Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Could Be Good... or Pathetic... or Depressing

Recently convicted of 7 felony counts Senator Ted Stevens is now back in Alaska. This man who has been asked to resign by dozens of important politicians on the current national scene (including McCain, Obama, and Palin) is somehow still loved by many Alaskans. He maintains that he's going forward with his re-election campaign, and I believe that he just might be stubborn enough to do so. As a convicted felon he won't be able to vote next Tuesday but he is asking Alaskans to go to the polls and vote to send him back to Washington for another 6 years (at which time he would be 90 years old). I can only assume that to a large portion of the people following this story outside of Alaska this seems ridiculous (as it should), but somehow in politics up here the ridiculous has a way of coming to seem normal.

Thursday night "Uncle Ted" is scheduled to appear on Alaska Public Television in a one hour debate with his opponent Mark Begich. My guess is that they will mostly avoid discussing his crimes and the fact that he is a convicted felon, but it will be interesting to see what they talk about instead since obviously that is what everyone will want to hear about. In case anyone is interested in seeing how this issue is discussed (or not) the debate will be broadcast online at 9:00 pm Alaska Time (4 hours behind EST) at the following website:

This likely will just be a boring old debate, but it seems at least a little intriguing to see how someone who was convicted of 7 felonies just a few days ago is going to go in front of the people of his state and try to make a case that even one of them should vote for him, let alone enough of them for him to win re-election... Only in Alaska.

And if your Internet connection is too slow to support the live video feed you can listen to the audio here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A few weeks ago I heard this great segment on the NPR program, "To The Best Of Our Knowledge."

It was an interview with a writer named Glenn Kurtz who recently wrote a book called, "Practicing: A Musician's Return To Music." The thing that intrigued me most about this interview was the discussion about the way in which practice relates to performance and the reasons why practice is so important for us to perform. His application was specific to music but, as he states in the interview, this relationship can be applied to any area in life in which we intend to perform.

Here's a link to the interview which I believe is very much worth your time:

Listen Here

This link will include the entire hour long program, but the interview with Glenn Kurtz begins at 19:58 and goes through 31:35. Or if you only have time for the most relevant part of this clip you will find that beginning at 25:58 and ending at 29:33.

If this link doesn't work for any reason go here and follow the links on the page to listen to the program.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I got some great feedback last week on my post about rest and recovery. I think I could probably write a book long response to the comments on that post. To those of you that didn't check out those comments I highly recommend it as they contained some very insightful perspective from several highly talented endurance athletes.

I won't be too long winded in my response, but I do want to further discuss one of the points that Wynn brought up - namely the idea that (for him at least) it is important to limit the amount of racing done in a season to about 3-5 races. In principal I agree with this completely. I feel like anything more than that likely begins to limit our physical performance potential because sooner or later as you increase your race load you get to the point that you're spending so much time either tapering for or recovering from a race that there just isn't enough time left between races to train.

In 2006 Karl Meltzer won six 100 mile races! That was the first year that I ever ran a race longer than 8 miles and I remember thinking how crazy it seemed that he ran that many 100 mile races in one year. The fact that he won that many just made it that much more insane in my mind. Two years later though and this doesn't seem insane to me anymore. Amazingly impressive yes, but after this year in which I have spent over 280 hours racing (and over 350 hours if I add in sleeping time in the midst of multi day races) a heavy race load doesn't seem insane to me anymore, but rather it seems kind of essential.

So how do I, in my mind, bridge this gap between the idea that more than 3-5 races is "too many" and the fact that I have done way more than that this year and fully intend to do more than that next year? The way I see it is that science is only so much of the equation of achieving our peak performance. As important (or more) as the science is the motivation that we have in our practicing and racing. (i.e. the mental aspect as opposed to the physical)

When I began running ultras a couple years ago I could (and needed to) remain very focused on an upcoming event for at least 2 or 3 months and then take almost a month off after the event before beginning the process again. As I've become more experienced though I find that my fitness baseline is so much higher than it used to be that I can prepare for (and recover from) races in much less time. And this is where the mental aspect comes into play: I have always been one who needs a planned performance ahead of me to enjoy my training and to be consistent in my training. Now that my body has learned to prepare for races in about half the time and to recover from them in just a few days (excluding multi day races) I feel that it is bad for my mind to take more than a couple months (at the absolute most) between races. More time than that is more than my body needs to be ready and is therefore too much time for my mind to stay fully focused on my training.

