5 Tips for Marathoning Over 30

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By Curt Davies

As your body begins to age, you may notice you aren’t as “able” to train as much as you were when you were in your 20s (or younger). That’s not to say you should quit running at all (quite the opposite, actually), but slight adjustments to your training pattern should be considered, especially as some of the physical attributes to your body begin to hinder, such as your aerobic capacity, metabolism slows, and your body fat increases.

These are a few of the different effects aging can have on your body, and is more evident with marathon runners. Not to worry: I’m going to help you see the light with your marathon running training, by providing you with some tips you can use to enhance your marathon running.

1. Take more rest days.

At this stage, I’m not sure if you like the sound of this idea or not. Nevertheless, it’s something I feel important, particularly as you get older. Let’s face it: you’re not getting younger, and your body is becoming more and more fragile as the years pass. Consequently, it may be time for you to consider cutting back on the training days in total, and having extra rest to help your body recuperate for a better quality training session.

Although it may sound counterproductive, you’re actually doing your body a disservice if you train too much without enough rest. This will help prevent any form of stress fracture, or other injury resultant of working your body too hard.

2. Warm up.

Oftentimes, training can feel just as tiring as the marathon itself, which is why it’s important to warm up before training. As your muscle mass reduces as you enter the 30s and older, it’s crucial to treat your muscles with absolute delicacy and give them the treatment they deserve.

Before and after you train, you need to stretch to protect the muscles and the elasticity, which aren’t as guarded as they were when you were younger. Don’t worry – we all have to do it sooner or later as we age!

3. Don’t overwork yourself.

Running marathons (or running in general) is a very delicate sport, and unless you treat it as so, you’re likely going to be prone to an injury, such as stress fractures and pulled muscles – which is exactly what you DON’T want to do before a marathon (or ever, for that matter). When you train and plan your training, don’t feel obliged to complete every aspect you plan. It’s good to set goals, but sometimes you have to take a look at your goals and think rationally about them.

If you find yourself unable to complete a training session, don’t be disheartened. You could either just be having a bad day, or are simply not capable of training as much as you had anticipated. Don’t go out of your way and complete a training session simply because it’s what you wanted to achieve. Only you know your body, so it’s up to you to decide when you’ve had enough. There is no shame in not completing a training session: as long as you tried your hardest and put in a solid effort into the training. Don’t risk injury out of pride; it’s simply not worth it.

4. Variety is key.

Training for a marathon does not necessarily mean spending your time at a gym lifting weights, on a treadmill or other typical training techniques for runners. In fact, it is highly recommended (particularly for those over 30) to diversify yourself with different training varieties. This includes aerobic running, cycling, and swimming, among many others you can try out. These types of trainings help expose your body to different circumstances which overall increase endurance
and fitness level, which is important when running marathons.

5. Prepare for the worst.

One of the things I like to do the most is, when the weather is atrocious and everyone else is inside in front of the fire place with a warm cup of hot chocolate, I like to exit my comfort zone and train in those conditions. Anyone over the age of 30 can find this to be incredibly helpful to the success of your marathon, as it prepares you for what could potentially happen when running.

Unfortunately, marathons do not cater to the conditioning humans thrive on, which means it’s crucial to expose your body to harsher conditions and get used to them… embrace them, even. Not only does it help you in preparation for these circumstances, but it will also add perception to how easy it is running in modest conditions. If the weather is nice when it comes to marathon day, your experience will be far more enjoyable and tranquil which should result in a better
time.

If you’re over the age of 30 and training for a marathon, I would highly recommend you execute these tips practically. Your body will thank you for it and you will perform better.

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Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast at marathondriven.com. His site is stacked with information and other goodies regarding marathon running and training for those over the age of 30. For more, visit marathondriven.com.

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

When I Say Hobo, I Mean Hobo

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Photo: Permanent Slab City resident “Granny”

This month my friend Crista Scott wrote her first article for Trail Runner Magazine about the ten things she learned over her summer as a dirtbag. Crista hit the road with her friend Cat and explored beautiful parts of the country. She camped out of her vehicle and didn’t shower very often.

Crista playfully refers to herself as a hobo, as many of us dirtbags do. However, someone in the comments section criticized her for being disrespectful to real homeless people who have no choice and no middle-class home in California to return to.

