We had the chance to catch up with ambassador, Jason Haddy this month and learn more about where he’s headed in 2019 after a lower leg injury in early 2018. Sometimes injuries can take you off course, but his perseverance and willingness to recommit to his ultras is inspiring. Read on and get ready to sign up for a race near you this spring…
WHAT DOES 2019 LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
2019 will be a challenging year for me on many levels. Running wise I spent almost all of 2018 recovering from a lower leg injury and it forced me to put a lot of things on hold which I hope to fit into this year.
I’m currently training for Mary’s Peak 50 miler just outside of Corvallis Oregon, which is a race I ran in 2017 and hope to better my time. Mary’s Peak 50 miler is put on by Oregon Trail Runs and Mike Ripley the creator knows how to set a course that has you cursing his name almost all the way through, so it will be a challenge but there will be a few things I will do differently in my training and during the race.
After Mary’s Peak I plan to run the Pine to Palm 100 down in Ashland Oregon. The Pine to Palm will be my first true century race and I look forward to checking that off my list. I’ve ran a 170-mile race (Grand to Grand Ultra) but it’s a stage race and I had the ability to camp overnight and regroup before starting out the next day. Now it did have its own challenges like being self-supported and having to carry a backpack with all my food, sleeping bag and other required gear. I think the biggest challenge in the Pine to Palm 100 is going to be the lack of sleep and how my body is going to react to that.
Outside of running my life will be changing quite a bit. I’ve been a high school football coach for the last 23 years and I’ve decided to step away so that I can spend more time with my wife and two boys. I have only 4 more years before they are both out of the house and making memories of their own. My oldest son will be going into his senior year which means this summer could be the last one I get to spend with him for a while due to his plans of joining the Air Force. I’ve been very selfish over the years spending countless hours helping other parents’ kids at the expense of my own and without my wife holding things down at home after working 10-hour days, I’m not sure if they would even know who I was. So, 2019 is going to be a big year for me and in a positive way.
WHAT DOES TRAINING LOOK LIKE WITH TWO ULTRAS ON THE BOOKS?
My training plan probably looks like a lot of training plans out there that pertain to running, but in a nut shell it’s 5 days of running with 2 days in the gym with increasing miles every week except the week leading into a race where I’ll do a short taper. Shorter runs during the week and longer runs on the weekend with Sunday being my long day is a typical snapshot of my week. Where I will change things up a bit this go around will be in the hill work. I felt like I did a lot of hill runs in 2017, but it wasn’t enough to prepare me for a few stretches on Mary’s Peak and that really frustrated me, so there will be days where all I work on will be hill repeats. I also plan to use poles on Mary’s Peak and incorporate more shoulder workouts in the gym. I’m a bit behind at this point in my training, fingers crossed I’ll be ready to go.
HOW DO YOU HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE?
Holding myself accountable is easy in my house. I’m always telling my two boys to finish what they’ve started and to not give up, I think it’s the coaching part of me that reminds myself that I need to hold up my end of the deal. Plus, my wife is my training partner and she is very mentally strong and push me on the days that I’m not feeling 100% and it helps me to give my best effort at that point and time.
HOW DOES SOMEONE NEW GET STARTED?
My advice to someone who is just getting into trail running that is new to running would be, start slow, it’s ok to walk just don’t stop and find trails with amazing views. My advice to someone who has been running a while and is looking to make the jump from road running to trails, I would add don’t become discouraged when your pace is slower, especially if you’re racing and training on trails that have hills and uneven terrain. The way I look at it is like this, Jeff Browning who placed 5 at Western States 100 last year ran a 10.03-mile pace. Now I’m not saying that everyone needs to run 100 miles races to be a trail runner, I’m just saying that usually your pace is going to be slower, so don’t get discouraged just use it as a tool to get better.
My race day go-to essentials besides Skout bars and tons of salty foods (I’m a lover of food) and the following four:
Altra Olympus trail shoes: max cushion zero drop shoe kind of guy and my Altras cover that plus they have a great sticky tread and a wide toe box.
Drymax trail socks: If you’ve never worn a pair of Drymax socks, then you’re missing out. I’ve been wearing a few styles of Drymax socks on all my runs for a few years now and I won’t switch to any other sock. My feet are always looking good and feeling good regardless if I’m doing a training run in a full-on monsoon or a race in 100-degree temperature.
Slather, an anti chafing cream made by Skin Strong: an amazing product that helps with those hot spots that can develop when you’re out on those long runs, rides or swimming.
Boston Bill Sunglasses: for me they are the best glasses for racing; light weight, very little if any bounce.
WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO RACE DAY
ANY RITUALS LEADING UP TO RACE DAY?
I’m a creature of habit and a little on the superstitious side so leading up to race day I do have a few rituals. Usually at the beginning of the week I start to eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, a sweet potato hash that consists of ground sausage, bacon and of course diced sweet potatoes, we usually also put an egg over the top of it. I eat the same thing because I want to make sure my stomach isn’t all messed up due to eating something different on the morning of a race and then having to compete from the start at a disadvantage. Going to bed and getting up at the same time all week is another thing I try to do as well, which means I’ll try to get up in the morning the same time I would on race day. Other than those things I mostly just try to relax and work on the mental part of the race, so if things aren’t going well during the race I’m hopefully prepared for it mentally.
HOW DO YOU STAY CHALLENGED?
To challenge myself and keep things interesting, my wife and I are always looking for new trails that we’ve never ran. One of the great things about living in Oregon’s Willamette Valley is that you’re only about 2 hours or less from the coast or the mountains. This allows us to explore a vast range of trails with many levels of difficulty and the views are never the same. We’re able to run the dunes in Pacific City one day, the densely wooded McKenzie River Trail the next and then find ourselves on the steep and never-ending Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon. I love to push my body to the limits and I think that’s why I’m drawn to ultra-trail running. I’m not a natural athlete, so I must push myself all the time if I want to accomplish something.
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE FAMILY TIME IN YOUR TRAINING?
Including my family in my training isn’t hard. My wife is my main running partner, both my boys love to go to the gym and occasionally we can get our boys out on the trails. My oldest son runs cross country, the 1500 in track and wrestles. My youngest is also a wrestler, has ran track and played football in the past. My family is very active throughout the year and it’s not uncommon to see all four of us out on a trail or in the gym together. There might be a little pushback at first if we are up early on a weekend from the boys, but usually when we’re done and heading to go get breakfast they’re all smiles.
IF WE WERE IN CENTRAL OREGON, WHERE WOULD WE FIND YOU?
You might find me camping with my family in Central Oregon, we have a permanent camping spot just outside of Sunriver where we do our best to go to at least once a month during the winter and just about every weekend during the summer. We love the high desert climate, the smell of the pine trees, the high elevation and the dusty trails. It’s a place where we can just relax, disconnect from our jobs and build memories as a family. It truly is a second home to us and we hope to retire in that area in the future.
Learn about the rest of the team here.