- Mastering the Multi-Day Race
- Desert Solstice
- Simple Tools for Training
- Mines of Spain
- 10 Stages of Running an Ultra
- Falling Back in Love with Ultrarunning
Confucius say: “Man who moves mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” The mountain Sandra Villines moved was the female world record for the North American transcontinental run. That record had been immovably standing since 1978, when South African Mavis Hutchinson ran from Los Angeles to New York City in 69 days.
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.