On The Trail – Reid’s Top Running/Hiking Trails


I don’t know that I really believe in New Year’s Resolutions but I do enjoy taking the time to plan out where I want to be in the upcoming year. Do I want to be in my usual routine or do I want to be in the desert, the mountains, or the jungle? I like to think about where I’ve been and set new goals. One of the most wonderful things about the internet is using it to plan adventures. What trails have like-minded people done and where have they been? This is my time to give back, I’ve compiled a list of trails that I’ve run or hiked over the years and really enjoyed. These are not necessarily the hardest, longest, or most adventurous. Some of them may even be crowded – but they are my favorites. I hope you enjoy them too. 2016- Where will you be?

 michele frigid air pass 16-189sm1.    Four Passes Loop

Distance: 26.4 Miles

Location: Aspen, CO

Highlights: This is an incredibly beautiful alpine trail that climbs over four 12,000′ passes. I have never seen more wildflowers in one place and the alpine lakes and coniferous forests are a must see.

Lowlights: Because of the altitude, there is a short season between when the snow is clear in the spring and when the snow begins to fall in the autumn. And there are even fewer days that you won’t experience lightning as you visit the peaks.

Tip: Bring a water filter to save on weight. There are enough streams to keep you hydrated all day.   







north kaibab trail-59sm

2.    Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim  


Distance: Between 41 and 48 miles depending on which trails you take. You will experience close to 20,000 feet of elevation change and close to 70 degrees difference between the rim and the bottom.

Location: 3 ½ hours from Phoenix, AZ to the South Rim

Highlights: Peeling away the amazing layers of one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Standing at the South Rim there is no way to comprehend just how big it is. As you descend, you start to understand just what it is you were looking at. If you go late enough in the spring or early enough in the fall, there will be spigots with potable water. Save on weight.

Lowlights: Getting stuck behind a mule train.







AngelsLanding3.    Angels landing


Distance: 5 miles out and back with 1,500′ of climbing steep steps and bolts with chains to keep you safe in the most exposed areas.

Location: Zion National Park (2 ½ hours from Las Vegas)

Highlights: Amazing views of the Zion Valley. 1,500 drop offs on both sides of the trail, thrilling exposure.

Lowlights: Scary exposure. Do not attempt this hike is you have a fear of heights. Also, the crowds can be overwhelming but I felt they were well worth it. There is no doubt you will experience logjams throughout the day, just be patient. Not everyone is as comfortable with the exposure as you are.






Kauai4.    Kalalau Trail

Location: Na Pali Coast, Kauai, HI

Distance: 22 miles round trip

Highlights: Where else can you get tropical rainforest without mosquitoes, poisonous spiders, or snakes?

Lowlights: There are inherent dangers along the way. There is one section that is very exposed and can be slippery, especially if it is wet. Also, there are a number of stream crossings that swell in the heavy Hawaiian rains and can strand hikers for days.








FisherTowers5.    Fisher Towers

Location: Moab, UT

Distance: 4.5 miles

Highlights: This trail winds in and out of the shadows of the monolithic Fisher Towers and opens up to the canyons toward Moab. You will most likely be able to stop and watch climbers scale the red sandstone walls.

Lowlights: It is the desert- it gets very hot in the summer.









6.    Long’s Peak

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Distance: 12.5 miles (don’t let this distance fool you)

Highlights: A beautiful summit rewards any hiker/runner willing to test themselves with this 14,259′ mountain.

Lowlights: This is a true mountain with big mountain concerns including lightning, rockfall, exposed ledges, and can snow any day of the year. The only reason this isn’t considered climbing is because you don’t need any technical gear. On the weekends in the summer you will also experience crowds and may have to wait in line at narrow sections.

