Abel, the man behind the Spanish trail running website UltraLifeTeam, recently caught up with ultrarunner Jake Rydman for a quick chat about life & his blossoming trailrunning career. Jakes recent 2nd place finish at the Waldo 100k in Oregon, where he ran sub 10 hours and finished only 4 minutes behind race winner Timothy Olson, has really put him on the radar of ‘one to watch’ for future races. The original interview in Spanish can be found here on the UltraLifeTeam website. Thanks a lot to Jake & Abel for allowing me to publish the english version.
Age? Living right now?Team? Sponsors?
I am 28yrs old; living in Rocklin, California (right in between Sacramento and Auburn). I currently run for the New Balance Store in Roseville, CA (New Balance Roseville). But also get support from Injinji Toe-socks and Team Sunsweet.
Trail running heros?
Into my teenage to young adult years, I really admired Jim King (3xwinner of Western States in the early-to-mid 1980′s) for his genuine character, passion for Western States, and his love for hill-running. More recently, I have looked up to Nick Clark a great deal. He is a terrific husband, father, runner, and Race Director (Quad Rock 50 in Fort Collins, CO). Above all – and although not “technically” a trail-runner – I look up to my Grandfather who first got me interested in running. And one interesting fact about him: He has NEVER missed one day of running in over 34yrs! Quite the inspiration to me.
Non running heros?
I am a big Mother Teresa fan. Her actions in the past and through her writings have inspired me to see people as God sees them – worthy of love. And not only that, but to not solely focus on doing great things, but to do small, everyday things with great love. I definitely don’t have it all figured out and can be not the most loving, but people like her continue to inspire me.
How do you organize daily to train, work, study etc etc…?
Well, I am happily married to my best friend (Sara), work at Starbucks Coffee Co., and I am also an assistant cross-country and track coach for my alma mater – William Jessup University. So, in the midst of all this, I run when I have time. Sometimes it’s in the morning before work (at 6am), sometimes in the afternoon/evening when I get home, and often, I run in the morning and evening. I think if you prioritize your time wisely and efficiently, you can do all the things you need/want to do. Running is a high priority for me, therefore, I make time for it and/or do it when I have free time.
Do have much control over your trainings? In that case, how do you keep a strict discipline of trainings?
I do. I don’t have a coach or anything, so I kinda train according to what I think is best. Most often it has been good, but sometimes I do stupid things in training:) First and foremost, I am passionate about running; it’s what I love to do. Therefore, it’s fairly simple to muster up the motivation to do what you love. But, on those days where motivation is lacking, having people to run with (like my wife) sure helps to keep disciplined. And lastly, keeping a training log helps keep the motivation high as well. Seeing the progress you’ve made helps to put a little fuel in the fire for sure.
What kind of food do you eat on pre-season? Any extra diet supplements?
Wow, I am not the best person to ask. My diet is pretty loose (and sometimes pretty poor). Usually, I eat quesadillas I make at home, tons of pasta, chips & salsa, and on occasion – In N Out Burger! It is so good. As for supplements, nothing really. I mean, I’ve taken Udo’s Oil a few times, but didn’t really see the point or notice anything different. I suppose a few things I do is drizzle a generous amount of Olive Oil on my food and/or use this soy sauce called “Liquid Aminos” which basically contains a bunch of essential amino acids.
When did you start to run? your first Ultra?
I first started running at the age of 12. Like I mentioned before, my grandpa was the driving force in motivating me to run (what a great example he set!). I instantly fell in love with the freedom, challenge, and community of people that running brings together (my first ever run was a 3-miler through some orchards that my grandpa took me on….I had to walk like 5 times because I was so tired, but loved it!). My first ultra was in September of 2010 – The Sierra Nevada Double-Marathon. It challenged me like no other (36*C heat didn’t help) but it made me respectful of the sport of ultrarunning and hungry to see how I could further test my limits/abilities.
Which distance do you feel more confident?
Probably 50-milers since that is the distance I’ve had the most experience at. I definitely enjoy the longer stuff more (100k and 100mi), but am still learning how to tackle those distances. I’ve only done 1 100-miler (Tahoe Rim 100) and it was HARD. I was underprepared, so I vowed that I wouldn’t attempt another hundred until I was a lot more confident, mentally and physically.
Tell us about Curley Brothers (Connor & Tyler). What do you think about their initiatives as Hilloween Hill?
The Curley brothers are passionate about the outdoors and the sport of trail/ultra running. They were a huge influence for me getting into this sport. I think Hilloween is a great event (it takes place around the actual holiday of Halloween) that not only challenges people, but brings them together (from across the world as you know!) to mutually enjoy one another, a grueling climb (hopefully), and the task of testing your limits by seeing how hard/far you can push yourself by amassing as much vertical gain your body will allow in a 10-hour window. I’m very thankful for the Curley brothers and their willingness to organize and promote such an event.
Best piece of advice or wisdom he has been given or read in a book?
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
This is something that has held true for me as a follower of Jesus and in my running. Hard things are worth pursuing and hard times are worth enduring.
After your second place on Waldo 100 you get your direct entry to the Western States 100. Congratulations! Thoughts…?
Ah thank you, that was a special day I got to enjoy with special people. I hope to be healthy and ready to lay it all out there come June 29th at Western States. It is such a privilege and honor to be able to run from Squaw Valley to Auburn; and a tremendous gift that I hope to use wisely and to the fullest.
When will you get over to Europe?
I would love to come to Europe to race! As for Europe, I’ve only ever been to Santorini, Greece and Rome, Italy (honeymoon!). I would probably need a generous sponsor in order to make it over there because as you know, it’s not cheap! But racing in Spain certainly has an appeal to it. I admire your culture a lot and would love to experience it firsthand (I am a HUGE Tour De France and cycling fan as well – the spanish climbers are some of the best). Hopefully one day I’ll be over there.