Adam’s trekking poles strike the rocks behind me. My steps fall in line with their metallic rhythm. The trail is relatively flat and wide, testament to its past life as a logging road. With each party of anglers and horse packers and hikers that pass, our confidence swells—we’re hiking in one of the most heavily trafficked areas of the Maroon Bells—Snowmass Wilderness during the most popular season. Solitude here is not easy to come by, but it’s Sunday evening. The forecast is calling for storms. Mother Nature might just be on our side this time.
The familiar dreaded jingle of an iPhone alarm quacks off. It’s 4am. Sharp winds howl over the roof of my van near the race start to the Grand Canyon 50 miler on the North Rim of the Kaibab Plateau. Sol turns over and curls back into a ball under the sheets. She doesn’t have to run 50 miles this morning, she can sleep in. I grab my race kit that I had laid out the night before, and begin getting dressed.
Progressing as an ultra-runner presents itself with lots of challenges when it comes to training. A lot of focus goes into long run days but does this ultimately help your long term improvement? What about speed? How do you get faster when you are putting in so many miles and tons of vertical?
After a big storm like this, it's a challenge to merely make it to the top of the mountain and the primary objective becomes to just get out, experience the fresh beauty, and hopefully get a few first tracks, breaking trail before the rest of Boulder's extremely active population motivates.
Do you have a pair of Sportivas in your quiver that you turn to religiously? We asked a handful of La Sportiva athletes what their favorite La Sportiva climbing shoe is, why they like it, and where they use it.
When I climbed Alta Peak in September
I knew that I had to return to see the spectacular view in the winter.
Alta Peak is located in Sequoia National Park in the Southern High
Sierra and is accessed from Wolverton. Winter Alta Peak is actually a
different point along the ridge from the traditional summit at the end
of the Alta Peak Trail.
After a decisive victory at the 2013 Canine Classic
, Tiva Ames's consistent performances
could no longer go unnoticed. La Sportiva had a chance to catch up with
Tiva and her partner, La Sportiva Athlete Andy Ames
, after the event.
To say that the Yukon Arctic Ultra 100 miler didn’t go exactly as planned is somewhat of an understatement. I guess it comes down to you can’t tame the north, but the north can sure as hell tame you.
prize money. But note that this is
only the Number Ten reason to do the Mountain Cup...
On Friday September 23rd, 2011 at 6am I
would embark on a journey I had begun just 3 times before and had finished only
twice before. A 100-mile endurance run is something that shouldn’t be taken
lightly. Perhaps having had 3 previous experiences to weigh on my nerves was a
According to the Awol Guide the Appalachian Trail is now 2,184.2 miles long for
2012. Each year diversions etc add a bit of distance to it. Just like Everest
grows taller each year the AT grows longer. So the easiest time to do it is
now. Not when you cash in your 401k.
In what is becoming one of my all-time favorite running shoes, the La Sportiva C-lite 2.0
the "Crosslite 2.0") just about has it all: great fit, comfort,
cushion, traction, relative lightness, and a simplicity that even my old
Montrail Highlanders would be proud of, all wrapped up in a stylish
design that says, "I'm serious. Accept it."
recently had the opportunity to travel to Bhutan to do an expedition with my
husband and some other trekkers. The trip itself was a chance of a lifetime.
Because there is only one airport and one airline with limited flights, this
isolated country is hard to reach.
I just finished a six day trek on the Inca Trail with Peruvian Olympian Roberto Carcelen and World Champion cross-country skier Martin Koukal. The two of them were using Peru's vast network of Andean mountain trails as some extreme training for the upcoming ski season. I was coming along just for the adventure.
It’s amazing to me to think a month has already passed since San
Diego 100. I have an under 24 hour belt buckle laying on my dresser as a
reminder of the 20:20 spent traversing the spectacular trails of the
PCT, Anza-Borrega desert, Cuyamacas, and mt. Laguna.
The technical definition of a “runner’s high” or the “endorphin rush” is the release of endorphins and other chemicals brought on by pain, exertion, danger, or other forms of stress. In most runners it occurs after strenuous exercise at an intense threshold for a prolonged period and usually entails varying degrees of pain and suffering to get there...
