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November 30, 2017

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November 26, 2017

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The Road to the USA Marathon Championships: Part III

As every marathoner knows, terms like "carboload", "fuel", and "food" are often discussed, and play a very large part in race performance. But, the fueling aspect of marathoning can also be very confusing and overwhelming. Here in Part III of our journey with rabbitPRO Kaitlin Goodman, as Kaitlin puts the finishing touches on her training for the USA Marathon Championship at the California International Marathon on Sunday, she discusses this vital aspect of marathon running.

Check out Part III:

November 20, 2017

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FKT of the Ozark Highlands Trail

Run 165 miles through the wilderness, on sometimes non-existent trails, over the course of ONE weekend. Oh, and set the record for the Fastest Known Time (FKT) while doing it. Sound insane? Yeah, we think so. INSANELY AWESOME! As you might have heard rabbitPRO Ashley Nordell did just this a few weeks ago on the Ozark Highlands Trail. In this rabbit chatter, Ashley tells the story of this miraculous feat in her own words:

“ Look at that old car,” I remember saying to Faye. I can still see the image clearly, a beat up looking off road vehicle that was abandoned in the woods after breaking down or crashing. Except it wasn’t really there. Neither was the other vehicle, the building, or the boy fishing on the side of the road. But after over 54 hours, everything was a bit funky, and it made perfect sense that some half-jeep had found its final resting place in the Ozarks of Arkansas.

Ashley Nordell

It’s been a couple weeks since I spent my (entire!) weekend running, hiking, and often stumbling along 165 miles of the Ozark Highlands trail. The acute pains have subsided, along with the sharp memories of the lows, so all I can really conjure up are thoughts of what an amazing experience I had in one of my favorite states.

Although going for a record was a nice, tangible goal to focus on, the real joy of that weekend comes down to the friendships, challenges, and seeing a beautiful place that is so different from where I live. It’s not often that we get to experience something so stripped down that all you literally have to do is run. The external details are all being brainstormed for you, and your only responsibility is to put one foot in front of the next, while occasionally forcing down some food. The Ozark Highlands Trail website suggest 10-14 days for a thru hike from Fort Smith State Park to Woolum, Arkansas. To be able to cover that distance over the course of a weekend is such an incredible experience, it’s extremely hard to put into words.

Ashley Nordell

When I received a phone call back in early August from my good friend (and previous record holder) Steve Kirk offering his assistance if I wanted to attempt the trail, my thoughts went from “maybe one day” to “I’m totally doing this.” I decided if I made it through Cascade Crest 100 fairly unscathed, I was going to try  for the trail in late October. Part of the draw to this trail for me was to see the color change in Arkansas. Unfortunately, Cascade Crest left me with a hurt hamstring that didn’t seem to improve as the days went on. A month before my self-imposed window of dates (between my husband’s 40th birthday and Halloween), I went to a local PT and felt some immediate progress. Two miles into my first post-PT run I sent a mid-run text to Steve asking if we could still pull it off on such short notice. This impulsive text and plane ticket purchase was how I ended up flying into Little Rock at the end of October with a crazy adventure planned.

There were definitely moments of panic after I made that commitment, especially as the hamstring acted up again, and then when I got the stomach bug two and a half weeks out from my trip making me unable to even complete a three mile run.  In the two months between Cascade Crest and the Ozark Highlands Trail, I did not do a run longer than about ten miles, and here I was buying maps for a 165 mile trail. About a week before I flew to Arkansas I finally decided I had to turn off all the doubts that the setbacks were causing, and commit to the belief that I could do it. Steve had told me when he and Greg Eason ran the trail they didn’t even discuss possible reasons for stopping. He explained if you had those to fall back on when things got really rough, it would be too easy to stop. I took this to heart and made the decision that I would no longer even consider all the obstacles because they just provided excuses. People were giving up their entire weekend for me, so I could only begin the trail believing I could finish it, and the only finish line could be the Buffalo River in Woolum.

