I have many clients who are runners and they come to me with similar stories: my lower back hurts, I tire easily, I’ve hit a wall in my training, my endurance isn’t what it used to be. Whatever the reason, I can’t wait to get them on the Pilates program to discover what their bodies are truly capable of when pounding the pavement and beyond.
One thing I’m frequently asked about is how I incorporate weight vests into training, since it’s a tool I use for myself and for those I coach. It was especially key to my attempt at the 2013 Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, where I ran 100-milers close together and had to get the most out of training while focusing on recovery.
For the uninitiated, for those who marvel at the idea that 50 or 100 miles of continuous running is possible, the phrase “I could never do that” is often an instant, almost involuntary reaction. “I could never do that” precedes a second common reaction, “I can barely run a 5k.” Despite how frequently I hear this reaction, it still gives me pause and makes me wonder: Why, after all, are people so fixated on finishing an ultramarathon, when the road to the starting line is where most of the journey takes place?
If you’ve ever been to my house for dinner, you will soon come to understand that I am a nutritionist…
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.
I’m not going to give my story or my excuses, or place blame or defend myself. I didn’t finish. Those are the only words it needs. I didn’t finish, and I went home crying in the middle of the night, showered crying in the middle of the night and fell asleep crying and cramping in the middle of the night. When I woke up, I told my family and apologized. I was embarrassed and ashamed and exhausted, physically and emotionally.
Mention race walking to a runner or ultramarathoner and they usually have one of two reactions: they laugh and mock the hip-wiggling, much-maligned Olympic event, or they speak of it with respect either from trying it themselves or because they were passed late in a race by a steady-paced heel-to-toer.
One of the greatest things about our sport is its spirit of collective effort. At ultramarathons it’s as if we are racing with, not against, each other. Maybe it’s because running so far is so daunting that people “pull together” to overcome the challenge. Or maybe it’s simply that the nature and values of people attracted to this sport selfselects for friendly, helpful people.
Hyponatremia is defined as a blood sodium concentration below the normal range. Depending on the laboratory, that value is generally around 135 mmol/L. When hyponatremia occurs during or shortly after exercise, it is referred to as exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH).
Few races in our sport are as eagerly anticipated or widely followed as Western States 100. Maybe that’s because it’s the first 100, or the deep and elite field. Or that it’s the culmination of the Montrail Ultra Cup. Or maybe it’s because of the incredible tradition and history of the trail itself, coupled with the amazing volunteers and best-in-class race organization. Most likely, it’s all of the above.
This year that race would be the Miwok 100K, a 62-mile tour of the Marin Peninsula just north of San Francisco. Miwok was first run in 1996 and, in eighteen years, has gained reputation as a “classic race” eliciting the likes of Anton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Dave Mackey, Hal Koerner and other top talents.
In 2008, 2009, & 2010, I ran the Nashville, TN Ultra-Marathon (www.nashvilleultra.com) which is held in the fall (mid Oct/early Nov). The event offers distances from 50K thru 50 miles, but I did the 50 mile option each time. The course is 75% paved and 25% trails and alternates between paved greenways, grass trails, and several miles of asphalt through downtown Nashville.