Mindset Secrets - Jobzinpak.com : Latest Jobs In Pakistan 2022

Wednesday 4 August 2021

Mindset Secrets

Hey everybody welcome to the podcast. My guest today is the world's best female Ultra runner straight up and when it comes to the really long stuff, races in excess of 200 miles, she is arguably the best period. A two time ultra runner of the year named one of the 50 fittest athletes in the world by sports illustrated. Courtney Dauwalter beat everybody men included at the Moab 240 which she won by a staggering 10 hours and at the Big Dog's Backyard Ultra, where she clocked in astonishing 283 miles. She also won the women's division at the Western States 100 and UTMB the two most prestigious Ultras in the world and of course, many other victories along the way, Courtney is a humble master of mental grit and boundary busting physical prowess, but she's also just super fun to be with. So please hit that subscribe button and let's get after it. This is me and the great Courtney Dauwalter. (upbeat music) It's so nice to meet you thank you for coming out to do this I really appreciate it I've been looking forward to this for a very long time. Yeah thank you. How are you feeling these days? 

Good yeah. Yeah. I'm excited the snow is starting to melt in Colorado so. Well it's June I hope. Yeah it takes a while. Yeah so it's getting warm out there you're totally healed up after the Colorado trail bronchitis episode. Yeah totally healed up I probably only had a couple months where I noticed that in my lungs last year and then yeah it was kind of like all green lights once they healed. Right. And you're getting ready to tackle a pretty auspicious double you're gonna do UTMB in August or in Hard Rock 100 in July 1st right and then right on the back of that a month later UTMB. Yeah 200 mile races it'll be really cool. Short ones. Yeah yeah. (Courtney laughs) I don't I mean it's just a fun challenge I think they're like six weeks apart so I have no idea what the time between will look like I think just kind of figure that out as I go and try to be ready to rumble at both of them. When you say you have no idea that's sort of revealing in terms of your approach to your training, right? Like you're this intuitive when it comes to how you approach your routine. 

Correct yeah there's no plan. That's so crazy. You literally do you wake up in the morning and then make the decision or do you plan the day before, do you plan a week? I mean you must have a general idea other than like okay I typically put in 100 miles a week. You must have a little bit more of a specific sense of what you're trying to accomplish like walk me through this so I better understand because you play it off like with this very aw shucks disposition but I know there's more going on. Nope it's all aw shucks. No I so every day I do wake up and after drinking coffee I'll figure out what I'm doing that day there's no like, there's no plan going into a week what the days might hold but I will know when races are and I will know like when I can go kind of hog wild with training and when I should pull in the reins a little bit and be smart because there's a race coming up or I should focus on something specific like climbing in the mountains or trying to run a little bit faster so I'll know those things it's not totally winging it in that way but every single day it's deciding how I feel physically and mentally to determine what the run will be. Is there any scheduling of like okay on these days I typically go longer and these are more tempo days or technique days or speed focus days? Not really. 

Or you just go out and go long pretty much and just switch up the terrain based upon what you're training for? Yeah a lot of the days are just long days but I'll do intervals and stuff I sometimes won't even know when those are going to happen once I'm on the run there's just a few routes that I'll do where there's a hill that I really like to do intervals on so if I get to that spot on the route and I feel it then I'll pop some into it and if not then I just carry on. And does that come into play like you it doesn't appear that you've ever over trained, right? Do you know when to back off so you don't kind of tip over into that terrain where you're gonna wear yourself down too much and not be able to recover is that all on feel as well or have you just not, you have such a capacity you're such a workhorse that you've never hit that place. No I've made mistakes for sure or just tried to keep loading it on but I think that's part of what I like about not having a plan is that I get to just figure it out by making those mistakes. So run myself into a ground one week and realize like that was a few too many miles so now I can go from there and try and hone in on what I'm doing a little bit. 

And no coach input? No, no. No! I did though I mean I grew up with fantastic coaches so in high school and in college I worked with some amazing people and I think like they showed me all the types of workouts that you can be doing it wasn't for ultra running but like I'll still draw on that and use some of what I learned from them to decide what I might do. What's interesting about that is you have a science background you are a science teacher, right? So why not avail yourself of like the science like oh periodization seems to work or maybe you're already doing that I don't know but there's a lot of athletes and you see this much more in track and field or in triathlon than you do in trail running where people get really into the graphs and the heart rate and the power output and all these all these data points around sleep performance and all of that and get mired in that in terms of trying to figure out how to crack the code on training. Yeah that's exactly what I don't want. 

Right in your scientific approach? Yeah. Because, why not? I mean, I'm having so much fun with how it is right now and I don't have a reason to change it I also, I don't know I think that without a plan I do much better actually listening to my body so I pay more attention if there's no schedule and there's no workout written down then I can really tune in and react you know if it's an off day then I don't do a workout I don't do a run. Right you can pull. You have no problem like pulling the plug. Yeah and I don't feel any guilt because there was nothing planned anyways I don't know because I haven't had a plan or a coach in ultra running but I feel like I could get like really attached to it if I had it and then disregard any symptoms or signs that I should change course. Right thinking, oh I need to accomplish this because the coach said this is what I need to do and then that ends up corrupting this sort of perfect situation that you have for yourself. It's not perfect but I think if it's fun and I'm enjoying every day and I'm still like, I'm still getting in the miles and the workouts that I'd like then I'm gonna stick with it for now I can see tons of benefits of having a coach but for now I would. Keep it this way. 