This is a long post, but it's worth it... maybe. Our moms will read
it... maybe. Anyway my race recap, then Alison's. It has sheep in it,
but they don't care.
big day is almost here. It is Monday evening. I got up here to Incline
Village in Lake Tahoe on Saturday afternoon. Did my last longish run
yesterday with my friend Heeva from the SLO Trail Runner’s. Checked out
the course and ran the first 5 and last 7 miles of the course. A lot of
snow melted since my last visit 2 weeks ago. The consistent heat made it
happen. Also a lot of the downed trees have been cut and removed. At
least on the parts of the course that we went on. All great news.
is Monday evening and TRT 100 is coming up in 19 days. I just got back
from a week in Lake Tahoe, to run some on the TRT course, hang out and
get inspired at Western States 100. Another week of good training with a
104 miles. This was the last week of a 12 week training cycle to get
ready for TRT 100. I ran 1224 miles in the last 12 weeks, my goal was
1200. That is 102 miles average over 12 weeks, my lowest week was 73 and
the highest was 139. I feel strong, healthy and ready to go. I am
confident to race. I know the course, I love the course and I have put
in all the work needed to put together a great 100 miler. I just need to
go out and do it.
Less than 4 weeks left to
the start of the 2011 Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run. I put in
all the needed training (averaging 100+ mile weeks) for the last 11
weeks with one more week left of training and then a 3 week taper.
"You know we're flirting with death given the time of year we hold
the race, right?" stated my good buddy Ryan McDermott, on the Thursday
before the 2010 Pocatello 50. This race is quickly becoming known as one
of the toughest 50 mile mountain running event in the country. Held
over Memorial Day weekend in the mountains just outside of Pocatello
(Idaho) this translates to "come prepared for anything" type running.
The weather in Idaho this time of year is volatile to say the least.
Yes, I did spend a grand total of 20.5 hours in Montana last weekend to run the Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run. Yes, with the 2 hour drive to the airport, 3 flights to get from North Carolina to Montana, and the same to get back home, I spent much more time traveling than in the state of Montana. But it was worth the trip, I had a great time.
If there is a place on this planet we call Earth that reminds me of what a different planet may look like or even better if there is a place where little elves and gnomes may exist, it could be here: The Enchantment Lakes in Wenatchee National Forest.
As a running specialty store owner I make it a point to read as many
shoe reviews as I can. The challenge with reading shoe reviews (or any
other product reviews) is that it can be difficult to ascertain the
difference between an objective product review and a sales pitch.
I am lucky enough to have found a girl who will run ultras with me
(of course since I run ultras some may say that I am simply lucky enough
to have found a girl at all). We run about 10 ultras a year together.
Now when I say “together” I don’t mean that we just run the same races, I
mean that we run every step of each race TOGETHER. If this is something
that you have been considering then here is a brief list of the pros
and cons of racing with your other half.
Last year it was new teammate and fellow San Francisco Bay Area
resident Nathan Yanko who represented the Mountain Running Team at the
grueling Hawaiian Ultra Running Team (HURT) 100 mile trail race. He
finished in 22:30:00, good for an age-group course record and 2nd place
overall to Gary Robbins, who set a new course record.
The Wasatch Mountains rise abruptly to the east of the Salt Lake Valley
creating a very defined line between sprawling sub-divisions and wild
mountain terrain. Little Cottonwood Canyon is one of the many canyons
cut into the Wasatch. Known widely for it's world class skiing, Little
Cottonwood Canyon is also home to some of the finest rock climbing,
bouldering, ice climbing, mountain biking, and mountain running around.
Point Reyes National Seashore is located about an hour north of San
Francisco. Here lies a stretch of road-free coastline that is virtually
unimpacted by humans. Aside from natural forces, it largely looks the
way it did hundreds of years ago.
Living in Canada, we get a lot of snow and ice to keep our winter
running interesting. Our dogs (the Alaskan and Siberian huskies in
particular) are perfectly suited to winter conditions, and over the
years we have learned some things from them to apply to our own running.
As I sit here in Reno, trying to warm my hands and feet from the
snowy conditions, I reminisce about the warm, sunny days I experienced
my weekend on Catalina Island for the Catalina Eco-Marathon. A few
months ago Ian Achey sent out an email about the marathon, which La
Sportiva sponsored. My first thought was "a weekend getaway from the
kids", then "can I convince my husband". My husband, Steve, was
on-board immediately and decided to register for the marathon too.
Unfortunately, he pulled his calf a few weeks before and became our
race day photographer instead. My running partner, Miriam Smith, and
her husband were also anxious to get out of town and jumped at the
chance. So our weekend was set.
