Here is the thing about ultra running. There are so many people out there doing things you never hear about. Karen is one of those people. She literally just finished the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150-mile race from Grand Junction, CO to Moab, Utah. This was her third time doing it. Karen has been running for over 30 years. What started as short runs eventually turned into triathlons, then ironman and eventually to Ultras. Ultra running is where Karen found her passion. She has conquered many ultras including the Leadville 100. Karen currently resides in the mountains of NM with her husband, 3 dogs and 9 chickens.
Karen is one of those positive people you gravitate towards, she never stopped smiling through our entire conversation. On this episode Karen talks about the struggles of her very first ultra and her need to keep pushing herself. Karen also gets us up to speed on her latest adventures, which are pretty cool. Karen is a true inspiration and we think you will love this conversation. Check out Karen’s race report from her first 100 miler and a picture from her latest adventure, the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150-mile race.
A journal entry from Karen:
31 hours 25 seconds. Hello Friends! I promised to send a race report. It was an adventure! Andy and I arrived in Ohio Friday afternoon. We checked in at our hotel and drove to the start/finish line to pick up race info and drop off bags which included extra shoes, socks, etc... We went back to our room, with two of our dogs, (Frost and Newton) made dinner and climbed into bed early. 3:45am Saturday my alarm goes off. I eat, get dressed, grab my backpack and head to the start line. 5am race starts. I turn on my headlamp, kiss Andy and start into the woods. About 45 minutes into the race, the sun comes up and it's going to be a beautiful HOT day. Mile 8 is here. There is a beautiful waterfall and a hand over hand climb to arrive at a steep hill and back on trails. I see Andy at mile 12. I feel great. I have met a nice young experienced ultra runner. He gives me some great tips on this race. We continue running. A few water crossings and a lot more hill climbing and I am already at mile 31. I get to see Andy again. I realize I am WAY AHEAD of schedule, but still feel great. Keep on trucking... Next time I see Andy will be at mile 51. I get there in 12 hours 13 minutes. I know this is too fast. Rookie mistake. It is now pushing 90 degrees. I have already ate 4 peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, 3 granola bars, 2 clif bars, shot blox, pretzels and drank lots of Heed. Approx. 9:30pm. Mile 65 is here. The sun is setting and Andy joins me for the last 35 miles. I was starting to feel a little nauseated, but I got a boost from having Andy with me. My feet are starting to hurt as we shuffle through the dark woods. We arrive at mile 73. We see a few local runners from Indy. I stopped to check out my foot issues. I take off my shoes and my feet are totally covered in blisters. OUCH!!! I change socks, apply Vaseline, and stick lambswool between my toes. I am grateful to be feeling better than the guy sitting next to me. He has started shaking and hallucinating. This is common in an event like this. I later hear he had to DNF. (Did not Finish). We continue. When we arrive at mile 80, it is 4:09am. I am moving VERY SLOW. I probably won't make it to the next checkpoint in time. My feet feel like I am running on sandpaper. I have puked, cried, and felt awful for dragging Andy into this crazy event. I sit for a few minutes, drink some soup and decide to continue. Mile 85 is here. Only 15 more miles. OH NO.... 15 more??? Mile 88.5. I am shot! We barely made the cut off. I seriously think I can't go any further. The aid station volunteer encourages me to go to the next aid station. It is only 2.7 miles downhill. OK. I start moving. Andy changes his shoes. She told him not to let me quit. I think he is motivated to get me to the finish. Two more checkpoints. I call my parents for encouragement. I can't remember exactly what they said. It was encouraging! We make it to mile 91 and press forward. Mile 96.29 is the last checkpoint. We are late. They told us they would give us a free ride or we could unofficially continue. The race is actually 101.9 miles. We have about 5.7 miles to the finish line. Andy won't let me think twice. "We are going". It is a long 5.7 miles. He is pushing me uphills and dragging me downhills. I keep moving forward in a state of pure exhaustion. I just keep moving. 5 miles, 4,3,2...1 mile to go. It's getting super hot again. We climb out of the woods. I still can't see the finish. Andy grabs my hand. I follow him around the road. People are starting to realize we are finishing. They can't believe anybody would still be out there. I hear some cheers. There are no officials at the finish line. It is an hour past the the 30 hour limit. We walk hand and hand (maybe he is dragging me) to the finish. We hugged, I cried, people clapped. I went the distance. I learned a lot and I'll be back! Only 38% of people who started this race, finished. Official or not, We made it! Thanks Andy!!!
Mariah and Dave keep pushing and they are both learning how much of this effort is going to be mental. Mariah takes a tumble. Coach Basham is back to racing. Enjoy!
