New Places and New Faces: Changes within the Rogue Team

“There is nothing permanent except change.” – Heraclitus

With very mixed feelings, we post this blog. We recently lost one, and are soon losing another, long-time Rogue team member to new places. We are certainly sad about that but excited for them to pursue new opportunities, and very excited to welcome two new team members who joined us this month.

warrenWarren Brown, our Cedar Park Training Manager, is leaving us at the end of September. He will be moving to Dallas to be closer to family and has accepted a position with Southwest Airlines. Warren joined Rogue in November of 2011 and has been with us for just under 3 years. He has literally done everything at Rogue, from coaching to the retail floor, race management to sponsorship acquisition and managing Cedar Park (CP) retail to finally managing CP training. Rogue CP many not have survived had he not been willing to plug in wherever he was needed; a dutiful man to say the least! His speedo-wearing love of Rogue will be missed to the fullest; Warren, we will miss you man. Come see us back in Austin often!

jenTo fill Warren’s spot, we are very excited to announce a new team member joining us as Training Manager in Cedar Park. Jennifer Harney (Jen) started with us on September 2nd. Jen previously trained with Rogue prior to accepting a position as training manager at Luke’s Locker in Austin, where she has been for 3 years. Over the last three years Jen has grown and developed a successful training model with Austin Fit (a partner of Luke’s Locker), applying a number of ideas that have since been adopted nationally with USA Fit (the national brand behind Austin Fit). Additionally, she also managed numerous coaches and lead countless groups of her own.

Jen is truly passionate about running and, specifically, the running community of Cedar Park where she lives with her 2 boys.  She relocated to the area almost 10 years ago to coach for Stoney Point HS. Jen not only loves Rogue but more specifically Rogue Cedar Park. As the store and training continues to grow into its own, we are excited to bring in someone with her combination of experience and direct connection to the community.

chuckIn addition, as you already know, Mr. Chuck Duvall’s last day with Rogue was late last month. He accepted a management position with Austin Tri-Cyclist and is now adding bikes, wet suits and all sorts of fun tri-gadgets to his retail expertise. He left excited to learn new things there and further pursue his passion in the triathlon world. Chuck was with us for just over 3 years after we brought him on in May 2011 to fill a need for part-time retail shifts. He started with one 4-hour shift and worked his way up to downtown Store Manager over that period because he was always willing to step up and do more. We already miss his passion for this business, his love for shoes, and bold, outspoken demeanor (boom!). Chuck: we love you man. Once a Rogue, always a Rogue, so don’t be a stranger!

sarahThe great Sarah Madebach has been promoted to downtown Store Manager to replace Chuck in that role. Her first position at Rogue began just 10 days after Chuck joined us in 2011, and we have full confidence that she will fill Chuck’s very big size 12.5 Hokas. Congrats to Sarah!

jamesTo support Sarah and our retail team downtown, we are also super excited to announce that James Dodds is rejoining our full-time team, this time as Assistant Retail Manager downtown. He was previously our original Training Manager in Cedar Park before moving on to pursue other opportunities. Now, we have him back full-time in addition to his coaching duties for the Austin Marathon. Some of you may not know that James is a closet shoe geek and has worked plenty of time on the retail floor up in Cedar Park. Ask him about his shoe problem. We love James and are excited to have him back.

Thank you again to Chuck and Warren for being such great team members over the last 3 years. We will miss you but are excited for you as well. And, welcome (or welcome back) to Jen and James!

The Beast

by Josh Benge

This past weekend, I traveled up to Sioux Falls with a few of my fabulous TRPM teammates to take on the Sioux Falls Half Marathon while they were taking a swing at BQs and PRs in the full edition. After a day of mild shenanigans with the team to take our mind off the race (See the blogs of one Mandy Deen), I headed to the hotel and rested up for the night.   I had what I would consider an ambitious goal, and long story short, it didn’t pan out for me the next day.  That’s not the point of this though.  On the plane home from Sioux Falls post-race, I was re-reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and something struck me (if you know this book, kudos… if you don’t, buy the damn thing or I’ll loan it to you).  In Chapter 19, a reference is made to ultrarunner Lisa Smith-Batchen, one of the most accomplished distance runners of all time.  She speaks of the exhaustion and fatigue of the later parts of races as “The Beast”.  The text from Born to Run is as follows:

