ultra runners

Yesterday this wonderful girl right here completed her first 50K. It’s been a long road battling a broken ankle, surgery and all that fun stuff. By no means did she pick an easy race, with 6000’ of climbing and the race starting at 9,000 feet it was gonna be tough. 10 and ½ hours later, barely able to walk I was able to join her across the finish line. I am so proud of you Alex, you were determined to finish no matter what and that’s one of the most important traits as an ultra runner. Welcome to the club alexlovespancakes

the next goal:

-get back to 100%!

-get working on a 16-week training plan for my first 50 miler (ice age in wisconsin, may 10) by january 19th!

-in the meantime, aim to run these races:

lovin’ the hills 50k, february 8.

land between lakes marathon or 60k, march 8.

mad city 100k, april 12.


Adidas ThunderRun: One week to go…

The 44-mile trail ultra is completed. The 26.2-mile altitude marathon has been done. So what’s next? Well, I mentioned that I would be taking on a 24-hour race - the Adidas ThunderRun.

The race takes place next Saturday-Sunday in Derbyshire. Until now I thought I would be in a team of people of who were really only out for the atmosphere and experience of running through the night. This has all changed.

It turns out I’m in a team of serious runners. I’ll be running with Simon Freeman, a 2:37 marathon runner who has just spent five weeks training on the trails around Mont Blanc and Tobias Mews who recently conquered the Marathon de Sables. These guys are the kind of guys who go out to win. I’m now feeling the pressure.

For those who don’t know how this works, the ThunderRun title is competed for on a 10km off-road course. The only rules are that each team must have one runner on the course at all times and runners must complete a full lap before changing over. The rest is up to the teams.

I’ve done some rough calculations and based on an average 40-min 10km, our team will cover 36 laps. That means I’d personally have to do around 4.5 laps with 4.5 hour intervals over the entire 24-hour period.

This should be doable. But I’ve never run in the proper darkness, or with a head torch or at 3am in the morning. So this week I have a cunning plan. I’m going to run a 10km to work, do another 10km at lunchtime. Then another 10km home from work. Then finish up with an early-hours 10km that evening. This should replicate what I’ll be asking my body to do come Saturday.

Oh and I’ll also need to locate a head torch. Or hope that all those carrots I was told to eat as a kid really do pay off.


More from AR50!

Video courtesy of a member from my running group, “gO!”. 


I just saw this documentary last night. These guys ran a total of 170 marathons in 111 days to be the first people to run across the Sahara desert. Brilliant film. I rented it from iTunes. All my running buddies, check it out! My question is, who are going to be the first girls to run it? We’ll have to wait until Libya/Egypt/etc. reach equilibrium I suppose…Oh well, time to train ;)

Weekly recap, sunny so-cal edition

Been a little while since my last update.  I was in Ventura all last week for a work event and didn’t have much empty time.  I was also hungover for pretty much 5 days straight.  But I still got some workouts in on a pretty gorgeous route along the Pacific Ocean.

Monday: I got to the hotel at about 5:00 after traveling all day.  I forced myself to do a 5 mile run.

Tuesday: The only day that I woke up feeling okay.  I got in a 10 miler with a bunch of work people - my ragnar team for next August.

Wednesday: No cool picture, but I did my first legit speed workout since probably last September.  I took advantage of the bountiful oxygen at sea level and tried to let loose and fly.  I did 800m intervals on the treadmill, progressively faster with 800m recoveries at 8:30.  I did 7:30, then 7:00, then 6:40, then 6:20.  Then I wrapped up with 400m at 6:00 flat with the last .05 at 5:40.  It felt REALLY good to run fast for once.  It’s amazing the difference it makes dropping 5300 feet of elevation.  There was almost nothing I could do to feel like I was over-exerting myself.  I felt like I could breathe underwater.

Thursday: Mega hungover 5 evening miles.  At this point my ankle was starting to bother me, but I wanted to get in as many miles as I could at flat sea level.

Awful selfie to prove to my kids that I was at the ocean.  They didn’t believe me.  I cut my hair all off yesterday.

Friday: I was pretty much the walking dead on Friday after days of too much alcohol and not enough sleep.  I played basketball with some far younger, far more skilled co-workers.  I love basketball but I suck at it.  I’m an okay shooter in a non-game situation.  But in a game I don’t even try.  I also have bad handles.  My primary value comes from what i can do with effort level and fitness: defense, rebounding, pushing the pace.  I was the defensive stopper on a lot of guys much better/taller than me.  So I got a serious workout from playing for an hour+.  I was sore for 3 days afterwards.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday: pain and recovery.

On the injury front, my back is doing much, much better.  My right ankle is doing worse.  My left arch is okayish.  I figure this is a good enough place to be for now.  I have another 6-8 weeks of PT to focus on my ankle and feet, I guess.

I went for a run today over lunch.  Got in 5 miles and did it reasonably fast.  Like an 8:12 pace, which is pretty good for me for a lunch time run.  I’m usually at my best early in the morning and jacked up on caffeine.  Felt like crap on my ankle for a while, then I started running faster and a little bouncier in the second half and it felt better.  I seem to have taught myself how to run really flat-footed in the last year.  I don’t know if I was subconsciously trying to preserve my knees by really limiting my bounce or if I was just trying to conserve energy over 20+ miles by keeping my motion as efficient as possible.  But it really doesn’t feel very good.  The more I push my knees, the better it feels on my feet.  It’s something to experiment with and it will probably make me stronger.

On the diet front, I’m doing okay.  I was actually on top of things the first couple of days in Ventura - eating salads and meat.  But Tuesday night I finally gave up on that and ate all of the delicious stuff in front of me.  Then when I got back, i didn’t even try to keep the wheels on - staring down a big superbowl party.  Now that I’m back at work and in the routine, I’m doing well again.  I didn’t slip for long enough to lose the habits that I’d put myself in.

Plan for the week was climbing tomorrow, run thursday, climb friday, and do a semi long run saturday morning before going to Steamboat for a snowboarding weekend.  Not sure if I’ll be able to cram that all in or not with a busy work week.  But that’s the plan.

I have been working very very hard to change the inner narrative I have. To change the habits of my mind. Today, I realized that I can, with patience and perseverance and strict non-indulgence. My brain tells me “you suck, you should stop.”, I counter, “whatever you say” and keep going. I acknowledge it and let it go, not hold tight to it like it is truth. It is not the truth. I am worthy, I am enough. Running is an incredibly opportunity to test myself and to learn so much and I am truly grateful for it and for the small victories I can have like today in being brave and truly daring greatly.
—  Devon Yanko,