The Epic Adventures of Endorphin Dude! Pt. 2: Quest for the Buckle

The Epic Adventures of Endorphin Dude! Pt. 2: Quest for the Buckle


It's a bird. It's a plane. Wait, could it be?!?! Yes! It's the one and only Endorphin Dude.

In this episode, we talk about the goals that Tony set forth after completing his epic Titanium quest. And what's the natural progression? Well of course it's to conquer ultra marathons, and some of the most grueling races on the planet.

Tony knows that he can outwork almost anyone on the planet, but that didn't prevent a couple of devastating losses, especially early on in his ultra career. Fortunately, Tony learned from each and every endeavor - and he brings these lessons to an introspective, informative, and incredibly entertaining conversation.

Plus, check out some of our conversation with Becky Hernandez! She talks to us about her Taji100 adventure, and some of the upcoming virtual events that she's signed up for.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/endorphindude/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EndorphinDude/
Blog: http://www.endorphindude.com/

Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

Interview Part 2

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:00:00]

And when I crossed the finish line of Burning River, I was thinking to myself, I dedicated that race to my parents, both my mom and my dad, because my parents sacrificed everything so that I can have something. the stories that my mom has told me over the years about our fleeing Vietnam is, is tragic. You know, it's like six nights, seven days on a fishing boat I didn't really truly understand how much my parents sacrificed for us. Until I was an adult. And when my father died, everything was brought to light

Kevin Chang: [00:00:37]

hello, and welcome to the RaceMob podcast, where we're all about running long, having fun and making the human connection.
This is episode number 40.

Kevin Chang: [00:00:46]

I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd. And I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator, the incomparable Bertrand Newson.
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's wait. No, it couldn't be yes. It's the one and only endorphin dude.
In this episode, we talk about the goals that Tony set forth after completing his Epic titanium quest. And what's the natural progression. Well, of course it's the conquer ultra marathons and some of the most grueling races on the planet. Tony knows that he can outwork almost anyone, but that didn't prevent a couple of devastating losses, especially early on in his ultra career.
Fortunately Tony learned from each and every endeavor
and he brings some of these lessons to an introspective informative and incredibly entertaining conversation. Quick note we had a bit of technical difficulty with Coach B's audio he was there on the call but his audio didn't get recorded So without further ado, here's the rest of our chat with the one and only endorphin dude. .

Training for Ultra

Kevin Chang: [00:01:52]

Yeah. So, marathons weren't enough. You were like, Oh, not enough. Not quite enough. I got to go further. Got to put my body through more and more. So Walk us through it.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:02:01]

It just seemed like the next logical step to take as like you run your first half marathon, naturally you progress to the marathon. You run your first marathon. Naturally you progressed to 52 marathons in 52 weeks, you know,

Kevin Chang: [00:02:21]

That's just the next logical step. That's right.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:02:24]

It was the next logical step to go ultra
Those who are new to the show and who may not know what an ultra and ultra race is any distance beyond the marathon distance. So anything over 26.2 miles is an ultra race, an ultra marathon. So that could be a 50 K, which is 31 miles. If 50 miler, a hundred K a 100 miler or beyond. So I started dabbling in the whole trail running thing.
And the ultra scene, I started knocking out a couple of 50 Ks. So my first 50 miler was. It totally by accident. I did the 24 hour race at Crissy field and I just wanted to get just like 50 K distancing. And I still had like about 12 hours on the clock or whatever it was. So I just kept going. I just kept walking around Crissy field. It was new year's one day that's right.
And then by the end of the 24 hours, I knocked out my first 50 miles, it was a total accident. So, um, and then I got hooked. And so I kind of said to myself, the next logical step then is to get the buckle.
. So I. Started training for my first hundred miler and at my very first a hundred miler, which was a huge learning experience for me, it was at a race called nanny goats. It was a one mile loop around a barn, like a ranch, you know, it was like, you run through like the horse stables and, you know, there were chickens and goats, you know, on this ranch and dogs running around.
So picture it, it's like Memorial day weekend down in Riverside. It's hot. You're on a barn, you know, and it's like dusty long, long story short. My first a hundred mile attempt. I DNF at mile 88. Imagine you're working your butt off, you get to mile 88 and you just lose everything, all steam. And, and I was like, Oh my God.
So for my first a hundred mile attempt, yeah, I did enough that mile 88. I had to kind of reevaluate, uh, what went wrong, what went right. What I can do different. And, I jumped back into training and came back like three months later. So nanny goat was in may, in August. So may, June, July. So three months later, I attempted to my second hundred miler at a race called Rendezvous.

Bertrand Newson: [00:04:52]

San Martine, California.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:04:54]

Yeah. You know where it is. Okay. Have you done Rendezvous?

Bertrand Newson: [00:04:57]

I have supported the pace there before.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:05:00]

Awesome. So you, you know that that's Oh my God. Morgan Hill.

Bertrand Newson: [00:05:10]

Put the Cape on though. It will save you! Put the Cape on!

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:05:17]

Oh God, it was absolutely miserable. It was like a hundred degrees, but I duked it out. I just kind of like when you can't run you walk, when you can't walk, you crawl or, you know, You keep drinking your water. You keep putting the ice in the ice bandana. Oh my God. You do what it takes to get it done.
And my first hundred mile finish, I did it in 30 hours and nine minutes. It was a 32 hour cutoff. So I was well within the cutoff and I got my first buckle and that was, Oh, you know, actually I might have it. I do, I do.
Here's my first buckle. My first one hundred mile buckle right there. And it was, it was a huge accomplishment because I was like, wow, I just ran a hundred miles. We just ran a hundred miles. I'm a 100 mile finisher, you know? .

