The Thrilling Adventures of Endorphin Dude Part 3. - The Quest for a 200 Mile Buckle

The Thrilling Adventures of Endorphin Dude Part 3. - The Quest for a 200 Mile Buckle


Hey RaceMob Fam! We're excited to introduce the next thrilling saga to the adventures of Endorphin Dude. If you haven't already - check out episodes 39 and 40 - where we go into detail on Tony's incredible start. How he went from an overweight, pre-diabetic to conquering 52 marathons in 52 weeks - and became a hero to so many in the process.

When last we saw this caped crusader - he was about to embark on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race at Western States. Unfortunately, life doesn't always go to plan, and you'll hear about some of the heartbreak that Tony faced!

But did our hero sink into the depths of despair? Or did he rise to find a new challenge? And push his body way beyond what he thought was possible? Well, you'll just have to stay tuned to find out.

All of the show notes can be found online at RaceMob.com/podcast - and without further ado, here's our conversation.



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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.

[00:00:00] Endorphin Dude: So Headlands was a big deal for me because that was like my first race with so much elevation and it, it's, it's a tough, tough race, 20,000 feet of elevation gain over a hundred miles.

And it kind of. It kind of boosted my confidence.

So I said to myself, okay, I just finished a 100 mile race with 20,000 feet of elevation gain. One of the toughest things I've ever done. Took me 41 hours to do it. I realized that what I have is endurance.

I have the mindset to go long and far.

Episode Intro

[00:00:35] Kevin: Hey, there RaceMob fam! We are excited to introduce the next thrilling saga in the adventures of Endorphin Dude!

If you haven't already check out episode 39 and 40, where we go into detail on Tony's incredible story, and how he went from overweight and pre-diabetic to conquering 52 marathons in 52 weeks and became a hero to so many in the process.

When last we saw this Cape Crusader, he was about to embark on a once in a lifetime opportunity to race in Western states. Unfortunately, life doesn't always go to plan and you'll hear some of the heartbreak that Tony faced, . But did our hero sinking to the depths of despair or did he rise to find a new challenge and push his body way beyond what he thought was possible?

Well, you're just going to have to stay tuned to find out all the show notes can be found online at RaceMob dot com slash podcast. And without further ado, here's our conversation.

Start of the Interview

[00:01:29] Kevin: Hey crew! We are so excited to welcome back to the program one of my all time heroes, a man who has inspired me to no end, the one and only Endorphin Dude.

Welcome back to the podcast.

[00:01:43] Endorphin Dude: Hi everyone. Thanks for having me, here!

What is going on

[00:01:47] Kevin: Let's just kick it off Endorphin Dude You have been up to a lot, a lot of running.

I know last time we were chatting , we were still in the midst of a pandemic where there were a couple of virtual races kind of on your radar, but, but we've since moved past that a lot of live races, a lot of live events happening.

And if you take a look at your Instagram feed, you've been at event after event, after event.

Talk to us a little bit about what's been going on.

[00:02:09] Endorphin Dude: Oh, it's just been so nice to have live races back you know, it's just nice to be back. And It's not just the running, it's just like the whole. The social aspect of it too , just being there at a race.

I think I've seen Bertrand in person recently before you, I think Modesto marathon.

[00:02:27] Bertrand: And then a trail marathon, a trail, actually, you were doing an event, a brazen event. You were, on the course at aid station giving people, uh...

[00:02:36] Endorphin Dude: You're right. I remember now! So I've seen him, I've seen this dude twice now.

But you're forgiven. Kevin, you have a baby, so.

[00:02:45] Kevin: Yeah. And I'm outta shape. So I need, I need this conversation to reinspire me to get back out there on the trails, for sure. For sure.

[00:02:52] Endorphin Dude: Yeah, but it's been great coming off of the pandemic. I mean, We're still in a pandemic , but it's it's nice to have live races back and it's nice to reconnect with people on that social level, but just the whole running social level which brings. You know, running brings a different kind of socialization , so it's great to be back.

The First Live Races

[00:03:14] Kevin: That's fantastic. So, I talk to us about a couple of events. Like what was the first race that you ran live again?

[00:03:20] Endorphin Dude: Well, it's funny. The thing is that I'm trying to remember back. When did we last speak?

When was, when was the last time on the show?

[00:03:27] Kevin: It was about a year and a half ago. Yeah, February 2021.

[00:03:31] Endorphin Dude: February, 2021. Okay. Yeah. So during the pandemic, I was, I was still training. I was still running and even though there were limited races, live races out there, there were some like in the Midwest, which I went to also.

I ran a couple of races in the Midwest and and it's just kind of what the pandemic has taught me.

What I've learned from the pandemic I should say is that you just can't take anything for granted. And I, I worked in healthcare, so I was an essential employee. So I worked every day. I, I took Bart in every day for non bay area listeners, bart is our train system the bay area, rapid transit system.

