Saturday, December 3, 2011

The JFK 50 to 59

When David Bohn laced up his La Sportiva Skylites for the 2011 JFK 50 I am pretty sure he didn't think he had a chance of winning it. David was not there to duke it out with Michael Wardian or run shoulder to shoulder with David Riddle. Like most of the other runners who lined up that day he was in a race of his own making, a kind of parallel race to the one the organizers had planned. No, David was not running the JFK 50 but the JFK Sub-8hr 50.

I think I can safely say that 90% of the people who showed up for the THE 49TH ANNUAL JOHN F. KENNEDY 50 MILE RUN were, like David, also running some kind of parallel race, each with goals and agendas as varied as the individuals running them. As runners, when we hear the one minute warning and scurry to find our place in the mob we all want a reason to be "in the game", even if it is one of our own making. Having those "reasons" is what gets us up before sunrise on days when we want to sleep in, has us donning headlamps at night when we could be home reading a book and has us bundling ourselves up in our balaclavas and mittens in the winter when sitting inside infront of a roaring fire would feel so good.

So I just wanted to take the time to give my CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who ran their version of a "parallel race" this year. Whatever reason got you "in the game", the races you ran were just as important and vital to the sport of running as the official race you signed up for was. Running your own race is the path to realizing your potential and one day you might find yourself not only winning your "parallel race" but surpassing your wildest expectations and placing in a race you didn't realistically think you were in. Which by the way is what happened to David Bohn when he realized that his monumental win in the "JFK Sub-8hr 50" had also earned him a 3rd place finish in the JFK 50 to 59 . Now how sweet is that?!

I wish I had time to list more but here are a few PARALLEL RACES run this year. Please feel free to add to list in the comments-

Kendra winner of the Bear Mountain "cut-offs, cut-offs, I must make the cut-offs" 50 miler
Sara winner of the Oxfam Trailwalker "have fun with the gals, see China and raise money for a good cause" 100km
John F. winner of the Leadville "just finish before sunrise" 100.
Shelley winner of the Finger Lakes "I'll finish even if I'm last" 50 miler.
Ron winner of the Sulpher Springs "just stick to the plan" 100
JD winner of the Burning River "I have a need for redemption" 100 miler
John M. winner of the Run for The Toad "I hope my leg holds up" 50k.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

R.I.P. Evan Hone's Blog

Note: Evan's blog is back.. no wait it is gone again, no it is back again, or is it gone again? Any how check here. You just gotta love the guy;-)
As the "Crypt Keeper" for Evan Hone's Blog(google, "Evan Hone Blog" and you will know what I am talking about) I thought I should put up this memorial for those of you who would like to pay your respects to an irreverent ultrarunning blog gone before it's time.

I know that some of you are wondering why Evan deleted his blog and quit blogging a few weeks ago so I took it upon myself to ask him and Evan was kind enough to answer a few questions(he texted the answers while in a meeting at work).

