Posts Tagged: trailrunning

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. 

There is a lot of hard work between having a vision for a dream race, and having runners roll up to the starting line at 6AM on a Saturday morning. I think a huge thank you to Ethan Newberry (The Ginger Runner) and Kim Teshima-Newberry is first in order. These two thought up an awesome concept and produced a world class race. I can’t thank them, the volunteers, and sponsors enough. 

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.

For the past few years I’ve gravitated towards doing, and putting more emphasis on longer races, primarily 100 milers. I thought that 100s had to be my best event. I mean I am not a sub 2:20 marathoner! I can’t compete with all these fast guys in the “short” distance ultras. I’ve slugged it out with long trails, Euro 100 milers and for the most part I’ve lost the battles. I certainly don’t intend to lose the war, but I needed to start 2018 on a good note. I decided I’d race at Way Too Cool. I’d never run this event before. With it’s long history and runnable course I figured I’d at least be able to maximize my fitness level and really see where I was at.

For me being competitive with intentions of placing highly at races has always sat atop the priorities list. Over the past few years I have seen that this may be an error if I hope to ultimately find satisfaction in 100 mile racing experiences. I decided to make finishing the race a priority, not necessarily above competing at the highest level possible, but on the same level. Setting this intention has helped me an enormous amount when during the course of running 100+ miles things go south and being competitive no longer is possible. My finish at the 100 miles of Istria is a story of the intention to finish the race no matter what.