Over the past year I've watched as a friend from my hometown has achieved a degree of fame as a competitive participant in Obstacle Course Racing and trail marathon circuits. Frankly, his accomplishments are impressive, but like my other friend Brett always says: "Running skinny is easy. It's like golfing from the fairway."
After my last few races I've waited at the finish line for someone to come interview me in an attempt to ascertain the secret to my success. Alas, nobody from Runners' World has been there to record my compelling story and background. So, in order to meet the demands of my reading public, I'm going to interview myself and provide you with a very informational profile.
Name: Jarad Van Wagoner
Age: 37 (for at least two more weeks)
High School Mascot: Eagle
Favorite Running Aid: Body Glide
Let's get to the important issues first. Do you tend to have any digestive issues when you run?
Please define digestive issues.
You know, do you have any problems with diarrhea or anything like that when you run races, especially the relays?
Well that seems kind of personal, but, yeah on occasion I've had to pick up the pace to make it to the next set of outhouses or Honey Buckets. It's not a regular problem though, at least not enough to earn a nickname like Deucer. I have, however, ran relays with people who define the entire experience around their digestive life.
What do you do to correct or control your digestive issues?
First of all, I relax. After having ran several races I know what to expect which is that while I may not be very fast, I will finish. Second, I make sure that I consume enough calories. The biggest mistake I've made during a relay is to choose sleep over a meal. I can run on very little sleep, but my bowels reject the concept of running without sufficient nutrition. You must avoid my sister's experience as described in these previous blog: Shot Blocks and Miracles on Leg 27.
Once your bowels put you into panic mode on a race, I've found that calm meditation generally is the best remedy.
Who is your favorite training partner for the relays?
Usually I like to train with my wife, especially when she's out of shape because it makes me feel fast. The downside is that she has longer legs than me, so once she gets in good physical condition she starts to run faster than me. Last time she finally slowed down when she got pregnant.
Which of your Ragnar teammates do you look up to most?
That would be my friend Brett. He's pretty tall. I also look up to my brother-in-law Nathan Feltch because he's pretty tall as well. I do feel that Nate became a little shorter, however, after I watched him trip and roll through a patch of sage brush along a lonely stretch of highway outside of Las Vegas one night in 2011. Unfortunately he also fell again at the end of that run, right after he handed off the slap bracelet at the exchange. He fell stepping off of the curb, scraping up his already bloodied legs even more and spraining his ankle. Watching someone put a maxi pad on his knee to stem the bleeding seems to have shortened him even further. But, yeah, I still look up to Nate and to Brett.
Describe one or two of of your favorite Ragnar legs you've ran.
Usually the night runs are my favorite. There's something relaxing and liberating about running at night. On my second Wasatch Back I ran from Coalville to Wanship early in the morning. The trail runs a short distance from the freeway and adjacent to pastures and fields, coming close to the river once or twice. I love the feeling of isolation when I run at night. During that run I only came across a few other runners and the tall brush added to the effect of being alone. Even with the smell of skunks in the air, it was an amazing run. I ran into the next exchange just as the sun was coming up.
My next favorite run was on the Ragnar Trail Experiment at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch. Prior to my run it had rained all day and it was still raining at 11pm as I began my run on the Green Trail. The mud was over the top of my shoes as I started out from the exchange. With the rain falling all around, the light from my headlamp wasn't very effective at illuminating anything more than three or four feet in front of me. Mud, hills, and rain tortured me throughout the entire run making it a challenge to move forward and stay on my feet. I fell on my hands an knees more than once trying to come back up out of the ravine. By the end, I was completely exhausted and thrilled at what I had just done. Check out the story here: Experimental Trail Running
Describe one or two of your worst Ragnar legs.
Well, on the Ragnar Trail Experiment at Zion Ponderosa Ranch, it rained the entire time during one of my trail runs.
Heat usually makes the runs challenging in a way that I do not enjoy. Both times I've ran in SoCal, my first leg has been in 100 plus degree heat. I really do not enjoy running in the heat.
Tell us about the vans on a Ragnar. What makes the interior environment so enjoyable?
Some would try to convince you that it's the camaraderie that makes it so enjoyable. I don't think that's it. I believe that it is the intoxicating odor of sweat from multiple bodies that makes it so enjoyable. Once you learn to identify all of your van mates by their own unique odor, you truly bond. My friend Brett always puts all of his running clothes in a plastic bag. Brett sweats a lot so the bag is usually pretty full of liquid and weighs 10-12 pounds.
Snoring is another big bonus. You get to find out who snores loudly and their own special pattern. The best is when you have two people snoring at the same time in the van, with their snores offsetting one another so that there is no quiet time. It gets even better when you add someone to that mix who keeps complaining out loud so that nobody else can get to sleep.
Do team members ever become irritable or grumpy from the exhaustion and bad digestive issues?
No, but I've noticed that as my team members get more exhausted they tend to think less clearly and then they say and do very stupid and irritable things.
What is your fantasy in terms of your racing career?
First, I would like to be able to look really good running in just shorts with no shirt. The second, and perhaps more likely, is that someone will one day pay me to run races to include all of the Ragnar Relays.
What Ragnar events are at the top of your bucket list (ones you haven't run yet)?
- Ragnar Trail Tahoe
- Northwest Passage
- Colorado (after a lot of training)
What Ragnar Events Have You Run?
- SoCal 2011
- Wasatch Back 2011
- Las Vegas 2011
- SoCal 2012
- Wasatch Back 2012
- Ragnar Trail Experiment 2012
- Las Vegas 2012
- Ragnar Trail Zion 2013
- Wasatch Back 2013
- Las Vegas 2013
- Del Sol 2014
- Ragnar Trail Zion 2014
- Wasatch Back 2014 (Registered)
What other amazing events have you run?
- Ogden Marathon 2010
- Provo Canyon Half Marathon 2010
- American Discover Trail Marathon 2010
- Hurrican Jem Trail Half Marathon 2010
- Red Mountain 30K 2011
- Ogden Marathon 2011
- Ogden Marathon 2012
- Ogden Marathon 2013
- Ogden Marathon 2014 (Registered, will probably die)