Nanny Goat - A lesson on failure

Kevin Chang: [00:06:24]

I wanna go back to Nanny Goat, because I remember following you on social media. And I remember you posting about Nanny Goat and you know, all the training leading up to it. And I mean, you were pretty devastated.
It was a really, really rough moment for you. So I'd love to know. What do you think you learned the most from that experience and how did you take that into the next a hundred miles?

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:06:47]

I actually grew up after nanny Nanny Goat was a Rite of passage. What happened at nanny goat is something I, I have a hard time talking about because it's, it's a hard topic for me.
I had a complete meltdown at nanny goat and it wasn't. An internal meltdown. It was a very public meltdown. It's not something I'm completely proud of, but it happened, you know, I mean, I had reached this level of so much despair and anger with myself that I just lost control. And had a very public meltdown.
I learned how to really control my emotions. When you see me at a race, you've said, so like, when you first saw me, you see me smiling and happy I'm extreme like that, but it's also on the other end, too, when I'm upset, you know, I can be, you know, very upset, you know? So at Nanny Goat, it was hard for me and I had to emotionally recover from that race.
It took me weeks, months to fully recover emotionally from it, because it was that difficult for me to handle right now. I feel like I'm not very eloquent and trying to explain this because it's a hard topic and we've talked about, but, um, but I got through it, you know, and the takeaway from nanny goat was that I learned how to really dig deep.
And not give up. I think about nanny goat, every hundred miles that I do, I think back to what happened at nanny goat. And it pushes me to work harder to finish every other a hundred mile race that I've done.

Kevin Chang: [00:08:23]

I can't even imagine, you know, that months and months and months of training of hard work of everything that goes into an event, all of the planning all of the time, you know, how incredibly frustrating it must be to not be able to finish.
That your body is giving up on you. That, and so, yeah, I mean, I, I completely appreciate the situation that you must've been in and, you know, I appreciate you being able to reflect back on it and grow from it because, you know, w one thing that we always talk with our athletes about is sometimes you have to fail in order to grow, right?
Sometimes you have to push your body, push yourself mentally to a state of exhaustion, to, to a state of like, I didn't know, I could go there. I didn't know physically. I could go there for, in order for you to grow. So I appreciate that. You've kind of made this career of like, I'm going to just keep pushing.
Like there is no quit in me. I am just going to go. I appreciate you then also, if you do fail, being able to come back from that, you know, because eventually if you push your body hard enough through these situations, you probably will fail at some point in time. I mean, that's. That's just human physiology and you just gotta learn from those experiences.
So that's, that's incredible. That's fantastic.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:09:36]

Do you know what my record is? In a hundred mile races?

Kevin Chang: [00:09:41]

I don't.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:09:42]

You know, you're talking about learning from failure. My philosophy is that, is it truly failure if you learn something from the experience? No, it's not. My record in hundred mile races is.... I am 10 and 15 in a hundred milers, which means I have 25 attempts at the a hundred miler, only 10 finishes.
I have 15 DNS at the a hundred miles, so I have a losing record, but I don't see it as losing

Kevin Chang: [00:10:17]

there's 25 more attempts than 99.9, 9% of the population me included. I mean, You're going for it. And that's, as more than most people will ever, ever even think about, about doing.
So has that record improved over time? Have you learned from your experiences, have you gotten better?

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:10:37]

I have. And I remember most of my DNS came in the early part of my ultra career. And like in the last couple of years, I've learned from every race. Every experience and my biggest success at the a hundred, I would say is, um, this is my Burning River 100 mile buckle here.
And let me tell you a little bit, a little bit something about this race. It took me three tries to finish burning river. So let me, let me give a little background. So once I finished my first 300 miles, the next logical place, the question was. To get a Western States qualifier.

The Western States Qualifier

So for your listeners out there who are unfamiliar with Western States, Western States, one hundred mile endurance run is a 100 mile race that starts up in Olympic Valley. Uh, formerly squall Valley. Now it's called Olympic Valley, and in Auburn. It's a 100 mile foot race that goes through there.
The Western States is too trail running as to what the Boston marathon is to road racing. Boston is like the Holy grail race for many, many winners. If you can get to Boston fall of five for it and then run it, that's kind of like most runners. Holy grail for trail runners, it's Western state. Um, that's like the Boston of trail running.
So in order to qualify for Western States, you have to finish a race that is either a hundred miler or a hundred K. And then that just gives you a ticket to get put into the lottery, to get selected, to run this.
And it's a tough race. I think last year there was like 6,600 applicants for like, you know, 200 spots or whatever it is. So it's a very tough race to get into.
So after my first couple of hundreds that I completed, I wanted that Western States qualifier, you know, cause I, I wanna, you know, one day run Western States.
So my first attempt was at getting the qualifier. I ran a race called Havalina a hundred and drop to the a hundred K there. I was like, okay, well it's not failure. You learn from it. So let's just keep moving forward. You know, so I attempted to run on a race called burning river and that one was another heartbreaker I got to Mount 86.5.
And I missed the cutoff by 12 minutes. Can you imagine running for over 26 hours and getting to my 86.5, you only have like basically a half marathon left and you miss the cutoff by 12 minutes, you get into that eight station. And the eighth station captain says to you, I'm sorry, but you have to give me your bib.
So I took off my bib. I handed it to the person and I just crawled up in a corner. Like it was like, what 4:00 AM in Ohio. I'm curl up in the corner and I'm sobbing. I'm just like, just, I was so sad, you know, and I had to take the shuttle of shame back to the finish line. You know, they, they, you know, they brought back the, all the people who missed the cutoff and they dropped us off at the finish line.
And what was so even sadder was that where they dropped us. We had to cross the finish line, get through our drop bag. So everyone's congratulated. Oh, congratulations. Awesome word hundred miles. There's like, Oh, I didn't finish.

