Personnel Profile: Tim Madden

Tim Madden is a partner with the lobbying firm Randlett Nelson and Madden. He’s running a 100-mile ultra-marathon in June to benefit Jenna & Patrick’s Foundation of Hope:

Tell us a little about the work you do.
I work with our health care clients. We represent different medical specialties, including emergency physicians, cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and plastic surgeons. We also represent some occupational physicians, those are the primary treating docs in the workers’ comp world. I have the luxury of going a little deeper in the health care side. I know a lot of lobbyists tend to be spread out among different subject areas.

Speaking of needing health care, I hear you have an interesting hobby.
A couple years ago I got into doing some trail running up in the Auburn area. I did it through Fleet Feet over on J St. They had a little trail running program. We did some great runs in beautiful areas. I started meeting all these ultra-runners. These are folks that do races longer than a marathon – 50 K, 50 miles, up to 100 miles. They’re all on the trails.

As I started to do longer distance running I got turned on to the Western States 100, which is kind of the granddaddy of ultra-marathons. You have to qualify. You have to finish a 50-mile run in under 11 hours to put your name into the hat. There’s such an interest in it that the number of people who can do it is limited. This year there were over 2,000 people who wanted to get in, but they only had about 220 slots. They did the lottery up in Auburn. I went up with a buddy. For the first 207 entries, neither of us got picked. For the people who actually show up, they give you an extra chance. There were probably 150 people in the audience trying to get in. At the end, they said, “We have five spots,” and I was the first person to get their card drawn. It was crazy. They call your name and I’m like, “So, I guess I really have to do this now.”

The race is on June 25 and 26 and starts in Squaw Valley. You start at the base of Squaw and run up Grand Chief, one of the biggest peaks, you go up and over and work your way to Auburn. You deal with some elevation. They’re predicting there could be some snow on the ground for the first 30 miles. I’ve never run on snow, so that will be interesting. The elevation gain is about 18,000 feet, and I’ll be going down over 22,000 feet. It’s a pretty rough run. In the canyons it’s not uncommon to get into the 90s.

I’ve never done 100 miles. I’ve done two 50-milers. I did a 50 last weekend down in San Jose, the Quicksilver 50. It went really well. It took me just under 11 hours to finish. What people tell me for the most part on a 50 you can muscle through on your physical conditioning, but in a 100 the mental part becomes huge. With the Western States, they give you 30 hours to finish, with different cutoffs that if you don’t hit, they take you out of the race. I’ll be taking breaks of no more than two minutes going through aid stations. You don’t sleep.

With the aid stations, you’re at about a 16-minute mile.
I’ve been training since November. I’m working with a woman who is a track coach up at Placer High School, Mel Bartley. She has done the Western States two or three times, in under 24 hours. She’s a world class ultra-runner. She put me on a schedule. I’m doing about 55 miles a week, but I’ve been bumping it up. Now that we’re in May I’m in the 60 to 80 range. It’s running five days a week. It’s just amazing to hear myself say these distances. We have that potential.

How do you eat for this?
I eat a lot of the gels. Peanut butter and jelly works well. I’ve gotten to the point where I can run and eat. In aid stations they’ll have M&Ms, Payday bars are popular, they’ll have cookies, brownies, but the sweet stuff doesn’t work that well for me.

[Before the race] I focus more on the protein side. People have steered me away from the big pasta meal the night before. Chicken, a little pasta, a salad, a beer. I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve gone out to Centro’s and had the enchiladas the night before a run. I’ll never do that again.

You’re raising money for a good cause.

I’m doing this to raise money for the Jenna & Patrick Foundation. They’re neighbors of ours in the Land Park area. They’re five-year-old twins, they go to the same school as our kids. They have this rare disease called cystinosis. It’s a genetic disease. It produces cystine, an amino acid that tends to break down their organs. There is no known cure. Kevin and Theresa, they have to give their kids this medicine every six hours, every single day, to stop the production of cystine. The medicine tastes horrible. They’re constantly thirsty. They drink a tremendous amount of water. They wet their beds every single night. It’s crazy.

It’s such a rare disease, there’s only 500 kids in the United States who have it. It’s called an orphan disease. The pharmaceuticals won’t put any money into it because there is not a big enough market. It makes you realize how lucky you are to have lucky kids and how unfair it is these great kids have this. We’re helping fund a study down at Stanford at Packard Children’s Hospital. Jenna and Patrick are in that right now. They’re looking at a drug that will let them take it only twice a day.

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