Meet a great RGV runner and Team TROT Ambassador James Torres

James Torres


1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?

As far as my running, I’m working on improving my speed. I look forward to some PR's in 2016. I’m planning to earn my first 100k finish as well. In my personal life, 2016 will likely be a year of professional and academic development as I continue working towards my education & career goals.

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport?

I started running in 2011, primarily to lose weight. Along the way I lost approximately 60lbs and decided to register for my first 5k with my co-workers. I enjoyed the challenge of finishing the race and I continued to train and race, stumbling across trail running along the way. I had registered for what I thought was just a nighttime 5k and turned out to be a night time trail 5k. After several local trail races I eventually found my way to the Brazos Bend half marathon in 2014 and after that race I knew this was what I wanted to do.

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?

Last year was my first year running ultras and I conquered some beastly races including Cactus Rose 50 mile & Franklin Mountains 50k. In addition, I also helped my local race team place 3rd in the 2015 USATF Texas Trail Championship.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in?

I try to get in some weight training every week to help me stay conditioned. Before going back to school I would sometimes go mountain biking or play tennis.

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day?

I work as a tech support rep for T-Mobile and I am working towards my bachelors degree in Business Information Systems. That pretty much describes my life at the moment - work, running, and school. 

Meet the "Sailboat" Mark Kenney

Mark Kenney

 1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?

Ans:  My goals for running in 2016 are to run shorter races at a faster pace and to explore new trails and meet new people.  Personally, I will continue to manage and operate my financial planning business, serve as a member of several Boards and do my best to balance work-family-faith and my charitable commitments.

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport?

Ans: I've been running collectively for 18 years.  I was introduced to running at the early age of 10 from a neighbor that lived just a few 100 yards from my house.  Long story short, I asked my parents if I could jog with him every morning before school and my love for running grew.  I took a hiatus from running between the ages of 17-32 to pursue other interests.  After having my second child, I got back into running for exercise and to get into shape.  

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?

Ans:  My most recent achievement that I am most proud of is when I completed my first 100 miler at Brazos Bend 100 in 2014.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in?

Ans:  I have set a goal this year moving forward to cross train more, using weight training, spinning, playing basketball, golfing, swimming and anything outdoors to keep me motivated and competitive.

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day?

Ans:  I am President of Kenney & Associates Financial Advisory Group, LLC.  Besides managing more than $70 million of clients' assets, I help individuals and small business owners with their insurance, investments and retirement planning needs.

TROT Ambassador: Rachel Adamson

Rachel Adamson


What are you goals for 2016?

1)  In 2016 I hope to get stronger and faster. I've seen I can go the distance, but I want to do it faster and more efficiently.

               How long have you been running and how did you get                    into the sport? 

2)     I started running in 2010. I was 272 pounds and watched a movie about Badwater. I thought why not me? I haven't looked back since.

                Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?

        3) I'm proud of every single run, but Rocky Raccoon 100 2015 still takes the          cake for me. It was my first attempt at 100, and I was successful. Many                  great people saw me along for that race and the training involved.

      What other outdoor pursuits or cross training                         endeavors do you participate in? 

       4) I am learning to love time on my road bike. I started riding in 2014, but             was never serious about it until a few months ago. A quad injury after                   pacing at badwater 135 this past summer helped to rekindle my interest. I           also really love lifting weights.

      Other than running and being an amazing human being,       whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the         day to day?

       5) I'm a former high school English teacher. I now homeschool my two                 children. There's nothing better than being there to witness their                             educational growth, and with our frequent travels(recreational and                       racing), it is especially sweet to just load up the camper and do lessons on           the road. 

TROT Ambassador: Brian Corbett

Brian Corbett

1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?

My running goals this year are to run a 6 minute mile, run at least 1 mile everyday (under 12:00 pace), and complete the Texas two step (BB50 & BB100).

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport?

I started running in January 2013 as a way to lose weight after getting up to 250 lbs and being unhappy with myself.

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?

My most recent finish was Franklin Mountains 50k.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in?

I like to camp with my family at Cub Scout outings.

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day?

I work as a process operator at the Citgo refinery in Sulphur, Louisiana.


How to Run ALL the Races - Frequently Racing Marathons and Ultras

Daniel Bucci 

Team Trot Guest Blogger

Take one look at the TROT race calendar, how can you not be excited?!?  If you want to run them all and are wondering how your body can handle that, then I have some tips for you.  Frequent racing is a topic that is near and dear to me.  Over the last few years I have become the addict, the guy that runs more weekends than not.  In 2015 I managed to race 27 weekends out of the year, and 19 of those weekends were marathons or ultras.  In 2016 I'm going for 25-30 marathons/ultras.  So, here are my thoughts and tips on how to get your body ready to run ALL the races.

1.  Build a Strong Base - This is number one because it is the most important tip.  I spent a solid year building a base for my return to racing at the 2013 Houston Marathon.  In early 2012, after a nearly 2 year break from marathon running, I decided to go for a BQ in Houston in 2013.  My body had not raced in a long time, and I knew I would need to slowly build up the miles.  I began a program in the spring that had me slowly build-up my long run distance, however this was not a traditional marathon training plan (where you peak with a 20 mile long run once or twice).  When I say build a strong base I'm basically saying get your body used to running long distances frequently.  This requires slow, steady and methodical running.  You have to get your body where the point where a 20 mile training run at long run pace feels normal and requires little recovery afterward.  Do this enough times, and your body will eventually adapt.  I've found that if you can run 20+ mile long runs for back-to-back weeks for a few months straight, you are likely ready to attempt a more frequent racing schedule.