7+ mile trip from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach along the Dipsea Trail
is legendary. Since 1905, a single crossing race of the Dipsea has been
held almost every year making it the oldest cross country running event
in the nation.
I cannot come to work today,
My IT band is not OK.
My toenails only number 6,
And this chafing will take time to fix.
The Giardia’s taken hold,
Please believe in what I’ve told.
A doctor’s note I can’t reveal,
But this buckle proves the way I feel.
I am always so impressed with people who can write long and detailed
race reports. I can never seem to remember details about any of my races
and I tend to just make up stuff to fill in the gaps (…I spent 22
minutes wrestling with an Ibex right after I crested the first
18,000-foot summit…). I also can only remember obscure details that
really have nothing to do with the race experience (…a bit of Smith’s
Marketplace jelly fell on my shoe as I ate a sandwich at mile
62.8865…). So this is my attempt to remember as much as I can about The Bear 100
while fictionalizing as little as possible.
According to the park service, the Rae Lakes Loop
one of the most popular backpacks in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National
Parks, if not the entire Sierra. The loop is ~42 miles long and climbs
from 5,035 ft at the trailhead to 11,978 ft at Glen Pass.
I have been to the Palisades twice before but never via South Lake so I figured this would be a great opportunity to see Bishop Pass and Dusy Basin
(11,346 ft) is located in Northern Yosemite on the Sierra crest
straddling Hoover Wilderness and Yosemite National Park. The peak has a
commanding 360 degree view of the surrounding region, including Sawtooth
Ridge and Matterhorn Peak.
Mount Brewer is an impressive peak located on the Great Western
Divide in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. Due to its location west
of the crest, the summit provides amazing views of the Southern High
Sierra including Mount Whitney, the Palisades, the Kaweahs, the
Kings-Kern Divide, and the Great Western Divide. Likewise, its prominent
summit is easily recognizable from many points in the region.
We left San Luis Obispo, CA (at
sea level) on Wednesday the 11th of August 2010. After a 7 hour drive to
Lake Tahoe and a 3 day stay at 6200 feet of altitude we flew to Denver
the Saturday before the race. Got our rental car and off we went to
drive to Idaho Springs, CO (8200 feet above sea level) our next stop on
the way to Leadville.
Those were the first words Nick Clark of Fort Collins spoke to me yesterday after finishing 5th (in a time of 4:00:35) at the 55th
running of the Pikes Peak Marathon. Nick was the last runner to sneak
under the 2:30 ascent barrier in what was an epic weekend of racing on
Pikes Peak that yielded a heated international WMRA competition, a
record breaking number of sub-2:30 ascents (16), and the 2nd best rookie performance ever at the hallowed event.
hours of stepping foot in Banff National Park last fall, Derrick and I
stopped to pick up a few maps of our planned areas to run in, and
noticed a book that made us do a double-take as we both grabbed for it.
glaciers and towering rock walls come together to produce some of the
most breathtaking mountain scenery anywhere... this is the Picket Range,
the most remote and rugged region in the contiguous United States!
Joel Lanz and I climbed Mount Stewart
via the High Sierra Trail, Hamilton Lakes, and Kaweah Gap. The 12,205
ft mountain is located on the rugged Great Western Divide and the region
is one of the most remote in the High Sierra requiring 46 miles
roundtrip to reach the summit (42 miles were on the High Sierra Trail to
Kaweah Gap from the Crescent Meadows trailhead).
I joined Joel and Sean for a fantastic 50k (~30 mile) point-to-point adventure run of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
from Tuolumne Meadows to White Wolf in Yosemite National Park. The
terrain is quintessentially Sierra, with granite and water everywhere.
This area has intrigued me for some time and the spectacular scenery
surpassed my lofty expectations. Unlike many other spots in Yosemite,
there is a true wilderness feeling inside the canyon as the only way
into and out of the canyon is 4,000+ ft of elevation gain or loss.
joined Joel Lanz for a fantastic tour of the entire Lost Coast from the
mouth of the Mattole River at the north end to Usal Beach at the south
end. The Lost Coast is the most undeveloped stretch along the entire
West Coast of the United States and is characterized by steep and rugged
relief of the coastal mountains right next to the ocean.
