Trinty Trail Out and Back FKT – Race Report

Trinity Trail FKT Lake Lavon Jason Bahamundi

On Friday, November 27th I laced up my shoes and went after the Trinity Trail Out and Back FKT. The decision to go after this record was made on Wednesday, November 25th in the evening after seeing that I had a good week of recovery and feeling emboldened by the FKT attempts of Greg and Jen. I was inspired by their efforts to push themselves when there was no reason to and with nearly 9 months of no racing, that itch had to be scratched.

Earlier this year, when Lake Sonoma was cancelled and then Bryce Canyon followed in the cancellation line, I noticed that there were a lot of people going after FKTs. I saw Billy Yang follow Amanda Basham on her 22-Mile Kalalau Trail/Na Pali Coast FKT attempt and that was the first time I wondered about an FKT attempt. The pandemic allowed for those thoughts to marinate as we entered into a steady state of base building. With no races in sight, I wanted to get that race day feeling. The Trinity Trail Out and Back FKT attempt would provide that.

On Wednesday, I wrote down the items that I would need for an 8 hour run. On Thursday, after the Turkey Day Run with Team Dirt and Vert at Erwin Park, I went home and started to assemble all of the items I had written down. It truly felt like the day before a race as I was going up and down stairs, into the garage, counting gels and calculating liquid amounts. Figuring out where the ‘aid stations’ would be and what I would need to get me from Point A to B and back again. I had nervous excitement, but that race day vibe was certainly there.

When the alarm went off, I most certainly felt that race day vibe. I had a couple of cups of coffee and an Rbar before gathering up all my bags and loading them into the car. The pre-race bathroom stops and feeling in my gut that I had to use the restroom were certainly there. Stopping for gas and feeling the excitement grew. Once at the start, I got nervous because I didn’t want to screw anything up with having the run being certified by FastestKnownTime.com.

A couple of email exchanges with Greg and Jen settled me down and got me focused for what lay ahead.

My goal time for this attempt was 8 hours. I had gone into Garmin Connect to create a pace strategy with that finish time and a positive split knowing that I’d have heavy legs toward the end. Greg had provided me with some insight into where the water stops are and how to remember where the trail started back after the loops were completed. Jen helped immediately by telling me that the trail went left once you stepped over the crossing gate and not straight as it would seem.

It was time to go. Pressed start on my watch and started running. This trail is not technical in any way. It is a horse trail and there is a lot of dead grass covering the trail with little to no rocks and or roots. In the first few miles I kept checking my watch because I was so nervous about going off the trail, but despite that my paces were well ahead of the 10:00/mi goal I had set for myself. Knowing this helped when I reached mile 3 and got turned around a handful of times. I don’t know that I’ve been more nervous about being lost than I was right then and there. The trail goes straight but the stepped on grass sweeps left and I just blindly followed that left turn until my watch was beeping that I was off course. Back tracked, didn’t see anything, went back, then back again and finally found the trail. OK, let’s get going.

I stayed around the 9:00/mi mark until I reached Brockdale and then the nerves kicked in again. I couldn’t find the water and was wandering around for what felt like 30 minutes. I had also noticed that my watch said 9.86 miles and Greg told me that the water was at mile 9.5. Did I miss it? I turned around and saw the spigot and filled up my bottles. I flipped through my watch faces and stopped on the one that showed me my remaining time to hit 8 hours, how far I’d gone and my ETA back at the finish. It was at this point that it said 2:03pm. A full 57 minutes ahead of my goal and 42 minutes faster than the ETA I saw when I got lost at mile 3. This is when I start asking myself: are you going to hard? Do you need to conserve energy? My response to myself: All Gas, No Brakes. Your legs will stop working when they stop working. Make this FKT attempt hard for the next person to go after.

One thing about the 5 mile stretch from Collin to Brockdale is that it was tacky enough to have mud stick to your shoes and then have the hay stick to the mud and create bird’s nests on your feet. Your 8 oz shoe would now weigh 3 lbs. The moment you kicked it off, you’d be right back in the mud. I reverted back to Rocky Raccoon in 2019 and how muddy  that was and that I took the mindset of running right through it and figuring it out later. In my mind, I knew that the return would be hard because my legs would have 30 plus miles on them by then.

The remainder of the run was fairly boring and I was just looking forward to the Mile 16.5 ‘aid’ station where I would fill up and make a run to the loop and be on the way back. When I reached the water spigot I noticed that I was still ticking of sub-10:00/mi paces and that would set me up for a return back that if the wheels came off the bus would still put me in the vicinity of setting the FKT. Once I left the water stop, I ran the 3 miles to the start of the loop and felt good. The loop had some cold water crossings that woke me up and gave me some life as I could feel the tiredness of the early wake up call start to set in.

After clearing the first two loops, I grabbed my nutrition that I had set out as markers to remember where to go back into the trail. This was an idea that Greg had given me a few days before. It worked perfectly and it was time to head back. I had seen text messages from Karen/Michelle/Erik about the pace I was setting and where I was on the course. There was also a text from Jen that I was kicking ass.

The back portion was not a big deal until I had 13.1 miles to go. How did I know it was exactly 13.1 miles to go? That is exactly when I saw Sam the Bull Mastiff with his owners and I had yelled that I was running up from behind them. Sam had drool coming down his face and he was off leash. This gave me some worries but Sam turned out to be a lovable dog. He ran next to me and when his owner called him he left, and then a few moments later he came back and ran a bit with me before leaving  again.

