Team EverymanTri caught up with Flagstaff's Jason Wolfe for an exclusive chat at The GORE-TEX TransRockies Run. Jason and his teammate, fellow Flagstaffer Mike Smith, are contenders to win the very competitive Open Men's category of the six-stage, 120 mile race.
Team EMT: Jason, you took second last year at this event - did you come back because you have some unfinished business here?
Jason: Lots of reasons, actually. One, I'm a GORE associate, and since it's a GORE-TEX sponsored event, there is always a lot of electricity at work leading up to it, folks training for it, and preparing for the race. There is also a fairly large representation from Flagstaff, and a tremendous amount of energy in the running community - it's easy to get swept up in the whole vibe of it. Of course there's also the 'unfinished business' part. I feel like we can win it, which is always better than second place.
Team EMT: What's your favorite part of the race?
Jason: I think training with a partner leading up to it, there's a certain amount of buildup, and then racing together in a stage-format, it feels like a journey as opposed to just a race. Running can sometimes be such an individual sport, that it's nice to a have a team experience sometimes. You build up to the event with your partner, then when you get here, it's so amazing. The scenery, you get to hang out with and get to know people really well, it makes the journey complete. I've been running for a long time, and I've never had the same feelings toward a race as I have with this one. It's definitely special.
Team EMT: What is the hardest part?
Jason: the competition is intense, and you have to run hard every minute of it. There's no letting off the gas. And to do that every day for six days straight is tough on your body and your mind. Not much recovery time for either.
Team EMT: How did you and Mike come together for this?
Jason: Flagstaff has a really close running community, and so I think we first met and ran together with mutual friends three or four years ago. We have run together off and on since. He really wanted to do this race and I wasn't sure yet, but it didn't take him very long at all to talk me into it. Plus, like I said, I think we work well together and have a strong shot at winning.
Team EMT: did you do most of your training in Flagstaff?
Jason: yea, it's an incredible place for runners. The town is at 7,000 feet, and we went up to 12,000 ft several times in our training. It's in close proximity to great year-round training, and there are a lot of really accomplished racers that train there, so good support and people around to push us.
Team EMT: how would you summarize your training leading up to this event?
Jason: in one word, our training was pretty insane. Compared to training for other races, we did a lot of steeps and technical trails to get ready. Mileage ranged from 90-110 per week, on tough trails. We had to get time on our feet. I did yoga and core work a couple times a week just to balance it out a bit.