2. Ease Into It - Running 20 marathons/ultras in a year did not happen overnight.  It was a slow steady effort.  In 2013 I ran 4 marathons (Jan, March, May, November).  In 2014 I ran 9 marathons (Jan, Feb, March, April, July, October, November, December) and last year was 15 marathons and 5 ultras (ran at least one in every month except June).  It took some practice and experimentation on how best to recover.  As you race more, your body adapts and you notice faster recovery.  The important thing is to not go from running one or two marathons or ultras a year to running 20.  While I have seen this work for some people, in general people who try this rapid increase end up with some type of injury and end up sidelined for an extended period.

3. Do Some Cross Training - Cross training is an important part of maintaining your body's flexibility and strength.  Cross training does not need to be intense.  I do some simple stretching and strength exercises 4-5 times per week for 10-20 minutes.  It's nothing special, but it keeps core muscles strong and flexible.  

4. Don't Race All the Races - While I run a number of races to compete or go for PRs, some races are run either for fun or as slightly harder effort training runs.  The best way to get used to racing is to practice racing at races.  Using races as training runs offers an awesome opportunity to practice fueling strategies and have supported runs to test out different strategies for PR attempts or attempts at longer distances.  For example, I used a 3:15 marathon pacing gig at the Grand Lake Marathon in Ohio as a final hard paced long run 2 weeks before a PR attempt in Chicago.  As it had been over 3 months since my last road marathon, this practice race was a test run of Chicago race day (on a very similar flat course).  The 3:15 pace ended up feeling like an easy effort run and was a huge confidence builder that got me mentally ready to PR in Chicago (and I did PR running a 2:52).  Recently I used a 50k to test fueling strategies and pacing for an upcoming 50 miler.  Using races for fun and/or training gets you used to getting up early and going through the race routine and help to ease race day jitters when the goal race does come around.

5. Listen to Your Body - Running frequent marathons and ultras requires a certain level of discipline of knowing when enough is enough.  There will be days when your body says no and you need to listen to it and rest.  There are times when I feel really good and can continue to push the training hard, and there are times where my body needs rest and I simply do some easy short runs, or take multiple days off.  When you frequently race, you will find your body does not lose fitness very fast, and you can afford to take some time off from hard training.  Most important thing is to rest when you feel you need rest.  No single day of training is worth sacrificing the greater goal.  Because of this I follow a generally unstructured training plan, and only work in a hard training day when I feel I can handle it.  Other than getting long runs in on a weekend, I'm pretty flexile on what days I do speed work, etc.  Each recovery from each race is different, after some races I feel great and can run hard a few days later.  Some races require more time.  The important thing is to listen to the body, and pay attention to the warning sings of injury of excessive fatigue.  Rest is not a four letter word, it is necessary.

6. Most of Your Runs Should Be Easy - Aside from races, I do 1 or 2 other hard training runs per month.  On weekends when I don't race, I do an easy to moderate pace long run, at a pace and distance that does not leave me feeling drained.  During the week, most of my running is done at 1:00 to 1:30 above marathon goal pace and most runs are in the 5-6 mile range (nothing too long).  Once every two weeks or so I'll do a fast tempo run to maintain speed.  Basically, your races are most of your hard runs.  By doing mostly easy/moderate running during the week, you will allow your body much needed recovery while maintaining fitness.

7. Be Willing To Compromise - What I mean by this is that you may not reach your fullest potential.  For example, if you target to run only 1 or 2 marathons per year as your A races, and you do rigorous training for these 2 races, you will probably run a better time than you will if you run marathons every two weeks.  If you are going to race frequently you may not reach your fullest potential as you need to dedicate a lot more time to recovery.  It depends on what you want.  I enjoy racing, so I race a lot.  If you are after a particularly ambitious time goal - it may be better to train more and race less so you can stick to a more structured training plan.  The one item I dislike about frequent racing is that I have lost some structure to my training - but again - be willing to compromise.

8. It's OK to miss a race - If you don't feel it, don't race it.  The great thing about frequent racing is there is always something on your calendar.  If you are feeling ill, hurt, or just aren't up for racing that weekend, then it's probably best to rest.  While I don't DNS often - it is inevitable that you will at some point when you take on a frequent racing schedule.  Last year I DNS'd one race (personal reasons), this year I had to DNS a 50k because I had the flu.  Stuff comes up in life, don't feel guilty about a single DNS.

So that's it, those are my tips.  Like any advice I give about running - I'll give you my common disclaimers.  What I wrote above works for me, it may not work for everyone.  I am of the opinion that running is a very personal sport, and different people respond differently to training.  A routine that works for me, may not work for you.  I tried to keep these tips fairly generic for that very reason, and not get into specifics on details of the workouts or exercises that I do.  Like I said, my training is generally unstructured.  What I encourage you to do is slowly experiment.  You will find something that works for you.  It won't come without some growing pains, but with focus and decent training you can run ALL the races, while still setting PRs, running longer distances, and evolving into an all around better runner.  