After leaving Sam, there was nothing exciting going on and then it happened. I stepped wrong and twisted my ankle. I audibly yelled: FUCK. FUCK man, not now. I hobbled for a bit and within 0.5 miles the pain was no longer there. Soon enough I was back at Brockdale filling my water. I looked at my phone and saw a text from Greg that said: Killing It and one from Jen that said: Fucking beast! Home stretch. 9.5 to go.  It was those words that played over and over in my head as the next 5 miles were the worst of the entire run. I normally have a mantra of Stubborn Mule playing in my head. It was something that Goat used to call me and it means so much. This time I started telling myself:

Embrace the suffering and every step from here to the finish is going to be comfortable and you can do this.

The mud that I scooted through on the way out now felt heavier and wetter and downright awful. I spent a lot of time kicking the mud off so that I could try to run but it just repeated itself over and over and over. When I got out of the 5 mile stretch and into Collin Park, I took the time to knock the dirt and mud off my shoes because I wanted to give these last 5 miles everything I had. the home stretch wasn’t hard other than having tired legs and being dehydrated. It was in this stretch that I had started laughing at myself because when I was so ahead of the 8 hour pace I thought I may break Greg’s record by 2 hours. Once the legs got tired then I had looked at breaking it by 1.5 hours. At this point, any time faster than Greg’s would be welcomed. I just wanted this to be finished.

When I went through the last pasture and back onto the trail, I knew I was home and would be setting the FKT and be ahead of 8 hours. I ran the last stretch without stopping and after I stepped over the cattle guard and walked a few steps I hit the stop button on my watch and it flashed 7h40m32s. I was elated, exhausted and emotional. Almost immediately my phone rang and it was Karen. I told her that we did it and she told me how proud she was of my effort and just like after every other race that holds meaning: I cried. The emotion just poured out of me. I didn’t expect that to happen but it told me that I gave everything I had and didn’t hold anything back.

A bunch of text message exchanges with Jen and Greg and tears streaming down my face told me everything I needed to know about the support community I have as well as the effort I put out there. I know that this FKT will not stand forever but I hope that I set a time that will make the next person think about whether or not they want to go for it and if they decided to that they are going to have to give it 100% for the entire 43.7 miles and not take a single step off the gas.

Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 4

Cocodona 250 Arizona 2021 Race Across The Desert

It’s been two weeks and last week alone felt like a month so it may be almost 6 weeks since my last blog post about training for Cocodona 250? It’s hard to keep track these days, especially with everything going on outside of the ultra / trail world. I hope this blog post helps you get away from the anxiety and stress of COVID and the Presidential election and aftermath.

If you want to get caught up then you can click the links for Volumes 1, 2, 3

Let’s Get Into What Has Transpired In The Last Two Weeks

I had another idea of what I was going to write in this space but then I received an interview request that was asking about setting goals. A day after that I listened to The Trail Life podcast Episode 8 and the conversation was about goals and going after them. Finally, while listening to the podcast The Social Run Episode 31, I knew that I wanted to tell the world my goal for Cocodona 250.

Let me preface this by saying that I had an idea, a few months ago, about this goal and shared it with Greg and Jen. I laughed at myself, so they didn’t have to, because it just seemed so absurd. Without knowing anything about the course or about training for this event, the goal was just kinda slapped onto a text message.

Here is the thing about me and goals. Once I’ve established it in my mind then I can’t let it go. It just sits there and gnaws at me as I train, as I sleep, as I eat and even as I execute on race day. I’m not afraid of going after what some would deem as ridiculous when it comes to goals because failure is not the end. For me, failure is the beginning of the process to getting to that goal. If I succeed on the first try, then the goal was too easy and I will need to go back after it.

Here are some examples of me setting goals and where I’ve fallen on them:

  • Going under 20 hours at Rocky Raccoon in my first attempt on that course in 2015. Finish Time: 19:22
  • Going under 19 hours at Rocky Raccoon in each attempt since then:
    • 2016: 20:23:32
    • 2017: 19:11:36
    • 2018: 19:21:30
    • 2019: 21:59:00
  • Going under 11 hours at an Ironman after an 11:00:50 at Ironman Chattanooga in 2014. Results of each attempt since then:
    • 2015: Ironman Florida – 11:27:26 (First Sub-4 Hour Ironman Marathon)
    • 2016: Ironman Louisville – 11:22::12
    • 2017: Ironman Maryland – 11:35:27
    • 2018: Ironman Chattanooga – 10:31:00 (No Swim and probably would have been near 11:30)
    • 2019: Ironman Wisconsin – DNF
  • Western States 2019 Goal: Sub-24. Actual Time: 26:36:53
  • Black Canyon 100k 2020 Goal: Sub-12. Actual Time: 11:57:27

Putting myself out there isn’t new, failing isn’t new, and these just out of reach goals allow me to be a better athlete during training and especially during racing as I chase those numbers.

With that being said, I updated my Training Peaks account with Cocodona 250 as a race and with a goal. What’s that goal? 80 Hours.

My original text message to Greg and Jen said that I think we can finish this in 72 hours. 100 miles in 24 hours + 4 hour nap + 100 miles in 28 hours + 4 hour nap + 50 miles in 12 hours = 72 Hours. After seeing the winning finishing times at Moab of 61 and 63 hours I decided to check on the elevation profiles of each. Cocodona has about 10,000 more feet of climbing than Moab and is 10 miles longer so I pushed my 72 hours to 80 hours. Can this happen? No Fucking Clue, but you can put every dollar you own on the fact that I’ll go #AllGas #NoBrakes chasing that time during the event.

Cocodona 250 Jason Bahamundi Goals

Now That We Know Your Goal, What Has Training Looked Like?

The first official week went very well. As you can see from the image below, I was spot on when it comes to time spent training as well as hitting the TSS score I had planned. The combination of bike work, hill repeats, trail running, speed work and swimming was awesome. I will add in that I also took naps on Saturday and Sunday which helped facilitate my recovery for this upcoming week.

