All posts tagged: trailrunning

Rabbit Peak 2017

A few years ago, when I ran Rabbit Peak for the first time, I called it the most challenging run or hike I’ve ever done. At 22 miles, it’s not big compared to most ultramarathons, yet it’s incredibly challenging with roughly 8,000 feet of elevation ascent (and an equal amount of descent), technical terrain, jumping cholla cactus, and a route that is determined more by sheer cliffs than by an navigable trail. Joe and Nicole Decker of Gut Check Fitness have held Rabbit Peak almost every year since 2012, but because the race isn’t hard enough on its own, they decided to up the ante for the 2017 edition. This year, rather than start the race at 6 a.m., Nicole yelled “go” just before sundown at 6 p.m. The race would take place overnight.  Running at night can be beneficial: there’s less heat, to start…and that’s about it. Temperatures that day hovered near 90°F, but by 5:30 p.m. they had cooled down just enough that I figured I should bring a sweater. Who knew what …

Review: The Trail Runner’s Companion by Sarah Lavender Smith

Last month I received a copy of Sarah Lavender Smith’s new book: The Trail Runner’s Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trail Running and Racing, from 5Ks to Ultras. I’ve read dozens of books on running (every other book on my Goodreads account is about running) and recently wrote an article, “What’s the Best Ultrarunning Book for You?” from beginner to elite. There are plenty of books I’d recommend to someone looking to try their first ultramarathon–but I would never recommend the same book to everyone, regardless of their skill set or experience in the sport. Not so with The Trail Runner’s Companion. At nearly 300 pages, The Trail Runner’s Companion is on the long side, but necessarily so. Totaling 14 chapters, each broken down into several sub-chapters with titles like “6 Ways to Adopt a Trail Runner’s Mindset” and “The Taper Crazies and Pitfalls to Avoid,” Sarah covers the spectrum of questions that every beginner might have: from buying the right trail shoes to handling rough terrain to race etiquette 101. From the beginning, Sarah makes …

Orcas 100: Why Not?

Photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama On the ferry ride over between Anacortes, Washington to our destination, Orcas Island, Nick replayed his whys over in his mind. I had a difficult time concealing my giddiness at a trip to Orcas–for one, I had never been but had heard of the island magic; for another, it was the Pacific Northwest and as a proud Pacific Northwesterner, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to smell coastal brine and the cleansing dampness of cedar forests. When Nick asked me my why, my reason for running Orcas 100, I almost laughed. Did I need a reason to run this race? Wasn’t the sheer beauty of the place enough?   “Because it was a chance to take this trip,” I said, my mind still full with images of our night in Seattle, stuffing our faces with seafood bisque and piroshkys and wandering so far and so long our feet were swollen before the race. Even on the drive to the ferry terminal earlier that morning, we had watched trumpeter swans, maybe even a …

How To Run a Very Long Way (& Have Fun the Whole Time)

*Please note, I originally wrote this post as an assignment for my MFA in Creative Writing. See the original blog post here: http://osucascadesmfa.com This past fall, I ran my first 50-mile race. I may or may not have been influenced by the promise of “You’ll love it!” and “You’ll feel great,” both of which were a draw and an improbable, unimaginable scenario. Can you truly enjoy running 50-miles? Can you learn to enjoy squeezing plastic pockets of gels that constitute one’s food during the race? Can you look forward to tromping into a tree-lined field to relieve yourselves on the dirt and, hopefully, finding a rock, twig, or other creative, organic substance that can serve as toilet paper? This is a step-by-step process to success, so, let’s start with the most important step: acceptance. So, here’s how to run a very long way & have fun the whole time: Acceptance Accept that, during your run, you will go through the emotions of anger, frustration, disappointment, and resentment. It doesn’t matter whether you are in first place …