Day 40 – Radio interviews, suns back out, nice sunset

vanessaruns:

With crewing it’s easy to fall into the fluster and rush of things and ultimately miss the entire journey. Every morning I wake up with the conviction that I can’t let that happen.

As crew, we see the country in a different way than the runners even though we are moving in the same spaces. The runners on the road get the handshakes, the interviews, and the best and worst of Mother Nature.

We do a lot of back and forth driving into and out of cities. We see the small, local businesses. We pick up the vibe of every small town. We meet the grocery cashier workers, the gas station attendants, the people who sell propane. We speak to them about their struggles and challenges as well as what they love about their cities. They are our main resources, giving us tips and contacts.

In New Mexico we have seen the worst of the poorest parts of the country. We have walked the dog among heaps of garbage and we have woken up to prostitutes fighting outside the RV. These are not towns that get tourists or visitors.

I grew up in government housing so places like these are familiar. I have been struck deeply by how fortunate I am to have escaped the dead end life I was headed for and how the children here might also have great potential but little opportunity.

When you’re a child living in a town like this and an outsider comes to your school to speak, that’s a big deal. That never happens. You listen to them closely and you believe everything they say. If they say you can do better, if they say you can achieve your dreams, for many that’s the first time anyone has ever told them that.

In my childhood, two people outside of my impoverished community told me I could make something of myself. One of them was a teacher, and I believed her.

I am not the one running or speaking at schools, but we touch different people as crew. In Magdalena, New Mexico, while the guys were out running, a little girl named Vanessa interrupted my work. I ended up speaking to her for hours about her dream of building machines and making a robotic dog. She lived with her grandmother who didn’t even know what wifi was and she didn’t get any computer time at school, but she left understanding that she could become an engineer.

Never doubt for one second that you are making a difference.

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

***

Run With Us America is now on Twitter! Follow @runwithus2

Follow on Instagram @runwithusamerica

And on Facebook: Run With Us America

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

Yesterday we meet the team from Majestic Radio and we were invited to have a chat at 7am this morning. It was awesome to be able to go Live and chat to the people of Roswell and everyone who tunes in to their stations. We got to chat on 4 different stations at prime time 7-8am. Thankyou so so much to all the Dj’s and staff for making us feel super welcome and getting the word out of our adventure.

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Then we got out to the start to run at 9.15am and just when the sun was coming out, Roxanne was with us again for her second day on the road. Now todays run was 35.4 miles long and man was it straight , I mean in that 56kms we only slightly turned a corner no more than 4 times. You could see so far ahead I thought we saw…

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Day 31 – The slowest feeling day ever for me but still made it with a smile.

Day 31 – The slowest feeling day ever for me but still made it with a smile.

vanessaruns:

For one month now I have been struggling with how to write about the larger-than-life experience of crewing for this running adventure across the USA for the 100 Mile Club. Everything in our daily routine has changed, and I have changed too.

I have been gathering notes and over the past few weeks and I already have enough material about this journey to write another book. In the meantime, Jup Brown has been faithfully blogging about every single day on the road and I am honored to put his words here on my page too.

The word I keep coming back to on this journey is COMMUNITY. Of all the amazing things we can and have accomplished physically, we do nothing on our own. We need each other.

Come along with us:

Run With Us America Facebook

Run With Us America Website

100 Mile Club Donation Page

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

Hi everyone, Hope all is great with you. Today was pretty hard for me, I had no energy at all for the first 34kms. Not sure why but was super low in energy even though body was moving good. These days pop up from time to time and I’m lucky on this run as I have Pat right beside me, He sings songs and chats away to me with some crazy stories and makes me laugh all the time. Then our crew is there at our breaks with smiles a million so no way I can be tired.       It was a magic place to start from today from the huge discs in the back ground. Quick bit of one legged yoga for me and pat and off we went.

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It was sunny start with a tail wind which was nice and after that we were pretty much…

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Endurance Running: The New Counseling for Couples?

Picture+2By Curt Davies

There comes a time when couples will experience tension in their relationship. For some, relationship counseling may be beneficial; for others, not so much. Fortunately, there is still hope for any relationship encountering friction. Here’s how running an endurance race with your partner can be an effective, natural way to build a strong and lasting relationship.

