A lifetime can be broken down into many, many individual moments. Those moments blend together as times passes and we often misremember past events, confuse memories, and forget large swaths of moments altogether. It’s rare that we can look back to a particular moment and mark it as a definitive one. But sometimes those defining moments do stick in our memory.
It was a perfect day for a race in the shadow of WWII heroes. Hosted by the Military Museum of Northern Florida, the race is held on a former WWII airbase and loops through magnificent cypress swamps around the perimeter of the old base. Remains of crashed aircraft and old bunkers are still visible.
As I make my way down the asphalt path I am conscious of the sound of my feet hitting the ground. It’s something I usually don’t pay much attention to but today is different. I am running with more attentiveness to my form. Is my posture good? Am I leaning into this short grade properly? Am I engaging my glute muscles?
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.
At first glance, the North American all-time fastest road ultramarathon list looks like a time capsule: names and times from decades past, seemingly frozen in time. The bulk of those fastest- ever road and track performances were all logged over 20 years ago. In fact, the most recent entry onto the USA Top Ten list for the 50-mile distance was etched in 1990.
We are on the cusp of summer and some of the hottest ultra races are coming up fast. Last year both the San Diego 100 and Western States 100 saw brutally high heat, which led to a record low 47% finishing rate. I am going to review heat preparation and management strategies in this article, but the bottom line is you should try many things to determine what works best for you.
Oh, if only running and racing to one’s potential was just about running, wouldn’t that be wonderful? It would make life so much simpler and I truly believe that many more “weekendwarriors” would be up on the podium at competitive ultras. But the more I run, the more I realize that it’s the “extra stuff” that all goes towards truly fulfilling one’s potential as a runner, which is hard, as all I really want to do is run, and all I often feel I have time for is to run.
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