And I live way out in far east bay. And so I'm basically the last stop or first, which however you wanna look at it. So it took me about an hour to get to work every day I work in San Francisco.

So it, it was a tough time , during the pandemic, because I'd have one whole Bart card to myself , because everyone was sheltering in place, but I still kept training, I still kept working.

So it was, it was normal for me. Normal, if you can call it normal , I didn't get the whole shelter in place experience per se.

So. What that did for me was that it kept me in shape, which was really good because , I'll be honest if I were sheltering in place, I'd probably gain like 50 pounds , cause I'd just be sitting on the couch all day, eating mayonnaise and watching Netflix.

So it's, it's nice to have races back because I felt like I didn't really lose any fitness per se. So I was able to jump back in and start doing these races. And I was training for the big one.

I had done a couple hundred milers up to that, up to this point. And I wanted to kind of take the leap and go further it was just a natural thing to do.

You know, it's like kinda like, I mean, Think back to like, when you ran your first 5k , its like it was kind of cool and then you was like , I can do the 10 K so you did the 10 K and then the natural progression then would be the half marathon, the marathon, right?

So for me it was just the natural progression going beyond like 50 miler hundred K a hundred miler and beyond. So...

[00:05:59] Kevin: Most stop at the, the marathon, but yeah, you, you just kept going, which is . Why you're so inspirational.


[00:06:06] Bertrand: And Tony, during that training and since we last spoke in February, yes. We're gonna talk about your milestone race. But you also had another kind of milestone event that you participated in as well that you shared on social media as we talk about Western states, 2021, if you'd like to share that experience or parts of it with our audience.

[00:06:28] Endorphin Dude: Yeah, definitely. So Western states was quite the experience for me. It was amazing. But just upfront to be clear, I DNF'd. But at the time it was absolutely heartbreaking , just cuz you, you trained so hard for a like race and for listeners who may not be familiar with Western state, this Western states is the holy grail for trail runners.

You know, it's like road runners, the holy grail race is the Boston. For for trail runners, it's Western states, it's like the super bowl.

So it took me nine years to get in. It's it's a tough process to get in. You have to qualify, and then once you get your qualifier by running a race, that's on the qualifying list. So it, whether it be like a 100 mile race or a 100 K you, you don't qualify to get in, you get qualified to get a lottery ticket to get selected.

So after about after nine years, I finally got in and I, I worked my butt off. During the pandemic, mind you, I trained hard and I made it to the start line of Western states and it was an absolutely amazing experience.

And the thing is that west states is, is hard. , it's a tough, tough race. The first 31 miles, the first 50 K that has like over. 6,000 or so feet of elevation gate. And in the first three miles, you basically have to climb a mountain , like, like 2300, 2400 feet crammed into like the first three miles.

And you, you up in high country so there's, if altitude sickness is something that you're not used to, that's tough. And you know, it's high country, so it's a technical Rocky terrain. Rollers up and down rocks everywhere. And so as much as I trained and felt that I was prepared for this race, my body just, I could not find my rhythm on that high country technical terrain.

And I found myself just falling behind the cutoffs and I was getting kind of worried about that. So. in the process of trying to speed it up on a downhill portion. I , I kind of lost balance on a loose rock and basically kind of strained my adductor and ended up kind of walking a 25 minute pace.

Trying to run, walk jog, walk, run this, that. And ultimately I just, I couldn't make that cut off, which , was a real, it was a blessing disguise because I could've caused a lot of damage you know, had I gone further.

But obviously the points moved because I, I timed out. So I went through this whole phase of just kind of like, I was really disappointed. You worked so hard for something only to have it not end up the way you had envisioned.

Recover and Regroup

[00:09:21] Endorphin Dude: And so I went silent for , a few weeks, maybe months not because I was hiding from anyone per se, but I sometimes you just need to turn off the social media and turn off everything around you in order to regroup and recover.

And, and so that's what I did. I regrouped, I recovered and I knew that I had to continue to train because I will come back to Western states. I will come back one day to finish the race. But in the meantime, I had to really regroup and fully understand what it was that I did that's not necessarily wrong per se, but what I can do to improve on how I perform.

So I went on this quest, this journey, I guess, of this. This is where you can queue in the what is it like the like in, in all those action movies, you always have that training. The montage.

[00:10:19] Kevin: Yeah.

Yeah. There we go. Yeah. Rocky four. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:26] Endorphin Dude: Montage music. And I really kinda tried to figure out what was wrong. And so I said to myself, okay, well, I am trained up for a mountain hundred miler. I need to do another a hundred miler and I need to do one quickly because if I don't, then I will find myself just kind of regressing and I didn't want that to happen.