Meet the Team Trot Ambassador Marc Henn

Marc Henn


1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?

My goals have somewhat changed this year.  I started off the year with my training going amazingly well and feeling stronger than I've ever felt ramping up toward running my first 50 miler but then I came down with a sore achillies and I've been nursing that since.  I'll be slowly starting to train this week and will hopefully be ready to run the San Felipe Shootout in March and if things go really well the Brazos Bend 50 in April.  One goal I'm also hoping to achieve is earning the TROT 10 award which means I need to run (and finish) most of the TROT races this year. 

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport?

I started running just over two years ago.  I signed up with a goal to finish a 5k without walking and after a month of training I was able to do it on race day.  After that I caught the running bug and soon after that I was introduced to trail running.

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?

Running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim was just an amazing life experience.  We took our time, took tons of pictures, and smelled the roses along the way but it was a very difficult.  I'd also say I'm also proud to have finished the Franklin Mountain 50k and look forward to running that again.  Not even counting the climbing it was the most difficult trail race I've ever run but also one of the most rewarding.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in? 

I enjoy camping with my family.  We probably average a dozen or so trips a year all over the state.  I'll normally pick spots that also have trail running options.  I also play tennis and enjoy going dove or duck hunting. 

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day?

I'm a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and have my own practice in Temple, Texas.  I enjoy helping people pursue their financial goals though planning and investing.  I also have 2 daughters who are also very active, playing soccer and running an occasional 5k.

Team TROT Ambassador Crystal Torres

Crystal Torres

1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016? In 2016, I am hoping to place in my age group for the Texas Trail Championship ultra series. I am also hoping to place in my age group for the TROT Cup. I'm also hoping to kick some serious butt at Franklin Mountains and PR at the Cactus Rose 50

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport? I have been running since 2011 and in 2012 I did my first race which was an obstacle course race with my mom. I started running simply to lose weight. I started at 244 and have lost a total of 90lbs since then. I first started running/ walking around a local park, eventually I was able to run a mile without stopping. Once I was able to do that I worked my way up to a 5k, 10k and eventually a half marathon in 2014. Last year 2015 is when it got really fun for me! In 2014 Brazos Bend Half Marathon was my first big trail race away from home and i fell in love with the sport of trail running. I took my trail running all over the state in 2015. I loved seeing the world through new eyes and exploring the beauty of nature.

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of? I placed 2nd in the female 20-29 Texas Trail Championship series. It was my first year competing and I was so very excited and also a little taken by surprise. This year I'll be competing in the Texas Trail Championship (ultra division) as well as the TROT Cup.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in? I love weight lifting and hula hooping. Weight lifting keeps my whole body strong but helps me strengthen on certain muscle groups that may be weak. Hula hooping is great cardio and an amazing core workout. It's actually how I first got active. I love the carefree feeling of hoop dancing under the sun. I just love being challenged, I've also participated in various OCRs and also done a goruck event.

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day?
I'm a graphic designer for a flexible packaging company. My day is mostly spent on the computer setting up graphics for print production, color matching items, photographing objects, copy editing, and figuring out the best way via print to create the customers desired look.

Meet Team TROT Runner Carmen Martinez

Carmen Martinez

1. What are you goals for 2016? I have 2 goals for 2016: Running the Franklin Mountains 50k (amazing race with KILLER scenery) and earning a buckle at SnowDrop at the end of the year. I was so disappointed to miss Franklin last year, so this has become my goal race for the year!

2.How long have you been running?  I've only been running for a little over 5 years. I started after a friend convinced me to run the Houston Half Marathon, and I haven't stopped since that first race. Looking back, I can't remember what I did with all my free time (and money) before I started!

3. What is your most recent success in running? I came in 3rd place at the TROT Blazing 7s 50k race!! I remember being extremely surprised when Rob announced that I had placed for my division at this tough race. It may be the only time I earn a respectable finish for a race, but it will stick with me as one of my proudest accomplishments.

4. What other activities do you do other than trail running? In addition to running stairs and weight training, I recently incorporated yoga into my regular cross training workouts. The yoga definitely helps maintain my flexibility while reducing my stress during the week.

5. What keeps you busy on a day to day life?  My workweek is comprised of being an all-around financial/operational guru for my department at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Outside of work, I spend my time raising my two boys AND adopting rescue dogs :)

Team Trot Ambassador Josue Quilliou

Josue Quilliou

1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?

As my A-race for 2016 is now over (Bandera 100K), I feel free to jump on new projects and keep having fun! That includes running the awesome TROT races (especially the new ones and the now famous Franklin Mountain Race !) and do 1 or 2 more 100k race. Ideally, I'd like to race on qualifying races for Leadville 100 and Hardrock 100, so I'll work on it in the next few weeks and finalize my calendar. Oh, and I'll probably sign up for a full Ironman distance!

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport?

I started in 2011 when I moved to Norway. The wild and mountains were just at my door and I just embraced it! Even though I miss the mountains (yeah, Texas is a bit flat...), the friendships that got built with the trail running family in Houston, especially TROT, is so strong and motivational that I keep pushing my limits!

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?