Training – Top 6 Foods for Post-Workout Recovery – Brendan Brazier US News

Originally published in US News and World Report
Whether you’re an endurance or strength athlete, recovery is a crucial component of your training. During your workout you’re breaking down muscles; it’s after your workout that you actually get stronger. Feeling stiff and sore for days after training can significantly reduce your ability to train again and get even stronger. Active recovery techniques such as foam rolling and stretching are important, but post-workout nutrition can make the biggest difference in your performance. These are my six favorite foods toeat post-workout:
1. Nuts and dried fruit. As you work out, your body starts to deplete the levels of glucose in your blood, and must turn to glycogen – carbohydrates stored in your liver and muscle tissue – to fuel your movement. A 4-to-1 carb-to-protein snack speeds the uptake of glycogen back into your muscles and initiates muscle building. Look for foods with the majority carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. I usually grab a handful of almonds and dried fruit, like raisins, to replenish muscle glycogen immediately post-workout. I then wait at least 20 minutes before consuming my high-protein meal.
2. Plant-based protein powder. After you’ve replenished your muscle glycogen with a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-protein, aim to eat 10 to 25 grams of plant-based protein in your post-workout meal from a variety of sources to get a full spectrum of amino acids. Beans, nuts, legumes and organic soy are all options. If possible, reach for proteins that contain essential branched chain amino acids, which help signal your muscles to shift from a catabolic (breaking down muscle during training), to anabolic (building muscle) state. Brown rice, almonds, Brazil nuts, hemp and lima beans all contain BCAAs.
If I’m on-the-go, I always choose a multisource plant-based protein powder. When choosing a protein supplement, make sure it’s multisource (contains more than one plant-based protein source), and is made without soy, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. I formulated Vega Sport Performance Protein specifically for athletes. Each serving has 25 grams of premium plant-based protein, as well as 5,000 milligrams each BCAAs and glutamine.
3. Kale. Antioxidants help manage inflammation post-workout. While inflammation is a natural response by your body to stress, it can cause stiffness and soreness and limit your ability to feel great tomorrow. Dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard and collard greens are rich in antioxidants and an important post-workout food. Incorporating a salad into your post-workout meal will help you manage the inflammation created during your workout. Or add a handful of dark leafy greens to your post-workout smoothie – you won’t even taste the difference. I keep bunches of kale in my fridge at all times.
4. Tart cherries. For more inflammation reduction, grab dark colored fruit – like tart cherries. Tart cherries contain compounds called anthocyanins, which block inflammation while preventing muscle damage. You can find dried tart cherries (look for unsweetened) as well as tart cherry concentrate. Both are excellent additions to post-workout smoothies or your electrolyte-rich drink.
5. Maca. Usually found in the supplement aisle, maca helps your body energize, balance and adapt after strenuous activity. This hardy root plant is grown in the Andean mountains of Peru and thrives in an extreme climate of freezing cold, fierce winds and intense sunlight at altitudes of 14,000 feet, where no other crops can survive. In spite of the harsh conditions, maca is rich in amino acids, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Add it to smoothies, oatmeal or in any baked good; it has a mild malted flavor.
6. Pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of both BCAAs and zinc, two key nutrients for recovery. Zinc helps the growth, building and repair of your muscle tissue. It can also help to support your immune system. Since periods of heavy athletic training have been shown to impair your immune system, eating foods that are rich in zinc and vitamin A can be very helpful to performance.
Thursday, 12 November 2015 08:18

On the Trail – Desert RATS 2015

On the Trail – Desert RATS 2015

RATS 2015
Unique beauty, amazing wildlife and profound solitude – all the elements of true adventure – rewarded racers willing to brave the strenuous 2015 Desert RATS Kokopelli 150 journey. Having completed the 11th annual 6-day stage race, racers experienced why we are the longest running stage race in North America. Vast landscape and ancient obstacles combine to create the rugged and stunning beauty of the Kokopelli Trail. With a small intimate field Desert RATS was much more than just a race.
Runners ran from Grand Junction, Colorado to the world famous Moab, Utah along the beautiful 143-mile Kokopelli trail course. Distances ranged from day to day between 9 and 42 miles. This was a grueling year that challenged the most seasoned athletes, yet it was designed so that less experienced ultrarunners can also train for and successfully complete the course. The entire length of the trail is absolutely beautiful with jagged canyons and breathtaking vistas. The racers who truly enjoy the event and gain from the experience are those who appreciate the beauty of the land, the camaraderie of other adventurers, and the thrill of relaxing in the Colorado River at the end of the day.
While some raced, others were there to test their mental and physical limits. For both the men’s and women’s winners this was not their first rodeo. Becky Kirschenmann from Klamath Falls,OR had her second win. She set new records for both stages 4 and 5, eventually setting a new women’s Desert RATS course record. Ryan Guldan of Denver, CO came back for his 3rd win in a row. With a shortened distance on the Expedition day, Ryan now holds the record for the long stage. This year had many amazing racers- like Jane Herzog of Tacoma, WA who came out for her third time and was finally able to conquer the Expedition stage. Or Gene Dykes 67 from Bala Cynwyd, PA, a marathon specialist who ran a smart race. He downloaded the suggested mapping app and was able to do the entire 143 miles event without a single wrong turn. He smiled the whole way, stopped to take pictures, and still finished with a time of 36:19. Then there was Tara Tulley from Springville, UT who also stayed on track the entire time thanks to the mapping app. She was chasing cut-offs the entire time and gutted it out to be one of the few official finishers, finishing every stage within the time limits. Jim Willet of Toronto, Ontario Canada suffered early on when he arrived in Utah to find his luggage had been lost, he rose to the challenge and started the race in borrowed gear. This year saw four racers receive the sub 30 hour award: Ryan Guldan (Denver, CO) 21:39, Becky Kirschenmann (Klamath Falls, OR) 22:55, Sada Crawford (Driggs, ID) 27:54 and Leire Elosgul (Spain) 28:12 (unofficial).
This adventure is not for everyone. It is a huge challenge. While every racer’s week was different, the common experience was the grand scale of the event. The heat was extreme, the beauty was vast, and the friendships ran deep. Our hope is that as they experienced our race, and traveled the incredible landscape, they discovered a piece of themselves.
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 09:17

