This is a book about the therapeutic power of running and becoming a top ultrarunner. But it’s the backstory about her family, and her personal development, that drew me in, even when chapters served as a sometimes-painful mirror of self-reflection.
As I considered the apples-to-oranges comparison between road marathons and mountain ultras, I wondered. What if, instead of trying to be the marathon runner I used to be, I embraced the tougher, heavier, more truck-like ultrarunner I’ve become?
OK, so maybe I’m all by myself in a high-desert forest running 56 miles in a giant circle for no better reason than to order a pizza at the end, but at times out there, it feels purposeful and connected to something larger, like …. like … oh Christ I don’t know. Are you there, […]
I’m doing this race again less as an endurance competition, more as an opportunity to revisit and revere this region up close, and ultimately do what I can to help protect it.
A decade ago, at 42, Kami Semick reached the pinnacle of ultrarunning. She won every race she entered in 2009, including two world championship events in the 100K and 50K, and earned UltraRunning’s Ultrarunner of the Year title for the second year in a row. But five years later, she called it quits and disappeared from the sport.
The farther away I got from road marathoning and that PR set in 2009, the more intimidating and daunting it felt to try it again.
I made a mental list of circumstances that make a long training run extra challenging. What happens when all these things conspire on the same run? Let me tell you.
To breathe deeply, to see the horizon clearly, to talk to old friends, to move your legs up and down a mountain—how marvelous and precious this life on earth is, the more imperiled it becomes.
In this era of 200-is-the-new-100, it feels almost inevitable that many runners and race directors will super-size perfectly good and satisfying ultra routes, and we ultrarunners will feel compelled to choose the longer option or feel slightly guilty or less accomplished if we take the shorter route.
No, our dog is not part of this gear/gift guide, but something in that photo is! This time of year, I like to share recommendations for worthwhile running- and outdoor-related stuff I discovered over the past 12 months.
I wanna run and feel like I did in that photo from 2015. I can’t recall a time I felt this degree of ambivalence about running, which is supposed to be my passion. Perhaps I’m fitting the profile of burnout, but burnout usually follows overtraining, and since September I’ve been undertraining.
Because I face the move back to California and some big decisions about our home, I am mulling, “What next? What will I do after I turn 50?” To plan ahead, first I look back and reflect. I reminisce about life one decade ago…
The sound of a helicopter circling over our property near Telluride, Colorado, filled my ears for several days straight. The sight of teams of volunteers dressed in hiking gear, fanning out in the aspen groves and bushwhacking off trail while shouting, “Tim,” pulled at my heart.
As soon as I saw Morgan and Clare, I said wild-eyed, “I may blow up, but those were the best 27 miles of my life.”
I decided to turn my sour grapes into fortified grape juice and attempt an upstart, scrappy race the weekend after Hardrock 100, on the same mountain range, that’s arguably even more difficult—a race so miserable in its first year on the current route that the RD admits, “I don’t think it was a good experience […]
“For these three days,” I told the group gathered for our inaugural San Juan Mountain Running Camp, “I want you to encounter and experience challenges on the trail that you don’t expect, and that perhaps intimidate you, because you’ll discover that you can get through and handle more than you think you can. And you’ll […]
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This is has become my life, my domestic ultra. If someone asks what I do, I probably should embrace the old-fashioned term “homemaker,” because that’s my main purpose now: building and making a home, and in the process, circling back to the summertimes I savored as a kid.
To me, an ideal getaway is not an island resort or a spa weekend. It’s a running camp in a mountain environment. These totally worthwhile experiences at trail-running camps heighten my excitement to launch a new mountain-running camp just one month from now.
I’m writing this partly as a reminder never to take exultant, elevated, healthy highs for granted, because you just may fall on your ass.
Barely past the halfway point of Run Rabbit Run 100 last September, my legs and feet rebelled. Stiff muscles, achy joints and soles so tender that I winced with each step conspired to abort yet another attempt to run. Dejectedly hiking in the fading light of dusk on a gentle stretch of trail above Steamboat Springs, I said to my pacer, Jacob Kaplan-Moss, “Sorry, this is all I can manage right now.”
I need to sort out thoughts about the coming year and beyond, and that’s another reason I’m looking forward to this 24-hour hamster-wheel ultra on new year’s eve—it’ll be a retreat of sorts.
Like the “super moon,” the course seemed unusually brilliant and exaggerated in its beauty. Little did I know on that blissful, escapist day that disaster would strike 36 hours later.
I wrote this post four years ago, in the fall of 2013, and am updating it since I revisited this cool urban run last week. Now that the entrance to Yerba Buena Island is open and links to Treasure Island, you can loop around there for a longer run!
A roundup of nifty products I discovered and used this year to better enjoy running and the outdoors.
I need to let go of longing for a supposedly better version of myself from years ago. Remember and celebrate all the things that this 2017 version of me did that the 2007 person couldn’t fathom.
The summer, I read about the West to deepen my understanding of Colorado, California and states in between—their history, culture, politics and myriad pressures. Rest assured, these books are good reads.
I spent ten months coaching two clients for the Grand to Grand Ultra and the Atacama Crossing. Here’s the outline of their training plans, and their stories of what the events were like, to show how to meet the myriad challenges of an ultra-long stage race—and, perhaps, to inspire your new year’s goals.
I hated the logic that I wanted to cover 100 miles so I could be done with 100 miles because I didn’t actually want to do the full 100 miles. Ugh, none of it made any sense.
The person who trained assiduously, whose every workout had a purpose and goal attained, who meticulously planned every piece of gear—that seems like another person, and she’s not here now.
A tribute to a trio of relatives—my grandmother, grandfather and great-uncle—who challenged themselves in the San Juan Mountains in mind-blowing ways that inspire me as a mountain runner.
I can’t recall how or why we started the new year with the “see ya Tuesday at 9 at the lake”—two ultra-distance trail runners meeting midweek for a paved, flat, easy loop. I needed a friend, a counselor, a reminder of the best, most humorous and resilient sides of the human spirit. Each Tuesday, we […]
Perhaps my fondest memory of the Mauna to Mauna Ultra was the experience of the oxymoronic “friendly competition” in the best, truest sense.
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It’s taper time, so I reflect on peak training for the Mauna to Mauna Ultra and share an exciting update about Free to Run.
“In this sport, there’s so much seriousness, so to see some fun is awesome.” I talked with Jamil Coury, Schuyler Hall and Michael Carson about how they blend comedy and ultrarunning for their YouTube channel.
Peak training involves increasing your training load and preparing very specifically for the conditions of your race. For multi-day, self-supported stage races, the preparation becomes more complex.
The book explores the “why” as well as the “how” of becoming a trail runner and graduating to ultras. It goes beyond showing how to achieve better trail-running performance. The chapters also convey the culture and ethos of the sport, and spotlight many notable characters in it.
Two clients nailed their races at the Way Too Cool 50K and the Napa Valley Marathon, in spite of a short training period of about two months. Subtle but important changes to their weekly routines and race-day plans made big differences and might help you, too.
Please learn about and support my campaign for Free to Run. Let’s help change parts of the world where women sorely need not just athletics, but basic rights and education, by using the power of running and recreational sports to bridge divides.
Thoughts & tips on running Central Park, plus recommendations on where to stay, eat and go based on our family vacation. (Original post from 2012 updated with new restaurant and hotel recommendations from 2017, and snow pics!)
At the starting line, do you say it’s “just a training run”? Here’s how to use a race as an effective, deliberate training run to help fulfill a longer-term race goal.