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daniel underbrink

Finding My Flow

Finding My Flow

2 miles in I am still feeling a tightness to the point of pain in my tibialis anterior muscle that I can't seem to shake. My hamstring is burning and every step is telling me to slow down, stop, but I can't. I have 8-10 more miles to go and my team is counting on me. The pain I know will subside, but when?

4 miles in I am now focused on my breathing, I have been so focused on my legs I am letting my heart rate increase to the wrong zone. I am deliberate now. With the pain decreasing each step forward I am focusing in. I take one breath per 6 steps, then one breath out per 3 steps. This slows my heart.

I become zoned in, six steps then three, six steps then three, it becomes my rhythm. My pace. My surroundings are a blur. It is this state that I try to maintain. When I do, I forget the pain, I forget the boredom, and the stress.

It is this that I strive for each run, climb, or hike. It feels great when I do, but many things derail me. A dragging toe on a root, a passer by, or a simple thought of an email I forgot to send. These small thing make huge impacts on my mental state. I notice when I am bored I shorten my run. When I am not warming up I slow my pace. When I am thinking of work or life, I burn myself out. When I zone in and focus, I go that extra mile.

I am still learning, getting faster, and improving with each stride. My goal of completing an ultra is becoming a reality, yet seems that I have along way to go. Will I be successful? I don't know but I do know I will continue to push my self, learn, and give it my all each and every day.

Daniel Underbrink

A Step back and Much Needed Help

A Step back and Much Needed Help

December will be here before I know it and after trying on my own I know I don't  know as much as I think I do. A 100 miles is no gimme in the running world and way fitter, much faster, and far better people than I have failed at it and for me to think I can do this is alone has been humbling. In the recent weeks, I have been struggling to keep on track. My eating habits have taken a back seat, workouts have been fewer than before, and my longest run is only 11 miles.  I knew this would be tough times for my pursuit as we just welcomed a new healthy baby boy to our family.  Because of all this I enlisted some hired health, in the form of a coach. He is not the standard run of the mill nutritionist/trainer but someone that works with me daily, educates, guides me, and calls me out when i am doing something that is counter productive.  I am just a short week in to the program and already can see an improvement in my self. I think more than anything I see the little things that make big impacts. I am way more focused on my food, though he would tell you different, and most importantly I see everything I am not doing. This week has really been eye opening for me. 

- Daniel Underbrink


Her Only Request

Her Only Request

With a grin stretched ear to ear something caught my eye deep in the Colorado backcountry as I settled into my new surrounding, set my tarp, and begin prepping for the evening hunt, but my mind was home reliving that fateful day so many years back. It was the only thing she requested as we rolled down the dirt roads deep into the South Texas brush country. Though she didn't need much, the request was fair, and I was certain I could provide. It was a simple request, an expected request. Nothing out of the ordinary, but she made certain I knew her needs. See, this wasn’t because of past experience, it was because we just began dating. It was just weeks into our relationship, and i decided to bring her out to meet my world, not the world we courted in, my world, one so different from hers. We pulled up to a shack that just weeks prior was filled shin high with scat, trash, and years of soil blowing through the busted up windows. Yet, it was different now, a luxury condo in terms of it's beginning but nothing that resembled anything from her's. Yet to me it was good. New plywood walls, freshly swept floors, and a touch of light powered by the generator hidden just beyond the crooked old fence. It had a wood burning stove, a table, the things we didn't have here at our mountain camp. But it wasn't those things that she requested, it was a private request and yet I didn't quite get it right as she sat on her request in unbearable relief so many years ago.


I may be divorced after posting this story


a pic has surfaced since the original post of the shack


My Favorite DIY Backcountry Food

My Favorite DIY Backcountry Food

Just writing this makes me as overwhelmed as I feel when I begin meal prep for a backcountry adventure. Shoot, I don't even know what I want for lunch, much less what I'll be hungry for 60 miles from the nearest road two months from now. What will it be that gets me through, do I really need 4000 calories a day? Will I really be that hungry? Will I even take the time to cook that freeze dried chicken wrap when I still need to make 20 river miles by dark?  I can't even look at dried sausage anymore without thinking of the 14 links I ate 2 years ago for 7 days straight. Or even stomach a cliff bar after I thought pumpkin spice was the greatest flavor ever, just the smell alone now will have me hugging the toilet.  I now know that it is a mistake to bring identical meals for trips over 3 days. I know that food can be just as important to your mood as a stove is to cook it. I don't have the magic recipe but I do have a few that keeps my mood up and the belly full and is a hit around the camp at the end of a hard day.  So with all that said, here are a few of my all time favs.

