All Posts by Amy Clark

Since turning 40 almost seven years ago, Jeff Browning has reacquainted himself with strength training. As a professional ultrarunner, he attributes his recent success to his “Tough 21” routine that helps him handle the volume and stress of 100-milers. Read and watch more about this circuit he does a few times per week.

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Featured Training and Racing

For the past three years, I’ve been volunteering for the running club at my kids’ school. Kindergartners through fifth graders have the option of using their recess to run laps instead of play on the playground. Some of them choose to run a couple, while others run as many laps as they possibly can in their 20 minutes of free time.

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While running the McDonald Forest 50K, my first ultra, I met a guy named Michael. We exchanged stories as I talked about my young twins and he told me how he’d run this particular race several times in the past. His training had recently taken a backseat because his wife was battling cancer.

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With my history of previously failed 100k attempts, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at the Cuyamaca 100K this past Saturday. In 2016, I succumbed to an injury just one week prior to the Gorge Waterfalls 100K. In 2017, I didn’t make the cutoff at mile 50 of the Gorge. And just this past [...]

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As the last stop in the Under Armour Mountain Running Series, the 50K at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort was the perfect event to kick off fall racing season in Central Oregon. With morning temperatures hovering around 30 degrees, runners had no choice but to don their winter gear at the 7am start. As the sun [...]

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Rolling up to Laz, he appeared as though he could have been part of a survey crew, or some form of civic organization in his neon yellow reflective vest. But Gary Cantrell, more commonly known as Lazarus Lake (Laz for short), is far from being associated with any government entity. He’s on a mission to walk across the United States, and he’s almost finished.

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Low spots. Speed bumps. Ruts. We’ve all had them. Suddenly you find yourself in the midst of training without any mojo and weeks to go. How do you get back those butterflies you initially felt after registering on Ultrasignup.com?  Here are a few ideas to conquer what you’ll eventually see as a minor blip on [...]

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Wildfire season has arrived, right in the midst of summer training. Due to some of the most hazardous air quality conditions in the country caused by smoke, this year’s Siskiyou Out Back (SOB) Trail Run in Ashland, Oregon was canceled last weekend. Yours truly was registered and ready to run the 20th annual event, which [...]

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Lately, my inner voice has been talking and I’m proud to say I’ve been listening. It tells me to push through summer’s intense heat when I’ve got no other options. Other times I hear a faint whisper throughout a long run telling me that things are not going as planned, and just to let it [...]

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Whether it’s a medical talk on foot care or the vendor expo during the Western States 100 race registration, the feeling is overwhelming:  people have gathered together from all over the world to witness this annual event. But it didn’t matter whether you were a runner, crew member, pacer, volunteer or spectator – you were [...]

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It’s inevitable these days, a debilitating race anxiety hits that’s so overwhelming it’s actually scary. Heartbeats pound strong enough I feel as if my chest will shatter. Night sweats drench my pajamas. And a stomach twisted with nervous energy ensures the probability of getting any solid food down is next to nothing. Tackling new distances [...]

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Spending my days alone in a home office keeps me longing for an escape, and a well-earned lunch of fresh air and vitamin D on the trails is often the highlight of my day. And while I run regularly with others, we typically don’t make a habit of analyzing our training plans. That’s where the [...]

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As I approached the flashing lights of the police car, I was just three miles away from the start of my race in Stinson Beach, CA on Highway 1. The responding officer had a collection of flares in his hand, and was lighting them as I drove up, “What’s going on?” I asked. “There’s a [...]

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During the hour just before dusk, I was on a trail in the Columbia River Gorge trying to chase a cutoff during the Gorge Waterfalls 100K. Everything around me was already dark due to the tall Douglas fir trees and thick vegetation. My headlamp was at the next aid station which still seemed miles away. [...]

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Wildfires scorched over 24,000 acres of the Deschutes National Forest just west of Sisters, Oregon late last summer. Thick smoke settled in the small town of just 2,000 people, delaying the start of school and forcing many to cancel their vacation plans. So when the Peterson Ridge Rumble announced that the only change to this year’s event was a shortened section of trail on the 40-mile race course, no one was complaining.

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Think back to your first year running ultramarathons. Remember those nerves that stemmed from stepping into the unknown? How many times did you ask yourself if you’d be able to go the distance? What did crossing the finish line of your very first ultra do for your confidence? After planning to run a winter 25K [...]

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As you begin to dive into the final weeks of training for spring ultras, consider which of your running compadrés might need a crew or pacer this season. With the pacer request page recently launched on the Western States website, there’s no guarantee all registered runners will be able to bring along someone to support [...]

