Friday, March 29, 2019

Spring Snow

Well, I can see Western States 100 on the horizon outskirts. Right now it's a couple days before April, and it snowed a few inches in the valley last night. (Insert -_- emoji). After running only the few snow-accessible trails since seemingly early November, I'm ready for things to dry out. I'd be lying if I didn't say I look at the front range driving home every day saying aloud, "melt, snow, melt!"

I'm motivated to start upping the miles. There are challenges like always: work travel, terrible conditions of trails, all the high country still covered in literal yards of snow, the fact that miles take time, etc etc. But the overall sentiment is that things are on the right track. I've been doing one workout a week since January, for the most part (thanks Maddie). I'm feeling fit, but not particularly fast or mega endurance. I do feel a little behind in terms of general timing. The classic Western States build is a 50k in March, a 50 miler in April or early May, then crush training until the last Saturday in June. By contrast I have a whopping four "long" runs under my belt since Jan 1 -- 22, 18, 19, and 24 milers -- that's the obvious improvement I need to start making.

A small yet ferocious squad of ultrarunning misfits is slowly taking shape in SLC, which gets me amped. We'll grow and have some adventures this summer, I'm feeling it. Before States, it's a local road half, Zion Traverse (stoked), more work travel, and hopefully some killer runs on dirt. For now, I'm not overtrained, I promise that. After States, it's pacing, exploring, and dare I say giving the WURL or Milwood 100 a go? Those would be rad.

For now it's putting my head down, staying durable, upping the miles, and focusing in having an enjoyable day at States all the way around.

On a side note, I do feel compelled to note that I've been ~90% off Instagram since December of last year, and my life feels a little better. I'm in my own bubble, but I like it. Cheers.
Best ski day of the year with a lovely lady  
Still liking Petzl 

Post work hike

Misfits minus Dmitri and Maddie 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2018 Recap

Another year's past -- another numbers roundup for my sake. I "ran" 2,468 miles and 500,733 ft of vert. I put "run" in quotes because I did a whole lot of steep hard hiking this year as I spent the full year living in Salt Lake City on the foot of the beautiful Wasatch mountains. The Wasatch are anything but flat. There are really only a couple of flat trails, which makes "running" less boring to me. Tag on some technical stuff, wildlife, and weather, and by goodness Rudy might be getting tough again.

I also track total vert, which includes skinning, so put that a total to 519,825 ft of vert (yeah, really only skied uphill in January). One of my more favorite metrics is total time doing active stuff (run, bike, spin, core, yoga that's difficult, not downhill skiing, not rock climbing). Grand total of active time was basically 525 hours. I'm most proud of 500,000 ft of running vert and 500+ hours of training time. I spent way more time outside than in 2017. So even if I didn't crush that many races, perhaps I started the journey of becoming another "silent Wasatch shredder" as I like to call them. Mostly they're 30-50 year old dudes who don't brag at all about their athletic abilities, but go out and crush mountains year round. But I guess you could call blogging bragging, so I still need to take notes.

I bought a house in October? Which wasn't really expected but I did it SO I'M PUTTING DOWN ROOTS. Work was great in 2018. Petzl and its people are dope. We work hard and play hard. I'm quite excited where it'll take me in 2019. Cheers, sales.

I feel older. I have way less energy and alacrity to run than previous years, but I still want to be active and get outside and push myself. Western States 100 is the obvious goal for 2019, so we'll see what kind of shape I can get myself in once the days get longer and the snow starts melting. But for now, it's skiing, hiking slowly up Granduer, and trying to establish/expand my friend group. Sometimes I feel extroverted and sometimes I'm like AH I'M SINGLE AND LONELY IN A CONSERVATIVE STATE.

So here's to more good living, focused running when the time comes, working hard, traveling lots, and being but not trying to be happy.

Run MilesRun VertTotal Time
20143,673575,833631 hr
20152,796435,296474 hr
20163,034417,435528 hr
20172,627379,185465 hr
20182,468500,733525 hr

Runners Pretenting to Ski

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wasatch 100

"Chrissy I'm effing tripping right now. I'm laying down. Give me two minutes."