EJ- When and why did you start blogging? 
Evan- I started the blog back in 2008.  I was living in a 1 bedroom cabin in the Chugach State Park 100 yards from the Crow Pass trailhead.  Beside Geoff there was zero representation in the mountain running world coming from Alaska.  I thought it would be fun to write about my absurd adventures in the "last Frontier".  I thought it would be a local thing but I started getting quite a bit of traffic from the lower 48. 
EJ- Under what names did your blog appear chronologically and was there a reason for the name changes?
Evan- In the beginning I was the Eagle River Runner.  I am from Eagle River and my parents still live there.  It is a town 10 miles north of Anchorage. I then moved to California and changed the blog name several times after that.  Every title ended up being worse than the last.
EJ- What was your favorite post? 
Evan- Every post was terrible.  HA!  I did have some good ones about my adventures in the wilderness with my dog Ernie.  I also had a lot of fun making fun of people that wear short shorts, arm sleeves, heartrate monitors, and GPS watches.
EJ- What post still makes you cringe? 
Evan- A couple of shoe reviews I did.  The 2 kinds of blogs I hate are when people write about their weekly mileage and when they do gear reviews.  I am not a gear guy and do not keep a record of how much I run so I am never interested in that crap and can't believe I wrote about it occasionally.
EJ- Was blogging satisfying and worth your time?
Evan- Nope. 
EJ- Did you take it personally if there were few or no comments for a post?
Evan -I always wondered about why some posts that I thought were boring would generate a ton of comments and some that I thought were fantastic generated little interest.
EJ- Did you check your stats often? 
Evan- Nope.  I did not even realize there was a way to check the stats for the first couple of years.  My boss gets pissed about how little I know about computers.
EJ- Why did you stop blogging?
Evan- I have a couple of kids (had a little girl in August) and a full time career.  I do not have time to obsess about running like I used to.
EJ- Why the avatar of the large guy? 
Evan- A lot of people take this stuff way too seriously.  I thought that picture was hilarious.  A glam shot of me wearing short shorts would have been too cheesy.  HA!
EJ- Do you miss blogging?
Evan- Nope.  I like being away from it.  Occasionally I hack into my wife's facebook account and I see how consumed people become with running.  It is literally all they talk about.  I do not want to be one of those people that lets running consume their lives.  Running is a major part of who I am but once I am healthy I am done talking about it and plan on just putting in the time to get better.
EJ- Do you think you will blog again? 
Evan- I doubt it.  There are already too many blogs out there.  Also now that I live in California there just isn't as many cool things to write about. People down here think it is epic when they run in the rain or in a little bit of snow.  Thousand Oaks has some good mountain running but it is not Alaska.  I have yet to be charged by a large brown bear down here. 
EJ- What was the worst/best thing that you got from blogging? 
Evan- It is very time consuming but I did like to look back on past posts to remember some of the fun times had on the trails. 
EJ- How is your hip? 
Evan- Terrible.  I am now having surgery on my right hip (labrum FAI) very soon.  Same thing I had on my left hip.   I have been running injured since August of 2009.  I would give anything to be healthy again and be able to run solid mileage.  My last race I ran was Leona Divide 50 last April and my training for the 2 months leading up to it was maybe 50 miles per week because I had to take so much time off because of hip problems.   
EJ- What kind of training are you doing these days? 
Evan- My training is hit or miss because of my hips.  I view myself as a mountain runner and not an ultrarunner.  It is all about climbing and I only like to do races that have a lot of climbs.  As long as my quads are always sore I am a happy man.
EJ- Are you doing your 100-ups daily? 
Evan- Not sure what this means?  Push-ups?
EJ- What do you think of people who do google searches for you? 
Evan- Not sure.   There are a lot better, more interesting runners out there.
EJ- Have you ever google searched another runner/s and why? 
Evan- Sure.  I like to google friends and read publications that talk about them.  I also keep a close eye on the Alaskan running scene.
EJ- Any "Final Words" you would like to add about blogging, Bloggers, Blogs or ultrarunning?
 Evan- I spent a couple of hours volunteering/hanging out at the Santa Monica 50k yesterday.  I was so jealous of the runners out there.  I really just want to get healthy.  

Evan, Thank-you so much for answering my questions and all the best with your upcoming surgery.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Born To 100-Up


There were many reasons why I was disappointed when I read Chris McDougall's claims about the "100-UP" routine in the NY Times. I won't go into all of the reasons why however the one that disappointed me the most was that deep down inside I wanted to believe everything he was saying about it, that is was the, "foolproof method to relearn what the Tarahumara never forgot. A one best way to the one best way".

I cannot deny the giddy excited feelings I had in my belly as I read about how W.G. George invented the routine and then became a champion runner. It was the same feeling I had had a few years ago when I first read Matt Fitzgerald's, "Brain Training for Runners", Dr. Romanov's, "Pose Method of Running" and Chris', "Born To Run". Each book initially held the promise of being the one magic piece that my running puzzle was missing but in the end turned out to be just another addition to a still incomplete picture.

So in the end I was more disappointed in myself for wanting to believe in the "100-Up" then I was in Chris for offering it to me as "the one magic piece" that I thought I had given up searching for.

 -If you’re baking a cake, the “secret” ingredient that’s crucial to success is whichever one you’re missing. :) And once you’ve added that ingredient, adding twice as much doesn’t make it twice as good.
Alex Hutchinson,
Sweat Science

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spirit Animals


Want to find your "Spirit Animal"?
I found out I am a tiger here, a hawk here, and here I am a rabbit.
Or you could run the 2012 Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon and perhaps the RD Micah True aka Caballo Blanco will help you discover your inner "Spirit Animal".

