The Background: Last weekend, I walked into the wild. I made my debut at the 100k distance (62 miles), racing the USATF 100k National Championships in Madison, Wisconsin. This undertaking was no less than 50 kilometers further than I had ever run (having run a couple 50 km races, I had dipped my toes in the ultra running waters, but was by no means initiated). Thrilling, brutal, and overarchingly long, the experience was singular.
“Two things are worth remembering: 1) you will never achieve great things with small goals; and 2) there is no guarantee you will have another chance tomorrow.” –Lazarus Lake The Barkley Marathons. The stuff of legends and where dreams are put to rest. I’ve been dreaming about Barkley since 2005 when Jim Nelson told me about his successful 5 loop finish the previous year and 2016 would be my chance to turn dreams into reality.
I arrived at the Barkley calmer than ever before. This being my third time “out there” I didn’t have the fears of getting lost that had previously haunted me. I also wasn’t worried about sleeping through the conch, so I racked up a lot of hours in my sleeping bag the two days prior. I was happy to have slept all the way until the conch sounded race morning at 9:43am.
Every serious runner has seen that nasty porta-potty, streams of toilet paper guiding you to its repugnant entrance like the yellow brick road. The welcoming smell beckons a gag even after unsuccessful attempts to mouth breath as you approach its daunting entrance. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. I bet any passionate runner would prance on in, lick the seat, and even seal a deal with the devil himself to avoid something much worse.
We want to hear your running stories. What inspired you to start running? To keep running? To push yourself beyond what you initially thought possible? Share in the comments below.
Since becoming a trail and ultra runner, I have spent many hours training, which gives me time to reflect on who I am, why I do what I do and what my passions in life are.For those unfamiliar with endurance running, an ultra or ultra marathon is any race that is longer than the 26.2 miles required to complete a marathon. Below are some things I have learned about myself through running.
I’ve always been someone who just loves to run. I’ve never felt like I “needed” to run. I’ve never depended on it for sanity or therapy. I just love it. The mindless repetition of one foot in front of another. The exploration of new areas of my city. The adventure of exploring a new trail. Racing up a hill until my lungs burst. Dancing between rocks while floating downhill—albeit dancing awkwardly because I have no rhythm and when I float, it’s more like a feather falling in a herky jerky motion.
I’ve changed states a number of times in the short time that I’ve been an adult in “the real world” (not college). If there’s one thing it’s taught me, it’s how to learn to connect with other people with similar interests, or in this case, how to find the trail running community. It may seem like an easy task—just search on Facebook for the nearest run group, right? But fitting a group run into a training plan and around work and life can be difficult.
At mile 20 I felt like running was the easiest thing ever and maybe the course record would go down. Five miles later I realized this wouldn’t happen since my legs were already sore, even though my heart rate and effort were low. And so it goes with 100 milers – big highs and crappy lows. Rocky Raccoon is known for being a flat and fast trail 100 miler, but the normal course still has 5,500ft of vertical gain and lots of roots to trip up unwary or tired legs.
I recently got asked if I struggle with motivation. Being dedicated to the sport of running, I do suffer with lack of motivation from time to time. Being unmotivated is an obstacle every runner deals with. It’s a constant struggle overcoming that obstacle, but evidently “the desire to run is always greater than any obstacle.” We as runners need to find out WHY we are unmotivated and WHAT we need to do to overcome this, to bounce back, to focus on the task or goal ahead.
It had been a little over a month since I competed at The North Face Endurance Challenge in San Francisco. That was the first 50 mile race that I had specifically trained for. It was a good day. I was able to run head to head with some of the best Ultra runners in the country, and in the end I came away with an understanding of what would be necessary to possibly… one day… win a race like that.
