What is an “ogul?” Just read on about our featured Member of the Month, Bri Jaskot, as she shares more about this experience and many others. It was one of her big goals and highlights of 2020, and an aspirational goal for anyone who enjoys making their way to the top of peaks. Even though her Mom had to throw her into the pool for her first swimming race when she was 4, she has few reservations now about jumping into big adventure runs and explorations on her own or with her husband. Bri tells us about her love of the trails, training, and the trail running culture — particularly the emphasis on consuming a massive amount of calories — as well as some of her most memorable 2020 outings, including the Tahoe Oguls, descending Ralston in pitch darkness, a Desolation 7 Peaks strugglefest, and the Sweetwater Range. It’s apparent that Bri loves a good climb, but you’ll have to ask her in person to hear more about her 2020 FKT of Whitney up-and-back. Not only is it great to see her back in the Tahoe area, but I’m excited to introduce you to one of my fellow speed/hill workout regulars and new DPMR Board Member!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Pleasant Hill, CA. I currently live with my Husband in South Reno.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I first started running track in 7th grade because all of my friends were joining Christ the King track club. From there I ran cross country in high school and then at the University of Hawaii. My college running performance was less than stellar, due to a bad fall a couple months before heading out to college that resulted in a small fracture in my sacrum & a jacked up coccyx. During downtime from that injury, I gained 20+ pounds and went through a bout of depression because I no longer felt like my fit runner self and so much of who I was as a person, was wrapped up in running and how I looked. After a disappointing 2010 XC season on the “B” squad, I stopped running for UH and decided to train for longer distances on my own. I always had in my head that the 5k was too short for me. I did a few 10k’s, a couple Half’s and then signed up to train with “Team Jet” for the Honolulu Marathon. A race I never ran, because of bad low back pain, hip pain, piriformis & IT band issues. Messing up my sacrum led to a long list of side issues and there were points where I thought running might not be for me anymore.
My first long race ended up being the inaugural North Shore Marathon in 2013. I stopped eating at mile 16 because my stomach was hurting and things drastically went downhill from there haha. Shortly afterwards, I read Ultramarathon Man and was introduced to the world of Ultra Running. I wanted to do an ultra, but also didn’t know if I could with the residual Sacrum injury pains I still had. In June of 2013, I graduated college, moved back home to the Bay Area and bought my first pack with a bladder, with the intention of going on long trail runs around the Bay Area. I dabbled in 2 hour runs in the Berkeley hills and ran sporadically, racing here and there, over the next 5 years.
Finally, in 2018, after following a “Sage Running” training plan for a few months, I ran my first 50k through Smith Rock State Park. I was doing well the first 20ish miles, but that doesn’t matter much in a 31 mile race. Just after mile 22 my hip flexor completely locked up on me and I walked in the last 9 miles to finish my first ultra. In hindsight, I get annoyed with myself for waiting so long to sign up for my first ultra distance. Now that I’ve jumped into the ultra trail world with both feet, I really wish I would’ve started training consistently and doing all of the little things years ago! But at the same time, I made a lot of changes during those years of hardly running that ultimately led to me being healthier now.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I do race. Racing motivates me somewhat. However, I’ve always liked training more than racing. I grew up a competitive swimmer and started competing at age 4. My mom had to throw me into the pool my first race, because I didn’t realize that I would be swimming in the lane all by myself. I thought it would be like practice and I would jump in right after the person in front of me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and do well, so racing has always given me a bit of anxiety. It has definitely gotten better over the years. Right now, spending as much time on the trails and in the mountains is what motivates me. I do enjoy going out and running hard. It’s fun to test the fitness in the mountains and it’s fun to run fast downhill, but I don’t need a race to want to do that.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
UTMB. But at the same time, I would be happy going over there with my husband and doing a hut to hut, multi day run of the course. UTMB would be rad, but running the course outside of race day would be just as cool to me. Basically, I just want to run for a long time in foreign, beautiful, mountains.
What was the best running advice you’ve received?
I can’t pick which one is better, so I have two. One – run your easy days easy, so your hard days can be hard. Two – eat enough calories.
Buying a chest strap, heart rate monitor really taught me how to feel out the different zones and keep my easy pace honest. Prior to 2019, I spent most of my time in the “grey zone” for sure. I now try to make sure there is a clear difference between my easy pace and when I’m starting to pick it up a bit.
