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.
Runners, beware, you are about to enter the twilight zone. This is the dimension that exposes long-held beliefs that cause of chronic burn-out. It is a journey into a wondrous land that defies dogma and disposes of the monotonous. A place where mindless, boring exercise goes to die.
Some people can run ultramarathons for years, even decades, and never get a serious injury. Others are very injury-prone, forced into taking extended breaks often. Surely, some runner’s bodies are better suited to the demands of running far than others, but there’s got to be more to it.
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.
One of the greatest things about our sport is its spirit of collective effort. At ultramarathons it’s as if we are racing with, not against, each other. Maybe it’s because running so far is so daunting that people “pull together” to overcome the challenge. Or maybe it’s simply that the nature and values of people attracted to this sport selfselects for friendly, helpful people.
Hyponatremia is defined as a blood sodium concentration below the normal range. Depending on the laboratory, that value is generally around 135 mmol/L. When hyponatremia occurs during or shortly after exercise, it is referred to as exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH).
Few races in our sport are as eagerly anticipated or widely followed as Western States 100. Maybe that’s because it’s the first 100, or the deep and elite field. Or that it’s the culmination of the Montrail Ultra Cup. Or maybe it’s because of the incredible tradition and history of the trail itself, coupled with the amazing volunteers and best-in-class race organization. Most likely, it’s all of the above.
This year that race would be the Miwok 100K, a 62-mile tour of the Marin Peninsula just north of San Francisco. Miwok was first run in 1996 and, in eighteen years, has gained reputation as a “classic race” eliciting the likes of Anton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Dave Mackey, Hal Koerner and other top talents.
In 2008, 2009, & 2010, I ran the Nashville, TN Ultra-Marathon (www.nashvilleultra.com) which is held in the fall (mid Oct/early Nov). The event offers distances from 50K thru 50 miles, but I did the 50 mile option each time. The course is 75% paved and 25% trails and alternates between paved greenways, grass trails, and several miles of asphalt through downtown Nashville.