It's basically a Catch-22 situation in which I know it's not physically ideal to race an ultra once every month or two, but if I race much less than that my mental focus will waver creating a situation in which it will take me twice as long to get into the shape I want to be in on race day. In other words I feel like it's a choice of either racing once every 6 weeks or so, thus remaining physically and mentally sharp, or racing about half that much and therefore losing this sharpness and needing about twice as much time to prepare for each race. Either option puts me at the same place on race day, but the first one allows me to race twice as often so that's the one I'm sticking with for now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Glenn Frick

I tend to do most all of my training alone. I don't think I would like it any other way. I can't say for sure though because I've never (since college) really trained with other people on any kind of regular basis. Here in Juneau though there is a group of runners that I get together with for Sunday morning runs... when I can actually get myself out of bed on time. I wrote a bit about this group last year in this post.

Over the past year I've gotten to know some of these local runners a bit more and last night I had the privilege to attend the 70th birthday party of one of these runners, Glenn Frick.

Pretty much everyone who runs in Juneau knows Glenn. But it goes beyond that. Pretty much everyone who runs in Juneau can tell stories of ways in which Glenn helped them to become a better runner and in most cases a better person.

And at 70 years old the guy is still an animal of a runner. This summer I ran a local 14 mile trail race where I showed up late to the start so I had about a 5 minute deficit on everyone else. I caught just about everyone in the first half of the race, but not Glenn, even though he is twice as old as most of the others racing that day. He was the second to last person that I caught and when I did it took me a long time to actually reel him in from when I could first see him. This was on a particularly technical stretch of trail with lots of tall grass covering over the trail so you couldn't see the ground. This didn't slow Glenn down at all, he just plowed through it with a level of recklessness that seemed shocking to me. When I did finally pass him I'm sure he made some joke about something or told me some quick story that he happened to be reminded of at that time, and then I'm sure he was right back in to battle mode. I ended up finishing only about 5 minutes ahead of him. Did I mention that he's 70!!!

I don't really know Glenn very well but he's one of those people that you don't need to know very well to feel like you can learn something from and gain inspiration from. And it was clear to me at his birthday party last night that this man has several dozen people here in Juneau (as well as many people in other places) who have been significantly educated and inspired by him.

I'm sure most people know someone like this in some part of their life. The type of people that somehow cause us to feel upbeat and positive about things every time we get the chance to see them. I'm not sure what it is, but some people just have that way about them, and Glenn is certainly one of those people.

Happy birthday Glenn.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Resting, Running, and Rhetoric

How do ultrarunners (or any athletes who go through vigorous training) know when/how much to rest?

As in politics, sports, and life in general, athletic training/racing has all kinds of rhetoric that gets wrapped up in the mix. An example of this is the notion that our bodies will tell us when we need rest. This is a bit of rhetoric that I have been trying to prescribe to for most of my days as a runner. It seems like such a simple thing. So much so that I've never actually thought much about it, and I'm certain that I've even told others that this is how I know when to rest. The problem is that in the case of ultrarunning this couldn't be further from the truth.

In this manner it reminds me of the idea in baseball that a runner should never dive into first base because not only is it potentially dangerous, but also that you actually get there faster by running through the base rather than diving for it (something about losing forward motion by coiling up for the dive? Even though with every stride we basically coil up as we bend at the knee and ankle). For most of my childhood (in which I always played baseball) I simply accepted this as the truth because every coach and all announcers on TV would always point this "fact" out. It never occurred to me that it could be any other way until one random day as a young adult when my brother and I were watching a game where a player dove into first base and the announcer went off with the typical bottled rhetoric about the stupidity of doing such a thing. This time something went off in our minds though and for some reason we just didn't really trust the rhetoric anymore. We talked about the reality that probably none of these coaches or announcers who always said this had ever actually done any research to back up these claims, and that in all likelihood this notion came about decades ago and was simply passed on as "fact" without anyone really even thinking much about it, let alone testing it. A few minutes later we were out in the yard with a stop watch, a tape measure, and an old glove for a base. We measured off 90 feet and my brother ran while I timed. I don't remember the exact times but what I do remember is that after about a half dozen tests both ways his fastest time without diving was slower than his slowest time with diving for the base. In other words everything that we'd ever been told about this notion was wrong, and to this day I still get annoyed when I hear an announcer on a game mention this "fact" about it being stupid to dive into first base.