Bill Beitler was one of the featured runners on Season 9 of Becoming Ultra. An endlessly curious child of the ‘60s, Bill took a 40-year break from his endurance athletics career to raise an amazing family and pursue a community banking career that lead to two successful stints as CEO at small midwestern banks. A competitive swimmer in his youth who specialized in the 200 individual medley before retiring at age 15, Bill took up running in a committed way at age 55 and successfully finished the Smith Rock Ascent 50k, his first ultramarathon at age 57 as a part of Becoming Ultra. Bill and his wife Terry are the “people” for two fantastic dogs, Toby and Josie, and currently call Cumberland, RI home.
We had a lot of fun interviewing one of our favorite people, who we are fortunate to call our friend. Bill is one of the most positive and supportive people to ever be a part of Becoming Ultra. In this episode Bill breaks down his first ultra experience as part of Becoming Ultra Season 9. We get into the benefits of a supportive community and friendships that form along the way. We also talk about trail camp and the impact it can have on you. We think you will love Bill as much as we do. Included is a piece Bill wrote about trail camp. Enjoy!
Desert Highlights Trail Camp – 2021
I was fortunate enough to take part in the first-ever Desert Highlights Trail Camp. This was, hands down, one of the most epic experiences of my life! Right from the start, as we stood at the base of Garfield Mountain and looked at the peak we were about to summit, I knew I was in for an adventure. Over the next three days, that adventure unfolded in ways that far exceeded my expectations and took me places I never would have thought possible. Scott and Lauren used their exceptional knowledge of the Western Slope to pick out challenging and breathtaking trails, and our runs (and scrambles and climbs and hikes) took me over 38 miles of the most stunning country I’ve ever experienced. Oh, and I conquered 7,500+ feet of vertical gain in the process! These were legitimate efforts, pushing me in ways that brought real growth, both physical and mental, and Scott and Lauren were there every step of the way, teaching us great warmup techniques, trekking pole usage, trail mastery and more. Better still, they were supportive coaches, pushing us to excel and believing in us through every single mile.
And Trail Camp was so very much more! Great accommodations, the awesome Western towns of Palisade and Fruita, amazing meals and spectacular vineyards and wine were all made better by my fellow campers. I’ve seldom been around such a positive, motivated and down-to-earth group of people, and we formed an unbelievable bond over these three short days! I will never forget our bike tour of the vineyards with a cool local distillery thrown in for good measure and our final night’s dinner and hot-tub session. We all agreed we couldn’t ever remember laughing so well and so long!
As you can see, Trail Camp was many things, but at its heart it was about wonderful people taking the time to enjoy each other and the magnificent natural world around us. It was about living life to the fullest!
Jen and Randi are learning something new every week. Whether it be about pushing through mental barriers and knowing when to call it a day or simply better ways to NOT fall on the trail, they are figuring it out. Enjoy the show!
We love hearing from you all and this was a great question from one of our listeners. What do you do when you can't get out to trails very often? You are nervous about that big mountain run but can't run bigs mountains. Don't worry, it's pretty common and we have some great answers for you!
Bryan has been a runner most of his life but has suffered some major setbacks that would sideline most of us for good. He has not given up on his love of running and has accomplished some epic things, Tahoe200, Air force marathon, Marine corp. marathon. Chicago marathon 3 x’s, Big Foot 200, Moab 240, Deliriouswest 200 just to name a few. Bryan is also a husband and father, retired from the military with 30 years of service and currently the owner and CEO of Polaris Laboratories.
What a great conversation we had with Bryan. Bryan has a passion for inspiring others and it really comes through. In this podcast Bryan shares his struggles with some substantial injuries and how he overcame them. He takes us on some of his great trail running adventures and gives some solid advice on how to manage the family, work, life balance. We left this one feeling like there are some big adventures ahead of us and we can tackle them. We hope you feel the same! Here is a quote from Bryan I think we can all relate to.
“I never feel I really know a place until I experience it on foot”
Coach Hillary catches up with Bailey and Katie as they finish up their 5k trials early on in the training. They also talk about the accountability in training and the upcoming effforts!
Miranda tries out some new gear after years of road running. Melissa deal with a little achilles, low leg issue (tightness). Listen in to see how their coach Ellie guides them through some new training concepts!
Dave asks a great question about how to know how hard to push. Mariah is dealing with some stomach issues on the longer runs. Coach Basham helps them through it all even with her own epic runs coming up! They both let us know how their 5k trial went too. Enjoy the show!
Ian has been racing around the world in all styles of event since 2005 and coaching since 2010, having run over 200 ultras and marathons (PR: 2:21) in every type of weather and on all terrains. He's won over 50 multi-day races/road marathons/trail ultras or adventure races with experience of running in many mountain ranges, including the Himalayas, Andes, Rockies and European Alps. He also holds the fastest time in a trail 100-mile race by a Brit (12h44m), the record for the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (69h49m), has won the USATF 100-mile trail championship twice and is a four-time Leadville Trail 100 Champion. Ultra-Running Magazine has voted him as high as 2nd in its annual Ultra Runner of the Year rankings and 4th= in Ultra Runner of the Decade.
