//Reinventing Stoke

“I guess I’m in a bit of a funk. I just need to get my trail-stoke back, you know?”

While dealing with a constant (and quite literal) pain in my side and juggling my life events last year, I often found myself halfheartedly reciting this line to myself and others.

Even as I declared my “funk” for all to hear, I was never sure it was the true expression of what was going on – I hardly even knew what I meant when I said it. I knew that I was uncomfortable, both physically and existentially, but I was certain that if I just put my nose to the grindstone and waded through all of the suck, I’d make it back to the days when every run was an adventure that my entire day was built around.

I didn’t feel burnt out or anything. I still got excited when I talked about the trail, when I spent time with other runners, and when I researched new gear. I still eagerly sought out new races to train for and hunted for new lines through the mountains to explore. The problem wasn’t being excited or feeling some sort of way about getting out the door. The problem was, instead, that I simply wasn’t getting out the door.

I was, in the currently accepted use of the word, stoked about trail running. Despite how excited I was, though, my flame was weak and dwindling.

Continue reading “//Reinventing Stoke”


//Canyons 50k Course Preview


Date: 2 May 2015

Location: Foresthill, CA

Start Time: 100k – 5AM, 50k – 6:30AM

Field: Limited to 250 Runners for both distances.

Trail Conditions: Almost 100% trail, primarily single-track.

Website: http://www.runcanyons.com

The still heat of the canyon was stifling – the only sound was my labored breathing and the scurry of small brown lizards as they scrambled up the shallow lip of the trail and away from my heavy tread. Rocks skittered from underfoot and my foot slid backwards as I shifted my weight forward and pushed on my knees with my hands. What were, only a few months past, the decrepit remains of the 2013 American Fire is now slowly healing; patches of wild grass emerges a vibrant green, young trees sprout in the shadow of the charred remains of their forefathers, and bright bunches of purple Lupinus nanus (Sky Lupine) rise from the sandy slopes of the gorge as I re-trace my steps from the newly re-constructed Swinging Bridge that spans the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River and serves as the turn-around point for the upcoming Canyons Endurance Runs 100k & 50k being held on May 2nd by Chaz Sheya and Tim Madden.

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//Product Review: Skratch Labs Cookie Mix


“Compared to prepackaged energy bars, a freshly prepared cookie from scratch has a similar nutritional profile, contains more moisture, has fewer and simpler ingredients, and tastes better”.

Product: SKRATCH Labs Cookie Mix

Type: Food

Serving Size: 22g

Calories: 120

Calories from Fat: 45

Carbohydrate: 17g


  • Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Enzyme)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Oats
  • Sea Salt
  • Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Baking Soda
  • Cinnamon

  Continue reading “//Product Review: Skratch Labs Cookie Mix”

//Race Report: Swallowed Whole at the Black Canyon 100K



Date: 14 February 2015

Location: Mayer High School, AZ

Start Time: 0700


Weather Conditions: Cool, breezy early in the day, warming to 87+F, dry.

Trail Conditions: Almost 100% trail, mixed fire road & single track. Dry and exposed. Generally non-technical, with jagged relief preventing a wholly smooth flow. Very well marked.

Finishing Time: DNF

Placement: DNF

//Race Kit:

Shoes: Nike Zoom Terra Kiger II

Shorts: The North Face Better Than Naked Short 5”

Singlet: Nike Dry-Fit Touch Tailwind Stripe

Jacket: The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket

Socks: Nike Elite Cushioned Crew

Headband: Mountain Hardwear Way 2 Cool Bandana

Hydration: 2x Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 20 Handhelds. Skratch Labs Hyper Hydration before the start, Skratch Labs Hydration Mix, Gatorade (on course), Water.

Nutrition: VESPA CV-25 before the start, VESPA ultra-concentrate, PowerGel (various flavors), GU Roctane (various flavors), Habanero Cherry Beef EPIC Bar.


“You alright?”

The voices of each runner seemed to echo in my skull as each of them passed me by. I was sitting down beneath a bunch of cactus and a small clump of rocks; the only shade I could find as the desert miles stretched out before and behind me. Nonetheless, I was sitting down – in the middle of a race.

Continue reading “//Race Report: Swallowed Whole at the Black Canyon 100K”

//Race Report: Tamalpa Headlands 50K

photo 2 

Date: 23 August, 2014

Location:Santos Meadows [Marin Headlands, Northern California]

Start Time: 0730


Weather Conditions: Low Level Clouds, Some Fog, Cool.

Trail Conditions: Almost 100% trail, mixed fire road & single track. Dry for most of the day, except in the vicinity of Redwood Forests. Some Technical climbing & descending later along the course.