Well, my two 100k races are the most awesome experiences that I'm proud of. Habanero 100, where I managed to stay awake, even after 19h of race, and Bandera 100 where I hit the wall and managed to overcome it. Both events were life changing experiences!

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in?

I love triathlon, especially for the cross training aspect of it. A full Ironman distance is a side project for this year.

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day?

I'm a safety engineer in the Oil & Gas industry. I'm sitting behind my desk most of the day, that's why I grab any opportunity to get out and run with my friends! 

2016 Horseshoe Trail Run Race Recap

2016 Horseshoe Trail Run Race Recap

This year's edition of the Horseshoe Trail Run was moved from the rainy season in May to the coldness of January. With the change of the year, we were excited to have over 420 runners participate in the event on January 23rd. 

Last years 50k winner Team TROT runner Jeff Ball was back to defend his title and hope to crack the CR on the 2nd installment of the race. Team TROT runner Julie Koepke who was 2nd last year stepped back in the 50k again looking to enjoy the course although it was quite a bit drier than the mud fest of 2015. 

As the 6am clock counted the 2016 Horseshoe Trail Run 50k was underway. Jeff Ball took the early lead along with Joshua Jones and Andre Fuqua for the males. Julie Koepke, Shawna Meyers and Amy Kerrigan lead the females in the 1st loop as well. 

Jeff Ball would win the 50k in a Course Record of 3:59 and Julie Koepke won the 50k as well in a course record 5:32. 

The other distances started with a staggered start with the  25k  at 7am, the 10k at 7:30 and the 5k at 8:00. 

At the end of the race all finishers received a custom bottle opening medal, a pint glass and post race beer provided by Karbach Brewery.

All results for all races can be found HERE

For a list of all of our races click HERE

Our Next Race is the San Felipe Shootout on March 12th

Meet Stephen Moore Team TROT Ambassador

Stephen Moore

1- Going into 2016 is to get healthy 1st after a injury late in 2015 and focus on getting as prepared as I can for Leadville Trail 100.  I'll run as many TROT races as I can ending 2016 back at Brazos Bend for hopefully another 100 mile finish. 


2- I've been running seriously for 2 years. I tried it for a few months in 2013 but it didn't stick.  I started running because I wanted to change my life.  Someone told me once to get a hobby so after running some in the Air Force years ago I thought why not? Once I got on trails and shortly after discovering Ultra's I was hooked and now sink most of my life around this great sport. 


3- My most recent finish that I'm proud of was Pumpkin Hollar 100. I had pacers but went without a crew and other than turning a ankle bad 70 miles in, I had a really cool day. 


4- I recently got back into the gym pretty heavy.  Like 6 days a week.  I tried it some in 2015 and it helped but when I stopped is when I eventually wound up getting hurt. Core & Strength training is so under rated and I'm fortunate enough to have a coach that pushes me hard to go get that extra work in daily. 


5- To pay for my running I'm a product support rep for a heavy equipment company. Basically I try to solve issues with customers and/or my employer.  It's a cool gig n allows me some freedom to stick to a training plan with my run    My other passion outside of running is live music. I love the independent bands where guys just scrape by playing songs that they've written. 

Trot Ambassador Dawn Burris



TROT_Dawn 2016.jpg

Dawn Burris

1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?

I want to continue to encourage other runners to challenge themselves with trail running and longer distances.  For me personally, continue eating healthy, staying fit and challenging myself with more Ultra races and different terrains.

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport?

I was never a runner but once a friend signed me up for Gusher 5K in May, 2010, I became hooked. I will be eternally grateful to her for getting me started and on the road to many great adventures and meeting so many runners, who I now consider some of my best friends.

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?

In November, took a road trip to El Paso for Franklin Mountains 50K with some of my favorite running buddies.  This was my first mountain race and the most challenging to date – was super excited to finish and looking forward to tackling it again in Sep 2016.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in?

Main focus has been running over the last 5+ years, minimal cross training, planks and squats, at home on non-run days. 

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day?

I’m a Project Coordinator for Wells Fargo and sit behind a desk and work on my laptop for 8 hours a day.  I look forward to the end of day when I can get out in the fresh air for a run or take a long runcation weekend

Meet Michelle Gochis our Team TROT Ambassador

Michelle Gochis

Michelle Gochis


1.)   What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?  I want to run as many 100 milers as possible, each faster and stronger. I plan to run the Stagecoach 100 Ultra in September, from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. I plan to train hard for that, and each race between now and then will be a training run for it. 

2.)   How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport? I ran track in 5th grade and never stopped running. My mom ran a lot when I was a kid, and she would take me with her on my bike, and then running alongside her when I was old enough to keep up. I started training for my first marathon about 6 years ago, when my kids were old enough for me to take the time to train. I ran 2 marathons, two weeks apart, then started running ultras.

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of? My biggest race achievement would be the 100 miles I just completed at Snowdrop 2015.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in? I love going to Crossfit. It helps a lot with running.

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day? I work at the high school my kids attend.  I love being able to see my kids all day. It helps keep us connected with life as busy as ours is. I run for the love of running, races are just fun. I will always be a runner, and I hope to inspire others to get out and love it too. 

