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UltraRunning July 2018

  • The Mental Approach of Elite Endurance Athletes
  • Finding Peace in Ultrarunning
  • Barkley Marathons
  • Minimizing Injuries
  • Oh, the Humidity!
  • The Georgia Death Race
  • The Case for “Walking”

Featured
Siskiyou Out Back: Finding Unity

My Siskiyou Out Back experience was characterized by an overwhelming sense of unity. Not only was I with my lifelong hometown friends, but my mom and two college friends also joined me, and I have never felt closer to them than when we reunited at the finish line.

Commentary
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.

Featured
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

Patagonia’s lightest and most compressible jacket to date utilizes an innovative new insulation material called PlumaFill that provides excellent warmth to weight and maintains its loft and positioning even with extended use.

The Evolution of the Modern Aid Station

Today’s aid stations, especially at majors like Western States, are staffed by folks who are often veteran ultrarunners, have decades of experience and are as skilled as they come at meeting runners’ needs.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

I’m not an avid reader of poetry, but the words in this Dylan Thomas poem have always resonated with me, and I think they express what I’ve done and what I continue to attempt to do in my ultrarunning. At various times over the years, my best friend has admonished me about my approach to my running and racing, and has pointed out an old adage: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that bears fruit, then I guess most, if not all, ultrarunners are insane, or damn close to it.

Finger Lakes 50: Can’t Get Any Muddier!

I’ve been associated with the Finger Lakes 50s Trail Races for about 10 years, either running, volunteering or directing, and I thought the 2014 race was the muddiest year ever. So muddy that I didn’t think it could get any worse. I was wrong. With above average snowfall this past winter and relentless rain in the Finger Lakes region this year, the 27th annual running of the races was the muddiest by far.

A Family Affair : SOB

On a high mountain ridgeline, early morning rays glance off your face as you stride over undulating single-track with never-ending views. Perfection. This is the setting of the Siskiyou Out Back Trail Runs (SOB). Starting and finishing only 30 minutes from downtown Ashland, OR, atop the Siskiyou Crest, all three races (15k, 50k, and 50-mile) traverse west along the backbone of the range and return to the Mt. Ashland lodge.

Road Races to Improve Trail Running

I’ll admit I have a bias on this topic, since when I first started running ultras in 2005, I also got hooked on road marathons. However, one thing I noticed was how effectively sub-ultra road races prepared me for many aspects of longer races.

Waldo Lament – A song by Gordy Ainsleigh

Joe decided to throw a DNF party for Veronica, and I decided to sing her a song. When I told an old girlfriend what I was planning, she said, “But you can’t sing!” “That’s not true,” I told her. “I can sing badly.”

Mt. Disappointment 50K is back

Mt. Disappointment 50K is back! The news was very welcoming to the ultrarunning community after a year of disappointing hiatus. Race directors Gary and Pam Hilliard and their band of volunteers spent numerous hours to bring the race back to its original course.

A 16-Year-Old’s Perspective on Running Trails

Long hours with sweat in my eyes, salt on my lips and the pain of the run have taught me a lot. As a high schooler in a town where “running” means a few laps or a track meet every now and then, I have found that it’s hard for people to understand why I love running. Most people hate it or see it only as a way to lose weight.

A Quarter Century of Howling

The 25th Howl at the Moon 8 Hour Ultra in Danville, IL, attracted runners from 15 states, some running their first ultra and others returning for the 20th time or more. The race bills itself as a perfect first-timer’s event because of its multi-surface 3.29-mile loop course, personal lap scorers and the abundance of on-course aid.

Grand Teton FKT Attempt

During dinner at the Mammut sales meeting, Dave, the company’s hard goods manager, turned towards me and shouted, “That’s insane! The Grand Teton in under three hours?”

Three Kings in Sweden: the 2015 UltraVasan 90K

Last week, I traveled to north-central Sweden to compete in the second annual UltraVasan 90K on Saturday morning, August 22. What follows is an account of my race but also the race history, the course, and the three kings on everyone’s mind as the weekend unfolded.

Give It a Rest

As hard charging, fiercely driven, superhero ultrarunners, we love to pile up the miles, train until we drop and skimp…

Seven Year Cycles

An ultrarunning adage says that after you start the sport, you improve for seven consecutive years. Your body and mind need that much time to figure it all out and go from “just” completing the distances to racing them at peak levels. For me, this has held very true—2010 was my seventh year, and that’s when I had by far my best races at all distances, with personal bests in all six of them.

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