Lisa Smith-Batchen, the amazingly sunny and pixie-tailed ultrarunner from Idaho who trained through blizzards to win a six-day race in the Sahara, talks about exhaustion as if it’s a playful pet.  “I love the Beast,” she says.  “I actually look forward to the Beast showing up, because every time he does, I handle him better.  I get him more under control.”  Once the Beast arrives, Lisa knows what she has to deal with and can get down to work.  And isn’t that the reason she’s running through the desert in the first place – to put her training to work?  To have a friendly little tussle with the Beast and show it who’s boss?  You can’t hate the Beast and expect to beat it; the only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.
I am by no means an ultrarunner or anywhere near the caliber of Lisa, but there is something to be said about the Beast.  If you have raced, you know what the Beast is, and it isn’t necessarily the fatigue or exhaustion.  I think we all have our own Beast(s).  You don’t know your Beast?  It could be the thing that you wrestle with in miles 20 through 26.2 of a Marathon.  Or in every damn bit of a 5K.  Maybe you have several Beasts working on you at once (mind, body, weather, combination)?  Maybe your Beast is a chameleon that can change colors and bite you in the butt when you least expect it.  Don’t know your Beast(s)?  I applaud you, or I challenge you to dig a little deeper to find it. For now, I’ll tell you about the Beasts I met in Sioux Falls.  My mind and my anger.
This wasn’t intended to be much of a progressive race.  That is, unless I was ready and willing to take my pace much lower than intended race pace as I was starting right around my goal pace.  But what could go wrong?  Weather was perfect, course was perfect (mistake number 1: respect the course, don’t assume), and I was confident.  Mile 1 through 5, perfect.  It couldn’t have been better and I was clicking off miles at race pace or slightly under.  I tucked in with a group of Collegiate XC runners from Gillette College in Wyoming and a few locals that were a part of the 605 Running Crew out of Sioux Falls.   I let them lead the way to block the wind and keep the pace as they were right around where I wanted to be (one of the smarter things I did all day).
Then, things went a bit south on me.  Enter mile 6 and enter the Beast called Josh’s mind.  Too much thinking can be a bad thing kids, especially if you aren’t thinking straight. My mind was about to get as crooked as it could.  I wasn’t intending to do a progressive run and the crew I had been latching onto was going to start cranking down significantly.  I had been listening to them discuss this plan and started playing with the idea myself, giving myself a few scenarios.  GREEDY!  Instead of listening to my heart and my race plan, my mind got greedy and way too involved…  here’s a 5 second snapshot what my thought process looked like before things went south….
“You’ve banked a good 40 seconds and are feeling good, so why not go with these guys (Mistake 2: Never bank time, bank energy… Allison Macsas, I could hear you preaching to me) …. you’re past the hard part of the course, why not? (Mistake 3: see mistake number 1 again, always respect the course)… you recovered on those early slow climbs really well… you’ve raced and trained on harder courses (Mistake 4: once again, see 1 and 3, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS respect the damn course)… If you have a bad mile 6, you can always back off the pace above your race goal and recover to make time up later (Mistake 5: now I am thinking way too much and I’ve given myself Plan B if I fuck up mile 6.  There should be no Plan B or out unless I know I am injured)….

Licking my Chops and Being Greedy
So with all of these thoughts looping in my mind throughout mile 6, I started seeing the group pulling away from me.  I then realized that I was on the Sioux Falls equivalent of Austin, Texas’ very own Duval St.  You know? That slow, deceiving climb over about 3 miles? To add to the slow mind misery, I start seeing my time bank fading, my energy going down, legs feeling lead like and worst of all the looping thought process is getting perpetually worse.  This leads to round two of thoughts over a much longer period of time (miles 7 through 8 in the last two miles of my climb)….
“Well so much for a sub-1:30, might as well back the pace off and just PR (Mistake 6: I have COMPLETELY abandoned Plan A and started relying on my watch when I should have said “screw the watch” at this point and stuck with #JFR)…  my legs are feeling tired.  Was it my nutrition?  Was it my hydration?  Did I go out too fast? Why do my legs feel like lead?  How could I be so stupid to put myself in this position?  This is so embarrassing! (Mistake 7: Why are you thinking about the inconsequential at this point, what’s done is done, #JFR)
Those 3 short miles (6 through 8), were nothing more than me over focusing on why my race was going wrong rather than finding a way to embrace the Beast that was my mind. I was convinced I was wasting an opportunity on a race I had flown a 1000 miles for. I was letting the Beast punch me right in the face and I knew it.  I didn’t have to love the Beast at this point, I just needed to find a way to control and tame it.  Racing isn’t fun at times.  In fact it is never really fun, but I had just made it more of a grind than it needed to be.  I’m not going to bore you with the details.  Miles 9 and 10 were no different.  More mind minutia and convincing myself that I had fucked up.
Then, something happened coming down the bike path when mile 10 turned to 11.  I was still convincing myself what a crappy race I was having and how much time I had given up when I got passed by a smiling racer who chirped, “Good Job, only 5K left”.  At the moment, I thought that was the last thing I needed to hear.  It pissed me off beyond belief.  You’re going to pass me and tell me what a good job I am doing?  How dare you?  Retrospectively, however, I wish I could have found her and thanked her after the race, because she had brought out another Beast of mine that I am much more experienced with controlling… anger. Unlike the mind Beast that overtook me mid-race, I embraced my anger Beast and channeled it like it was an old friend.  There was only one thought in my mind that entire last 5K.  Catch her if you can, and anyone else along the way.  Simple thoughts, simple goals, good results in those last 3 miles because I knew my Beast, and used it to my advantage.  My last last 5K just was just over my original intended race pace.  There was no pain, no extra thought, just an end goal.  Did I break 1:30?  Nah.  Did I PR?  Nope.  But I channeled and embraced one of my Beasts.  I’ll call that a win.

