LVRC FUN FACT: Jimmy Edwards does not have a desk chair. He conducts business for LVRC for hours on end on an Apple MacBook Pro while standing up.
We’re continuing to make plans for our December trip to Zion National Park to scope out a possible run tour to add to our already incredible list of local runs. Have you tried the Las Vegas Strip tour? How about the Historic Tunnels Trail Tour? No? Why not? I don’t understand.
Anyway, with our dining room table covered with maps of Zion and Jimmy’s index finger tracing possibilities, I asked what I consider a reasonable question.
JON: Excuse me but the name of the business is LAS VEGAS RUNNING TOURS. Is it really necessary for us to offer a tour in Zion? That’s Utah.
And so we continued to explore Zion’s trails until Jimmy said “I think we need to start with the Eastern Rim trail. It’ll give us a good feel for what Zion’s about and it only goes 14 miles into the park. What d’ya think?”
I looked for a place to park a second car and there was no place to park a second car. So next I added 14 miles of running out to the 14 miles it would take to run back. My eyes glazed over. Last weekend, I stretched my long run to 16 miles. Subtracting 16 from 28 put my long run 12 miles shorter than the Zion run. No problem, I thought, beginning to figure out how many months I had to train. One, I counted off and stopped. I had one month to increase my 16 miles of road endurance to 28 miles of trail endurance. I looked at Jimmy like I suspected he was having an affair with my wife.
“You got this, Jonny boy!” This has been Jimmy’s go to motivational phrase since I’ve known him the last 7 years. 6 Hour Dead Presidents Run. “You got this, Jonny boy!” 50K Area 51 Run. “You got this, Jonny boy!” 50 Mile Lake Mead Run. “You got this, Jonny boy!” 100 Mile Moab Run. “You got this, Jonny boy!” Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim. “You got this, Jonny boy!”
I attempted all these things with varying degrees of success and they rank up there with some of my life’s proudest accomplishments. However, there were times during all these events when I wished that I had never met Jimmy Edwards. Indeed, ultramarathon running is perhaps one of the few activities wherein you get the chance to feel a little bit of everything, the complete opposite of being dead. So, even though it’s impossible, of course I’ll run Zion.
I should note here that Jimmy’s been really sparked by a recent article in Runner’s World that posits that the body can actually do anything and that the part of us that requires the most rigorous training is, in essence, the part of our wills that ignores our brains’ false reports that we can’t go on. So your body sends your brain distress signals, your brain reports that you can’t continue, and you, whoever “you” are, ignore your brain, and continue to run. For the record, I think Jimmy and Runner’s World are missing a few screws. Did I mention he never sits down?
STONE CANYON ULTRAMARATHON!
Calling all runners.
Just putting out some feelers for an idea we’re cooking up over here at the LVRC. Our little gated community is a 0.4 mile loop with very little traffic. What we’re kicking around is an idea for a timed run where you see how many loops you can complete in 6 hours. We’d set up an aid station at me and Jimmy’s house so, every 0.4 miles, you could fuel up, eat some pretzels, sit down, superglue your toenail back on, weep, whatever you need.
Before we start planning dates and stuff, we wanted to know if there would be any interest at all, so leave a comment on this post if it’s something you might consider.
Have you read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall? I think, if you like running, you should drop everything and read that book. And I really mean it because I NEVER recommend books about running because, well, runners should, um, you know, maybe stick to the running. Like Dean Karnazes. Incredible endurance athlete, but—I’m sorry—not a writer of spellbinding page-turners.
Do I realize that I just shot myself in the foot? Of course I do. I’m an expert at putting my foot in my mouth. CAN YOU BELIEVE ALL THE FOOT CLICHES ON THIS RUNNING BLOG? This? Is running prose artistry.
Anyway, “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall. Get it. Read it. Welcome it into the deeps of your soul. Me and Jimmy are, I promise, NOT being paid to hype this book. We just loved it, sincerely, because it introduced us to the mysterious ways of the Tarahumara and the nutritional secret that changed our lives.
Say it low in hushed tones: Chia.
The Tarahumara are a Native American people who have somehow managed to maintain their ancient ways in northwestern Mexico. Ever since the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century, they’ve been mostly laying low in the Copper Canyon, a canyon system that’s larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Laying low, that is, until McDougall exposed them in his best selling book, “Born to Run.” I hope they’ve managed to continue to lay low without a Starbucks at the bottom of Copper Canyon, but who knows?
I can tell you this much without spoiling the narrative thrust of the book. The Tarahumara can run fast and long and their capacity for endurance is downright baffling. For crying out loud, they can run down a deer until the deer falls over and dies from heat exhaustion. Yes. You just read that but I’ll put it in italics for emphasis: the Tarahumara can run down a deer until the deer dies. That! Is some running.
“And how do they do it?”, the thoughtful reader wonders. Well, in the book, McDougall drinks this disgusting gooey slime drink that the Tarahumara offers him when he’s faltering on a hunt and—BAM—he suddenly feels amazingly fantastic, his headache vanishes, and he’s able to continue running for several more hours.
Enough said. Me and Jimmy want some. What is it?
Well, it’s called iskiate and it’s (I’ll let McDougall explain) “otherwise known as chia fresca—‘chilly chia.’ It’s brewed up by dissolving chia seeds in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime. In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re superpacked with omega-3S, omega 6S, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants. If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn’t do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months on the chia diet, you could probably swim home… Aztec runners used to chomp chia seeds as they went into battle, and the Hopis fueled themselves on chia during their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean.” (p. 44)
AND YOU CAN GET THEM AT TRADER FLIPPING JOE’S!
