Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"There is no better run than the one you are currently on.  
Do not aspire to do better on the next run, until this one is completed."
Keith Pippin- The Rules of Ultrarunning

I am literally suffocating in the water.  This damn wet suit is too tight around my neck, so I tread water and unzip it in the back, leaving the pull cord to twist into my right arm with each stroke.
The pack leaves me.  I roll over on my back and start to backstroke.
"Just relax." I tell myself....but it doesn't happen.  I'm hyperventilating.
The men in the next wave start passing me, and there's the guy in the canoe.  I want to quit so badly, and tell myself that maybe today is the day that I just cheer on my friends.
But I'm signed up for Ironman Texas in May!
If I can't get through this, how will I ever get through the full iron man?
All I can think about is the full iron man.
"What the hell was I thinking signing up for that?" I ask myself as I breaststroke to the next buoy.
 "Jeesh Jennifer- you have to get through THIS swim first!"  I tell myself, and I start a freestyle stroke to the next buoy.   And the next.  And the next.  And I settle in and swim the last 800 meters with ease.  I could keep going now if I had to.

I'll make it up on the bike.
I do pass a lot of people.  It's hilly and I'm hanging, but by mile 40 my ass starts to hurt and my right hamstring is screaming. I'm ready to be off of this machine.
 "How will I ever ride 2X this distance?"  I ask myself.
 It's getting hot and I'm starting to sweat, dreading the run that is to come.  "There's no better ride than the one you are currently on, " I tell myself, and I head into T2.
Getting off of the bike, I know I could have kept going.

I think the clock says I'm over 4 hours in.  The last half iron man I did was in 5:30.  How the hell did I do that?
"There's no better run than the one you're currently on," I tell myself, and I hobble into the run.
Just before mile 2 I see Jorge on his way in from the first loop, and he's walking.  "It's going to be a long day." he says as the temps crawl to 85 degrees.  I'm overcome with a huge wave of relief.  He's having a rough day too.  As a matter of fact, it seems almost everyone is having a rough day.  I turn on "ultra mode," walking all aid stations and the uphills.
"How will I ever do twice this distance?" I ask myself once again.
There is no better run than the one you are currently on.
I shove ice down my bra at each aid station, and eat from it as I go along.
 3 loops, 13.1 miles done.
I'm so glad to finish, but secretly I know, I could have kept going.

The big picture is scary isn't it?  We worry so much about what the future holds for us, that we often forget that there is no better run than the one we are currently on.  This morning I woke up next to my love.  Today I was blessed to work with inspiring clients.  Tonight, I ate until my belly was full and my kids made me laugh so hard that wine spewed out of my nose.
There is no better run than the one I was on today, helping a client go her longest distance ever. And  I have faith that tomorrow will bring a relaxing swim, and this weekend holds an exhilarating bike ride.
And you know what?
One day, you will call me Ironman, because in this race of life I have learned one thing....
Just keep going.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Running Your First Ultra

Running your First Ultra Distance Race
by Coach Jennifer Kimble

You’re intrigued.  You’ve run a few marathons, and have friends that have run ultras.
“I could never do that!” you say, but deep down you wonder…….do I have it in me?

The sport of trail running is becoming more and more popular in our busy, concrete world.  We long to get out and play and find solace in nature.  And while some ultras are done on paved paths, most can be found on single track trails through thick forests, mountainous regions, beaches or deserts.  

Ultra running has its challenges for sure, but with that comes exciting opportunities.  
You learn to relax. Gone are the mile markers and obsessing spit times of the marathon.  Every course brings it’s own test, and each day is a new PR dictated by terrain, weather and your body’s decision to cooperate.  Breathtaking courses and the social aspect of these races allow you to enjoy the time you spend outdoors.  

To begin training for an ultra, it is recommended that you have a few marathons under your belt, a current long run of at least 20 miles, and are running 40-60 miles per week.  
Training for an ultra is not that different from training for a marathon.   One change is that you extend your long run, and many ultra runners do back to back weekend long runs to learn to run on tired legs.  For a 50K, you will want to do one or more runs of at least 5 hours; and for a 50-100 mile race you should do one or more runs of 6-10 hours of duration.  The good news is that these runs will be done at an easy pace, with regular walk breaks as fast walking is a skill that can be trained for (and will be used!) during your race.  
These long runs teach you to become self-sufficient, and give you a hint of some of the trials you will face on race day.  Ultra races require more calories, so honing in on nutrition and  hydration during these long runs is essential.  Follow the rule of specificity by making your training look like the race. Train not just for the distance, but also the terrain.

Self sufficiency is a prerequisite for ultra running.  It is your personal responsibility to take care of your nutrition, navigation, hydration and safety.  The aid stations will be farther apart than they are in a marathon, sometimes up to 4 hours!  If you are doing a 100 mile race, I strongly recommend a pacer for the later miles.

Determination and mental fortitude is crucial! The question in an ultra becomes not “if”, but “when”. When you hit that wall, what will you do?  Take in calories? Electrolytes? Rest? What do you need to fix the situation?  Train your brain. It's a mental sport.

Running your first ultra is a life changing experience.  You CAN do it, but it will take hard work, determination and a willing, humble spirit.  

As Seth Godin said, “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”  

Saturday, October 4, 2014


"Life is either a great adventure 
or nothing."  
Helen Keller

I am dying a slow death in this city.
Suffocating in pollution and politics.  Trapped in traffic and tragedy. Confined in sense and suburbia.
The stronghold of my wanderlust is so tenacious that sometimes I feel like an addict jonesing for the next hit.
It's one of those days.  My gypsy soul ran by me tonight, spanked me on the ass. and begged me to go play with her.
And here I am- left longing for her beauty.

She promised the reflection of white capped mountain peaks on glassy waters, and air so fresh I could see my breath.  She teased me with the taste of cool rivers that wash away tears when splashed on a dusty face. We fantasized about aspen forests, our necks straining to catch a glimpse of the golden treetops through rays of twilight.
Scampering through fields of wildflowers, her long hair flowing behind her,  a sunset from the heavens shimmered rays of tired heaviness and tranquility.
Satisfied and full we fell into restful slumber, my ancestors calling to me with their siren song....
"It's all here.  We're just waiting for you."

Awaking to the choke hold of reality and pining for the next ticket out.....
Dreaming will never be enough.  And so I set my intention.