Mile 11 Water Stop … From What I Can Remember… I have dropped the mind Beast and Channeled the anger Beast
I still have a lot of work to do to locate my race Beasts and find out what my relationships are with them.  In fact, I don’t have to love them like Lisa Smith-Batchen does. To each their own! I just have to try to understand them, nurture them when I can, and respect them every chance I get.  Love may or may not come in time.  There is no clear answer for any of us trying to take control of the one or many things that haunt us during the race. I think we just need to know that no matter what we do, Beasts are always going to be there.  We just need to find a way to fine tune our relationship with them.

A Taper Madness Flowchart

A race report from magical and exotic Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Part 1

by Mandy Deen

Screen shot 2014-09-08 at 6.23.00 PM

Get it guys? Guys, guys, do you get it? IT”S A TAPIR!!!

But seriously. The flowchart.

Should I go run?


I don’t HAVE to, tapering is about rest, right? I can’t gain any fitness here.


Maybe I really should go run, I haven’t been running much at all lately.


You can’t seem to motivate yourself to run lately, I bet there’s something really wrong with your head. And you don’t want your body to get TOO relaxed before the race.


No, You need more sleep, everything feels really draggy, and there’s no way you can sustain MGP for 8 miles much less 26.2 if you feel this way in a week!Stay in. Don’t run.


Holy crap, you’re probably completely losing your ability to motivate yourself to go run, I bet you never have a consistent training program again and in fact stop running all together, but only due to incredible mental weakness. You big weakling!!!!



…but I mean, I don’t feel too bad about these crazy thoughts and emotions, we all have them during a taper, right? Right?? RIGHT??? Just me?

That’s all for now, Part 2, The Pre-Race, to follow.

Heat, humidity & HILLS: Austin M/HM results

Heat. Humidity. HILLS. The 2014 Austin Marathon & Half Marathon was hugely challenging on many levels, but Rogues lined up anyway and took to the streets with the confidence of runners who are well-trained, mentally prepared and who have an entire community behind them. There were strong performances across the board, from PRs & BQs to those who dug deep and pushed through an extremely tough day.  We couldn’t be more proud of all of you, or our coaches who helped you get there!

Results are listed below by group, and we will continue to add to the list as we receive them from coaches. Congrats to all!




Sarah Arcement: 3:58:53 (PR)

Ben Balentine: 4:17:11 (47 min PR)

Sage Chandrasoma: 4:22:53

Van Fitzgerald: 4:59:42

Lucy Flores: 5:07:32 (42 min PR)

Cindy Gravell: 3:55:22

John Gravell: 3:55:22

Moya Griffin: 3:46:33 (BQ)

Jeff Hufford: 3:43:01 (PR)

Gordon Kennedy: 4:17:12 (Huge PR 🙂

Alan Langham: 3:07:33 (BQ)

Mike McMullen:  3:44:51 (20 min PR)

Antonio Mendoza: 5:25:09 (first marathon)

Eva Montes: 5:07:32 (42 min PR)

Walter  Rhee: 3:54:51 (PR)

Carlos   Sanchez: 4:09:16

Stephen Tarleton: 3:14:34 (BQ)

Jeff Warren: 5:36:18

Robert Williams: 3:21:50 (BQ)


Lou Clark: 2:01:34 (PR, ran Houston Marathon)

Jerimi Henry: 2:21:19

Willa Kempf: 2:12:41  (ran Houston Marathon)

David Meyer: 2:05:40 (ran Houston Marathon)

Anita Sandhu: 2:14:59

Matt Waldbusse: 1:51:07 (ran Houston)




Angela Mathews-Carillo:  2:57  (First HM)
Courtney Hall:  2:57 (First HM)
Garrett Burnett:  1:50 (PR)
Katie Meissner:  1:52 (PR)
Anu Saha:  1:58 (PR)
Bianca Rodriguez:  2:08  (PR)
Tom Wilbur:  2:08:14  (PR – 3rd progressive PR from Decker > 3M > Austin)
Matthew Friedman:  2:19  (PR)
Daniel West:  2:57 (PR)
Judith Jacobson:  1:57
Conney Bisson:  2:15
Kathy Greer:  2:20
Kit Ogburn:  2:29
Bijal Patel:  2:46
Carie Hendrick:  2:59
Ashley Sorvillo:  3:02
Juan Salazar:  3:03
Anantha Guntakala:  3:18



Julie Beasley- 4:14:29
Ashley Koberlein- 4:28:47 (1st marathon!)
Amanda Trapani- 4:39:56 (PR!)
Andrea McCabe- 4:49:04
Ally Elabarger- 2:07:24
Jen Wicka- 2:18:24
Kathy Nicklebur- 2:18:32
Kristen McKay- 3:25:40



Joey Ramirez: 3:36:21 (First Marathon!!!)

