Animal Athletics

freeing the animal within

Animal Athletics Blog

The Guardian Peaks

That little bean pole on top of Mt. St. Helens is Yassine!

Following the 2014 Western States 100-miler  I took some much needed rest, but then,  like always, got restless! I had remembered what local legend William Emerson had said as he raced past me while I was spectating during the 2014 Gorge Waterfalls 50k this past March. He said, “hey Yassine, we’ve gotta get back up on Mt. Adams!”  You see, the two of us tried to summit it a couple years ago and were turned back about 1,000 feet shy of the summit due to inclement weather, and cold hands and feet. It was the right thing to do, but we knew we had unfinished business up there! We checked the weather and set the date to make it happen. This time we were afforded much better conditions, but we left our skis and snowboards at home. It was a … Read the Rest.

Ah the Sisters, how wondrous they are!


A couple weeks ago I headed south for a big 3-day training block, my last large effort before tapering for the Tahoe 200.  The first event was the Crater Lake Marathon on Saturday, followed by hiking South Sister (10,330 ft.) on Sunday and finally circumnavigating all 3 Sisters (~50 miles) on Monday.  Epic three day weekend! I was fortunate to have some wonderful people along the 2 of the 3 parts.  Renowned Portland hardcore runner and badass Heather McGrath did the Double (South Sister & the 3 Sisters loop) and “Duo of Hell Fire” founding members Ann Wallace and Susan Kelly joined us for the 50 miler (and straight up crushed it like it was no thang!)… What a pleasure to have such a plethora of strong and exemplary women in PDX and beyond! I’m thankful for good people, injury-free training, … Read the Rest.

Western States 100 – #3rdTimesAcharm


The good (and sometimes bad) thing about doing the same course repeatedly is that you know what’s coming. The 2014 Western States 100 would be my third running (in a row) of the iconic event, and I felt very excited and honored to be making the journey from Squaw Valley to Auburn. This year was really special for me as my mother joined me from Pennsylvania (as she did in 2012), as well as my wife and daughter who also joined me in my first running. Additionally, my sister made a last-minute decision to come down from Portland to join Willie, Joe, Jeff, Brett, Jamie, Tony, and other friends along the way. It was truly heart-warming to see all of these beautiful people when I popped out of the wilderness into the aid stations. A few days before the race … Read the Rest.

Up in the Air

2014 Colorado Climb-32

 This past April I accompanied Animal Athlete Steve Hopkins on a training trip to Colorado to gain some more climbing experience at high altitude.  We summited Quandary Peak (14,265′) on a perfect day (after getting turned back the morning before by blizzard conditions) and overall had an excellent 5 day trip to the good old Rocky Mountains.  There’s nothing better than seeing the ecstatic smile of a satisfied client, especially on the top of a tall, snowy peak. These are the photos I took.  Enjoy!                                                                                        

12 Animal (Athletes) on the Lewis River


    This past Sunday we had an amazing group outing on the Lewis River in southern Washington with 12 badass Animal Athletes and 2 dogs.  Everyone met up in NW Portland at 6:30 am and carpooled the hour and half out to the Curly Creek Falls trailhead.  We left 2 cars there and all piled in to the other two vehicles, shuttling to our starting point at Quartz Creek to begin a blissful ~16.5 mile point to point run in unbelievable weather. It was a true and excellent adventure.  We saw large herds of elk, encountered boulder-strewn roads, reached impassable snow while driving to the start and had to ditch the cars and walk the last mile, found a rope swing and used it (can you say COLD?!), were stunned by epic waterfalls most of us had never seen, blissed-out on miles … Read the Rest.

Above the Clouds: Two for two…


  Thus far our Above the Clouds Mountaineering Training group (consisting of six badass friends and myself, Willie McBride) has gotten off to a great start.  Besides our 90 minute weekly Tuesday torture (I mean training!) sessions we’ve gotten out to the mountains for two excellent adventures…and that’s just the beginning. The first outing was a nice jaunt up Larch Mountain from Wahkeena Falls (since the Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls was still closed.)  We were blessed with an incredible, sunny day and the group straight-up rocked it!  Add some charcuterie and other deliciousness on the summit and you’ve got a damn fine time right there…                     Our second adventure was another huge success and was made even more fun by adding a mixture of other friends into the mix.  All … Read the Rest.

Faces from the Celebration: A Gorge Memory

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Last year we did a great Community Adventure, heading out to our beloved Columbia Gorge for a snowy, 15.5 mile point to point route from Eagle Creek up and over the Benson Plateau to Cascade Locks.   As always we felt very fortunate; the people we were with were just as wonderful and pleasing to be around as the stunning landscape.  Here are the Faces from the Celebration:                                              

Just Push Through


Week 3 of boot camp and I am finally starting to get used to being up a 5:50 AM.  It has been a struggle the first two weeks but this week I woke up ready for the day. Doing these boot camps every Wednesday has made me appreciate being up so early. I get to see the sun rising over the city on my drive home from boot camp.  It’s nice that by 7:30 I’m ready for the day and already had my workout. This week Yassine was nice enough to not make us do laps around the block due to the inclement weather.  The wind was piercing through my body and I had two layers of clothing on.  Therefore, instead, we started the workout with complete full body stretches.  Just doing the stretches makes me nervous for the workout … Read the Rest.

Rodela: Round 2


I am not sure how I made it out of bed this second time around… I knew I was about to put my body through some much needed exercise that I had been neglecting for awhile. The first time I met with Yassine and Willie they told me wanted to convince the people they train that most exercises, and surely endurance running, are more mental than physical. I told myself “get up, you have to go and you will feel better after.” As I arrived at the training space people were already running out the door. I went to put my water bottle and keys down and Yassine instructed me to catch up with the group. What a perfect idea to start your day, two laps around the block. I don’t think it’s a normal block either, I think the … Read the Rest.

HURT100 Race Report


I am going to attempt to recall and articulate my “vision-quest-of-a-race” down in Hawaii this past January 18-19, 2014. There is so much time in 100-milers to think about life, to reflect, and to celebrate what we love. There are also times where you think about rational choices and decisions you are making. You know…that little voice in the back of your head? Although sometimes thinking too much- being too “cerebral”, can actually be your worst enemy in ultra running. In these endurance events you  have to turn off the rational mind. Often times you have to lie to yourself, constantly talk positively to yourself, visualize, and break the race down into smaller, more digestible chunks. You have to also remind yourself how good it feels to cross the finish line of a 100-miler, and how hollow you feel when … Read the Rest.