Meet Team TROT Ambassador Mark Gehringer

 Marc "The Real Deal" Gehringer

Mark Gehringer


1)     What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016? Be a stronger runner by focusing on: daily nutrition, weekly speed work, gym/core work 2x/week.  Measurement of this goal will be reflected in how I am physically feeling a the end of long ultras later in the year.


2) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport? I have been running my entire life.  It has always been a part of me and an identity for me.  In 3rd grade I ran and won my first spring and became the class "fast kid". In the 4th grade I won my first trophy (21st place overall) for the cross country season.  Ran in jeans and Stadia brand shoes back then.


3) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of? I am most proud of my 2nd 100 mile race finish in 2015 at Brazos Bend 100.  It was special because I DNFed the same race in 2014.


4) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in? I love camping.  I do more RV camping now with the family, but I have always loved tenting and cooking over an open flame all weekend.

Meet Team TROT Ambassador Venus Turner


1.) What goals do you have, (personal or running related), going into 2016?
Personal- going back to school
Running- I want to run my first 100k and my first 100 miler. Run more 50 milers and of course improve my times.
Will be running road races such as The Woodlands Marathon, TIR Relay and Mexico City Marathon.

2.) How long have you been running and how did you get into the sport?
I've been running 7 years the first 4 1/2 years I was a recreational runner and never ran a race before. Everything changed once I ran my first 5k. I started running as part of warm up at a boot camp class I took. I didn't know I was going to like running. After I finished the class I'd go a run around the neighborhood. Started by running a mile and increased the distance until I was able to run 6 miles everyday. It's funny because I was embarrassed to run in shorts and tank tops so I'd wear sweat pants and short sleeve shirts.

3.) Most recent race/achievement that you are proud of?
My first 50 mile race made me feel so proud of myself and of that big accomplishment.

4.) What other outdoor pursuits or cross training endeavors do you participate in?
I have been training at the gym with free weights and a personal trainer.

5.) Other than running and being an amazing human being, whats your day job or what keeps you busy during the day to day? Another one of the things I love as much as running is cooking! I love cooking and being able to create dishes and play with the flavors of the food! That keeps me busy.


Guest Blogger: Pat Sweeney

I genuinely love to run I can’t remember ever regretting the decision to do so but sometimes it’s hard to get started. You may be in a funk and it’s easy to sit on your ass, so to combat your excuse to be lazyhere are a few ways to stay motivated and get your butt out the door.

1. THE BREAKFAST RUN (Follow your nose)

This one is for all you people living in the city or in suburbia.  I'm not much of a big breakfast person plus I don’t eat meat but I still love the smell of cooking bacon.  One of my favorite times to run is early morning on the weekend. Every home you pass provides opportunity for a different smell,  from waffles and Syrup to ham and eggs.  Let your nose be your guide.  Go smell the localcoffee shop,  the bakery or local diner and if you wanna stop to eat?  Go for it. Just make sure you are not to stuffed to run home afterwards.

2. Bird Watching    (ornithology)

Awhile back ago I got small chart of the local birds where I live.  There are about 25 different birds I see on regular basis.  A few years ago I even saw a Blue footed Booby. Little things can bring you great joy.  I watch the squadrons of pelicans sail by when a storm is coming and enjoy the awesome mohawks of the local terns.  Most of the birds where I live do not migrate but when I see the few that do returning in the fall it’s like seeing an old friend and that brings a big smile to my face.

3. Audiobooks

(Nobody has to know you are listening to “Fifty Shades of Grey” and not Dr.Dre)

When I know I need to get in miles and it doesn't matter how long it takes nothing beats a good a Audio Book.  If you got the bucks to spend Audible is pretty awesome and they offer a couple credits to first time subscribers. some of my favorites include Ready Player ONE, The Martian or guilty pleasures like Harry Potter, Twilight, or the Hunger Games series.If you are too poor to purchase from Audible try Librovox all their book are free and in the public domain.


4. Start a collection (Shovels are cool)

Last week I found 41 during shovels during one run (a New world record). if you follow my instagram (Bourbonfeet) you will see a lot of shovel pics   I repurpose the shovels as one of kind finisher amulets to races that I hold.  In 4 years I have given away over 500 of them.  The rest I give away to children. I never Imagined I would find such joy in shovel collecting.  If I wasn’t there to pick them up they would get thrown away or destroyed by the tractors that comb the beach leaving pieces of litter that gets washed out to sea. It’s pretty ridiculous, it’s stupid, it's silly and it is yet another thing that keeps me motivated. You never know what you are gonna find


5. Destination run (Earn your happy hour.)

 Run to your favorite bar or Restaurant or on the other side of town. If you hankering for some crappy food or beer you might as well burn some calories first. It’s also good practice for running in an Ultra since the longer you run the more you gotta eat. It’s probably a good idea to get at least 2 orders of guacamole so that you have enough energy to run back. .

6.Start a blog (You might get some groupies.)


Do people actually read this crap "HaHA!" Well you do, so maybe someone else does as well :)  Write about daily run, do gear reviews, (chances are you get some free stuff in the process) or write about that collection of crap started hoarding. It’s good outlet to be creative and even if your mom is your only reader she will be proud of her now famous running kin.


7.  Searchfor art. (It’s Everywhere)

 Art and inspiration can be found almost anywhere.  “Wake Up and Frolic” is pretty much my mantra for life. 