  1. You’re in it together.

When you run and train for a marathon or ultramarathon with your partner, there is no “I” in the process. You go through the same routine and can empathize with each other. Endurance racing is exhausting, but the training is even more so. Your body will ache. Your head will hurt. It will be tough, particularly in the beginning, but think of it as a reflection of your relationship. As you journey more together, it becomes easier, and you know you’re not alone.

  1. You bond over the struggle.

Running and training together allows each partner in the relationship to understand one another. There is no need to justify a purchase on a pair of running shoes and there are no reasons to feel alienated after a long, sweaty training session.

  1. You have a healthy anger outlet.

Say you’ve had a rough day: your boss is angry with you and your friends are all busy. What do you do? You might go online to escape or you might take it out on your partner. Running is a healthy outlet for stress and anger. You may even find yourself becoming a more positive person in general—with your partner by your side throughout the process.

  1. You build new memories.

Once you’ve completed the training, it’s time to race. Your whole journey has led to this moment. It’s something you will never forget. When you’re running with your partner from the start to finish, you can say you did it together. When you do something you love with the love of your life, the experience is incredible.

  1. You share travelling experiences.

Racing can become a long-term routine. Races are distributed all over the world, which can open up travelling opportunities. Whether it is in America, Australia, or any other location, there are bound to be endurance events available for you to run. Grab this opportunity with two hands, catch a flight and get running! Take some pictures and write about the journey. You’ll look back on these moments for the rest of your life, and be glad you did it.

Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast at marathondriven.com. His site is stacked with information and other goodies regarding marathon running and training. For more, visit marathondriven.com.

1538867_10203972161018685_2045346838989607561_nYou May Also Enjoy:

How to Love a Runner

Extreme Cold Weather Running Tips You Won’t Find in Runner’s World

10 Overlooked Rights Worth Fighting For

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

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

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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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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

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance

Should Children Run Endurance Events?

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Every time I post a photo of the Redden kids on Facebook, I see the same type of comments: lots of admiration, some shock, some concern, and some downright anger.

Seth and Sabrina Redden are the proud parents of two unusual kids. Tajh (male, 11) and Teagan (female, 9) are both avid trail and ultra runners. Last year, Teagan ran her first 100K and 100-mile distance. She was nominated for the Arizona 2013 Rookie of the Year Award at mcdowellmountainman.com. Needless to say, her competitors were older than her by a large margin…as they usually are.

Team Redden is so mind-blowingly young and accomplished that Outside Magazine covered them in an article, The Art of Raising Young Ultrarunners.

View Teagan Redden’s race results.

Like the Redden kids’ Facebook page.

The debate as to whether children should be running endurance events rages on. However, it is not an entirely new concept. Children have been running marathons for a while now.

Data from the Twin Cities Marathon shows that between 1982 and 2005, 277 children have crossed the finish line ranging from ages 7 to 17 with finish times from 2:53 to 6:10.

Unfortunately, there is little scientific data on the effects of long distance running on children.

This topic intrigued us enough to chat with Seth and Sabrina Redden as well as a pediatrician on the Natural Running Network Podcast a couple of weeks ago. On the show, we discuss veganism for kids, thermoregulation in children, and a child’s eagerness to please his/her parents.

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Direct Podcast Link HERE

Here are some things that didn’t make it into the podcast:

Colby Weltland and Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen

I had hoped to have child prodigy Colby Weltland on the show. Unfortunately, his family was traveling for a race and they were unavailable.

Colby is a 13 year old kid who has already finished several 100-mile races and aspires to be youngest Badwater finisher. I also spoke to his close family friend and pacer, Ed “The Jester”. An accomplished ultra runner, Ed has thousands of miles of experience and has mentored/paced Colby to most of his finishes.

When I asked for his insight, he wrote the following:

Just for more fodder on the subject, I know one of the concerns people have is that running at a young age will do physical and emotional harm to kids. My four kids have never run an ultra, but have run many marathons, running their first one at the ages of 8, 9, 11, and 14 (and that was because she’s a type 1 diabetic, otherwise she would have run her first one at an earlier age).