The upcoming week looks very similar in terms of the plan, but I am adding in a weight vest hike post bike ride as well as bringing back the Man-Maker. This workout is a beast and when you are done, the idea of curling up in a ball and crying then napping is welcomed!!!

Training Peaks Jason Bahamundi Weekly Training Plan for Cocodona 250

Conclusion

Last week I was able to solidify the team that will help me across the finish line (or at least not die!) and that has been a huge relief. These last two weeks have given me the opportunity to set a goal and develop the plan that is going to get me there. With November 1/3rd over, I can say that I feel like I am in a good spot. Our Team Dirt and Crew will be heading to Huntsville State Park for some Rocky Raccoon training, and there is another opportunity (in a couple of weeks) for me to test fitness and gauge how the plan is progressing.

I am also starting to get more serious about registering and booking accommodations for races in early 2021 as a setup for Cocodona.

So, until the next time I post……Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to ask me questions because they will help me formulate my plan.

Happy Trail Running….Find Your Dirt and Your Vert

Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 3

Cocodona 250 Aravaipa Running Heart of Arizona Footrace

Two weeks or so ago, I posted Volume 2 of Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line and a few things have happened in those two weeks that it felt like the right time to post Volume 3.  Before you get started on Volume 3, and want to read Volume 1 and 2, click the link and then come back. For those of you that are just finding this blog series, the backstory is that Greg and I are running/racing Cocodona 250 in May of 2021 and this is a way to track my progress toward that finish line.

Thanks For The Links To Vol 1 & 2, Now Give Me New Info

Crew Chief and Pacers Are Starting To Line Up

Crew Chief – Maria Simone of No Limits Endurance Coaching

Maria will be my crew chief for this race and we have a long history together. Maria and I go back to 2012 when she coached me for my third Ironman at Ironman Texas in 2013. Since those days, Maria has remained a great friend of mine and somebody that I always look to for inspiration, laughter, motivation and insight. The reason that I had Maria as my number 1 draft prospect for this event is her experience at Tahoe 200 and how invaluable it will be to me during the lead up and in the moment of the event. I was also sold on our ability to work together in the toughest of times when I paced her at Rocky Raccoon earlier in 2020. We spent nearly 7 hours on the trail that night and we laughed the entire time. When things get tough, and they will, you will want to have people around you that will cheer you up but also smack you into reality and get you going again. Maria will be that person for me.

Pacer / Crew – Ashley Durstine

You may have seen Ashley’s name pop up in association with Team Dirt and Vert on this site as well as on social media. Ashley is our Group Lead in Phoenix Arizona and will be leading runs out there on Wednesday and Saturday. I was following Ashley on Instagram and all of her photos are of the White Tank Mountains or of Skyline Regional Park and they are always just so gorgeous. Over time, I’ve seen her ability to run and climb in the type of terrain that Cocodona will be run on and it just made sense for me to ask her to be a part of this adventure. Having somebody with experience and understanding of where I’ll be running will prove to be invaluable.

Pacer / Crew – Courtney Schwartz

If you can have somebody who lives in Idaho and has an ultra-running resume like she does, why wouldn’t you ask her to be a part of your team? Courtney lives in the mountains and runs up and down them (with her good dog Rush!!) and has an immense amount of experience that I will lean on during race week. Her knowledge of wind and different types of weather at the top of a mountain versus in the canyon will be helpful and her joy will be welcome when the moment comes, and it will come, when I am overly tired, overly hungry, snarky and just ready to tell everybody to fuck right on off.

Pacer / Crew – Michelle ‘Drum’ Blackard

Where do I begin? I met Michelle back in 2012 when we trained together for Ironman Arizona. 2 years later we trained for and raced Ironman Chattanooga. From those days in 2012 to now I have always looked to Michelle for inspiration and motivation as she goes from Ironman to Ultra Trail Runner to Mountain Biker. She moves through these sports with grace and with a passion for success. Michelle is also one of the most organized persons I know and that is going to be valuable as we make our way from Black Canyon City to Flagstaff. Having shared many laughs with Michelle over the years, I know that when the going is horrible she will get me to smile and laugh.

To the four of you, Thank You. You do not know what a relief it is to have this part of the race complete. It may not seem like much, but asking people to give up a week (or more) of their life to join me on an adventure through Arizona was stressful. This isn’t asking somebody to pace you for 5-7 hours on a trail and then get home within a day. This is asking somebody to give up time with family, friends, work and wait on you hand and foot (literally!) I cannot be more excited about this team as each brings with them a different perspective and experience that will prove to be invaluable during race week.

How Is Training Going?

Glad you asked. It is unofficially starting this week, and officially starting next week. October 1st was to be the day I started but I didn’t and then last week I had a lot of stress about life and I decided starting a training plan under those circumstances didn’t make sense. I wrote my first official week out and put it into Training Peaks with a November 1st start date. On Monday October 26th, I woke up with a green whoop recovery score, following three straight days of red, and that was very uplifting. I decided that I can start an unofficial plan during this week and allow that to flow into next week. In addition to that, Team Dirt and Vert is hosting a Halloween Night Run at Erwin Park and that’ll be a great way to kickstart this training plan.

Training Ideas? Have You Formulated Those Yet?

Yes, my goal is to be the strongest version of me when we start on May 3rd. This means that in addition to running, there will be a lot of hill repeats with different focuses. One day will be running uphill and not crushing myself downhill while others will be easy on the uphills and smashing myself on the downhills. I will be adding in running/hiking with my pack on to simulate those days out on the course when that pack will feel like it weighs 100 lbs. The Man-Maker on the treadmill will make a come back as will weight vest hikes on the treadmill followed by swims.

What I will not be doing is sleep deprivation training. I have not done that in any of the 100 mile training cycles I have done and find it hard to wrap my mind around. I am a big believer in consistency in training and recovery. Interrupting sleep patterns and causing inconsistencies in training doesn’t make much sense to me. Since I’ll be having a rolling aid station and pacers the need to train while sleep deprived and increasing my ability to get injured doesn’t make much sense

Are You Planning To Race Prior to May 3rd?