Defeat and Loss

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): That race. Really crushed me. It killed my soul. So I vowed to come back to burning river, which I did in 2017. And in 2017, I had just come off of injuries and illnesses and a lot of bad luck. And I got to mile 60 at burning river that year, and that just broke my heart as well.

And then I said to myself, I'm probably never going to run burning river ever again because burning river always falls on San Francisco marathon weekend. It's always the same weekend. So, you know, Francisco, that's my race. That was my first marathon. It's the one I will run for the rest of my life as long as I can.
But then this year, this pandemic happened or not this year, last year, 2020, this pandemic happened. And so all these races were getting canceled, left and right. And burning river. The July date got postponed to August. Sounds like, Oh, there's no conflict with the San Francisco marathon this year. This could be my year.
So I flew to Ohio, I was going to run this race and a week before the race, my dad died and everything just kind of like stopped. I felt this incredible guilt from my dad dying. And because of the pandemic, we couldn't do anything. We couldn't have any services.

Just a little background. I hadn't spoken to my dad in 20 years. And so I felt like this deep... you realize this is the first time I'm publicly talking about this. This is the first time I'm publicly talking about my dad's death and the nature of it.
My dad and I hadn't talked to each other in about 20 years. And when he died, I felt this great sense of guilt because I never did anything to reach out to him. And the other side of the guilt is that my dad was never unkind to me. He was always good to me. And I just, I felt this guilt and I couldn't really shake it.
And then, you know, we're in a pandemic and then I had this a hundred miler happening. And on top of all that, it's also the stress. Of the pandemic, because I'm not going to get into the pandemic because this whole pandemic thing, it became political on both ends of the spectrum. You have your anti maskers down on this end and you have your don't spread this, uh, stay in doors, you know?
And so I was being judged and criticized. For my actions because I was going to Ohio, but I had to deal with that stress with people, judging me for running a race. And what people don't understand is that I work in healthcare. I've been working from day one of this pandemic.
I been practicing safe COVID safe practices. I've been sanitizing when I need to, I get tested every three weeks for my job. I have been social distancing and been very conscientious of COVID 19. So it was hard for me, the stress of my father dying and the stress of people judging me for going to run a race in Ohio. But I got through it. I ran that race.
And I just remember being like deep into the race in the deep miles of like 70 through 90, I had to push really hard because I was having conversations with my dad in my head and it just became like this surreal kind of race, you know, for me, it wasn't just the race. It was like this weird kind of like Netflix show in my head that I'm trying to figure out.
Anyway, I ended up finishing that race. Um, after three tries, I finished that race in about 29 and a half hours. And that was probably the biggest learning experience for me out of every race that I've ever done, because I had to really deal with all the emotions tied to that race. Emotions regarding my father's death and the pandemic and everything else.
Um, that was really long-winded. I did not rehearse that. I'm sorry, that didn't sound eloquent at all, but I just, the first time I get to talk about it.

Kevin Chang: [00:18:21]

Absolutely. And in fact, I remember vividly because you posted on it Facebook, um, about your father's death. It was right around when I was about to email you to about coming on the podcast. And then I thought, you know, probably best to give you a bit of time, because...

A story of immigration and sacrifice

I mean, talk to me just a little bit about, about your dad. I know that he was still living in Vietnam, that he had, you know, sacrificed quite a bit to let you get over here to the States. Talk to us a little bit about. What he meant to you and what types of conversations you were having on that run in Burning River,

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:18:53]

So we're Vietnamese refugees for, your older, listeners out there.
You probably remember in the seventies, there was a wave of Vietnamese refugees coming in after like the tail end of the Vietnam war. So these Vietnamese refugees were boat people who came to the United States. We were boat people.
And when I crossed the finish line of Burning River, I was thinking to myself, I dedicated that race to my parents, both my mom and my dad, because my parents sacrificed everything so that I can have something.
And it was just crazy because the stories that my mom has told me over the years about our fleeing Vietnam is, is tragic. You know, it's like six nights, seven days on a fishing boat with like 50 other Vietnamese people. Families, children, older folks on one boat and just being out at sea for like six, seven days like that.
And then finally getting rescued by a commercial cargo ship, you know, but I don't remember any of them. I was only two, but I don't remember any of this, but my older brother's districts do. And these are things that it's hard for them to talk about.
Um, for me, it's easier to talk about because I don't remember any of it. But that's how we immigrate to the United States. We escape from Vietnam when the war broke out. So my dad was the one who spearheaded that we had like four different families on the same fishing boat. Yeah. That's what my parents did for us.
And I remember growing up, I didn't really understand this when I was growing up, but I didn't really truly understand how much my parents sacrificed for us. Until I was an adult. And when my father died, everything was brought to light to me and I fully kind of shit. And I started talking to my mom more and learned more about our history and yeah, that's, that's what I learned from, um, all that happened in Ohio burning river, you know, all these things in my head.
Yeah, my mom would tell me all these things. I mean, she would tell me all these things in Vietnamese, of course I'm translating for your benefit, but, um, yeah, that's,

