Well, I hope this next WhippAss is worth the wait! I've been Facebook friends with Brian Slotterbach for some time, but I recently had the pleasure of actually meeting him at Black Rock Races! What a great guy he and I'm super stoked to present him you!
Ok, lets start with a little bit of background. How old are you? Where do you live? And what do you do for a living?
I’ll be 42 on October 30, I live in Quakertown PA, and I’m a profit/loss anaylst.
Where did you grew up?
I lived in several places as a child. First was King of Prussia PA, then Key Largo Florida, then Ardmore PA, then Sellersville PA.
At what age did you start running?
Seriously I was 40 years old.
Why did you start running?
I started in order to drop some weight and run a 5k for my 40th birthday. Some friends of mine down in Philadelphia told me I should run The Southwest Center City 5k and afterwards we would hit the town and drink beer into the wee hours of the morning. So of course I couldn’t pass that up so I trained for a month! I dropped like 20 pounds in 6 weeks then ran the 5k. After I got home the next day I still wanted to keep running even though my friends stopped so I just kept going and never stopped.
What were you like as a kid?
I was a skatepunk and had several very close friends and we would skateboard everywhere and everything. Back in the 1980’s it wasn’t so cool and definitely was not mainstream like it is now. We were total outcasts and the metal heads in high school used to pick on us until they realized we were badass LOL!
What type of music are you listening to right now?
I listen to a lot of Jazz from the 1960’s cool era, especially in the fall since it reminds me of my college days. I majored in Jazz Studies in college.
What is the last book you read, and tell me about it in 2-3 sentences?
I am not a big reader I have to admit. I am currently reading Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run. It’s pretty easy reading and it has many recipes from him in it. It has really good stories from his racing days such as when he was being chased by Karl Meltzer at Hardrock.
Do you speak any other languages?
I wish but no..I wasn’t the best student in school.
Since this is Trail WhippAss, we should get back to the running thing. Why and when did you start running trails?
I ran the Half Saur Half Kraut half marathon in Philly and the course has about 1.5 miles of trail in it and the rest is bikepath. I had never run on a trail before prior to that day and that tiny little section of that race is all I could think about after it was over. I have been running trails ever since.
Have you ever had embarrassing wipeouts on the trail?
I don’t think so no..not yet anyway.
What was the embarrassing road wipe out?
Never had one of those.
Any funny or crazy animal encounter on the trail?
4 porcupines at Oil Creek!
Is there any race that told you, “Yep, you should be an ultra or trail runner.”
Yes! My first marathon I ran was a trail race called The Dam Full Marathon outside of Lewisburg PA. It’s such a beauty of a course and to this day probably my favorite race.
What does a typical training week look like for you? Do you follow a strict plan or are you more loose with your training?
I do follow a plan but I modify it slightly. I need structure in my training. I’ll take the popular Ultraladies plans they use and dial down the mileage a bit. For instance my peak weeks for my first 100 miler topped out at 55-57 miles and for my body that was sufficient. But each run has a specific purpose. I don’t believe in miles for the sake of miles. I do speed work on roads/paved bike paths during the week. They are usually shorter runs but harder efforts. I really like progression runs because you really learn how to dial in pace, which you need to control in the long stuff. But come the weekend it’s all trails. I do all my long runs on the trail. The more climbs the better. It does not matter if it’s hot, cold, raining, snowy, dreary, dark, or windy. Training on hard trails with lots of climbing in the cold rain will prepare you mentally for the tough going in a 50 miler, 100K or 100 miler. I also enjoy incorporating trail races as training runs especially in new places I have never ran before. That forces you to be on your toes a bit more because you generally have no idea what’s coming. And who doesn’t enjoy a training run with stocked aid stations!
Do you do any runs at elevation or hill training? What's the highest elevation you've ever run?
I have never run about 2,000 ft elevation. I would probably die LOL. I need all the oxygen I can get. I do love running super hilly trails though. Or actually running to the hills and hiking them up then running down the other side.
What's the longest distance you've ever run on a treadmill?
maybe 5 miles..I like them for hiking/climbing on a specific incline but as far as running on them, god no.
Speaking of mental toughness, do you have any mantras you repeat in your mind during tough moments? How do you dig yourself out of low points out on the trail?
Yes I just did this actually. I would say “this is how it’s supposed to feel.” “This is good and this is what you signed up for, you knew it was going to come so just smile and enjoy it!” And yes I actually said that to myself over and over and let me say it works!
Do you have a running philosophy? If so, what is it?
No I don’t think so. Maybe to always have fun, because the majority of us don’t get paid to do it.
What is something you cannot run without?
What are some of your bucket list races or goals in running?
Western States of course. My wife grew up in Meadow Vista which is adjacent to Auburn Ca where the race ends. So my wife and her parents are eager to watch me flounder about in 100 degree heat I guess. I also want to do races like Zion 100, Bear 100, Headlands 100, Cascade Crest, and Miwok to name just a few. There are so many it’s endless!
Where is the best place that you've run? Or where was the most interesting place you've ever run?
I haven’t run in many cool places like many others have but I really enjoyed running in the early morning around Key West Florida. Its was so sleepy and quiet and just tranquil. And nothing like chasing the chickens along Smathers Beach.
If you could run anywhere in the world with anybody who would you run with and where?
Honestly not to sound lame, but run with my wife. I really wish she would run with me. She doesn’t run but I keep trying. We could then do runcations together in the Sierra Mountains or San Gabriels out west. That would be so cool.
What is the most you've paid for a race?
$150. But that was for 100 miles so well worth it and actually inexpensive for that distance.
Where is the farthest you've travelled for a race?
3 hour drive in the morning for a 7 am start.
What is your proudest moment so far in life running related ?
That’s an easy one crossing the finish line at Oil Creek 100 a few weeks ago. Nothing like running 100 miles..nothing! Everyone who runs should do it at least once, and as long as you keep moving with a purpose and you want it bad enough, you will finish.
If anyone in the world could congratulate you at the end of a race who would it be and why?
My grandmother. She was awesome and she never lived long enough to see me run or see my kids.
What is your favorite pre-race meal?
Pasta with sauteed chicken, arugula, and bacon! Drool..
What's your favorite food choice during ultras?
Pierogies! So good
Do you have a favorite post race meal?
Beer and a burger
We’ve asked you about your proudest running moment, what would you say is your proudest moment non-running related so far in your life
My two sons getting honor roll this semester at middle school and high school. Proud dad moment since I was a mediocre student at their age..and smoking cigarettes and drinking vodka underneath bridge overpasses in rural Bucks County when I was their age..haha
Do you have a running idol? If so, who is he/she and why are they your idol?
No I don’t have idol’s that I’m aware of.
What is the best advice you have ever been given and who gave it to you?
My father always told me to work hard for what you want because it won’t be given to you. Truer words have never been spoken.
If you could hop in a time machine and talk to 10 year old Bryan for 30 seconds, what would you tell him knowing what you know now.
Don’t be a moron and smoke cigarettes. Worse thing for you.
If you could have any superhero power what would it be?
What is you favorite destination that you have visited?
Peru without question. Went to Machu Pichu and it was insane. The most beautiful place on the planet.
What was the most badass thing you've ever done?
Sitting in a back seat of a speeding out of control taxi cab in the middle of the night in Cairo Egypt was pretty badass in my book.. and life threatening. haha
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. We just have one final one for you. What is the Trail WhippAss logo to you?
It’s all inclusive. It’s do your own thing but do it on the trails and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t because you aren’t fast or you are old or whatever.