WTF is an FKT? For the answer and a quick hit of armchair adventure, track down this new film: "Running the Edge." It follows inspiring athlete Scott Jaime's mission to see just how fast he can cover The Colorado Trail—in its entirety. That's 486 miles from Denver to Durango—and 89,000 feet of elevation gain through six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges.
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The up-close-and-personal documentary not only depicts the mindset of a man on a mission, but celebrates the incredible beauty of The Colorado Trail, which marks its 40th anniversary this year. Filled with some funky riffs, some stunning scenery, and some serious soul-searching, "Running the Edge" tells the story of one runner chasing down the elusive "fastest known time." He's among a select number of athletes who sign up to power hike and jog for more than a week straight. The sleep is minuscule, but the message is mighty.
The real beauty in Jaime's story is that he's an everyday guy. He's got a job. A family. A house in the suburbs. He doesn't run for money; he runs for—well, you have to watch the film. In the meantime, we caught up with Jaime to learn a little more about just how he does it.
Given that you have a full-time job and a family, how do you really fit training in?
In a nutshell, my days are longer. My schedule is packed, so if I don't know when I'm running the day before, then it won't happen. Most of the time my runs are done before the sun and family are up. And yes, it's really tough to peel my back away from my bed, but I know what it feels like if I don't run—as does my wife, who encourages me to get out of bed. In my 30-plus years of running, I've never come back from a run and said, "Man, I wish I didn't do that." I actually feel I can take on the world after a run, which makes my days much more productive. Those morning runs make me a better father, husband, friend, and coworker.
Give us a sense of a typical training week.
I'll run five days, putting in about 10 hours and 75 miles on local trails. During the week, if I'm not traveling, I run from the front door in Highlands Ranch, where we have a great network of trails. On the weekend, I'll head towards the foothills or Colorado Springs to get a longer run in, which sometimes requires setting the alarm clock for 3 a.m. just to get home in time for family-planned events.
Over the years, what training tricks have you learned to squeeze in maximum effort in minimum time?
Variety and quality over quantity. I've tried all sorts of different approaches to training to maximize the time, such as cross-training with core work in my living room, track work, and running on the treadmill. What I realize as I get older is that cross-training and speed work allow me to be a stronger runner, and that I don't need to spend as much time just running to be in top running form. If I do more quality runs during the week, then I become more efficient at a slower pace for longer periods of time. I used to think I had to do massive miles in order to be competitive at 100-mile races. I'm still highly competitive with less running and more variety and quality.
What's the most important lesson you hope your running endeavors will teach your children?
Work ethic and commitment. My older son, Jaxon, has finished every 100-mile race with me. He has [gotten] to experience the elation and raw emotion as I cross the finish line. When he was 11, he decided he wanted to try a 25k trail race. What he didn't realize is that in order to receive all the elation and sense of accomplishment, he needed to put in a bunch of hard work. Each week I set out a plan for him to achieve—most of which was met with disgust, but I made him commit to each and every day. He finished in four hours with his grandfather, and people came up to him afterwards and told him how inspired they were [by] his accomplishment. I didn't need to explain what he had just experienced.
My younger son, Myles, has followed suit by doing his first 2-mile trail race at the age of 6. I never push them to do these events. They are the ones pushing me to let them sign up. Both of these traits are directly transferable to life and will help them become successful adults.
What was the toughest moment on the CT?
On day five, 265 miles into the journey, I stopped short of my objective for the day. I was scheduled to go 63 miles but only went 45 miles because I was exhausted and partially non-coherent. My crew was concerned for my safety because it was dark and there were no access points for the final 18 miles. I remember walking towards the RV and uttering the words "I'm done."
As I sat in the RV eating and resting, I became very agitated because I gave up on myself, thinking, "I have gone this far with many people taking time out of their lives to support me and I am letting them down." I became emotional after a few hours and realized I couldn't live with myself if I gave up. I thought everything I had ever taught my boys was in contradiction [to] what I was doing in that moment. It was that thought that motivated me to grit my teeth and clench my fists and say, "I'm gonna do this! I am going to give this trail everything I have, and if it's not enough, then I'll be satisfied that I've done my best." What I learned from this is that it's very important to stay in the moment and not think [about] what's ahead of you. Not only for an adventure like this, but in anything in life. Focus on the moment and do the best you can with the given circumstances.
A few select showings of "Running the Edge" are left this summer, and DVD release/digital download is expected in July.
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