Kevin Chang: [00:20:59]

I appreciate it.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:21:03]

Kevin, you're kind of Barbara Walters.
So my first Western States qualifier, I got in 2015, I got it. So random. I told you when I DNF that mile 86.5 at burning river in 2014. Well, I reexamined everything that went wrong at burning river.
Look at what went right. And kind of went back into training mode and ended up doing a race in Texas called Rocky raccoon in Superbowl Sunday, 2015. And I finished Rocky raccoon in about 28 and a half hours. Come up with 30 hours. I did, I did well there and earned my first Western States qualifier at Rocky raccoon.
And then I went through like a two year drought because I got injured. And then I got like some really weird illnesses. I had this rheumatoid arthritis thing going on that attacks like my joints. That went on. And then I had like this bout of kidney stones. I pass like about 17 kidney stones in a course of two years, 17 kidney stones.
So anyway, so all of these, like Dylan's is bad luck, kind of sidelined for about two and a half years. And then in 2017, 2018, I said to myself, I can't do this anymore. I have to get back into this. So I started training harder, train smarter, and I dropped a little bit more weight. I dropped about 20 pounds and I was getting back to ultra form at this point.
And then I ran a race, um, called Rio Del Lago. It's a hundred mile race. In 2018 and I finished that. And so I earned my second, um, Western States qualified. And then a few months later I ran a a hundred K called black Canyon in Arizona and earned my Western States qualifier there. That qualifier was what got me into Western States.
So every year at Western States, I volunteer at mile 78 of Western States at the Rucky Chucky, which is the river crossing. So my job at the Rucky Chucky is I'm basically in the water holding on to the cable oners, uh, across the river, I would say to the runner and like, Oh, there's a rock right there. Be careful. Watch your step here. There are Paranas over there.
So at the aid stations at Western States, they're allowed one ticket into Western state that they can give to anyone, any one of their volunteers. So at my aid station, I had volunteered there for five years. And after the fifth year I was awarded the rookie Chucky Western States tickets. So I got into Western state and I was really excited because I had worked so hard for this.
I spent like the last. Seven eight years of my life training for this one race. And I finally got in and then boom, COVID-19 happened. Then they canceled the race. So, um, the race got postponed till 2021. And at this time I, we still don't know if it's going to happen. The RD and the board are optimistic that it will, but at the end of the day, it comes down to if they can get the permits, because we live in California, the race is in California.
California is a little bit stricter. There's no guarantee that we will get the permit. So Western States make it postponed for another year. I don't know, but I'm still training my quads off as if it's still happening.

Kevin Chang: [00:24:45]

That's right. Yeah. Cause I, I think you're still running hundred milers if I'm not mistaken. I think you ran another one recently. Right? I remember seeing. Some fast times going on over there is you, you are training your buns off right now.

Endurance over Speed

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:24:58]

Okay. Let me tell you why I run a hundred milers. I'm a trail boy. I'm an ultra guy. I tell people all the time they ask me all the time. Why do you want these hundred miles? Well, the answer is pretty simple actually.
I'm too slow for Boston. I'm really slow. I can't run my Boston time for my age, you know, but give me 30 hours. I'm an endurance guy. I can give you a hundred miles because I like the long slow distances, you know. I like that. I can stop at Mount 80 and eat pizza and mayonnaise. Have you ever put things on pizza?
That's my favorite condiment. I love mayonnaise. I carry mayonnaise packets with me on my ultras because, so, okay. Look at these eight stations, they have like potatoes. Okay. So you get into like mile 70, 80, and you know, you get to the aid station and you see like this bowl of potatoes and it's great.
You know, it's great fuel, but if you have mayonnaise packet, just rip it open and put a little bit on the pill. Yep. Instant potato salad. Right? So, um, anyway, where was I going with this? I saw, I got sidetracked on the mayonnaise thing of where was I going with this? What are we talking about?

Kevin Chang: [00:26:14]

You said that's the reason why you're training that you're training so hard, but I mean, you are, you are killing it out there these days.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:26:21]

Yeah, I do my best, you know? And so I've noticed that I've been getting faster and fitter, you know, just from experience, you know, I'm not doing anything different per se, but I'm just smarter now, you know? I mean, I get more rest. I eat better now and I don't eat large quantities of food. You know, I've been able to maintain my weight and I'm training really hard cause I really want to run Western States and hopefully it'll happen in June, but if not, it could get postpone till September.
We don't know it could get postponed till next June. We don't know, but I'm still training my butt off as if it's happening because, um, That's my Holy grail race. That's, that's the one I want to finish. And I like the hundred miler because as painful as it is physically, it's so rewarding to finish, you know, I mean, cause it's more than four marathons in one city, you know?
And what am I about to say, it's going to sound really, really ridiculous. And it's probably gonna make me sound like a psycho, but I'll say it anyway. The analogy that I use. Is, you know how, like when you're taking a bubble bath, you're like in the tub and you fill the water up with hot water. And so you're comfortably just kind of in the bath with your hot water.
Well, eventually that hot water will cool down and it will become lukewarm. So you have to add more hot water, but then you get to the point where there's not enough hot water. So you have to like boil a pot of kettle and pour in the scolding hot water.
That's kind of like what the a hundred miler is like for me, you know, it's like, I need to feel like that. That's golden burning sensation for me to like a marathon is warm water for me. Now the marathon is just like this nice tepid water. I need to feel that scalding hot water. But no, I'm not addicted.

