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| HURL Elkhorn Endurance Runs
M&B staffer Jenny Stinson - along with subscriber friends Sparkle Paterson, Tina Hamilton, Joan Filipowski, Joyce Gebhardt, and Mary Graeff - tackled the mountains above Helena, Montana, at the HURL (Helena Ultra Runners League) Elkhorn Endurance Runs. While we were there, we met up with frequent M&B author, Rachel Toor, who set a new female grandmasters record at the HURL 50K of 7:43:49. Thanks to RD Steve Engebrecht for putting on a terrific event!
Between the Lines:
Marshall Ulrich on "Badwater"
In our special 100th issue, Theresa Daus-Weber profiled the 10 most important ultraraces in history.
And, of course, the list starts with the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, crossing Death Valley in California's Mojave Desert.
Billed as "the world's toughest footrace," fewer than 100 endurance athletes from around the world run the race each year. This ultra is historically important because, in addition to the unique geology and geography, Death Valley's very hot temperatures attract Badwater ultramarathoners who want to test their racing stamina in an environment adverse to human survival.
For some additional insights on Badwater, we turned to Marshall Ulrich.
Marshall set the record for the original 146-mile (235 km) race in 1991, with 33 hours and 54 minutes. Then, in 2001, he was the first runner to complete the "Badwater Quad," consisting of two back-to-back Death Valley 300s for a total of four consecutive Badwater/Whitney transits (a distance in excess of twenty-two marathons in ten days). Marshall is a record 4-time winner of Badwater and has crossed Death Valley on foot a record 26 times, including a 400+-mile self-supported circumnavigation of Death Valley last July/August.
Many people would want to know how you prepare for such a race. Additionally, how do you prepare for "when the plan isn't working"?
Preparing for Badwater is not much different than preparing for any other long distance run of 100 miles or more, except for the heat and endless pavement. Like any other event, it's important to train in the same environment and terrain you'll experience during the race. So, for Badwater, do heat training in the sauna or bundle up in dark clothing and run long miles on pavement.
When things aren't going as planned, you have to realize what's happening, accept it, problem solve, then implement a solution so you can keep moving. For instance, problems with hydration and electrolytic imbalance are common in Death Valley. Symptoms include bloating or weight loss/gain, and/or muscle cramps. If you're losing weight, you're getting dehydrated and need to increase fluid intake. If you're bloating and gaining weight, you may be drinking too much (plain) water thus not getting enough electrolytes (sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, potassium). If you're also cramping, you're probably not ingesting enough sodium and/or magnesium (magnesium relaxes muscles, while calcium aids muscle contraction). In addition to adjusting hydration and electrolyte intake, you may need to slow down or get out of the heat completely to let your body recover. The name of the game is to stay calm and implement a solution - not focus on the problem.
You often speak about the science of running. What's happening in the body in the confluence of extreme heat, increasing elevation, and demanding exertion?
In Death Valley the body is challenged mostly by the extreme heat, and I have found that the body is unable to absorb food as readily as it does with a typical 100-mile race; not that racing 100 miles is typical! I turn to diluted drinks that will then contain less sugar, but still afford calories that are essential. Protein drinks add calories and snack food such as chips, pretzels (love the ones with peanut butter in them), canned fruits with syrup, very small portions eaten often help with digestion. These small portions help by not taking blood flow from leg muscles to the stomach (which is required for digestion). The body is preoccupied trying to keep the core cool and appropriately is focused on staying hydrated. When Dave Heckman and I did the circumnavigation of Death Valley National Park, although we buried plenty of food in caches, I lost 10 pounds and Dave lost 25 pounds in just over 16 days. Our bodies were focused on shedding fat and getting leaner to keep cool. Additionally, even though we were heat trained before starting, after a few days our water consumption went down almost 30% as our bodies achieved a transformation. I've found that during these transformations, which include exertion and altitude, one must be patient, listen to your body, and let it be the guide for fueling and hydration.
If you could add one more race to our list of the 10 most important ultras, which would it be?
London to Brighton; it is the second oldest ultramarathon in the world and widely considered to be among the most prestigious until its retirement in 2005. The race had wide reaching popularity that extended into and influenced American ultrarunners such as Ted Corbitt (one of my favorites). Many of the Bunion Derby participants also ran this extraordinary event.
Marshall is the author of Running on Empty, which was reviewed by M&B
Marshall is also an acclaimed speaker for race expos, conventions, corporate events, and university programs. To learn more about having him speak to your group, contact us at [email protected]
Word on the Street
July 25-27, 2014
Run home to America's premier summer marathon. In July 2014 the Eugene Marathon moves to be part of a weekend celebration of running in TrackTown USA.
