Browsing: Commentary

Commentary
Why?

Why? I get that question a lot. Why do I run? Why trail? Why ultras? Why 30, 50, 100 miles? Why now, when running these distances takes me from my young family so much? Why, when pushing these limits can hurt so much?

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Destination Unknown: Ultra Friends

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.

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Destination Unknown: In Hiding

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.

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Destination Unknown: Which Way to Tahoe?

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.

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Dealing with a DNF

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.

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The Scoreboard Is an Imposter

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).

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December and January: a Special Time

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.

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Going Too Long: My First 100-Miler

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?

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The Running Bag

I was sick and tired of trying to carry all my running essentials out to the car in one load. I needed to carry a bag of some type. I’ve got everything in the bag and take it anywhere knowing I am well prepared to handle anything I encounter on any adventure.

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To Care and Not to Care

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.

Commentary
Why I Run Ultras

The most valuable thing that arises from what we do cannot be displayed or hung around our necks. It is the relationships with others chasing the same goals, fighting the same demons, striving for the same acceptance and love that we want.

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Epic Adventures

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.

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Grit

What is grit? Wikipedia defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” But where does it come from? Are we born with a certain allotment of grit? If it’s a skill, how do we develop it?

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Why?

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.

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A Primer on MUT and USATF

Participation in mountain, ultra and trail (MUT) races continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year. However, many people in the sport have little understanding of the role that USA Track & Field (USATF) plays in the MUT world. As a MUT representative with USATF and a member of multiple US Teams for World Championships, my goal with this article is to shed some light on that relationship and its history, as well as the history and structure of various World Championships in MUT.

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Solo, No Crew

“3-2-1… Have Fun!” Without a crew or a pacer ahead, I am able to just run along. There was a spreadsheet, but I don’t need it now – I’m not going to be late for anyone.

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Thoughts Before and After My First 50-Miler

Do I trust myself to do the training, to put in the hours required? To show up for myself, even if that means pulling the plug when my ego really doesn’t want to? Do I trust myself to not listen to the brain when it says “Stop!” when it is only pain, and not actually debilitating? Do I trust myself to know the difference?

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Gary Cantrell on Rules

Rules; who likes ’em? Nobody.

Who needs ’em? Everybody.

Running ultras is supposed to be fun. The last thing we want to deal with is having a bunch of rules to worry about. Unfortunately, ultrarunning is practiced by humans. And, without rules, some of those humans are bound to take liberties with what might seem innately obvious.

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On Trails

Without trails our sport would not exist. Sure there are road ultras and many “trail” ultras entail portions along fireroads, tow paths, running tracks and, gasp, even pavement. But if you look at the most popular and iconic ultras, they all include some epic trails. So yes, we need them.

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Another Fall From Grace

Coming off a year of successful ultramarathons, I was pretty jacked. My plan was to complete more of my “bucket list” races for the summer. Could I complete three more ultras this year? Four more? It was a big stretch, but possible. If I was smart, that is…

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