Introduction by Steve Rowbury:
“I first met Jeff running with DPMR about 5 years ago, and since then he has quickly become a great friend, and also someone I often look up to for guidance…both in ultra running and life in general. Affectionately known as Quadzilla (if you know him, you know why!), over the years Jeff has done it all – from a 4:19 mile, to a sub-3 marathon, and in 2002 a sub-22hr finish at Western States. He’s run businesses, has an amazing (and still growing) family, and still finds time to complete car and construction projects for family and friends in his spare time. And if you ever need a pacer to get you through those last painful miles – Jeff is your ‘go-to’ guy. He’ll put his mind and body on the line to make sure you exceed your goals every time.”
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Born in Berkeley, CA and grew up in Atascadero, CA (near San Luis Obispo). Moved to Indialantic, FL my junior year of High School and attended University of South Florida in Tampa after High School.
Currently live in Glenshire in Truckee. Been here since 2014.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I began running in 6th grade. My best friend’s dad was a runner and he would coax us to go on a 5 mile road loop. I’ve never quit running since.
I was also a very hyperactive child and so running/swimming were sports that I could burn off energy and not have to be medicated to focus. I recommend this to all parents dealing with ADHD children.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I used to love racing. I was a marathoner having run my first marathon by mistake at 14 years old – I ran past the 13 mile mark and kept going to finish in 3:49. I’ve run over 40 marathons mostly trying to qualify for Boston (which I did in 1995) with a 2:51 marathon. I loved the short fast stuff. My 1-mile PR is 4:19 as a junior in High School. 5K was 15:01, 10K was 35:45. ( I was MVP for X-Country and Track all 4 years in High School.) However, once I slid into ultra running, the racing for me changed. I had to teach myself to run slower, much slower and the race became a race against myself internally. The distances were so long that I didn’t know how I could sustain the same intensity as my days as a marathoner.
Today, I am motivated by the unknown, the edge, and the push to explore that in the wilderness. Equally, the camaraderie I have with the small group of Team Diablo and DPMR runners. The group runs are amazing, every one of them and I enjoy the deep conversations, laughing and friendly competition. At 57, I am the older guy out there by far and really enjoy mentoring the younger runners toward achieving their goals. I often choose not to race an ultra these days but rather pace a friend to an amazing finish and experience their joy. That is where I find the ultimate satisfaction in my running.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
My dream race would be UTMB. Running on the international stage would be the pinnacle for me. I’ve applied to the CCC and haven’t been chosen yet however I plan to keep trying.
What was the best running advice you’ve received?
Couple of things – “Run your own race”, “Stay within yourself”, “Used the time to pray and become closer to God”
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
My on-trail running diet has changed so many times over the years. On the long races/training runs – I’ve always carried an Ensure for the high calories. Today, I’m using Spring Energy because they are natural and carry more calories than most.
My all time favorite post-run meal is a massive cheeseburger and fries at Burgers & Cream in Auburn. Nothing better than a hard 30-40 miles in the Western States Canyons and an amazing burger afterwards!
Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
I make a killer Apple Pie but it’s a secret!
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
With the pandemic, the past year has been tough. Throughout the year, I didn’t change my training. I challenged myself to hit a 70 mile week by running 10 milers every day for 7 days straight. Felt amazing and hadn’t done that in quite a while. I ran alone a lot but managed to get my DPMR buddies out on some Tahoe Rim Trail runs which was simply gratifying to have us all together.
I recently ran the 50K beer run over part of the Castle Peak course (one of my all time favorite courses). Never an easy run but incredibly fulfilling.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
Rather than focus on the past year, I’d rather talk about throughout my running career – there are a few races/runs where I’ve had to dig deep to discover I had more mental toughness than I knew. A few examples – Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim – vomiting on the final ascent and not sure how I would climb that last mile but I did; Tahoe Rim Trail 100 – dehydration, tears at 35 miles, running off course for 2 miles and then finishing in 27 hours. Finally, in 2002, hard, hot 50 mile training runs in the canyons to prepare for WS100. Those were some of the worst and dangerous bonks of my life. My body and mind was driven to places I never imagined. They were necessary. I overcame those obstacles to run my “magic” race that year at WS100 – 21:42.
With most races being cancelled this year, do you have your own adventure or virtual race plans?
I’d like to run the entire Tahoe Rim Trail. I’d also like to run a high altitude race as I seem to do well at that level. Planning to run the Tahoe Rim 100 for a second time in ‘21. My goal would be to complete it under 25 hours.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I work for Upwork as a Strategic Director overseeing the Google relationship. In short, I help Freelancers find work. The entire premise of what I do is built around remote working and so I am blessed to be able to work from Truckee, set my own schedule and train when I choose. My company also promotes fitness and the ultra running that I do.
What led you to join DPMR?
Having run for Team Diablo in the East Bay, I wanted to find a local running team for the camaraderie.
Jumped on a Memorial Day run with Dan Baxley and Pete Broomhall when I first moved to Truckee.
I’ve come to discover that many of the athletes in DPMR are “the next level” of ultra running – Peter Fain, Adam Kimble, Helen Pelster, Sean Flanagan, Pete Broomhall, Chris Cloyd and many more – I’ve learned so much from these guys and continue to push the envelope because of them.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
A few runs: Castle Peak 100, Broken Arrow and the Pub Runs. Both so much fun and so damn hard.
Favorite local trail?
Diamond Peak to Hobart and back on the TRT
Do you have a mental training technique, mantra, or similar that you rely on to combat the mentally trying times of a longer run?
“Stay within yourself”
Do you listen to audio while you run and if so, what have you been enjoying lately?
Yes – a bit of a mix Metallica, Nazareth, Guns & Roses, Kenny Chesney, Brooks and Dunn, Vince Gill, Steele Drivers, Sam Cooke
Recovery technique(s) that you swear by?
Vibration message, Yoga and supplements. I use Athletic Greens and Hammer Products.
Do you have a favorite piece of running gear (hydration system, shoe, clothing layer, sock, etc.)?
In 1997, I created a running belt by combining two Ultimate Direction water bottle belts. I’ve run hundreds of training runs and races with that belt and it hangs in my office now as a reminder. I’ve moved to several running vests – Salomon 8L Hydration vest is my latest favorite. I’ve been running in Hokas since the mid-2000’s. I also use my “wizard sticks” – running poles in most of my long runs in these mountains.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
I love to backpack and take long hikes with the love of my life- Jackie. I’ve backpacked the John Muir Trail twice, the second time with my wife Jackie. I hope to convince her to do the PCT when I retire in a few years.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
I married my High School sweetheart – Jackie. We met on the track when she was 15 and I was 16.
I have 3 amazing children – Jeff (32), Katie (30) and Austin (25).
Jackie and I purchased the first Baby Jogger made and I ran distance runs with our first when he was 3 weeks old.
I come from a family of mechanics and I restore old cars.
I enjoy renovations/construction as a hobby, especially working alongside my boys.
I’m the proud grandfather of two grandsons – Cedar (15 mos) and Rusty (6 mos).