Imagine spending a summer weekend at the birthplace of distance running where you can run in the footsteps of history, watch elite athletes perform, and be a part of sport's future. That's the 2014 Eugene Marathon.
With an average temperature of 54 degrees at the starting line, times will be fast on this flat, beautiful course that includes 10 parks and miles of riverside trails. Finish inside historic Hayward Field, where legends like Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, and most recently world-record holder, Ashton Eaton, have competed.
This weekend is about one thing: the runner's experience. The weather, the hard-core running fans, grassroots community support, and overall experience make TrackTown USA the ideal place for America's premier summer marathon.
Runners rave about this race, which has been named a "Best of the Best Marathon." And now the Eugene Marathon is part of a memorable family summer vacation. Join us for an all-comers youth meet, a Celebration of Running Expo, and watch athletes from nearly 200 countries compete at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships.
For many, we say "welcome home." For the rest, we say "welcome home for the first time" to America's birthplace of distance running. Registration opens on September 9. Click here to sign up for the Eugene Marathon e-newsletter to receive a discount code when registration opens.
Talk on the Trail
Walker North Country Marathon
September 21, 2013Walker, Minnesota
The Walker North Country Marathon (WNCM) may be one of the smallest marathons in Minnesota, but it's big on scenery, beauty, and challenge. We have partnered with the Chippewa National Forest to bring you a race for those who love nature and would never be called "faint at heart." The course starts in the quaint, lakeside town of Walker, Minnesota, hugging the borders of Leech Lake (the 3rd largest lake in Minnesota). After winding through the blocks of our small town, you will venture out into the forest to enjoy vibrant fall colors, the sweet smell of wildflowers and leaves changing, and the clean air of nature unspoiled.
The Walker North Country Races includes the marathon, half marathon, 10K run/walk, and the kids' fun run. We are a Boston Marathon qualifying race! Walkers, runners, kids, strollers, and iPods are welcome on the course. This small town comes together to make the event a success. Each year we have over 500 runners and around 300 local volunteers to make sure your journey through the woods is safe and fun. Come and celebrate the life and land that is northern Minnesota! Click here
for more information.
Subscribers of the Month: Where are they now?
From time to time, we revisit the subscribers we have profiled to find out what they've been doing since we shared their stories. We checked in with a few of our featured folks...here are their updates.
Jonathan & Kathleen Wendel
Kathleen and Jonathan made it through the rigors of the training season for Comrades, complete with six marathons and a crazy number of hills! They recently ran the Comrades, on an UP year, and encountered the hottest day ever recorded in June, with headwinds. Despite the bonus winds, Jonathan and Kathleen enjoyed the experience immensely, and both finished with bronze medals. They are making plans to go back next year to do "the DOWN run."
When we profiled Sparkle at the beginning of this year, we shared her journey from the couch to the 5K to the 50K in only six years. In her first two years as an ultrarunner, she ran a total of four ultras. As she gained more experience and found her "sanctuary" on the trails, she has become an even more accomplished runner. Beginning with the Pickled Feet 12-Hour in March, she has already run five ultras so far this year, including the Weiser River 50K, Silver City 50K, McCall Trail Running Classic 40-miler, and the HURL Elkhorn 50K. She plans to finish off 2013 with the Foothills 50K Frenzy.
Remember the guy who clicks his heels at the finish line of every marathon he runs? A Marathon & Beyond charter subscriber, Michael has run 3,500 miles since March 2012, including six Boston Marathon qualifiers! He ran his first marathon in 1980, and this month,
he is running the Santa Rosa Marathon as his 95th overall "marathon and beyond."
Mark and Todd Foster
Brothers Mark and Todd Foster are a couple of "loonies" - literally. In June, this wacky duo ran the Loonies Midnight Marathon in Livingston, Tennessee ... wearing matching blue afro wigs. Mark says, "Folks didn't quite know how to take us. Smurfs? Crazies? Lose a bet?" Though they haven't revealed their running attire yet, they are running the ING New York Marathon this November, AND they are planning their biggest adventure to date: the Bartram Forest 100 this December in Milledgeville, Georgia, where they'll have 100 miles to ... well, do what they do.
|Upcoming Marathon & Beyond Events
Pikes Peak Ascent & Marathon Expo: August 16-17, 2013
Chicago Marathon Expo: October 11-12, 2013
Columbus Marathon Expo: October 18-19, 2013
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