So Maybe it was just one of those things where I was just, I just did it. I, I just signed up without thinking about it. I signed up for Headlands hundred. Which is a hundred mile race up in the Marin Headlands.

20,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of a hundred miles. And I signed up for it.

I mean the one, one of the big reasons why I signed up for that was because they had extended the the cutoff times because there was another event going on at the same time, the 150. So you can do the 150 mile. So because there was the 150 going on the RD extended the time limit and allowed 43 hours to finish the race. I was like, I think I could do that.

So I signed up for that race, which by the way happened one year ago yesterday. Oh, so all my Instagram and Facebook memories are coming up with all my, my Headlands posts. And I ended up doing that race and it, it was probably the hardest thing I had ever done because it started on a Friday night at 6:00 PM.

And then it took me 41 hours. So 41 hours later, I finished it. But you gotta kind of keep in mind that if you're starting on a Friday night, you have to run through two nights, not one night.

Cause usually a standard a hundred miles, you know, you start at 5:00 AM in the morning, run through the day and then you have one night to run through. And then by the time the sun comes up at five, 6:00 AM, whatever, you're wide awake and then you finish by 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock and you're done.

But with this with Headlands hundred I found myself sleeping on the trails, just randomly. People thought I was dead. All these hikers come by , and my pacer would just tell everyone's like, no, no, he's sleeping. He's pick a nap. You know.

It is funny because you have hikers a lot hikers out there, out on the the Headlands. They don't know there's a race going on. And people like pass out on the trail...

It's kind though, because it's like Sunday morning , when you're, you're like at mile 94 , you're like heading into Tennessee valley and you got that giant Pirates Cove I, I call it a mountain because after like 90 miles, everything is like a mountain.

So , you have to like go down, do the water and then climb up Pirates Cove. And I remember everyone, all the hikers out there, fresh legs, happy. It's a beautiful Sunday morning. You know, they probably just had their PRs.

And here I am with my pacer, just like struggling to go up a hill and people are looking at me as if I'm like dying or something? And my pacer would, would tell everyone's like, oh no, no, no. He's at Mount 94 of his 100 mile race. And, and that's when people are like, what

So I ended up finishing that race and it was a pretty epic finish for me because what was funny was that the the race director Greg Glenco. Race record for Headlands hundred. He was also the aid station captain at Duncan canyon mile 24 aid station at Western states.

So Greg Landco was the last person I spoke to right before my official DNF at Western states when I had like turn in my bib and stuff.

So he was the last person I spoke to before that official DNF. And it was just kind of kismet that he was the first person I spoke to because as he already, he handed me my Headlands hundred buckle and he was the first person I talked to after finishing Headlands.

So Headlands was a big deal for me because that was like my first race with so much elevation and it, it's, it's a tough, tough race, 20,000 feet of elevation gain over a hundred miles.

And it kind of. It kind of boosted my confidence.

So I said to myself, okay, I just finished a 100 mile race with 20,000 feet of elevation gain. One of the toughest things I've ever done. Took me 41 hours to do it. I realized that what I have is endurance.

I have the mindset to go long and far.

Endurance over Speed

[00:15:12] Endorphin Dude: You have to also keep in mind that when I, when I ran my PR half marathon, I ran to the point I vomited up my spleen and then swallowed it back down. that's how it was.

[00:15:23] Kevin: Oh, wow!

[00:15:25] Endorphin Dude: So I kind of set up a a game plan. So I signed up for a 48 hour. Oh, I'm sorry, not 48, 72 hour race. I signed up for the jackpot running festival 72 hour endurance run just to see where I was at , because up to that point I had completed, I think Headlands was my 11th lifetime hundred mile finish.

I was like, okay. I have 11 finishes to my name. I know how to finish a hundred miler. let's see if I can go further.

So the best place to do it was at a 72 hour race, at least I think so because it's stress free two mile loop , you have your eight station, every two miles , it's a fun race I've done jackpot a few times and it's, it was also the the site of the USATF 100 mile road, race championship, which Camille Herron won in just epic fashion.

You know, I, I was there when I saw her what or win ? And so I signed up for the 72 hour and my goal was to go beyond a hundred.

Even if it was just 101, I would've been fine because that would've been a distance PR for me.

So I, I showed up in Las Vegas. I did the race and I got to mile 106 and I seriously contemplated just finishing.

[00:16:48] Kevin: Yeah. How many hours in, and, and is this like a loop type of race? Is it like you kind of...

[00:16:53] Endorphin Dude: It's a two mile loop. And I, how many hours in was I? I think I was like 32 hours in 33 hours in, at that point.

So , I, I just kind of sat there on my chair and like, we wanna go anymore you know, I just tired and I'm, I just didn't wanna continue , so I just I sat there and Blythe my girlfriend. She was giving me the pep talk and. she was like , you still have however many hours that is, I can't do math right now, but no, I wasn't even halfway there because I was only like 33, 34 hours in of my 72 hour race. And I was like, okay, I'll just, I'll just, I'll just walk a couple and I'll just take a nap.