Kayak Camper Fish Nuggets

2 Cup         Cornmeal and Cornmeal flour mixed 50/50

2 Tbls        Tony’s Cajun Seasoning 

1 -2 Tsp         Cayenne Pepper (less if you are running short on water)

Mix the above Ingredients and vacuum seal flat for packability. 

8 oz         Penut oil in plastic container (the used oil can aid in fire starting)

1 dz            Mustard Packets 

1 dz            Hot Sauce Packets  

1 dz            Ketchup Packets 

Pack above ingredients and packets in a Large 1 gallon zip lock bag. Place an extra Gallon Zip Lock inside or double bag it.

Riverside Meal Preparation

Catch a few fish 1-2 per person on the river a few hours before you are hungry, on a day that you are not pressed for time, or need to meet milage goals. Filet Fish on a river rock and cut into small bite size chunks and place in the extra zip lock bag that is holding all the sauce packets. Store fish nuggets inside the hull of your kayak out of direct heat and sun (should keep for a few hours.) Once at camp and everyones tummy's are growling. Set up your camp stove and pour oil into pan and begin heating oil. (be sure the surface is flat and that the stove will not tip and pour scalding hot oil on your friends or self.) Open fish nugget Zip Lock and Squeeze all the mustard and hot sauce packets onto the nuggets. Slosh around until evenly coated. In second zip lock pour in seasoned cornmeal mix. Add a few nuggets to the cornmeal mix and shake until nuggets are fully coated. Once coated cook 4-6 nuggets at a time in oil and repeat steps until all the fish is cooked. Ketchup is use for garnish. Remember pack out what you brought and that is including the used oil.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1/4 Cup         Freeze Dried noodle Pasta broken in 3rds 

2 Tbls        Freeze Dried Diced Carrots

2 Tbls        Freeze Dried Diced Celery 

2 Tbls        Peas

1 tsp        Dried thyme 

1             Bay leaf

2-3 Tbls        Granulated Chicken Bouillon             

pinch        Black Pepper

pinch        Salt

Mix the above Ingredients and vacuum seal for packability. 

Camp Side Preparation

I Use my jet boil on this one. Bring water to a rolling Boil. Add Pre packed Ingredients to a Boiling water be careful not to over flow. Turn off heat and seal using Jet boil lid and leave set 10-20 min. Smaller Jet boils may not have enough room so utilization of bigger pot and stove may be required. Freeze Dried Ingredients can be found at online retailers like  You can substitute The freeze dried pasta with dried Angle hair pasta, the celery with a tsp of Celery Salt and Leave out the salt carrots and peas and still have a really great soup. 

Bacon Cheese Grits

2 packets         instant grits 

1/2 Bag             Real Bacon bits or Bacon Jerky

1                        Wax covered Sharp Cheddar Cheese  (this will keep a few days in cool pack)

Sunrise prep

Boil enough water according to packaged grits instructions. In your serving boil,  place grits into bowl. Cut up cheese in to small chances and place on top of grits. Once water is boiling Pour over cheer into bowl and let stand until gritty are tender stirring a few times to help melt cheese. Once gritty are fully cooked ad bacon and serve.

Elk Camp Coffee

3 tbls         Instant Coffee Granules  

1                 Hot Chocolate Mix

2 cups        Hot Water

Mix all in large coffee mug and enjoy

The above are a few of my go to recipes that i pre make at home for a fraction of the cost as the big box store type. I hope you enjoy and i will try and post up a few more in the coming weeks. 


