Atayne Tackles the Mojave Desert – Installment #3

And finally the conclusion of Mike’s adventure through the desert. I know many of you are wondering if he survives. Well, I hope so because he is going to be supporting my ass for the next year.

Continuing from where we left off last time, from the mouth of Mike…

Mike on the Run

Mike on the Run

And the Running with the Devil Half Marathon begins. The first 3.1 miles were enjoyable – believe it or not. I approached the first aid station feeling confident. I refilled my water bottle, grabbed a salty snack, and I was off. Over the next mile or so, my confidence began to wane. The next aid station was 2.7 miles away and I hoped my water would last that long. I made it to the station, refilled my bottle, grabbed a salty snack, soaked my bandanna and hat in water, and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was then off once again, until I realized I had left my sunglasses at the aid station. Nothing could have been more frustrating than having to backtrack, especially on that course and in those conditions.

As I reached the turnaround point, I was really beginning to hurt. I pushed ahead for about another mile where I hit the aid station at mile 7.3. As I pulled out of that station, I faced a rather large uphill slog over the next few miles. I endured through the hill by mixing running with some fast walking/hiking. I finally got to the last aid station fully aware and confident that I would finish – even if I had to walk it out. I grabbed a banana, maybe another PB&J (I’m a little foggy here), refilled my bottle, and dunked my hat and bandanna in ice water. Only 3.1miles to go!

The final 3.1 were uneventful but incredibly tough. At mile 12, I got an unusual chill that told me to ‘take it easy’. I picked small goals like street signs and small bushes to reach. The soles of my feet were burning and sunblock was starting to irritate my eyes. The dry heat was doing a number on my lungs. I never thought I would have to pray for 110-degree winds – but then again I never thought I’d be in this situation. Never limit where running can take you goes through my mind again…

And He Survives

And He Survives

I finally crested the last remaining hill and made a feeble attempt at a ‘run’ for the finish. A group of gracious volunteers and faster runners greeted me with applause as I crossed the finish line. Oh, and a car nearly hit me as I approached the finish, but thanks to a loud yell from the race director, it missed me! DNF (did not finish) due to hit by car at mile 13.05 would not be cool…

This long story brings us to this, the post race “laboratory” results:

  • Wicking Ability – EXCELLENT
  • UV Protection – EXCELLENT (I’m Irish and I escaped unscathed from the blistering sun and 110+ degree heat)
  • Breathability – EXCELLENT
  • Odor Resistance – EXCELLENT (Especially considering 13.1 miles in the desert)

In closing (after this rather lengthy story), I would like to leave a few thoughts about this adventure. While I was running, I thought about everything that was against me that day – heat and hills I’m not used to, the course, limited crowd support, poor training leading into the race, and thoughts of my friends sitting poolside at the Hard Rock. Then I thought about what I had going for me – passion, attitude, heart, and wonderful support from family and friends.

This brings me to Atayne and the analogous nature of the two. Atayne will not fail even considering that we are up against monster corporations with a stronghold on the industry, tons of money, huge sponsorship and marketing budgets, mass distribution, and unlimited R&D budgets. Atayne will SUCCEED because Jeremy and I have the passion, heart, attitude, and emotional support necessary to make it a success. Jeremy is constantly saying, “If we do the right things, in the right way, people will support our company.” In my mind, that’s tough to argue. Running has taken me to the Mojave Desert and it will now take me to my dream of building a socially responsible business with my best friend that makes our families, friends, and extended running family proud. Bart’s nugget of advice rings loud and clear.

12 responses to “Atayne Tackles the Mojave Desert – Installment #3

  1. Awesome. I love it. Now I want to run somewhere ridiculous!

  2. Wow, great story. Can’t believe a car almost hit you! Looking forward to seeing Atayne’s success.

  3. Mike – great story and congrats on gaining that kind of limit-stretching experience. Thanks for sharing.

    Mike and Jeremy – can’t wait to see Atayne take off. Part of the reason companies like Patagonia, Whole Foods, and Stonyfield Yogurt catch and stick with people is that they/we feel good buying it, based in part on knowing that our spent money is supporting a company who wants to do something beyond simply fatten their bank accounts. Yvon Chouinard’s book “Let My People Go Surfing,” taking people inside Patagonia no doubt created many new converts by spelling out their vision of sustainability (which they don’t quite embody throughout the business yet)

    What you all are doing is even more deep-rooted. And I like to think that runners, generally, are a somewhat enlightened bunch :), who would rather know they are supporting a sustainable corporate ethic, given a choice.

    You all are helping give us a choice, to do the right thing, and still wear clothes that function better than others and look sweet.

    Simply, thanks! Look forward to seeing where you all go, and to wearing Atayne.

  4. Mike, Thank you for your continued support. You have been a friend of Atayne from the very beginning. It is people like you with your values and endless support that allow companies to do great things.

  5. Hey Mike – great comments and continued show of support. Thank you. I can’t wait for my next adventure in Atayne gear, and maybe you’ll join me! Thanks also to our Chicago brethren, Paige, Brad, & Rebecca – Atayne is looking forward to trashing the three of you real soon!

  6. I’ve got “Atayne on the Membrane” – just thought I’d share that. Maybe I’ll write a rap song about it…

  7. Great job Michael! And my congratulations to Atayne! I just know you are going to succeed Big! Can’t wait to hear about your next test run; now I wonder where that will be…………

  8. Wow, didn’t hear the part about the car when I first heard this story! I don’t think I would have had the energy to move out of its way after a race like that. Maybe you guys can make an Atayne chilli pepper shirt that you can run in when you do this race next year. 😉

    Looking forward to getting my own shirt after everyone’s fabulous reviews! Seems like the shirt is pretty awesome on trail runs and in the desert – I’ll have to test it on true city competition during the Urbanathlon this fall!

  9. GREAT story with a terrific ending… or is it the beginning? Congrats on completing a grueling race, Mike!

  10. Thanks Maria! Thanks Chrissy!

    “Anything for Atayne!”

  11. Harry Nipolito

    Sounds like a GREAT product. PEACE!

  12. Great job in Portland and thanks to the “trash runners springing for the environment and ATAYNE”- This is so exciting….can t wait to see Atayne EVERYWHERE.. great mohave desert run review also-happy the atayne shirt performed so well -not surprised AT ALL though – that kid in the chili pepper shorts and atayne shirt should be sure to keep on moving for Atayne!! See you in VA.

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