Kevin Chang: [00:28:21]

I love it. Well, I mean, we will definitely be rooting for you at Western States. We really, really hope that it happens this year. And if it does happen, we definitely want to be taking them along for the ride and route you the entire way along. I know that you're big. Metal person. You love the awards. You love the bling.

Virtual Races

So are you part of any virtual races between now and then any bling that you're excited about, about getting your hands on?

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:28:47]

I have something to say about virtual racing. Now I know there are people out there who vehemently despise virtual racing. They just like some people are just. Very vocal about virtual races are not real races and it shouldn't happen, blah, blah, blah, blah.
The way I see it. And especially now during the pandemic, there's no races, but different people have different ways of motivating themselves, you know, so whatever it takes to get someone to get out there.
So I know this one lady who does virtual races because she can't meet like the marathon cutoff times, you know, but by doing a virtual race, she does it at her own time and it motivates her to get out there to do something for herself to improve herself.
So I'm all about. Virtual racing or anything that gets people out there making those healthy changes to the life. Now, I personally love these virtual racing because I need to get the mileage in for my training. And if you dangle a metal in my face, more motivation for me to get those training miles in.
And so I started doing just like 100 mile virtual races, you know, and then they keep upping the ante. Now they're like 200, 300, 500. I'm kind of currently doing two different races. So marathon mat as his. Sasquatch road trip going on right now. So I'm doing that. That's 348 mile race, but that one I'm just plugging along because I have to do that.
So I'm only doing like maybe five to 10 miles a day for that one. And then I'm doing this other one, the social distancing one, I'm doing it solely for the metals. So this metal here. Oh, wow.

Kevin Chang: [00:30:39]

That's cool.

Endorphin Dude (Tony Nguyen): [00:30:42]

So this race company, they have a series of these work of art metals. Their second one is the screen. And then there have a third, fourth, and fifth would, they haven't revealed which work of art they're going to put on the metal, but that's their series. It's the work of art series. That's what I'm doing. So things like this. Metals and pint glasses and buckles. I know they are just trinkets. They're just physical objects, but they serve as motivation for me.
And it makes it fun for me, you know? Cause it's hard for me just to get out and do a 20 mile run. If I know that there is some sort of incentive to complete those miles and that incentive could be in the form of a metal, a virtual race. Whatever, you know, it makes it a lot easier for me to get motivated.
It's been hard during the pandemic because we don't have live races. So I get that fixed through these virtual races. And it's, it's good because there's a sense of community too, because a lot of these races have Facebook groups that you can. Talk to others and there's friendly competition too. So you check each other Strava results and it just makes it fun, you know?
And I think it's good for everyone. You know, that's why I do these virtual races because there are a lot of fun.

Episode Conclusion

###### Kevin Chang: [00:31:59]
That's incredible. That is great. And I know that you're always posting on Instagram and on Facebook. I mean, I follow your venture everywhere because I mean, you're such a fun, enjoyable person to be around and it just came through.
Completely in this podcast, how wonderful you are, how inspiring you are out upbeat and what an incredible person you are. And so, you know, I know that this is just kind of the start of our wonderful friendship with you. It has meant so much to me, the amount that you've inspired me personally over the years.
And we will definitely be seeing you sometime here in the future when, when this pandemic is down and out, because. Your smiling face, your Cape, your personality, your everything just brings a smile to all of our faces makes us be able to run through a brick wall at the end of the race and, uh, and say hi to chewy for us.
Uh, and, and the cat. Thank you so much, Tony Ray, appreciate it so much. I'm sure we will be talking to you again real soon. So thank you again.

Bonus Clip with Becky Hernandez

And today we have a little bonus clip for you guys. We got to catch back up with one of our favorite podcast guests becky sosa hernandez on her Taji 100 challenge and upcoming 50 k so i hope that you enjoy some of this bonus content
###### Bertrand Newson: [00:33:18]
One of the most popular episodes and why mother of two working professional.
, group exercise instructor, extraordinary 10 time now, 10 time finisher of the Taji. 100 co-captain of two legit fitness. Rebecca, welcome back.

Becky Hernandez: [00:33:38]

Thank you. Thank you for Trent. Thank you, Kevin.
Yeah. I mean, well, we're so excited to have you back, , as Bertrand mentioned, one of the top downloaded episodes and you did us a huge favor of just jumping on when we didn't even have our sea legs under us. I think the episode like cut in and out
and the stories were just. So fantastic. I mean, if you remember, but we even like turned the microphones back on because we were like, wow, we're having so much fun. Let's keep chatting. Let's turn this into some bonus content or whatnot. So thank you again for just jumping on let's.
I mean, let's just start it off with, how have you been the lacks six months?

Becky Hernandez: [00:34:16]

All right. So remind me again. When did we last chat?

Kevin Chang: [00:34:20]

It June It was June You had just come off and a crazy may month I think know mileage wise, uh, right up there 300 and something mile may.