Ashley Nordell

Tim Ernst wrote an amazing, mile by mile trail description book for the OHT. He divides the trail into eight sections of 18-30 miles. The day before I began my run, I took an exacto knife and cut the book into each section and put them in Ziploc bags so I didn’t have to carry the entire book at a time. In my mind, I broke the trail up into these pages, and during the run, each time I swapped out bags, it was one section down. Anytime the enormity of the miles to come, or hours I had left, crept into my mind, I would try to go back to just a section of the book at a time. That, and seeing my crew every 7-20 miles, were what helped keep me going during all those hours. Steve Kirk, Greg Eason, and Chris Block were with me the entire trail, both crewing and pacing. I was joined mid-trail by two amazing gals I had never met before, Faye McConnell and Rachel Furman. Rachel paced me the long 20 mile stretch through the Hurricane Wilderness, and poor Faye jumped in the final 40 miles, which was an entire night and much of the last day. When I think of all the highs of this trip, the first and foremost one is this group of people. Steve put together the best crew and pacers I could even imagine.

Ashley Nordell

Overall, the logistics of the trek were amazing. Not ever having set foot on the trail before, I relied 100 percent on Steve’s planning. My only responsibility was to run. The first 55 miles of the trail went fairly smoothly in that department. Chris and I set off from Fort Smith at 4am on Friday, and all day long I alternated running with people or going solo. I would run the flats and downhills and walk the climbs. Chris joined me again after mile 55 and we began the eight mile climb into what the guide book describes as one of the most remote and least used sections of the trail. I had encountered some downed trees along the way, but in this stretch it seemed like every time I got into a rhythm we had another tree to climb over or bushwhack around, and then would lose the trail and have to try to find it again in the dark. As the night wore on, I struggled with staying awake, and my pace went from mostly running to mostly walking. Shortly after the half-way point, Greg jumped in and took me another 20 miles into the next day, crossing that magic 100 mile marker, which brought me into entirely new territory. Once the sun rose, my body woke up a bit and I could go back to slightly more running. Just like in ultras, it became a series of highs and lows. Around mile 105 my quads started hurting so badly I struggled with stepping down from rocks or climbing over the trees. There would be sections where, for hours, it would be all leaf covered rocks that on tired, shot legs I just couldn’t run. Miles can go by so slowly when reduced to often 2.5 miles an hour. 

Ashley Nordell

Despite the challenges with staying awake, freezing temperatures at night,  and dealing with the terrain and conditions of the trail, I don’t ever remember feeling like I reached a point where I wanted to stop. Again, it came down to the group of people I had out with me and as much as I wanted to reach my goal, I equally wanted to not disappoint them. I have funny memories of trying to carry scrambled eggs in a baggie and having them leak all inside the pockets of my capris, or Faye and I getting asked repetitively by a random guy in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere if we wanted to join his campfire, or hearing about how the guys had a pow-wow in a convenient store over how they would keep me awake on the second night that involved buying 5 Hour Energy and stuffing Espresso Hammer Gels in Faye’s pack with instructions to force feed me them if needed.  There were frustrating times getting lost or wishing there was even one section of trail that wasn’t composed entirely of rocks, but those aren’t the memories that stick with me when I look back at this weekend.

I remember the huge male elk (that my crazy brain first thought was a horse) that stood right on the trail in our way, the sections of bright blue water and orange and red leaves, and how absolutely incredible it felt to wade across the Buffalo River.  Scrambled eggs never tasted so good and then so bad, and five minute naps in the middle of the trail never seemed like such a luxury.

 I definitely struggled more with trail conditions than I had anticipated I would, but this was a new sort of challenge for me in so many ways, so it was hard to know what to expect. In the end, I can only be completely grateful that I had the opportunity to experience this trail in such a way with the people I had out with me. Friendships become extremely powerful in these sort of extreme situations, and I know they would have been there for me no matter how many hours it took to reach Woolum. And just like an ultra, where you swear “never again!” I am already in the brainstorming phase of what adventure to take on next.