Simply put, YES. I am also planning on pacing.

Anything Else You Want To Share With Us?

In my last post, I mentioned getting another Inside Tracker test done. The results have come back and I have a few tweaks I need to make to my diet, and have already begun that process. I have increased my consumption of soy along with a bigger breakfast to get Iron, Vitamin B and Vitamin D into my system. I have also ordered AltRed as beets were a suggested food that I eat to help with my biomarkers. My morning and afternoon smoothies now incorporate beet juice, tart cherry juice. I’ll use AltRed on big training days.

I listened to my boy Hector Rodriguez on The Trail Life Podcast and it got me fired up for Coco250. Hector recently completed the Moab 240 and is in the lottery for Tahoe 200. Listening to him speak with excitement about racing, and the grind to the finish line and insight into racing this distance was awesome. I’ll be bookmarking this episode and listening over and over again because it’s down to earth with insight from a person who is not sugar coating the truth of the adventure and accomplishment.

Conclusion

This adventure is starting to take shape and I am excited for what is going to happen over the course of the next few months. There will be lots of thrills and excitement as well as downs and fuck this, I don’t want to train anymore. It’s all in a training cycle and especially for something like this where I have no idea where I’m headed but I’m certainly going to get there.

So, until the next time I post……Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to ask me questions because they will help me formulate my plan.

Happy Trail Running….Find Your Dirt and Your Vert

Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 2

Meandering Purposely To The Finish Line Jason Bahamundi Cocodona 250

It’s been nearly two weeks since I posted Volume 1 of the Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line and this felt like the right time to write another blog post as I meander my way to the finish line of Cocodona 250 in May 2021. With 8 months to go before race day things are still very much up in the air with regards to training plans and crew/pacer plans but things are also starting to formulate in my mind about who/what/when/where/how. You may have just said: What about why? The why was decided way back when I pressed register so that question has been answered.

That’s Great, But Did You Tell Us Your Why?

I did not tell you my why when I wrote the first blog post so now is as good a time as any to tell you my why. The first and simplest answer is: Why Not? Why not run 250 miles across the heart of Arizona? Why not test my limits and see how well I do? Why not seek the euphoria of crossing the finish line? Why not seek the despair and brink of failure, for there is where I’ll find my next success?

It’s all of those things and more. I remember when I signed up for my first 50 mile race and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll race a 100. I remember registering for my first 100 and finishing that race and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll ever do that again. I remember seeing Maria Simone of No Limits Endurance Coaching and my former coach go around Lake Tahoe during Tahoe 200 and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll ever race a 200. I remember seeing Sean Nakamura tackle the Grand Slam of 200’s and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll ever do that.

Then the competitor in me started saying: Why not you? And I pressed register on the 100 mile race then the next 100 mile race and 8 belt buckles later I am registered for the 250 mile adventure.

It’s competition with myself about finding what’s next. It’s competition with myself about finding the edge of my ability. It’s competition with myself to say: Failure is a possibility, but I won’t fail.

What Are Your Next Steps In This Meandering Plan Of Yours?

My next step is on deciding what the pace/crew team is going to look like. I’ve got a few names that I’ve written down and will be reaching out in the next week or so. Pacing and crewing  a 100 race is a huge ask but that is typically a 1-2 day request. This could be upwards of 5 days of work plus a few days before and after for recreation. This is going to be the biggest request I make and I want to make sure that the team is compatible with me during the down times because hanging out and laughing with me will be easy during the good times. It’s when I want to take a dirt nap, when I want to tell the world to fuck off, when I want to sleep for more than 4 hours that this crew is going to need to know how to manipulate me into getting my ass going again.

If your phone rings and my name shows up, just know that I am asking you because I think you’re the PERFECT fit for me and this adventure but don’t feel obligated to answer right away or having to say yes.

Training Ideas? Have You Formulated Those Yet?

Not completely. Yesterday, during the Team Dirt and Vert StruggleBus Sunday run I decided that I was going to chase a PR on the TD&V New Big Loop Strava segment. I think I decided to do this as a baseline test for my fitness heading into an official training plan. After the run while Jen and Greg and I were chatting we figured that now is the time to include Trail Fartleks into our Sunday run. Jen will be heading to Bandera in January and with the flat and very runable segments there she’ll be working on speed and since I don’t do track workouts this will also be my speed workout for the week.

I am still swimming my way across Lake Tahoe in the #AmazeRaceSwim that I am hosting on Instagram. This is helping me keep my goal of 6,000 yards per week and aid in recovery. I am also still riding my bike and have decided that even when the weather gets cold I’ll put the bike on the trainer and keep that component going as well. Riding my bike will also be a huge benefit for recovery from the runs and addition of strength training to the plan.

Anything Else You Want To Share With Us?

Yes, as a matter of fact there are two things that I want to share with you.

1- I am going to get another Inside Tracker test done. I participated in the study when I went to Western States in 2019 and it was a benefit. It showed me that despite my consumption of mushrooms and spending hours upon hours in the sun that my Vitamin D was still low as well as my iron levels. I have taken a more conscious approach to getting Vitamin D and Iron supplements into my diet, but I am also interested in the other biomarkers since it’s been a year and a whole lot can change.

2- I have become and ambassador for Rbar Energy. I was introduced to the product by Ashley and was invited to join the team. After tasting the first couple of samples I knew that this was the direction I wanted to go in because the taste was fantastic. The ingredient list is minimal (think 3-7 ingredients) and they are plant-based. This weekend, instead of the usual bowl of granola 2 hours before a long day of riding and running, I went with Rbar. On Saturday, I tested out the Cranberry Cashew and on Sunday, I went with Chocolate Peanut Butter. Both were excellent tasting and I was satisfied with my performance on both days. Best part, is that I have a 20% discount code for you to use. Go shopping and use code: JBAHA and save 20%.

