Ultrarunnerpodcast covers ultramarathon news, ultra and trail running product reviews, interviews with ultramarathon runners, coaches and athletes, and beer. URP episodes feature elite runners, veterans, wacky characters, and a variety of qualified experts to discuss everything necessary to be successful on the trails. Each episode is about an hour long perfect for listening to on a mid week..
Zach Ornelas won American River 50 miler just over a year ago. Then he represented the US at the IAU Trail Championships in Spain, then he won the USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships at Tussey Mountainback. Less than two months later he finished California International Marathon (CIM) with a three minute PR and an Olympic Qualifier.
In March of this year, he clocked a 2:50 50 at Caumsett 50k Championships in New York, then cracked the top ten at the insanely competitive Two Oceans in South Africa. You’ll have to hear Zach’s description of racing strategy and mindset when he lined up against a couple thousand Africans for an ultramarathon!
Zach Ornelas breaking the tape at 50k championships.
Zach’s done this while teaching high school full time and coaching the distance squad at his school. What has he learned running with teenagers and what do they think of “Mr. O’s”. accomplishments?
What records is he looking forward at attempting and what are his plans for an attempt? And stick around for his Emma Coburn story…It’s a good one!
We discussed the women’s 50k record and didn’t have the details in front of us, so here they are…Janice Klecker set the 3:13:51 mark in 1983. in Florida. I can’t find any recent attempts at it…anyone have info?
Jimmy Elam has been running competitively since he was nine years old. He was an All American in college, ran his first and only marathon in 2:21, and has had tremendous success in the MUT scene, setting a CR at the wild and competitive Broken Arrow Skyrace, pushing Walmsley hard at Nine Trails last month, and this past weekend, grabbing an Altra Golden Ticket at The Canyons 100k.
Jimmy Elam midrace
Did he go into Canyons aiming for a ticket to the Big Dance? With TDS also on his calendar, would he do both? And with many of his races being largely technical vert, is Western States Endurance Run even his type of race?
In this interview, we talk about the pressures of running as a youth and what he learned while running as a teammate of Tim Tollefson at Chico State.
We talk about his training in the mountains outside Salt Lake City and how/if that skillset translates to flat and downhill courses. We talk race strategy when it comes to nutrition and how he’s able to pee while running 6:30 mpm pace.
Jimmy Elam (c) at the Broken Arrow Skyrace, 2018.
Jimmy Elam Episode Notes
Anna Mae Flynn had an incredible performance at Lake Sonoma on Saturday, finishing it off by overtaking race leader YiOu Wang in the final 1/4 mile of the race.
At the finish line she was offered a Golden Ticket to Western States Endurance Run and she told RD Craig Thornley that she’d need a few days to think about it. Well here we are…
YiOu Wang and Anna Mae Flynn at Lake Sonoma - YouTube
In this interview–Anna Mae’s first on URP–we talk about how she grew up in the Appalachian Mountains, found her passions in ballet dancing and running, and what made her choose running. We talk about her move to snowy Colorado, her incredible training grounds, and what she does in the off season. Anna Mae also shares her ‘aerobically deficient’ diagnosis last year and how she adapted and fought back to a healthy balance of fitness and strength.
Anna Mae Flynn approaching turnaround at Lake Sonoma 2019. Pic by me.
For her Lake Sonoma report, she tells us about her strategy going into the race and how she and Addie Bracy ran together, helping one another, throughout the second half. We hear firsthand what was going through her mind in the final miles as she broke away from Addie and chased down YiOu on the final climb.
What’s next for Anna Mae? Will she take the Golden Ticket and give Western States another go after her DNF in 2016?
As we talk about her future plans (living in Tahoe for a month, traveling to Portugal during the school year, etc), I ask how she plans on doing all this with her teaching schedule…and…well…Anna Mae’s got some big plans that will open up her schedule and allow her to share her MUT knowledge with the rest of the world.
Episode Sponsor: The North Face Endurance Challenge – Massachusetts
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Anna Mae Flynn Episode Notes
After Anna Mae and I finish up our convo, I have URP Gear Editor Ben on to talk about some of the gear he’s checking out—and to catch up on his recent foray into fatherhood! Below are the products he mentioned. Some are affiliate links that will drop a few pesos into the URP coffers should you choose to keep the gear. Thank You!
When Stephanie Case (interview here) tells me that someone she met has a good and compelling story, my ears perk up and I pay attention. In this episode, Kiwi Doug Strachan tells a story about a life changing experience ten years ago that set him up for the extraordinary training regimen he uses now.
Clean Doug Strachan
Doug just finished the 205 mile Tor des Geants in the Alps, and his training for the 80,000 of vert was certainly unique: Doug works in a coal mine, one thousand feet underground in Australia, and used the climb out to prepare for TDG. His endurance training? Running barefoot through the hottest part of Australia, dodging venomous snakes and spiders and doing his best to avoid wild dogs and pigs.
But how did he get to this place? Was Doug a life long runner who’s now realizing the ultimate dream of competing in the Alps? Hardly. His story of his past ten years involves a midlife crisis, a coma, and a lot of unanswered questions that he’s still working through.
Doug also shares the details of his run at TDG–how his “Aussie Girls” anticipated his every move and deserve massive credit, and how he’s learned to fight hallucinations in endurance events. For more on hallucinations and the race, check out this interview with Nick (Hollon) DeLaRosa from a few years ago.
Josh Ritter started running ultramarathons in 2012 and in that first year lined up at Hal Koerner’s Pine to Palm 100. He wouldn’t finish the race, taking a DNF around mile 70.