Josh Elliot: 4:05:22

Taryn Weiss: 3:53:59 (First Marathon!!!)

Chad Bettac: 3:58:46

Ariana Lopez: 4:43:35 (First Marathon!!!)

Kristin Ronan: 4:10:12 (First Marathon!!!)

Stacey Shapiro: 4:38:37 (Pacer!)

Aaric Eisenstein: 4:59:31

Troy Carter: 4:06:28 (DC finisher!)

Marty Alaniz: 5:45:47

Janna Adams: 5:02:12

JT Davis: 5:51:30

Meghan Mullaney: 6:01:27 (First Marathon!!!)

Maria Medina: 5:03:29

Victor Mejia: 4:49:47


Angela Burrell: 2:24:00



Bethany Nagel – 3:31(Boston Qualifier!)
Alexa Garcia-Ditta – 3:38
Dave Campbell – 3:55
Stephanie Diswood – 4:15

Ryan MacKenna: 4:15




Bryan Peterson 1:57:39

Dori Livingston 2:30:12
Adrienne Cunningham 1:58:36

Christine Meisner: 1:59:37 (PR! sub-2 was goal)

Chelsa Bliskey: 2:35:32 (first half!)

Megan Shirley: 2:19:49 (first half!)

Rachelle Vega: 2:44:24 (first half!)

Debbie Danford: 2:18:49 (4 minute PR for Austin course!)

Debbie Cohen: 2:2421 (7 minute PR!)
Ellen Murphy: 2:33:02 (first Half, WITH a broken toe!)
Sarah Walton:  2:23:00  (PR for the Austin Half course!)
Mandy Deen 3:49 (PR!)
Brent Weber 3:11 (PR, BQ & 1st AG/5th overall in DC!)




Carl Duffy: 4:11 (first marathon!)

Andy Montoya: 3:57:38 (first marathon!)


May O’Shea: 2:08:08 (PR!)



James Stansberry: 3:19:42  (3rd AG, Full Track of ADC)

Julie Stansberry: 3:32:41 (1st Overall Masters Female, Full Track of ADC)
Larry Bright: 1:23:36 (half) (1st Overall Masters Male, Half Track of ADC)
Hannah Kane: 2:07:16 (first half marathon!)
Brittney Small:  2:16:48 (first half marathon!)
Johanna Reed: 2:34:00 (first half marathon!)
Patricia Skelton: 1:56:30

Amanda Anderson: 4:29 (1st marathon!)

Keri Bender: 4:29 (PR!)

Kaeley Bobbitt: 4:47 (1st marathon)

Lori Brown: 4:54 (2nd in age group (AG) for the full Distance Challenge (DC)*!)

Rusty Cloyes: 4:11

Sarah Cook: 3:48 (1st marathon, 2nd in AG for DC!)

Dylan Cornelius: 4:03 (PR, 4th in AG for DC!)

Steve Crossland: DNF; Ambulance at mile 25, Epic display of testing your limits and living to tell the tale

Lex Hasert: 3:34 (2nd in AG for DC!)

Jackie Gramlich: 5:29 (1st marathon!)

Joe Jarosek: 3:34 (PR!)

Rick L’Amie: 4:46 (1st marathon, DC finisher!)

Melissa Long: 4:44 (1st marathon!)

Manuel Macias: 3:40

David Murray: 3:52 (1st marathon!)

Sujata Neidig: 4:32

Jessica Niemiec: 3:34

Declan O’Cleirigh: 3:28 (2nd in AG for DC!)

Gabriel Ornelas: 3:36 (PR, 1st in AG for DC!)

Naomi Paik: 4:11 (PR, 4th in AG for DC!)

Madhavi Reese: 4:37 (1st marathon!)

Dacia Reinhold: 4:41 (1st marathon!)

Cassie Tigue: 3:57 (1st marathon!)


Dolly Day: 2:22

Anne Downing: 2:14

Erica Haring: 2:22 (DC finisher!)

Terrence Hodge: 1:47 (4th in AG for DC!)

Brianne Loya: 1:46

Chris MacLeod: 2:03 (6th in AG for DC!)

Lisa Mays: 2:18

Brandon O’Hara: 1:49 (2nd in AG for DC!)

Mary Pape: 1:45 (1st in AG for DC!)

Emily Russell: 2:14 (7th in AG for DC!)

Deidre Skrudland: 1:38 (2nd in AG for DC!)



AJ Celeski: 5:20:34 (1st marathon!)

Shelli Lopes-Barnes: 5:04:17

Noel Barnes: 5:04:16

Brian Rutledge: 4:58:27 (1st marathon!)

