Posts Categorized: Running and Training

My Experience: Ryan Ghelfi here with Trails and Tarmac, ready to give you the rundown on the Black Canyon 100k course in central Arizona. I ran this race back in February 2015. I was fortunate to be able to spend a few weeks leading up to the race in the area, training on all the sections of the trail multiple times. I found that I became quite fond of this piece of southwest desert, the looming Bradshaw Mountains to the West, and the quiet stark beauty of the landscape. On race day the temperatures were quite hot after the first 20 miles or so (more on this later). The competition was solid, and I was so close to gaining a golden ticket, getting passed in the last 15 miles and coming in third, six minutes shy of that elusive Western States spot. Still, I loved this race, and the course itself.

For many trail runners, sharing miles with their dog is one of the greatest joys. It’s evident that dogs love being out in nature, roaming through the hills and mountains just as much as their human counterparts. If you are a new dog owner, or are considering how to bring your dog into the trail running fold, there can be a lot to know. Trails & Tarmac interviewed two of our athletes who are both avid runners, skiers, trail lovers, and of course dog owners. Alli and Dani both live in Bend, Oregon and work for Ruffwear, a performance dog gear company. Alli’s dogs Riggins and Firnspiegel, and Dani’s dog Vilas are totally their partners in crime. They have taught their human companions a great deal about how dogs tick on the trail in both the front country near town, and in the backcountry, many miles from the nearest road. In this article we’ll share what they have taught us about trail running with dogs.

It’s New Years Resolution season. Maybe you set a goal to run a 5K or a marathon or a trail
race in 2021. You got a new watch for Christmas, you bought some new running shoes, you
stocked the pantry with healthy snacks. Motivation is high. Here are 5 ways to approach your
running new year’s resolution sustainably.

It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the short window to tackle new trails and running routes in the high mountains is upon us. We’ve had a fine snow pack this summer on the West Coast USA. The meadows are green, creeks flowing and mosquitoes are feeding! For my whole life until about a year and a half ago I planned and executed all my outdoor endeavors using paper maps, ones I bought from the forest service or other third party map makers. I have collection of 100+ topo maps which I still pull out and pour over on a regular basis. But,I have had a technological awakening, and it’s made a pretty major impact on my running adventures. 

It’s been a few years now that David and I have talked about a long list of places where we might be able to host an in person running trip. As a business which primarily serves online coaching clients Trails and Tarmac has been wanting to roll out some more in person offerings. This year we think we have found the perfect trip. 

The Wonderland Trail circumnavigates Mt Rainier, perhaps the most impressive peak in the entire lower 48 United States. It’s 93 miles in length and has around 25,000ft of elevation gain and loss. It’s a daunting task with only a few access points. I was lucky enough to be able to do the trail in a single day last September, but this method of seeing this route left me wanting a different kind of experience. This September 11-14 David and I along with 11 other adventurous trail lovers will be having that experience.

Wildfire and wildfire smoke seem to be the biggest reason races are cancelled in the Western US right now. Smoke used to roll through the small towns bordering wild lands, now smoke blankets major metropolitan areas for weeks cancelling events from 5k’s to ultramarathons. A cancelled race pales in comparison to the devastation experienced by people and land that suffer directly from these huge fires. It is still a big bummer to have apocalyptic conditions become the norm, and have something you worked hard and trained for, cancelled. This has been a reality for me every summer since 2013 when smoke over took the Rogue Valley for weeks. Events were cancelled and running moved indoors to the dreaded treadmill. This week the North Face Endurance Challenge events, for very good reason, were cancelled, leaving many runners wondering what to do. Zach Miller wisely advises runners on twitter to make lemonade out of lemons! I could not agree more, so lets dive a little deeper into what your options are, and how to make the best out of possible future cancellations.

Mental and Emotional Training for Ultras

A perspective from Camelia Mayfield at Western States

About three weeks ago, I was one of the lucky participants of the world-renowned Western States Endurance Run. This was my first hundred-mile race and I thought it might be helpful for me to share more about the mental and emotional experience of running 100 miles. Before this race, the longest I had run was 100k. My finish time of 19:47 means that I ran nine more continuous hours than I had ever run before.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is the most beautiful trail I have ever run…or so people tell me. Most of this rugged ribbon of singletrack I have only seen at night, while deep in a gel fueled haze while racing the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. I’ve seen hallucinations on the trail and seen others vomit, I’ve felt the intense spirit of sport, but I’ve never seen much of the grander this place has to offer. I dream of someday doing the TMB the slow down and sip the espresso way. I’d love to soak in the afternoon sun at Refuge Bonatti, or grab a Coke at Champex-Lac, I’d love to chat with the caretakers at the refuges, or take time to just sit quietly and breathe in the alpine inspiration of the high country.

Honestly, I’m as guilty as the next person. The gun goes off, the race plan goes out the window. Any coherent logic of starting at a casual pace, or drinking calories early, or taking it easy on the first climb evaporates like the ice cubes in your hat in that last hot ultra.