This is an episode that follows Josh’s journey from 2012 through three DNFs on the same course and multiple wild fires, until he eventually earned his buckle just two weeks ago. What was the magic secret, and what did he do to balance family commitments with his running goals? If you’re someone who’s struggled with cutoffs or persistent, you’ll want to pay attention to this episode.
Pam Smith has run on multiple National teams, she’s won Western States Endurance Run, she’s run Spartathlon, dozens of marathons, and most recently, the “hardest footrace on earth”, Badwater 135 in Death Valley.
Note: It’s been eight years, and I still haven’t figured audio engineering. Something went awry during the interview and limited my volume while simultaneously increasing the gain on the guest channel. What that means is that I had to greatly increase my audio while greatly limiting the ambient noise in the recording. In ultramarathon parlance, it’s like trying to run fast AND run slow at the same time. Luckily, Pam gave a great interview, so we can let the content speak for itsself. Sorry for the poor quality.
Decent weather runner?
Sarah and I chatted with Pam about what surprised her about Badwater, why and how her skillset benefited her, and what advice she has for those looking to toe the line in the future. Sarah and I both admit to having a long-standing desire to run the storied race, and who knows, maybe one of us will cough up the dough one day.
“There’s only so much I’m willing to do for a free pair of shoes.”
Also discussed in the Pam Smith Episode:
-Hamstring injuries and what treatments Pam Smith, MD has tried out. -How to follow up on a successful year. Same training, or mix it up? -The state of the sport and how self-appointed self-help gurus are changing the landscape. -How athletes are responding to staying relevant in social media and what they’re willing to do for a sponsor. -And how much of this attempt to stand out causes problems when we’re talking about gender issues in our sport. -Pam cites a statistic that a large portion of ultramarathon runners have been in the sport for three years or less. When you look at the sport solely based on the last three years, you see a wildly different sport than someone who’s been at it for a decade or more.
Last weekend Gabi Maudiere lined up at American River 50 miler and felt off from the start. She battled stomach issues the whole way, never able to shake the nausea and finally throwing in the towel at mile 42.
Gabi Maudiere before the gun.
So what happened? She’s run the distance before. Heck, she’d won a 100 miler on the same course two years ago. Is it a GI issue or it nerves or menstrual issues or is it a psychosomatic problem that goes along with a string of DNFs?
Gabi Maudiere at aid station.
In this interview, Gabi analyses her training, her mental buildup and struggle on the trail, and ultimately her decision to call it quits and look for another race. Could she have made it the whole race?
We’ve all had DNFs—OK, most of us–and we all know that this silly sport is as much a mental game as it is a physical challenge, so what will Gabi do when she lines up at her next race? Can she change her diet in hopes of finding the right balance? Do more mental exercises to get past this struggle? Smash up Imodium and mainline it at the start?
Guillaume Arthus joins me to talk about an acronym he’s been using to describe alt-format events in this wacky sport of ours. MEAN stands for Mind – Endurance – Autonomy – Navigation and describes events with increased mental strain, abnormally long distances, many, many hours of alone time, and map reading and/or navigation requirements.
Col de Taglangla – India 2016 – 5359m
In this interview, we talk about ten events around the world that satisfy one or all of those demands. Some are proper races, some are fatass-style events, and there’s one in particular I really really want to see stateside.
Guillaume has participated in many of them, and he’s used the experience to take on some serious fastback pushes, from 14 days crossing the Pyrenees unassisted to his current project that’ll take him from Slovenia to Monaco—acrosss the entirety of the Alps–later this year.
We also talk about the European MUT scene (Guillaume is based in Paris), the lack of FKTs, why most trail videos suck, and what in the hell he did to toughen up his feet.
RunBum RD Sean Blanton joined me for a discussion about a call he made this past weekend that I have serious disagreements with. What better way than to discuss the issue on a live call, agree to disagree, then move on to better topics like Barkley, media, sponsors, Anton, podcasts, skydiving, and the East Coast ultra scene?
Sean Blanton, hanging.
Sean Blanton Episode Notes
Uncensored and raw, this is not an episode meant for children or sensitive ears.
Updated: Here’s a post by Gary Robbins from the 2011 Mountain Masochist in which he took a loop the wrong way and was made to return to the course and run it the correct way because everyone must run exactly the same course.
Here’s a post by Stephen Kersch where he writes about getting DQed for following the wrong trail.
We all have our own stories of finding our place in this silly sport. Some move seamlessly from collegiate track to the trails, while some have been running their whole lives. Then there are people like Neal Collick from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Neal didn’t run in high school and only ran during his time in the Marine Corps to pass tests…certainly not for fun.
Neal Collick en route to his win at Superior 100.
After a tough few years adapting back to civilian life, Neal found solace in running, then quickly discovered his love for the trails and eventually trail ultramarathons. In this interview, Neal shares his story about how he got to where he is now–over the physical barriers and mental blocks–and how he compares to his former self.
Neal Collick experiencing non-snowy conditions at Javelina Jundred.
Neal Collick hasn’t just found himself on the trails though…he’s won eight of twelve races entered and is heading back to Minnesota Voyageur 50M this weekend to defend his title from last years win. He shared with us his unconventional racing diet, struggles with an intestinal disease, and the love he’s got for the thriving UP trail scene.
This interview really shows the transformation that takes place when someone uses trail running and the MUT community as a guide and throws their heart and mind into this silly sport. Please find links mentioned in the interview below: