Welcome to Your Tribe: Born to Run Ultramarathons

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When I first started running ultras, I was lucky enough to meet the Mas Locos crew. For a while, I thought that all ultra runners were like this. After traveling around the country, I learned that no… nobody else is like this, and there are no other races like Born to Run.

Born to Run is more than just a race–it’s a running festival, mesmerizing for both runner and spectator alike. Here you’ll find hippies, cowboys, Mariachi heavy metal bands, guitars, archery, costumes, beer mile races, campfires, hula hoops, homemade burritos, and more.

Distances include 10 miles, 30 miles, 60 miles, and 100 miles, but be warned that if you run anything longer than 30 miles, you may miss some of the shenaniganza (Pat Sweeney’s made-up word for this event). Every time you pass through the start/finish, you’ll be cheered by a tribe of dancing runners.

Appropriately, the race course map is shaped like boobies.

If you get lost, it's your own damn fault.

If you get lost, it’s your own damn fault.

 
A few days ago race director Luis Escobar wrote the following about this event:

The Born To Run Ultra Marathon Extravaganza cannot be described on the static pages of a magazine. There is no adequate podcast, YouTube video or Facebook post. Until you have made the trek to the ranch in Los Olivos and spent the night under the stars and until you have literally danced in the California dirt and sang the songs and drank water from the well and until you have run through the oak groves and across the dusky ridges you will not fully appreciate the experience.

Born To Run is trail running at its finest and much, much more. We created this event as an experiment. What would happen if we invited running friends from across the country and beyond? What would happen if more than seven hundred happy people showed up and spent three days and two nights behind the closed gate of a private cattle ranch, with no amenities? As corny as it may sound, the answer is, love.

At first glance, the Born To Run Ultra Marathon is a 10 mile, 50km, 100km and 100 mile trail run. But after a few minutes on the ranch you quickly realize that something deeper and very special is happening here. The words Woodstock, Grateful Dead Show and Burning Man immediately come to mind.

Personally, I would describe it as Summer Camp for Running Hippies. Three days of camping, running games, bola races, beer miles, live music, dancing, archery, arts, tattoos, guitars, cowboy hats, rattlesnakes, shotguns, piñatas, food, drink, socializing, Tarahumara Indians and running – lots and lots of running.

In addition to all of that, there is more because Born To Run has become the icon of running harmony and the celebration of good things between all running cultures. As our Tarahumara friends have taught us, “When you run on the earth, and with the earth, you can run forever.”

Some photo highlights:

REGISTRATION FOR 2015 OPENED TODAY!

It will sell out this year.

Next event of equal awesomeness: New Mexico Running Retreat

Don’t miss out!

You May Also Enjoy:

How to Train Your Human to Run an Ultra

Has Ultrarunning Evolved Past Western States?

Why I Run 100 Milers

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

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Please consider this special year-end favor:

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Mine has been very satisfactory and relaxing. I’ve spent the holidays doing what I love: running and eating and reading.

Shacky got me a Kindle so I’ve had my nose stuck in it for the past few days. My sister is also here from Toronto, so we’ve been showing her some of our great San Diego trails and restaurants.

Tomorrow we’re all driving up to Arizona for Across the Years 24 Hour Race. Some of our friends are already there running for 72 hours.

I’m super excited about this race since it will be a distance PR for me, and I also know a lot of the participants. Among them, the Robillards, Ed Ettinghausen and Pat Sweeney. My sister Elizabeth also plans to run her first ultra here.

We start to race on December 31st at 9 a.m. and finish on January 1st at 9 a.m. We will take a break at midnight to pop some champagne and welcome a new year! I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate.

I’m posting today with a special request:

Please take the time to send the runners some motivational notes via Runner Mail HERE.

This race has a great Runner Mail service. You can visit THIS SITE, choose your runner’s name, and type up a motivational note for them. The notes will be delivered to your runner to help them remember that they have people cheering them on. You can do it right now and it will only take a couple of minutes.

Motivation is everything in long races like these, and it’s easy to feel alone. Please take a few minutes to remind someone that they have inspired you. If you don’t know any of the runners, pick a random name and send a note. It can make a huge difference.

You can also view the race through a live webcam HERE.

Thank you all for your kind support throughout this last year and enjoy these last few days of 2011! See you in the New Year!

I may be a future Luna girl.

A lot of my running friends have blogs where they regularly review minimalist footwear. Because of this, they get free shoes and running gear from various companies. Although I’ve dabbled in reviewing minimalist shoes, the result hasn’t been great for me. The first shoe I reviewed cut both my feet and that scared me off.