I felt the comment was misinformed, but was not surprised to see it. Similar comments have been made on practically every single article about dirtbagging on the Internet.

Here is the version that appeared on my blog in 2013 after we hit the road in our small RV.

“Please leave your commentary on poverty to those who are poor not by choice but by circumstance. As someone who works to provide social services to the poor, I have encountered few if any who view their condition as ‘freedom.’ Instead they are too focused on providing for their families to have the luxury of viewing life as you describe it.”

– Comment left on June 20th

Apparently, you have to be “poor enough” to comment on low-income travel and frugal living. I call poppycock.

While it makes me happy that people are concerned about the poor, scolding middle-class people from Santa Barbara doesn’t do much to actually help the homeless. It’s true that many travelers have never experienced real poverty so this argument generally shuts them up. My perspective is different because I have lived below the poverty line for most of my life.

I struggled for years to work my ass off so I could own all the things I was “supposed” to have—a house, a car, kids, and a white picket fence. I vividly remember reading Tynan’s blog for the first time and watching him live a lifestyle of minimalism, travel, and “freedom”. I loved his stories, and never once felt that I was too poor to achieve them. On the contrary, here was ONE freedom I could actually afford.

Inspired by Tynan, I took on a similar lifestyle. Months later, I came across a post he wrote in response to accusations that his lifestyle was only possible because he was wealthy and it wasn’t fair for him to flaunt his wealth in front of “poor” people who could never achieve what he had.

Tynan agreed, and conceded that his lifestyle wasn’t accessible to the poor. I was horrified. Not accessible?? I had switched to his lifestyle in one year, and it sure as shit was easier than trying to buy a house and a car.

These days, real-life hobos don’t seem to differentiate much between us as nomads and them as hobos. Homeless people have approached us with local tips of where to park and where to eat. They have even walked over with offers of weed. Hobo-warming gifts, if you will. They pick us out from the crowds and somehow know that we’re not about to pay for a hotel. In return, we give away everything we can spare but it feels more like sharing than charity.

I have never once come across a poor-not-by-choice person who is offended by my lifestyle because they are “too poor” to have it. It is always rich(er) people who feel they speak on behalf of the poor when they say, “Oh, you better not say that because a poor person can’t have what you have.” Seriously?

Poor people are not offended because we travel or call ourselves hobos. Here is what offends poor people:

  • Constant and extreme waste in our society
  • Watching others buy stuff they don’t need
  • Seeing food thrown in the garbage while their stomachs howl with hunger
  • People who grow fat and lazy from overconsumption
  • Mass media trying to convince them that luxuries are actually needs

What bothers me the most is the assumption that poor people are resigned to living in desperation for the rest of their lives, trying to make ends meet. This argument assumes that poor people are helpless and incapable of anything better than “getting by”. They’re not allowed to have dreams or ambitions—they can’t afford to.

I know what it’s like to choose between food or shelter, between an education or a place to live. I am addressing poor people when I write about my lifestyle, because once—just once—they need to meet someone who doesn’t believe they’re too poor to have dreams, too poor to aspire to anything, or too poor to experience freedom.

You May Also Enjoy:

Your Dirtbag Hospitality Guide

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

2014 Javelina Jundred Race Report

2014 Javelina Jundred Race Report

vanessaruns:

So honored to have paced my girl Holly Miller to her second 100-mile finish at Javelina Jundred! Here’s her race report. Fingers crossed for Western States….

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

Originally posted on Holly Fitness:

I have participated in the Javelina Jundred for the last few years. Not as a runner but as a spectator, a volunteer, and a pacer. This was the year I would go the distance myself. As Western States upped the ante on their lottery race qualifiers, I would no longer be able to run a 50M to get into the lottery. Fortunately, JJ100 is a qualifier- it’s in my neck of the woods, I know the course well, and I can represent Team Aravaipa! (Aravaipa Running puts on the race)

This has not been my best year as far as running and racing is concerned. December of last year had me sidelined with plantar fasciitis and a bone spur was discovered in Feb. I dialed back my running to a few miles a week and put a heavy emphasis on cross training- specifically spinning. My Boston Marathon was another ‘fun…

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4 Trail Beards You’ll Want to Fondle

By Ethan Brown

beardeityA beard in the ultra world is an authoritative tool utilized by many. It’s almost like the thought of running an ultra can spur the body into instantaneous facial hair growth so potently powerful that any woman within a five-mile radius will experience quivering ovaries.