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I've Discovered Why You've Been Running

Why do you run? That is a question runners get asked and or ask themselves all of the time. My answer at this point in time would be that I run because I want to become a better runner. Some may ask and I ask myself all the time why I draw URG comics. My answer at this point and time would be that I draw because I want to become a better artist. The comics I post here are my drawing workouts. Looking back at my early "workouts" I can see that I have come a long way and like with my running the progress is slow but any progress is good so I'm happy to just keep plugging along.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What Kind of...

Click on image for larger view!!

This comic was inspired by the multitude of "FACE PLANT" stories I have come across recently in my Blogger travels. Did you see that camera guy in Geoff Roes video go down, now that was funny...but why was it funny? Seeing people fall should not be funny but it is, as long as no one gets hurt...seriously. I ended up with stitches once when I fell and believe me I was not laughing.

It is quite the experience though, running along without a care in the world, admiring the landscape, the flora, the fauna then BAM you are down. The ground comes up so quickly to your face and it feels like gravity has increased ten fold as your head smashes to the ground shaking your brain all around. Sometimes trying to save yourself can spell more trouble and you end up with a cut hand, a broken wrist or a dislocated elbow. Not fun or funny stuff for sure.

The truth of the matter is that "face plants" are dangerous as many people have suffered serious injuries taking one and my question could just as easily have been, "What is the most dangerous plant to an Ultrarunner?" In that split second that someone is falling none of us knows if the fall will result in a scratch or a broken bone. So when the dust settles and it appears that everything is in the right place then I guess all of that adrenaline from the anticipation just has to go somewhere and it ends up spilling out as a kind of celebratory relief  in the form a big hearty burst of laughter.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's For You...

Click on Image for Larger View!

Apparently the biting flies(black, deer etc. etc.) were bad around these parts this year. I heard many a tale from avid outdoorsy types about how they high tailed it down wooded trails on foot and whisked around tight corners on bikes trying to avoid the nasty buggers. As I listened to their stories of pinning dryer sheets to their clothes to ward them off I tried my darnedest to be sympathetic and dared not mention that the tiny pests never bother me even if I happen to run through a swarm and accidentally down a few while I'm at it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There was an Old Lady...


Thank-you for stopping by today. While you are here feel free to check out more comics on URG's other pages(main page) and don't forget to see if you won URG's "Out Too Fast" contest here.

Also if you haven't done so yet then please consider following URG so you don't miss out on future comics and contests. Lastly I really do appreciate anyone who adds me to their Blog List and am happy to reciprocate by adding yours to mine;-)

Have a Good One,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Out Too Fast...The Comic and the Contest!

If you haven't seen the comic "Out Too Fast" already then it means you either haven't gotten around to purchasing Bryon Powell's new book, "Relentless Forward Progress : A Guide to Running Ultramarathons" or you are just a slow reader and haven't come to page 178 yet. So for those of you who haven't seen it you'll find a preview of that page below plus two chapters of the book to preview here.

The Comic-
Click on image for larger view!
The Contest-
iRunFar Headsweats Race Hat
From reading your blogs I do know that there are many folks out there who have read and are following the training plans in Bryon's book. I would love to know some of your favorite tips about training/racing/nutrition/hydration etc, etc. that you picked up from "Relentless Forward Progress". Please leave your thoughts and comments below with your name and a winner will be randomly chosen to win a great iRunFar Headsweats Race Hat made of Coolmax mesh and built-in terrycloth headband to show off on your next run or race. Note: Make sure to check back August 23rd to see if you won.

The Contest Winner-
Thank-you to all who took the time to comment. It appears that everyone is in agreement that Bryon's book is an overdue and welcome resource for the ultrarunning community. I am sure that Bryon will be happy to hear that his book has been a helpful tool for you all. Now without further adieu the winner of the Headsweats Race Hat is Alex. Congratulations Alex, please e-mail me your mailing details so Bryon can send you your prize;-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

50 Flavors


What is this URG comic about?a) URG living true to his motto that if one is good then 50 is better!
b) Ultrarunners are gluttons for miles and ice cream.
c) URG is demonstrating how a strong base is the foundation of success.
d) How URG replenishes the 5000+ calories he just burned running around the park's 50 km perimeter.
e) URG showing off his new shoes to the locals.
f) How URG really, really, really likes ice cream.
g) all of the above

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Quitter Inside!

