There’s something about being applauded for not giving up when it includes 11 DNF’s. This past March, at the Badger Mountain Challenge, I finally finished a 100-miler. The road to get there was long, and took me four years and 11 attempts.
To remember the past is to respect it. Even the most independent of us in this most independent-at-times of sports, do not live in a bubble of rugged individualism feeding the fire of progression alone. We are all interconnected, and we all need each other.
In the modern world, decisions on what to eat and drink and when, can be as confusing as they are convenient.
Was it really possible in the modern world to use the feet more than fossil fuels to get around? It sounded like a life adventure worthy of an attempt and, as a longtime ultra runner, Phil Kiddoo had always thought it somewhat ridiculous how many miles he drove simply to go for runs.
The urban dictionary defines “more cowbell” as ‘an extra quality that will make something or someone better.’ My raceday cowbell was patience, and I needed a lot more of it, especially to see those changes through, even when they appeared to be ineffective midrace. We all have a cowbell we need more of in order to progress in running, and in life. What is yours?
I have known Krissy, Hal, and numerous others through the sport, for many years, but the totality of our interactions would likely barely rate ‘acquaintance’ status in most other walks of life. Yet somehow whenever the trails of our lives do intersect, that limited time spent at the junction yields a sum of experience much greater than the timepieces would seem capable of producing.
The line of ultrarunners that have come forward over the years to speak openly about their battles with depression is long and illustrious; and that darkness is often confusing when held against the light of their accomplishments and the boundless energy and enthusiasm permeating this sport. And it is impossible to ignore the implications; it seems no kind or amount of success or communal recognition affords illimitable immunity.
We’re all essentially on David Byrne’s road to nowhere, often wondering, ‘How did I get here?’ A choose your own adventure novel where we’re constantly being forced to decide which page to turn to before continuing a story of which we desperately want to sneak a final paragraph peek.
Seeing a DNF (did not finish) next to your name can be disheartening for a runner. For me it was my first 100-mile race, the H.U.R.T. 100, a race in the rainforest-plush mountains above Honolulu in January. After doing more of a death march than a run, I had to drop at mile 67. Little did I know the impact it would have on my life.
The young woman was in last place at the Kokanee Trail Runs. She walked into our aid station that morning with her pink long-sleeve shirt tied tightly around her waist.
I’m not an ultrarunner; heck, I’m not really even a runner. I own the gym CrossFit Hyannis and most of my time is spent coaching and throwing around barbells, not throwing myself down mountains.
We have scoreboards in our minds that have our mileage or time goals posted prominently on them. We frequently determine victory or defeat, success or failure, solely on whether our final result meets or exceeds the goals that we posted on our scoreboards prior to the race. The scoreboard though, is not a true or definitive indicator of how well or how poorly a team (or ultrarunner) played (ran) in any given game (race).
This issue of UltraRunning is a new one – it is a “double issue” that combines both December and January. Previously we had a December issue that was followed by our big blast double issue – January/February with Ultrarunner of the Year (UROY) and Year-end statistics. But timing and logistics made it extremely difficult to complete the UROY voting process, tally all the year’s races and prepare an entertaining magazine by the January deadline.
The idea of running non-stop for 100 miles would cause most folks to contemplate a rather long list of difficulties they might encounter. Instead, a clear narrative unfolds in my head of happily gliding through the woods basked in sunlight, merrily bantering with fellow runners while singing birds guide us along. What could possibly go wrong?
All last week I dreamed of today’s run, 22 miles on trails north of Mt. Rainier. Hours of tranquility and beauty.
Why would a 23-year-old want to run 100-miles? Because working towards a goal larger than life and crushing it just slingshot my life into overdrive.
In August 2015, on the sixth day of a cycling trip from Vienna, Austria to Venice, Italy, a dog ran into my bicycle and the resulting concussion changed our lives.
Because Patsy’s focus in training and racing was not on the numbers, the splits or the race plan, but rather on the health and well-being of others, she surpassed previously held notions of her own personal limits. Because she knew that as the only woman from Puerto Rico to have ever run 100 miles, that she could inspire her people to endure and come together, Patsy was able to run better than ever.
Covering a lot of distance on foot is what ultrarunning is all about. And one of the best ways to do it is to just set aside a full day and pick an audacious route that traverses beautiful natural places.
Recently some friends and I did just that – the fabled Rim to Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon.
A friend asked me, “Why would you enter a 100-mile ultramarathon? It just seems so outlandish for an otherwise rational thinking person to wish to endure such torture.” My answer was long and he seemed to understand when I was finished. It is my soul that I am searching for out there in the midst of what you called torture.