Browsing: Commentary

Commentary
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?

Commentary
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.

Commentary
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.

Commentary
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…

Commentary
San Diego Ultra Running Friends’ TrailFit Trail Work Crew

This is the story of how our running club developed a comprehensive trail work program that we call TrailFit. Each year we clear brush on 25 miles of trail, remove over 150 downed trees, and contribute more than 1,500 volunteer hours on trails in the San Diego mountains while overseeing maintenance on 150+ miles of trails.

Commentary
Have You Ever Wanted to Photoshop Your Finish Photo?

You’re not supposed to look good after you run a hundred miles. Didn’t matter. It was still the worst race finish photo I had ever taken, yet it was the most important one. It was the singular moment when all the training, the doubts, the worries, the planning, was about to give way to relief, triumph and pure joy.

Commentary
Seeing the Elephant

Many comparisons have been made to modern-day ultrarunners and the Pioneers who crossed the continent in covered wagons back in the 1840s and 1850s. The Pioneers risked everything and took on a massively arduous 2,000-mile trek, often for a dream or nebulous “better life” out west. As with ultrarunners, a common question from onlookers was: “why?”

Commentary
Struggle and Doubt

I stood at the finish line of my first half marathon, confused. I was surrounded by people who had somehow found a singular, defining experience that morning. Was this why people run? What had I done wrong that prevented me from reveling in a sense of accomplishment?

Commentary
Longevity in the Sport

Let’s face it, ultrarunning is a really difficult activity. It requires a huge time and lifestyle commitment. But many people are attracted, like moths to flame, to the opportunity to do something epic. And often once they do a few ultras they realize there is a steep learning curve and they achieve faster, and faster, times. Soon, they are pulled into the drive to reach their highest potential by racing ultras – they are all-in.

Commentary
The Terror

The Terror was not about Leadville. It was my subconscious awareness that every difficult emotion I had been avoiding was coming with me out on that course.

Commentary
The Gateway Drug

If you’re an ultramarathoner, chances are that you started with a marathon. An informal survey of ultarunning friends reveals that most of them did at least one marathon before moving up to ultras. Going 26 miles seems to be a sure-fire path to becoming an ultrarunner.

Commentary
Navigating the Road to Ultras

When I first started running ultras, I was looking to extend the joy I received from running the roads, but without the crush of the urban environment. I saw a photo on the office wall of the director of a sports care center that I had office space in. He was standing in running shorts and a singlet on top of a snow-covered mountain peak. I asked where that was.

Commentary
Not Almost There

“I think I might throw up,” I heard Shacky mutter during the steep climb. My friends Vanessa and Shacky and I managed to make it to the top of Gooseberry Mesa without anyone throwing up (or dying). The climb to the top of the mesa ascended more than 1,500 feet in less than a mile, early in the Zion 100.

Commentary
The Long View: The Power of Ultramarathons

We hadn’t attended the Western States lottery in a few years and I was not expecting the spectacle that was ahead of us that morning in the packed auditorium at Placer High School in Auburn, California. I knew it would be flawlessly conducted, high energy and even entertaining.

But to be honest, I had forgotten how life-changing ultramarathons can be in people’s lives, and the visceral emotions that are unleashed when someone’s name is chosen.

Commentary
The Ultrarunning Calendar

The calendar was my first running “tool.” When I began seriously training, a simple wall calendar provided a handy place to record what I had done. These days, the old running calendar has become a part of social media. I think the value still distills down to the same essential ingredients: the numbers and the compulsion to improve them.

Commentary
In Love and Running

We’ve all been heartbroken in love and on the trails. In order to protect ourselves from more heartbreak, we play it safe. We don’t embrace the sweet complexity of the other person; we don’t dance down the technical trails. But what if we did? What if we went for it? It could be a disaster, right? Or it could be a sweet success.

Commentary
Chasing Boys

I set out to define myself – who I am and who I aim to be. The company I now keep is a collective group of people all striving to perform at their best and our aim is to encourage other runners to do the same.

Commentary
A Helping Hand

I hadn’t trained much that spring in preparation for the 2010 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. I had spent more time sitting in a chair next to a hospice bed that had been set up in the living room of Mom’s condominium. She was dying from colon cancer.

Commentary
Ultrarunning Lore: They Watched the Trees Grow

Charlie Sabatini has been running the roads and trails in Rochester, New York for over 63 years. He is so in tune with what has gone on around him that he remembers when some of the trees in these woods were just saplings. One of the pioneers of the local ultra scene, Charlie was part of a group of Rochester runners that ran ultras before most people knew what ultras were.

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