Ahh if it were only that easy. There is a 'Quitter" inside all of us waiting for the perfect moment to make his presence known. When to listen to him and when not to heed his frantic calls for mercy is one of the toughest decisions an ultra runner has to make. Not listening could mean injury or serious ill effects.  Listening could mean giving up on ourselves and our dreams. I was comforted the other day to learn that even the best elite runners wrestle with this same quitter demon inside of them. Thanks Gary for your funny and  insightful post and all the best with your most recent set back which is not funny at all;-( Sometimes we have to QUIT but we don't ever have to GIVE UP!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cold Rain & Mud

Click On Image for Larger View!
One of the hardest things for a runner is to be stuck at home when a friend or loved one is off racing somewhere without them. Add in extreme weather conditions and the waiting and the wondering can become unbearable.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Winner of the "URG From the Hill CONTEST" is...

...Kevin P. is the WINNER of  "The URG From the Hill Contest". Kevin's calculated guess of 9380 miles was indeed URG from the Hill's yearly mileage!! Kevin is now the owner of an advanced personalized autographed copy of Bryon Powell's new book

Congratulations Kevin, you were the only one to guess correctly so the Bonus Questions did not come into play. Many others were close, very close and a few unfortunately appeared to have misread the distance markers. After you see my calculations I know some of you will be kicking yourself however I hope you had fun with it and I really appreciated the time it took for everyone, even the guessers to enter so thank you all so much. (Note: I have entered my calculations at the bottom of this post if you want to compare yours to mine.)

Kevin's Bonus answers were-
a - Mom & Dad - 840 miles
b - December
c - 72 days
d - How many days does URG have to substitute a Big City Run for a run to Town to make it an even 10,000 miles for the year?
Ans: 31 additional runs to the Big City vice running just to Town.

A few people seemed to have fun with Bonus Question d- where they were asked to make up a question and answer it themselves. See a few of those inventive and amusing self made questions and answers below.

Alissa L
d) How old is URG from the Hill? Under 30 because he never needs a rest day. :)  

Roger H
d. Bonus Question: What do Granma n Grampa give him for Christmas Dinner
Bonus Answer: 1 teaspoon of cement.
Bonus bonus question: Why only 1?
Bonus Bonus Answer: 100 mi in 23 hours? He's hard enough already!
: )

Tom B
d) When does URG rest? He rests every 4 years on February 29th.

OK so there was also the drawing for the 2 Power Balance wrist bands from all of the entries plus my Followers. Just a reminder to please Follow URG so you don't want to miss out on future contests and comics.
The winners are: Tatianna and Derrick. Congratulations!

My calculations and explanations-
The best place to start was at the "meat and potatoes" of the question which was to figure out how many times URG ran to Town and then figure out the distance using that number.

He ran to Town everyday of the year(365) except when he ran further so you needed to count up the number of times he ran further.

52 days to the Big City, 14 to Mom and Dad's, 4(Oct, Dec, Feb, Apr) to Brother's and 1 day to run to Gramma and Grampa's plus 1 day to run home from Gramma and Grampa's. 52 + 14 + 4 + 2 = 72

Then subtract that number from 365 to get the number of days of running to town times the distance to get the total number of miles to town. (365 -72) x 20 miles = 5860 miles to and from town per year.