Although I prefer to run completely barefoot, sometimes that’s not possible. The terrain might be too rough, the sidewalks too hot, or my soles might just need a break. But I don’t want to stop running. So I really need something – a thin layer between my feet and the earth – to allow me to continue doing what I love.

I’ve had my Vibrams since October and I now have 1104kms on them. They don’t fit me anymore because my feet have grown longer and wider. I tried cutting off the straps as well as cutting slits into the sides so they will expand, but they’re still uncomfortably tight.

A while ago I was lucky enough to win a pair of Unshoes from my friend Christian’s blog, which I’ve been wearing as sandals. However, when I try to run in them, they just don’t work well for me. So I’m down to zero minimalist shoes.

Two weeks ago I took on a job where I was required to wear dress shoes. I thought fine, no big deal. I ransacked my closet and pulled out all my old pairs of shoes from before I started running barefoot. To my horror, it was a scene from Cinderella. I was the ugly stepsister who couldn’t get her fat foot into anything.

Suddenly it dawned on me: I have no shoes. I have NO SHOES I can wear outside. Literally zero. I’m like a real live hobo.

My employer already scolded me for wearing my Unshoes to work, so when I emailed him recently and told him I couldn’t meet the dress code again for my next shift because I had no shoes, he thought I was the weirdest female on earth. I later learned that my employer personally owns over 100 pairs of shoes. And he’s a dude. He shakes his head at my shenanigans and mutters, “You and your running…”

Somehow I manage to stumble through life without any real shoes. When I was in school, I’d run to class in my Vibrams. During class I’d throw on these dirt cheap slippers that looked like boots on the outside, but had no soles. So I couldn’t step outside for lunch or anything because it was winter and they’d get wet and everyone would see they were just slippers (not actually boots).

Then one day I gave a presentation on barefoot running in class, and after that I could get away with walking around in socks. By the end of the school year, a few other classmates were also walking around in their socks and I thought that was awesome.

For work recently, I managed to find a pair of black sandals I could slip into. I wore black socks underneath so they kind of look like a shoe, and nobody notices that they’re not. For running though, I still have a problem.

I wrote to both Merrell and Luna this week to see if they could send me some shoes to review. Merrell was pretty quick to turn me down in what looked like a form letter. It made me wonder whether anyone had read my email at all. But Barefoot Ted responded to me personally and generously offered to send the next version of the Original Luna Sandal – the same sandal that my uncle Pat Sweeney runs in.

I’m really excited about the Lunas because I’m going to be doing a lot of running in sunny California this fall, and I have a feeling the Lunas could be a perfect fit. Plus Sweeney is one of my idols.

I recently read my friend Christian’s incredibly detailed review on seemingly every minimalist sandal known to man and thought, what can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said in a shoe review?

I mulled on that question for a bit, and here’s what I came up with:

1. I can put shoes through hell and back.

I trash shoes. I run them on mud, through tall grass, on gravel, on roads, pavement, dirt, roots, I even climb trees. My feet are where shoes come to die. If a shoe can survive me for a week, it’s a damn good shoe.

2. I can put shoes through incredible mileage.

In a short time, I got my Vibrams up to over 1104 km and my mileage is only getting higher. I could run forever in a shoe and see if it actually holds up. I can take it beyond the shorter trots generally used for review purposes. I can test what it’s like when running for 5+ hours on rougher trails and uneven ground. I can tell you if it’s going actually stay on your foot for an ultra or if it’s going to break your heart at mile 30 (my last shoe review ripped and cut me at 34 miles).

None of the minimalist shoes I’ve tried have lasted very long when put up to the mileage and terrain that I really need them for. So I’m eager to test the new Lunas.

Yesterday Christian posted a review of the new Luna Equus sandal where he stated that Luna products get better with age. I want that to be true about my footwear.

If all goes well, I plan to use my Lunas to run the Noble Canyon 50k this fall, as well as to climb Mt. Whitney, just like Barefoot Ted did back in 2007.

I’ve admired Ted from afar for a while now, so climbing where he took some of his barefoot steps in his shoes (literally) will be an experience not lost on me.

I seem to be slowly finding my place as a barefoot/minimalist runner and I think Lunas might be part of my development. I’m lucky to be part of such an inspiring community.

HOLISTIC NUTRITION BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNER

The winner of last week’s Holistic Nutrition Book Giveaway is….. KRISTIN OVERTON!

