July 30, 2017

JFW runs the Burning River 100 for the last time

Occasionally I like to look to see how people get to my website. I am mostly curious if they were seeking it out specifically or got there accidentally like hitting a keyword search and were directed to me. I checked my stats today and saw this...

Now the good news is that more people actually get to my site looking for me than are looking for Rich Froning. That’s right. I am more popular than the 4x CrossFit Games Champ Rich “Mother Effing” Froning. The bad news is that I was outranked by “athlete boners”. Ironically it’s the first time a boner has given me a beating so turnabout is fair play I guess...

Ok. Enough boner talk. Yesterday I ran the Burning River 100 Relay and it was my final “long run” before I start my next training cycle at CrossFit Mentality and I thought I would recap the race for you all.

Before I launch into this I would like to say I started training for this 4 months ago when I hurt my bicep tendon. I ran 4x a week, practiced yoga 3x a week, and lifted/CrossFit 3x a week. I came into this race in the best running shape I have been in for a while but it didn’t matter. This thing was 16.5 miles of pure suck...

I’m 99% sure that course was completely uphill. The terrain itself was, as trail runners would call it, “technical”. I would call it full of roots and rocks that want to trip your tired ass. We also had to run quite a bit of bridal path so I had to jump more than one pile of horse sh*t. It felt a little bit like an analogy on my life at that moment...

The interesting thing about these types of runs is that you meet people out on the course and because the pace is slow due to the extreme distance and hills, there is a lot of walking giving you time to strike up conversations and make friendships. I met two cool dudes and ran with them for about 2 hours. One of them was from Iowa City, Iowa and CrossFits there. He asked where I trained and when I told him I was starting at Mentality next week he goes “That’s Panchik’s gym right? There must be some real badasses there.” I said “Why do you think I’m going to train there?” To which he laughed. Now I like to believe he laughed because he was tired and it sounded funny when I said it,  not because it is impossible that I could ever be a badass. Just for prides sake, I did not ask him to clarify.

I lost those dudes with about 5 miles to go when we stopped at the last aid station and they told me to go ahead and they would catch up. They never did which honestly surprised me because I was running slower than old people screwing. The last 5 miles was truly an exercise in mental toughness. At this point, both of my feet, knees, and back hurt terribly and I kept looking at my GPS and calling it a liar as it crept along. I thought there was going to be a water station between the aid station and the end of my leg but somehow I missed it. At one point I was so thirsty as I ran past an open pasture, I contemplated going out into the field of cows to get some milk from the tap. Regardless, I soldiered on and came into a really wooded, shaded area for the last couple of miles which helped. The terrain through there was terrible and virtually everyone was forced to walk the majority of it. When I came to the final quarter mile you can see the finish line and have to run across an open field to get there. If any of you have seen “The Walking Dead” when the zombies are marching across a field you should have a good visual on what I looked like. Thank God no one stabbed me in the head although at that moment I would have welcomed it.

I will say that this race was well put together, the trail was really well marked, and the aid stations had a ton of food. I ate my fill of PB&J, Twizzlers, and Mountain Dew just like it was an Appalachian Thanksgiving. It was glorious.

That’s it. I am officially “retired” from long races. Nothing over 5 miles moving forward and CrossFit only until the end of the year. Mentality starts tomorrow!


  1. Congrats on finishing a tough race! My friend and I were talking 50 miles next year and we ruled out back half because it's so much harder.

    So, see you next year? ;)