- rabbitPRO, Ashley Nordell

Ashley Nordell

November 14, 2017

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rabbit race preview: The North Face Endurance Challenge

With its hefty cash prizes drawing a consistently stacked field, the North Face Endurance Challenge serves as a sort of unofficial North American trail racing championship and it can be found on the calendar of many of the sport’s most talented athletes. The rabbit crew will be out in full force this weekend, with representation in nearly every race distance and some strong candidates for high finishes. We chatted with some of the folks, both from the rabbit team and beyond, who will be throwing down this weekend, who shared their thoughts on everything from race tactics to the most dramatic addition to this year’s course, the Golden Gate Bridge.


Chris Braden

As a recently retired professional triathlete, Santa Barbara’s Chris Braden comes into the 50k race with a huge aerobic base and the kind of strength and determination that it takes to KOM one of Santa Barbara’s most contested cycling climbs. What he does not have, though, are any particularly lofty expectations about his finish. “The goal of this race is to have fun. I just want to enjoy every minute of the race. Rarely do I race without some sort of performance goal such as trying to win or simply seeing how hard I can push myself. I'm approaching this race as an opportunity for an epic adventure with Savannah [Braden’s girlfriend].”

Asked what attracted him to racing at TNF, Braden says it’s all about the scenery. “The trails above SF are some of the most beautiful anywhere around. To top it all off, finishing across the Golden Gate Bridge and on Crissy Field will be nothing short of magical.” As for how he has adapted from tri to ultra training, it’s all about that long run! “We have built up from 2 hour trail runs at the start to our longest run last weekend which was 4 hours. It's been important to keep pushing that point at which we really start to fatigue.”


Savannah Dearden


Another Santa Barbara pro triathlete who will be toeing the line this weekend is Savannah Dearden. While Savannah’s boyfriend, Chris Braden, has raced one 50k before, this is Savannah’s first ultra. “My longest run before starting to train for this event was 15 miles so this distance is quite a jump! Honestly, I would have never thought to do this if it weren’t for Chris.”


Much like Braden, Dearden is attracted to the region’s natural beauty. “I’m originally from Florida, where San Francisco is considered a sort of mythical, real life Disneyland and I still get really excited to visit the area.” And, while she may lack experience on the trails, Dearden has worked diligently to prepare herself for the rigors of the race. “I am not the best natural trail runner (I’m a bit uncoordinated and tend to trip over myself on flat ground so uneven trails are a challenge, ha), so in addition to a long trail run on the weekend I’ve incorporated a lot of strength and balance exercises into my weekly training.”



Kate Elliott


Member of the rabbitELITE team, Kate Elliott is an experienced trail racer who has proven all year that it takes a pro to beat her. Indeed, a quick glance at her Ultra Signup results reveals that she has raced seven times since August 2016 and never finished worse than second, with victories taken from her by the likes of elite ultrarunners Keely Henninger and Caroline Boller. Elliott will be racing the 50 miler at TNF, a distance at which she debuted in July at the Mt. Hood 50 Miler. There she finished second, breaking seven hours and becoming the third fastest woman to run the course.


For Santa Barbara’s Elliott, the biggest appeal of TNF is the ultra-stacked field. “I’m really excited for the chance to compete with some of the very best runners out there. These are women that I admire and follow closely, so it will be really awesome to race against them.” Elliott’s preparation has been intense, logging high mileage weeks with abundant climbing on the steep trails of Santa Barbara’s front country. “This race has a lot more climbing than Mt. Hood and so many fast runners, so I just want to make sure I’ve done everything possible to prepare.”


Tyler Hansen


Speed demon, marathon maven, trail star, respected coach—when it comes to running, Tyler Hansen can do it all. A smart and methodical competitor, Hansen, also from Santa Barbara, will be tackling his longest race to date in the 50 miler, but that doesn’t mean he’s not prepared. “The peak of my training included a 28 miler with about 6,800 feet of elevation change. The following day I ran 15 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation change to simulate the later part of the race, running on tired legs. These back-to-back style runs have mentally and physically prepared me to take on my first 50 miler!”


