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The Duel Trail Race

Life Happens!: Ways to Flow-With Instead of Fight-Against Life Obstacles

shellyd_eb100Running has taken a back seat for me most of this summer.

Things come up: family crises, car problems, job issues, sweltering heat, etc. When I really need to be running and taking care of myself, disasters strike and sidetrack me. So I have sacrificed sleep, nutrition, and running; which has not helped me deal with any of these obstacles. It’s hard to be focused on my goals, when these challenges keep cropping up.


So what do we do when life gets us off track?

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2014 Leadville 100: Results and Reflections from our Tribe

A 100 mile race filled with rich history dating back to 1983.

Snuggled within the Colorado Rockies with lush green forests and flowing streams continuously within your field of vision. The views of Turquoise Lake while running along the singletrack trail - magical.

Inbound: The lake growing in the daylight hours. Still heading down towards May Queen. (Photo: David Hanenburg)

Turquoise Lake glowing in the daylight hours. (Credit: David Hanenburg)

A blending of an old mining town and an outdoor enthusiasts paradise.

The Leadville 100 hosted a gathering of the tribe at possibly the biggest 100 miler in the United States with 800-ish registered runners. This big-ness has also created a bit of controversy and logistical issues in the last couple years.

A race with really good running terrain for most of it. The catch – the course traverses from 9,200 feet to 12,600 feet at the top of Hope Pass, which you get to enjoy (or at least not vomit on yourself, hopefully) twice in this out-and-back course. And a 30 hour time limit adds to the keep-it-movin’ excitement.

The top of Hope Pass (12,600 feet) (Photo: David Hanenburg)

The top of Hope Pass (12,600 feet) (Credit: David Hanenburg)

This race also brings out a great group of TALON athletes willing to take on the “Race Across the Sky” adventure. Out of the 360 total finishers, 15 were part of our local tribe! (Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the total list of TALON athletes that laced them up and began the journey.)

Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico all brought home a finish with the Lone Star State collecting the majority.

The often smiling, yet gritty trail runner, Liza Howard of Texas led our TALON athletes to the finish at the top of 6th Street in downtown Leadville. Liza led the female scamper for most of the race and held tough late in the race for second place honors in 20:01:15.

Matt Smith of Texas led the TALON boys, finishing 24th overall in 21:53:23.

New Mexico had both our wisest and yougest finishers with Edward Trzcienski earning a  27:09:02 finish at age 52, and 30 year old Trent Wester could finally stop moving after 29:43:06 of heart and determination.

Our average finisher was just under 40 years old.

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Mud, Miles, and Munchkins: Never Doing This Again

lmcgarraughartIt was a very hot Texas day over one year ago, and it would be my first night race. I had just started running trail races and I thought this race would be fun. I asked my husband if he thought the girls would enjoy camping and for some strange reason he thought it was a good idea. So we packed everything up, got the food together and head off to Austin.

Morgan (who is now three) was and still is good in the car. She likes looking outside, sleeping, listening to the radio or reading a book. Milena (who is now two), not so much.

Our first few road trips were the most stressful trips I have ever taken. When Milena is done with the car…she is done! She screams until we stop and she is out of the car seat. Then when we get to where we are going she will not sleep. Jason and I can’t do anything to sooth her. So we take turns sitting up with her. All the while Morgan is sound asleep. She has since gotten better, however on this frightful night Milena was no different.


We arrive early at the camp ground and I help Jason put up the tent. The girls were just wandering around the camp site and watching other people. I was starting to relax. We went and picked up my packet and for some reason Jason told Morgan “no” and uncharacteristically she completely melted down. The whole packet pick up area sat and stared. I was mortified because I was part of “that” family. I am sure people were wondering why we brought two young children to a night race and at that point I was beginning to think the same thing.

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Happy Feet on the Trails: 5 Core Considerations for Your Next Shoe Purchase

shellyd_eb100I just came in from a five mile run in some new shoes I am trying out. My feet are not happy. The balls of my feet hurt and I got a blister. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are going to work for me. But I feel a certain loyalty to the shoes. I so badly wanted them to work for me. They are a great color and look so badass. Before I became a Sales Associate for Run On!, I would have toughed it out and just worn the shoes and dealt with it for another six months. But I have learned not to do that. Running in the wrong shoes is not only painful, it can cause injury and kill your running mojo. So here are a few words of advice when it comes to shoes. Trust me, your feet will thank you.

