your own Western States, care to share any of the thoughts on where you’re at mentally or physically?
  • It’s less than 30 days until game day, not much time to train the body (except for the details like heat acclimation), but loads of time to train the mind. Where are you focusing your efforts between now and then?
  • And for the rest of us who are not running States this year but who still get to join in the joy of Statesmas, what are you looking forward to in the next month?