As for the course, you might say that Hansen prefers things classic. “I don't like when races change courses, because you no longer can compare times against those of past races, so Miller's course record from last year will never be broken. Records are meant to be broken.” Having run across the bridge previously during the San Francisco Marathon, Hansen found the experience “a bit underwhelming, you run in a straight line for almost two miles with sections that have very strong cross winds and cars buzzing by on the other side.” Given his preparation and experience, expect Hansen to meet or exceed his goal of finishing in somewhere between seven and seven and a half hours.


Dani Moreno


rabbitPRO Dani Moreno is racing the half marathon with her sights set firmly on victory. “My goal is to be the first female and top 5 overall,” she explains. For Moreno, a Santa Barbarian, the race is a stepping stone in more than one way. In the context of her season, TNF will serve as a tune up race leading into the Xterra World Championships. In the longer term, Moreno plans to move up in distance and is looking to use this race to gain familiarity with the terrain and competition. “I chose to do the half-marathon not only because I knew it would be a great tune-up/rust buster but because I plan on doing the 50 mile here in a few years. “


Indeed, she may be just as excited about spectating the longer races as she is about running her own. “I have to say the fact that I get to watch so many iconic runners race the day before was a huge draw for me as well. I am extremely excited, and at this point just need to be careful not to go crazy yelling the day before to save up for my own race!” As for the Golden Gate finale, Moreno is intrigued but understandably focused on other course features. “Don't get me wrong I am very excited, but I am really going to focus on the climbs for this race.”


Kris Brown


With four wins to his name this season, rabbitPRO Kris Brown is having a pretty stellar 2017. After earning local Santa Barbara legend status by crushing the notoriously cruel 9 Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run in March, Brown went on to further glory in San Diego, where he won the San Diego 100 in June, his debut at the distance. Ever philosophical, Brown’s is clearly more focused on the process than the outcome when it comes to his result in the 50 miler. “The only non-fluid goal that I have is to run what I'll consider in hindsight to be an intelligent and full-effort race.”


To achieve that goal, Brown plans to focus on pacing himself and starting conservatively. “Especially in ultrarunning, a lot can be gained from positive mental energy late in a race. Being able to cope with the idea of the remaining distance is huge for momentum, as is passing people in the later miles.” What will that look like in practical terms? “Watch for all smiles through 50k, is what I'm saying.” Despite his modesty, Brown is a legit contender for a high finish, having put in major training all year. “I pretty much continued my 100-miler training knowing that my inexperience in the longer races will continue to be my weakness for a while...I'm plenty quick for a 50-miler, so my goal was to get my legs to the point at which beyond mile 40 they won't be so shot that I'm not able to race hard.”



Renee Metivier


Coming off of her recent win at the USA Trail Marathon Championships in Moab, Utah, rabbitPRO Renee Metivier is targeting another victory in the 50 mile race. She is far from smug, though, adding “I am so new to this distance that I have a healthy fear of the race. I know I am going into new territory I haven’t experience yet.”  Metivier, who lives and trains in Bend, Oregon, is excited for the challenge and prepared for the pain that her lofty goal may require. “I fully expect the suffering that will entail,” she says of racing for the win.


Metivier explains that, “This particular race attracted me because it is a big race in the trail scene with a challenging course incorporating lots of vert while still being runnable and playing to my strengths with more of a road background.” She plans to race strategically, reflecting her respect for the race and competitors. “I know I am going into new territory that I haven't experienced yet. The strong competition just adds to that healthy fear and respect, as well as the need to race smart and patient.”


And if the USA Trail Marathon Championships and TNF 50 miler weren’t enough for Metivier, soon after she plans to toe the line at the USA Road Marathon Championships in early December, which are being run as part of the California International Marathon in Sacramento.  Metivier will be a top contender in that race as well, as she is the number one seeded female with a time of 2:27:17 (Chicago, 2012).  

