Runner of the Month: September 2018

Jeff Rome has had an incredible year of running. He followed up a 2017 top 10 Hardrock finish with a 2018 second place result. Then he showed up at the Rut, won the VK, and then smashed the trifecta record with two more top 10 finishes.

Name: Jeff Rome

Age: 29
Number of years running: 7
You’ve had an incredible year of running this year. 2nd at Hardrock. Rut VK win. Rut Trifecta Record. Plus a bunch I’m probably missing. Did anything change this year with your training or mental approach?
No, you’re not missing anything!  Except for the Hardrock Depletion Mile, but that’s pretty informal (a mile run on a track after finishing Hardrock the day before).  I feel like I owe more to my mental approach than to my training this year.  Before each event this year, I was lucky enough that I had the time to relax.  I read books about running to keep myself excited, was around good company, and did some yoga, drank a lot of tea, and soaked in water a good bit (cold and hot).  I also napped a lot, and ate a lot of ice cream.  I ran, too, but I feel like I was able to hold back my energy and really nail the taper each time.  I’ve had similar approaches to taper weeks before, but this year I tapered a little more aggressively (which means I ate more and napped more).  There are so many variables, though, that it’s hard to know what helped most.  My training went well, but it was largely the same as last year except for slightly bigger blocks and more hours put in.  I also lived above 6,500′ for most of the summer, and spent some weeks above 9,000′.  Maybe I was imbued with the magic of the San Juan mountains and kept that magic after I left, who knows.  I just started doing the whole Strava thing a month ago, and prior to that I really didn’t keep a log of any sort except for what’s in my head.
What was it like going from Hardrock, a 100 mile race where pacing is everything, to the Rut VK where it’s less than an hour? 
Well, there’s no time for chatter in the VK!  At Hardrock, you go out and make buddies or chat with friends you already know.  You tell trail jokes, really bad ones.  And the vibe is about spending a magical day or two in the mountains and enjoying as much of it as possible.  The VK is much more of a sufferfest, and much more tactical.  You drool and spit up phlegm and don’t care if anyone notices.  In the weeks between races, my training changed to shorter, faster runs with a few test runs of pushing myself hard on the uphills.  Were the runs closer together, like what Mike Foote did with the Sentinel Hill Climb last year the week after Hardrock, I don’t think I could have pulled off a win.  There’s still pacing in both, though.  I definitely saved some energy for the “running” on the flat sections going up Bonecrusher, and I think those two flat sections and the technical section is where I got my first hint of a gap on the field.
We all want to know. Where do you draw inspiration from for your dance moves, and costume selection? 
Alcohol.  No, actually I’ve had that Elvis/Evel-Kneivel outfit for about 7 years now and it just always lives in my car, because I use it at every available opportunity (which also means I’ve never washed it).  I originally had the idea of three layered outfits to celebrate three races in three days, but it gets hot on the dance floor and the other two outfits didn’t last long.  I’m really not too sure what my dance moves look like, it’s always a little hard for me to imagine.  But I try to just dance without a care of what others think, and it seems to work out okay in most crowds.  I couldn’t dance the way I do in a country bar, though.  I think my favorite dancer is David Byrne, and I’d like to think I’m able to draw some of my creativity from the same well he draws his from.
What’s next for you?
I really couldn’t say.  Graduating from PT school, I guess.  As far as racing or running plans, I’m pretty bad at planning in general.  I’m not even sure what day the Hardrock lottery opens, but I know it’s sometime in November.  There aren’t too many races that appeal to me, so if I don’t get into Hardrock I might just come up with something to do on my own for a summer goal.  UTMB seems appealing, but it has this whole points system to get into, and I don’t think I’d pursue it unless whatever races I do just happen to get me enough points, which doesn’t seem likely.  I really just want to be in the mountains moving quickly as much as possible and mountain races are a way to make that seem like a somewhat logical decision.  The only concrete plan I have right now is setting up an aid station this weekend at the top of Katahdin for hikers finishing the AT, but I’m not too sure if Baxter State Park would be okay with that.  I suppose the aid station shouldn’t have alcohol, which really isn’t something that would ever be considered in Montana.