Balance of Training

Balance of Training

A traditional training cycle includes a three week build cycle followed by a rest or recovery week. A build cycle steps up incrementally in intensity, volume/duration and specificity. Depending on your fitness level not all three elements should be increased simultaneously in a three week build cycle. During the course of a build cycle your physical stress levels will increase due to cumulative fatigue of training. A build cycle is always followed by a week of recovery. A recovery week is 2/3 to 1/2 of the total volume/duration, intensity and specificity of a one week build. During a recovery week your stress levels should drop to a baseline level, allowing you to repair, recover and replenish your body from the hard build cycle. It is this cycle of building and recovery that allows your body to adapt to race day needs and prepare you toward your “A” goal for the season. Making time for daily recovery is imperative to staying healthy and on track for your race day goals. Be preventive and counter your stress levels by making sure you are adding adequate recovery time into your daily/weekly/monthly training plan. Some counter stress activities include:

1. Eat nutritionally dense meals. Avoid empty calories such as simple sugars and fried fats, as these foods stress your digestive system. A nutritionally dense mixed diet includes: 20% good omega fats, 20% clean proteins, and 60% complex dense carbohydrates of your daily caloric intake. This will support and replenish your body with much needed energy for daily training.

2. Proper hydration. A simple rule of thumb is to consume your body weight in oz/daily. If you weigh 150lbs then consume 150oz/daily. Then add 12-20oz for every hour of running.

3. A full night’s sleep. Sleep is the best restorative and reparative activity we have available to us on a daily basis. If you’re constantly injured or fatigued it may not be your training level but how much sleep you are getting. Be good to yourself and get 8+hr/nightly.

4. Get relaxed. Countering the daily stress of high volume or intense workouts through relaxation is one of the best recovery activities you can practice. Relaxation tools include: foam rolling, self and professional massage, gentle stretching, and meditation. Spend 10% of your daily run time in some form of relaxation, i.e. if you ran 1.5hr today then spend 9min in a relaxation activity.

Cindy Stonesmith CMT, ACSM/HFS, USAT&F level 2 coaching
Owner and Endurance Running Coach

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 09:16

How to match the road bike to the terrain

Choosing what style of bike best fits your needs can be a difficult decision to make, even once you’ve realised your preference is for the road over dirt trails, there are a lot of options that can complicate things. If you’re considering purchasing one of the many styles of road bikes (Tesco stock options for every budget) and aren’t exactly sure what is the best style of bike for you, here are few tips to choose a ride that will suit your needs and keep you rolling.

Decide what you will be using your bike for

Saying you will be using your bike to ride on the road is just the first part of describing its use, other things you need to consider are the length of rides you will be going on and what these rides will entail. If you’re looking for a bike to exercise on and ride in a more race style manner, then you’re after a standard road bike, but if you’re thinking of doing longer expeditions or multi-day touring then you might be more interested in a road touring bike.

The standard road bike https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7513/16043193466_700bcac282_z.jpg

Today’s road bikes are complex machines designed to achieve high speeds and be as lightweight as possible in order to ease the burden of climbs. They are most commonly made from steel (less so nowadays), titanium, aluminium, and the famous carbon fiber. While the strength and light weight of carbon fiber makes it the upper-echelon material and choice for the top riders of today, it also comes at a high price. If you’re looking to purchase a standard road bike don’t dismiss aluminium or titanium, as the lower cost of these frames will afford you better components on your  bike, which may actually reduce the overall weight and price in comparison to a base level carbon fiber bike.

The touring road bike https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7106/7579596104_c604b5633d_z.jpg

Most touring bikes are designed primarily to ride on the same surface as road bikes, though they can be driven on slightly more off-road surfaces, like compacted dirt and gravel roads. These bikes focus less, however, on achieving the supreme lightweight and top-speed characteristics of the standard road bike, and more on providing riders with a comfortable and sturdy ride that will get them through the long miles. For anyone looking to do multi-day bike trips with gear, the touring road bike will provide you with the best means for transporting yourself and your things over long distances.

The most important thing is fitting

Inevitably, you can have the top bike in the world for your choice of pursuit, but if you don’t have a correct fit, you’ll find riding difficult and quickly tiring. This not only means matching up your body-size to the bike, but also selecting the correct components that will make you most comfortable on your bike. Be sure to try out different components, such as brakes, gear-shifters, chainrings, and wheels to decide what ones feel the best for you.

Remember, choosing a bike should be a fun process, so take your time to discover what will have you enjoying your next ride the most.

Please feel free to give your bike fitting suggestions and advice in the comments below.

Images by  halfrain and  Robert Couse-Baker used under the Creative Commons License.

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