Sonja Rutledge: 4:58:05 (1st marathon!)

Rebekkah Castro: 4:56:57

Debbie Allen: 4:53:37 (PR!)

Bob Pena: 4:53:01

Jaime Garcia: 4:51:16 (1st marathon!)

Diana Maldonado: 4:47:43

Melissa Plunkett: 4:34:40

Joe Arenella: 4:29:31 (PR!)

Jackie Howard: 4:27:21

Christopher Stephens: 4:20:13

Alan Stanley: 4:14:50

Brian Dees: 4:09:38 (1st marathon!)

Sarah Gunter: 3:55:14 (1st marathon!)

Chris Chuter: 3:44:25



Charles Kelley 2:25 (Distance Challenge Finisher!)
Amy Day 2:39 (Distance Challenge Finisher!)


80 students started, and 80 students finished!!! Check out race day photos here.


Congrats to EVERYONE! We will continue to update this post as we receive results from the coaches, so check back to find your name. Recover well, and we will see you in a couple of weeks for 5K/10K PR, Trail Series training, Tri training, Summer Half Marathon, Rogue X or one of our many other programs. Your coach will provide guidance as to the best next step for you!

Rogue Expeditions: The Moroccan Kick-off!

by Allison Macsas

22 runners. 9 days. Morocco.  Spearheaded by two people with a total of 15 days experience in the country.  Risky? Maybe so, but that’s how great things begin.

The back story:

In March 2012, my boyfriend Gabe and I took a two week vacation to Morocco, where we traveled around largely on our own. We knew that we’d need a guide to take us into the Sahara, but had no real basis for choosing one – we figured we’d head to the last village and ask around. Many villages away from the Sahara, heading into a guesthouse, we crossed paths with a man coming out, who asked if we’d like to visit the desert. Our independent nature and tout exhaustion led to an immediate “no thanks,” but something caused us to go back and talk with him. His name was Hamid, and we took an instant liking to him and what he had to offer.

We decided to mull over the proposed trip during dinner, and ultimately decided to go – we’d probably never be back in Morocco, and the extra expense would be worth it! It was nearly 10pm at this point, and we realized that we needed to let him know it was a go. Gabe headed across the plaza to a telephone kiosk to make the call, but couldn’t figure out how to dial the number correctly. He came back looking defeated, and we wrote offthe trip.

Ten minutes later, Hamid showed up at our table. The call HAD connected, so he called back the operator, found out that a foreigner had been trying to call, had her point out the direction that Gabe had gone and, lo and behold, he found us! We departed at 8am the next morning.

1006023_603813569653352_770491663_nWe spent a total of three days with Hamid, mostly at his family’s camp in the Sahara. On the second night, under the most amazing star scape we’d ever seen, we asked Hamid about other trips that he offered. He told us about a French client who returns every year with a group of runners. Instantly I blurted out that I “have a lot of runners!” and would come back with some. As the night wore on, Gabe and I got more and more excited about the prospect, and finally had Hamid convinced that we might be serious about it.

Several weeks later I brought the topic up at a training meeting and was told to go for it! I began by putting together an itinerary together with Hamid via email, nailed down his pricing, created a snazzy brochure, held an info session and voila! 20 people were signed up on the first day of registration. Gatherings were held, flights were purchased, packing lists created. Before we knew it, March rolled around…


Rogue has arrived!

Rogue has arrived!

Gabe and I arrived in Marrakech a day before the group to meet with Hamid, settle money matters and get our feet on the ground ahead of everyone else. The group arrived on Saturday afternoon – with all of their bags! – and settled in for a good night sleep.

Over the next seven days, we covered over 1000 miles of central Morocco, with vastly different landscapes and experiences each day. Regardless, we quickly settled into a comfortable rhythm and routine as we traveled and ran throughout the country.

Hamid explains our route

Hamid explains our route

The guide: Hamid Bassadok is a 28 year old from M’Hamid, the “last village” before the Sahara. He began helping his uncle with a guiding service as a teenager, and these days runs the show. He is incredibly well-connected within Morocco, has an incredible amount of knowledge about the history, people and landscapes and, despite nothing more than a high school education, speaks more than six languages. He took all 22 of us to his family home where we were greeted with a huge range of snacks, endless cups of tea and turbans for our desert trip – incredible hospitality by any standards, but especially for a family that, by American standards, is quite poor.

Hamid worked non-stop all week to ensure that everyone was as happy and comfortable as possible.

Rogue 1 leads the way!

Rogue 1 leads the way!

Our rock star drivers. The man at the bottom-middle joined us for the final run, in that outfit, right after a cigarette. 10 miles!

Our rock star drivers. The man at the bottom-middle joined us for the final run, in that outfit. 10 miles!