Anyway, back to running. The most obvious problem with this notion about our bodies telling us when they need rest is that our bodies don't "speak" such a clear language. When I'm in the midst of serious training (100+ miles per week) I often feel like my body is telling me that it wants rest everyday. How do I know though if it really needs rest or if it's just telling me that it's going to need to have a nice long warmup before it's really ready to go strong? The question is how do we tell when our bodies really need rest and aren't just telling us that they want the rest? For the most part this only applies to those seeking to get the highest level of performance out of their bodies, not so much to those running simply for recreation/general fitness. In other words, the reason we have this dilemma is that we're not training with the intention of our body feeling as strong as possible throughout our training but rather with the intention of our bodies being as strong as possible for a specific event at some point in the future. Thus there are days that you simply have to go out and struggle through fatigue that has accumulated from previous days. You're not always going to want to run every day, but on almost all of these days you will need to or you'll never get as fast as you otherwise could have.

At some point we do benefit from days off, but I really don't think that our bodies are as precise at telling us this as we give them credit for. Rather we have to have a mind that takes over and forces us to grind out a couple hours of running when our bodies are saying that they just want to sit on the couch and sip coffee.

None of this answers the question of how we know when we really do need a day off though. For me I don't feel like there is any specific answer. I think it's something that we have to slowly learn over time. Certainly if my body is saying rest for several days in a row then I know something is up that I should probably be listening to, but otherwise I tend to just get out and grind out some mileage, knowing that my body will almost always feel better after my run than it did before it. When I'm really in good shape I pretty much don't take days off, but that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of days (typically about one in every 7-10 days) when my body is telling me to. Usually with an active recovery day or two though my body feels great again and over the long haul I think this is more beneficial than a day off would have been.

I'd be interested to hear the opinion of other competitive endurance athletes on this idea... Obviously different people subscribe to (and likely need) very different ideas about training techniques, including rest. How do you all feel about the importance of days off vs. active recovery days?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sometimes It Feels Good To Run Fast

For better or for worse this blog has had more readers in the past week than in any week since I started it. I guess people prefer a good old fashioned debate/controversy to my usual boring rambling.

Me? I think I've decided I prefer the boring rambling and what could be more boring to talk about than interval running? (at least to the 99% of the population who have never and will never run intervals).

My back and leg problem that forced me to take a couple days off from training (and from work) last week has improved substantially. At this point I would consider it at least 95% healed and improving enough each day that I more or less expect to be 100% by tomorrow. I was able to run about 10 miles on both Saturday and Sunday with almost no pain in my back or legs so I decided to head to the track this morning to begin what will be a once weekly interval workout for the next 4 or 5 weeks. Being that this would be my first interval workout in about 8 months I didn't really expect to feel that great. All summer I used "training races" as my speed work which is the way I prefer to do it, but right now I really want to focus on my speed in preparation for my next race. I'm hoping to get in at least 4 good interval workouts and 4 good tempo runs between now and the end of November.

The plan for today was to run 5 x 1 mile intervals with a 1 mile recovery between each one. I didn't really have times in mind that I was trying to hit, mostly I just hoped to feel comfortable running fast and see how fast I could make that be without over doing it. I always run intervals with my peak effort in the middle. In this case my first and last mile would be the least effort, the third one would be the most effort, and the second and fourth somewhere in the middle. I suspected my times might be somewhere in the 5:30 to 6:00 range.

After a 5 mile warmup I began my first interval and felt surprisingly loose and quick. I finished that one in 5:43 without even feeling like I'd pushed myself much at all. The second one I busted out in 5:27 and the third one a 5:13! The fourth and fifth were an exact mirror: 5:27 and 5:43 respectively. I was pretty stoked about these times but I was more excited by how comfortable they felt. Even on the 5:13 mile I felt like I was running a fairly sustainable pace and my heart rate seemed to peak and then remain steady with about 600 meters to go.