They’re all young adults now and are just fine, physically and emotionally. My 21-year-old daughter who was 8 at her first marathon just did the Disney World Half Marathon and works for Raw Threads a clothing company that specializes in running attire. She is a vendor at many of the big marathons and she still loves the running world.

I was told by many people that running a marathon at such an early age would damage her growth plates. I feel really bad now, because apparently it did stunt her growth–she’s only 5’11″!

And for me personally, although I didn’t run marathons as a kid, I did run my first two at the age of 17, and three more at the age of 18. Thirty-four years later I set three American age records: 200k, 24-hour, and 6-day, so I don’t think running long distances as a teen hurt me too much. Anyway, just thought I’d share that with you.

Oh, and one more family of young ultra runners. Brandon and Cameron Plate are from Oklahoma. They’re 12 and 13 and have both completed two 100+ mile races. Colby & I and the two of them ran together at Silverton 1,000 and ATY last year. You can find their stats on Ultrasignup as well.

Jester on . . .

Follow Colby’s blog.

Join the Run Jester Run Friends Facebook page.

Remember: There are many great programs out there like Girls on the Run and the 100 Mile Club that help introduce kids to the joy of running. They don’t have to run extreme distances to stay healthy and find a love for the outdoors.

You can check out our other running podcasts at the Natural Running Network HERE.

What are your thoughts? Should children be allowed to race ultras?
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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

Stronger Now

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I am sprinting downhill through shin-deep, unbroken, soft powder snow. Every step is an effort–like trudging through quicksand. I am on my fifth mile, running home.

I am holding a plank inside an igloo I helped build. My toes are digging into the cold ground and my clothes are covered in hay. My abs are burning.

I am hauling logs down from off the mountain for firewood. I used to carry one big log at a time, but now I can hold two. My steps are sturdier and a little faster.

I am getting stronger.

I have never considered myself to be very strong. On the contrary, I was raised with the cultural belief that men were the protectors, the pickle-jar openers, the only ones capable of lifting. Women belonged in the kitchen.

Interestingly, this didn’t bother me all that much. I could wave off the things I didn’t want to do because they were “too hard”. I didn’t have to carry heavy things or stand for very long. I was comfortable.

When I took up running in my 20s, I grew physically strong enough to challenge those gender stereotypes, but it created friction in my relationship.

Suddenly I could lift more, pull harder, stay on my feet longer than my now-ex boyfriend. This didn’t make me feel proud or happy or liberated. Instead, I felt betrayed. I had invested in this worldview and it had let me down.

Underlying that betrayal was fear. I had always counted on men to protect me–and now it was obvious they couldn’t. They were weaker than me.

It took me some time to shift my gender mindset from one of submission to one of equals. When I figured out how to do that, I no longer needed to be angry when I saw weakness. The expectation that all men were stronger was no longer there.

Men were now free to be themselves without judgement from me, and I was free to raise my personal standards. No one should have the burden of being stronger than me all the times, nor should there be a limit for how strong I can become.

Perhaps you are stronger than me. But if you’re not, that’s ok–I’m still going to be strong just on my own.

You May Also Enjoy:

How to Love a Runner

Life, Death, and a Goat Having a Seizure

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

How to Love a Runner

“The hardest part of being in a committed relationship with an endurance athlete is having to redefine normalcy.” (Chronicles of an Endurance Athlete’s Wife)

This was one of my favorite podcasts so far–a candid look into what it takes to love an endurance athlete. The voracious appetite, the disgusting shoes laid out to dry, the hours of absence during which family is not supposed to be worried… how is it that we find partners at all?

On 100 Miles is Not That Far, Stephanie Catudal tells the full story of what it’s like for her to be married to a 115-mile/week athlete, and it’s not always pretty. We discuss her points and add our own experiences to the discussion, including my thoughts on goat-love.

Listen in!

howtolovearunnerDirect Podcast Link HERE

Links to Stephanie’s original work:

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

2013: Stats From a Year of Travel Blogging

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 310,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 13 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Being silly in beautiful places = what we did in 2013. Same plan for 2014.

Happy new year, dear readers!

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Seeking Dispensers: A Call to Embrace a Wild Life

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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker

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