You know, sometimes you just have to take step back and take a little mind break , And, and it worked because I took a four hour nap.

Now here's the thing about the, the a hundred miler. You can, you typical a hundred milers have a 30 hour time limit. And that that's a tough time limit.

So you, you have to hustle which means that if you are a back of the pack kind of guy, like I am, you don't have the time to sleep to nap. But in a 72 hour race that you, you have that luxury of time. So I took a four hour nap and dude that did wonders for me. I was like, ping.

I got up and I started a light jog and I, I just kept going through the night , I was like, i, I, I feel good. You know, and I kept looping and looping and looping. And then before I knew it, I hit had Wrapped up 131 miles.

And I said to myself, oh, I just did 131 miles. I'm only 19 miles off of 150. And I had like, what, 23 hours on the clock or whatever it was. So I was like um alright, let's just do it.

So I just kept going and going and Blythe jumped out and did a couple laughs with me, kept me staying and plenty of people out there. It was really funny at one point.

So it's a two mile loop and it's basically, if you go to the other side of the it's, it's an a park and you have to go one mile out to the other side of the park and, and loop around and come back.

And it was funny because I fell asleep on one of the benches on the other side of the other side of the park and the way I had situated myself , cuz it was kind of cold. So I had my footy on and I was kind of S scrunched over you know when I finally made it back to the timing mat there was like talk of like a dead homeless person

So anyway, I kept moving, kept moving and when I got to my 61st hour, so 61 hours in, I was at mile 149. 149. Okay. I, this is a good time for me to call it because I it was 61 hours in, 150. I went well past my goal.

Everyone kept telling me, you look strong, keep going, keep going. You know, but you know, at the end of the day, I probably could have cranked out another 15 miles, but why would I wanna finish that race with 164 miles as opposed to one 50, which was a nice round number. I like round numbers.

And so I, I called it at one 50 and I, I said to myself, dang, I just ran 150 miles. I ran 150 miles. That was a distance PR by 50 miles ? Yeah. So I was like, okay, this is good. Wheels are turning I far exceeded my expectation. And I said to myself, I can do the 200, I can totally do it 200.

Running 200 Miles

[00:21:09] Endorphin Dude: And so I wanted a standalone 200 mile. When I say standalone, not like a 72 hour or like a, a six day race. I wanted a race that had a set time limit for the 200 mile race.

So I found a race. Actually it's not so much "I found this race". I had been eyeballing this race for about 12 years now.

It's called Pigtails. It's the Pigtails Challenge. It was started by a ultra runner named Vaughn fan up in Seattle. She always wears her hair in Pigtails so it's that's where the name came from. And the Pigtails Challenge. They had a 50 K 50 miler hundred miler, 150 miler and 200 mile race.

The buckle is sweet. I'm gonna show you the right now.

[00:22:01] Kevin: Oh, yeah, love that.

[00:22:05] Endorphin Dude: So they're not eating each other, so I guess it's vegetarian,

[00:22:09] Kevin: vegetarian buckle.

[00:22:11] Endorphin Dude: Vegetarian buckle. You know, so so anyway I, I had, I had been eyeballing that buckle for years. I wanted to do the a hundred miler cuz I, I like those two little PRs ? So so I signed up for this race and the, the thing about this race is that it's how, how do I put this? It's a good first time, 200 mile race.

I just didn't feel like I was mentally prepared to do like a Tahoe 200. I wanted to kinda ease into it. And because Headlands Hundred was so grueling for me. I just couldn't at that time imagine doing that twice.

[00:22:50] Kevin: And what time of the year is this?

[00:22:53] Endorphin Dude: This was Memorial day weekend.

So, Blythe and I went up to Seattle. My sister, Diane came along too. She crew and we set up our camp. So Blythe, she knows all that stuff. So she set the tent and she , it was great.

You start the race by going 2.3 miles out and then, or 1.3 out and then back, and then you do your full 9.5, 9.4 mile loop. So you do it counter washing machine style. You go out this way, counterclockwise and return clockwise. And you just keep , alternating.

And the first couple rounds was kinda like, okay, this is cool. You know, what was really funny is that, so you basically follow it's. It's like, it's like one big square and there's a cane length fence that follows the perimeter of the course.

So basically if the, if you don't see the fence next to you on your right on your left, depend on which direction you were going, that you went the wrong way, fence has always got to be there.

And what was really funny, there was every like mile or so half a mile. So there'd be like a sign, a big sign that says no trespassing.

So it, it, it, and that often like really creepy vibes , especially at night when you're running and you see all these signs that says no trespassing, there's a chain link fence.