On the pro level, the bearded champions tower over the “lesser beings,” or clean shaven winners, like a Kodiak grizzly bear over a sickly deer.

Here are some beardeities to worship this month:

1. Anton Krupicka

Anton Krupicka has one of the most widely known beards in the elite group. His face fur is primal with a slight hint of maintenance that says, “Hey, don’t let this iconic dude-growth distract you, my eyes are up here.” Tonybeard could terrify the soul of a rabid mountain lion.

2. Rob Krar

Another beard with the power to sway the masses belongs to the artist known as Rob Krar. Rob’s cheek forest is as pure as nature itself: gentle locks that sway back and forth in a compassionate mountain breeze and secretly possess the power to erupt into a blast of pure, unadulterated, testosterone-filled, savageness. When Rob goes fishing he doesn’t need a net, but simply dips his beard into the water to catch fish.

  1. Dominic Grossman

On the west coast, runners are under the spell of a mandible pelt of unimaginable viciousness. Dominic Grossman is an effervescent face magician. One minute he’s rocking a beard GQ-worthy and the next he’s got a mustache that would automatically make him a wild-west town sheriff. His well maintained dude growth is so fantastic one could confuse it with a pristine putting green.

  1. Graham Kelly

Another man possessing the raw sexuality to swoon a great white shark is Graham Kelly. Graham’s chin kilt is such a masterpiece; the Mona Lisa frowns in jealousy. Fueled by moisture of the Scottish highlands and whiskey distilled from the sweat of day laborers, this growth infiltrates our very spirit to soothe our fears and calm our minds.

The firm roots of facial hair seem to interweave with a person’s soul and to not only inspire brilliance in every aspect of the word, but also push these athletes to complete badassery.

Happy Movember.

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7 Reasons You Think You Can’t Run an Ultramarathon (When You Can)

How a Road Runner Learned to Stop Fearing Snakes and Embrace the Trail

How Taking a GPS is Like Taking a Lover

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

In Defense of Disney Princesses (Okay, just the Little Mermaid)

1 I didn’t grow up with Disney dolls. I was one of those lucky kids that grew up surrounded by books with free reign of the outdoors. I didn’t live on the glamorous side of town either—it was government housing and the books were from the library, but I had a rusty slide nearby plus a rope swing. What more could a kid really want?

I didn’t have the types of parents who intentionally meant to shield me from a patriarchal society or the socialization of young girls (keep your faces pretty and their opinions to yourselves, girls!).

I’m sure if my mother could have afforded it, she would have drowned me in princess gear. As it was, she simply took me the park and I swung on the monkey bars until my hands were calloused. Then I stuck a needle through the scabs for funsies. I didn’t even know Disney existed.

I do, however, clearly remember the first time I encountered Disney. My parents were vising the apartment of a friend and she had her nieces and nephews over. For them, she had purchased the then-complete collection of all the Disney movies: Cinderella, Snow White, The Fox and the Hound, Aladdin… They were all there. To keep us annoying kids entertained, the adults popped in a movie and left.

I. Was. Dumbfounded.

What kind of sorcery was this?? The other kids were restless and wandered off to play with toys, but I was glued to the screen. I couldn’t take my eyes off that freaking mermaid.

First of all, I had never seen anything so pretty. Hello? Red hair? I had never in my life seen anyone with red hair (it wasn’t exactly a Caucasian neighborhood), much less with long flowy locks like this fine piece of ass. My fingers were itching to braid her.

Secondly, what a pretty voice! I wanted to hear her. I wanted to sing like her. I wanted to be her.

For the next year or so I would incorporate the mermaid into my imagination time (imagination time = all the time). This basically consisted of me twirling around the house screeching “LOOK AT THIS STUFFFFFFFF…. ISN’T IT NEEEEEEEAT” and trying to brush my hair with a fork.

