Scott Jaime is best known for his FKT on the Colorado Trail. He has also successfully tackled some of the gnarliest mountain races on the planet all while being extremely photogenic. Sounds like Scott was born to be a Trail WhippAss. So naturally, we are all dying to hear what Scott had to say to some of our burning questions. ...
Dylan A: You clearly like and excel at the hardest longest races and experiences out there. What is it that drives you towards those events?
I want to know what I'm genetically capable of. I never want to look back on my life and say "should have... could have... would have..." This type of mentality started at an early when I ran my first marathon at age 11. I wondered if it was possible. Fast forward to 2009 when I did the Colorado Trail the first time, I wondered if I could finish on my 40th birthday, averaging 40 miles per day. That's what led me to the the Colorado Trail a second time, I wondered if I could it faster than anyone else. I'm never the most talented runner when I line up at a race, and to be honest, it's not about anyone else except my ghost. I want to prove I can beat my younger self and that propels me to get stronger as I get older.
Julia C: I'd love to know what were some key changes in your second approach to the CO Trail? The logistics when going after a FKT are mind boggling. I'd love to hear about that. Since there is no present competition during such an endeavor, how does you stay "ON" and driven to compete.
- The first time I did the Colorado Trail it was all about finishing on my 40th birthday averaging 40 miles per day, that's it. When I was done with my mileage for the day, I simply stopped, even if it was 2 PM. I was also sleeping a lot, probably a good 6-8 hours per night. The logistics took about 2 years to plan as I visited each place along the trail I thought I could get access. My father in law has a 5th wheel and that's what we used for sleeping, crewing, etc... As you can imagine, it's a lot of work to get that big thing around. The second time around I had the same crew: my father in law, wife, parents, and several more friends. My mindset was different too. I was going for the record so I needed to push as long as a could each and every day until I finished. I only got about 14 hours of sleep in 9 days so I was completed hollowed, most of time stumbling in the dark to start and finish the day. Staying "ON" comes from within and I can tell you I fell "OFF" on day 5. I couldn't do it anymore and ended my day after 43 miles and 7 PM at night. My crew was also urging me to stop because they knew I didn't have access for the next 20 miles and it would be dark, very dangerous with my current state. I sat down in the trailer and after 2 hours or so, I was really upset with myself that I had given up mentally. This was the turning point of the adventure because I was hell bent on not letting that happen again. You're right, there is no competition so the drive comes from wanting to know what my genetic potential is and nothing more. Redefining my limits. I would say the one mental aspect that helps me is to no think about what's ahead of me but rather stay in the moment. Enjoy the moment you're in and marvel at what's around you.
Julia C: What is your go to fuel?
My go to fuel is First Endurance. I've been with them for the past 10 years so I've dialed in my nutrition. They are a no frills nutrition supplement company with only the essentials: electrolytes, calories, and recovery. My favorite items are the new EFS cucumber electrolyte drink, EFS liquid shot (provides 400 calories in 5 oz and no gelling agents used), and Ultragen recovery drink (best tasting recovery drink on the market!). I have no stomach issues with any of this and would recommend that if you want to try it, use it during training before you try to race with it.
Ryan S: 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?
It never always get worse if I take of myself. We've all been there before when the world is coming to an end and we don't even have enough energy to lift our heads. I've been so bad that I've been dizzy, can't hear, and can't talk and wonder why I do this stuff. Through the years I've figured out that when the bonk happens it's usually because my calories and water didn't match my pace, IE went out too fast. If this happens the only thing you can do is slow down and take care of yourself. Slowing down will allow you to absorb fluids and calories and get you back on track. If you try to push through it, it will only get worse. Slow down for 30 minutes rather than lose hours in the end.
Jun B: How do you handle nausea and vomiting? What remedies do you use?
- I have only vomited once during an ultra. I was leading Hardrock at the halfway point (and this goes to my point for Ryan S). I felt that because I was in the lead I wanted to create a gap so I pushed harder and got way behind on calories and fluid. To make it up, I ate and drank a bunch of stuff at an aid station and 20 minutes later it all came up. My stomach had shrunk and couldn't extend fast enough so it got rid of it. I'd say if you have problems with nausea of vomiting it's because your calories and hydration don't match your pace. The other thing you can try is to dilute your calories down, meaning the carbohydrate mix is too strong for your stomach. The last thing I'll say is eat and drink early and often, this will help keep you stomach distended rather than shrink.
Dylan A : if you could hop in a time machine and talk to 10 year old Scott for 30 seconds what would you tell him?
- Two things: 1. Slow down! I spent the first 5 years of racing going out way too hard and bonking in the end. Guillermo Medina gave me some great advice at Miwok in 2007, he caught up to me and said "if you slow down, they will come back to you" 2. Quality over quantity. Stop doing all those junk miles. When your out, make them count.
Scott, first off congrats on the Hardrock lottery. Am I correct that you have been selected again this year? 2015 will be your 9th Hardrock if I counted correctly. What are your favorite things about this race? What advice can you give to the Hardrock hopefuls out there? This can be advice on the course, mentality going into it or any insider tidbits you have gathered over the years.
