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Nathan Holland, Rock/Creek Race Team

Name: Nathan Holland

Age: 32

Occupation: TVA Senior Manager, Gas Maintenance Services; Chemical & Mechanical Engineer by training

Years running:

For other sports, like soccer, I’ve been “running” since I was 5.  Now, running for the joy of running, I’ve been doing that since my first StumpJump in 2010.

Why do you run?

I love the challenge, enjoy spending time out in God’s creation and like to see how much I can push myself.

Favorite place to run:  

Southern Adventist University (aka Biology Trails), specifically red and yellow loops; Lookout Mountain, specifically Big Daddy Loop, Master P Hill Repeats and GUT Out-n-Backs;  Signal Mountain, specifically any sections of the Cumberland Trail.

Favorite achievement:

Being a member of the 2015 Class of The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and sharing that adventure with the Lord and my family!  It was not a performance I was proud of from a running perspective, but I relied on God and my family at every race, I relied on prayers for each race before/during/after, and I learned a lot about God’s ministry through these events.

Toughest moment in a race:  

During the 3rd race of The Grand Slam, Leadville Trail 100, I chose to run without a pacer.  I preferred the challenge of running solo without the assistance of a safety runner.  So, when my stomach went to crap at only mile 30, I found myself puking for the next 70 miles as I continued toward the finish.  The absolute worst time, was as I was making my second ascent of Hope Pass (over 12,000 feet) and had to stop every few hundred feet to fall forward on my trekking poles as I retched out whatever small amounts of liquid I had been able to take down the few minutes before, over, and over, and over again.  It was not a pretty finish, but it was a finish none the less.

Goals / Schedule 2017: 

I don’t have everything lined out, but below is what I have in mind:

* Jan 14 – South Cumberland Shit Show; Fiery Gizzard, Savage Gulf, Perimeter Loop (60ish miles total)… Jobie Williams Birthday Special
* Feb 4 – Louisville Lovin’ The Hills 50k
* Feb 25 – Mt Mitchell Challenge 40 miler
* Mar 18 – Savage Gulf Marathon
* Apr 1 – Georgia Death Race 68 miler
* May 19-20 – Cruel Jewel 100 miler
* Jun/Jul – SCAR
* Oct 7-8StumpJump Double, 50k Sat & 15k Sun
* Nov 11 – UpChuck 50k
* Stillhouse 100k whenever it’s scheduled

Tips for new runners:

Don’t forget to train your gut, nutrition is the key to success for ultra events.  Don’t forget to train mentally… don’t always do training runs with friends and such… in any given long distance race you’re going to spend some time by yourself, so be used to that and relying on only yourself to push through those low spots.  If you generally rely on others to motivate you to keep moving when you’re tired, or hurting, or whatever then you’re going to struggle even worse when you get to those points of a race.  The only thing you can plan on in any ultra is that there will be at least three things that won’t go as you planned!  You’ll forget to grab your favorite gels at the second aid station, you’ll get lost once or twice, you’ll miss your goal pace/times… So, just learn to be flexible and resilient!  It happens to everyone, but those that just keep moving and rolling with the punches are the ones who inspire us and make the most of every experience.  Lastly, it’s good to have a DNF (Did Not Finish) on your record.  From my experience, these memories are where you can learn more than from any “successes.”  DNF’ing is not something that most people take lightheartedly.  Most people get upset, mad, frustrated, etc. and loathe themselves for quitting when things got tough or hurt or whatever the case was… And this is good… it’s great!  This is the fuel they can use in the future to keep them moving when the tables have turned, when they’re feeling like crap halfway through a race and are battling those mental demons to quit.  Use that memory of DNF to fight back the urge to quit and push through for that finish line.  The finish line is the great cure all!  Despite whatever struggles and issues you’re dealing with through a race, when you hit that finish line all that goes away and you’re left with a great sense of accomplishment.

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