November 10, 2017

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fueled friday: vegan roasted cauliflower tacos

F U E L E D F R I D A Y: we know that many of you runners out there are vegan, vegetarian, or just enjoy eating plant-based every now and then. If that's you, then we have just the recipe for you - vegan roasted cauliflower tacos with chipotle romesco! 

This recipe comes from the amazing Dana over at Minimalist Baker.  If you don't already follow Minimalist Baker on Instagram, we highly recommend it! 

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Chipotle Romesco

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 25 mins

Total time: 30 mins 

Smoky, roasted cauliflower tacos with a spicy chipotle romesco sauce! An easy (30 minutes!) and flavorful plant-based meal that's versatile, healthy, and so satisfying!

Author: Minimalist Baker

Recipe type: Entrée

Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired, Vegan, Gluten-Free

Serves: ~12 tacos

Original recipe

INGREDIENTS

CAULIFLOWER

  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sizes pieces (smaller pieces roast more quickly!)
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) avocado or coconut oil (if avoiding oil, omit or sub with water) 
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

SAUCE

  • 4 cloves garlic (12 g), skin on
  • 1/4 cup (28 g) raw almonds
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cloves raw garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil (or sub water)
  • 1 lime, juiced (~3 Tbsp or 45 ml)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (more for spicier sauce)

FOR SERVING

  • 12-15 corn tortillas
  • Lime juice / wedges
  • optional: fresh cilantro optional: Thinly sliced red cabbage
  • optional: pepitas

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and add cauliflower to 1 large (or 2 small) baking sheets. Add oil (or omit/sub water), cumin, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Toss to combine and roast on the bottom rack for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. 

2.  To a separate baking sheet, add raw almonds and the 4 unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast on the center rack for 10-12 minutes or until the almonds have started to brown/crack and the garlic is starting to get golden brown in color. Remove from oven and set aside.

3.  While cauliflower finishes roasting, add drained, fire-roasted tomatoes to a high-speed blender along with almonds, roasted garlic (peeled), raw garlic (peeled), oil (or water), lime juice, paprika, cumin, salt, maple syrup, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

4.  Blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime for acidity, garlic for kick/zing, salt for saltiness, paprika or cumin for smokiness, maple syrup to offset heat/add sweetness, or chipotle peppers for more heat.

5.  To serve, warm tortillas in the microwave or in the oven directly on the still-warm oven racks until pliable. Then add 1-2 Tbsp of the romesco sauce and a generous portion of cauliflower. Serve as is or garnish with lime juice/wedges, cilantro, cabbage, and/or pepitas (optional).

6.  Best when fresh. Store leftover sauce in the refrigerator up to 1 week (or 1 month in the freezer), and the cauliflower in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat cauliflower in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until warm (best when fresh).

Notes *Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 taco of 12 tacos without additional garnish (pepitas, herbs, etc.).

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 of 12 tacos without garnish Calories: 110 Fat: 5.4 g Saturated fat: 0.7 g Carbohydrates: 14.4 g Sugar: 2.1 g Sodium: 107 mg Fiber: 2.7 g Protein: 2.5 g

Original recipe can be found here.  

October 30, 2017

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We're All Runners

Each of us arrive at running via a different path and RADrabbbit Lindsay Kremer of High Point, North Carolina is no different. In her rabbit chatter, she tells us more about what running means to her and why the only important thing that makes us all runners, is that we just love to run.

I started running as a way to get in shape. With a demanding work schedule, I didn’t have to worry about making it to a certain class on time or paying membership dues. I just ran when I wanted to; when I had the time too. That sparked a beautiful relationship that has gone from running two days a week to running four, then six days a week and genuinely loving more intense training periods.