Your mind does weird things. You wonder what is going be going on behind that fence. And, and, and it's funny. I don't know if you guys watch stranger things. But the season four was out during that time that I ran the race. So I just kept having those...

You can only imagine then you add to the exhaustion and the sleep deprivation.

So all these things just comes into your head. You just wonder, what am I doing? You know?

So anyway, so I kept going and I just kept a solid pace. You know, you , when you're running a 200. Or any ultra for that matter, you're not running your half marathon pace. I, I can guarantee you that you're, you're not running.

You're not trying to qualify for Boston at a ultra, so you don't be running your Boston qualifying pace. So , I was doing, I started out doing like a 14 minute pace, which may seem slow. But in the grand scheme of ultra running, that's what you need to do.

So I, because of my experience, I had made a lot of mistakes at jackpot. A lot of mistakes. I knew that I had to take my sleep breaks. I knew I had to eat all the time. I knew I had to hydrate myself all the time.

And I know this is gonna sound absolutely ridiculous, but just bear with me, just bear with me with this.

The first a hundred miler of my Pigtails 200 mile challenge just came so naturally , it just, it, it seemed kind of easy because in my mind I was like, okay, it's just the first hundred.

I still have another a hundred to do so just relax the mind. So I just kind of took all that stress outta my mind because I said to myself, if I start stressing now, imagine what it be like at mile one 60 ? So I just let all that go, and I ran a very a very respectable hundred mile. I think I did it in like 33 hours for the first hundred.

And had I done the the hundred mile for pigtail, the cutoff was 34 hours. So I was within the time limit for the first hundred. So I had, so I had 48 hours due the second hundred miler.

So you know, in , on paper, that sounds doable, easy, maybe not easy, but just doable because , I did the first hundred in 34, so now I have 48 hours to the second hundred.

It's not all downhill from here

[00:26:57] Endorphin Dude: Well , things kind of , it's, it's kind of one of those things where you are a coach Bertrand you, so I, you would never tell one of your athletes a marathon is just a half marathon double. So just multiply your, yeah,

[00:27:16] Bertrand: I think we talked about this in our first. Yeah. I would not. No.

[00:27:20] Kevin: If you like our podcast, then sign up for our newsletter, where we give you weekly tips on how to run your best race and have fun in the process, just go to RaceMob.com and sign up today.

[00:27:32] Endorphin Dude: Right. The same applies for the the ultra yeah. You know, you, you have to leave room , because anything and everything will go wrong at the 200 mile. So let me tell you what happened.

I made to I'm like at mile 171, I look at my garment and I see that I have 12 hours on the clock to do basically a 50 K 29, 30 miles, whatever it is.

So any other time, any other place. easy. I can knock out a 50 K seven hours, eight hours, nine hours tops. You know if it's a especially difficult, 50 K 10 hours. So 12 hours on the clock, but the things that I had 171 miles on my legs and only five hours of sleep. Oh so I was sleep deprived. It had been raining all night.

And I remember coming back to my camp, the tent, it was like a little bit before midnight. And I, I sat there on my cot and I, my, my pupils pupils were dilated. I, I, I think my eyeballs were shaking and I was delirious and blithe just kind like , she she's like. You just have to get back out there.

And it was one of those things where I, I know that deep down inside, she was saying, just call it, just call it. You're gonna die. I don't want to take you to the ER, cuz that's what I looked like. You know, she was like, but she, on the outside, she was like, got this, you got this. And I just, I, I just sat there and I was like, I did not come all the way out here to DNF at mile 171.

I just, can you imagine, can you imagine, in a 200 mile race having gone 171 miles, you only have a little 50 K left and DNFing ? So I just like, okay. But I knew that it was doable, but I had to really push it. Thankfully my sister found a pacer for me. So my sister found this dude named Tom.

Tom was supposed to pace another guy who was doing the 200, but that guy dropped at the one 50. So Tom was just hanging out at the aids station. And so my sister was like , my brother meets a pacer. Can you be up for it? And so Tom was like, yeah, super cool. You know? Yeah. Tom was, yeah. And he's experienced he had done like Bigfoot and he had done like all these other crazy races.

Restarting with a Blank Page

[00:30:23] Endorphin Dude: So I knew I was in good hands, but I had to really, really push it and I, I just, I honestly don't know how I was able to do it, but you kind of have to separate, you have to like take everything that's in your head and just delete it all. And you have to open up a new document.

[00:30:43] Bertrand: Mm-hmm

[00:30:44] Endorphin Dude: I don't know why have I'm doing this though? Office word.

[00:30:51] Kevin: An analogy. A lot of our audience might get, so no worries.

[00:30:56] Endorphin Dude: You know, you have this document and you had all, everything written. You have to like delete the whole thing and then just start a whole new document. And and so that's what I had to do. And I, I, I picked up the pace cuz I, I, I knew that I, if I didn't bank time, I was not gonna make it.