8. Learn to forage. (No need to carry gels anymore)

Just be careful where you pick you dandelions .I know of at least 20 different fruit trees in my town. Sometimes I will watch an avocado for weeks waiting for it to grow to maturity(exciting stuff I know)and if it hanging over into the public domain.  Well I consider it fair game.  There is so much to eat out on the trail you just got to know what to look for.  You can even make money at it if you know the right kind of mushrooms to collect. 


9. earnLay Away ewLay anguageLay.

Learn a New Language

(Spectacular is part of my vernacular) 

Although I have yet to grasp the english in my first 36 years of life .  I have started listening to some spanish lessons and well?  “Me Gusta!”

10.Get a fitness tracker

Some people love strava and that’s cool.  I just like to draw pictures with my gps (Too bad I lost that domain name Doh!)  Earlier this summer I found a fitbit on the beach and I actually really dig it. That reminds I gotta get some steps in.

Training Through An Injury

Training through an Injury

From Team Trot Runner and Gust Blogger Julie Koepke

Recently, I’ve been struggling with knee pain.  It began during a 100-mile race in October 2014, escalated to the point where I took an entire month off of running in March 2015, and then crept back again in October 2015.  I was able to run through it until I did a 50-miler in November; after that, the pain was so bad that sometimes I’d go for a run and only be able to make it a half a mile.  This was especially frustrating, as I had made the Bandera 100k USATF National Championships a goal race, and was really hoping to PR and get a top-10 place in the Championships.  Fortunately, I was able to do things – other than running, for the most part – during the month or so leading up to Bandera, which led me to reaching these goals after all.

Note that just as every person is different, so too I think every injury is different.  What works well for one person won’t necessarily work well for another.  Furthermore, what works well for one person with one injury might not work well for that same person the next time they’re faced with an injury.  However, I think there is value in sharing what has worked well for someone.  I know that I enjoy trying out various methods – especially when I’m desperate; and what injured runner doesn’t feel desperate at times?  Then I keep the things that I liked and discard the things that didn’t work well.  I hope my tips can be helpful in a similar way. 

Here are 3 things I did that I found helpful:

1.       Cross training

Not running is hard, and I admit that I’m not good at it.  Here is a screenshot of a few weeks of my training plan.  Notice how I should have been resting from running, but continued to stupidly aggravate the injury for weeks.

The following week, I wrote: “New plan: no running for a week.”   What a concept!  Stop doing the thing that hurts.  I continued doing cross-training activities that did not cause me knee pain, including hiking on the treadmill at maximum incline, hiking with a weight vest, swimming, strength training at the gym, yoga, and bicycling.  I also walked stairs on two separate days during this time.  On both days I did 90 flights; the second time, I wore a 20-pound weight vest.  I returned to running gradually, only when it no longer hurt at all to run, and beginning with barefoot running on a beach.  Since my goal race was January 9, this didn’t leave a lot of time for any runs at all, but at least I felt confident that I was in good shape aerobically and that I was strong from my cross-training.

2.       Reading an inspirational and useful book

During this time, I read Matt Fitzgerald’s book, How Bad Do You Want It?  In it, Fitzgerald shares the stories of certain elite athletes (runners, triathletes, and cyclists) who have cultivated mental toughness and “coping mechanisms” that have led to their successes in their sport, and suggests how the reader can be his or her own personal sports psychologist, trying out these tactics himself or herself.  Fitzgerald writes that no athlete can ever truly give 100% effort; we always hold something back.  The key is to try to push as close to that wall as possible.  He says that how far the wall is depends upon your physical ability, but how close you’re able to approach that wall depends upon mental toughness. According to Fitzgerald, an athlete coming back from injury might actually be able to perform just as well as an athlete in top physical condition if the injured athlete has greater mental toughness, and so is able to push further towards the limit.  I definitely reminded myself of this at various points throughout my race at Bandera. 

Some of the specific coping mechanisms Fitzgerald discusses felt especially powerful for me, especially the idea of “bracing yourself.”  Leading up to Bandera, I consciously “braced myself,” telling myself, “This is going to be hard.  There is going to be a lot of pain and suffering, because you are undertrained.  The knee pain will probably come back during the race.”  Fitzgerald says this strategy is effective because it lowers the perceived effort during the race.  Since I was already expecting pain, when it happened during the race, I was able to tell myself, “That’s no big deal, I knew that would happen.  I can push through it.”  I have to say, too, what really helped lower my perceived effort during this race was getting to run so much of it with my TROT teammate Matt, listening to music, and feeling gratitude – there were my effective coping mechanisms.

To me, there is benefit during a time of frustrating injury to reading any book that may inspire me to persevere through challenges. (Chrissy Wellington’s book, A Life Without Limits, and Haley Scott DeMaria’s book, What Though the Odds, are other go-to’s for me).

3.       Journaling

Last June, I started a routine of journaling before every race.  I found that this helped me sort out all my different emotions – of which I have many before a race – and eased my nervous tension, simply through identifying and acknowledging how I felt.  The night before Bandera, I did the same thing.  Here is an excerpt from my entry.  (Sorry that the writing is so messy – I was lying on my side in bed as I wrote it, not at all thinking that I might later decide to post it here for the world to see.)

