My fall break from running and training is over, and the sun is setting on 2017. Lottery season is well underway and races all over the west are selling out in a week—or less. I wasn’t as lucky this year with the Hardrock lottery, but fortunately there are so many other stellar racing opportunities around. I’m trying to put together a mouthwatering 2018 schedule and I’ve had a few significant changes in my life that are allowing me to freshen up my approach to next season.

Fall Teton sunset from Togwotee Pass

First of all, I got a new website! So fresh, isn’t it? Special thanks to Joel Hatch, the genius behind KatBlu Web Design, and co-host of the TrailManners Podcast, for creating this snazzy new place to dump my thoughts.

What else is new and fresh? Well, I got a new job. I now teach part-time high school social studies with Wyoming Virtual Academy, which is beyond cool. In the past, teaching “online” and through a computer is not what I would have ever considered as an ideal teaching job for me. I enjoy making connections with students, chatting with them throughout the day, and being part of a school’s culture. Turns out you can do almost all of that online and with a phone as well, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my students that are from all over the great state of Wyoming. The other perk of this job is that I have a very flexible schedule. As soon as I get my work done mid-afternoon I’m out the door running while the rest of my family is still in school. This certainly creates more ample quality training time throughout the year and I intend to use it wisely.

Coming down from Green Mountain in the Flatirons

Another change is that in addition to my sweet friends at Honey Stinger, I have been extremely fortunate to gain the support of a few more sponsors for 2018. For starters, I’ve officially joined up with Salomon Running as a part of their Ambassador Team. This is ideal for me as I’ve been wearing their shoes and packs for years, and they have lot’s of good stuff coming down the pipe too (check out the totally dialed in Sense Ultra 2). Salomon embraces playing in the mountains to the fullest and is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible in trail running; needless to say, I am psyched to be part of their squad.

There is running gear somewhere in there too

Another crew I’m excited to be a member of for 2018 is the Park City Running Company Team. If you have never been to their store just off of Interstate 80 in Utah, you’re missing out. Between their truly impressive product selection, excellent customer service and product knowledge, and their in-store coffee bar… now that it what a running store is supposed to be like! So fresh. I’m as guilty as anyone for enjoying the benefits of online shopping (especially living in rural Wyoming), but what you get at PC Run Co is second to none. Next time you are in the Park City area make darn sure to stop into the store and grab a delicious cappuccino and find yourself some of the finest running gear on the planet.

Exploring Black Joe Canyon

One more partner that I’m beyond grateful for are the good folks at ARC’TERYX, as they are also supporting my racing and running adventures this year. ARC’TERYX is the epitome of high performance mountain apparel and I have blissfully been running in their Endorphin Series apparel for years. This winter they are unveiling a rockstar of an ultra trail shoe, the Norvan LD, and some innovative running packs as well. Most significantly, ARC’TERYX shares my love for being immersed in every moment of long adventures, and I’m excited to share ARC’TERYX’s passion for celebrating wild places.

Having more time to train and support from some of the industries top trail running companies brings with it a certain amount of pressure, of course. However, I don’t really mind that at all though, as it gives me just another excuse to raise my game. I’m as stoked as ever to be working with Ty Draney Endurance again this year, as Coach Ty always finds new and interesting ways to kick my butt and keep me out of trouble. Also new for this year is the nutritional guidance of Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN, to help me further dial in my diet to support high volume training and ultra distance racing. Heather has nudged me towards small dietary changes that have already yielded noticeable results in training. I am so grateful for the support of these two masterminds as I prepare for the 2018 season.

Don’t be confused, this is not a food blog

All of these changes and added support means that my 2018 racing season will look a little bit different as well. I’m starting things off extra early with the absolutely dreamy looking Orcas Island 100. Orcas Island is part of Washington’s San Juan Islands, nestled nicely in between the straits off the shore from Bellingham. I’m so fortunate that ARC’TERYX is supporting me with a primo racing gear for the inevitably wet, bone chilling cold, yet lusciously beautiful 100 miles and 26,000 feet of climbing the race will bring. I should be well outfitted as well for training hard through another spicy Wyoming winter. I’m very intrigued with racing in the Pacific Northwest; adventuring in the area has been top of my to-do list for quite some time. Besides, James Varner and the crew at Rainshadow Running have been putting on groovy events for years and it’s about time I head over to the PNW to see what all the fuss is about.

Mount Constitution on Orcas Island

Since I’m starting my racing season early with Orcas Island 100 in February, I’ll pull on the reins a bit with another break in late winter to enjoy some rest and some skate skiing. Hopefully I will be so fresh for Bighorn 100 in June, and whatever other a races I come up with to wrap up the 2018 season. However, my goals don’t just revolve around racing though, as adventuring in the mountains is really where my heart lies. I have a couple of alluring projects tentatively planned in the Wind River Mountains for late summer, but I’ll write about those as time gets closer. 

13,743′ on the summit of Fremont Peak

So there it is, that’s my fresh approach for 2018. I’m so blessed to have the continued support of my wife and family, as well as all the generous folks mentioned above. Anyone experienced in the world of competitive sports knows how important it is to quickly recognize when you have been given an opportunity, and to emphatically seize that moment. Let’s see how things go in 2018. Thanks for reading and stay fresh, my friends.

Late autumn Wind River Running