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Yaktrax Run Review – More Traction, More Stability, More Winter Running Fun

jtaylor_articleThere are increasingly more and better products available in the marketplace to get us out into the great outdoors no matter the conditions. Weather continues to drive much of the development and for good reason, runners want to be safer, faster and more comfortable as they brave the elements. Be it La Nina, El Nino, North, South, East or West, many runners face ice, snow and cold during these cold winter months and are looking for ways to increase their safety on the road and trails.

Enter the Yaktrax RUN. Living in New Mexico, you’d think there’d be little opportunity to get out and use a traction device designed for the snow, but you’d be wrong! We get plenty of snow out here, albeit, it’s usually melted by noon the same day. I’ve had Yaktrax product in my winter running arsenal for years and have tested and run in their very first iteration. I have since gotten rid of the originals and now own both the PRO and now the RUN.

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2016 Athens Big Fork Marathon: Moments From the Trail

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Hugs, High-5s, and Whiskey shots highlight the vibe of the Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon in west-central Arkansas and takes place the first Saturday of January since it’s inaugural adventure back in 1999 that had four runners and three volunteers.

This year 107 runners laced them up to play in the marathon or 17 mile Fun Run.

While the vibe is laid back, the course has some attitude. Eight mountains await your visit…and then you get to turn around. Rain and falling temps throughout the day added to the memories created from this one.

Chris Block and Josh Snyder, each having won the race over the past two years, cruised back into the Big Fork Community Center with a race time of 4:33 to lead the men’s marathon scamper.

Rachel Furman put together a 5:48 to defend in the women’s marathon.

Hot Springs runners, Erin Miller and Josh Drake, were our final Tough-As-Nails finishers and completed all eight mountains – twice – and crossed the finish line in 9:48.

The 17 mile Fun Run was led by Tommy Brennan of Oklahoma in a time of 3:16.

Jenny Chitwood was fourth to arrive at the finish and win the female 17 miler in 4:10.

Ages between 21 and 75 spent the day together in nature. Love it!

And now my favorite part…and I hope you enjoy it too.

Moments from the Trail

I asked a few runners:

Could you share the detailed story of ONE specific moment during your Athens Big Fork adventure that made a special imprint on you?

Enjoy their responses below.

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Big Mustaches, Big Goals, and a Big Win at the Arkansas Traveller 100 – Our Chat with Alison Jumper

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Alison Jumper of Arkansas put together a 19:16:44 finish to earn the win at this year’s Arkansas Traveller 100.

Running has always been a part of Alison’s life that began while watching and cheering on her father at local road races. At age 6, Alison cinched up the pigtails, pinned on a bib, and ran her first one mile road scamper.

“As a kid it was a big deal to run across the finish line.”

Throughout her school years and beyond, running would be a time to quiet the mind and focus on simply moving one foot in front of the other.

Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • memories from watching her father run in races
  • Alison’s first race at age 6
  • the role running plays in her life
  • the spark that led to enjoyment of the trails
  • memories from that first trail race at Sylamore 25k
  • what Alison digs about the ultra distances
  • the biggest surprises and lessons learned after finishing her first 100 at Leadville
  • Alison’s typical training week…and the mileage may surprise you
  • favorite local trails
  • 100 miles at the Arkansas Traveller 100

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2015 Arkansas Traveller 100: Moments From the Trail

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Glow sticks.

Miles and miles of spider eyes sparkling along the trail.

Ramen noodles, Hershey’s kisses, and the enjoyment of various refreshments at 3:00AM.

Sounds like the making of a heck of a Halloween party but this bash took place within the Ouachita National forest at the 25th annual Arkansas Traveller 100.

This trail lovin’ party was the largest in race history as 160 runners pinned on the bib race morning with a goal of running 100 miles within the 30 hour time limit. Include a small army of passionate volunteers, friends, family, crews, and weather that had nearly everyone smiling, it was a dandy weekend of creating memories in nature.

The tread in the men’s race this year had extra jalapeno with a handful 100 mile winners lacing them up. 32 year old, Wesley Hunt of Arkansas was back to defend his 2014 win and likely saw more than a few trail ghosts during the final miles on way to set a new Arkansas Traveller course record in 15:36:33. Wesley dropped over 22 minutes from his finish time last year to earn the men’s win for another year.