I lay right next to the trail at mile 75 and felt the blood in my legs travel back towards my head. So relaxed, minus the rock shoved into my hip. No matter. I shut my eyes and was seconds from sleep but knew it wouldn't come. I was just about to get passed, again. I was frustrated that the trail was loose and steep and I couldn't run it. I was frustrated that I kept getting passed. Frustrated that I was falling asleep but unable to sleep. Frustrated that I was bloated and chafed. Frustrated that this wasn't any fun. But whatever, I wasn't going to give up. I made up my mind a long time ago, well before the race. I was going to prove this to myself. All low patches turn around eventually. I thought, "Even if I have to walk 20 min miles most of the way, it's only five more hours, and what's five hours?"

That was the worst of it. The rest was by no means rainbows and unicorns, but there were spectacular parts. Tearing up at sunrise because I was doing this, and I think that for once I was happy. Strolling into Big Mountain aid station and picking up Franz. Plopping face first into a kiddy pool to get wet. Giving Speedgoat Karl a high-five, cruising. Running above Brighton at sunset. Getting surprised by my boss at Brighton. Singing and screaming Dance Gavin Dance lyrics without inhibition because I was losing my shit mentally and physically and good Chrissy wouldn't judge me--we've been through too much. Running hard on the fireroad with Earp to the finish line, wide awake. Crossing that finish line with my parents and best friends right there. They believed in me and were there for me even when I wasn't sure how I was going to hold up. And that's what's awesome about ultrarunning.

Dad Rutemiller with the magic

To be honest--and frankly, if I was a Shakespeare character, honesty would be my fatal flaw-- I'm removed from Wasatch by almost two weeks and still having trouble putting it into words or even coherent thoughts. I'm proud but not very happy. Could I have run two hours faster and four places better? Yeah, sure. But I didn't and it's 100 miles and it's really never that smooth. You deal with what you're delt. You stick through it because you're tough and you're committed. You prove it to yourself, that you're gritty and you can do hard things, even if they're contrived. I'm not unhappy because I lost a few places; I don't really care about that. But I also can't tell you why I'm unhappy. It's my ever-fluctuating mental state.

Wasatch 100 was my fifth 100 mile finish and it was the hardest. Part of me thinks running should build confidence, but I'm feeling like Wasatch broke me. The week after I was extra fuzzy and went from super stoked to grumpy and no fun, to futile arguing with some girl crush I was into (cause that's now totally over). People think running 100 miles is a transcendental experience, that it changes your life, that it makes you a better person. On some level that's true, but for some reason that didn't happen at Wasatch. I came out the other side confused, anxious, older, and way less stable than I thought I was.

I want to end this blog on a positive note but again, with the honesty, I'm not sure I can. I've procrastinated posting it for awhile. That run was my 45th or 46th ultra. That's a lot for anyone, let alone a 27 year old guy. I can't help but feel there's more out there somewhere. Is it in 200 miles? Is it delving my whole self into work, or another person, or a dog, what? Climbing or mountaineering? Ultrarunning is amazing, especially at first. Then you get used to it and it just stays hard. You get a little slower and get frustrated. What's after that? Why are all of us who started ultrarunning in 2011 slightly jaded and just kind of over it? Maybe it's just me. But I won't stop doing hard things. Never.

A massive thanks to everyone who supported me during Wasatch this year. It seemed like there were a lot more people in my corner this go around (thanks Petzl, you are great!). It was amazing thinking about you all when I was out there seeing things at 3am. I'm grateful for you, for the sport, the ups and downs, the life we lead. Stay strong, kid. Earned that one. Until next time.

Monday, June 25, 2018

2018 Wahsatch Steeplechase

The summer stoke is high! The days are long, the weather's great, I'm feeling fit (but not fast), and life is good. Fresh off a Euro-trip to Germany and France for work, then the south of France and Chamonix for play, the momentum didn't stop once back in the US. The Squad descended on Salt Lake for a weekend of trails and fun. Chrissy, Wyatt, new-friend Julia made the trek from Denver by car, got in late Thursday. Friday night was sushi (the best pre-race meal), and Saturday's 4:30am wake-up felt early for everyone. We timed getting to the start perfectly, I did a mile warmup extra slowly, and were ready to rock and roll.

Wahsatach (sic) Steeplechase is a historic Utah trail race in it's 39th year.  It's an almost-4,000 ft climb to a craggy rideline that loops back to the start via a short steep then extremely crushable road/trail section. A few dudes usually run super fast around 2:15, then the solid group of guys seems to come in around 2:25-2:30. So I figured under 2:30 would be a good day.