Congratulations to Altra Endurance Team members Jeff Browning and Candice Burt at some amazing finishes this weekend. The HURT 100 is a challenging course throughout the Hawaiian rain forest. It is one of the more challenging ultra marathons in the world. Jeff took first among the men in 21:22:49 Photo by Allen Lucas Candice took second among the women in 31:28:04
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” – Nelson Mandela Never stop climbing! #ZeroLimits PC: Ambassador Brandon Yonke (@brandon_yonke_running)
“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” -Arthur Blank
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills Nothing better than a little motivation for your Monday. Time to kill it this week! #ZeroLimits
I’ve been shooting film and video for 50 years, even longer than the 40 I’ve been running and hiking. Now I combine the two when I produce trail videos for my Treadmill Trails mobile app. I mount my GoPros to a Steadicam—a camera stabilizing bracket that makes it possible to produce smooth, steady video when I move through uneven terrain. The Steadicam “floats” and stabilizes the camera—and I float and stabilize the Steadicam.
Our Black Friday deals are here! We’ve got shoes and gear up to 50% off! And without having to go to the store? It’s a no-brainer. Check out the deals at www.altrarunning.com and find the right shoes for you or a friend!
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” John Muir’s words ring true no matter the context.
Well, the numbers are in and the US Skyrunner Series has gone final. This is great news for fans across the ultra and trail running scenes. This was the first year that we had a US Series and it seemed to do pretty well. Altra had some strong representation out at the races with some great placements by Paul Hamilton, Josh Arthur and Ashley Erba. Each stood on the podiums at the Continental Championships in July.
Weekly Motivation – November 9, 2015 Just one thought… Don’t stop believin’.
Although he wasn’t known to be a runner, J.R.R. Tolkien sure knew how to move with his words. We’re itching to explore and #EmbraceTheSpace now!
This week’s weekly motivation is plain and simple… “Worry less. Run More.”
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” – Og Mandino
Just over a month ago, the ultrarunning world gathered around Chamonix, France to partake in the glory that is known as Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). This is heralded as the grandaddy of ultra events in the world, the biggest of the events being the run around Mont-Blanc that pins the greatest runners against each other to see who can tackle such a rigorous event. Our very own Endurance Team member, Jeff Browning was out there among other runners from our team, runners like Sondre Amdahl, Nicole Studer, Michele Graglia, and Brian Beckstead (Altra Co-Founder).
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” – John Bingham Thanks to ambassador Heather Jenson for the great photo! A strong runner who loves the sport of running for what it is.
There are #ZeroLimits to hard work. “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.” – Roger Bannister
If you had 54 days of your summer free and available, how would you spend them? Well, Altra athlete and long distance thru-hiker Heather “Anish” Anderson decided to spend her summer days setting a self-supported speed record on the Appalachian Trail, finishing her journey yesterday at the south end. Hers included much less fanfare than the one earlier this summer, but she did it all by herself—no crew, no pacers, no vans, no party at the end.
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” – Peter Drucker PC: Paul Nelson
The World of Mountain Running This Saturday, September 19th, 2015 the best mountain runners from over 30 countries will compete at the annual World Mountain Running Championships in Snowdonia, North Wales. This is the 31st running of the race, which is hosted in a different country each year. While the sport is very well established and popular in Europe, the knowledge and opportunities to compete are still increasing throughout North America.
To run without tiring, that is the goal to push for. – Zero Limits
I am in the best shape of my life and am ready to race the 2015 Leadville Trail 100. Only once before have I managed to fit truly high-level training into my schedule before running an ultra—two summers ago, when I placed fourth at Leadville. My goals this year are to make the podium and finish under 18 hours. Just 21 runners have broken 18 hours since 1983. I have a daughter of less than two years, and my son is less than two weeks old.
We love seeing our athletes podium. Seeing multiple podiums in one weekend? Phenomenal. This past weekend we saw four of our Athletes reach the podium in two different countries. Eiger Ultra Trail Left to right: Schlarb, Jenzer, Quelhas Over in Switzerland, Altra Athlete Jason Schlarb finished the 2015 Eiger Ultra Trail with an 11:50:58 2nd place finish, just minutes behind winner Urs Jenzer (11:44:30), and nearly 40 minutes in front of 3rd place finisher David Quelhas (12:34:21).
As the 27th of June gradually approaches every fan of ultra running has the countdown set to that Saturday morning. If you are among those that are not in or around Squaw Valley and Auburn California you will be sitting down to your morning cup of coffee and indulging in the various viewpoints of race coverage of the famed Western States 100 mile endurance run. Many twitter apps will be set to watch the hashtag #WS100 or following the great feed from iRunFar or also having the various live streams up on their computer from Ultra Sports Live.
