It’s no secret that Ultrarunning is in a period of fantastic growth and transformation. People are pouring into the sport form all walks of life, at an unprecedented rate. Though there is some fear that this evolution will somehow corrupt the sport’s principles, the current momentum and energy seems largely positive to me. On the one hand, there are significantly more true runners with professionally trained talent discovering the trails and pushing the competitive envelope at the front of nearly every race. Similarly, there are even more folks being compelled join our ranks from non-running or even non-athletic backgrounds. It’s beautiful thing and I feel equally inspired by both groups.
Like many of the good people currently entering the sport, I come from a nontraditional background – lucky to discover running by happenstance. I never ran track or cross country in school and, even once I found running, I was never inspired by road races. Like most, I was compelled by the landscapes. The idea of covering such vast distances through the mountains is what initially spoke to me, and what continues to get me excited everyday. While my lack of formal experience or training initially made my learning curve a steep one, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I don’t see this as a competitive disadvantage. Rather, I see my late entry as one of my greatest strengths. I don’t carry a lot of the same wear and tear of those who ran through their youth, and I have a mental freshness or naiveté that has served me well through my relatively short racing career. There is no question that, had I been a runner through my adolescence, I would not possess the fire and love for the sport that I currently feel.
The truth is, I find myself identifying with and rooting for those who share a similar inexperience. I’m happy to represent this group and always love answering training and racing questions from those with no formal experience, or who have never been coached. Those who are doing their damnedest to figure it out themselves. I’ve been lucky to have a relatively good amount of success since I found the sport, and am always happy to share what I think has made a difference in my development as an athlete. That is exactly the purpose of this post.
Like many of us, Pearl Izumi does not come from a running background. Having been a staple on the cycling and triathlon scene for some time, PI was relatively late to the running party, but is now very happy to have found it. As such, Pearl Izumi has graciously allowed me give away some of my favorite pieces of running gear to a few lucky commenters on this post. So, without further ado, I’d like to open up the comment section of this post as a discussion board for those with specific questions about my training, racing, and evolution as a runner. With Western States now a little more than two weeks out, I can say with full confidence that I’m in the best shape of my life. This being the case, I feel better positioned than ever to provide some advice as to how I’ve made it to this point, and how my nontraditional background has contributed to my progression.
So, please feel free to sound off below. Come monday of next week (6/17), I’ll pick three lucky winners at random to take home a Pearl Izumi Ultra Thermal, some Ultra Shorts, or a pair of the new E:Motion shoes. Make sure you leave your email in the in the appropriate field, so I can reach out to the winners. I promise to personally respond to EVERY question and look forward to the discussion! Fire it up.