What a treat it was for us to be able to interview our running coach. Ian shares stories about his many adventures including coming to the US (hello, visa process) and more importantly his first ultra. He is truly one of the most optimistic and positive people we have ever met. If you need a little push to do something epic this is the episode for you. We really enjoyed this chat with Ian and hope you do as well.
To learn more about Ian, visit the following:
Jennifer and Randi both complete their 5k trial and are following the training really well! Randi had a shoulder injury scare early in the training but seems to be doing well now! Jennifer had a challenging interval set on the treadmill for a new format and they both had little trail falls recently. All in all, a great start to Season 10 for these awesome women!
Matt Fitzgerald is an endurance sports author, coach, and nutritionist. His many books include The Comeback Quotient, 80/20 Running, and The Endurance Diet and How Bad Do You Want It. Matt’s writings have also appeared in numerous magazines, including Outside and Runner’s World, and on popular websites such as podiumrunner.com and nbcnews.com. He is a cofounder of 80/20 Endurance and the creator of the Diet Quality Score smartphone app. A lifelong endurance athlete, he speaks frequently at events throughout the United States and internationally.
We are excited to have Matt share is first humbling ultra-experience with us. In this podcast Matt gets real on the challenges of being a lifelong road runner and switching to trails. Matt also opens up about his struggles since getting COVID-19 and what running is like for him now. We loved learning more about Matt and left this one more optimistic and inspired.
To learn more about Matt, visit the following:
Twitter: @ mattfitwriter
Websites: mattfitzgerald.org, 8020endurance.com
Coach Ellie Greenwood gets to meet her Season 10 runners Melissa and Miranda during their first call of the season. Both are seasoned road runners but it looks like trails might be a new adventure for them. Enjoy!
Enjoy the newest episode where coach Amanda Basham meets her runners for the newest season of Becoming Ultra. Dave and Mariah have totally different stories but both are primed for a great experience.. Enjoy the show!
Jeffrey James Binney is a Salt Lake City based ultra-runner, motivational speaker, actor, singer, and comedian. Jeffrey grew up on a farm in Laredo, MO before moving to Brooklyn, NY & later Los Angeles after receiving his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Missouri State University. Jeffrey has been seen on Late Night with David Letterman, in the 1st National Tour and Chicago Company of the Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and at comedy clubs and festivals across the country. Jeffrey’s award-winning film, Once Is Enough, chronicles his journey after losing his mom to obesity-caused heart disease.
We all love a good first ultra-story and Jeffrey has a fantastic one. If you thought his documentary, Once Is Enough, told the entire story just wait because there is more. Jeffrey will keep you entertained as we discuss his journey to Becoming Ultra. We could not think of a better guest for our first My First Ultra podcast. We hope you enjoy this one as much as we did.
To learn more about Jeffrey, visit the following:
JJB.life | LinkedIn
(@JeffreyBinney) | Twitter
Jeffrey James Binney – Home | Facebook
On the first call of the season for first time Becoming Ultra coach Hillary Allen, we get to meet her runners Bailey of Colorado and Katie of California. Lots of great energy and excitement that will surely lead to an epic training season. Enjoy!
The first calls of Season 10 runners and their coaches are starting to leak out. On this call, Scott meets Randi from Wisconsin and Jennifer from Arizona. They will both have unique and challenging training and we can't wait to follow along!
Liza Howard comes on to share her wild experience racing in the Florida Keys recently. What it took to finish, and even win the dang race!! Be sure to support Band Of Runners after listening!
On this episode Scott, Hillary, Ellie, and Amanda sit down to pick the runners for season 10. Big shout out to everyone who put themselves out there and applied! Time to do the work now!
For every Season our application process includes an audio portion where we can get to know the runners a bit better before choosing who to coach for the project. This episode is a collection of all of the audio applicants for Season 10. Enjoy!
Hang out with coaches Hillary Allen, Amanda Basham, Ellie Greenwood, and Scott Jones as they get pumped for Season 10 to begin. They talk about east coast running, the types of people who should apply, and more. Enjoy. While you are at it, apply!
Mike Spiller of Rev3Endurance and host of the featured 50k for Season 10 joins us to talk all about the upcoming weekend in October in the idyllic Basye, Virginia. The course, the region, and everything else you need to know is on the show. If you want to sign up, use BECOMINGULTRA20 for a 20% discount!
Bill and Caitlin rounded out the Season as the oldest and youngest runners of the crew. Their reflections of training and the race are pretty great to hear and if you are on the fence about doing your own first ultra, listening to these two should push you to sign up! Go apply for Season 10 now!
A tale of two different runs. Priscila and Lauren proved that race day can go perfectly or completely crazy without much explanation. Their reflections on their first ultra is truly inspiring. Enjoy. Also, go apply for Season 10!
Grace enjoyed the whole day out there and Ashleigh learned a lot on a rough one. Listen to the first ultra reflections from a couple of women who put it all out there and learned a bunch! Season 10 applications are live!