This Father’s Day weekend, we would like to honor the fathers who have inspired us to run, to work hard, and to believe in ourselves. We reached out to our Athletes and Ambassadors to ask them how they have been inspired by their fathers, and how some of them have inspired others as fathers themselves. Jenny Lyzinski “I’ve been in love with running since I was a little kid and that’s all because of my dad.
I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in going into the World Championships in Italy. My training wasn’t what I had planned leading up to race day. I had raced a lot in the fall and winter (Tunnel Hill 100 11⁄14, Desert Solstice 12⁄13, and Bandera 1/9…3 races in 2 months). I realized after Bandera I needed a break, but how much? After all, the World Championships, one of my two “A” races for the year, was only 3 months away.
Originally posted on dizruns.com In the world of ultramarathoning, there are those that run/race hard and there are those that simply embrace the challenge. And then there is Ras Vaughan. Ras Vaughan, photo by Kathy Vaughan Ultrapedestrian Ras is a pioneer in the ultra/backpacking/thru-hiking world. He is the holder of many OKTs, or only known times, and is always looking for new ways to do run/hike a trail/distance/event that has never been done before.
Originally posted on dizruns.com Kyle Curtin is flying under the radar in the ultra marathon scene, but if he keeps winning races he won’t be able to lurk in the shadows much longer. He made his debut in the ultra world running the Ozark 100, and did just about everything wrong. But he finished it, and the next year came back for more. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What are you scared of? What’s stopping you from reaching your goals? This week’s motivation to keep working comes from the poem “Our Deepest Fear” from the book Return to Love by Marianne Williamson: it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
Altra Ambassador Loukia Lili-Williams, PhD– www.loukialili.blogspot.com Maturing as an athlete is a lot more than just getting faster or becoming more efficient. I believe that what makes an athlete mature is a great mindset. From my own small-world perspective, my athletic attitude has changed dramatically over the past three years. I remember my first season that started in September 2011: I was restless. I wanted to train every day.
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt” – John Muir
February 14. To most couples the events of this day are a given. Guy has flowers delivered to his sweetheart at work and picks up gourmet chocolates on his way home. Girl presents a thoughtful card to guy and dresses up for a romantic dinner out. The couple spends the evening basking in each other’s love and adoration. My husband and I aren’t “most couples”. We have two kids, four jobs, and spend the majority of our discretionary time running, thinking about running, or planning for the next run.
Race day is almost here! You’ve put in the hours, trained your heart out, made countless sacrifices and are hopefully feeling fit, strong and confident. If this is your first Ironman 70.3 and you are like me you are feeling a bit excited and slightly nervous. Ok, very nervous. While proper training and preparation is key to getting you to the starting line, your ability to stay calm and focused on race day will ultimately define your outcome.
The first time I thought about ultra running, I was smack in the middle of a 2,650 mile hike across the country. The Pacific Crest Trail runs from Mexico to Canada, following a continuous tread through California, Oregon and Washington. At that point I was entirely self-supported–carrying all my gear–routinely cranking out 30+ mile days. The prospect of traversing the 31 miles that an ultra entailed sounded…well, to be quite honest?
The holidays have arrived, and chances are you may still be looking for creative gifts for the runner in your life. We’ve gathered a list and checked it twice, we even asked our Ambassadors what gifts would be nice! Here are our favorite gift picks for runners: The Homemade Gift: This idea comes from Ambassador Ras Vaughan: Get a thumb drive (or create a podcast playlist) and upload lots of running/trail/ultra/hiking/adventure podcasts, they’re especially great for long runs.
“Unbelievable is the word of the day. A 2:42:35 marathon in this body is unbelievable.” After shaving 14 minutes off my marathon time since June, and running an Olympic Trials Qualifyier at the Indy Monumental Marathon I wanted to give each of you some advice for cruising to a great race day performance. Here’s my main piece of advice for training for a PR: One thing that helped me to PR was to determine my biggest weakness in races and trust in my strength.
Today Altra Endurance Team member Larisa Dannis cruised to a record setting time at the 50 Mile National Championship race at the Door County Fall 50. She set a new course record, National Championship time record and one of the top 5 fastest 50 mile times in history for any female. Cruising to a sub 6 hour finish and claiming the title as the fastest 50 mile female in the United States she is awestruck.