The first emotion that came to mind was nervousness.  And I was right to be nervous: my body felt sore pretty early on, probably due to my lack of consistent running over the last few months.  My left knee hurt from about mile 10 on.  And running in general felt harder than it should.  But somehow having already processed this nervousness in my journaling made me calm during the race when these problems cropped up.  When something somewhat troubling happened, I’d think to myself, yep, that’s happening, but it’s okay – I expected that.  (I’m not showing the other part of my entry, where I wrote that I felt excited about the chocolate muffin I bought for my pre-race breakfast.  But it’s there.  J)

I tried other things, too, during this time, some of which were helpful, and some of which were not.  But these were the top 3 things I can look back on as directly leading me to achieving my race goals, despite not getting the amount and quality of training I would have hoped for.  I’d love to hear what has worked for you, too: what additional tips would you share?

Read more of Julie’s blogs at



We were really excited this year to announce the 2015 TROT CUP for our runners. We wanted to create a series that allowed runners to accumulate points both for them and teams that they run with. With no minimum races and free to enter we enjoyed watching the points accumlate all year. With the success of 2015 we were able to also sign some great sponsors to help us with the 2016 TROT CUP as well. 

From the gun at San Felipe the combination of Tracie Akerhielm, Jeff Ball and the Golden Strutters were in the lead. They took the leads from wire to wire accumulating points in many of the races and both Tracie/Jeff qualified for the Lead Foot Award.

For the Mens Matt Zmolek made his move in the 2nd part of the year with wins at Blazing 7s 100k, Jackalope Jam and a great finish at Brazos Bend 100. Dan Bucci stayed in the hunt all year in the top 5 in many of the races that he ran. He had some great end of the year pushes at both Jackalope and Brazos Bend 100. 

For the Womens Julie Koepke did her damage with not only one of the best finishes at Horseshoe Trail Run but also tackling the Habanero Hundred. She was the ONLY finisher of ANYONE in the 100 miler and it put her up near the top of the rankings. Kate Papenburg swept the San Felipe Shootout and it was tough as many women tried to chase her down. 

The Golden Strutters and the HATRs battled all year long with the GTS Club starting pulling away with a strong push at Blazing 7s Trail Run. With an increasing number of members and runners going further they took the lead and never looked back. 

Our Volunteer Contest had moved up and down all year. Kurt Bush was the early leader in the year with Tina and James keeping pace. Tina Barr went out to Franklin Mountain with us and manned the west aid station pushing her up to the 1st place. James "Long Shot" Limbaga worked a shift from thurs-sunday at Brazos Bend 100 and won on the last day. We cant wait to get these awesome volunteers some running swag for helping us out!

All of the full results including age groups, overall results and volunteers points below. 

Below is the final standings for the winners and also a link to the complete database as well. See you all for the awards Gala on Jan 23rd at Horseshoe Trail Run 5pm.

Overall (Male)

  1. Jeff Ball
  2. Matt Zmolek
  3. Daniel Bucci

Overall (Female)

  1. Tracie Akerhielm
  2. Julie Koepke
  3. Kate Papenburg

Masters (50+) (Male)

  1. Buddy Howlett
  2. Wayne Schlosser

Masters (50+) (Female)

  1. Becky Howlett
  2. Jacqueline Nolen

Age Groups  (Male)

29 & Under

  1. Jeff Ball

  2. Zach Szabelski

  3. Anthony Jacobs


  1. Daniel Bucci
  2. Calum Neff
  3. Peter Muessig


  1. Jeff Miller
  2. Mark Gehringer
  3. Iain Wallace


  1. Buddy Howlett
  2. Brian Beard
  3. Barry Ortner


  1. Wayne Schlosser
  2. Anthony Mireles
  3. Jose Murillo


  1. Bob Smither
  2. Nofal Musfy
  3. Michael Haviland

Age Groups (Female)

29 and Under

  1. Kate Papenburg
  2. Kimberly Palacios
  3. Melinda Coen


  1. Tracie Akerhielm
  2. Julie Koepke
  3. Monica Egner


  1. Sherry Scott
  2. Shannon Warning
  3. Becky Nesbitt


  1. Becky Howlett
  2. Jacqueline Nolen
  3. Dawn Burris


  1. Marla Hendricks
  2. Anesha Godden
  3. Nancy Holcomb


  1. Thelma Richardson

TEAM Championship

1st Overall - Golden Triangle Strutters

2nd Overall - Houston Area Trail Runners

3rd Overall - Team RWB

Volunteer Award

1st Overall- James Limbaga

2nd Overall - Tina Barr

3rd Overall - Kurt Bush

Lead Foot Award Winners

Tracie Akerhielm, Misty Johns, Amy Kelly, Becky Howlett, Martha Hilton, Mary Abernathy and Nancy Holcomb.

Jeff Ball, Matt Zmolek, Chris Hamilton, David Tomfohrde, Buddy Howlett, Marc Henn and Brian Beard.

The link below is to all of the information for all of the series.

Brazos Bend 100 Race Recap

Brazos Bend 100 Recap

The Brazos Bend 100 is set up on the beautiful 5000 acre Brazos Bend State Park just south of Houston in Needville. The park had recieved over 12 inches of rain in the past weeks leading up to the race but the weather leading up to the race was decent. 

