CONVERSATION WITH HIGH RISER: JAMES WALSHon
Throughout his life, James Walsh has stayed active and passionate about keeping the high energy going in his athletic career. Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Walsh was an avid baseball player and surfer, and moved to Virginia Beach, VA at the start of high school. A moment he is most proud of is, “making the decision to join the United States Coast Guard in 1999. It set me on the path I am currently on today.”
After 4 years with the Coast Guard, Walsh found his way back to Southern California and “spent 2003-2005 surfing my brains out, skating pools, and getting up in the mountains to snow board” as often as could. He’s competed in endurance sports including triathlons, bike racing (mountain bike, cyclocross, road), and most recently turned to ultrarunning—something Walsh has always wanted to do. In triathlon, he was an age group Xterra World champion in 2008, won numerous 70.3’s, finished 3rd amateur at the 2011 Ironman Texas, and raced the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2011. In the past year, Walsh raced a handful of 50k’s (winning 3), a couple 50 milers, and ran R2R2R (running across the Grand Canyon and back).
We asked Walsh what’s it like while running an ultra? “It’s fun! When things are going well it’s like I’m not thinking at all but when they are bad it’s all about problem solving and trying to figure out how to get back on track. The best part about trail racing is that even when it’s not your day you are still our running fun trails with good people.” He also said, “There are so many people out on the trails that inspire me, it’s one of the reasons I love the ultra trail running scene. It seems most people are out there and having fun. I doesn’t’ matter if they are going for the win or just trying to beat the cutoffs.”
In May 2013, Walsh experienced a life changing bike crash. He was hit by a car going 50mph and he broke his collar bone, 5 ribs, punctured a lung, and on top of that had a ton of road rash. Needless to say, the obstacle didn’t stop Walsh from rising. With the help of his running partner, Maggie, and his dog, Ruby, Walsh has been recovering well. “Maggie motivates me a lot. She’s tough, but also doesn’t take anything too seriously.”
Now a days, Walsh is back on the trails. Recently, he raced the Saddleback Mountain Goat Marathon and finished 2nd overall! “It’s the first race since returning to racing after my crash that I’ve started to feel good. So stoked.” The morning before a race Walsh usually starts his day with gluten-free toast and nut butter, but this time he changed it up a bit and kick started race day with the Sunflower Cinnamon Protein+ Bar. “It worked awesome! I didn’t’ feel full and had a great energy to start the day.”
A guilty pleasure/favorite post-race meal of Walsh’s consists of an IPA, a burger and fries, or pizza. You can find his race schedule on his blog: http://jameswalshracing.com/ (taglined- blood, sweat, & beers).
James can be reached at email@example.com.