Below is our interview with the extremely motivational Bam Garcia of @bamup_runner. He is a true inspiration to any runner and motivates others through his daily commitment to all aspects of his running. He has an unbelievable story from overcoming addiction, to qualifying for Boston, to now running 100-mile ultra races several times a year. To learn more about Bam Garcia, check out his interview below and be sure to check out his cactus inspired hat at the following link: "The Cactus: Dream Big" Hat
Instagram Name: @bamup_runner
Day job: UPS Driver
What does a typical training week look like for you? Any tips on balancing work/life with training
It depends on the distance but I have found out that 50-55 miles a week is my sweet spot where I see the most results. If I'm training for a half or marathon I just add speed twice a week with track or tempos, then keep my easy runs easy.
With ultras I keep mileage around 55 miles a week and just do longer runs on the weekend as well as rest more during the week. I work a lot, 55-hour weeks and feel when I over train I'm too tired to spend time with the family, I have been working hard to find a perfect balance and I'm slowly learning that more training is not always better for me.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to join the Ultra-Running life?
I have an addictive personality, I have dealt with alcoholism for 15 years, I went from not knowing how far a half marathon was to subbing a 3-hour marathon in one year, so the minute I heard about ultra-running I knew I was going to do them.
You have a very positive outlook on life, where do you get this from?
We're made of energy and it’s up to us to to choose what type, positive or negative. So, I surround myself with a lot of positive people that truly want me to be happy and succeed (and vice versa). It’s how we create a positive community.
How long was it from when you first started running until you ran your first ultra? First 100 miler?
After reaching my goal to BQ I knew I was going to jump into ultras, so I ran Cowtown 50k on my second year of running 6 months later won the Habanero 100k then just fell in love with ultras. I did Piney wood 50k, Cactus 50, Bandera 100k and the third year I did my first 100 which was Rocky 100. I am just now realizing I have only been running 4 years and 4 months.
As an avid followers of you on Instagram - we see you doing tons of strength work. How do you decide which workouts to perform? Do you work with a coach?
I love strength work, I believe in ultras you need a strong mind, heart and legs, with races you train the mind, with running you train the heart and cross training you train the legs. I need all three to have a successful training cycle. The only time I have ever DNF'ed was when I stopped going to the gym and just ran, it’s about having a balance.
The text on the back of your Cactus inspired hat reads: "Dream Big". Can you explain what this saying means to you and how it relates to running?
Dream Big is about having a vision where you want to go and never quit until you get there, not allowing fear or anyone get in the way of it. Just go for it!
Do you find a balance to your day with running?
Running starts my day and keeps my stressful life balanced, it’s the medicine that I need to do so.
Tell us something that people don’t know about you or would be surprised to hear?
I'm a very shy person, unless we are talking about running. If I find out you're an ultra-runner we can talk for hours. Running brings out the best version of myself and its why I love it.
We know you just finished the Rocky Raccoon 100-Miler. What's next for you in 2019?
I’m going to go back to Habanero 100, it’s my only DNF and I need redemption, I learned so much from that race and I’m ready to attack it with a different angle, super excited to see what happens. Also, would love to go do Javelina Hundred, for some reason it is calling my name. I'm also going to sign up for WS100. I have two tickets now, I know it takes a couple of tries so I just have to stay patient.
What is your absolute dream race?
My dream race would be UTMB. There’s something about those views and exploring three different country’s during one race on foot would be amazing.
Mar 7, 2019