Conclusion

This plan is still a work in progress but little pieces are coming together. Like anything else in life, it’s the little things that amount to big things. Right now, my stress and anxiety is about the pacing/crewing component of this process and I have a solid idea of how I want this to unfold and soon that will be behind me and the focus can turn to the core, balance, stretching, strength, run, ride, swim planning and executing.

So, until the next time I post……Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to ask me questions because they will help me formulate my plan.

Happy Trail Running….Find Your Dirt and Your Vert

Plantmade Protein Review – Jason Bahamundi

Plantmade Protein Powder For People Of Color

A couple of weeks ago on Instagram, the company Plantmade reached out to me to ask if I would be willing to test out their product. After checking out the site, I decided that I would give it a go. As with all of my reviews, I am going to be 100% honest and not hide anything from those of you reading and interested in making a purchase.

What Was The First Thing You Noticed On The Plantmade Website?

Their mission jumped out at me:

We are on a mission to redefine the relationship between people of color and the world of health & wellness. By leveraging a unique blend of CPG, Community, a Multi-Media Channel, & Unique Experiences, we seek to develop a safe space where people of color can heal, innovate, and discover true happiness.  

Our story is still being written…Thank you for being a part of it!

As a Puerto Rican endurance athlete who is focused on his health and wellness, that first sentence jumped off the page at me. I’ve mentioned it before in different places, but when I look at trail running magazines/websites, triathlon magazines/websites or stand at the starting line of a race I don’t see a lot of people like me. The two times I saw that the athletes around me, resembled my family and I, was when I was racing Ironman 70.3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Having a product that was geared toward people of color made me take notice.

Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico Triathlon Jason Bahamundi
I Love This Race Course And The Hospitality

Cut To The Chase……Was It Good?

The short and simple answer is yes. When I first opened the canister I could smell the vanilla. It had such a powerful and flowery punch that my hopes for it tasting great went straight up.

As background for my consumption of protein powders, you should know that I drink two smoothies made with Vega Sport Premium Protein per day as well as a rest and recovery shake, also made by Vega, about 30 minutes before bed, so I am no stranger to protein powders.

My first hope was that it wouldn’t be chalky and that fear subsided the moment I scooped out the first portion. I noticed that the powder itself was thin and I knew that the Vitamix would really blend it up well. After consuming that first shake, I was no longer scared that I’d be drinking the chalk tray from an elementary school.

So, we’ve got taste and smell going for us. We’ve got the lack of chalky-ness going for us, so what else would I want in a protein powder? The amount of calories and protein would be the next hurdle for me. One scoop of Plantmade has 120 calories and 21g of protein. We can check that box off as well. This is an excellent choice for protein powders.

You’ve Given Lots Of Praise, But What’s The Downside?

With my typical level of activity and intensity, I am consuming approximately 76g to 130g of protein per day. This is about 1.2g-2.0g per kg of body weight, and is what is approximated for a person as active as I am. With Vega and my normal diet, I am hitting that number regularly. With Plantmade, I’d probably have to go to a third shake which I am not ready or willing to do.

That being said, I can see myself adding the Vanilla flavored Plantmade to the Peanut Butter, Mocha or Berry Vega to enhance the flavor and still giving me the amount of protein that my body needs to function and repair itself.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a plant based protein powder that has excellent taste, blends well and provides and adequate amount of protein then click the link at the top of this review and make a purchase.

Plantmade Protein Powder For People Of Color

 

 

Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 1

Meandering Purposely To The Finish Line Jason Bahamundi Cocodona 250

When I registered for the Aravaipa Racing Cocodona 250, I thought about how I want to remember this race/event. It would be easy to post pics to Instagram and talk about it on Twitter, but that didn’t seem like enough. I wanted it to be more than just that. I wanted to be able to reflect on the journey whenever I wanted and smile, laugh, cry or all three at the same time. Back in the day, I used to blog on the Cook Train Eat Race site but closed that down because blogging became more work than I wanted. Now, I sit here thinking about chronicling this journey through blogging and it feels right.

I won’t be posting any sort of training specific workouts, unless it fits into a bigger narrative for the week, month, goal. That means, you will not see: Ran 5 miles at XX:XX/mi pace and it felt shitty. What you will see is, ran 35 miles this week and the entire time I envisioned how fucking cold it’s going to be in the mountains when we get closer to Flagstaff and trying to make sure that my mind is prepared for that……or something similar.

With that brief intro into what this space is going to be used for, let’s dive in a bit.

Why this title for this series?

This was something I thought of on my drive to the Team Dirt and Vert #StruggleBus Sunday run and it made total sense. This is an endeavor that has no precedent for me, similar to the journey I embarked on when I started training for my first 100 mile race. I look back at that training plan and shake my head over the ‘mistakes’ I made and how different a 100 mile training plan for me looks today. I can converse with Maria about how she tackled the Tahoe 200, but what she did will be different from what I am going to be doing, thus I’ll be meandering….with a purpose toward the finish line.

Have you developed a goal for yourself?

That’s a very good question and the answer is yes. If you’ve communicated with me about racing then you know I race by the mantra: #AllGas #NoBrakes so I will put what seems to be an out of reach goal and then go for it. I’ll fail (A LOT) and that’s ok because it’s all a learning process, but for this race…..how do you develop a goal? I shirked and said to myself:

  • Running 100 miles can take 24 hours.
  • Sleep for 4 hours.
  • Running another 100 miles can take 28 hours.
  • Sleep for 4 hours.
  • Running 50 miles can take 12 hours
  • Total: 72 Hours

Is any of this feasible? Of course. Is any of this realistic? Of course. Can this blow up in my face? Of course.

