Author Gary Dudney
In its second year, the No Business 100 Mile Trail Ultra race course spills over the lower Kentucky border into Tennessee and provides the same amazing natural wonders and scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains, but, as Race Director Bryan Gajus points out, without the long lines.
At the start of the Uwharrie 100, you depart Wood Run Trail Head and are swallowed up immediately by a thick, dark, mysterious forest. Underfoot are protruding rocks and a snake pit of tangled roots, all camouflaged by a layering of dead leaves. The 20.5 mile trail, which follows a figure eight route, will prove to be an almost unbroken minefield of trip hazards.
A gentle “angelic” loop around the valley floor gives you a chance to adjust to the altitude, enjoy the pine forest and valley meadows, and picturesque mountain cabins and ski chalets. The “fire” comes when you begin the 18.5-mile out and back over the top of the ski resort and down the other side, topping out at about 11,000 feet where you feel like the sun is microwaving your exposed skin.
The race’s name, “Burning River,” is of course ironic, harkening back to the numerous times the Cuyahoga River, once one of America’s most polluted waterways, actually caught on fire.
Industry representatives generally put the lifespan of a shoe between 400 and 600 miles. The mileage you personally can expect to get, however, will vary depending on factors such as your weight, the surface you run on, your foot strike tendencies, whether you switch off pairs from one run to another and of course the resilience of the materials and design.
The San Francisco 100 pits you against the elements of nature but at the same time reveals all Nature’s glory in the hills and coastlines of the Marin Headlands just across the Golden Gate Bridge from the “City by the Bay.” Tony Bennett might have left his heart in San Francisco, but the 100 milers left their blood, sweat and tears in Marin.
How you handle aid stations can have a significant impact on how well your race goes. If you are speeding through a 50k looking for a PR, the emphasis at the aid station should be on how quickly and efficiently you can load up on food and water and get back out on the course. Taking the food with you, for instance, can save a lot of time.
There’s truly gold in them thar hills and it ain’t the shiny kind. It’s the super-efficient, multi-faceted, demanding workout kind that hills deliver. Lifting yourself up the slopes is strength training. Cycling through the hard climbs and descents is like interval training. Throw in some uphill sprints and you replicate speed and fartlek training as well. The trip up the hill puts a tremendous load on your hamstrings and calves. The trip down will strengthen your quads. Muscles, tendons and ligaments in the lower body are all strengthened in concert with one another.
The lottery for the 2015 running of the Western States 100 Mile, the granddaddy of this country’s 100-mile trail runs,…
I could see the plank was tilted. I could see the slip marks in the black mud on the end of the board. I could see the footprints next to the plank where other runners had stepped to avoid the danger. I was telling myself, “Don’t put your foot on the board.” But I put my foot there anyway…
Ultrarunning is an endurance sport and as such it requires you to push yourself up to your limits. As you approach these limits and work to overcome them, you will find yourself facing similar physical and mental challenges over and over. Ultrarunning is testing you to see if you are learning from your mistakes, if you are equipping yourself to better deal with these challenges.
The Miwok 100K is a longstanding ultrarunning classic for good reason. It draws a big field (450 entrants) and it’s competitive (past winners include Scott Jurek, Nikki Kimball, Hal Koerner, Anton Kupicka, Dave Mackey, Kami Semick, and Ann Trason). It’s also challenging with 12,000 feet of elevation change packed into its 61 miles and unpredictable weather.