An Atypical Athletic Year

runner climbing mountain

UnTapped endurance runner Trevor Fuchs had an incredible line up of races scheduled for 2020. He kicked off the season with a win in January in Hawaii, but then like many other athletes had to evolve his training and outlook.

In January you started off 2020 with a trip to Hawaii for the Hurt 100, where you won the race! We know that you had been dealing with an injury just weeks prior to the event, how did your recovery go after the race?

I probably made the mistake of convincing myself that the injury wasn’t serious enough to rest immediately and not participate in the race. After a couple weeks of post-race rest, I went out for a quick jog and knew right away that I should get an MRI. It turned out that it was a tibial stress fracture, and because I had trained through and then raced on it, I paid the price of a longer recovery period. I began cycling indoors pretty quickly and that helped to maintain fitness and sanity.

I used the opportunity to catch up on year’s worth of award-winning television shows that I just never had time for before. I was able to avoid a lot of negative feelings about the injury by convincing myself that I was getting a needed break, especially from slogging along in the cold winter weather. Still, it was late spring before I felt comfortable enough to begin building up my mileage again and I was dealing with nerve pain even up until September. I think the emotional recovery can be even more taxing with stress fractures. I don’t know if I’ve had a run since the initial break that I haven’t worried about reinjury. It’s a long process and I’m finally starting to regain the confidence to push myself towards peak fitness again.

As we are all aware the pandemic largely shut down racing in the early spring months. You had an epic summer planned with the Hardrock 100 in Colorado and the UTMB in Europe on the schedule. Once things started to unfold what was your approach to training and daily life?

I have just tried to keep things in perspective. Having races postponed or cancelled is really insignificant compared to the ways many others were being affected. I really just focused on enjoying running with no goals and trying to spend more time with my family. It may have even saved me from rushing back from injury and getting hurt again. My day job is in the signs and graphics industry and we were actually busier than ever, so I was also able to shift a little more focus to work to help get us through the madness.

Has the pandemic encouraged you to reconsider any of your routine such as your training, nutrition and/or sleep?

I have definitely been more aware of things that may compromise my immune system. I have avoided pushing my training stress to the brink and have made a more concerted effort to be in bed on time. I have added a few vitamins and minerals to my daily regimen, and am trying to keep a balanced diet. Like many others, I’ve probably been doing more stress eating and drinking than I ever had before, but I’ve been able to acknowledge it and am avoiding it the best I can. I am grateful that I’ve always had a pretty strong routine to optimize my health, but I’m keenly aware of the impacts of added stress and anxiety, so I’m trying to adjust accordingly.

Have you been baking up or cooking up anything with UnTapped products recently? A recipe to share?

I have mostly just been scarfing a ton of waffles and pancakes and of course putting pure maple syrup on these things, but I am really craving some maple pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I will be messing around with that in the kitchen in the next few days and will pass on a recipe when I dial it in. Stay tuned!

(For more from Trevor’s kitchen, check out this delectable recipe.)

With less races, large group runs and travel has your perspective towards your sport and community changed? What if anything, have you learned your ‘why’ you run?

I attempted to run a couple races during the summer, but it became pretty clear that I didn’t really have a competitive drive with everything going on in the world. I really just wanted to be there to be a part of the community and to encourage and help others. While there were certainly physical and environmental aspects that came into consideration, I ultimately dropped out of the races and focused on other people instead. I think that this year has helped me re-engage with my desire to be less self-involved and to use more of my time and resources to help others achieve their goals. More than racing, I have missed volunteering, crewing, and pacing. I have no doubt that the fire will return when the world returns to normalcy.

You and a friend have now taken on the personal challenge of running as much vertical in the month of October to help raise funds for the Salt Lake County Search & Rescue. How is that going and how did you become interested in this cause?

I am endlessly fascinated and inspired by people who dedicate their time and risk their personal safety to help strangers with no financial incentives or compensation. It is the type of person that I am most often not, but always want to be. Back in July, my uncle was killed by a 100 ft fall while scrambling up a mesa in Colorado National Monument. Mesa County Search and Rescue was absolutely amazing in their search efforts and eventual location of his body. I think like most people, I assumed it was a paid division of the Sheriff’s office, but then realized it was fully staffed with volunteers and relied on funding from public donations for equipment and training. I organized a fundraiser for my family to contribute towards the Mesa County outfit, but it motivated me to do more for the organizations closer to my community.

running on mountain ridge
Photo Credit: Eric Young

During this pandemic, trail use and mountain recreation has easily doubled in my area and with that comes increased need for search and rescue efforts. As a mountain athlete, I feel a strong responsibility to give back to the organizations tasked with keeping us safe while we do what we love. This seemed like a fun way to raise money and awareness within the trail running community.

As far as the challenge goes, I think we both underestimated how time consuming it would be. Neither of us planned to get sick either, but we both got hammered with a particularly nasty cold about a week in. Running uphill isn’t super fun when your lungs are coated with mucus and your nose is so congested that it whistles. Thankfully we have the fundraiser to keep us motivated to stay out there grinding and trying to accumulate as much vertical gain as our bodies will allow. I look forward to running the flattest stretch of earth I can find on November 1st.