Becky Hernandez: [00:34:32]

So, gosh well, you know, it's, it's, it seems like it was just yesterday that we spoke. That's why I had asked, well, how long has it been? It's been a little a mix of just, you know, working and running and being able to still teach outside. Um, and so it's been challenging, but at the same time I realized just that there's just a lot to be grateful for.
You know, my family, we've all been. Healthy and we haven't been able to maintain you know, a sense of normal. We'll see you throughout this, pandemic. But yeah, it's just been fun. A lot of miles with, with, with Coach, be a lot of miles with the crew. A lot of virtual races, you know, it's like, you know, it's like somebody stopped me every time I go.
I'm like, w you know, I have my have, like, which is probably a bad thing. I have like my, my credit card information stored, like, you know, it's, it's like the website knows it. And so I'm just sort of like, Click purchase, click purchase. I'm like, wait a minute. This is way too easy.
What am I supposed to do? I think I, there was one in December, uh, the virtual state, the San Francisco half marathon or the marathon half marathon, I was signed up for the half marathon and it kept getting deferred and rescheduled. And I knew I sent it for the virtual virtual, um, event. At that point.
I was like, I'm not gonna, you know, does this do virtual. But I don't remember like what time or what the deadline was. And all of a sudden I get this email. It says you have until like Sunday, I'm like, Oh my gosh, I have like three days to do this virtual event. And so the only day I could do it, it was like pouring rain.
Right. It was like, okay, well this is, this is I'm going to have to do it. So there, I went out there, you know, and, and ran and, you know, got uncomfortable. Um, but it was, it was fun. It was nice to, to kind of go out there and, and you know, run in the element and, and finish that. So again, yeah. Too many virtual races, but you know, a lot of fun having a lot of fun along the way.
What I love about these virtual races is like, Oh no, I, I did pay money to do this. So now I better get out when I wasn't even expecting to get out. And it kind of forces you into uncomfortable situations, but you kind of grow from, from those things. It makes it more fun. A little bit that way. Well, I mean, perfect segue into like, what are you running?
What's on your calendar

Becky Hernandez: [00:36:36]

sure. I know. Um, so, you know, at the beginning of the year it was, you know, I, I finished, you know, I finished 20, 20, again, a silver lining of COVID, um, working from home, um, trading in the commute. The, the car commute for footwork, right? Oh, you know, I don't have to spend two hours a day in the car. Um, I can go out and enjoy being outside.
And so just, you know, was able to, um, log the most miles I I've ever done in my life. Um, in 2020, and just, just over 2,400 miles in 2020. So I thought 20, 20, 20, 20, 21, what will that entail? And I thought, you know, I I'm not, I, at this point I'm not looking for any, like, do I want to best that? I don't know.
We'll see. I just want to enjoy, the time that I have here, because I know at some point with, you know, with the vaccine rollout and so maybe it's possibly work that I might have to go back into the office. So I'm just trying to just. Enjoy what I have now and not really worry about, you know, what miles I'm going to hit her or whatever.
But, so when she was a virtual races, Taji 100 course, which finished with completed the journey

Becky Hernandez: [00:37:37]

to continue logging miles. Yes, I have, uh, Coach be it. I crossed that virtual finish line today. Uh, so we were able to do the a hundred miles in 11 days. Um, the San Jose series. So run locals, you know, awesome events that they have.
We just did the 401k, um, last weekend, looking forward to the Shamrock run, coming up and these , Silicon Valley half. And, and let me see what else, gosh, you know, I, I, I think that's all that comes to mind. I know I've signed up for more.

Bertrand Newson: [00:38:03]

Half, uh, the mud mud half marathon to give a 50 K on the calendar as well.

  1. K what. ###### Becky Hernandez: [00:38:11] So, yeah. See, that's the thing that happens when you're sometimes, like multitasking at work and you're like, Oh, what is that? Oh, that's okay. They're like, okay. I just committed money to a half marathon. And if 50 K and it requires elevation and I'm like, have I even trained? Nope. So it's just going to be a long, a long day out there, but it's going to be fun. And so, ###### Bertrand Newson: [00:38:35] the instigator in, in a good way. If my memory serves me correctly, you are as finding these races and you're encouraging people to sign up. In some cases you've even signed people up or put them on the spot. ###### Becky Hernandez: [00:38:44] I know I'm terrible. That way. I said, let's go do this. Let's go do this. And then they're like, Becky. Yeah, we're gonna do it. And I'm like, Oh, I can't, you know, I can't anymore. Sorry, but you're, you're, you're signed up. You're good. So yeah, I like to do that to people. I love that. I love that. Well, I mean, talk to us a little bit about Taji, uh, you know, being able to finish it in 11 days, that means almost 10 miles a day that you were averaging Talk to us about the experience. ###### Becky Hernandez: [00:39:08] So this, this, um, last few years, it definitely have involved walking. So, I mean, I think when I first started, you know, by first year of Taji or second year, it was really like running, walking miles. I didn't count. I was very, um, I put all these restrictions on what I was going to count toward my 100. Um, and then I got wiser. I thought, what am I doing? Why am I. Y Y you know, but, but then I think that's the beauty of Taji. You make it your own, you make it what you want to make it. Um, some people say, you know, say I'm only going to do road miles, so no treadmill miles, like I can run on the treadmill, but I'm not gonna count those toward my journey. Great, whatever works for you. Um, other folks walk the whole thing. I remember one year, I, in fact, I was just exchanging, um, some, uh, messages back and forth with Tim, um, and him and, um, one of our beloved team members, Virginia, they were, they were on a mission. The Virginia was go close, was going to end with 300 miles walking miles, race walking miles in one month in the month. And TN was right behind her with like, well, not right behind her, but like 200, but that was big deal for him. And I was like, Kim and I were like neck and neck and I fell short. I was just like, my body was done at a time. They're 90. I'm like, I can't, I just I'm done. And he was, uh, you know, he just kept walking and walking and, you know, he ended up getting 200. So it's like, It's like, it's amazing how, you know, whatever that milestone is for you or how you're going to get there, , it is it's personal, so I've now learned. Just make it for you. And, that's, what's going to get you to the finish line. So , I think almost about, probably about 75% of my miles were running and 25% was walking or hiking, you know? And, and so that, that seems to work. My body likes it. I feel like I'm, you know, I'm able to continue, , you know, in the, in the month of February logging more miles then.

