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.
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, […]
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.
Patsy Ramirez-Arroyo loves to run ultras and will not be stopped. She wasn’t stopped when Hurricane Maria ravaged her island of Puerto Rico. Instead, she used her fitness to traverse washed out roads as she carried aid to her family and friends. She wasn’t stopped when she showed up for …
It’s that time of year again. Each December, the URP crack team of historians (Sarah and I) put together a list of fun categories that look back at the year or ultramarathon and trail results and trends and make bold predictions for the coming year. We also talk about personal …
Ever wondered what would happen if you went hang gliding but the instructor forgot to hook you in? Holy Shi(r)t: This past weekend, Scott Martin (Portland, OR) just finished 1,000,000′ of vert in one year. He started on 12/1/17…and doing the math… that’s just under 20,000′ per week every week …
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.
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…
When Katie Arnold crossed the finish line at the Leadville 100 last month, many in the ultrarunning world recognized her name from her Outside Magazine column Raising Rippers. Katie Arnold at Mile 76 of Leadville. But there’s a lot more to Katie’s incredible story. It starts with a nasty rafting …
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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Traci Falbo is one tough and accomplished runner. She holds the indoor 48 hour record (remember this crazy video?), she’s been named to the top 10 list for Ultrarunner of the Year, she held the 100 mile trail record, has completed the Grand Slam, and has countless ultramarathon finishes and …
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.
“This is a weird way to start a trail race,” I mentioned to a runner by my side. We were striding out on a paved road and dodging cars in the first mile of a marathon, which took place several years ago in the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco. The route featured 1.2 miles … Continue reading "7 Distinctive Trail Races that Break the Distance Mold"
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.
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.
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!
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.
Book review written by Laura Clark for our Summer 2017 Trail Times Newsletter. The Trail Runner’s Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trail Running and Racing, 5Ks to Ultras, by Sarah Lavender Smith. Falcon, 2017. The first thing I do when I approach a book is admire the jacket, glance at the table of contents and... Read more »
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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If you’ve heard the show over the past few months, you’ve likely heard Sarah mention her preparation and training for the Mauna to Mauna stage race in Hawaii. Six days of running over beautiful trails, volcanoes, lava fields, and beaches, the event would cover 155 miles with variable weather and …
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.
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.
Having spent the past two weeks developing several long-range training plans for clients, which span 16 to 24 weeks in preparation for a top-goal ultra, I thought I’d share the process and use my own training horizon for the Mauna to Mauna Ultra as an example.
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Some of you may have expected a UROY post in which I geek out about my Ultrarunner of the Year ballot picks like many esteemed blogging peers. I decided to write a middle-aged-mom diary entry instead with some real-life, empirically untested self-help tips.
During the last few weeks, people involved in this sport pulled me out of a funk and motivated me to run hard and with joy. I needed it.
My intention is not to advocate any strict nutritional plan, but rather, to share the process that worked for me, because I gave myself a nutritional tuneup and am happy to report it worked (for the most part … )
Could I successfully race for three days straight? Could the organizers pull off their idea for a trail-running “festival”? How the heck would they shuttle hundreds of runners for hours each day to trailheads on the edges of the national parks? Turns out, the transportation became a part of the adventure.
You could call it “extreme fast trekking.” It’s hard to articulate how ridiculously slow and tough this mountain “running” is, but I’ll try.
I put off writing a race report because I felt the kind of turned-inside-out fatigue and brain fog that a new mother feels the week after giving birth.
Sarah Lavender Smith’s Report from Western States Since her name was drawn in December, URP co-host Sarah Lavender Smith has been planning and training to run her first Western States Endurance Run. In many episode over the past six months, she’s shared tips on her fitness, diet, and ultimately, anxiety …
I’m excited, but fear sneaks up on me. … Something unreal yet way too real happened that partially explains why I savor the purpose, focus, escapism and sense of control that preparing for the Western States 100 offers.
From my perspective as a child growing up in Ojai, the mountains that make up the Nordhoff Ridge always looked so big and far away. I could only reach them on horseback. On my last visit, I decided to step out of my comfort zone of running familiar streets and go up and along the […]
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I was nervous, not so much about the competition—which was out of my league, attracting the country’s top ultrarunners—but about how I’d do compared to my younger self.
This can’t be good. I’m supposed to be sleeping well and tapering for a race next weekend that I care about. … But I’ve been through this kind of big transition before, the “what have we done, how are we gonna do this …” state of excitement mixed with anxiety.