That love and dedication has helped me to take 37 minutes off of my half-marathon PR and flirt with running a sub two-hour half soon, hopefully this fall! Much of the good running has done in my life stems from a comment which will continue to fuel my passion for running for the rest of my life: You don’t look like a runner. No one should ever tell you what a runner should look like because every runner is unique. While no, I am not built like a stereotypical elite runner, it does not make me any less of a runner. I run thirty plus mile weeks and diligently keep up with my strength training, always pushing myself to run faster and train harder. I truly believe if you have a body and you run, you have a runner’s body.

That is the amazing thing about the running community, we welcome you whether you just started or have been running for 50 years.

We will celebrate the first time you run a mile without stopping just as much as the person who scored themselves a PR. With all the goodness that comes from the inspiration I find in the running community, there is still a dark side that can come from within. It's the perception of yourself that can either build me up to achieve my highest potential, or if I choose to let it, can bring me to a low place with no motivation to train.

Like many people who start running to get in shape, the more I ran and the better care I took of myself led me to loosing some weight. Initially, instead of celebrating victories like setting new PR’s and become fitter I couldn't help but think I still didn’t look like my running idols. But my perception was off: burning thousands of calories and becoming a stronger runner didn't mean I was going to look like an Olympian. But hey, news flash to me, I can be myself and be the strongest runner I know. I certainly will continue to put forth my best effort to continue improving everyday. 

I learned quickly, it's not fair to try and compare myself to any other runner, whether they be a professional or just beginning. We're all on our own, personal running journey. I firmly believe that the training I put in makes me a better employee, fiancée and daughter too. It enriches my entire life in a very special way.

Whenever I am having a day where maybe I don’t feel like my normal happy self, I look to the people I run with. The tribe I surround myself with, the RADrabbit squad around the world consistently reminds me how supportive and amazing this community really is, and that regardless of what type of runner I look like, I am a runner. Just like you and everyone else.

At the end of the day, what I think of myself is the only thing that matters. That voice is the only thing that is going to help me pour my heart into my next PR and continue to become a better runner, chasing my dreams one day at a time. 

October 18, 2017

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The Road to the USA Marathon Champs: Part II

We are so excited to share Part II of our journey with rabbitPRO Kaitlin Goodman as she continues to run down some big goals on her path to the USA Marathon Championship at the California International Marathon in December. Keep up the hard work Kaitlin.  It is paying off!!  

Check out Part II:

 

October 13, 2017

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Denali Strabel: Racing Across the Northern Arizona Sky

Making the trek from Anchorage, Alaska to the San Francisco Peaks mountain range high above Flagstaff, Arizona, rabbitELITE  Denali Strabel tackled the unrelenting 39km Flagstaff Sky Race this past weekend, finishing off the podium by a mere five minutes in a 5+ hour race! 

Check out her race report below and find her at the next big competition with fellow rabbitELITE teammate Kate Elliot as well as rabbitPRO Kris Brown at the North Face 50 November 18th in Sausalito, California.  

 

I recently took a trip to Arizona to test my new found love for mountain racing. I chose to run the 39k Sky Race in the final race weekend for the US Skyrunning circuit.

The 39k was a scenic traverse that ran around Mount Elden before scrambling up to the top of the Agassiz Ski Lift (11,500 ft) and then finishing at the base of the San Francisco Peaks. It was a little over 24 miles and well over 8,000 feet of climbing.

The day started off with a shuttle ride from the Arizona Snowbowl. The bus filled with eager runners, made its way to the start as the sun rose. Conversations of the huge climbs, strange ditches along the trails, and the latest Jim Walmsley sighting echoed in the air but never seemed to break my concentration. I sat quietly with my own thoughts about how I wanted to execute my race; a race that I was well underprepared for. Coming from sea level and racing at high elevation was a huge challenge. But still, I sat as the sun warmed my face with positive thoughts about how I would like my day to go. As we made our way through Flagstaff, I recited my positive mantras:

I would run with love and welcome the pain that was about to take over my legs. I would not fear the fear that comes with running long races, but see this fear as an opportunity to embrace the love I have for being outside all day.