Some time passed and I forgot all about the Little Mermaid and the rest of her Disney crew. I grew up (that’s debatable), became a writer, and started working on this book about female empowerment in sport (cue Daughters of Distance plug).

As part of my research I read Rebecca C. Haines’ The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years and was surprised to discover that Disney princesses were not pretty and harmless after all, but actually quite evil and brainwashy.

Whaaaaat?! Even the Little Mermaid? MY Little Mermaid??

As it turns out, the Little Mermaid may actually be the worst offender for screwing up little girls. After all, she literally gives up her voice for a man.

But the thing is… I didn’t get that when I watched The Little Mermaid all those years ago. Could it be that as adults we nitpick and read too deeply into entertainment in a way that kids just don’t? Or did I only narrowly miss having my life ruined by princesses?

I’ll say firstly that I did enjoy this book very much and I agree with many of its points. I think it’s wonderful that parents are concerned about this stuff even though it’s so foreign from the way I grew up: basically send your kids outside and if they don’t die, you’ve done a great job.

I suspect that if a kid has the type of parent who cares enough to read a book about the potential negative influences of the Disney princesses, their own parental influence over that child probably far outweighs any Disney movie. I mean… those parents probably actually spend time with their kids and shit.

That said, although I found the book fascinating, I’m afraid I cannot—no way, no how—think poorly of my little mermaid. She opened up the world for me instead of shutting it down.

Here’s how:

I never for one second, as a child watching this, thought that Ariel gave her voice up for a man. If you remember correctly, she wanted to get her ass on land even before she met the prince dude. (First, she had to literally get an ass.)

The way I remember it, Ariel had a dream of traveling and existing outside of the confines of her world. She didn’t want to stay where she had been born. She didn’t want to limit herself to the ocean. And by the way, she’s a fish. If that’s not thinking outside the box (err, fishbowl), I don’t know what is.

And here’s something: THE ENTIRE FREAKING OCEAN WAS TOO SMALL FOR HER. The world is what… only 70% water? That’s a girl with pretty big dreams.

In her sing-song words: “I’m the girl who has everything…. I WANT MORE.”

Although she could have spent the entire movie flicking her fins and singing about the world above, she had the balls (vagina, eventually) to actually go after what she really wanted. She sacrificed EVERYTHING for her dreams. Not for a man. Not to be a housewife. For her goals. Her ambitions. What she wanted out of life. And for a vagina.

“What would I give if I could live out of these waters… Bright young women, sick of swimming, ready to stand… And ready to know what the people know. Ask them my questions and get some answers.”

A light bulb went off in my little brain: Holy shit. I don’t have to stay in this world. I don’t have to live in government housing forever. I don’t have to stay near my family and have more kids and watch them play on the same rusty slide. I can like…. explore a new world. And vaginas are fucking great!

I also knew it wouldn’t be easy to follow my dreams. How did I know? Because it wasn’t easy for the little mermaid. She had her tail split (pretty painful, I imagine) and lost her entire family, pretty much. Then she had to deal with the not having a voice thing.

The prince, in my little mind, was inconsequential. Kind of like a rung in the ladder, easily replaceable, a stepping stool. It could have been any man; he just happened to be in the right place at the right time and girlfriend needs a hot shower and a warm bed. Granted, not the healthiest way to view a relationship, but that was my honest interpretation. The prince was wallpaper, but the dream was hers. The dream was what mattered.

Plus honestly, after all she went through with the octopus, do you really think she was going to stick around and let the prince be a jerk to her for the rest of her life? She didn’t even stay with the people (ok, fish) who were nice to her under the sea.

It’s hard to say what my life might have been like had I:

a) Been exposed to more Disney or

b) Never seen the Little Mermaid

I probably got the perfect Disney dose.

I’d like to think I would have still wobbled out of my kiddie pool and done my share of running, jumping, strolling, dancing where the people are.

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

Trail Therapy: Why Movement Outdoors is a Game-Changer

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By Gigi Griffis

About a year ago, I was having a full-on meltdown about my finances. I’d been scammed out of $350 and the whole thing sent me into a spiral of anger and panic and general gloom.

I couldn’t work. I couldn’t relax.

So I did the only thing I could do: I strapped on my day-pack, harnessed the dog, and walked onto one of the steepest hiking trails near my house, focusing on working my body and letting my upset mind focus on something else (like, you know, breathing, and putting one foot in front of the other).