The transport: We had five Land Cruisers, four for people and one for food, wine and equipment. Each vehicle was numbered, and most people claimed allegiance to the car of their choice. Each driver was a trusted friend of Hamid’s, and each owned their own vehicle. Most of the drivers couldn’t speak much English, but that didn’t impede their ability to be unbelievable navigators (one driver told us that they were all born with NPS – Nomad Positioning Systems) and fantastic run supporters – more on that in a moment.

Breakfast in the Dades Gorge

Breakfast in the Dades Gorge

Hungry we were not.

Hungry we were not.

The food: So much food! Breakfasts involved a variety of fresh breads, butter, cheese, local jams (think fig & orange), honey, eggs, hot coffee and hand-squeezed (literally) OJ, right off the tree.

Lunches were more snacking affairs due to our running schedule – we’d have bread, dates, fruit, nuts & figs beforehand, then the same with the addition of fresh veggies and grilled meat afterward.

Dinners were HUGE and generally involved a lentil soup, some sort of tagine (could be lamb, chicken or beef, slow cooked in the traditional way with lots of veggies and herbs), a couscous full of veggies, kefta (meatballs), plenty of just-baked bread and fruit to finish it all off. We ate family-style each night, and the quantity of food seemed to increase each day as they noticed that we continued to eat whenever food was brought out. Devon made an early mistake of asking if there was more chicken – five heaping plates were soon presented! We ate very well, with the added bonus of everything coming from local oasis gardens (even the wheat for the bread), which are 100% organic.

Doooown we go!

Doooown we go!

Chuck picks up running buddies - Maria and Fatima - along the way

Chuck picks up running buddies – Maria and Fatima – along the way

Devon: 7 marathons in 7 days!!

No maps needed!

No maps needed!

Troy and Yvette

Troy and Yvette

The running: As with the food…so much running! Excitement was high, the weather was beautiful and every day featured landscapes completely different from the day before – needless to say, lots of mileage ensued. Each day we’d arrive at the ‘departure area,’ where Yousef, our cook (he is actually a chef at a 5 star hotel), would have a changing tent and our big spread of snacks waiting for us. From there, we’d begin the run with a loud “Yellah!” which means “let’s go!” in Berber.

The terrain was completely different every day. We ran uphill, downhill, in the mountains, through villages, along palm oases, through Saharan sand and across a dry lake bed. There was little to no traffic to contend with, and wildlife was no concern, as the donkeys and camels weren’t too impressed with us. It was sometimes chilly, sometimes hot, sometimes windy, but always beautiful, open and free.

With 22 people we had a wide range of abilities, and most everyone had others to run with. The drivers would serve as a support team, and what a team they were! With one bringing up the front and another bringing up the rear, the three vehicles in between would patrol the course, ensuring that our water bottles were full, any turns well-marked and that we werewell-informed of the loosely-accurate remaining distance (just 2k left!).

Once you were ready to stop running, a vehicle would soon be by with a spot for you inside where you would ride for a bit, cheering on those who were still running and snapping photos. Once enough people were done for the day, we’d go on to the guesthouse where food and usually a swimming pool awaited.

The pools were sometimes a better alternative

The pools were sometimes a better alternative

The Plague & cold showers: It wasn’t all perfect, of course. Gabe and I came prepared with plenty of diarrhea medicine, but stomach issues thankfully never surfaced. Instead, a chest cold spread throughout the group and nearly everyone spent at least one day with a loud cough and overwhelming desire to sleep. Luckily, most people got over it quickly and on with the fun. It was a clear reminder that sharing your water bottle isn’t always a gesture of goodwill!

Additionally, I didn’t do the best job of forewarning people that in developing countries, hot showers are a rare, rare luxury. Though all of our hotels technically had one in each room, there is only so much water to go around in a small village and once it’s out, it’s out. We learned to take turns to let the tanks refill, wash quickly and fully appreciate the times that hot water spilled forth!

Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou

A gift from the pottery co-op!

A gift from the pottery co-op!

Pre-run snack spread

Pre-run snack spread

The sights: While this was first and foremost a running trip, the travel element was just as important. Beyond the stunning views from the cars, the run routes and the hotels, there was much to see. We toured the Kasbah in Ait Benhaddou, where Gladiator and other films were made, visited both a pottery and a women’s rug cooperative where we got to see the processes and buy wares directly from those who made them, played in giant Saharan sand dunes, saw firsthand what drought can do to a massive lake and of course had plenty of opportunities to wander through markets and load up on scarves.




Dune rolling

The group: This group bonded! We explored together, we ate meals together, we ran together and we got The Plague together. We shared countless bottles of wine, lots of laughs and, though the final count is still being tallied, logged well over 1300 miles of running in some of the most beautiful and challenging places we’d ever been. Though the trip has been over for more than a week, our group Facebook page is lively and photos & inside jokes continue to flood my newsfeed. A post-trip party is already planned, and a care package to send back to Hamid is in the works. Despite a severe lack of campfire song skills, this group rocked.