Runner of the Month: May 2018

Name: Olga Helmy

How many years have you been running?  I ran intermittently and then only half-heartedly for years, mostly during the off-season from biotech fieldwork, but after I had my second child four years ago, I signed up for a road running class in Vancouver, BC, where we were living at the time. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it taught me a few tricks and improved my fitness enough that by the time we moved back to Missoula in 2016, I was in shape enough to start running trails. We lived at the base of Mount Jumbo and for the first few weeks, I just hiked up as fast as I could go, and then bombed down, several times a week. Eventually the hiking evolved into something resembling running and by then I had just fallen in love with the movement and sustained effort. It’s pretty addicting.

Do you prefer road or trail running, why? Definitely trail running. I like the challenge of footwork and balance that comes with moving over uneven terrain. And I love bombing down mountains. It feels like flying.

What has been your favorite running event? Because I just started running in earnest in the summer of 2016 I haven’t run in very many events. My husband and I climbed Mt Kinabalu in Borneo as part of the Climbathon in 2010. I made good time to the top and it’s pretty hard to beat that view, but I didn’t really do much running. In 2016, a friend tried get me to sign up for the Elk Ramble, but I thought it seemed too far to run hard. Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it. It’s funny to think that the following year I ran the Rut 28k and it didn’t feel like that big of a deal. Not having 28k, 7,500 feet of elevation gain feel like a big deal was such a mind warp. I had to come to terms with a new definition of self, I had more discipline and determination than I ever knew. Being over 40 isn’t all bad.

What is your favorite thing about running? Definitely the descent!

You recently improved on your 2017 Bitterroot Runoff time by 7 minutes! What’s your secret? Well, a few weeks ago I started the Run Wild Missoula Avanced trail running class and picked up a few skills. It’s good to have some coaching from folks who know what they are doing. Also, the race was on my birthday and I wanted to beat my time from the previous year, so I had some internal competition!

What do you have on your running calendar for the rest of the year? Eventwise, the Pengally Double Dip and the Rut 50k are looming on the horizon. But mostly they are just targets to aim for. For me, the real bliss comes in just in getting out there every week.

Runner of the Month: April 2018

If you show up to any race in the Missoula area, chances are you’ll see Kailee Carnes at the start line. Trail or road, she’s always looks happy to be there. This winter she’s also rallied a group to hit the trails, despite the snow, and they have been consistently running every Sunday for the last few months. Next time you bump in to her on the trails, stop and say hi.
Name:   Kailee Carnes
Number of Years Running:   14 years
Favorite Run:  It’s hard to pick a favorite. I love all the trails around Missoula but my favorite runs are all day adventures with high alpine lakes and running along mountain ridges. All of Glacier National Park and the State Line trail near Heart Lake top the list.
What are you training for?   The Rut 50k and RATBOB
You just went on a big trail running tour of the Southwest. Where did you go and what was your favorite place to run?  We managed to fit in runs in Zion, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Tucson, Joshua Tree and Red Rock Canyon.  It’s a tough choice but my favorite would be the Grand Canyon. We ran down the Bright Angel trail to the bottom of the canyon and across the Colorado River twice and back up the South Kaibab trail. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget.
What is your favorite thing about running?  The amazing places running can take you. Plus, that runner’s high is real good.
What’s your food of choice during a run?  I eat a lot of bars. I like to mix it up with type/flavor to keep it exciting. Peach gummy rings and Huma gels are good too.

Runner of the Month: February 2018

Zeke Campfield is a wonderful example of how dedication to running pays off. After making some life changes he picked up running and has made it a habit. You can find Zeke and many of the local races always having a good time.

Name: Zeke Campfield

Age: 36

Number of Years Running: Four in April

What got you started running? I ran my first mile as an adult almost four years ago when I checked into a treatment center for addiction. My life felt so dark at that moment that I was willing to take any suggestion for turning it around, and it was suggested that exercise might do me some good. I chose running because my dad was a lifelong marathoner.