Finishing Time: 5h10m38s

Placement: 28th Overall, 7th (20-29)

I had set several alarms to make sure I woke up, but really I didn’t need any of them; I woke promptly at 4 AM.

I laid some oatmeal and almond butter out the night before. The coffee maker was already brewing and the smell of Major Dickason permeated the thick air of the morning. Pre-race ritual dictates that I was already in race day clothing when I woke up, so I made my way straight to the kitchen.

The San Francisco fog had crept up the bay further than usual and the clouds hung low overhead. I could feel the moisture in the air, making the dark living room cool, and the robust, earthy flavor of heavy whipping cream in rich, dark coffee suited the mood well.

As I sat in the dark, sipping on my morning brew and chewing slowly on the strawberry banana oatmeal, I couldn’t stop myself projecting the race start, powering up hills (and cruising down the other side [gapping roots and stones]), crossing the finish line effortlessly, and the digits on my watch displaying my ambitious and entirely arbitrary goal of 4 hours and 30 minutes. My gut fluttered with adrenaline and anticipation.

Continue reading “//Race Report: Tamalpa Headlands 50K”

//The Suffering Abides: My Story.

So far, I’ve divulged my purpose in creating this site, and given you a glimpse into my latest endurance project. I even have an “About” Page. But you still really don’t know that much about me, do you? I’m still nothing more than a sparsely outfitted blog page of a young kid with pipe dreams to you. I’d like to fix that, if you have a moment to spare.


(Atop Lembert Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite CA. Cathedral Peak in the background)

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

My name is Charles Klinger, I’m a 22 year old, currently enlisted in the United States Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller, stationed at Travis AFB, CA.

I’m originally from the East Coast. I spent the vast majority of my childhood in a backwoods neighborhood in the small (albeit quickly expanding, now) town of Stafford, Virginia. It is here that my passion for movement and outdoor exploits was born, developed, and primed my body, mind, & soul for the lifestyle I lead today. Here’s how things unfolded for me:
Continue reading “//The Suffering Abides: My Story.”

//A Primer on The Trail Monologues


The Trail Monologues is the brainchild of countless hours and hundreds of miles logged out on the trail. Like most in the ultra community, for me this time is spent alone, in solace, in the comfort of ones own mind.

I once commented to one of my friends, “Running is a lot of time spent in pain, perforated by brief moments of absolute beauty”. I still hold this comment as truth, but I’d like to expound upon it: running is a lot of time spent in pain, in silence – introspective; perforated by brief moments of absolute beauty, clarity, & enlightenment. Some of my most profound thoughts and deepest understandings have occurred on the trail. Trail running allows me to live in the present state of things; to dwell on things of primal and innate significance.

It’s through trail running that I am able to compose the facets of myself that are otherwise scattered and chaotic.

I’ve been contemplating the startup of an online running lifestyle and culture journal for some time now, hoping that the ease of use and convenience of other outlets of social media would somehow make up for all the words I needed to type up and publish– that somehow my pictures, quotes, and short status updates would fill in all the negative space; all the minutia of my life. To be fair, I wasn’t all that far off target: whatever products I enjoyed using, whatever trails inspired me, whatever races forced my grit to show, whatever quotes spoke to me, I posted. But there was something bigger, something missing from all of that. Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another”. Up until now, I’ve been generalizing my life, cutting short the details of my adventures, selling myself short. I was forgetting the details of how I lived…

Enter “The Trail Monologues”… On a routine [and rather dusty] descent during my usual single-track, it struck me. The name made perfect sense – after all, the reflections and insights I achieved during my runs were nothing more than having a conversation with myself! I almost lost my balance and ate dirt out of sheer excitement! I could do shoe reviews, talk about good trail foods & recipes, and even dabble in trailside philosophy and musings!

That was several months ago now, and – after much self-doubt and uncertainty – along with the help, advice, and broad-spectrum support of my good friend Landon Faulkner and my loving wife Natasha, I’m finally putting the ink to paper [so to speak], and I’m eager to do more than simply review goods and ramble on about the ideas that perpetuate my life. As I cultivate and develop this journal – cataloguing my voyages and adventures – I intend not only to augment the depth of my experience & reflections of and for myself, but also to provide valuable insight, inspiration, motivation, & encouragement, all the while providing in depth reviews, and recommendations of gear, trails, races, nutrition, and training for all of the readers who happen to stumble upon it.

If you have any post suggestions, review requests, site improvement recommendations, general inquiries, or just want to leave a comment, please feel free to do so on my contact page!

I’ll be posting a trip report from my John Muir Trail Fastpack and FKT attempt in a day or two, so stay tuned!

Cheers & Happy trails!