When it was all said and done I had put in a 15 mile day that was very encouraging on two fronts: First that my recent injuries seem to be behind me, and second that I have a lot more speed and am in a lot better shape right now than I thought.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Running, Life, and Stuff

I guess I should say something here as a follow up to my previous post and the shocking amount of response it has generated.

More than anything I want to say thanks to everyone for the passionate responses. This post generated more response in every regard than I ever expected. Thanks to many kind donations my Iditarod Invitational Entry Fee is almost certainly going to be in the mail next week! The supportive comments have been very appreciated, but also the critical comments have a lot of value to them as well (at least most of them do).

My response is this: It's not as black and white as many people would like it to be. A life that is based upon financial ambition works for many people. I have no problem with that. Where I do have a problem is when people try to make others feel guilty for not having that same financial ambition. Striving to make a lot of money is not a duty or a responsibility, it is a choice. If you do not have that financial ambition it does not necessarily mean that you are lazy and unmotivated. There are many ways for personal drive and ambition to manifest themselves that have very little to do with money. This direction is of course not for everyone either, but that doesn't make it wrong.

As the comments on my previous post would indicate people fall all over the spectrum on this issue, but none of them are wrong. What is wrong is when people try to diminish or disrespect someone else because they don't place the same value on financial ambition. It might be hard for some people who do feel very motivated by making money to understand, but the truth is that I just don't care if I make a lot of money, that's just not something that's important to me. Trust me, it's just as hard for me to understand those of you who do have a strong drive to try to make a lot of money, but that doesn't cause me to disrespect you or diminish you. We're just different and there really shouldn't be anything wrong with that.

As far as where I am at specifically and how my running fits into my life I could go on for a long time but I will try to keep it short. Ultra running is something that I've been doing for almost 3 years now. It started out on a whim to run a 50k and has now grown to the point where I base many of my decisions in life around my running.

I love racing. I love being out in all the places that my running regularly takes me. I love being good at racing and I love the satisfaction I get when I perform well. I'm still regularly embarrassed by the attention that this sometimes brings but I'm slowly learning how to accept this as part of it. I love when I finish a race and there are 2 or 3 people gathered at the finish line. That is comfortable. I'm still a bit uncomfortable about races in which there are hundreds of people gathered around at the finish. This doesn't mean that I don't want to run big races, but I'm still working on becoming comfortable with this. More than anything I love running with all the people that I get to run with. I thrive on the competition. And it has very little to do with winning. Having the opportunity to line up with other people who have trained for the same event and then going out and racing with them is what keeps me motivated the most. I love when I get to see other people win, and the energy I get from this. At Crow Pass this year I finished 4th (the first time I'd finished that far back in a running race in two years) and yet I was about as content with what I had gained from competing in that race as any race I've ever run. Eric Strabel won that race and I felt just as pleased with that than if I'd won myself. He was rebounding from a long injury and I think I learned as much from his accomplishment that day as I would have had I been able to win myself. That's the way it works. Running can be about individual accomplishment but the satisfaction one takes from their own accomplishments is so much greater because of what others are accomplishing as well.

Anyway, the point is that my running is a huge part of my life. I don't feel like it has anything to do with running away from something, but rather I see it as a self perpetuating passion that gets stronger everytime I go out for a run. I'm still getting faster and that is a huge part of the drive for me. I feel very motivated and passionate about pushing myself to see how much better of a runner I can become.

I have been a runner since 8th grade and I'm quite certain that I will be a runner for the rest of my life, but the passion that I have right now for ultra running goes well beyond what running was for me when I was younger and what it will likely be for me when I am older. Running will always be there to help me keep in shape and get out and enjoy the outdoors, but the drive I currently have for competing at as high a level as possible is something that I feel relies upon my ability to get better and faster. If I am lucky I might have 5 more years in which I'm able to do this. After that running goes back to being more of a hobby and less of a lifestyle. The last thing I intend to be doing 5 years from now though is thinking that maybe I could have been a good ultra runner had I put more energy into it.

Anyway, enough about all this... Time to go out for a run.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Financial Woes

There's really no way for me to sugar coat it any longer: I'm in debt and my obsession with racing is the primary reason for this. In the past two years I have spent well over $10,000 in travel fees, entry fees, food, lodging, and gear used to participate in these races. In reality this cost is probably closer to $20,000. And this cost does not take into account all the time spent not working while gone doing races.

