There’s something special about April. Sure, it’s my birthday month, but what I’ve really savored about it since moving to Massachusetts is that April – and my birthday weekend specifically – always align with DRB. That’s short for “Don’t Run Boston,” which is the Trail Animals Running Club’s inaugural event dating back to 1997.Continue Reading
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made since I started running trails nearly 13 years ago was ignoring the pain in my left knee in the summer of 2018. What began as mild discomfort and then occasional sharp, stabbing pain on a random step once every couple miles transitioned over the course of a few months into a full-scale running shutdown.Continue Reading
The email caught me by surprise.
It popped into my inbox at 10:01 a.m. today.
Subject line: Notchview Ultra – 100.7 Miles – Registration InvitationContinue Reading
It started with some treadmill miles at a New Jersey hotel while on my first work trip since pre-covid, followed by a successful 30-mile finish at the TARCtic Frozen Yeti ultramarathon in sub-zero temperatures. My goal coming off of a 64-mile performance at the Hamsterwheel in November was to parlay that race into some serious base-building rather than several weeks of laziness. That set me up for success at the Frozen Yeti, and I took the same post-race approach so the Frozen Yeti could be a building block for the annual “Don’t Run Boston” 50K in April, and onward toward a hopeful 100-mile effort at Notchview in July (still sitting in second on the wait list).
The month of February began with such promise but closed out with a bit of frustration on the running front.Continue Reading
Feb. 11, 2012, was my first trail ultramarathon. The Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K in Kansas had single-digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills at the start. It was the coldest ultra I ever ran.
Until last weekend.Continue Reading
One hundred and sixty-one miles.
It has been years since I’ve had a month like that. I’m talking pre-Strava, DailyMile stat tracking days. But that was my January running effort: 161 miles.Continue Reading
For most of 2022 I had my mind set on running 100 miles, but it didn’t happen.
The year began with so much promise. I enjoyed so many wonderful winter miles on the trails of Noanet and Hale Reservation. I had a solid 30-mile effort through the snow and frigid temperatures at the TARCtic Frozen Yeti in February and then earned my fourth finish of the Trail Animals’ classic “Don’t Run Boston” 50K in April, but then everything pretty much stopped. My base was good – by my standards, anyway – and I still wanted to run a 100-miler, but it just … never happened.Continue Reading
Sunrise was just beginning to reveal itself as we headed northbound on Route 3 toward New Hampshire on Saturday morning, Nov. 5, bound for the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in New Boston to run the Hamsterwheel. I had an unusual race morning feeling, something I’ve never experienced in my 10+ years of running trail ultramarathons: high hopes and no expectations.
I had good reason to feel that way. Nothing went according to plan in preparation for this race … not that there was a real plan to follow. I began the year itching to run a 100-miler, but never really settled on one. Virgil Crest in New York captured my interest, but it was the same weekend as my dad’s 80th birthday back in Kansas. Another was the Hawk 100, put on by my old trail club in Lawrence, Kansas, but it was the same weekend. Midstate Massive here in New England tempted me, too, but I dragged my feet too long to properly prepare to make a worthwhile effort on that brutal course. Then there was Mountaineer Rumble in South Carolina, but the idea of flying to a race when airlines have been canceling flights left and right left me disheartened to put my hopes in the hands of an unreliable airline.
All of that is to say, the Hamsterwheel was the last drivable option of the year where I could take a crack at that goal. I signed up for the 30-hour race with the hopes of going the full time and/or running 100 miles. Just a 90-minute drive from home, getting there wouldn’t be a problem. Plus, the four-mile out-and-back course would make a lot of the race-day logistics simple.Continue Reading
Today is Day 0.
Alex and I began the countdown to our departure for Nepal more than three months ago, back when the number was still in the 90s. For me – and for both of us – it feels like it has been much longer. That’s because we’ve both looked forward to this trip for far longer.
I’ve dreamed of traveling to Everest since I was a kid, and those dreams kicked into overdrive after returning from Tanzania where I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in June 2010. I spent a fair amount of time during the next two years looking into treks to Everest Base Camp, comparing guiding services and prices, and then being demoralized upon researching the cost of airfare from Kansas City. Suffice to say the trip was cost-prohibitive at the time, especially given the limitations of a sportswriter’s salary and a three-leg flight requirement from the Heartland.
In the end, an EBC trek never happened – but the dream never died. Continue Reading
CHAMONIX, France – The forecast called for dire conditions: rain, freezing temperatures, possibly snow. The CCC and its already formidable, punishing 101-kilometer course from Courmayeur, Italy, through Champex-Lac, Switzerland, and ultimately to the finish line in downtown Chamonix was projected to be a slow, soggy, sloppy sufferfest – at least for the non-elite mortals at the middle and back of the pack.
Then again, nobody was promised perfect conditions, and anyone expecting an idyllic half-loop around Mont-Blanc had set themselves up for failure.
For six hours, however, we were given a gift of sunny skies, cool but comfortable temperatures, and the opportunity to admire the lush green mountainsides and snow-capped peaks while running and hiking through the Italian Alps.
Now, 18 miles into our 63-mile journey, we stood at the base of our gateway to Switzerland, the Grand Col Ferret, 2,500 feet above us. A thick, white fog eased over the Col, quickly erasing the top from view. A bone-chilling wind began to whip, causing Alex and me to stop and pull out our jackets before proceeding upward. Moments later, the first drops of rain pelted us.
For four years we’d dreamed of running this race. Now, with 45 miles to go and a thunderstorm closing in, the Alps were about to turn this adventure into an unforgiving and unforgettable journey. Continue Reading