I still have a hard time believing that this all came together, but Gabe and I both agree that it was a huge success and that Rogue Expeditions has a bright future. The chance to combine running with a travel adventure and to be able to share it with a group of Rogues is a dream come true, and we can’t wait to make it bigger and better each year.

Rogue Expeditions is just getting started, and spots for Morocco 2014 will be open soon. In the meantime, we have a smaller-scale Tahoe trip happening in July (one day left to sign up!) Stay tuned, and come explore with us!

(My full set of photos can be seen here)

Want to hear about upcoming Rogue Expeditions trips? Make sure to like us on Facebook!

Just what is the SeaWheeze?

FlipFlops    When I walked into lululemon at the Domain one early November morning in 2011 to train for my first 5k, I had no idea I would be running my first half-marathon 10 months later in Canada. I’ve never been an athlete or runner, but with the help and support of my amazing coaches, Jennifer Howard Brown and Stephanie Woodruff, and my fellow Rogue Lemon running community (shout out to Kelly, Donna and Christine), I crushed goals I never imagined were even possible.

It was really fate that I happened to see an ad for the inaugural SeaWheeze weekend on the lululemon website and somehow convinced my sister and best friend to join me for the adventure. In true lulu fashion, the event planners thought of every little detail to make sure their li’l SeaWheezers had a fabulous weekend. A training plan equipped with running form videos and pre- and post-run yoga stretching? Check. A SeaWheeze iPhone app for training which then communicated event news the weekend of the race? Check. Care packages in your hotel room? Check.

Stanley ParkWe drove into Vancouver from Seattle two days before the race so that we could explore the city. This city has something for everyone with its art scene, pubs, shopping, beaches, and mountains. Vancouver is designed for pedestrians and bikers with large, bike lanes and, unlike in Texas, cars actually yield to pedestrians. We didn’t need to hail a cab once during our entire trip.


SeaWheeze Showcase StorePre-race Activities: Friday morning we headed out to pick up our race packets. Instead of bibs we received race bracelets with our names. At first I was a bit disappointed because I knew this meant there wouldn’t be any race photos. But, who wants to use safety pins and cover up your fabulous lulu gear anyway? We also received flip flops from a local store that were designed exclusively for the race. They were perfect for post-race yoga and strolling around Vancouver.
Instead of a traditional race expo with various vendors, there was a SeaWheeze Showcase store which sold an exclusive line of lululemon clothing designed for the race. Think of Target . . . on Black Friday . . . on steroids . . . and you have the lululemon SeaWheeze Showcase store. People were going crazy hoarding clothes and grabbing whatever they could. I snagged a few items and hightailed it outta there to our next stop: The Luon Lounge. The Luon Lounge was a relaxation destination to hang out with other runners while receiving free manicures and massages.
PreRaceViewThe Race: This was by far the most well-dressed race I have ever seen. Almost everyone was wearing bright lulu gear. We stayed toward the back of the pack in the race corrals. My goal was just to finish the race and have fun. The course was truly breathtaking and took us through downtown Vancouver, across historic Burrard Bridge, past the very first lulu store, and around Stanley Park along the Sea Wall. In addition to views and great conversation with my bestie, there were plenty of cheer stations along the way to give us a burst of energy just when we needed it. I was so entertained during the entire race that I did not even turn on my music! I can’t say that for any other race I’ve participated in before or after SeaWheeze.

Post Race CelebrationPost-race Activities: After the race there was a free brunch and more massages. I was in desperate need of a celebratory beer (like most Rogues) so we chose to have an early lunch at a pub near the finish line. Later that evening there was a concert with the band FUN and yoga on the beach. I heard really great things about both events, but we chose to do a little shopping, sunset watching, and celebrate our sweet victory instead.
When I look back on the weekend half a year later, what I remember most about that weekend was the air of excitement and positivity that permeated the entire weekend. I think we all knew we were fortunate enough to be a part of the start of something big. And spending a weekend with two of the most wonderful women in my life exploring a fantastic city? It was an epic weekend indeed. I signed up for SeaWheeze 2013 the day registration opened.

Whether you’re challenging yourself to your first half-marathon or shooting for a new PR, the SeaWheeze isn’t just another race. It’s an unforgettable weekend filled with ocean-side yoga, the chance to explore the amazing city of Vancouver, and memory-making to last a lifetime. So why don’t you join us this summer in Vancouver? I promise you won’t regret it.

If you’d like to be part of our mission to take 150 Austinites to SeaWheeze, please email ASAP. The race is expected to sell out very soon and we want to take you with us!

— Alyssa Sparks started running with the Rogue Lemons in Oct. 2011 building up to her first 5k, 10k and half marathon. She just set a new PR at the 3M Half Marathon.

When faster is not enough…

by Jimmy Ho

No one ever said this would be easy. Running my first marathon is the easiest thing I have done at this point. I was about to run my second marathon, with a a different goal the second go around.  My goal for my first was to finish under four hours and not walk any of it, and I ran a 3:35. My ultimate goal is to qualify for the Boston marathon, which at my age is a 3:05. Going into my second race, I thought could reduce the gap in half; anything less would be unacceptable.