Yeah, I love it. Uh, as I told Bertrand, like I switched a lot more of my miles to walking. It's allowed me to kind of reconnect and, um, even like make phone calls and, you know, do kind of, some of that stuff reconnect with my mom. Sometimes she's always like, well, call me more. So, I mean, it's been a real joy and a real pleasure for me to like, think about , redoing it and not making all of those miles just about.
You know, running fitness going after it hard, all of that, but just like enjoying those miles, which I think is, is fantastic.

Bertrand Newson: [00:41:23]

And one thing, some of our listeners may not know. That Becky, as I mentioned in the opening is, um, she's, uh, you know, the co-captain of two legit fitness, but she's also an administrator for the Taji 100 and for many years was doing the backend fulfillment on getting all the shirts out.
And then our chairman did that for a couple of years. This year 2021, where we've had the most swag packets, um, committed and, you know, in the process being sent out huge task. And we want to thank you, Becky, for all that behind the scenes work, let alone being an active participant in again, completing your, your 10th, uh, Taji 100 mission.
So how has that behind the scenes been for you and your, your daughter? Who's really been, you know, shepherding that project.

Becky Hernandez: [00:42:09]

right. , so, my, my first year Taji was 2012, right. Bertrand. That was when we first found Taji through a mutual friend. We signed up and correspondence with Paul was by email. And I think we had like a Facebook group, a private Facebook group, but we, you know, I thought, you know, it'd be cool to have a shirt.
And so I reached out to Paul and I said, Hey, Paul, would you be okay if I. Helped with, you know, creating, uh, getting a shirt, uh, creative and you think, yeah, I just it's like I'm overloaded with stuff. Go for it. I had never met Paul. Paul didn't know me. I didn't know him. He didn't know Bertrand, but he trusted me.
He's like, sure. If you want to go ahead and take the lead on that, go for it. So I think we produced these cotton shirts. It was like 100 miles and running. It was just very, just, just a fun, you know, a cotton shirt. Cotton really for running event, we do cotton shirts, but that just goes to show you, I don't know anything about, you know, shirts, but I just thought let's just get one together.
So I've got one. Um, and that's what that was that year I met, you know, Shelly and Ben, Melanie, um, you know, folks that are still today with, you know, doing the, challenge. I recruited two of my coworkers, Stephanie and Sven. , and they're still doing this is their 10th year as well.
But from that, . The fulfillment piece was small. I think I, I distributed like 40 shirts that's who wanted a shirt. It was pre-payment needed upfront. And that's, that's how it, that's what it went. Um, then the next year, you know, Bertrand, uh, at that point had forged a relationship with Paul and they had been talking about like, why don't we just, you know, we can grow this.
This is, this is something that needs to be, you know, shared with the world. And it was just, and it grew from there. And so the order fulfillment the next year, I think maybe like, Uh, was it maybe a couple hundred, maybe that's something like that. And we always kept it in the low hundreds. I don't think it wasn't until, uh, I think the year that Paul started doing order fulfillment in 27, 2018. Where it just sorta like we're in the thousands, like right where you're like over a thousand and metals and it just became like, wow, there's a lot of components. So getting it back this year, I'm over here thinking, Oh, it was just a few hundred. Like I'm going by what my experience was was, which was just the shirt.
I think we had a metal component towards the end, in the latter latter years, but it wasn't still what it is today. , so yeah, getting it now this year. , the only way I. Could do it was to get help. And my daughter, um, got Alina, she needed community service hours. And so she, I said, Hey, listen, let's this is a partnership here.
You can help me. I can help you. And so she's been, um, just instrumental and. Helping things, keeping things moving along, reminding me, mom, we have to do this mom. Don't forget we have to do that. And so, and so I'm grateful that she allows me to run in the morning because in the evenings she has me working, doing packet assembly.
Um, yeah. And, and then also, you know, we have an amazing volunteer group that is that's helped us, , here, , Maria, Jackie, Chris Bertrand, Nando, Shelley, uh, we've all just been, you know, behind the scenes. Either assembling the boxes, stuffing, envelopes, folding shirts, whatever it is, you know, we've all been helped.
It's going to take a village to continue and just amazed by the response we sold out of the 3000, you know, packets. We sold out this year and it's like, and I was worried. I was, you know, I'm kind of very conservative when it comes to like forecasting, knowing we were in a pandemic knowing we were saturated with virtual events.
I thought, well, gosh, maybe Taji won't be that. Won't be unique anymore because everything's virtual. Everything's, you know, it has a metal and a shirt, but gosh, I was just blown away by the response. And so it just really, we are, we are event just, it's just beyond just a regular event, like, Oh, just go run a mile, go run a race in.
And you're done there. There's a lot of meaning behind it. There's a lot of there's purpose behind it. Um, and it's for a great cause.
Do you have any big goals for 2021? , anything that you're kind of shooting for ?

