Inspiration 

 

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) has been on my radar for about 4 years since my pal Chelsea Blanchard showed me the video, “Curiosity” starring Rory Bosio, saying something along the lines of “this woman is your spirit animal.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching. I was in awe of the energy and spirit of the race, and knew I just had to experience it someday. In the summer of 2016 I ran the course (Tour du Mont Blanc, which circumnavigates Mont Blanc and passes through France, Italy and Switzerland) with two of my medical school classmates Beth and Audrey, after that (2017) I went back and ran the Mont Blanc 10km. In 2018, I ran the reverse Haute Route (Zermatt to Chamonix) with my boyfriend (now husband) Tyler and our friends Ben and Katie. All these trips in some way were spurred on by my fascination with UTMB, and this finally culminated in running CCC this year. While UTMB circumnavigates Mont Blanc, CCC goes around about half of it. It is a 101 kilometer mountain race with 20,000 feet of climbing. It starts in Courmayeur, Italy, winds through Switzerland and ends in Chamonix, France. The UTMB races draw many of the fastest athletes of the world, and has been called the “Super Bowl” of trail running. 

It’s difficult to practice something when you only do it maybe two times a season. Sure I run hundreds of training runs in a year, and thousands in my lifetime so far, but a 100 mile race is categorically different than even the longest training runs I do. Over the past handful of years I have nearly always run 100 mile races in foreign countries, with lots of pressure and time zones to cross getting there. Mostly I have not fared well. There are a lot of reasons for this which I won’t dive into fine detail here. This past weekend I decided to do something a little different, to try and work on things during a 100 mile race where I was more concerned with the process and less so with the outcome. I found the perfect opportunity at Scout Mountain Ultras, a race expertly put on by Luke Nelson and crew up in Pocatello Idaho. For those who are not aware, this is an amazing mountain 100 miler, covering huge climbs, technical trail (and a solid amount of snow in this edition). I was also warned to be on the lookout for moose at the mile 35 aid station (spoiler, I didn’t get so lucky to see any). If I were you I’d put Scout Mountain on your shortlist for 2020. Here is what I learned:

Always pound cold brew at mile 80

There is a lot of hard work between having a vision for a dream race, and having runners roll up to the starting line at 6AM on a Saturday morning. I think a huge thank you to Ethan Newberry (The Ginger Runner) and Kim Teshima-Newberry is first in order. These two thought up an awesome concept and produced a world class race. I can’t thank them, the volunteers, and sponsors enough. 

Likely trail running’s fastest middle school teacher, Tyler Green started 2019 off with a bang by winning Bandera 100k and earning himself a Golden Ticket into Western States 100. Last year he set the fastest known time on the 40 mile Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood and placed 3rd at the Sean Obrien 100K. He has lived in Nepal and Libya, and been running competitively since he got his start on the 2nd grade cross country team. Get to know a little more about Tyler in the following interview that digs into his 2019 racing schedule, love of teaching and must read books. 

It’s been a few years now that David and I have talked about a long list of places where we might be able to host an in person running trip. As a business which primarily serves online coaching clients Trails and Tarmac has been wanting to roll out some more in person offerings. This year we think we have found the perfect trip. 

The Wonderland Trail circumnavigates Mt Rainier, perhaps the most impressive peak in the entire lower 48 United States. It’s 93 miles in length and has around 25,000ft of elevation gain and loss. It’s a daunting task with only a few access points. I was lucky enough to be able to do the trail in a single day last September, but this method of seeing this route left me wanting a different kind of experience. This September 11-14 David and I along with 11 other adventurous trail lovers will be having that experience.

Our newest coach is Rachel Drake! A few weeks after a second place finish at the 2019 US 50K Trail Championships Rachel won the Trail du Ventoux 46km. Last year she won the Waldo 100K and USA Trail Marathon Championships in Moab. Between great races Rachel pursues her MD/PhD at Oregon Health and Science University, with a focus on metabolism. We are thrilled to have her joining the Trails and Tarmac coaching team!

February in California can be a total crap shoot weather wise. Some years it’ll be sunny and warm in the foothills of the Sierra. Others well, not so much. This is my third year in a row racing near Auburn in the middle of winter. In 2017 I ran Fourmidable, 2018 Way Too Cool, and 2019 back to Fourmidable. All three races have been complete and total mud baths. So much for drought plaguing the state, I think maybe not this year! While much of my personal racing focus has moved towards longer distances I still love to do 50k races! They are hard, and I get to run fairly fast for a change which is not so much the case when I employ my pacing strategies in 100 mile races. My wish was granted as we began the first descent in a pack of about 20 guys running solidly under 6 min pace.

 

 

A little background might help. 2018 was pretty much a year off from racing and a significant reduction in training. All the training and racing of the previous 10 years just piled up and it was clear some real rest was in order. So that’s what I did. As the year came to a close I found myself happily fit. I cut an hour off a favorite 26 mile mountain loop, all of the sudden I was running faster on my everyday runs (still at easy effort) and started doing some light workouts. I’d heard great things about Rocky Raccoon 100 and since I really prefer the 100 mile distance I decided it would be a good first race of 2019.