The Iron Cowboy: Thoughts from Kona Altra Athlete and Ironman Triathlete Tommy Rivers Puzey @tommy_rivs caught up with Altra Athlete James Lawrence AKA The Iron Cowboy @IronCowboyJames last weekend at the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona HI. In 2010, James set a world record by completing 22 half-iron distance races in just 30 weeks! Each race consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. Some of these races were completed back to back with one on Saturday and then another on Sunday.
The famed Ultra-Trail Mont-Blanc took place this past weekend and Altra was well represented by Jason Schlarb, mountain runner extraordinaire. Jason has spent the past 3 months in Europe with his wife, Maggie, and son, Felix. They have been touring the Alps and he has been training and racing with a 100% focus on this epic event around Mont-Blanc starting in Chamonix. It has been great to watch and follow the Schlarb family on their excursion and it all paid off this weekend.
Larisa Dannis, one of our stellar Altra Athletes, had an impressive performance at Western States 100. After hanging with the top women throughout the race Larisa took 2nd place at 18:29:20, crossing the line with her signature smile. Larisa is having an amazing race season, and we asked her to share 3 training tips to help you stay smiling next time you have a challenging race ahead- 1. Don’t neglect strength training.
I can remember like it was yesterday sitting in the Orthopedist’s office back in 2010 and hearing the Doctor say, “You need to quit running, you need to just give it up, running isn’t for everyone.” Those words felt like a knife going into my heart. I loved to run, and everything about running. This could not be true! About 10 months earlier, I was competing in the Bear Run that runs 5 miles up Grandfather Mountain in NC.
As I stare out the window watching the ground below me while listening to John Butler Trio through my headphones, I have a smile on my face. Ok, maybe more of a cheeky grin but I am happy. I am flying back from Memphis where I have spent the last few days for the Memphis in May triathlon on Sunday. This race is part of the 5150 series and has a unique experience with a time trial start.
We sat down with Altra Ambassador Gabe Grayum to talk about the best aspects of family adventures. Tell us about your Yosemite trip, what were the highlights? I grew up 90 minutes from Yosemite Valley, but hadn’t been back in a number of years. This was my son’s first visit and we didn’t have any big objectives. Just getting to witness his first experiences there was a lot of fun, starting with hearing him exclaim “Wow!
We asked some of our Ambassador Team, Endurance Team, and Founders to share what their Mom has taught them: “My mom engrained in my head that I am in charge of my own destiny. I used to trust everyone and was so naive. She helped me understand that I need to be self sufficient and able to provide for myself regardless of what others promise.” -Lauren Goss
2013 San Juan Solstice 50: Myself (3rd), Dakota Jones (1st & New CR), Jason Schlarb (2nd) Everyone always talks about “living the dream” in regards to traveling, following your passion, etc. I hear it often from friends who see the photos I post of my adventures in the mountains, the places I go, and the things I see, but I still feel like my “dream life” has been just out of reach.
New Goals, New Shoes! Enter to win a new pair of Altras to help you accomplish your 2014 goals! There are 2 easy ways to enter; 1. follow us on Twitter: @altrazerodrop 2. Tweet your goals for 2014 using the hashtag #Rethink2014 Don’t have a Twitter account? No problem, you can enter by leaving a comment below telling us what your 2014 goals are. Contest begins December 20th, and ends December 30th at 11:59 pm
Recently, I shared “5 Ways I Survive My Long Runs” and opened with a paragraph apologizing for the word “long” and recognizing that what’s long for me — 60 minutes or more — is just a warmup for others. My friend Jamie, who is an incredible inspiration to me and one of the reasons I first laced up my own sneakers, is fast (like really fast) and a long distance runner (like really long).
Scott Dunlap discusses the newest running technologies that will soon be available. Drop us a comment below and tell us; which technology would be most helpful in your training?
I have commenced my last block of racing before my season is complete. It is a solid schedule and to start with I have three races on back to back weekends starting with the Chicago Triathlon. I went to Chicago for the first time last year and enjoyed my time there but I didn’t race very well. This year I was better prepared while my main focus is for the following weekend at the Hy-Vee triathlon.
