As many of you know, I had a near-death experience on Monday—just before heading out the door to Spain. But that was just the start of the drama…

So the plan was to head out to Calpe (Spain) with my daughters and my parents for the month of July—we thought  it best I zip over with them in case there were any emergencies. A month in the sun, sitting by the pool, working away, and getting my running back on track sounded great.

The day before we were due to head off, my old fella took sick. Hakuna matata—sure, he’ll be fine in a few days.

Then thirty minutes before the taxi came to collect us (and our one thousand suitcases) I decided to check the weight of the cases with a hand-held weighing gizmo. First suitcase, attached the gizmo, lifted the case up, smackalacka: it snapped, shot up, and nearly took the head off me (a lesser man would’ve lost their head or worse, died). A fountain of blood exploded and gushed from a deep gash on my forehead. I remembered that scene from Rambo: I crawled about for a needle and thread. No joy. I found a knitting needle and some wool. Cucumber-cool, using the knitting needle and the wool, I stitched the wound. For comedic value (honest, I wasn’t being a baby), I banged on a big plaster—because I couldn’t find a Disney princess plaster, I had a mini-tantrum. Just as I finished everything, the taxi arrived—off to Spain on a jet plane; fortuitously, it didn’t crash.

Arrive at the old villa/hacienda—perfecto. But the head’s banging like a hangover after a full weekender up the snooker. And the old fella’s still sick and getting worse—he’s bent double with a debilitating case of the Leons.

So, we fire over to a private medical clinic. (My parents are law abiding/stupid—they wouldn’t use the medical insurance as my auld fella took ill the day before we headed off.) Nearly 500 smackers later, no medicine, no diagnosis, being told to come back with samples of stuff you don’t want to know about, and another appointment—time for Stazzadoc: problem solved.

Now, everything is fine and dan-day. The old fella’s on the mend/might die, I’ve removed the woollen stitches and I’ll have tidy little scar that I’ll make up stories about for many years to come, and everybody’s enjoying the holiday. Then, the 4th July race results from the people (Stablemates) I coach added to my joy… 


Stateside: the 4th July races presented a great opportunity for Stazza’s Stable Stablemates to get out and have a little burn-up. We had many victories, podiums, and PRs. The big races were centred around America’s Freedom Festival, mainly the 5k and the 10k. 

We had five of my elite squad (those gunning for the marathon Olympic Trials) racing.

In the 5k, we had 4’ miler, Dustin Bybee. Dustin’s on his way back from a knee injury and recently started stringing together some consistent training. The knee’s fine now. He dropped out a 15’46” and took second place. Within a few weeks, he’ll be down around 15’ shape and then we can start extending out. Great result though.

The 10k proved the main event. In the women, we had two elite Stablemates: Savannah Berry and Tawny Bybee. Savannah took first place in 35:45 (5’46” pace)—a great time(at altitude), especially given she’s been banging out 90-mile weeks with behemoth sessions (there’s another one for you, Luke: it’s ok to steal it). Savannah’s run was around 1’30” faster than last year. Tawny finished second in 37’14” (6’ pace)—a great leg stretcher after running Grandma’s marathon 12 days ago.

We had three men in the 10k: Jaydn Asay, Rush Mills, and Randall Adams. Jaydn took the win in 31’40” (1’20” or so faster than his run last year); Rush took third in 32’30” (a PR); Randall finished in 35’29” (nearly 2’ faster than last year).

In the heat and humidity of South Carolina, we had Irish Olympic hopeful, Joy miller, winning her local 4th July 4 miler. On an undulating course, she grabbed first place in 23’13”. 

Elsewhere, we had Ben van Beekem taking the win at the Cheery Days 5k and not too far behind him, young Hyrum Johnson. Then Stablemates, Josh Robles and Ken Clifford, took 2nd place in their AG at their respective local 5k races.

A great day of racing, wins, podiums, and PRs for Stazza’s Stable Stablemates. In keeping with the theme of this site, you can follow some of my elite Stablemates here…

Going for the Olympic marathon and World Champs half marathon:


Aoife Cooke (10 miles  55:17) –

Joy Miller (10k 34:20) –


Jen Hughes (Hm 1:17, marathon 2:48)-

Already qualified for US Olympic Trials marathon

Bryant Jensen (2:15 marathon—altitude)

Going for US Olympic Trials (marathon)


Savannah Berry (10k 34:42):

Tawny Bybee (3000m s/c 9:47):

Jen Hughes (HM 1:17, marathon 2:48)-

Joy Miller (10k 34:20) –

Amy Cook: (HM 1:24) :

Amber Dunford: (HM 1:23) :

Alison Bartholomew (HM: 1:18) :


Riley Cook (3’42” 1500m, 2hr 16’ marathon—altitude):

Jaydn Asay (2:22 marathon—altitude):

Rush Mills(10k 32:20—altitude):

Ken Richardson (3000m s/c 8’42”) :

And talking about elites, I guess you all want to know how my running and nutrition is going…

Stazza—the legend in this own lunchtime

Well, the nutrition is great, I’ve got stuck into Stazza Ultra Fodder and it’s going great. I’ve lost 7lbs over the past 10 days—that’s mostly water: I’ve cut right back on the carbs and my body is dumping water. I’m feeling good too. (Blogging about my nutrition makes me feel like a real ultra runner—it’s such a buzz.)

The knee seems to be ok, it’s holding up when I walk about and run.

I waited until getting out to Spain to start running again. I’ve dropped out two short runs of about 4 miles (at 8’30” pace). The next four weeks in Spain is just about getting back into the habit of training regularly. I’ll build slowly from 4 miles each day up to 6 miles each day. This will work well with the Stazza Ultra Fodder nutrition plan: it’s important that I don’t overdo things in the early weeks—my body is adapting to the big nutritional changes and it’s important not to add too much extra stress (don’t worry, I’ll chill next to the pool).

So, all’s great with Stazza. Gotta shoot now and work on the tan. Laters…