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Racing season has arrived. There’s no better time for those of us both old and new to the sport of ultra running to remember that trail etiquette can make or break a hard-earned race experience. Just last weekend, I was reminded how small things can have a huge impact in even the shortest of trail [...]

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Tucked between the metropolis of Portland, Oregon and the Northern Oregon Coast Range, sits Henry Hagg Lake.  Fully stocked for year-round fishing, this tranquil body of water is nestled among the nearby 40 wineries that produce some of Oregon’s finest varietals such as Pinot Noir. While wine tasting might be a popular activity during Oregon’s [...]

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Some may know Jorge as the General Manager of the San Francisco Running Company, while others have likely raced alongside him at a local ultra or marathon. Making headlines in 2017 as winner of both the San Francisco Marathon and Penghu Cross-Sea Marathon in Taiwan while placing 10th at UTMB CCC, Jorge had a busy [...]

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If you’re like me, you’ve dreamt of running a 100-mile race at some point in your life. As that dream starts to become a reality, it’s easy to dive into the dirty details. Which race will take my 100-mile virginity? Who will crew and pace me? How will I get myself and my crew to [...]

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Extreme personalities come with the territory in ultrarunning. Many run 100-milers like they’re road marathons, happily jumping from one to the next in a matter of weeks. While the Grand Slam award recognizes ultrarunners who finish three of the four oldest 100-mile trail runs in the U.S. annually, the Triple Crown of 200’s is awarded [...]

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Early in my career, I attended a workshop with advertising creative director, Jelly Helm, who worked for Weiden + Kennedy at the time –  a big agency with clients like Nike and Coke. He guided us through exercises that helped us visualize saying “yes” with a purpose, “If you say an idea is bad, you’re [...]

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Imagine a high school track star who dared not run distances longer than 800 meters, but would eventually grow up to find herself finishing (and winning) 50 and 100-milers. That’s exactly what Nebraskan Stacey Buckley is doing, and she’s just getting started. After a hiatus from running in high school, Stacey began running again after [...]

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It’s that time of year when thoughts drift to what next season might bring, as strategic planning for race lotteries becomes imminent. Calendars are packed with potential as dreams of running new races collide with the desperate desire to beat previous finishes at others. In preparation for the upcoming year, here are some ways to [...]

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The mystical beauty of the Oregon Coast harnesses thousands of visitors every year. Just drive Highway 101 any time between Memorial Day until the kids to return to school, and you’ll find a steady stream of cars filled with those who are dying to dip their toes into the 50-degree temps of the Pacific Ocean. [...]

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With summer fading into a distant memory, you may already be reminiscing about sitting around the campfire under the stars. No matter what your age, those memories of being outside next to the crackling fire never seem to fade. Now imagine you’ve just finished a full day of running camp with Jeff Browning aka “Bronco [...]

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I sit here writing as three of my favorite trail systems across Oregon are being devastated by wildfire. As a former wildland firefighter, I understand that what may seem like a catastrophe can actually benefit an ecosystem. But as a trail runner, I continue to struggle with the fact that the lush trails full of [...]

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In the remote world of ultras, quick communication is key when it comes to finding lost runners and saving lives. With cell coverage spotty at best in most mountain ranges, ultra marathons must rely on the expertise of local ham (amateur) radio operators. If you’ve ever been to a race and seen a few of [...]

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There’s a voice that often pops inside my head every time I’m out on a run. It says, “Why aren’t you tough enough?” If I successfully avoid these negative whispers, it’s because I summited a butte without pausing to catch my breath, or conquered a trail at full force. Those days are few and far [...]

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Stress is a topic I’m not fond of. For years, running has helped me deal with it during blowups at the office, riffs at home or just plain, rotten days. Hopping on the trail with a friend can ease the pressure with a little sunshine, fresh air and welcome distraction. On the flip side, there [...]

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The past 24 hours weighed heavily on my eyelids as we began to close in on a successful finish at Placer High. Like thousands of others, my dream is to one day run Western States, and being so close to the action as a crew member is intoxicating. The sheer range of emotions – worrying [...]

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Whether you’re in search of a new challenge or a weekend training block for your next 100-miler, a multi-day stage race is the perfect way to check both off your to-do list. While many races like TransRockies in Colorado promise high altitude mountain running over a 6-day period, others offer a more manageable 3-day, weekend-long [...]

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It’s not hard to draw upon those cherished memories of “firsts” –  first kiss, first love or the birth of your first child.  Endorphins likely flooded your system as the thrill and excitement of each moment became palatable. Now, forget all of those. In the sport of ultrarunning, there’s another set of firsts you’re likely [...]