It took less than an hour for my angry, whirling thoughts to settle as the noises of town faded away and I moved farther and farther into solitude.

And as my thoughts settled, I realized something profound.

I was upset about the $350 because it made me feel trapped. Because for the past few years, I work really, really hard, build up my savings a bit, and then—suddenly and unexpectedly—the expenses roll in. An unexpected medical bill. A series of vet visits. Or, in this case, a scam.

I kept thinking “I just can’t get ahead.”

That’s what caused my panicked spiral that morning.

But as I made my way quickly uphill (not quite running, but reducing a 1.5 hour hike to just under an hour), I realized that it was equally true to look at the situation from the opposite perspective:

“I’ve always had exactly what I needed.”

Sure, I wasn’t constantly watching my bank balance swing upward, but I also had never been destitute. I didn’t have to take a job I hated. I wasn’t living on my parents’ couch.

No, I was okay.

And so by the end of my hike, I was calm. Still not thrilled about the scam situation, but not railing or screaming or pulling out my hair in frustration. Just calm.

I’ve hit a lot of spirals like that. They’re usually around money or love or loss. Or losing friendships. Or wishing that my freelance business would (gosh-darn-it) succeed faster and in a bigger way.

But what I’ve noticed this year—a year that I’ve been lucky enough to get a visa to live in the Swiss Alps, with my apartment backing up to at least four challenging hiking trails and two easy ones—is that movement and nature are a deep, gratifying, and surprisingly instant kind of therapy.

It’s as if when I move up these mountains, pushing myself to go a little farther or a little faster than last time, I’m burning away all the negative, dark, and heartbreaking thoughts.

Because, in between telling myself that I can make it up the hill, noticing the perfect way the rocks spill over the hillsides, and moving away from the source of the trouble, even for just a few hours, there’s no room for those negative thoughts anymore. There’s no room to think that I just can’t ahead or that I’m not lovable or that I should give up.

After all, in that moment, I am getting ahead (quite literally). I am doing something just for me (which is the kind of thing that can’t help but make you feel loved). And I’m not giving up on the mountain, which makes me just a little more certain that I can conquer the less tangible things in my life as well.

And so I’ve begun to understand life a little differently this year.

On days that I’m frustrated, angry, or upset, I lace up my trail running shoes and run along the valley floor or wind my way, hiking, along the cliffs and up into the high alps.

When I noticed that I was feeling unmotivated in the mornings, I instituted a new routine, waking up at 7 a.m., loading business podcasts up in my iPod, and power-walking out of town in the brisk September air.

When I need a fresh perspective or just to be too exhausted to dwell on the tough stuff, I grab my jacket and I move. Up a mountain. Across a valley. Through town. It doesn’t really matter where. It’s the motion that clears my head, calms my heart, and reminds me that I can trust myself—body, mind, heart, and all.

14996296397_fe71042753_cGigi Griffis is a world-traveling entrepreneur and writer with a special love for inspiring stories, new places, and living in the moment. In May 2012, she sold her stuff and took to the road with a growing business and a pint-sized pooch named Luna.

These days, she’s hanging out in Switzerland, planning epic European adventures, and promoting her newly launched unconventional travel guides: ITALY: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In and the smaller city guides for Paris, Barcelona, and Prague.

You can find more musings, travel stories, travel tips, and books at gigigriffis.com.

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4 Powerful Lessons From a Nomadic Life

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

Funny Running Shirts Giveaway

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You know that favorite shirt you love so much that you wear all day, then to bed, then again the next day… for weeks on end without washing? No?… That’s just me, you say?

Well anyway, I have a new favorite tank.

Here is your chance to also be the proud owner of my favorite tank… or another shirt of your choosing with the potential to be your favorite.

Enter Funny Running Shirts.

Made with a tri-blend fabric, they are extremely soft to the touch and super light. As in, I feel like I’m topless when I wear it. Yay, topless!

The ink is dyed into the fabric of the shirt so it doesn’t feel like bumper sticker on your chest, and mine sports a clever fact: Running Sucks. (Oh but we still love it, don’t we….)

