I had never been on top of a mountain before, which added to the excitement. Engineer sits at 12,972 feet in the San Juan National Forest in Southwest Colorado. It’s no Everest and obviously it’s not even a fourteener, but I had no idea how daunting it would be for me.
But in what ways, exactly, do these events differ or remain similar? How should your preparation for an ultra differ from your training for a stage race? Should you employ similar race tactics in both races? Should your nutrition plan stay the same for both races? Does recovery take longer for one or the other? Is the atmosphere and culture the same at both events? Which event is right for you?
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the greatest night of his life, either. Delirious and disoriented, he couldn’t keep food down and was going the wrong way—away from the next aid station, away from the finish line.
The ninth annual Psycho Psummer 50K had its share of problems leading up to race day. Constant weekly storms, dumping more than twice the normal average rainfall from March to July, caused indecent amounts of verdant foliage to strangle the trails, and also caused large trees to topple.
By Janice O’Grady, RD The North Fork 50 Mile/50K is not the toughest race, or the most rugged. By mountain standards, the elevation is moderate–6,800 to 8,400 feet. The decomposed granite trails, mostly single-track, are relatively smooth, with the ex
Monday, July 27, five days until race day, the high temperature in Helena, Montana was 63 degrees with 0.45 inches of rain. Saturday, August 1, race day, the high temperature in Helena, Montana was 97 degrees, with only a few tiny puffy clouds interrupting Montana’s big sky.
We were 170 miles into the race and had just made the decision to try for a Top 10 position, something I hadn’t even considered until a friend suggested it one month earlier. She and her husband, who successfully completed this run last year, had taken me on training runs in Tahoe and had a good sense of my capabilities.
Wow, what a tough race. I already told people that 2014 was the toughest 50k I’ve done – now it’s a whole ‘nother level! They took out one climb and replaced it with three climbs plus extra miles.
Two days in a row I couldn’t find the trailhead I was looking for. The first day I wasted almost two hours driving around looking for one. When I parked and thought I found the beginning of a trail, I ended up hiking a figure-8 around my car, wasting another twenty minutes down promising yet misleading paths.
I have always loved being a student of the sport—reading, asking questions, trying new things and learning what worked for me. I have been fortunate to have had several coaches who helped fill in gaps in the complex puzzle we call ultrarunning. Your question gets me thinking about the one who did the most to make me the runner and coach I am. Here are 17 lessons I learned from my favorite coach.
This year’s run was very challenging to put on. All time record heavy rains in the San Gabriel Mountains caused mud and rock slides on the Angeles Crest (Hwy 2) and CalTrans closed off our access to the 1st 25 miles of our run until mid August. However, CalTrans worked diligently to try to open the road and managed to re-open Hwy 2 before race weekend.
Here at UltraRunning, we get all sorts of race reports, and they have always been a key part of the magazine. Amongst our team, we read and edit each one at least five times in all—so we really appreciate the good ones. The stories that entertain, inform and educate. We want to bring the races alive for you, and inspire you to get out there and get after it yourself—to overcome challenges and have life-changing experiences you can only find at ultras. Nothing fits that bill like a great race report and photos.
“The scree field; the scree field; the scree” …this topic was the major focus of the Beaverhead Endurance Runs 100k and 55k pre-race meeting. “You have to make it through the scree field by dark”
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.
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.
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.