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As Bend, Oregon sat under 37 inches of snow this past winter, Ryan Kaiser was at home putting in miles on the treadmill. He’s now convinced that low impact running helped him reach the highest level of fitness he’s ever seen. And it shows. With recent wins last month at the Tillamook Burn 50-mile and [...]

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Earlier this month, numerous elite ultrarunners including Alex Varner, brothers Jacob and Tommy Puzey, Stephanie Howe Violett, and winner of the World Marathon Challenge, Mike Wardian, competed in the 2017 Boston Marathon. While Boston is the world’s oldest, most respected 26.2-mile course and one which most competitive distance runners aspire to complete due to its [...]

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Winter pounded the Pacific Northwest this year, with 70-year records being shattered for rainfall at the Portland International Airport. Buckets of precipitation also caused landslides throughout the state, including the Columbia River Gorge. Higher elevations saw snow accumulate by the foot, while wind ravaged forests, knocking over susceptible trees and then some. After missing last [...]

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Waking up to my alarm at 5 a.m. isn’t hard these days. In the wee hours, my body knows that a grueling struggle is near triggering an internal wake-up call. Long gone are the days where I lie in the darkness, my mind spinning to justify another hour of sleep instead of getting up to [...]

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A phone call was all it took. I had big dreams of becoming an architect at the age of 10 after my grandfather suggested as much while I sat in the middle of the Abiqua Creek in Silverton, Oregon, constructing a dam of rocks. The call was to tell my mom I was done with [...]

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Last spring while training for my first 100K, I became dependent on Strava – an app built for just about everyone logging a daily athletic endeavor. Not only was I tracking my mileage but also time, elevation and routes, as well. This had been the perfect tool to help me record the simple data I [...]

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Shoveling snow can be a daunting task when the undertaking is completely solitary. But call in the troops during a time of need and it can be a truly valiant effort. Volunteers in Bend, Oregon came out by the dozens this past weekend to clear snow off a course that will soon be used by [...]

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There’s a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere, but snowflakes keep appearing on my iPhone and I don’t see so much as a lit match. The beginning of 2017 brought with it a with a flurry of snowflakes and frigid temperatures, and the west coast was hit hard. We were then blind-sided again [...]

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There’s nothing like the nostalgia of pulling out an old race t-shirt.  And the smell. Soon, it earns a permanent spot, tucked away in a drawer never to be worn again.  With a new year ahead, it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate gear for the upcoming year. What needs to be replaced, and what investments [...]

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News

A training plan from the internet might be suitable to get you to the finish line of your next big race, or it might not. If you’ve recently felt like you gave it your all, yet didn’t reach that goal time you’d been hoping for, maybe it’s time you thought about hiring a coach (or [...]

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I’ll admit it. When it comes to ultrarunning, I’m a fangirl. Never in a million years could I have predicted I would be anxiously awaiting updates on Twitter during the Barkley Marathons, while sick in bed with the flu. Or bringing my laptop along on vacation so I could watch a livestream of the Western States 100 finish line.

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Let’s face it, it’s been a rough year. With the sudden passing of iconic artists like David Bowie and Prince as well as a heated presidential election, it might not be so difficult to say goodbye to 2016. The human spirit can spiral downward quickly, and it’s up to us to use the tools we [...]

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With daylight savings time rapidly approaching, it’s not uncommon for thoughts about running to turn dark. And there’s no doubt that it takes some adjustment to running at night and in the early morning hours, especially on the trails. I got to experience my first “overnight ultra” while pacing at Western States 100 this year, [...]

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It was over year and a half ago when I volunteered as a broadcast crew member for Ultra Sports Live (USL.tv) during the Gorge Waterfalls 100K and witnessed someone with a GoPro camera flying up and down the trail, filming the lead runners from behind.  He wasn’t dressed in running gear and he certainly wasn’t [...]

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Featured News

As ultrarunners, we can experience loss after crossing a finish line, not finishing a race (or starting, for that matter) or not being chosen in a lottery. Because of the amount of time we invest in ultramarathons, the losses run deeper and therefore take more time to recover from. Fortunately, the healing process can turn each of us into a stronger, more determined athlete.

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Featured News

In a sport where race courses span from sweltering desert sand to 14,000-foot mountain peaks, ultrarunners often choose to tackle the 100-mile distance once, if not multiple times each year. But what is it about running 100 miles that’s so tempting? As a running coach with multiple wins at both Leadville and Rocky Raccoon, Ian [...]

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