Congrats Kristin! Email your address to vanessaruns@gmail.com so I can send out your prize!

How I Run on a Vegan Diet

by Patrick Sweeney

[Patrick is easily on my list of top three favourite runners on the planet. If you read his blog, you know he’s also a total weirdo-nerd with a very discernible writing style. He runs ultras. He wears kilts. He runs barefoot. He eats veggies – what’s not to love? Pat also holds the Guinness World Record for most miles run on soft sand in a 24-hour period.

Patrick has a crazy life so it’s hard to pin him down to write something – I’m lucky he did it for me. I wanted him to put some thoughts down because he runs insane distances on a vegan diet. He also eats very unconventionally, even for a vegan. To me, he is living proof that clean eating works.]

 

WHO AM I?

I am a poor bastard (by choice). I make money when it is needed and pay my bills on time. The world is my playground and I like to explore it. I am a runner. I don’t wear shoes when I train and try to run at least 77 miles a week. I am sponsored to run by a beer company and a sandal maker. I was an active little fat kid with a happy childhood growing up on a fast food diet. At the age of 12 I was about a foot shorter and weighed up to 165 lbs.

DIET

I do not eat animal products.

My body functions best on a high carb diet with about 10-15% (or less) of protein. Currently I’m on about 3,500 – 5,000 calorie a day diet. My weight averages around 145 lbs, give or take 5 lbs depending on what I’m training for.

WHY VEGAN?

1. Our meat-eating practice is not sustainable for our planet. Meat production is the biggest cause of both deforestation and global warming.

2. I like animals. I’m not going to walk up and kick your dog, nor do I feel it’s okay to torture animals just because I don’t see it being done and my food comes inside a plastic package or is served to me.

3. Egg-laying hens and dairy cows live some of the most horrible lives imaginable. If you eat dairy you are most likely contributing to the veal industry (that’s where dairy cows calves go).

4. My body does not need meat.

WHAT I EAT

Like I said before, I’m a poor bastard. I shop for produce twice a week at the farmers market and also hit up the .99 store for thick skinned produce which is less susceptible to pesticides if it is not organic.

Breakfast

I like to have around 1,500 calories for breakfast and at least 4 pieces of fruit.

Each morning I usually consume at least 2 pieces of citrus, plus a banana or two. Some type of whole grain is also part of my morning routine. It is common for me to eat anywhere from a couple pieces of toast to a whole loaf of bread.

I am also a coffee drinker. I like my coffee as black as possible and mostly Australian beans. I have a big sweet tooth and like to eat a few Deglett or honey dates with my java. At least once a week I cook a stir-fry of veggies with no sauce or oil.

Lunch

I am not much of a restaurant person. I would always rather make my own meal than have someone prepare it for me and then have to wait for another person to bring it to my table. Lunch mostly revolves around 2 things – quinoa and lentils, which I make in my rice cooker. Every 2 or 3 days I cook up a batch and have the leftovers. I like to steam veggies on top and let their flavors and vitamins soak in below. I also like to add a little ponzu and sriracha for flavor.

Dinner

I try to make homemade pizza at least four nights a week. Whether it can really be called pizza, you be the judge. A common pie includes: whole wheat dough, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, spinach, carrot, jalapeño, black beans, and most importantly – avocado

Snacks

When I leave my house to go for a run I try and always bring a few pieces of fruit and veggies for me snack on when I am finished.  I also try and keep raw almonds or peanuts in my car if I need some quick calories.

Lately my favorite snack has been bean sprouts. I can put them on anything or eat them plain. I go thorough at least a few 2 – 4 lbs a week.

I try to eat at least one avocado every day. I also like to make my hummus and eat it with some fresh veggies.

RACING

I do not carbo load the night before. I keep my diet exactly the same.

For breakfast I limit my coffee to one cup and usually take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or 2) with me.

Some people can’t handle eating real food while running and opt for gels and other packaged crap. When I’m running an ultra, give me real food and lots of it. My favorite is watermelon.

BOOZE

I like beer during the day. Wine with dinner. Bourbon for desert (with a little 98% Cacao Chocolate and fresh jalapeño).

END

I’m too lazy to to write anymore.I’m not really going anywhere with this post anyway. If you got this, you must really be bored or perhaps slightly deranged. Either way, if you want to further explore my exploits, check out www.Bourbonfeet.com

RELATED ARTICLES:

Dude, There’s Seaweed on my Pizza!

30-Day Vegan Challenge With Vega

Top 8 Vegan-Friendly Foods for Runners

 

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