These shirts are all hand printed by the company’s creator Matt Perret in his garage in New Orleans. They are made 100% in the USA and a portion of all profits is donated to the Good Goes Around Fund.

Here is a video with a little more info:

i Am – Not Your Average Shirt from i Am Brand on Vimeo.

FUNNY RUNNING SHIRTS GIVEAWAY

Enter for your chance to win a free shirt. Any shirt, any design from Funny Running Shirts.

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me about a time when running really sucked for you. We all have those miles, or days, or weeks….

The winner will be chose at random on October 20th and contacted directly. If you can’t wait that long for your  shirt, use the coupon code VANESSARUNS for a 20% discount on your purchase at Funny Running Shirts.

Good luck!

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You May Also Enjoy:

4 Powerful Lessons From a Nomadic Life

9 Ultrarunning Norms You Can Break

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

Your Dirtbag Hospitality Guide

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Are you passionate about supporting your local dirtbags, but aren’t sure what exactly they need (other than a shower, obviously)?

Worry no more!

After three years of dirtbagging experience, I have compiled this handy list of what your dirtbag needs but may be too polite to ask for.

  1. Shower

Let’s start with the glaringly obvious. You can’t go wrong with this offer since a stand-up shower to a dirtbag can be as rare an ultramarathon race director in it for the money. The two things your dirtbag will appreciate the most: a little privacy and hot water. When you’re used to freezing creeks and public nudity, a hot shower is like bathing in a unicorn’s tears of joy. PS: Ignore any sobbing you hear behind the shower curtain—probably just chaffing.

  1. Wifi

Free wifi that isn’t from McDonald’s is pretty freaking luxurious. For a dirtbag, it feels like that time you got your very first email in your brand new email account that wasn’t a welcome email from Hotmail. If you really want to spoil your dirtbag, offer up wifi that’s strong enough to stream Netflix: a true gem. Please remind them to shoot an email to their poor, worried mothers who feel like they’ve somehow failed.

  1. Laundry facilities

There is only one thing that stinks worse than a dirtbag: their dirtbag of laundry. Keep in mind: these were clothes that were rejected by the dirtbag as being too dirty on their scale of extremely low standards. If you are fortunate enough to have a washer and dryer in your home (oh, the lappin’ luxury!), do the universe a favor and lend them out to the dirtbag cause. CAUTION: Do NOT attempt to load the washer for your dirtbag. They have been training for months to withstand the force of this smell. You’ll need a gas mask and/or resuscitation.

  1. Home-cooked meal

Dirbags eat. A lot. And rarely—oh so very rarely—do they get to enjoy the goodness of a home-cooked meal. If your dirtbag turns down a free meal shared amongst friends, they’re simply not a real dirtbag. Go ahead and cook up a storm. It doesn’t have to be the least bit fancy or even all that good. Oops—did the salt slip? Did you use the wrong spice? It’s already way better than your dirtbag’s last meal of cold Poptarts and GU.

  1. Leftovers

You’ve done the home-cooked meal. You’ve nailed the showers and the wifi and the laundry. Easy peasy. Now, if you really want to make a dirtbag love you, insist they take some leftovers for the road. It can be as simple as a sandwich or as easy as that old lasagna that’s been sitting in the back of your fridge for three weeks. A dirtbag will respond with enthusiastic glee. Legend has it that some dirtbags have even been offered take-home beer, otherwise known as Dirtbag Nirvana.

Remember: Dirtbags can be shy and solitary creatures. They will most likely never ask outright for any of the above luxuries, but with only a few friendly offers you may easily find yourself with a new (or slightly used) dirtbag friend for life (DFFL!).

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You May Also Enjoy:

4 Powerful Lessons From a Nomadic Life

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

9 Ultrarunning Norms You Can Break

vanessaruns:

I love this girl. If you don’t know Ash, you may want to give her a follow. In the meantime, be an out-of-the-box runner and start with this list. ESPECIALLY #4 and #8. Trails and ultrarunning are a personal journey. That means you can choose your own route and do it your own way.

Personally, I love signing up for races that are way over my head and risking a DNF each time I tow the line. When I don’t finish, I learn a LOT in a very short time span. When I do finish, I’m riding that high for years.

Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be afraid to set your own pace. Enjoy!