The obvious dilemma I have going forward is that I want to race even more in the next few years than I have in the past few years. Financially this does not add up. I would love to be able to support myself through my running/biking. This is of course a dream that many have but few, if any, actually come to realize... especially considering that I have no interest in road racing where there actually is a decent amount of prize money if you're at an elite level.

I've tried a bit in the past couple years, with very little response, to pursue endorsement deals with various businesses who sell products that I use in my training/racing. I did receive a little help this year in the form of free or reduced price products from Nuun, Epic Designs, and Foggy Mountain Shop (check out my sidebar for links to these great businesses).

My current job is pretty near non existent as a source of income. I have left so many times this year to go to races that I always need to wait awhile when I get back to Juneau before there is a need for me in the kitchen that I work in. Right now I am only going to be getting in about 10 hours a week until I'm needed more than that.

The obvious answer is that I need to get a new job and not take so much time off from work. In the long term this is what I know I need to do, but right now I am not planning on living in Juneau for more than another month or two (at the most) so looking for a new job is not an option until I move. As far as not taking so much time off from work, I'll save that for a few years down the road when I'm no longer at my racing prime and thus no longer interested in running so many races.

The current financial dilemma I'm dealing with is that my $800 entry fee for The Iditarod Invitational needs to be paid pretty soon here and I currently do not have the money (not to mention that I still need to buy my plane tickets for San Francisco and Honolulu for my next two races). I'm sure I'll find some way to come up with the money but just in case this sob story has made anyone feel sorry for me and you're interested in helping out I've added a donate link and an advertisement link near the top of my sidebar.

I know this seems like I'm pretty much just begging for money because I'm too often out having fun running when I should be working. Ummm. Yeah... I guess that's pretty much what it is. I like to think of it as something a little less humiliating than that though. My training and racing is not always fun but it's without a doubt something that I always have a passion for. I'd like to think that occasionally others benefit from this passion, whether it be a company selling product through my endorsement, people being inspired by my experiences/performances, or people learning things about training/racing from my typically honest and in depth reports here on my blog.

I apologize in advance for those of you that are annoyed with this post. I'm somewhat annoyed with myself for writing it, but if it helps me come up with enough money to do all of the upcoming races that I'm hoping to do then it's worth being a little annoying I guess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I'm pretty sure I'm suffering through a pretty serious case of Sciatica right now. My lower back has bothered me for a couple weeks but as I've tried to increase my amount of running the past few days it's spread pretty painfully down the back of my right leg. My back actually feels better while I'm running but the sciatic nerve behind my right knee has hurt very badly during my last two runs and then my back has been very sore after these runs. Last night I don't think I slept more than an hour consecutive because I just could not get my back to relax the whole night.

I was supposed to go back to work tomorrow but I had to call my boss and delay this because I just don't think my back could take the stress of standing for 5 or 6 hours consecutively right now. It feels good while I run but I've noticed that standing in one place is almost impossible.

My plan for now is to not run through any more pain as I have the past two days. I'm taking today off completely and then if I feel better tomorrow I will try an easy run, but this time if the back of my leg starts to hurt I will not push it any further (On Sunday I did 17 miles and it started to hurt a bit at mile 5). And if the running is restricted for several more days then I'm just going to have to try some biking and weight lifting in hopes that I can at least do a little something to keep some of the fitness that I was just starting to build back up.

At this point though, the hardest thing is my mind, not my body. If I can't work and I can't run I have way too much free time in my head. I've been trying to read more and I have a long list of "chores" I need to get done sometime, but my training is always my catalyst for these other things. When my training is going well I find myself much more ambitious throughout the rest of the day, but when I can't train at the level that I want to be training at I find myself often unable to motivate to do the other things I should/could be doing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Well, it's gotten to be that time of year again... that is time to start thinking a bit about next year.

