Introduction by Renee Elsdon Jacobs:
Robert has been increasingly involved with DPMR over the past couple of years, so if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet on a group run, at a DPMR social event, or in a race, it probably will not be long before you do. Although his love affair with running is relatively new, he is already very accomplished, with a number of wins/podium finishes beneath his belt and a confident trail-runners stride. You might best recognize him from behind – he doesn’t seem to have a slow gear!
Introduction by Chris Cloyd:
Robert kinda blew his “under the radar” status by winning the TRT 50 Miler this year, but he’s been low-key crushing trails in and around Truckee for a couple of years now. A member of DPMR since the start, Robert’s come a long way from his first couple of group runs. You can pick him out of a crowd by spotting his short shorts, donned every Wednesday running with the Daisy Dukes Man Club. You don’t have to be fast to join that club (you don’t even need to be a man, honestly), but you’ve got to embrace the short shorts lifestyle. Robert’s sense of humor, willingness to embrace tempo hill repeats, and enthusiasm for cursing Michelino Sunseri’s route selection make him a perfect ambassador for that very lifestyle. I personally couldn’t be more proud to call him a friend and running buddy.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Charlottesville, VA and currently reside in Truckee, CA.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I began running 4 years ago. I was dating someone at the time and she told me she had signed up for a half-marathon. I decided I wanted to do one as well. I signed up for the hardest half-marathon I could find which happened to be the Knickerbocker Canyon half down in Auburn. I finished 3rd and was hooked. The girl didn’t last but my love affair with running has continued. It’s funny looking back on how I trained for that first race. The race was in March so almost all my training runs were on the Legacy trail and I’m pretty sure just about all of my training runs were run at 100% effort or very close to it. I really had no clue.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I do! I really enjoy racing and have raced everything from 10k’s to 50 milers. I usually will have one or two big goal races and then I’ll work some shorter races into my training as well. I will definitely be motivated to get my training runs in if I’ve signed up for a big race but I enjoy the shorter races just as much as the ultras. I enjoy being able to push really hard from start to finish without having to worry about blowing up like you would in an ultra event.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
Western States would have to be my number one dream race. I’d like to run it one day but at the moment I have yet to run a qualifier for it.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
Honey Stingers are my favorite thing to carry with me on my runs. I really like the Acai-Pomegranate flavor. If I’m going for a really long training run I like to carry some real food with me as well. Usually something like a Cliff Bar or some dried fruit or nuts. After a hard run I’ll drink a Vega-Sport protein shake. It’s a plant based protein powder that I use.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
I have a recipe for “Calorie Bomb Cookies” from Matt Frazier’s book The No Meat Athlete that I really like. They are great for snacking on long adventures:
Ingredients: 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats, 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, half a teaspoon salt, 3 ripe bananas, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, 2 Tablespoons flax meal, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 cup dark chocolate chips, 1 cup raw walnut pieces, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut.
Directions: Blend 2 cups of the oats in a food processor until finely ground. Combine with the remaining oats along with the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift together. Combine the bananas, sugar, oil, water, flax meal and vanilla in a food processor or blender and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well and then add the chocolate chips, nuts and coconut. Wet hands to prevent the dough from sticking and then roll about 1/2 cup of the dough into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Makes 12 GIANT cookies. You could make smaller cookies if you want but I always make giant ones. Eat right away or take one with you on your next big adventure. I usually store these in my fridge since they have banana in them.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
It would have to be winning the TRT 50 mile race! I was planning on going out pretty conservative and about 10 people went out ahead of me at the start. I fell in with a group and ran the first few miles with them but as soon as we hit the steep climb up North Canyon Road everyone started power hiking and I just kept running. I passed everyone in the next few miles and ran almost the entire race in first place. I felt like I had wings for most of that race. It was an amazing day.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
I ran The Rut 50k this past September and it was a very tough race for me. Right from the start of the race I was having stomach issues and had to stop and use the porta-potty at the first two aid stations. Then I started getting knee pain around the mid-point of the race. Despite the setbacks I was still running a pretty strong race until the final climb. At that point both my legs started cramping and I wasn’t able to manage much more than a fast walk the rest of the way to the finish. I got passed by about 15 people in the last 5 miles of the race. It was very frustrating.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I’m planning on making Castle Peak my A race for 2020. I volunteered in the Palisades during the race this year and it got me fired up to give it a go next year.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I’m funemployed so I get to play in the mountains pretty much every day.
What led you to join the DPMR?
I ran the Truckee marathon during the first summer that I started running. I finished 3rd and Jay from DPMR finished 2nd. I was talking to him at the finish line and he told me about the club and invited me to join. I joined the next summer and it was a great decision. I’ve met a lot of cool people through the club.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Probably volunteering in the Palisades at this years Castle Peak race. It was a different experience being up there at night and seeing all the runners come through and a lot of familiar faces from DPMR come through too. I really enjoyed it.
Favorite local trail?
It’s so hard to pick one when there are so many good trails up here! I really like the trail network around Castle Peak though. The ridge line between Basin and Castle Peak is one of my favorite places to run and the Warren Lake trail where it drops behind Castle Peak is incredibly beautiful.
Do you have a mental training technique, mantra, or similar that you rely on to combat the mentally trying times of a longer run?
I actually don’t. I usually just tell myself to keep going.
Do you listen to audio while you run and if so, what have you been enjoying lately?
I don’t unless I’m running on a treadmill and I try not to run on treadmills so it’s pretty rare.
Recovery technique(s) that you swear by?
Lots of cuddles from my dog. She likes to climb up in my lap when I’m in the recliner watching TV. I’ve also been getting sports massages at Zenergy after my races and I’ll use a foam roller after hard efforts or when my legs are getting sore.
Do you have a favorite piece of running gear?
I got a Garmin Fenix5X watch last fall. It’s the first watch I’ve owned that has mapping on it. It makes getting lost on the trail pretty hard even if you’re exploring a new place and is probably my favorite piece of running equipment that I own.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
I enjoy all the outdoor activities that Tahoe has to offer. If I’m not trail running you can probably find me mountain biking or hiking with my dog. I also enjoy paddle boarding on my rest days. During the winter I spend most of my time snowboarding and split boarding. I think I spend more time on my split board every winter. It’s become one of my favorite things to do and there are so many great places to do it in the Truckee/Tahoe area.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
I eat an almost entirely plant based diet. I became motivated to do this after reading Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run and have been eating this way for the last 3 years or so. I feel like it’s good for both my health and endurance. I also like to cook and bake vegan food. I have a sweet tooth and usually have some sort of vegan cookies in my house that I fixed up during the week.