The first mile is basically on road, and about 20 dudes flew off the front. I didn't lolligag but ran smart, everyone around me breathing heavily and me steady. After the first couple of miles I picked off a few folks who went out too hard, and really felt like I was racing. The stride felt open and solid, and the ups were short and methodical. I caught another guy during the steep 1,000ft hike to the summit. We caught some guys on the scramble, and started to bomb the downhill. I passed two guys and ran about 10 yards behind two others. Things were shaping up well for a real race to the finish line, and then the dreaded side stitches began. I was afraid of side stitches before the race because it seems like I always get stomach cramps running downhill at altitude. They hurt, I slowed down, almost stopped, got passed by two guys, but was able to fight them off and suffer well to the finish line. I was bummed because my legs were feeling good and I figured I could've gunned it to the finish.  So it goes, I still felt like I raced and the first half was really great uphill. I still ran hard on the downhill which I haven't in awhile. I felt like I busted off some rust, and felt good about my performance (minus the downhill slowing down due to cramps). I still managed to clock a 2:29.

The rest of Saturday should have been naps, but instead we watched the World Cup, went bowling, drank margs, and grilled out on the back deck. Sunday Chrissy and I woke up early and did a little recon on the Speedgoat course up to 11,000 ft. What a happy weekend. Pics by Julia. Musical vibe of the weekend here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Jemez 50 Miler

Fifty miles is my favorite distance. It's long enough to feel long, to need to pace yourself, to be faced with challenges that aren't over quickly, to still do some hard running, yet short enough to still be a human after the race, to be able to eat and drink and be merry. 100ks are kind of pointless, and during 100 milers you get to a point where you're completely over running and walking and you just want to be done. So I was stoked to sign up for Jemez Mountain 50 miler down in northern New Mexico. Darren, my old training buddy senior year of college, persuaded me to sign up. The race was fairly inexpensive, I'd never done anything besides drive through NM, I was looking for a spring 50 to dust off the rust, and the race was notoriously slow with a ton of vert. The course ended up changing due to fire restrictions (super dry and hot), so dropping some off trail sections and vert, but still it was a fun race.

I had some decent training with a 35 mile Catawba Runaround in VA, a 50k in Moab, and one weekend of back-to-backs. Then I re-cracked a rib doing tree work and got sick from too much work travel, which derailed me physically and mentally. Still, I was gonna do it. Week of the race I became nervous. This race is at altitude, it's hard, and I'd only done 5ish long runs in 2018. I over-complicated logistics, decided to make it easy on myself and just do drop bags and run with a pack.

Gasping for breath near 10,000 ft (cred: Jim Stein)

The 5am start came early, duh. While super early starts suck, I kind of like them because they get the first couple hours out of the way before you wake up. Clearly I was still sleeping when I fell and busted open my knee at mile 1.5. It was clearly a moment of: do I get pissed off and let this be a bad start to a bad day, or do I brush off this dust and dirt and click on like it never happened? I did my damnest to chose the latter.

I set low expectations for the race. While I wanted to be running hard in the top 10, I realistically wasn't trained/ready for that effort. I ended up running the first 30 miles in 25th-ish place, and worked my way to nearly 15th by mile 40 until I started to unravel.  I got dual side stitches in my stomach and couldn't run downhill, which not only felt awful, but was awfully frustrating. I ended up walking a ton of downhill and shuffled the last 5 miles to the finish. I estimate losing at least 30 mins in the last 10 miles. I didn't have the altitude lungs, and got overheated and dizzy around mile 42. I finished in mostly one piece and ate a bunch of burgers and enchiladas.


  • I'm very proud I didn't drop down to the 50k. I felt horrible at mile 20
  • I'm equally as proud of Darren CRUSHING to second place!
  • Running at altitude is really hard. I think traveling so much isn't letting me adapt to SLC elev. 
  • I love camping maybe more than running. 
  • Northern New Mexico is beautiful. (And CO, but we knew that)
  • 10:13 is easily my slowest 50 mile race to date. It maybe was the hardest. 
  • Despite the deep suffering for a few hours, I've already forgotten the feel, and my legs are fine
  • I checked my ego before the race and everything was OK
  • I still get pissed at 40-50 year old dude-triathletes in ultras who don't say hi and don't want to talk
  • Yeah, fine, I still like ultrarunning. 

I get to head to Germany and France for work/play here where I'll either run a lot or barely run. Either way it doesn't matter because I have a few weeks before the Wasatch 100 build really needs to start. As of right now, I'm definitely scared about Wasatch but looking forward to the training and exploring the Wasatch mountains. 

