JP, Kathy and I sat down with Joel Tebbutt at Spice for this month’s Member Highlight.
Joel moved to Truckee from the Bay Area almost 15 years ago, and co-owns and operates a vending machine route with his brother, Mike. Despite only turning to running (by default) less than two years ago, in 2014, he won both the Euchre Bar Massacre 25-mile and Meow Marathon, and he recently crushed his first 100k (Castle Peak). Joel is passionate about split-boarding, dressing up in costume, and fostering dogs with his girlfriend, Nicole.
When did you begin running/long-distance running? Why?
I started running because I fell off my mountain bike and broke my elbow. My first trail race was the Truckee Running Festival Half Marathon in 2013 (1:45ish), and I had no idea what I was doing, how to train, etc. I ran the Lost Sierra 50k that same year. Ran the whole race with Jeff, which made it pretty enjoyable except my IT band exploded with about 7 miles to go. Had same issue doing the TRT 50 in 2014.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I run a vending machine business with my brother Mike, selling junk food and sugary drinks; although we are trying to add healthier options. It can be a challenge to fit a run in, depending on how busy the route is. I view the vending machine business as a kind of cross-training, as I’m carrying heavy loads up/down stairs all day.
Do you race? What motivates you to run?
Racing doesn’t motivate me. I just like to run. I like to burn off energy and be in good shape. Other people’s training for races motivates me to run more than my own races.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
Honestly I don’t. Races stress me out- all the people at the beginning, finding a place in line, worrying about the conga line; that’s not my idea of fun. I really just like to run. I have a dream run I’d like to do sometime – the Sierra Highway, which is down in the central Sierra’s, and goes over Mt. Whitney.
What are your 2016 plans?
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy?
The Castle Peak 100k was my longest race, and I used Tailwind only for the first 6 hours, then switched to gels, water, and watermelon. I wasn’t sure what my stomach would do for that many miles, but this worked and I had no cramps or GI issues.
I’m currently doing a cleanse, and while pacing JP at T200 (for 5.5 hours), I only drank water, ate nuts and raisins, and I felt great.
Favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I look forward to a beer at the end of a run or race. For every race I’ve done I’ve bought myself a 22-oz high-quality craft beer to have at the finish.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
A run on Mt. Tam with some friends. It was an invite-only event in which we were given a set of directions and had to find certain checkpoints. A scavenger hunt type of run, mostly off-trail. We spent about 15 hours to cover 30 miles and still didn’t come close to finishing the prescribed run.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
Owning our own business- and learning this business from scratch. We had no idea what we were doing when we bought a vending route. We previously owned a catering business- that could actually be the most character-building experience ever- dealing with brides and mothers-of-brides.
Owning businesses and learning and dealing with all of the stress is definitely challenging. Sometimes I wish I could go back to working for someone else and just clock in and clock out.
What led you to join the DPMR?
I was influenced by brother Mike, who helped give birth to the club over some beers during a gathering at Mellow Fellow.
Are you and your brother competitive?
I’m not a very competitive person, but I do like to beat other people. With Mike, it’s just friendly competition. Up until this point, he’s usually raced the longer distances than me.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
There were a few – The Castle Peak 100k. I signed up for it one week before the event, my longest training run was only 25 miles (so I wasn’t burned out). Having a race course in my backyard was awesome- these are the trails I mountain bike and run all the time. I also really enjoy the Wednesday morning speed workouts and felt these really helped my race. I’d like to see more events like the Rollercoaster Half Marathon in Kings Beach – because it was a fun, small, low-key event.
Any low points during Castle Peak?
Wendin Way to Castle Peak. The wind is relentless on Castle Peak- it’s always winter out there. It’s just a grind. After that, I had John McGee to run with. We pretty much yo-yo’d all the race, then realized we were running the same pace, so we stuck together. It was nice to have company.
What do you do in the winter?
Split boarding – I haven’t bought a resort pass in 4 years. There are just too many people at the resorts for me. I prefer to do things that are human powered. I ran a lot last winter, but hopefully there is snow this year and I won’t be able to run as much. I will not be doing any snow-shoe running regardless. There are better modes of snow travel in the winter.
Favorite local trail?
The Animal. Because I can run to it from my house.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
Mountain biking and paddle boarding because I can take my dogs. Some day I will learn how to swim distance so I can do a triathlon.
Any interesting facts about yourself you’d like to share?
Pets, thrifting and costumes.
Nicole and I have fostered 10 border collies (not all at the same time). Gus was our foster failure because no one else wanted him. He is the best dog- he went through the Palisades on a training run, and slayed it. No tears. Gus is 8.5 years old and is still good for 20-mile runs. He is my main motivation to run. We just adopted one-eyed Willie, he is a Chihuahua border collie mix. A mini-Gus. And he is one-eyed just like our cat.
Thrifting- I love going to thrift stores. I actually went to three in Reno yesterday, and only bought one pair of pants. I don’t like shirts with animals on them (unless they are kitties). I got two suits altered yesterday, that I bought at thrift stores. First time getting anything altered in my life. One is a Western suit. I have an entire closet full of costumes.
Do you get excited about running gear?
I’m really into running shoes. Shoes are only good for 300-400 miles, which is really not that long. Still searching for the perfect pair of shoes, so there are more shoes in my future.
Do you have a strategy to keep yourself injury free?
Not running too much. And practicing yoga. I only went 3 times recently but that was good. I took yoga twice per day when I was in high school (because I had enough ed credits, so needed to fill them).
Did you take yoga in college?
No but I did a lot of drinking. I went to Chico State, for business administration/marketing.
Any advice you’d give to someone who wants start running?
Monday night Trail Teasers put on by DPMR. They’re not intimidating at all; you can learn new trails, the distance is perfect, 3-4 miles, and the course is usually marked. Some new people might be intimidated by members of the club who run long-distance, but at the Monday Trail Teasers everyone is really friendly and low-key.
Who inspires you?
Jeremy Jones. If you haven’t seen any of his movies, you should- Further, Deeper, Higher… that guy is doing all of his own human-powered backcountry snowboarding on huge mountains. No snowmobiles, helicopters, etc.
Do you listen to anything while you run?
Sometimes I listen to podcasts about running while I run, because it’s the only time I can really focus on a podcast. Favorite podcast: Running Stupid.
Being relatively new to running, do you think you’re in this for long-term?
I do- what I learned this summer is that you don’t necessarily have to train long-distance on a regular basis to be able to run a long-distance. The speed workouts and hill climbs do a lot more for you than long runs. Running is a lifestyle, it doesn’t have to be your life. I have a lot of non-running friends. One thing I’ve found about the running community is they are always asking about “what’s your next thing?”- and I don’t have a “next thing”, so it kind of ends the conversation. It’s all-consuming for some people- which is ok, but it’s not for me.
I wouldn’t call myself addicted to running. I’m more addicted to seeing how far I can push myself, and what I can do with that, and still remain injury-free. I’ve learned a lot about myself through running, when I have some kind of issue, and figure out how to fix it, and learn how everything is interconnected in some sort of way. One time during a race when I had a twinge in my knee, I could do squats and it would fix my knee for like 5 minutes.
Lastly, who do you think is going to win the presidential election?