Author: TaraDell

A North Face 50K Birthday Present

Spending my birthday getting dirty running the trails through Golden Gate National Recreation Area, John Muir Woods, Muir Beach, and over the Golden Gate Bridge with a bunch of runners and, my family at the finish line, is my kind of celebration. This is exactly how I will be celebrating not only my birthday but, the fact that I get to be at the The North Face 50K in the first place. Not only do things have to be good in life to run, things also have to fall in place to get fit enough to run! One of the most challenging parts of training  is carrying on with all the other responsibilities liking working, parenting, dog-owning, home-owning, teacher conference-ing, doctor appointments, stomach flu (the whole family), volunteering, home-work helping, and traveling two-hundred miles between home and office twice a week (in temporary transition – ask me later). To me, all of this is actually part of endurance training (or is running training for all of that?). I am doing all those things and yet still …

Running Rim to Rim to Rim

Choices are hard sometimes . I had already begun to imagine the dirty trail beneath my feet, the view, the exhaustion, and the gab session when my running-mom-partner-in-crime (Lisa) asked me a random question to distract us from the inevitable fatigue that would set in while running the Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) of the Grand Canyon. I just couldn’t make it happen this round. Perhaps the decision not to join in the R2R2R fun was what propelled me to plop down on the couch with a glass of wine with my laptop and proceed on a race registration “bender”. Late August I put another set of challenges of no less equal magnitude on my race calendar: The North Face 50km, Cal International Marathon, Seven Summit Series by Ragnar, The Truckee Half Marathon, and the furthest out and most outrageous, Comrades Marathon in South Africa (running-mom-partner-in-crime from college made me do that one – Stephanie). Some people online shop in the late evening hours after their family is in bed; I sign up for …

We Run in Good Times

We get to run when all is well. Right now all is not well in the communities where I work and play. Waking each morning this week to the smoke-filled air has been too eerie. The smoke represents devastating amounts of loss happening in the North Bay communities where friends and families live. Ash is falling from the sky and it is hard to think of anything but what that ash is from and what we can do to help. We wear facemasks, stay in doors if we can, and try to breath softly. We mobilize our networks, remind ourselves what important work really is, and try to do something, anything truly meaningful when feeling helpless in light of yet another tradegy, this time much closer to the place we call home. Running and recreation are luxuries to be grateful for doing. When things are good again remember, no matter how ” bad” it feels, it is good. In gratitude for running times.

Practice Discipline in these Three Areas to Support Athletic Performance

Speaking on a panel at the Spartan World Championships in Squaw Valley, California may be one of the most interesting angles I have come at nutrition from yet. The panel topic is discipline. Learning to eat in a way that supports what you set out to achieve – in this case completing thirty plus obstacles, over thirteen or more miles while running up and down mountain peaks at elevation – requires discipline to change from eating behaviors that do not support what you hope to achieve. For many non-competitive athletes who want to improve and achieve in sport as a hobby they first have to shift in mindset from exercising to burn calories to then be rewarded with food  to that of an athlete who exercises to train and who eats to train for the reward of achieving something more than the calorie credit to eat lots of pizza after a race. How does someone begin to change the mindset? Well, in my experience as an athlete and working with the pros I have found applying discipline  …

Adventure Mamas Must Adapt

Day-pack stocked with provisions, water bottles filled, sunscreen on, hats, helmets, Xtracycle loaded, scooter in too! Adventure is on for me and my seven and eleven year old sons.  What is adventurous is relative and, as kids grow from infant, toddler, to school age adventure mamas have to learn to adapt. Things that previously were far from a challenge or an adventure suddenly become so when adding kids’ wheels and human power. A casual bike ride down an asphalt trail turns into an epic day with active “big kids” heading to Soccerfest followed by bike park. The xtracyle ( a cargo bike that can carry both my boys on the back) is both back-up when they poop out AND strength training for my self-care day of mountain running. My boys and I know that the journeys we take are not going to be cake walks. Talking with them ahead of time prepares them when things are inevitably difficult or tiring They have come to expect challenges like big climbs, tired legs, hungry tummies, and short …

Eleven

Eleven. My first born son is eleven years old. Everyone says it goes by so fast. That statement always makes me sad and anxious.  I want to savor moments, take deep breaths, and hold on so I feel and experience the miracle of this child before me. It is true that time can not slow down; and it is also true that time does not speed up. It is constant. None of that changes the fact that Eric is and eager early bird in just about everything. Mornings he is especially bright, cheery, and early. On the morning of his birthday he was so eager to get to school he asked to walk over early and play on the playground (which I can see from my back window). Little did I know that he would head to his classroom where his teacher told him he can’t arrive an hour before school starts. His early arrival in life is just who he is. It certainly has presented challenges, particularly at his birth when he arrived fourteen …

Ultra Running to Ultra Moving

Communities exist that are centered around being active outdoors, in nature, everyday.  I have longed to move our family away from the increasing congestion of the urban home to one that values and embraces the outdoors as a way of life. This summer  we did it. We didn’t plan on it being this summer. It just happened. More serendipitous activity fell into place than didn’t and we now find ourselves living the mountain life in Truckee, California, where there are mountains, elevation, and trails for days. In June, I was in Tahoe supporting the super bowl of the ultra-running world, The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race. It is a spectacular feat. While not a one-hundred mile endurance run through the mountains, I did just accomplish what feels like a massive ultra-endurance feat of strength, relocating. Relocating a family while still taking care of the emotional and physical well-being during such a time of change is a huge feat.  This was done while also holding down a full-time job, pivoting a career, emptying a house, …

Third in a Four Part Series on Getting High: Nutrition Considerations at Altitude

Planning to spend fourteen to twenty one days at altitude before competing is not directly a nutrition consideration. It is however, worth mentioning because adjustment time can indirectly impact nutrition by altering appetite and, how the body feels overall. Unfortunately, before some of my biggest mountain races I haven’t had the extra time to hang out high up. So I searched for clean short cuts of which I learned, are limited. In short,  there are not short cuts for adapting your body at altitude. It takes the time it takes. How much time it takes specifically will vary because, as with nutrition, how the body responds is individualized.  Everything I have read says get to your altitude twenty-one days ahead of your race. With work, kids, and other obligations it just isn’t realistic to get that kind of time at elevation (unless I move there!).  So here are some the strategies that helped when time at elevation is limited: Go up the night before if you can’t do two-three weeks! So save the PTO and …

Selfies in London Continued: Riding Bikes

I could think of no better way to see London for the first time than riding a state-of-the -art road bike on the closed-to-cars streets past some of the world’s most recognized landmarks. Actually, I could think of a better way, running on foot. I am not a cyclist so when I learned that my role at the Ride London event was to ride forty-six miles with a bunch of athletes and journalists while spouting off nutrition information, I was a little nervous. The curly handle bars, pointed seat, and narrow tires on paved streets with pot holes and who knows what else are discomforts and fears that have turned me away from road cycling towards other athletic pursuits.  Those things aside, this actually sounded like an opportunity of a lifetime, and no place for irrational fears. So I saddled up for a different kind of an adventure. The ride was everything you could imagine cycling through and around London without worries of cars to be, complete with a finish in front of Buckingham Palace. What struck …