So, needless to say, me and Jimmy blend the magic seeds in all our smoothies. I sprinkle them on my daily lunch of 2 peanut butter sandwiches. I put them in salad, risotto, macaroni & cheese, and everything basically. Hell, I chomp on them raw whenever I go into battle. Do they work? I don’t know. Who cares?
The beauty of running is that it permits us to fully engage and utilize the magic of superstition. We pin our race numbers on a particular way at a particular time. We’re loyal to certain brands and makes of shoes. We consume gels at particular miles or times. We throw chia over our left shoulders before a race. The outcomes of entire days are predicted (often accurately) by the consistency of our poop schedules. We never, under no circumstances ever, say “Break a leg.” Running permits us to believe in magic. Running is its own kind of magic. Running is magic, no? Through the vital nutritional power of the chia seed, the boundaries of space and time fall away and we, through running, commune—we, truly ourselves—with the Tarahumara in the depths of Copper Canyon. Born to run, we—when we’re running—participate in and with the long magical tradition of human beings launching into sprints.
Let’s go tackle a deer!
My daughter, Lola, visited upon by a chia seed consuming member of the Tarahumara (or Jimmy on his way to a Halloween party).
No matter how much I drink, I can’t shake the sensation of having a small rabbit in my mouth.
I ran 13 miles earlier today. I’ve made it something of a habit to run 10 miles before I go to work so today—it’s the weekend, I figured—I decided to run 13. Because, after all, when you run 10 almost every day, what’s 3 more miles, right? There’s a certain way to think about that where it can almost sound logical. But I’m here to tell you that it’s a stupid way to think about it because I’m irritable and I have a small rabbit in my mouth.
Jimmy did a Half Ironman today in 5:15. So, before he ran 13.1 miles, he swam 1.2 miles and rode his bike 56 miles. Jimmy is insane. Unless you’re planning to do a run tour with him. If you are, then Jimmy is of sound mind, he’s well balanced, and he’s the perfect choice for a running tour guide. He joins me in the morning for my 10 milers a couple times a week and tells me about things like carbohydrates and glycogen.
Anyway, I figured if Jimmy was out there doing a Half Ironman, I could at least pull off the last leg and run 13 miles. Mile 11 was okay. But 12 and 13 were very unpleasant. There’s probably a proper formula to apply for how much you’re supposed to increase the mileage of your long run and I bet it’s not 30%. I’d ask Jimmy but he’s sleeping and I’m downstairs trying to be quiet with a small rabbit in my mouth. Maybe he’ll leave the proper formula in the comments section. Or I can write a post about it next time.
I still owe you a post about chia seeds. Soon. They are nutritional miracles.
Now that Jimmy finished his race, we’re going to resume our workouts in the garage. I used to work out with Jimmy at his old house 3 times a week in his garage and we called it the Garage of Pain. Our new house has a much smaller garage but it still holds great promise for being painful. I think Garage of Pain II is a better name than Little Garage of Pain, but we’ll see if it assumes its own name naturally after awhile.
We still haven’t come up with a mutual goal but I think it should be big and stupid to serve as a publicity stunt for Las Vegas Running Tours. Last year we ran the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim. Jimmy wants to do it twice from Rim to Rim to Rim but it’s not flashy enough. I think we should fill it with cobras. Now two guys running through the Grand Canyon filled with cobras? That’s how you drum up some business.
We’ll keep you posted.
Tap tap tap. Ahem. Hello?
My name is Jon and Jimmy hired me to blog stuff for Las Vegas Running Tours. We haven’t discussed my official title but it’s probably something like Health And Fitness Las Vegas Running Tours Blogger. Or no—the word “wellness” needs to be in there so maybe Health And Fitness And Wellness Las Vegas Running Tours Blogger. Sounds good.
There’s not really an official job description so I don’t know what I’m doing, which is the best way to be. There’s just a mostly empty blog and miles and miles of POSSIBILITY. Like I just stepped out the door for a run and I can go anywhere I want. Did you see what I did there? Running metaphor? Las Vegas Running Tours? Just making sure you’re awake.
I will probably write about chia seeds.
But I mostly want to write about what you want to know about. Do you know about chia seeds? Holy cow you should! But if there’s anything else you want to know about in terms of health or fitness or wellness or running or chakras or stretching or the POSE method or training or nutrition or whatever, just leave a comment and I’ll ask Jimmy. Then I’ll parrot what Jimmy tells me through my Health and Fitness and Wellness Blog writing.
I’ve been asking Jimmy for 7 years now, ever since we drove to my first half-marathon in Long Beach. When should I get new shoes? How often do I eat a gel? Why does my hip hurt? Will you slow down and wait for me? And he always either knows or figures it out because Jimmy isn’t just a running tour guide. He’s a gifted and accomplished athlete and a damn nice guy.
And now we’re roommates, so I’m thinking that being a Health And Fitness And Wellness Las Vegas Running Tours Blogger will be easy because I’m essentially going to write about what it’s like to live with Jimmy. And living with Jimmy is something like a 5 minute plank and an offhanded request to run the Grand Canyon from rim to rim.
Right now I’m focusing on building up my base of weekly mileage (57 miles last week) because Jimmy wants to add a Zion National Park running tour to his business. What this means is that Jimmy wants to go to Zion National Park to scope out a good tour. So what that means is that Jimmy wants me to go to Zion National Park with him and, you know, RUN AROUND ALL DAY so he can map a tour.
And then there’s some 6 hour race thing in December so I’m just loading my smoothies with chia seeds and getting ready to write blog posts for Las Vegas Running Tours. You wanna come along? Yes. Come with!