So each loop was nine and a half miles. And I had three loops left, so at 171 and so nine miles get me to 180 something and then the next loop would take me to like 191 or whatever. And then 190, 100. So I had three loops.

So on that third to last loop, I don't know what I did, but I just kept going. I kept moving. Tom was motivating me and I just kept going and going, going. I just , deleted that document and just created the new document. And I just kept moving. I made it back to headquarters on that loop and banked about like 20 minutes. And I was like, whoa, just banked 20 minutes. This is good.

So I knew that the next loop, the more I can bank the better. And so we repeated that. I just kept moving. I wasn't moving fast, but I was moving consistent. There was none of this zombie walking. There was none of this Costco stroll. You know, that Costco stroll to the car.

Oh yeah, there's a stamp right here. Try this stamp right here.

There was none of that , I just, I walk with a purpose , there was very little running, but it was just like, Walk with the purpose. It was not anything fast per se, but it was enough that I could bank the time.

So I made it back to that to headquarters a little bit before 7:00 AM, which was good because there was a hard cutoff at mile 191.4, 191.4. So that hard cutoff was 12 o'clock.

I had to get there by noon. Oh no, no, I'm sorry. By 11:00 AM. I had to get there by 11:00 AM. Or else I would've been cut at mile 1 91. So I, I made it back. I, I don't remember all the times, but I think I made it back like 7:15 or something like that.

So I had banked enough time that I knew that I, I could, if I banked enough time, I will definitely make it by 11 o'clock.

Well, I made it back by like 10:40 or something like that. So I banked enough time. So I had five hours on the clock to finish the final loop. Which was enough for me to comfortably finish it.

That last loop was painful because that was when the sleep deprivation just got the most of me and Blythe, Blythe, actually , how many miles Blythe spent with me that weekend? She paced me for 47 miles, 47 seven miles.

So she, she walked with me for that final that final loop, which was about I think it took about, I finished the race with a 24 minutes spare. So it took me probably like three and a half hours to finish that final loop or whatever it was. And she kept like, Feeding me chocolate espresso beans.

When you finish a race like this, you are in so much pain and agony that it's like, you are, you wanna celebrate.

You're you're working only off of adrenaline , and that adrenaline only lasts , like after a marathon. Yeah. The adrenaline, the pain is a lot less, but after a 200 mile, there was so much pain. I couldn't even like stand up straight and I was like falling asleep. I , kept peeling over , but I, I did celebrate , the best I could and it it's really funny because Tom had taken some videos of me during the last 30 miles which I I end up talking them with background music it's to it.

And the thing is that it's really cool. If you get a chance, go to my Instagram reels and check out some of these videos. Because I put the music that actually runs through my head when I'm running a race like this.

Now with trail racing, most trail racings, don't allow you to wear headphones for safety reasons. So so I, I never listened to music, but in my head, I'm, I'm listening to certain songs and stuff.

And when I am desperate, when, when I'm chasing a cutoff and just absolutely desperate and delirium has kicked in what always runs through my head, which surprises a lot of people it.

What, what do you think runs through my head? What, what, what music do you think is playing in my head? Let me ask you two. These questions

[00:35:48] Kevin: I've got, I've got, I will survive. That's kind of, the song that I'm thinking.

[00:35:56] Endorphin Dude: The tiger. The

[00:35:58] Kevin: tiger. That's one of my favorite. Yeah. That's that's my go to there's

[00:36:02] Endorphin Dude: one go to, okay. No, it's not. It's actually Vivaldi.

[00:36:06] Kevin: Oh, Vivaldi classical music, huh?

[00:36:09] Endorphin Dude: Yeah. Four seasons. Because four seasons , you, you have four seasons fall spring, summer, winter. Winter is so intense with the piercing violins , mm-hmm . And so when I am, when I am desperate on a trail chasing a cutoff in the dark, in the rain it feels like winter. And especially in Seattle, when it was raining, it feels like winter, the music, the piercing violin just keeps me going because you're, you're constantly thinking someone behind me.

And you know, like when you have a hydration pack, you hear that swoosh swoosh, so it's, it sounds like someone's like right behind you ? So having, having Vivaldi , piercing in my ears, it actually move makes me move faster.

So Tom made these like little short videos of me running. And so I, I superimpose Vivaldi on them and other classical pieces and it worked well , because that's what I was feeling at the time. That's what I was, was going through my mind, my body, my soul.

It's this, the piercing violins I keep, I keep coming back to the piercing violins but that's, that's the thing that it's just really, it gets stuck in your head and it just keeps me moving.