Coming from a competitive XC background, so much emphasis was put on weight and being skinny, to be faster. Thankfully now, there are so many people talking about the importance of fueling properly. I don’t remember that being the norm when I was in high school or college. I had a college coach tell the girls team at our pre-race pasta dinner to stop eating so much bread. I love that the culture of ultra running is about embracing the fact that you NEED to consume massive amounts of calories, in order to train consistently, perform and recover.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I aim for 240 calories an hour. Post run, I try to eat something right away. Usually, orange juice and a bar. Or a protein powder, mixed with oat milk. Eating can be hard immediately after a run, especially a harder workout, so I try to drink my calories immediately after.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
Not necessarily a specific recipe, but I do have a massive smoothie everyday. It’s a super easy way to get in extra calories (between meals) and nutrients. I either do a Mylk alternative or juice base, a massive amount of greens, banana (to make it creamy), frozen fruit (I try to do what is in season), one tablespoon each of ground flax/chia seed or hemp and a handful of pumpkin seeds for a small dose of extra iron.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
Working on completing the Tahoe Ogul list with my husband! The list is made up of 63 peaks in and around the Tahoe Basin. Some of them are pretty obscure and if they weren’t on the list, most people would have no desire or reason to go out to them. It was such a great way to get to know the area and mentally link up trails in our backyard. I can now drive around and name most of the peaks/ranges in our surrounding area. I’d recommend checking out Highland and Silver over off of Ebbetts pass, the day is mostly cross country travel, but the climbs are steep! And the area is remote & gorgeous. Raymond is another fun one! The section of PCT leading out to the cross country bit up to the summit is unreal, primo single track. The Sweetwater range was another highlight. Unless you’re trying to complete the Ogul list, I can’t recommend East or Middle sister because they are both horrid, cross country bushwhacks. But, South sister, Wheeler and Patterson is such a cool loop over otherworldly terrain!
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
I have yet to be in a seriously soul crushing low on a run. I don’t think that I have gone far enough for that yet. But, Desolation 7 summits was a tough one this summer. We did it for the first time at the end of June and did the original 31 mile route, put up by Leor Pantilat that starts at the Ralston TH and heads down the 50 for two miles, before cutting up the trail towards Pyramid. There was still quite a bit of snow on the route at that time, which made getting off the backside of Pyramid interesting and making our way from Pyramid to Jack’s very slow going. It ended up being my longest day out in the mountains, and I bonked hard at Lake Aloha. My Spring gels were making me gag and I felt very low energy. We ended up relearning a basic lesson that day, because we didn’t bring headlamps. Our packs were already very full of food and water and our thinking was that we would use our phones if it came to that. Plus, we were right around the longest day of the year and it wasn’t going to get dark until after 9. We ended up using our phones so much to route find the cross country sections that our batteries died way faster than anticipated. We were both at less than 10% on the top of Tallac. Just as we were summiting Ralston the last bit of light went away and we descended that small talus section in pitch darkness. It was also a new moon, so there was ZERO natural light. Luckily, we had summited Ralston from the 50 the day before and knew that the trail was relatively straight forward, minus a couple of rooty sections. My husband ended up guiding us down in total darkness. I lost my shit a couple of times because I could barely see him two feet in front of me when we were in the woods, at that point I hadn’t eaten anything in a few hours and at one mile per hour pace I knew that my pizza/french fry fantasy post run wasn’t going to happen. It took us 3 hours to descend the three miles from Ralston in the dark, creeping our way down the trail.
With most races being cancelled this year, do you have your own adventure or virtual race plans?
Hopefully races happen this year, but if they don’t, there are plenty of mountain objectives to be had. The new Sisson route up Mt. Shasta looks so rad. Apparently it was the original route John Muir took (22 miles, 10k+ in vertical). Cottonwood Canyon Loop in Death Valley (31ish miles, 4500 ft through marble canyons!)Shorty’s well to Telescope Peak in death valley (lowest to highest point in the desert, 30ish miles, 11k+ vertical. Rae Lakes loop from Onion Valley, Evolution loop. The routes and loops in the Sierra are endless. These are just a small few of the already established ones that I would love to do.
What led you to join DPMR?
When we moved back to the area in October 2019, I wanted to get involved with the local running community as much as I could. I had gone to some DPMR group runs back in 2014 when I lived in Tahoe for the summer and I loved those meet ups so much, once we were back in the area it was an
immediate sign up.
Recovery technique(s) that you swear by?
Sleep, Calories, epsom salt baths and my lacrosse ball!
Do you have a favorite piece of running gear (hydration system, shoe, clothing layer, sock, etc.)?
The new Salomon XA filter cap! It’s compatible with all of their soft flasks. I rarely carried large amounts of water this summer on any of my long runs. I would simply filter along the way. If I knew that I was going to go a stretch without water, I would throw back a liter and a couple of salt tabs at the source, fill a half liter or two to carry with me and keep going.