I wanted to do the Panhandle Marathon in Lubbock because my wife’s family lives there, so it was killing two birds with one stone. I found out about the race at the end of April during the middle of my soccer season. I started to train at the end of May when soccer was over. My first time with Rogue I ran at a beginner level, and this time, I ran at an advanced level, cramming 800 miles into a four months period. Running 50 miles a week is definitely tougher than running 40; it is obviously a bigger time commitment. During training, I stayed relatively injury free. I had some inside knee pain on both legs. Icing them down helped a lot. I also developed this weird pain in my right foot that felt like I had jammed my pinkie toe. In August, we went on a no alcohol, white starches/breads, dessert, and cheese diet, and it definitely helped with training. I felt great. The only bad run I had during training was the 24 miler, but other than that, I had a lot of confidence going into the race.

We got to Lubbock on Thursday. When you are out of town, it is hard to eat healthy. I had lived in the Lubbock for a little bit so we ate at some of the familiar places. Lubbock has so many restaurants, and most of them are chains. On Friday, I was anxious to get the iPhone 5 that I had preordered and shipped to Lubbock. I was hoping I would not miss the UPS guy because if I had, the phones probably would have been reshipped to Austin. It finally came at 6pm after I waited around all day. I tried to keep Saturday low-key. I picked up my packet with our friend, Ginger. I am actually proud of her. She had never run further than a 5k, and I convinced her to run the half marathon. I can only imagine training for it with two kids when you are not a runner in the first place would be tough, but she did it. My wife and I then hung out with her mom, grilled out, and watched football. I actually took a nap during the visit. For some reason, I never napped after my long runs on Saturdays. I was always doing something. We went to check in at the hotel and met up with the Beef Team (a great group of people who love running and beef) for our pre race meal, then went to bed around 9:30.

Sleeping Saturday night was a struggle. It took a while to fall asleep, and I kept waking up. I got out about at 6am before the alarm would go off. I had a bagel, and Mother Nature was right on cue. The hotel was a mile away from the start line, so I walked there. I actually need the “warm-up” because my right hamstring was sore from kicking a football with Ginger’s kid, Hunter. The race started at 7:30 which I thought was kind of late. It was the inaugural race, and there were about 150 marathon runners. When the field took off, it spread out thin fast. There were a lot of turns within the first three miles, and right about then, I was running by myself. I had no music with me, so it was just the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement. It was a brisk morning, and I felt great in the beginning. I signed up thinking the race would be flat because Lubbock is so flat that if you stood on a penny, you could see Dallas or at least that is what they say.

Around mile eight, I made a quick pit stop and lost about forty seconds. In the first ten miles, the race included every hill in Lubbock. I did not even know these hills had existed. Thank goodness I train in Austin and attacked them with ease. For some reason during training, every time I see a hill, I always sped up it. It is speed work in disguise. When I finished the first half of the race, I was sitting at 1:35. I knew I was making good time. When I started the race, I had two packets of chews and three packets of gel. I tried Accel Gel for the first time, and I really liked it. The first 18 miles were pretty uneventful. The course took us through Mackenzie Park, Texas Tech, and Greek circle. Things started to go downhill at that point when my legs started to cramp. I had the same issues with cramping at the Houston marathon around the same mileage. However in Houston, I was able to turn it on the last six miles while I was trying to chase down Cassundra. This time I had no Cassundra, it was getting hotter, and I was starting to slow down. I feel like the sun is my kryptonite.

Around mile 21, I saw my wife. I had seen her a few times along the course, and it was good to see her out there supporting me. At this point, I thought about walking, but I did not want to let her I know I was hurting. The cramping and heat was getting to me. I almost cried thinking about how much work I put into the training, and I was blowing it on race day. The last five miles I kept thinking I could turn it on any second, but as the miles past, I was going slower. At mile 24, two people actually passed me. Normally I am the one passing people at the end. I finally crossed the line pissed off at 3:31. I told myself anything short of a ten minute PR would be disappointing. I somehow ended up finishing seventh, but I knew I could have done so much better. If I ran the race I had in mind, I could have finished fourth or fifth. Ginger finished her half before I finished. We were supposed to celebrate at brunch, so we went to Blue Mesa where I had a few mimosas. Later, we celebrated with some friends by shot-gunning beers in the front yard. Classy.

I have been mad at myself for the last week or so, but I am over it now. During the race, I thought about never running a marathon again, but I am ready to run another marathon.  So what is next? I am planning to do the Run for the Water 10 miler for my birthday. I will probably run the 3M half with a 1:30 in mind, and have a little fun running the Austin marathon. All of us have goals in mind, but at the end of the day, running is supposed to be fun, healthy, and something we enjoy. So just go out there and run and do not worry about anything else.

Until next time, Rogue, happy running.