When the race started Saturday Morning at 6am the humidity was high, the temps were mild and the clouds were overheard. Within 12 hours the storms started to roll in to the park with the windy and drizzle starting to come down. In the overnight hours the park was under a tornado warning and many of the tents were being manned by human anchors as well. The final Brazos Bend 100 runners who deserved the relief of the weather were in for a Texas treat. The final 6 hours of the race the rain started to come down fast and sideways as the final cutoff on starting another loop was met. Around 9am on sunday morning with 3 hours left on the race clock the front came through with a swift winter chill. The temperature dropped over 20 degress within minutes turning the park into a horrid mix of wet, windy and raining. 

Soon after the front swept through race staff began the race preperations to treat hyperthermia and get runners off the trail as soon as they finished. As each runner came through the finish we hurried them into a waiting heated van, stripped them of their wet clothes and got them into warm clothes. 

As most Texans will tell you if you don't like the weather well wait it will change. The normally high finisher rate of the 100 miler (over 70% in 2014) began to be a sufferfest that few were able to tame. Those who were able to endure the tests where welcomed with a Brazos Bend 100 buckle and one of the 30% of the finishers of the race. 

For complete results visit HERE

For more pictures please visit our facebook albums HERE

Runner and Pacer Dialogue Decoded


Guest blog: Gia Madole

                Have you ever heard a runner and pacer talking, or been the pacer or runner, especially at the end of a hundo and wondered what they really meant? Following is an exclusive guide to decoding a pacer’s and a runner’s conversation.

At the Aid Station - Pacer Pick Up

Pacer “You look great, let me refill your water and we will get going.”

Translation – You look like crap. I’ve seen corpses look better than you!

Runner “Thanks, I’m just going to sit for a min.”

Translation – I feel like I am dying. Can you just shoot me and put me out of my misery?

Pacer “Ok we need to go now.”

Translation – Get your butt up, I’ve been waiting to run all day and you’re just sitting there.

Runner “Ok I am going.”

Translation – Are you sure you can’t just shoot me?

A little further down the trail

Pacer “Where would you like me to run?”

Translation – Please say in front, please say in front, I really want to run.

Runner “I don’t care, I guess in front.”

Translation – Maybe if you run in front I can hook a rope to you and you can drag me. That’s legal right?

A mile later….

Runner “Maybe…. run beside me?”

Translation – Are you freaking kidding me!! There is no way I can go that fast I can’t even feel my legs!!

Pacer “OK”

Translation – Can I get a cattle prod and run behind you then?

Runner “Sorry I am running so slowly.”

Translation – I really do feel bad you have to run so slow, but I really am happy you are here with me”

Pacer “Don’t worry this is a great pace. You have a lot of miles on your legs today”

Translation – This is horribly slow, my grandmother with a walker goes faster than this!

Pacer “I think the next girl is about an hour behind you.”

Translation – I know the next girl is 5+ hours behind but she is real competitive, maybe this will help?

Runner – No comment

Translation – S*@! Ok… I found a new gear.

Pacer – No comment

Translation - YES!!! We are running!

Runner “I have to puke.”

Translation – Good thing you are on the other side of me this is going everywhere.

Pacer “Maybe ginger ale at the next aid station will help?”

Translation – If you would learn to puke as you run it would really save time.

Runner “Do you see those eyes in the woods?”

Translation – Maybe whatever it is will come and snatch me and put me out of my misery.

Pacer – “What eyes? You’re imagining them. Oh that… it’s just a frog, keep moving.”

Translation – Yup there are about 20 sets of wild animal eyes staring at us. The plus side is I can run faster than you right now so you will be diner not me.

Runner “I really don’t care about a stupid buckle!”

Translation – I really do want that buckle but I also want to stop.

Pacer “Yes you do turn around and keep moving.”

Translation – I am out here all night to help you, you are getting that buckle even if I have to drag you across the finish line!

Runner “When did you turn into the Devil!”

Translation – I hate you, I love you, I hate you, I love you!

Pacer – No comment, laughing inside.

Translation – You think I am the devil now, just wait if you don’t keep moving you will see the real devil come out.

Pacer “We are getting close only a few more miles.”

Translation – Well technically a few can be rounded up so technically 8 miles can be called a few

Runner “Ok”

Translation – Maybe I will survive.

A guy runner passes

Runner “Crap”

Translation – Double crap how is he running so fast! Oh, I just found another gear; no way is another runner going to pass me.  

Pacer – No comment

Translation – YES!! And we are now running!!

Runner “This pace isn’t so bad, why was I not running like this before?”

Translation – Everything in my body hurts and hates me, even my pinky finger!

Pacer “You’re doing great!”

Translation – You really are doing great!

Pacer “I see the lights at the finish line, time to go get your buckle.”

Translation – I’m not going to have to drag you across the line, woo hoo!

Runner – “Yes!”

Translation – Adrenaline is such a wonderful thing!

Runner and Pacer Cross the finish line

Runner “Thank you”

Translation – Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! Even though you turned into the devil for a little bit you helped me so much!

Pacer “Anytime”

Translation – I really did have fun and I am proud of how well you did. Plus it gives me a funny story to tell later.

                The mystery dialogue is now solved. You will no longer have to wonder what a runner or pacer really mean in their conversations.