The start of the race was along a dirt path that instantly shot up into the first climb. I stayed calm as drama happened all around me. Within the first few minutes of the race I already heard screams of “Wrong Way!!” and not too long after felt the breath of the U-turn runners down my neck. As I watched the wide-eyed runners sprint past me, I could feel their frustration. I was just about to get down on myself for starting far behind but realize that I would have been right with the spiked heart rate crowd if I had positioned myself up front from the gun. Relieved, I focused on the first climb and watched as the buildings in sight became smaller and smaller. The trail was dusty and had plenty of tedious switchbacks. It was a dizzy zigzag trail that led us into the wild.

The trail was also a picturesque fall scene with plenty of climbs, banked downs, wrenched turns, and obstacles. Yellow leaves fell to the ground as the alpine terrain became more exposed the higher we climbed. The first hour passed like a dream and my next 15 or so miles were executed perfectly. Being from Alaska, hydration was my main concern. I felt on par with fighting off dehydration and my stomach never turned south; I was able to focus on getting calories in at a timely manner. The trail twisted and turned as I found myself clicking off the miles with a rotating group of runners. Each of us had our own strengths and weaknesses; I fell into the downhiller group. With each sighting of a possible descent, my legs would quiver with excitement.

After 21 miles, the course took us from the eventual finish back up the Vertical Kilometer course; climbing well over 3,000 feet in 2 miles. The race had practically flown by at this point and I was feeling very confident. Yet, nothing could prepare me for the suffering of the last large climb. I had studied the course and talked with many people about this ‘climb’ at the end. In my head, it was two more miles of work and two miles of downhill to the finish. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The trail literally disappeared but there was still flagging directing runners up a grade +30% through alpine brush. As I tried to keep my composure, I saw ahead of me a runner sitting due to exhaustion and another guy going forward on all fours.

It was at this moment that all my goals for a top three finish flew out the window as I watched my competition dance up the nightmare while I had a conversation about selling my soul to the devil himself. I had never felt so desperate to have it all end in order for the climbing to be done. “You got to be f*ing kidding me” slipped through my lips as the false peaks laughed at me. The climbs went up, then down, twisted straight back up, down again, and finally the last climb to the top of the chairlift presented itself. Tourists riding the lift cheered me on, as I wanted to shrivel up while they cheered encouragement from their relaxing joy ride. It was hard to believe I had reached the top when I saw the aid station. I made the volunteers promise me that the flagged course was going to the finish and not another mountain. Even with one mile to go, I was ready to hop the chairlift and ride it all the way down to my car.

The race ended with a beautiful yet painful downhill. As I moved closer to the finish, the beautiful landscape disappeared under the tree line. Even though the Charlie horses in my thighs screamed, I found much pleasure in that last mile. I reminisced all that I had been through as my tired feet picked up the pace. The rocky trail lined with snowmaking machines reminded me of many adventures I had gone on back home (minus the machines). It was an interesting trail déjà vu as an Arizona trail reminded me of Alaska; Funny how nature can connect the world. I laughed while all my pain rolled away with the loose rocks under my feet. The thought of only being able to walk once a week four months ago put a smile on my face. And though the sun had found the spots I forgot to put sunblock on, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else at that moment. It’s funny how much pain and torment we put ourselves through to be able to still smirk while crossing a finish line 5 hours later.

October 03, 2017

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The Road to the USA Marathon Championships

Now that the USA Marathon Championships, which are being held as part of the California International Marathon (CIM), are officially two months away, we are excited to launch a new series in which rabbitPRO Kaitlin Goodman takes us behind-the-scenes on her training towards the 26.2. We are so excited to follow along on Kaitlin's journey and we will undoubtedly learn some helpful tricks and training ideas along the way. So, enjoy the ride and follow along too! 