Now all you have to do is calculate the distance to and from URG's other destinations-
Big City 52 x 40 = 2080
Mom & Dad's 14 x 60 = 840
Brother's 4 x 100 = 400
Grandparents 1 x 200= 200

So the total number of miles URG from the Hill ran is 5860(Town) + 2080(Big City) + 840(M&D) + 400(Brother) + 200(G&G) = 9380 miles

Note: there was one entrant who pointed out that all of my calculations were based on a house of cards that could come toppling down if for some reason URG decided to leave late for his long runs. If URG did not leave just after the crack of midnight then some of his 1 day runs could in theory have lasted 2 days and his 2 day run to the Grandparents could have lasted 3 days. I call this theory the "Human Factor Monkey Wrench" and it made my head spin. However I did determine that this was a guessing game where URG's mileage was a predetermined "X" and the hints were there to help you guess that predetermined number. Just to be safe though next time I will probably run my contests past the above unnamed entrant just to be sure; )

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bryon Powell's Rejects ; )

Click On Image For Larger View! 
(remake of the original)

   I thought I would put up the two comics that will NOT appear in Bryon Powell's new book, "Relentless Forward Progress". As you can see both comics feature the author himself in one form or another. Using the table of contents of the book as my guide I submitted a re-make of "Off Course" for the chapter about navigation and "Good Water" for the chapter about hydration.  I really enjoyed trying my hand at capturing Bryon's likeness as this was the first time I actually looked at a picture of someone while I was sketching a comic. This then inspired me to attempt another caricature of three well known ultrarunners(the fourth being  mentioned by text) who's picture I found on Bryon's site. That comic called "Out Too Fast", is indeed the one that Bryon accepted for his book.  I am not sure why Bryon rejected the other comics however I have a theory that his modesty may have played a role and or he didn't appreciate seeing himself depicted  hanging from a cliff or as a pillar of salt. Go figure.

I would also like to mention that you still have time to enter the contest to win an advanced copy of the book so check it out here . Good Luck to everyone and thanks to all of those who have entered so far. Come back Sunday to see who won.
 Click On Image For Larger View!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

URG From the Hill CONTEST!!

WIN Bryon Powell's New Book

*All you have to do is GUESS URG's yearly mileage.
Guess Here Now or see the map below for clues.
Hint- It is between 5000 & 10000 miles

*Whoever's guess is closet without going over WINS plus everyone who enters will have a chance to win a Power Balance Band(see details below)

CLICK TO ENTER the contest or e-mail your answer to


I am very happy to announce that the winner of "URG from the Hill Contest" will win a personalized autographed advanced copy of Bryon Powell's NEW book, "Relentless Forward Progress". The book is sure to become "the standard for ultramarathon training books for a long time to come" and will be available to the public in late April at . I would also like to give a quick mention(brag) that one of my comics was personally chosen by the author to appear in the book. "Out Too Fast" is a new comic that I drew especially for "Relentless Forward Progress". I can't say enough how very honored I was when Bryon accepted one of the three comics I had submitted to him(OK I was a bit offended that he turned down the other two but I got over it).  

I am also giving away 2 "Power Balance" wrist bands. The winners will be randomly chosen from the entries submitted and my Followers so if you are not Following URG please do so for another chance to win.

All you have to do to add this great book to your library is to answer one QUESTION- What is URG's yearly mileage? (see the map). Your answer can be a guess or your best calculation. Whoever's  guess is the closest with out going over WINS!!: ) You don't need to answer the Bonus Questions, however if there is a tie then The Bonus Question/s break it and failing that the winner will be chosen by a random draw of the tiees(is that a word?). Only one guess per person per question.
E-mail your name and answer ONLY to
GOOD LUCK to everyone! CONTEST ENDS  Saturday, April the 9th at midnight.

*Copy and print map if possible
*Read the Clues & Details along with the Question and Bonus Questions before beginning your calculations
*I shouldn't say but please note the distance key or you haven't got a hope; )
*The calculations are very easy so take it bit by bit and have fun.
*If I think of anymore HINTS I will add them here
*If you have any questions post them as comments so everyone can see them and my response
ENTER NOW or e-mail your answer to

Monday, January 31, 2011



Good Luck to everyone this year who has or will enter the too numerous to mention Ultra lotterys. I hope this year is the year you finally get into that race you have always wanted to run in. What lottery/s did you or will you enter this year? Also tell me what you think of the lottery system in general, IE. which lottery system do you think works,  which one is more complicated then it needs to be etc. etc.?
Note: Everyone who leaves a comment will win a free entry into the 2011 Desert Island 100(date TBD, entry limited to those who meet the minimum qualifying standard) ; )

Mr. Crab