Finishing the Race

[00:37:29] Endorphin Dude: And I, I think that's, that's how I got through this 200 mile raise or at least the last 30 miles, because I ha you have to do whatever it takes to change your mindset, because once you decide up here that you are done. You are done. So you have to find whatever method it takes, whatever it takes to change that mindset. And that will make the difference.

And so I, I ended up finishing the race in like, time limit was 82 hours. I didn't like 81:34, whatever it was. And it was a incredible experience to finish that race. And I, I was just, oh, by the way, it wasn't 200 miles. It was 203. According to my watch. Imagine how frustrating that is , when you, when you hit mile 200 and you're like, no, I really have another 5k to go.

but I, I, I didn't tell anybody I was doing this race because I, I went completely incognito. Completely under the radar for a couple reasons. I, I went completely under the radar during the pandemic because people were just, just judging me during the pandemic for not sheltering in place , for going to Ohio to run burning river.

Which was really funny when I posted my burning river buckle when I finished, I hadn't told anybody, I went, people thought it was a virtual race say, oh, did you run in your backyard? I was like, no, no, I blew a whole eye over that. So that's why I stopped , kind of I became a little bit more under the radar cuz I, I just didn't wanna deal with that added stress of people judging me and just just criticizing me for leaving , for not sheltering in place.

So that kind of stuck with me. So I didn't tell anybody I was going to Seattle to run Pigtails. So when I hit mile 197 I, or let me rephrase that when my watch hit 197. I was really only at 1 94, but when my watch hit 197, I took a picture of my watch and posted it on the social media with a caption that said, I am a 5k away from crossing the finish line of my first 200 mile endurance work.

And I was just like, I knew I still had six miles though. I forgot was really drunk, but that kept me going , cause now, now that it's on social media, I have to finish , not that I wouldn't have finished at that point ,

But the funny thing, so here's the funny thing out of the whole thing. The RD had told me or had told Blythe there was a little bit of concern at mile 171. I wasn't that far behind per se, but there was that concern because I was at 171. I did only have five hours of sleep, exhaustion, sleep, all that , So there was some concern.

So the RD had told BLIS, like if Tony drops to the one 50, I would allow it. But Bly didn tell me that mm-hmm, , I'm glad she did it. You know.

Not that it would've made a difference because I would've kept going , fight to the very end , remember piercing violins , so fight to the very end, but having that option , it could have messed with my head , so I'm glad Blythe didn't tell me that.

And I'm glad that I, I, I didn't drop, but here's the funny thing had I dropped though to the one 50. I would have won the 100. Oh, because yeah. I made it to one 50 before the other two people. So the two people who who ran the one 50, they dropped the 100 and so two of the 200 mile drop to the one 50.

But I made to the one 50 before the other two who dropped down. So I would've won the 150.

But, here's the thing. I didn't go to Pigtails to win a 150 race. I came to Pigtails to finish a 200 miler. And so even though it would've been a win, it would've felt empty to me. It would've been a consolation prize. It would've been me not finishing the 200.

So a little bit of piece of some statistics for you guys. There were nine starters for the 200 only four finishers. So I was, I was one of the four now, granted I was last place, but I was also fourth overall

[00:41:53] Kevin: In the flooring rain too. That's, that's the thing it was like, it's not ideal weather. It's not.

[00:41:58] Endorphin Dude: Yeah. It was rain for like two days, I think, out of the four and yeah, it was just, it, there, there were times when it was miserable. you know but I got it done. And just to just to close this up just to wrap it up, it's really funny.

I talked to you earlier about the, the half marathon and then the, the marathon. And as ridiculous as this will sound it's, it's one of those things. Now, the reason why I did the 200, the reason why I really want to do the 200 is because I want to get to the level of my, my fitness level, both physically and mentally, where I can comfortably finish a hundred miler, not just comfortably finish it, but finish it strong. I don't want to just like chase cutoffs at the hundred miler anymore.

So I think back to when I ran my first half marathon and I did really well there , I was, I thought it was great. I thought the first half marathon was difficult , but I got through it. I ran a respectable 2:14. I was really happy with that. But you know, when I ran my first marathon, that half marathon seemed a lot easier. Mm-hmm because I had doubled the distance.

So as ridiculous as this may sound, I am now at the stage where I feel that the a hundred miler is very doable for now. And I'm not saying it's easy, but it's a lot easier than a 200.

Training for a 200 miler

[00:43:36] Kevin: How has training changed? What do you do to train for a 200? Is it different than what you do to train for a 100? And has training changed for you over the years? Have you picked up anything? Do you do anything different for training?

[00:43:49] Endorphin Dude: The thing about training is for a 200, it's kind of like, there's only so much, you can do training for a hundred.

You just run a lot. It's not like you can run double in training. You just can't do that cause you risk injuries. So for me I run the same training miles that, that I would for a hundred mile, but I've introduced other things to my regimen , more cross-training and nutrition helps a lot too.