 

I've run two marathons - the California International Marathon (CIM) in 2014, and the Olympic Trials Marathon in 2016. I walked away from the Trials heartbroken, devastated, and physically and mentally exhausted from the 26.2 mile death march through the hellishly warm streets of LA. Neither race went exactly according to plan - which in the marathon is about the only thing you can count on. While I've stayed away from the distance lately, choosing to focus on the track instead, it's finally time to return to the marathon.

Over the next 2 months, I'll be sharing my road back to 26.2 with rabbit, providing an inside look at my training -- the good, the bad, the ugly, and the joyful. Follow along! #rabbitmarathoners

 

September 25, 2017

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A day in the life of a newly pro triathlete

Strava Track Club member and Elite ITU Triathlete Kevin Bishop gave us a look inside his daily routine. Warning, just reading this may make you tired. 

 

6:00am - Hear my alarm go off. 90% chance I say “Alexa! Snooze!” to delay my fate.

6:10am - Have an existential crisis about whether or not I want to swim this morning, and get my ass handed to me by a bunch of high schoolers. “But they’re going to swim in college.” “But it’s good competition for me.” “But my swim really needs work.” Decide all these are true, but remain unconvinced.

6:20am - Switch off my brain, get up, eat breakfast, and leave for the high school pool.

6:50am - Arrive at the pool. Say hi to my coach, former Chinese national record holder Abi Liu, my fellow washed-up old guy training partner Matt Weiss, and the rest of Peak Aquatics. Abi first coached me when I was 13. She’s now coaching me again when I’m 23, so things have come full circle in an amazing way. If you do nothing else, read this article about her. Incredible person.

7:00am - Jump in and swim 200 warmup, doing 8 pullouts from the pool after each 50. Most efficient warmup ever. Glad to do it in a place that won’t get me strange looks from the lifeguard.

9:00am - Realize the main set wasn’t that bad, and that I actually did pretty well once I stopped overthinking things. Get out of the pool, and change for work.

9:30am - Say hi to Ann and Ashley, our office receptionists. Get Ann’s opinion on my shoe choice for the day (I’m a shoe collector). If I wear the same pair twice in a week, I’m in for an earful (and deservedly so).

10:15am - First meeting of the day at Amazon. I’m a software engineer. Super secret project, can’t tell anyone what we’re working on. Nefarious laughter.

1:00pm - Drive home for lunch. Oh, the perks of a 10min commute! Dad’s probably home, so I’ll swap small stories and jokes with him for a bit before he goes back to fixing people’s teeth. If not, switch on the TV and watch some UEFA Champions League soccer.

2:00pm - Go back to work. Realize I’m fricken tired, and lament the fact that work doesn’t allow for naptime.

3:30pm - Walk downstairs to the Boba tea place. Order a large #1, less ice, regular sugar. A coworker gave me boba tea for the first time, and now I’m hopelessly addicted. Given a choice between irresponsible nutrition decisions and the Olympics, I’m taking the sugar every time.

5:00pm - Leave work and drive to the Stanford track for Strava/rabbit TC workout. Time for my second shellacking of the day, this time at the hands of rabbitPRO and TeamGB runner Matt Leach, USA finalist and 13:39 5k man Collin Leibold, and 68min half marathoner Trevor Halsted. Typing that was scary.

6:00pm - Constantly marvel at how supportive and happy the group is. Try to match wits with Coach Dena’s sarcasm. Likely fail.

6:30pm - First interval. You wouldn’t think I could hang with these dudes, given that I run maybe a fifth as much as they do per week. But I’m aerobically fit from swimming and cycling, and I’m fresh from not running as much as they do. And I’ll usually surprise myself.

8:00pm - Haul ass to trivia night at the Rose and Crown. Will Drinkwater (yes that’s his name) is there already, having CalTrain’ed in from work in SF. I’ve kidnapped Collin and Matt as well. Proceed to lose all 6 rounds of trivia. On a good night, some losses will be by tiebreak.

10:00pm - Go get ice cream to drown our trivia failings. Carbs are life.

11:00pm - Bid adieu to the boys. Token attempt at a social life complete!

12:00am - “Alexa, set alarm for 6am”