- I have been selected for Hardrock 2015 and it will be my 9th running. Thank you! My favorite things about the race, dare it say it (?), EVERYTHING! It's a small town race with a grass roots feel. When you run Hardrock you are really part of a family. In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than the San Juan's. Almost the entire race is run above treeline (avg elevation is 11,000ft) and most is done on single track or animal trails. If seclusion and deafening silence is your thing, then San Juan's are your place. This race kicks you in the teeth and just as your recovering from the last climb, it kicks you in the crotch and offers up another 3,000 foot climb. 12 significant climbs! My advice is to train learning how to hike fast up hill for most of your training, and sprinkle in a little running. I average about 25 to 30,000 feet of climbing per week two months before Hardrock. The mentality is to stay in the moment and don't think about what's ahead of you. Accept the fact that you're going to hurt somewhere on the course and just marvel at the scenery along the way. The difference between pain and suffering is the optimism you have.
Besides Hardrock, what are your plans for 2015?
- I need to go back to Tor Des Geants (205 miles) in Italy. Last year I DNF'd at the 50K mark because of injury and I was devastated. Outside of Hardrock it was the one race I thought I could do well because of my experience on the Colorado Trail. I will also run Miwok 100k in May. Other than that it's too early to plan. For the next could of weeks I will do minimal to no running and heal from the long year, during which time I'll plan some other races.
What does a typical training week look like for you? Do you follow a strict plan or a more loose plan?
- I'm older (45), so I don't do as much as I used to. A typical week for me is running about 60-70 miles, spending around 10 hours, and 10,000 feet of climbing. Outside of that when I'm ramping up to a race I'll do two-4 week cycles consisting of interval session, lactate threshold (8-10 miles) , one long slow run (20-30 miles), one long race pace run (15-20 miles) each week. All of this is done on the same terrain I will be racing on. Between each week I take a down week to recover. This means each full cycle is 9 weeks, add in two taper weeks and that's a total of 11 weeks to prepare for a race.
What were you like as a kid? What are some life experiences that helped shape you into the ultra runner and person you are today?
- Backpacking, soccer, and running. As a boy scout I used to take long backpacking trips deep into remote areas with a heavy backpack loaded down with some of the conveniences of modern life. As my sense of exploration expanded I wondered if I could lighten the load and go farther. Pretty soon I was leaving the house with just a fanny pack and water bottle. I was doing more with less. I always wanted to know what was over the next hill or around the next corner so my sense of exploration and approaching everything with possibility lead me to ultra running. Once I starting running races, I really enjoyed the laid-back nature of the ultra running community.
What kind of music is on your ipod right now?
- Oh man. I've got Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Eminem, Avenged Sevenfold, Godsmack (love Sully Erna) - I consider this my angry music to get me pumped up! I also have Elton John, Adele, Amos Lee, Billy Joel, Bruno Mars, Katy Parry, to name a few. It's a wide variety that always keeps me going through the gamut of emotions.
Ultra running has grown so much and continues to grow in popularity. What kind of changes do you see happening the future for the sport, positive or negative?
- I love to see the explosion in the sport. Most of what I see is positive in that we all feel a part of a special community that has the mantra of "we're all in this together" mentality. The negatives is the money that's being introduced. I feel the money is attracting some very talented runners, that's the good part. But I feel since there is no regulation of banned substances, the doping will follow the money. People want to make a name for themselves and that's just human nature and if there's money to be had then people will get away with what they can. I don't believe this is happening to a large extent but the longer money hangs around, the more money will be had, and people will be tempted. I just think money is tainted the sport.
You have accomplished so much in ultra running so far but the possibilities are endless. What are some of your bucket list races and goals?
- I'd like to run the John Muir Trail, once to see it and again to go for the record. I'd also like to the PCT someday but not for the record, just to do it over the course of a summer. Probably when I retire though. Last thing is to do a 24 hour, 48 hour, 72 hour, or 6 day race. Across the years is tempting me every year. Some day.
Last burning question....What is this?
- That looks like a notorious vomitus euphoritus monster.
After reading Scott's answers, I feel enlightened. Truly. I really believe we can learn from ultra runners like Scott. I have been in some real tough times during long ultras (who hasn't) and sometimes one short phrase I have heard from another ultra runner or a trick they use to cope will ring through my head and pull me from the depths of despair. I believe within this interview blog there is much of that material. Scott proves that you can have speed and endurance. He can run a fast 5k (seriously, check his ultrasignup) and also crush a multi-day jaunt through Colorado's rugged trails and do it a faster than anyone else. But this can not be done with speed itself, mental fortitude will ultimately win you that finish line. Scott is a shining example of this. If you haven't seen Running the Edge, Scott's Colorado Trail journey, do yourself a favor and check it out. You will be further inspired. Scott has shared with you over 10 years of ultra running experience and in that long history what I find amazing (among many things of course) is he has only thrown up once! He obviously knows what he is doing. So thank you, Scott Jaime, for making me an better ultra runner, for sharing your passion and for your insight.