Browsing Tag


Vermont is the Center of the Universe for the Endurance Community

January 5, 2015

First off, note to self:  watch Dead Poets Society.  I can’t remember whether I watched that movie back in the Ethan Hawke, Reality Bites, era.  Hmmm, maybe I did.  Maybe I didn’t.  It would have come out not long before my first ever XC trail race.  Ahh, memories. Which leads me to this post–made by way of my 90s digression, in a typical-just-my-style way ’cause that’s the way I roll–simply because that movie title is what immediately came to mind when I first heard about The Endurance Society.  endurance society in vermont

The Endurance Society is the brainchild of Death Race Legends, Andy Weinberg and Jack Cary.  Don’t know who they are?  You probably should.  Look them up. They are sorta, kinda like the who’s who of the endurance, adventure racing scene.  The mission of The Endurance Society is: “To create unique, life-changing, and mind-blowing experiences for adventure enthusiasts, and to utilize our members for community involvement through volunteerism.”

The Endurance Society attracts member athletes and competitors from all of the world.  Members join the Society not just to get cool wax sealed envelopes–well, I admit that I paid my $15 to join in part because of that cool skeleton wax seal– but to connect with an endurance organization that attracts like minded people who love endurance training, challenging mental tests and supporting the larger community.

The Endurance Society organizes one-of-a-kind, crazy awesome endurance events, like February’s Frigus, ski, snowshoe, sled run, and May’s Infinitus, “extremely rugged” 8k, 88k, 888k footraces.  In Vermont.  Beautiful, lovely, Vermont.  The Society also utilizes members for community involvement and supports some important non-profits, like The Green Mountain Club and Special Olympics Vermont.  Can it get any better than that?

The way I see it, The Endurance Society is another exemplary community organization dedicated to athletes, healthy lifestyles, and paying it forward–ultimately giving Vermont an even stronger foothold as the go-to destination for endurance sports.  A center of the endurance sports universe.

Which makes me think of Kingdom Trails Association, Vermont 50, Run Vermont, Peak Races, Kingdom Games, Catamount Outdoor Center, Craftsbury, St. Johnsbury’s new RecFit, just to name a few other organizations that are driven to get people hooked on endurance sports, fitness, and healthy lifestyles, but I won’t go there right now, ’cause I’ve got to look for that movie on Netflix….

Jump over to The Endurance Society to learn more about membership.  Go, Vermont, go!



Does Running Ever Get Easier?

September 20, 2014

The more you run, the easier it is. At least that’s what my ultra running husband told me when I started running again, um, walking and jogging late last year, after years of not running.

Getting back into running was one of the hardest things I’ve done. At first, vacuuming, loading the dishwasher and folding the kids’ monster laundry piles seemed significantly easier and much more attractive options than trying to run. When a treadmill arrived at the start of winter, staying on it and running for 60 continuous seconds was not only a real chore, but it was incredibly hard. It was uncomfortable. Every part of my body hurt. I complained. I wanted to give up.

But somehow, a few days a week initially, I convinced myself to get on the treadmill. I told myself, I didn’t have to run. Just walk. With my favorite music loaded on my iPhone and comfortable headphones, I soon found my walks turning into walk-run-walks, which then turned into walk-runs.  Miraculously, after a few weeks, my time on the treadmill had turned into actual runs!  I remember well my excitement when I finally hit 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, and then 60 minutes of sustained running!

The more I ran, the easier it became!

What Makes Running Easier?  A.K.A. What’s the Secret to Making Running Enjoyable–or Satisfying Enough that You’ll Keep Lacing Up Your Shoes?  

It’s doing it.  Making a commitment to moving.  Putting on running shoes and getting on the treadmill or getting out the door.  If you can only walk, walk.  If you can push yourself a bit more and alternate walk-jogging or walk-running, even better.  In time, you’ll find yourself running more, and walking less.