I already know that I'm going to be running the H.U.R.T. 100 in Hawaii on January 17th and the Iditarod Trail Invitational beginning on March 1st. After this things get a little unclear in my mind right now. My hope is to get into The Hardrock 100 which is run the second week of July. If I do get into The Hardrock (as a first time entrant odds are not in my favor) then I will probably run one of the 100 milers in May, likely the Massanuten on the 16th, and then another 100 miler in September, either Wasatch, Bear, or Angeles Crest. If I don't get into Hardrock then I'm thinking I'd like to try to qualify for Western States (June 27th) by finishing top 3 in either The American River 50 (April 4th) or the Miwok 100k (May 2nd). And then for good measure I'm thinking it would be fun to run the full Grand Slam of Ultra Running which includes Western States (June 27th), Vermont (July 18th), Leadville (August 22nd), and Wasatch (September 12th) in 4 consecutive months.

Biggest problem with all of this is that it all hinges on whether or not I get lucky and get into the Hardrock, but I wouldn't know that until February, but I would need to enter some of the other races before that time. At some point here in the next several weeks I'll need to sit down with a calender and try to plan this all out because right now it's all kind of making my head spin. I suppose I could just scrap it all and ride the GDR again...

Friday, October 10, 2008

So Nasty I Like It

I had forgotten just how nasty the weather here can be in October. Today was a classic Juneau autumn day. About 40 degrees, cloud level at about 700 feet, winds gusting to 40mph, and a steady rain the entire day. And the forecast says it's supposed to get quite a bit worse before it gets better. In most places this would be one of the worst days of weather all year, but here it's just kind of another October day.

This weather sucks, but in a weird way I kind of enjoy it. It adds a little humor to an otherwise humorless few hours out training. Not to mention that I kind of like the fact that I can run anywhere, even the most popular trails, and be pretty much guaranteed that I won't see anyone.

I got in a nice workout today (13 miles running, 8 miles biking, and an hour of weights), but for some reason my lower back has really been bothering me for almost two weeks now. It gets very stiff when I'm inactive such that it then takes some serious time to get moving. When I went out running today I thought I was going to have to take the day off but then when I got moving the pain slowly went away until finally, for the first time all day, it didn't hurt at all. I'm assuming that it's fine for me to be running since the pain goes away when I run, but if anyone has any ideas or information about this I would really appreciate it. I've had some minor back soreness in the past but it's always been brought on by a specific incident (too much snow shoveling, too much wood splitting, etc.) whereas this time it just started to hurt out of nowhere.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Something Old, Something New

I'm back in Juneau now.

It was supposed to be sunny today but it stayed cloudy and rainy most of the day. I wonder if I'll see the sun again this year?

Winter is pretty much here now with snow above 1,200 feet and temperatures in the upper 30's and lower 40's.

I really want to get out of Juneau but the problem is that I don't really know where I want to go. I like seeing new places and getting away on mini vacations as often as possible but here in Juneau there's nowhere to go, nothing new to see.

At any rate, I've got to go back to work and begin focusing on my training again. I guess tomorrow when I'm out running in the rain I'll stop into my old job and see if they need any help. The truth is though that I've got one foot out the door here in Juneau and my biggest priority here is to get things together to move out of here for good.

My drive up here through Canada was very enjoyable. Lots of time alone with beautiful scenery and very winterlike weather most of the way. Usually my first exposure to wintry weather feels much more severe than it really is but for some reason this year it didn't feel cold even though two days ago it was well below freezing the entire day and probably below 20 degrees where I camped at night.

Here's a few pictures from the drive. I always find the season's first snows to be depressing and exhilarating at the same time. These pictures capture some of that for me.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

British Columbia

I'm currently in central British Columbia on my way back to Juneau. This is the worst time of year to be in Juneau but I really need to make some money and get organized for a permanent departure from Juneau which will likely happen sometime in December of January.

Pretty soon here I'm going to begin training more seriously again. Ever since the Wasatch 100 I've mostly been resting, with a small amount of hiking and running. Once I begin building my fitness back up I'm planning to focus on building up my speed more than I have this entire year.

Why speed? Well, the first week of December I'm going to head down to San Francisco to run in the North Face Endurance Challenge, a 50 miler with a $10,000 prize for the winner! I'd like to think that I have the endurance and the strength to give myself a chance to win this race but where I might come up short is in my lack of raw speed in a race where there are likely to be a few people running who have gone under a 2:20 marathon. It'll be a longshot but I must say it'd be pretty sweet to win a race that would earn me as much money as I've earned from my job this year