Daniel Underbrink

Strange but Natural

Strange but Natural

This pursuit as I like to call it, the dream of an ultra. Has taken me to a different place than I have ever been. Running is such a strange thing for being something so natural. I am finding that the first five miles is much harder than the next five. Why? I am not sure, but to me it is. I have been putting in 35 miles a week the last four weeks and the time on my feet feels great. Soreness is fading with each step and my core is feeling stronger than ever. I never understood the runners high people talk about, but I am starting to feel it more and more. Every mile I decide to go further seems to be in my reach and it thrilling to know I just may be able to accomplish this pursuit. So with the weekend at the door step I think its time for a new challenge, so I am going for a long run.

- Daniel Underbrink

The long run

The long run

A sponsored link popped up in my Facebook feed with a video of a bunch of crazy people running across the desert over a span of 7 days gaining more elevation than Mt Everest, spanning a distance of 273 Km across every landscape imaginable. At first thought, this had to be the most terrible idea in the world, yet as I continued to watch it was everything I dreamed of, I wanted this. I quickly shared the link to broadcast to the world I would take on this challenge but I put a disclaimer in there. I said, 2018, with a big question mark behind it. Seemed like a good goal, far enough out I could learn to run or even chicken out where no one would remember the crazy idea I once had. Yet, as I watched the video over and over again I decided that I should pursue this now, today. 

Fast forward nine months and I am off to a good start and I on my way to my first Ultra Marathon. The first one being just eight months away, i took to the trail with a distance of 20 miles in mind. I grabbed a quick bite, laced up the shoes, and headed for a pretty cool spot near my home that had 6 mile trail loop. I set up at the trail head and took off down the trail.

Mile one, I started to doubt myself, my shins tightened, heart began to elevate, everything felt foreign. My steps felt rough, and my energy low. I stopped at an outlook and thought why am I doing this. I should be fishing, paddling, something other than this, but with determination out weighing my thoughts, I slowly headed my way to the next mile.

Mile by mile I begin to loosen up, into a zone I began to move. With each passing mile, my will became a rhythm. On loop three, well that's where my determination kicked in. I began to see a goal turn in to reality. I passed some kayakers, a gator, and a few sightseers. I passed a lot of things but fatigue I could not. I stopped at mile 15 and took a snap shot of my GPS and headed to my cache of supplies just 2 miles in the distance. Pain begin to set in and fatigue was real as I approached mile 17.

Though I didn't reach my target distance I did reach a milestone, I just ran longer and further than anytime in my life. I PR'd my pace, time, and distance and it was then I knew that i could do this.

- Daniel Underbrink


An Ode to the River

An Ode to the River

An Ode To The River

by Daniel Underbrink

Backpacking gear, a few cameras, some freeze dried food, a river, and a destination; it was all we needed to attempt our impossible.

Four days gave us plenty of time to cover a hundred Texas miles. Add a slow, winding river, a prevailing headwind, a ten-mile open water crossing and conquer it all on a paddleboard—now you have an adventure.

I wanted to test myself, push my limits, and set a standard for paddling in Texas. I wanted something new. Something that allowed me to become part of the river; I wanted the feeling of an expedition and the possibilities of an adventure.

A paddleboard and the Guadalupe River did just that. When asked about the trip, I normally tell of the crazy storms that hit us on the first two days. I tell of the rain that caused the river to spill its banks and rise more than 15 feet in a few short hours. I tell of the logjams that broke our soul after hours of hard paddling. I tell of the bugs that sucked the life out of us. I tell of the winds that beat us down.

But my mind remembers it differently. It remembers the glide of the paddleboard on the brown Texas floodwater. It remembers the sound of the water, the grip on the paddle, the crackle of the campfire, the voices of friends. I remember the river.

Rivers draw me to their banks, their landscapes, their solitude, their uniqueness; but my method of travel allows me to understand it all. I bought a paddleboard, we planned a trip, and we completed a hundred-mile paddle. It was a test of endurance. It was a test of spirit. It was epic in its own right. It was everything I imagined and more. Yet, it leaves me yearning for more. I want the feeling of the river beneath my feet. I want to go further and further. —Daniel Underbrink

 See the full article published in SUP The Mag