Find the right shoe for YOU.

Find the right shoe for YOU.

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2014 Texas Trail Championship Series: End of Summer Update

Nearly 400 trail runners from Texas and around the country, are participating in the inaugural year of the Texas Trail Championship series that contains 29 races from throughout the state. 19 races in the books, and 10 races queued up for the remainder of the year. And like a good novel, we won’t know the final results until the last race (page) has played out. Someone could join the series today and take home some bling, cash, the mother load of race discounts for an age-group win (half price entries in 2015), or even enjoy a cold beer…from a dreamy Yeti cooler!


Before we take a glance at the current standings, how about a little understanding on how points are accumulated (assuming you have a USATF membership or get one before your series race) for the Ultra and Trail (sub-ultra) series divisions.

  • Finish a series race and you earn points with the following formula ((Winning Time) / (Your Time)) * Distance = Your Points (Example: winning time – 1 hour, your time – 2 hours, distance – 10 miles. (1/2) * 10 = 5 points)
  • Your top 7 points finishes will be used in the series standings for that particular division.
  • For the Trail (non-ultra) series you must finish four races to be included in the final standings.

Now the series standings may make a bit more sense, let’s check it out.

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100 Mile Training Pillars

olgak_articlesSo, you just signed up for a 100M trail race…and it’s a few weeks away! Panic attack! What do you do NOW???

David wrote a timely whole big article about what kind of 100 milers exist in our wonderful TALON region, so I don’t have to begin with that. That said, what I’d like to focus first and foremost are those few 100s that are coming up on us like a freight train, because you know, there is no time to panic but there is still time to adjust and make a dream happen.

The first race on the upcoming Fall calendar is Arkansas Traveller on October 4th, followed by Pumpkin Holler on October 18th and then Cactus Rose on October 25th. Where do you need to be at this point? Hopefully far into your peak training and ready to wind down. Your average weekly mileage varies as we are all individuals with style and life events, but I would surely like to see you in at least 50 miles per week category if you’re a beginner or in-general a “low mileage” kind of person prone to injuries.

For the low mileage runners (sub-50 mile  run week during your peak training), I would pray that you:

  1. cross-train for 2-3 additional hours a week with either cycling or other cardio equipment at the gym and weight training/plyometrics
  2. are an experienced runner who had completed a 100M race before

What could your last 3-4 weeks look like (approx. between 7-10 weeks out from race day)?

You ran your long runs in the vicinity of 30 miles followed by maybe a 10-miler the next day, and/or participated in a 50k/60k race (maybe even traveled somewhere for a 50M). That long run (or race) should have been close to the terrain your 100 miler will have. If it is Arkansas Traveller, you ran dirt roads and pounded your legs hard. If it’s Pumpkin Holler – about the same, and the hills were not steep but on the longer side. If it’s Cactus Rose – you hit lots of rocky terrain with steep climbs and ledges and some flat stretches in-between.

Now let’s look at the key components to 100 mile training.

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TALON 100s and Slammin’ in the Region

Over the weekend, the Leadville 100 was the third stop of this year’s Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, the Slam.  The Slam consists of finishing four 100s all within the same year – Western States 100, Vermont 100, Leadville 100, and the Wasatch Front 100.

To add to the challenge, this string of 100s takes place from June and wraps up in early September. Take out your handy desk calendar and you will notice, less than three months to finish four 100s. Don’t try and wrap your mind around that.

This year, there were 30 souls that started the Slam journey. We are down to 15 heading into the final adventure,  Wasatch Front 100. Oh, the adventure, the journey.

So this got me thinking of some slammin’ right here in our TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) region.

Did you know, we have eight trail 100s in our region of the country?!?

Yes – 8!

And every state is represented! Kind of groovy, don’t you think?

Let’s take a look at our TALON hundies.

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