Don’t think you have to be fast to start.  As Huffington Post’s Matt Frazier says, “Slow the f*&# down. Way down.”   If you set your expectations to match those runners you see sprinting down local streets or through suburbia, or bouncing up and down like crazy at red lights, you may be sorely disappointed and fail to stick with running. Newer runners often start off too fast.  Chances are, those runners you see who go full throttle can’t keep it up for long.  You’ve got to find a pace at which you can sustain yourself.  If it’s a super slow jog at first, then that’s what it is.  The end competition is only with yourself, not with other runners.  Finding a happy pace will make you a happy, committed, fit runner over the long haul.

Goal setting is also the ticket.  There’s a woman on my street who runs and runs (and runs!) rain, snow or shine.  I don’t think she runs with goals to enter race events, but it’s apparent that she has a solid goal to run often.  Whether your goal is to run continuously for 15-seconds, run for a mile without stopping, run four times a week, or train for your first 50K, having a goal helps to make running enjoyable.  Seeing a relationship emerge between your effort/commitment and results is not only satisfying, but encouraging–and will help you stick with running.

Give it time.  slow running quote

If you stick with running, in time it will get easier–’cause you’ll be getting stronger, tougher and better.  Sure, there will be days when it’s hard to find motivation and times when you feel too tired or too busy to run, but consistency will get you to where you want to go–or headed toward something incredible that’s awaiting your discovery.

Happy Running!





Is Ultra Running Safe For Kids

September 14, 2014

One of the reasons I enjoy running is because it opens up the possibility of lots of travel.  Travel to new trails. Road trips to new routes.  Adventures to new places.  Excursions to races across the state, country, or globe.

My kids are increasingly making this connection, too.  They love to travel and they love to run.  They want more travel and they want more running.

In my mind, there’s no such thing as too much travel.

But is there too much running when you’re a kid? 

Winter Vinecki, Colby Wentlandt and the kids of the Seven Wild and Free blog do it, but is it safe for children?  By it, I’m talking about Ultra Running–as in L-O-N-G distance running longer than 26.2 miles.

As in lots and lots and lots of miles.

When my athletic 11 year old declared not long ago that she was going to run a trail 25K, which she did, and then start training for an ultramarathon, which she is doing, my mama reflex was to immediately start googling phrases like, “is ultrarunning safe for children,” “long term effects of long distance running on children,” and “should kids run ultras”?  It didn’t take long to realize that there are differing views about the safety and impact of long distance, ultra running on children’s health and development.

Though I lack medical training of any kind, other than a long outdated Wilderness EMT certification and a CPR/First Aid certification, I’ve been exposed to the running and racing scene since I was just a bit older than my daughter’s age. I get why proper training for long distance events is important, for adults anyway. And it stands to reason that good, solid training is also key for children interested in embarking on long distance running adventures.

But what I consistently find is that arguments against young ultra running only vaguely talk about injury and burnout, rather than citing hard evidence of damage or risk to children posed by long distances.


Maybe there simply aren’t enough studies yet about the impact of major mileage on children’s development, but there are studies and research showing that youth sports are riddled with risk. I know this all to well from watching my son play lacrosse and from watching my competitive gymnast sisters navigate the gymnastics world.  I can’t help wonder how letting kids who have a burning passion for running go run and rack up crazy mileage could be more riskier than the alternatives:  known dangers of popular youth sports or health consequences of inactivity, like diabetes and obesity. I can’t help but wonder if the biggest danger of kids running ultras is a problem of perception. That ultra running is different and lies outside the comfort zone of popular youth sports, and different means scary.

I can understand that letting a kid run wild outside for hours without supervision might be dangerous and/or potentially put a child in harm’s way in today’s society, but assuming a parent or other mature person runs with the child, I’m not yet sure that there’s concrete data or enough of it to write off ultra running.

It seems like the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Until I see evidence to the contrary, I’m going to continue getting my kids on their feet, running, walking or hiking whenever possible, having fun with them on the trails and outside in nature, and supporting their self-initiated running goals, including my daughter’s long distance running goals.

I have no plans to discourage my kids’ interest in running–and I have no plans to discourage their love of travel.  As long as they want to run, I’ll keep registering them for races and keep my eyes and ears on travel deals and fabulous destinations.

What’s your view about ultra running children?  I would love to hear what you think.  Contribute to the discussion below.