Why do you keep running? At this point, there’s no stopping. My physical fitness is not only a huge component of my overall mental, emotional and spiritual health – it’s also the easiest way to measure my growth over the past four years. Faster miles, longer distances, leaner body … I like to think that reflects similar – but less measurable – progress in my heart and soul.

What has been your favorite running memory? Honestly, I have not reached a plateau, so every time I get out there is more amazing than the last. Personal feats aside, the friendship and support offered me by other runners (you know who you are) is something for which I’m deeply grateful.

Are you training for anything in particular? I’m not sure when or how, but I’d like to eventually transition from road races into trail running and do something epic! I got to witness the Bighorn Trail Run down in Wyoming two years ago, and I think it’s calling …

What do you enjoy doing that’s non-running related? What I enjoy more than anything, running included, is finding ways to give thanks for all these blessings of recovery by extending a hand to those who still struggle. I felt hopeless four years ago, my life is more rich today – and trust me, that’s not all my doing. The least I can do is pay it forward.

Runner of the Month: January 2018

Name:  Becky Dettmann (or as my friends call me Forrest Gump)

Number of Years Running: 2.5 years

What got you Started Running? “Hey I’m thinking about getting a group together to run on the Great Wall in China.”  These were the words uttered to me by one of my good friends and I thought that be cool. There was a Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K literally right on the Great Wall – I thought to myself what a cool experience…why not. I started training for the 5K because previously to that I never ran before. I was and always will be first a dancer. I was trained extensively in ballet, tap, and jazz – I thought sure I can run…its only 3.1 miles. I trained rigorously during my busy season, with an estimated 15,000+ stairs on the course – the stair climber was my best friend. I successfully ran the 5K in 2015 and then after that I stopped running till I moved to Montana from Wisconsin. I was looking for a way to meet new people so I joined the Running 101 class and then the Running 102 class. Next I found myself training for the Missoula Half Marathon with the Jeff Galloway Program…in July 2017 I successfully ran the Missoula Half Marathon and went on to run 3 more half’s that same year.  The rest is history.

What’s your favorite thing about running? For those seconds…minutes…miles…I am thinking about nothing but the pain of running. With each footstep, breath, and turn, it’s just about me – running. It doesn’t matter what happened 5 minutes ago or what’s coming – for those minutes I am free from my thoughts and worries. There is just something so perfect about that.

What is your best running memory? Every time I see that arch of the finish line, no matter if it’s a 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon. The sense of accomplishment from when my foot crosses that rubber ramp for the chip timer to that last burst of energy that I thought was long gone miles ago. The most memorable finish line crossing was of course at the Missoula Half in 2017.  It was my first half marathon and running the bridge with people lined up on both sides…people cheering, cowbells ringing…I still can close my eyes and see it, there are no words.

What goals do you have for this next year of running? Some of my goals include improving my speed, double my running miles from 2017, and beating my previous year’s Missoula Half Marathon time.

What keeps you getting out the door everyday? Sunrises and sunsets…if I can time my run just right – there is just something so magical about these when it involves the mountains surrounding Missoula.

Thanks Becky! Good luck beating your 2017 1/2 Marathon time, we will be cheering for you!

Runner of the Month: December 2017

Name: Santa “The Grinch” Claus

Age: 1,747 years old

Why do you run? I have plenty of excuses to not run – I’m old, it’s perpetually cold at my house, it’s dark most of the year, and I am carrying some excess weight because I eat too many cookies at work – but I set all of those aside and force myself out the door every morning. Partially I run to stay in shape for the kids of the world. Partially I run to train for my big event each year, the Worldwide Dash. Mostly though I run for me. Running keeps me sane. It’s a chance to escape the elves, a chance to breathe fresh air, and a chance to keep my cookie gut in check.

When did you start running? I first laced up my running boots way back in 1347. The Black Plague was just going crazy and I had to move faster that Christmas. I started running to avoid the plague and never looked back.

What’s on your running calendar coming up? Next up is the Light the Way 5k, one of my favorite events every year, and then I of course and doing my annual Worldwide Dash a few days later.

Any advice for aspiring runners? Try not to drink more than a gallon of eggnog before each run. And consistency is key. I never run too far, but I run often and that’s what’s kept me injury free.