In her second 100 miler and Arkansas Traveller debut, 40 year old Alison Jumper displayed her keep-it-steady and smile-lots attitude on way to finish 7th overall and win the female race in 19:16:44. Alison’s finish was the 9th fastest in female race history.

Our final official Tough-As Nails finishers were 62 year old Leonard Martin and 53 year old Vincent Swensen who finished with less than six minutes of wiggle room before the 30 hour cut-off.

Something I love about this sport is the diverse age range that comes together to play. From what I can tell, ages 23 to 73 laced them up. Love that. And our 73 year old, Maurice Robinson, completed the entire 100 mile distance but just missed the 30 hour mark by 12-ish minutes.

And something else I love is sharing our athletes Moment from the Trail.

So I asked a few runners:

Could you share the detailed story of ONE specific moment during your Arkansas Traveller 100 adventure that made a special imprint on you?

Enjoy their responses below.

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Declaration of Ultrapendence – 2015 Leadville 100 Race Report by Jason Bousliman

Enjoy a Leadville 100 race report by New Mexico athlete, Jason Bousliman.


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When in the course of human ultra-events it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve their dreams of running 100 miles at Leadville and stop running at 78 miles, a decent respect to their efforts, and the sacrifices made by their family, requires them to describe the awesome time they had anyway. I hold the truth found in ultras to be self-evident. That through all the dry heaving, lost toe nails and pain, we find that we are endowed by our creator with an unalienable purpose to continue to keep trying. And that at Leadville we find life, we find liberty, and we find our pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, we sometimes also find that running 100 miles at over 10,000 above sea level is just really really hard.

I’m not certain the founding fathers would condone my use of those words penned over two hundred forty years ago in describing a 100 mile trail race, I’ll do so anyway.

This is the latest chapter in my ongoing attempt to complete the Leadville Trail 100 mile run. My Leadville odyssey began as a childhood dream and culminated in 2014 when, after failing five previous times, I finally ran all 100 miles. But I failed to do so in under the 30 hours required to receive the belt buckle that will someday adorn my urn and some unlucky relative’s mantle. In 2014, I finished in 30 hours and 36 minutes. So the goal this year was to find 36 minutes. That’s all I needed. 36 gosh dang minutes. Here is last year’s race report in case you need help sleeping.

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Hail, Hallucinations, and Mountain Single-track at the Fatdog 120 – Our Chat with Jorge Rasillo

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Texas lowlander, Jorge Rasillo, loves the mountains.

This enjoyment of elevated nature led to a 120 mile point-2-point adventure this past August through the Cascade Mountains of British Columbia, Canada called the Fatdog 120. Jorge finished this scamper in 44:27:31 where he would explore running beyond 100 miles and try to function after 24 straight hours of single-track movement without sleep. Both new experiences that would become in-the-race training to see how his body and mind would respond.

Hiking along a dangerous mountain ridge with both eyes closed.

Yep, that happened.

Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • Jorge shares his background in running and participating in the Austin distance challenge
  • memories from that first and only road marathon so far
  • exploring the trails with the Georgetown Trail Runners
  • the tough lesson and fun at his first trail race – The Maze
  • Jorge shares why he enjoys running ultra distances
  • memories from that first 50M at Huntsville State Park
  • how a coach has helped improve his trail running experience
  • running two 100s in 2013, plus lessons learned
  • favorite local (Austin) trail
  • Jorge shares the new workouts added in training to help prepare for the Fatdog 120 mountain terrain
  • how trail running fits in his life today
  • a couple favorite run/adventure reads
  • the Fatdog 120 adventure

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Reduce Stomach Shutdowns and Enjoy Consistent Energy in Your Next Race – Exploring Metabolic Efficiency Training with Jessica Baxter

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Long run. Speed work. Core. Weights. No beer till after the race. (maybe)

You are ready.

Race day. Bring it!

And then your race is derailed by a stomach gone bad halfway through your adventure. All those hours and miles of training, and the stomach can have the final say.

Ugh. And what about the beer?

Jessica Baxter of Baxter Performance has been there and shares with us how training your body to burn more fat for fuel can benefit your race-tummy experience and other parts of your life.

Enjoy our chat that includes Jessica’s journey in endurance sports and passion for Metabolic Efficiency Training.

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