Bruce seemed to think I am
lot faster than him, but whatever misguidedly large lead on him I may
have had for most of the race, near the end I both peetered out and took
a wrong turn, and he ended up finishing less than five minutes after
me. Which showed team solidarity. We were this formidable impenetrable
yellow and green wall of 11th and 12th pace overall that apparently the
people who came in 13th through 19th, try as they might, couldn't
of the things I think so many people forget is that running is fun.
Once you develop a certain level of fitness, the possibilites are
endless. I try to make room every week to simply enjoy running for what
it is: A marvelous way to get from here to there, and back again.
Ok so 3 weeks have gone by since my completion of the Miwok 100k
in the Marin Headlands, California and it is time I finally put a race
report together. This was my second time to actually go beyond the 50
mile race distance in my almost 4 years of running ultras. I ran at
Miwok 100k very well 2 years ago (9:14 and 9th place overall).
Every runner had a dream list of things they want to accomplish.
Sometimes the list is “official” (whatever that means) and sometimes
it’s just a jumble of ideas that pop up during those long, solo night
runs. There is, of course, the quintessential list: running
rim-to-rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon, qualifying for Boston, buckling
at Badwater, or not puking after a 5K. Well regardless of what is on
your list you need to add one more thing…run a race in the nude.
Ever since getting on the La Sportiva Mountain Running Team two years
ago, I've at times felt a little undeserving and even out of place.
Most of the runs and races I do are not on mountains, but tall hills.
Plus, I had an altitude problem.
year’s Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run was completely sold out less than
5 minutes after online registration was opened. It was more difficult
to get into than opening night of one of those creepy teen vampire
movies. No doubt that the reason for this race’s popularity is the fact
that it exemplifies the ultramarathon experience. The race Director,
Blake Norwood, and his crew of volunteers consistently put together a
race that I can only describe as flawless.
I was looking forward to this year’s edition of the Way Too Cool 50k
not so much because I had won the race last year, but more so because
it was an opportunity to mix it up with super elites Max King and Geoff
Roes. It was an awesome experience to run with these superstars and at
the end of the day I was able to successfully defend my title in 3:41:47
with some help from Geoff who ran off course in the late stages of the
race after he had come from behind and took the lead.
de Oro State Park is one of my favorite running places and is home to
the PC Trail Runs, Montana de Oro 50k. My home is about 25 minutes from
the starting line and the race starts at 8:30AM – how about that. I get
to sleep in my own bed with no need to get up at 4AM or some other crazy
early time to get to the start. It's a short drive to run on one of my
favorite places on Earth. Now the thing that tops it all off is the
beautiful California central coast sunshine, big waves on the ocean and
weather around 70 degrees when most people are covered under many feet
Earlier this year I wrote that I wanted to chase a bear until it chased me back.
The Way Too Cool 50k
course is run along the forested canyons of the American River,
traversing some of the same trails used in the famous Western States 100
miler. The race is known as the first "major" ultra of the season and
attracts a quality field of athletes every year. New this year was an
extended course (it used to be Way Too Short) to make it a full 50k (31
miles). Temps at starting time were a crisp 38 degrees with a chilly
breeze that kept things on the cool side for most of the race. We were
lucky there was a full week of sunshine to dry out the course after a
I ran the 18th Annual Stinson Beach 25k
yesterday by Enviro-Sports
The course contains the best collection of single track in Mount
Tamalpais State Park and Muir Woods National Monument located just to
the north of San Francisco. Aside from the first mile on the Dipsea
Trail, I have never run most of these trails so there was something new
around every corner. There is also no shortage of elevation gain with
3,400 feet of up. However, the big story was the weather conditions,
which were some of the worst I have ever raced in
I had great memories of the Golden Hills Trail Marathon
from last year
so it was an easy decision to return this year. The marathon course
does a grand tour of the East Bay (CA) Regional Parks traveling through
Tilden, Sibley, Huckleberry, Redwood, and Lake Chabot Regional Parks.
There is ample hill climbing on the route with elevation gain totaling
over 5,800 feet. My favorite part of this point-to-point course is the
variety: from sweeping views of San Francisco to lush redwood forest,
the course passes through virtually all of the Bay Area ecosystems. The
race is also very well organized by ultrarunning legends Ann Trason and
Carl Andersen with great aid stations and a delicious post-race BBQ!
Sometimes it's too hard to choose between great races, so you just
have to do both. This weekend was another one of those where there were
two great events I didn't want to miss.