And that is the beauty of this GOAL. Who the fuck knows what’s going to happen?

BTW – Jen and Greg laughed at me via text when I mentioned this. BUT, I will let it be known that while running on Sunday September 20th….Greg asked me about nutrition and low carb / high fat diet for prep for the race BECAUSE we will need to be dependent on energy sources for those THREE DAYS. I believe he’s on board the: Fuck It, let’s try to finish in 3 days train…..ALL ABOARD!!!

How are you going to lay out your training plan?

Another very good question and one I will shrug my shoulders at for right now. For me, a typical 100 mile or Ironman training plan is 16 weeks with 4 cycles of 4 weeks each. This is unlike anything I’ve ever trained for so I am going to go with…..It won’t be 16 weeks. This is why I am starting on October 4th with a meandering….with a purpose training plan. For October, I am going to be working on strength because I believe that the person that is the strongest (not fastest) on Day 3 is the one that will finish the fastest. Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges, KettleBell Swings, etc. Focusing on leg strength which means a little less running. I’ll still ride and swim as those will be great ways to improve fitness without the stress of banging on the road or trail running.

After that first month, I’ll re-evaluate where I’m at and make changes for November but won’t know that until I get closer which means…..you’ll have to keep coming back for updates!

Nutrition and Hydration. What are you going to be doing for nutrition/hydration?

Testing. It’s that simple. During a 100 mile race, my desire to eat an Oreo at mile 18 will be replaced with a desire to eat pickles at mile 35. At some point, eating will sound like a terrible idea and I’ll turn to liquid nutrition. I believe that in order to get through this race I’ll be eating and drinking all sorts of different items which is an indication that I’ll have to test, over and over and over.

My current staples, will be there and those are:

  • Skratch Labs Hydration Powder (preferably Lemon-Lime and Fruit Punch)
  • Floyd’s of Leadville Hydration, CBD gems and Recovery Bars
  • Spring Energy Gels
  • OralIV Hydration
  • Vega Sport Premium Protein and Recovery

Mints will be a part of this process, as will simple carbs like Oreos and other candy but there will have to be very tired night runs to test out different forms of nutrition and hydration to see what is an absolute no-go and what is a must have just in case.

Conclusion

I am not sure what lies ahead of me over the next 8 months but what I do know is that I am going to have a blast figuring this out. Experimenting with different forms of training and diet (maybe #BedBread makes it’s way back into my life?) and gear and who knows what else along the way. This is going to be a journey unlike anything else I’ve ever done and I am thrilled to have Greg going through it as well as a handful of other DFW runners. In addition to that, I may have a guest to provide guidance and critique and high-fives and go get ’ems along the way so you’ll definitely not want to miss out on this Meandering…Purposely To The Finish Line series.

If you’ve got questions, or if there is a topic that you want me to address along the way don’t hesitate to contact me ([email protected])

Until the next post……Happy Trail Running.

Wahl Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager Product Review – Jason Bahamundi

Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager Product Review Jason Bahamundi

Back in July, I was contacted by Wahl Wellness and Sport on Instagram and was asked if I would test out their product and provide a review. It was my pleasure to test out their product and in my typical fashion, it takes me about a month to use a product and test it out and ensure that the review I write is from having used the product multiple times and not just once and the exclaim that it’s the greatest ever or the worst ever.

The timing of the shipment could not have been better as it showed up at the end of July / beginning of August and was just about the time that I was over the idea of running the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this virtual race was 630+ miles over the course of 4 months. At the time I was duped into registering by Susan Lacke I figured that running 150 miles per month (35-ish miles per week) was right in line with my current volume. What I didn’t take notice of was that I would mentally decide I’d had enough and want to get it over with. August became the month where I said, Fuck It and let’s get this thing over with as quickly as possible.

I went from running 35 miles per week to the following volume:

  • August 3-9: 46.4
  • August 10-16: 50.4
  • August 17-23: 53.8
  • August 24-30: 51.6

I was clearly looking to get this over with and get it over with quickly. As you can imagine, that type of volume is going to provide an opportunity for sore muscles, sore feet, sore ankles and just overall soreness. The Wahl Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager came in handy during that time. Here are my thoughts in the most simplest terms:

  • Pro: It works
  • Con: It has a cord

The model that they sent me comes with 4 attachments and I used each of them for specific reasons:

  • Flat Disc Head: I used this on my IT bands and Quads
  • Four-Finger Flex Head: I used this around my ankles and achilles
  • Acupoint Head: I used this on my calf
  • Deep Muscle Head: I used this on my calf, hamstrings and bottoms of my feet

I have used various TheraGuns in the past and the Wahl Massager can compete with them in terms of effectiveness. The massager does the things it was intended to do and having run 225 miles in August without any issues, I don’t need more proof to say it works. The various options come in handy when I was focused on various parts of my legs. I will warn you to be careful with the acupoint head as too much of a good thing can be ‘detrimental.’

Last weekend, I rode my bike on Friday and I suffered calf cramps from dehydration. I could feel muscle soreness in them on Saturday after riding 65+ miles (yes, I was that dehydrated that it caused the cramps to be that severe) and wanted to attack the problem quickly. The deep muscle head didn’t feel like it was getting the job done so I switched to the acupoint. I was pressing hard and using the various speeds of the massager for about 30 – 45 minutes. The next day on Sunday I could feel where I was applying the pressure and while not debilitating, it was noticeable. I ran with our usual Sunday StruggleBus crew and didn’t feel anything. I ran again on Monday and didn’t notice any soreness at all.

