Ultrarunning - Hammering Since: 2008
I learned of Hammer Nutrition in 2008 when I met runner ambassador Mike Weaver whose brother was neighbor and friends with Hammer Founder Brian Frank in Montana. Mike explained what is now Secrets of Success (SOS) to me and I began using Hammer products progressively in the following years. After moving up in the sport, I got into the 2018 UTMB and reached out to Dean Karnazas whom I met at a TNF race earlier that year. He eventually connected me to my current coach and his eventual affiliation with Hammer inspired my own journey in nutrition. Once I became more disciplined in training and nutrition, I saw consistent success in podium placing and setting PRs. Becoming part of the Hammer nutrition team represented another milestone in my running career as it involved embodying a Hammer lifestyle of sorts where we don’t accept status quo and work on ourselves as part of a bigger team of athletes.
I am an ultrarunner based in Monument, CO having recently moved from the quirky mountain town of Los Alamos, NM (of Manhattan Project fame). I came into the sport because of this town’s affinity to trail running. Specifically, the very first family we met upon arriving in town was that of a runner named Mike Weaver (whom we met through the faith community), and whose brother Bob Weaver was neighbor to none other than Hammer Founder Brian Frank in Montana and worked at Hammer (until his tragic passing 10 years ago).
Mike was very enthusiastic about Hammer Products and explained nutrition to me back in 2009 when I was just getting into running. I began using Hammer products under his guidance that same year but didn't get serious in the sport until my wife and I established our family and careers.
After dedicating quite a few seasons to racing the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon (eventually winning the ‘Doubler’), I gradually stepped into longer distances at the encouragement of Mike Weaver. I met some of the sport’s dominant personalities, including Dean Karnazas at the finish lines of several of The North Face’s Endurance Challenge Series 50K and 50 milers. After several 100 milers, I got into Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in 2018, and reached out to Dean for his recommendation on how to prepare for a big signature race and he put me in touch with CTS coaches Jason Koop and Corrine Malcolm (authors of the latest edition of Training Essentials for Ultrarunning). With CTS, I got serious in periodized training, interval runs, and more disciplined nutrition. At a CTS running camp, I brought my Hammer Gels to use as part of a larger panel of foods that athletes tested on long runs. There I learned to train the gut on target intake of calories and to have a quiver of tested foods (not just one that could be a single point of failure).
Hard work paid off and my finishing times were dropping rapidly by 2019. Many factors went into this but it was during this period that I began to almost exclusively train with Hammer products and started rudimentary caloric inventory during training (not just racing). I used gels, Perpetuem powder and solids, HEED, Endurolytes, and Recoverite and had quite a few breakthroughs, including regular wins and course records at regional races each year. I also shaved 7 hours off my original time on the rugged Mogollon Monster 100 mile course to take first place (2019) and 10 hours off my finishing time at Javelina Hundred (100 mile) for top 10 finishes in 2018, 2019, and 2021. The most meaningful experiences, though, were where things didn't go well. My first time at UTMB in 2018 involved a complete failure of nutrition where, despite my successes with Hammer products, I attempted to utilize the food at the aid stations in order to reduce the weight of carrying 3000+ calories in the pack through the Alps. The only dropbag location is half-way through at Courmayeur, Italy and the food encountered along the way is notoriously…varied (think random charcuterie board). My stomach completely rebelled at the pickled fare and I spent the back half of the race in misery unable to keep anything down except for broth and the occasional Snickers bar. This experience, together with the expert advice of CTS coaches in 2019, motivated me to train the gut the way we train our muscles and develop a suite of known foods that can be interchanged and rotated when things start to go south. I came back to UTMB in 2021 and used this strategy, with Hammer Gels and Perpetuem as the foundational elements of the fueling mix. It was a stellar success and I had zero stomach problems for the entire race!!!! I finished in the top 100 overall men (8th American overall), although many mistakes were made in terms of weather preparation and gear (that's another story!)
Sponsored Athlete Experience
Becoming a Sponsored Hammer Athlete has had a profound effect on my interaction with and enjoyment of the sport. Beyond ready access and ability to systematically test new products, being on a team and racing for Hammer has provided a sense of belonging and continuity: I and my fellow teammates get up and push our personal limits each day for reasons that are largely shared across the sport. I particularly value the progression and the fact that lessons from ultrarunning can be applied to other parts of life. I’ve gotten to know inspiring stories of fellow athletes and it feels so good to share my experience with a company whose products have been so integral to my running and daily routines. We have two growing boys (and now a newborn in 2022) so longevity and health are major goals for reasons beyond racing. I am honored to run under the Hammer banner at UTMB again this year in 2022 and put some hard lessons learned into action! See you in Chamonix!