Becky Hernandez: [00:45:57]

I think I'm just going to kind of take a quarter by quarter. So this quarter, you know, was Taji 100 and, um, and the 50 K and I think we have the mud half marathon somewhere in there. So get through. Somewhere. Oh, and the Shamrock run. So it's sort of like, okay, those are that's, that's what I need to get through.
And then I'll plan for the next quarter. And then, you know, and see, it goes for him, go from there. I do want to, well, a couple of virtual, full marathons. Um, so the 50 he's one of them for sure that we'll be doing, but I do want to do some, maybe some road road marathons or something like that.
, but I just don't know what. wet where, , but yeah, , and see what the outcome is. So no goal, I don't have a mileage goal, but tackling these distances or tackling these events. I know it's going to add on every mile counts, there'll be the final number will be what it is in December.
that's awesome. And the 50 K are you doing that trail? Do you have a course planned out or are you doing it road?

Becky Hernandez: [00:46:53]

So it is, it is so the 50 K is a virtual event and what's nice about it. That reorganizes have already charted the course. So it's, it is trail. It is going to be potentially muddy because it's in March. Well, you can do it. You can complete it anytime between February and April 30th. Um, so, and. So you could do it once you could do it a hundred times and they don't care.
There's just as many times as you want. And then just submit your results. Um, the 50 K what I, what drew me to this was you were going to run through three different parks. So we started and, and in Calero, And then we go from Calero to Rancho Kenyatta that they're oral. And then from there we go back to Calero and then we cross over into L a Quicksilver elegant Quicksilver park, and then we come back and we finish inside Clara.
So it's, it's, you know, like that to me is pretty cool. I like, I'm not a fan of Outbacks. I'm not a fan of like, seeing stuff again, like I already ran through that. I don't want to see again. So this is like, we get to run. I know in three different areas. And so I'm, I'm, that, that to me was like, cool. And then it also helps, um, the portion of the proceeds, um, helps a dog shelter, .
So like, you know what, why not? It's good. It's for a good cause.
that's incredible. Yeah. That's incredible. Are you ha how do you plan out like one of these self-supported, I mean, you're basically running 31 miles. Like, what are you having?

Becky Hernandez: [00:48:17]

I was going to say, Kevin, what are you doing on March 20th?
There you go. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. I'm not running. Just to be fair. I can crew. I can crew.

Becky Hernandez: [00:48:30]

park your car on Alma den road.

Bertrand Newson: [00:48:32]

walking, running all, all disciplines, all disciplines.

Becky Hernandez: [00:48:38]

Yeah, no, w w what, what we'll probably do is, and, and the, the, the, the, our crew is very supportive. Like we had Jen Wheelock who did a self-supported 50 K and once somebody found out that she was going to run a 50 K by herself next, you know, like she had Pacers, she had eight stations, she had all these things set up for her.
Um, you know, nobody, nobody had asked that she didn't ask anybody. They all liked. Wanted to help her. So, um, to legit is, is just wonderful that way. So I, I know that will, I'm not worried about that. We'll, we'll figure it out, even if it's, even if it means within us, one of us lease a car somewhere along the road and that's our aid station, but we'll figure it out, um, in terms of that.
So that's, that's the nice thing about the crew.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, having a crew that can support you just makes all of those events, not only more fun and interesting, but really, I mean, doable because it can be hard to do at a friend that ran. A hundred, a hundred K , . And she had to just like loop back to her car over and over and over again.
Well, . We just wanted to say thank you so much for joining us again for jumping on and giving us an update, because again, you were our first guest ever, and still one of our most popular episodes. And we just want people to get an update

Becky Hernandez: [00:49:53]

It was beginner's luck.
That's not true. That's not true. That's not true. And probably the funniest, funniest portion, the hardest I've laughed. Yeah. Of any episode at all. So, um, just wanted to say thank you so much, Becky really, really appreciate it.
And obviously we will see you out on the trails and now on the roads, um, in the upcoming months. .

Becky Hernandez: [00:50:16]

Yeah, no. And I thank you for this opportunity. I mean, the focus was, you know, on Taji and I. Uh, you know, I want to just give just, you know, a thank you to, to, to Bertrand, to Paul, to Jim, to nano to Mike, all of us here, you know, I I'm doing this, you know, the logistics side, but that is just, I don't want to say it's easy.
It's, you know, it's tedious and it's a lot of work, but that to me is like, That is nothing compared to, you know, establishing connections, getting all the moving parts going, you know, and that's what every, all the team does. You know, they're working, you know, we start this process, like we're going to already start looking at 2022.
In March. Okay. What does that look like? What do we need to do by when do we need to do it? And a lot of that work, you know, Bertrand and, and Paul, you know, they start getting it going. You're like, okay, what are we going to do? And how does this going to look? What did you think about this? Working with team red, white, and blue, working with, you know, potential partners, you know, all those things that have to happen and do happen, you know, in order to make this sucks, this event so successful.
And me doing logistics. It's just a small little piece of my contribution, but there's a lot of heavy lifting. That's been, that's been done by everybody. So.

Bertrand Newson: [00:51:25]

is the most important piece people want to represent. People want to, , in their, their colors with pride. I'm representing the organization, representing the mission and for them to, to receive their packets is huge. And, uh, I mean that hard work that doing on the backend, really the front end, we, I hate to say the back end.
It is, it is, it is really the front lines of what you're doing and, uh, greatly appreciated. So, and thank you for your time again. It's been fantastic. We look forward to having you back again.
###### Kevin Chang: [00:51:54]
Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com. Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time.
Keep on moving.