The one downside to the model that I received is that it has to be plugged in. This isn’t a huge problem because you should be sedentary while massaging your legs, but if I wanted to be in a different room, I’d have to unplug and then plug in a spot where I had room to lay down or a chair. Again, this is an inconvenience and nothing more. After all, the cord is 9 feet long. If the cord is a deal breaker for you, don’t worry they do have one that is cordless.

This month, during the #BahasECC swim challenge I will be swimming the equivalent of the English Channel or 21 miles so I’ll be testing out the massager on my back, neck, shoulder and arms. An update to this review will be posted after that challenge is complete.

 

Hoka One One Clifton Edge Review – Jason Bahamundi

Hoka One One Clifton Edge Shoe Review Jason Bahamundi

I have a handful of products to review in the upcoming weeks and I am going to start with the Hoka One One Clifton Edge and later this week I’ll review the Hoka One One Rincon and Rincon 2.

Let’s set the stage for this review and give you some background on me:

  • I’ve been running, exclusively, in the Hoka brand since the beginning. I’ve run in the Bondi B, Clayton, Clifton 1 and 2, Rapa Nui, Tracer, Mafate, Stinson road shoes as well as the SpeedGoat, Challenger ATR, Speed Instinct and Torrent trail shoes.
  • I am flat-footed and I heel strike.
  • I give shoes about 50 miles of usage to prove themselves before giving up on them.
  • I run between 1,500 and 1,700 miles per year and probably evenly between road and trail.

Here is the description of the Clifton Edge on the Hoka website:

The Clifton Edge is designed to help you feel like you can run forever. With a combination of responsive cushion and our softest, lightest foam yet, it features a snappy ride and unique heel geometry designed to provide a smooth impact and gliding sensation. Clifton Edge is a culmination of all our innovation to date. Step into the future.

 

FEATURES
  • Embossed TPU yarn delivers a premium finish with targeted support in the forefoot and eyerow
  • Padded collar delivers enhanced comfort at the ankle
  • New vertical pull tab for easy entry
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker allows for a responsive ride
  • New high-resiliency foam offers a lightweight, springy take on signature HOKA cushioning and ride
  • Extended heel creates a softer landing and smoother transition from heel to toe
  • Rubberized EVA outsole delivers lightweight, wraparound midsole support with a snappy feel
Hoka One One Clifton Edge Shoe Review Jason Bahamundi Team Dirt and Vert
Do these shoes make my ankle look skinny?

Hoka One One Clifton Edge Review – Jason Bahamundi

Reading the features above, the first three bullet points are spot on. I noticed the upper was comfortable, the padded collar felt good and they were certainly easy to put on. I also took notice of the toebox feeling a bit roomier than most other Hoka models which was a nice surprise. That being said, the comfort on my foot was different from the comfort for my foot.

As I mentioned, I’ve been running in a Hoka shoe for years so I am no stranger to their models but this one didn’t feel right from the first few steps. Having just run almost 200 miles in the Rincon 1, I was expecting something similar but I was wrong.

The shoe felt very stiff on my feet. Every step felt like a 2×4 hitting the ground and then just rolling over to slap the pavement. Figuring that this was just the first few miles I decided to give them a shot and do my review after 50 miles which is what I would typically do. Each run felt the same with the feeling of my feet slapping the pavement. The only times I didn’t feel that was when I would focus on running faster  but that didn’t mean the impact wasn’t occurring.

After the first test run, my feet were OK, not great. After the 2nd run in them, my feet felt tender and sore. Then I ran a third time and I knew that something was not right.

At that point, I had put 15 miles into the shoe and after that last run with them I decided they weren’t the shoe for me. My feet hurt as did my ankles. This issue, even when the Clayton was getting scrutinized, never happened to me. I was in dull pain for nearly three days after my last run and I decided to exchange them for the Clifton 7.

The day after the last run in the Edge, I ran in the Rincon 2 and the ride was smooth despite feeling the dull pain in my feet from the day before. Having run over 1,000 miles in various Clifton models, I fully expected to not have any issues with this shoe but that just wasn’t the case. I wanted to like these and would have continued in them if not for the pain in my feet. That was the deal breaker as running shouldn’t be painful, at least not from your shoes.

Because I am only one person, I wanted to post the video review from Running Warehouse and provide you with additional reviews of the shoe. I’d also encourage you to read Hollie’s review of the Clifton Edge and then make the determination for yourself.

Also, before you buy or give up on them keep in mind what I mentioned earlier which is that I am flat-footed and heel strike when I run. If you have arches and are a mid-foot striker, maybe these shoes will not impact you the way they did for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baha’s Recipes – Argentine Choripán with Chimichurri

French Bread Loaves Sandiwch

Time for the second installment of Baha’s Recipes and this time the inspiration came from the Netflix show Street Food: Latin America. The specific episode featured various chefs cooking their respective street food in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This particular dish spoke to me because it had few ingredients and could be made quickly and easily but was bursting with flavor. If you read the first recipe featuring Stir Air-Fried Tofu then you’ll know that as much as I enjoy cooking, I don’t want to be in the kitchen for hours.

Getting up at 5am to run and then working all day means that when I get home the meal has to be easy to make and flavorful. This Argentine choripán is exactly that.

Ingredients:

  • Chorizo. I use Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausage, but use your favorite chorizo.
  • Parsley (Bunch)
  • Garlic (3 cloves – more if you’re like me and love garlic)
  • 1 resno Chili Pepper (or Serrano or Habanero or any chili pepper you truly love)
  • Olive oil – 1/2 cup
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes (optional)
  • Crusty Bread (sliced down the side but keeping together)

Instructions:

  1. Slice chorizo in half (mariposa or butterfly style is my preference.) Can be cooked whole if you prefer that.
  2. Grill chorizo until fully cooked through.
  3. While chorizo is cooking, slice the pepper and add to mixing bowl.
  4. Chop parsley and garlic then add to mixing bowl with the pepper.
  5. Add salt and pepper to the bowl along with the olive oil. Mix to combine. Taste and adjust salt/pepper.
  6. Toast bread on grill, over open flame, leave alone.
  7. Place chorizo on the bread and then top with the chimicurri sauce and tomatoes

Prep Time: 5-10 Minutes (Basically this is all for pressing the tofu. Slicing mushrooms and fresno chili peppers takes 2 minutes)

Cook Time: 5-10 Minutes

Eating Time: How quickly can you unlock your jaw?

