December 2018-Chris & Porter Stores

Chris Stores

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc)

A: Born and raised in Chester, MT (Go Coyotes!), graduate of The University of Montana (Go Griz!), currently live in Belle Fourche (Go Broncs!) and am employed by Uncle Sam at the Forest Service office in Spearfish. Husband of one (Shannon), father of two (Caiden and Chloe). One-half of the dynamic race directing duo of the Black Hills 100, along with Ryan Phillips….people always get the two of us confused, but the easiest way to tell us apart is to remember that I’m the smart, good-looking one with much better taste in beer.

Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A: Started running in 2002 to get in shape for fighting wildfires. One mile at a time turned into two, which turned into three, which turned into four or five. Shannon told me I should run a marathon, but I swore for a few years that I would never ever under any circumstances ever even consider running a marathon, because that’s just stupid. So then I ran my first marathon in Seattle in 2005. And, because that wasn’t stupid enough, after we moved to South Dakota in 2006 I fell in with the trail/ultra crowd (they’re a rough bunch) and 26.2 became 50K, which became 50 miles, which became 100 miles. But that’s as far as I’m going. I swear.

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A: My faithful sidekick Porter is almost always at my side (or off ahead chasing bunnies, but relatively nearby) when I’m running, so I hardly ever run alone.  Group runs are good as motivation when you just don’t feel like getting your butt out the door, but you already told somebody you’d meet up with them and don’t want to flake out. Misery loves company, and company is always good for post-run beers, too.

Q:  Tell us a little trivia about your running?

A:  I don’t know if I have any good trivia, but I do have a crazy random running story. Back in 2013 we were in Missoula for a weekend to go to a football game. I got up at the buttcrack of dawn to go for an 18 mile trail run up Stuart Peak in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area just outside of Missoula. Oh, wait, here’s where the trivia comes in: the Rattlesnake is the closest wilderness area to a metropolitan area in the US….as the crow flies, the wilderness boundary is only 4 miles from Missoula (population 70,000, give or take). Remember that the next time you’re on Jeopardy.  Anyhow…I ran up the trail, made it up to the peak right after sunrise, took some pictures and started heading down. Now, I hadn’t seen a single soul all day because: A) it was early in the morning, and B) I was at least 8 miles up the trail in a wilderness area. So I’m running down the trail and glance up and see two other dudes running up the trail toward me. Wow, I think, there are actually other humans up here this early. We run past each other and just a few strides after passing the second guy, I hear him say “Chris Stores!?”, which of course stops me in my tracks because how does this random dude out in the literal middle of nowhere know my name. Turns out to be the guy who lived next door to me in the dorms during our freshman year of college. Neither of us were runners back then, no clue how he even recognized me after 17 years because I definitely didn’t recognize him at first, but obviously we both ended up going down similar paths (literally).

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?

A: Trails, without a doubt. I spend a lot of time on Lookout Mountain, the Tinton trail, and Crow Peak near Spearfish because they’re convenient and have a good variety of terrain. I have a love/hate relationship with the Crow Peak trail (and a love/love relationship with the Crow Peak brewery).

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A: For trails, 50K is a good, solid distance. Long enough that you have to actually prepare yourself and you get to spend a decent chunk of time out in the woods and see some sights, but it’s not so long that you’re going to be out there ALL day or into the night, and if things totally go to hell there’s a reasonable chance you can death march it in and still finish (like, say, when it’s 100 degrees in the Tongue River Canyon at the Bighorn 50K and you’re sitting in the shade, drinking ice water and contemplating the series of life choices that led you to this sad state of affairs).

As for a favorite race, obviously the Black Hills 100. The RDs are kinda shady, but the Centennial trail is pretty awesome. Seriously, favorite local race is probably the Trail Championships….the Flume trail is awesome, the race is really laid back and chill (even more so than your average trail race), usually awesome fall weather, and there’s always free beer at the finish.

Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

A: Porter, mostly. He knows what my early morning alarm means, and he most definitely never needs motivation to go running.

Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..

A: Brew beer and smoke meat.  I mean, I do that anyway, but running helps balance it out.

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

A: That feeling when you know you’re going to do something special. Like, the moment you know you’re going to finish a long race you weren’t sure you could finish, or when you know you’re going to achieve a time goal you weren’t sure you could get. Close second, that moment after an ultra when you get to sit down and you know you don’t have to get back up until you’re damn well ready.

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A: Qualifying for Boston at the Missoula Marathon in 2008. I had originally tried to qualify at the Colorado Marathon in Ft Collins a couple months before and had crashed and burned spectacularly (huge downhills aren’t always your friend). Went to Missoula not really planning on trying to qualify, was just going to run it as a training run.  Woke up race morning and the weather was perfect and I felt pretty good, so I decided to run the first mile at BQ pace to see how it felt. It felt good, so I decided to see how long I could hold onto it. Held onto it fairly easily for about 21 miles and then spent a couple of miles having an internal debate about whether or not the wheels were coming off or just wobbling a little.  Finally decided I could gut it out and did. Finished with a minute and twenty seconds to spare. Going back to the previous question, the moment that sticks out in my mind about that race isn’t the finish so much as the moment with about 0.2 miles left when I could see the finish and I looked at my watch and realized I was actually going to do it.

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A: Get up, drink some coffee to get things moving (if you know what I mean), try to choke down some food, and usually wonder why in the hell I thought this was a good idea when I signed up several months ago.

Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from running?

A: More often than not, achieving something has almost nothing to do with being able to do it. It comes down to wanting to do it.

Also, in theory drinking a beer in the middle of a race seems like it could possibly be a good idea, but in reality it’s probably best to wait until the finish.

Q: What are your running goals for the future?

A: Various aches/pains/injuries have led me to falling out of shape over the last couple years, so my goal now is to get back into the groove and get back at least somewhat to where I was before.

Race-wise, there are a couple of dog-friendly 50Ks around that I would like to run with Porter. I mean, he does all this training with me but then has to stay home on race day, which seems like a pretty raw deal for him.

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A: Don’t overthink things. Running is simple, don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Porter Stores

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc)

A: My name is Porter and I am a dog. I love to run. And to chase bunnies. And take naps.

Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A: I run with my human. He is slow, but I am speedy. Running is the bestest thing in the whole world!

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A: Running with packs is the best! Sometimes we run with packs of humans. My job is to keep track of everyone, because humans are slow, but I am speedy.

Q:  Tell us a little trivia about your running?

A:   I love to run. Running is the best!

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?

A: I like to run where there are bunnies. Chasing bunnies is the best!

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A: I love to run. Running is the best!

Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

A: I do not understand this question. Running is the best!

Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..

A: Nap.

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

A: Running. And chasing bunnies.

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A: This one time, I chased a bunny. Oh, and this other time, I chased a bunny. And then I chased another bunny. Chasing bunnies is the best!

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A: I am ready to run as soon as my human wakes up, but I usually have to nap for a bit while he gets ready. He is slow, but I am speedy.

Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from running?

A: Cows and horses are shady and not to be trusted.

Q: What are your running goals for the future?

A: Chase bunnies!!!

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A: Bunnies are fast. You probably won’t catch them, but it’s always worth a shot.