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Bryon Powell and Meghan M. Hicks Friday, 18 November 2011 11:05 TWEET COMMENTS 0

Mile-High Motivation - Page 8

For Roes, exploration isn't all about taking a leisurely jog to see some new sites. Quite the opposite. He routinely seeks out new trails to run, even if he has a time constraint. In these moments, says Roes, "I find myself pushing hard because I want to get as far up a mountain as I can before I need to turn around."

The next time you see Roes on the entrants list of some lesser-known, out-of-the-way race you can bet he's looking to try something new. "I'm very drawn to races that I haven't done before," says Roes. "It touches on the explorer mentality. I've done some races multiple times, but not many."

On the other hand, if Roes is returning to a race multiple times, you can bet the race has a special reason. For instance, in 2010, he returned to The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships in the Marin Headlands, a place he's raced numerous times. What called Roes back to the familiar terra firma? "The $10,000 prize and, consequently, the field of runners it draws. If it weren't for the guaranteed competition, I wouldn't have run it for a third time." He admits, "Going out in the mountains, lining up and pushing yourself as hard as you can alongside other like-minded, similarly talented people is pretty exciting."

If you see Roes trying to defend his title at this year's Western States 100, he won't be there to explore California's Sierra Nevada. He'll be there to once again race against some of the world's best, which he hopes will include his occasional Front Range training partner, Anton Krupicka.

The Zen of Ultramarathon Running

Following a poor performance at the 2009 Miwok 100K, Roes considered giving up racing ultras. Instead, he took some time off. In his organic return to running, his approach to training and racing evolved from highly structured to taking things as they come. Looking back, he reflects, "I don't feel like I've had a poor race since then. I feel like every race I've run has been quite positive both from a performance standpoint and how I've felt about it." Here are some of his thoughts on his new approach to running.

  • On Specificity in Training: "In the past, if I was doing a 50, I would feel like I needed to do speed workouts to get ready for the shorter race or, if I was doing a really hilly race, I would do tons of strength building. Then, in early to mid-summer of 2009, I just ran. I didn't care. I didn't think about specificity."
  • On Race Day Planning: "I used to go into races with a very specific idea of how I wanted the race to play out. I would study the course profile and be very strategic based on who was running. I haven't done that at all since that Miwok race. I think my racing has been very reflective of my training. Even at Western States, I just showed up and started running. I never had any kind of strategy or plan in that race."
  • On Being In The Moment: "The biggest reason I've been able to be successful with my race-day approach is that since I don't have any kind of plan, when things all of a sudden turn really ugly, I'm not second guessing, which is kind of nice. I'm more in the moment. It's easier to take it one mile at a time when you don't have a plan."

Bryon Powell is a media mogul at iRunFar.com by day and an author by night. He's currently motivated by the desire to be in shape when his hometown Park City, Utah, trails thaw ... and when he runs the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in August.

Meghan M. Hicks is a writer, outdoor educator and ultrarunner. She's motivated by trail running's big views and bigger post-run milkshakes.


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