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Welcome to Your Tribe: Born to Run Ultramarathons

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

Originally posted on AshRuns100s:

I have always been a rebel. It’s in my DNA. Always has been, always will be. This personality trait is evident in every area of my life. I like to think for myself, and refuse to accept societal norms. Seeing as running is a huge part of my life, it should come as no surprise that I shattered a few running standards there. Here are a few examples of how I made running work better for me:

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What’s it Like to Quit Your Job and Travel?

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Two things happened recently to inspire this post:

  1. Shacky and I just hit our 50,000-mile mark of full-time travel and dirtbagging North America in our little RV.
  1. I stumbled across a Quora question about what it feels like to quit your job, throw caution to the wind, and travel.

No two journeys are exactly the same and as expected, I found that my experience was different from many of the commenters. Here’s what it’s been like for me:

  1. Social

More than any other time in my life, I am social. For years I’ve identified as an introvert and although I still do, I have fond myself easily slipping into some of the benefits of extroversion. You know like, real friends. A tribe. Actually wanting to sit around chatting with people. It was a little confusing until I realized that I don’t actually need to label myself as intro/extro. I can just do what I do and be who I am.

This is the opposite of what some other travelers reported in the Quora question (loneliness, isolation). I feel this is because we have focused a lot of our travels on people. Instead of only bucketlisting destinations, we made lists of people to meet, mostly Facebook friends we felt a connection with. I copied down the names of everyone who invited us to their homes, and plotted our route to see as many people as we could. Then we met their friends and families and soon an entire network opened up across the country that we never would have uncovered from our cozy little home in California.

  1. Scary

As easy as it is to sugarcoat the glamour of our lifestyle, in reality it can be pretty scary. Pre-dirtbag days, it was hard to remember the last time I had really been afraid. My life was very routine and there was nothing to really there to trigger fear. Now I’m averaging about one fearful incident every couple of weeks. It’s not always life-threatening of course, but rather those little situations that force you outside your comfort zone and there’s some problem solving involved.

The most common culprit that elicits fear for me is weather. In the RV, you can hear and fear almost ever aspect of the elements. Sometimes being in the RV is scarier than being outside. The winds feel strong (we’re tipping!), the hail sounds louder (it’s cracking the windows!), and the heat feels deadly (the cat is panting!). Adaptation and problem solving are keys we can’t afford to travel without.

We have also learned not to turn on each other, as people tend to do when they’re stressed or hot or hungry. We are a team and our only hope of ever solving anything is to put our heads together and push in the same direction.

  1. Easy

Chores take no time at all. When we go camping, we sit around and watch our friends set up their tents, haul out their luggage, set up their little camp stoves. We don’t have to do any of that. We are where we are and what’s in the RV… that’s all we have in the world. I can clean our “house” in ten minutes, tops. We have two bowls, two plates, two sets of silverware. Sometimes a little extra for a guest. There’s no planning ahead for groceries (who knows where we’ll be?) and certainly no buying in bulk (who has the space?). This is a very liberating feeling. There’s no fluff. No time-filling details. No busywork.

  1. Focused

Another benefit of the lack of busywork is that there’s more focused, fulfilling work. Real work. The kind of work that produces results, like published books (my particular chosen focus) or music or artwork. Imagine having all the time in the world to create something. No pushing papers, no filing the day with meetings, no chipping away at emails. It’s just you and a blank canvas and all the freedom in the world. It’s every bit as glorious as it sounds.

  1. Flustered

The downside to all this freedom is that sometimes the options seem limitless. At any given time, there are one hundred things I want to do. I have learned to focus them into seasons and years. I can do anything, but I can’t do everything at once. I can’t be on every trail and I can’t run every race. Instead, I create challenges for myself, like climbing the four highest peaks in the Continental USA in three weeks, or writing a book. Upcoming challenges include thruhiking several longer trails and writing a second book. If I’m not intentional in my goals and planning, it’s easy to get flustered and lose track.

What is dirtbagging NOT like?

For us, it has never been boring.

It has never left us in need.

We have never been unloved.

You May Also Enjoy:

Poems for Future Explorers

A Year of Travel Across North America

Happy Hoboversary! Stats from One Year Later

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

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