On Sunday I raced the very competitive Boulder Peak Triathlon. I have been playing around with my bike position recently as I have been struggling to maintain my power and be comfortable in a long effort. After having a reassuring call with my coach Ben and my bike fitter Aaron at Faster I dropped my saddle about 3mm. It felt great straight away and it was a very small move. I was excited to be racing out my front door here in Boulder on the roads that I train on daily!
We’re running a contest on Pinterest to win a free pair of Altras. Follow the instructions on the image and post the link to your board here. 3 winners will be selected and the contest will end August 11th.
As per tradition (year 4), we headed to Pittsburgh for a weekend of running, food, and friends. This trip was special- AB (future husband) had voiced his interest in running a few months back, and asked me to pace him for the 5K. What a great weekend! Showing off my Altra Intuition 1.5 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh
Invite your friends to experience Altra Zero Drop Footwear and we’ll give you $10 off any product at AltraZeroDrop.com for every purchase they make. Plus, we’ll send your friends a 15% OFF coupon to use on their Altra purchase! You’re already spreading the word, get rewarded! Click here to get started.
On Saturday, March 2, I ran the Phoenix Marathon. I had trained really hard for the past four months and was excited to get another (my ninth) marathon under my belt. For the first time that I can remember, I even got through the entire training cycle without any major injuries, and I give most of that credit to my switch to Altra shoes. I had high hopes for this race and was aiming for a sub-3:40 time, which would qualify me for Boston.
The contest to win a spot in the Boston Marathon has been closed early due to a miscommunication with the Boston Marathon entry rules. We apologize for any inconvenience, unnecessary excitement and/or hyperventilation this may have caused. Thank you for your awesome responses & participation. As always we look forward to hearing from our Altramaniacs & helping you with your goals.
There are literally hundreds of ideas I could share on getting and staying motivated to get out and go run. Unfortunately, I don’t have the finger strength and doubt any of you have the interest in reading all of those. So I’ll focus on five main ideas that can help you get up, get dressed and get out the front door. 1. Value-based goal setting: I’m not one for creating and targeting random goals.
Many runners turned out to the innagural Runner’s World Half and Festival to run with their running heroes, the Runner’s World editors. There were the likes of Bart Yasso, Jeff Dengate, David Willey and others. We were so happy to be able to take part in it, but most fun was to capture the great reasons why so many of you run. “Runners state the reasons they run” From Why I Run, posted by Altra Running on 11/14/2012 (77 items)
Attention Altramaniacs! We know our fans are always going on crazy adventures. It is time to capture them and share them with the world! Because we want to be inspired by our fans in the great outdoors, Altra has teamed up with Venturepax to do a contest of epic proportion. Check out their website, create a profile and document your next adventure with photos, videos and your own commentary.
Awesome job James! 20 full 140.6 triathlon races so far in 2012. A new world record!
Whether you run 100 mile ultra marathons or run around in your backyard, we want to know why you started and where you are going. Tell us your story for a chance to be featured on our blog! Please include the following: -Your story! What motivated you to start running? (2-5 paragraphs) -Future races (if any) -A picture of you (preferably 3-4) -Your favorite pair of Altras -Advice to potential runners
At this time summer is now well under way. Many are holding on to whatever running time they can that is not in the dead heat of the day. We find time early in the morning, late at night, or at much higher altitudes to get in our training for the big race months of August and September. Many of you may have been involved in a race event this weekend whether prior to the holiday or directly on the holiday.
Altra was at the Boston Marathon Expo over the weekend experiencing much success! Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth and supported us. We are glad that runners are responding well to our footwear which allows for a more natural running experience and proper running technique. Congrats to Geoffrey Mutai for setting a new marathon world record on a difficult Boston course! Amazing. Want to see where Altra will be next?
As a company we are grateful for the opportunity to be living our dream of producing truly biomechanically correct running footwear to the masses. Despite the many challenges and setbacks, we are thankful for the opportunity to see things coming along slowly but surely. We are grateful to be able to offer better health and strength to all through improved form and fitness with both shoes that encourage it as well as proper running technique education.