OH: Don’t forget to have plenty of napkins as the chimichurri and oil from chorizo will run down your hand. My mouth is watering just thinking of that.

OH-OH: You’re going to end up with extra chimicurri sauce so be sure to put it into an airtight container and refrigerate. You’ll be able to use it for other spicy sandwiches or eat it by the spoonful.

 

Sanwiches Argentine Choripan Chimichurri
Sink your teeth into this sandiwch and you’ll be asking me where my food truck is

 

Baha’s Recipes – Stir Air-Fried Tofu

Team Dirt and Vert Jason Bahamundi Recipe

On Instagram, I got a request from Andrea Brusuelas to post recipes. It has been years since I posted recipes on the Cook Train Eat Race blog and wasn’t sure I wanted to go down that path again. It is time consuming, gotta remember to take a number of photos as you prep, final product, writing quantities down, etc. Then I thought about it some more and said to myself: Yeah, let’s do the recipe thing again but with rules to them.

So, here are my rules for posting recipes to this site from this point forward (I reserve the right to add more rules as I see fit.)

  1. I am not a food blogger. If you really want a food blogger with all the pics and a well thought out post then go to the search bar and look for that. You won’t find it here.
  2. You can ask me for replacement ingredients and I may know some, but otherwise I’ll do what you will do and go to Google OR you can go here too.
  3. Measurement may or may not be precise. For example, I may write: Shake the bottle 6 or 7 times or I may write: 1T of garlic powder.
  4. It it comes out tasting like shit, then use the phone your on and call for pizza. That’s what I would do.
  5. No, I don’t have a picture studio in my house so sometimes the pictures will be blurry. Deal with it!!!

As I said, I’ll add more rules as I go along. And yes, I am going to try to make you laugh throughout. If you ask me for a replacement for chickpeas, I am going to suggest garbanzo beans. We Good?

Background on my cooking:

  • I love being in the kitchen but I don’t want to spend all day in there. This is why you’ll not see risotto in the recipes. I love it, but starting to make risotto at 6pm isn’t going to happen
  • I make vegetarian / vegan dishes.
  • I dislike (really hate) Ketchup.
  • I use my air-fryer A LOT

Crispy and creamy tofu is one of my favorite foods. It’s quick and simple to make. Add veggies and rice or soba noodles and serve. This is my type of meal and this specific meal is what sparked Andrea to request that I post recipes.

Ingredients:

  • Tofu (duh!) 1 block that has been pressed and then sliced into cubes
  • Tamari Sauce – I’ll say 1/2 cup but I probably shook the bottle 15-20 times
  • Sesame Seed Oil – count to 2 and stop pouring. This is a strong flavor so test it out before pouring in.
  • Rice Vinegar – 1/4 cup? I shook the bottle 4-5 times.
  • Rice (duh!) – I used Tastybite Garlic Brown Rice but cooking rice from scratch and storing in the fridge isn’t difficult to do but read bullet point 1 on my background on cooking.
  • Cremini Mushrooms – I used 8 and sliced them
  • Fresno Chili Peppers – 1 medium sized pepper (sliced)
  • Taylor Farms Teriyaki Stir Fry Kit – I used the entire package but throw away the seasoning pouch. Not necessary when you’ve already made the marinade.
  • Fix Lemongrass Sriracha Hot Sauce (per your taste buds, but this stuff if AWESOME so use it!)

Instructions:

  1. Have air-fryer ready to go for 400* and 15 minutes
  2. In a bowl, combine the tamari sauce, sesame seed oil and rice vinegar.
  3. Place the cubed tofu into the bowl and allow to marinate for ~30 seconds and into the air-fryer. Once all the tofu has been marinated and in the air-fryer. TURN IT ON!!!! Save the marinade.
  4. In a pan, add oil over medium heat. I use olive oil and it’s a few splashes (probably should have put that in the ingredients above!!)
  5. Allow the oil to get hot and then add the mushrooms first. I like my mushrooms slightly crispy so I want them to cook first and for the longest.
  6. Pan toss the mushrooms and when you see them starting to get brown then add in the teriayaki stir fry kit. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  7. As the vegetables begin to wilt a bit add in the fresno chili peppers. I like them vibrant and to have texture so I add them in last.
  8. Pour in the marinade that you saved. You did save it right? It is right there in instruction #2.
  9. Reduce the heat to low and allow the vegetables to cook in the marinade for 5 minutes. By this time the tofu should be brown and somewhat crispy on the edges.
  10. Add the tofu to the pan and cook for another 5-10 minutes and toss frequently.
  11. Put rice package in the microwave and ‘cook’ for 90 seconds.
  12. Take package out of microwave. It is going to be really fucking hot so be careful. Spoon 1/2 package onto one plate/bowl and the other 1/2 into another. Oh yeah, this recipe serves two.
  13. Place 1/2 of the veggie/tofu combo from the pan on top of the rice
  14. Serve and before eating use an insane amount of Fix Hot Sauce. Your mouth should tingle and you should be questioning your life’s choices by now!

Prep Time: 30 Minutes (Basically this is all for pressing the tofu. Slicing mushrooms and fresno chili peppers takes 2 minutes)

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Eating Time: 5 Minutes (Dare you to beat my record!)

Team Dirt and Vert Recipes Jason Bahamundi Food
Eat Up!