Cheers to listening excessively to Boston Manor for the past five months and being ok with your instabilities. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018


January and February were great. March is looking to continue the trend, but I'm not jinxing anything because let's be real, life isn't a positively trending linear graph. I'm vibing with what's going on now, and I'm still excited about my new Utah-based life. I'm learning so much about myself, life, and our country. I'm adopting the whole "let's be real" motto, because who wants to waste time? Do what you do intentionally.

I've been explaining to friends that there are generally two types of business people: the person who is self-righteously too busy to talk to you, to screw off, I'm a business man! And the person who is a real human just working a job to live their life, and hey, let's work together and get work done and not be miserable doing what we do. To me, the wide-lens viewpoint of business people is the former, but isn't it refreshing when you work with the latter? Let's all be good people, people.

The first two months of 2018 seemed filled with travel and activity. Running Up for Air 6 hours of Grandeur was a treat, as was seeing my Hokies in Moab for Red Hot 33k. That was a blissful glimpse of summer and all of the feels that warm weather brings. I forgot Chacos because I basically hadn't worn Chacos since 2014 (SF fog & drear). The Chaco life triumphantly will return in 2018.

I'm rambling, and I'm writing, because I feel like I have time! I'm in Blacksburg-- sweet, sweet Blacksburg--with the Chang's puppy on my arm, and I'm content. I can't have it all. My impressively wise foreman at Bartlett told me that immediately after I told him that I was moving.

Jorge illegally immigrated to the US without knowing a soul some 25 years ago and is now one of the most badass OG professional tree guys I know. Rather stunned, he asked me why I'm moving, "Rudy, you can't have it all. You can't have happiness and money and running and beauty and time and a family. Why would you leave what you've built here?"

Maybe Jorge's right. Currently everything is copacetic minus the lack of girlfriend. Sure I long for that again, but whatever. I was standing on top of a mountain, dreaming about another. If I can slay my job, running, and travel, I'm fine with that, for now. Rock and roll.

35 miles for a Hokie reunion, the only way we know how

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017, you're in the rearview.

It's easy to forget things, like blogs and where you've been. I just read through my old yearly recaps, 201220132014, 2015, 2016, and I'm pretty happy and impressed. Even though the last three years of my life haven't been full-blown running-impressive, I've grown a tremendous amount. And isn't that the point of it all? Growth and development? There's a reason why adults aren't singly obsessed with one activity like the youngins are: we have jobs, different interests, families, whatever. On one hand it feels like life is utterly complex; the other hand it feels solely simple. I think the past couple of years I've made life complex and confusing when it doesn't need to be. I wrote two different edits of this 2017 review, but they were both sad and rambling, so I'll re-do and summarize.

2017 was off. I think most people can agree. I'm sick of thinking about it. I hope this post puts the year to rest. I ran 400 miles under my goal of 3000 miles, dropped from my only goal race and 100 miler of the year, became disinterested with my job, spent too many days and nights in bed depressed, and ruined a relationship. This posts feels eerily similar to 2015's review except I'm more angry about 2017, like I'm eighteen years old again. Now that that's out of the way, let's focus on some good days:

Triple Peaks, shredding MUC50k, camping above the ocean in the headlands, my crew at Leona Divide, Travis throwing up in a sandwhich shop after a Mt. Diablo long run, friends doing rad things, my rommates at Waldo, quitting my stable-as-fuck but stressful job, taking a new job with a rad company, running home way blurry in the fog with EZ on Halloween, plenty of good meals, moving to some actual mountains, learning how to ski. Quad Dipsea. New Years Eve.

2018 is going to be different. It already is. I don't feel rushed like I constantly did in SF. I'm logging more vert and less miles. I'm skiing, climbing, exploring, instead of being wholly focused on the running thing. I don't know if I'll even hit 2000 miles for the year. There's just too much other good stuff in the Wasatch than solely running. I feel more well rounded and fit, even if 20 running miles sounds long right now. I'm still working on my character flaws. I'm getting older. Life's not all bliss, but I'm trying.

When I left Bartlett, one of my grade-A clients said, "what, it's not wild enough for you here?" And no, it wasn't. The Bay is incredible. I still think about it most days, and the people invade my dreams at night. I feel like I left a little prematurely, but what's life without some risk? The Wasatch and SLC mean more wide-eyed moments, more scaring myself, more camping, more adventures, more toughness, more punk shows, new friends. 2018, you're going to be a transitionary year, and we're going to love each other, going to be happier.