I've gone low sodium I'm trying, doing interesting. I've been on a low sodium diet for about six weeks now and it's, it's really done wonders for me. You know, I've lost a little bit of weight. I feel better. I sleep better. A lot of it is nutrition. What's the phrase abs are made in the kitchen or something like that.

you can't outrun a bad diet or something like that. it's true.

[00:44:35] Kevin: Coaches. Yeah. I cannot outrun a fork, right? That's that's your favorite one, coach.

[00:44:40] Endorphin Dude: So I have really big plans for 2023 and beyond, nothing set in stone yet, but I'll have to come back on your show next year at the end of 2023, but I have big, big plans which I'm not revealing just yet, but there, there, there are things on the horizon that I'm working on, so...

Diet and Fueling for a 200 miler

[00:44:59] Bertrand: Before we wrap up Tony, you touched on, and Kevin touched on it as well, training. You touched on willpower mindset being tough when you're at that crossroads, mentally not giving up, ultimately know that the body still needs nutrition. Just as an example what is fueling you in your last a hundred mile, 200 mile?

What are you using to get through from a consumption standpoint with food nutrition? Because yeah, training and willpower only take you so far.

[00:45:32] Endorphin Dude: I eat real food during a hundred mile. I can't survive off of gels at a hundred at , like at a marathon you can , but for me personally, at a hundred, you need real food. You need calories, you, you need all that ? So I, I, I take a Ziploc bag with me. So when I'm at eighth station, I'll just pop in food.

So at ultras you have anything ranging from peanut butter, jelly sandwiches bananas up to like quesadillas pizza soup , I mean like a cup of ramen at like mile 80 is amazing, cuz it's nice and warm and all that salt here I am talking about my low sodium diet.

But you need the salt , and you know, these races, you need it , but having things like that, just keep your energy up So I. Where I can, I eat real food because goo chomps and gels, it's not gonna cut it, you know? It's just gonna really mess up your, your system.

So calories out calories in that's my, my take. So every every four to five miles or every hour, depending on which comes first I'll, I'll eat something I'll eat about a hundred calories, so.

[00:46:39] Bertrand: Okay, great. Thank you for that. And congratulations again, inspiring. Especially as many people are on the talent of marathon training blocks, 50 K training blocks. We have one of our athletes sets preparing for two, 100 miles in the next 45 days pulled out of a recent hundred mile miler, just wasn't filling it.

And you know, sometimes you have to live to fight another day. So this is a fantastic recap of your ultra-marathon journey. We're eagerly awaiting episode number four now.

[00:47:12] Kevin: We had a two part last time. Yeah. Well, Tony, I know , between these a hundred milers between these ultras, you also do a number of local races and, and whatnot.

So hopefully we'll see you out there on the trail. Any, anything local coming up?

Prepping for Local Races

[00:47:26] Endorphin Dude: I I'm doing a lot of local stuff because the thing is that on, on the flip side of me training and doing all these running and stuff like that, my sister is entering the running world.

my sister has had some bad luck in the past couple years and have put on a few pounds and she's just getting back into it now.

And she's finding the same love that I have for the running community. And so we've been doing a lot of like the local races, like shorter distances, she's working her way up, which I'm totally gonna out her now.

She, after she crewed me at Pigtails, she, she said she was like, I, I wanna do this.

So we're actually returning to Pigtails next year and she's gonna do the 50 K which is a big feat for her. It's, it's a huge monumental goal.

So I'm working with her on that. So so that's been a lot of fun kind of doing these local races, like the shorter distances, supporting my sister and just doing that.

I'm all over the place. I'm at every, every race out there. I've. Seen coach, how many times now? So I'm, I'm, I'm out there. I'm everywhere.

[00:48:28] Kevin: That's incredible. And I'm sure we'll have to figure out some collaborations and other stuff in between our next podcast episode, cuz it's fantastic seeing you out there.

And like I said, so inspirational, such a, such a story, but such a fantastic person in addition to that. So thank you so much again, Tony, for jumping on the podcast with us. This has been great, man.

[00:48:47] Endorphin Dude: Oh, just one final thing. Oh, let show you the award.

So this award, it says the 2022 Pigtails Challenge. Humble award.

Well it's not what it sounds. It's the opposite award. This is award to the most outlandish runner. Apparently so I, but I like to people. Yes, I'm humble.

[00:49:11] Bertrand: You awaken from the dead.

Yeah, he has risen has risen.

[00:49:24] Endorphin Dude: anyway, thanks for having you guys. I really appreciate, I had a lot of fun and I'll keep you guys posted on what I'm doing and then I'd love to come back for episode four.

[00:49:32] Bertrand: Yeah. Wonderful.

[00:49:33] Kevin: Cool.

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 podcast and leave us a review until next time. Keep on moving.