Yeah. It's working, right? Don't mess with it. I do think that happiness piece is a big part of your secret sauce like you're able to find the joy in all facets of this and that seems to be like fuel, right? A lot of people in this subculture they are powered by oh I'm just the grit and how hard it is and I'm gonna really embrace the suffering and not from a victimhood place but kind of like a more hardcore relationship to the difficulty of completing these races and the training that goes into them and you're just having fun like all the time like Billy Yang is here and I texted him the other day and I told him you were coming and he's like oh that's so great 100% approval rating in the trail community like there's nobody that doesn't love Courtney and no matter how hard the race is or whatever you're enduring internally you always have a smile on your face you always have a moment to give a high five to a little kid or to say a nice thing to a volunteer on the course and that takes you know a conscious effort like there's a certain disposition that you have that seems to be unwavering. 

Well thank you. We're so lucky to be able to choose something like this to do with our time. So I think if you're not having fun with it then I don't know maybe reconsider some things. (Courtney chuckles) Yeah but fun isn't I mean it is fun and everything about trail running is awesome but for a lot of people fun isn't in like the top five adjectives how they describe their participation in this. So how do you keep that in check it's just natural to you, right? It must be in Minnesota. Yeah. (Courtney laughs) I like how you don't seem to overthink things too much I think that's also there's a lesson in that, right? Like you just you're having fun you go out you train really hard. You go in with a smile you're a competitor but in your kind of list of priorities like keeping it fun keeping it light staying present with what you're doing seems to be the priority. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I'm sure every interview you do they ask you, how come you're so much better than everyone else, right? 

And you always have a very diplomatic response to that but I don't wanna let you off the hook on this like somebody who's crushed it, there's these famous stories about you winning the Moab 240 by 10 hours and all these other races that you've destroyed everybody men included you seem to sort of shrug it off but you must think at some point like how come this is the case like what is, when you go to sleep at night, do you does it ever like do you ever ponder like what is the differentiator between you and your fellow competitors? No I don't ponder. (both laughing) oh man I mean I think like everyone can be pushing themselves so I don't I can't compare like what it's like in someone else's body or head and then what's going on in mine. So I have no idea but I do know like I enjoy that place that we get to go to in these ultras where it hurts really bad I think that's pretty cool and I mean that's got to help like not avoiding it but wanting to get to it has got to be like factored in there somehow. 

Yeah sure, okay let's go a little bit deeper. Tell me a little bit more about, what that is when you reach that point or that limit or that place where you feel like you can't put one foot in front of the other like what is the like the lesson that you find for yourself in that? So I call it the pain cave that place and I guess like probably four or five years ago I viewed the pain cave as like this place that you should try to put off as long as possible in a race like make your pain cave be as far away from you as you can and if you arrive to it then you just sit in it and you try and survive the pain cave. But in the past couple years, I mean it's just a mindset, right? It's like all in our heads this thing and in the past couple years it's been the place I want to get to so like changing it to a place where I get to celebrate that I made it there and then that's where the work actually happens. 

So making the pain cave bigger is how I view it instead of like pushing the pain cave away and I think I mean our minds are so powerful so even just like changing the story line makes it a whole different game. Right so what is the story that you, like what is the the script that you flip when you're in that headspace and it's getting really hard. Yeah it's like perfect this is what we wanted like now we get to actually do the hard work of making the cave bigger and so it's like picturing a chisel and just like making tunnels in my pain cave in my brain. Right. (Courtney laughs) You actually visualize that? Yeah I'm super visual. Yeah I like that it makes it very visceral and like real if you can, it's not just a mantra and mantras are great I'm sure you have mantras but actually creating that three-dimensional image in your mind. Yeah and all I mean it's just telling myself a different story about that place where it hurts so bad where before it was like surviving it and now it's like this is so cool we made it here and now we work. 

Yeah it's funny I've been doing this podcast thing for a couple years at this point and I've had a lot of people on who have done hard things and I have psychologists and psychiatrists and mindset experts and everybody kind of comes to the table and they're like this is how you do it and it's like step one two three and like when your mind does this and you're just like well I just you know like you just like it's very refreshing because what it does is it dispels this myth that it has to be complicated or that there is a right or a wrong way like you're just embracing life and all its colors and have figured out this thing that works for you but it's welcoming to people because you're saying like look you know I'm doing this you can do this too like there's a what's the right word I mean welcoming to repeat myself I think is what it is like you're creating space for other people to see greater possibility in themselves because of that relatability. Well thank you. Yeah. It's very kind. Yeah no I think it's powerful, it's really powerful. 

In the equation of mind versus body like how do you think about that like how much of it is physical prowess versus mental grit? It's both for sure and I think in an ultra it trades back and forth between the two so like maybe for a while your physical has to pull more of the weight because it can and then if that's giving out maybe the mental takes over for a while. So I think they tag each other out back and forth where you need them for sure like physically it's hard to run this far but mentally you can like move your feet much farther than you think. Right yeah ultimately I think the differentiator is in the mental game because everybody especially at the elite level is training really hard and there's only so much training that you can do before you get injured or you over train, right? So when you toe the line at the starting line you can be assured that everybody who's a threat to your dominance has put in the work that you've put in, right? So the person who's gonna win it's gonna come down to who's gonna crack mentally when the tough gets going. 

Yeah and like who can problem solve efficiently or not let problems that come up ruffle their feathers too much, I think that's huge in ultras. Yeah just being able to maintain that positive disposition. Yeah. Rather than oh no this is terrible thing awesome this is what it's about, right? Yeah exactly. (both laughing) How do you keep a smile on your face and tell jokes and do all that stuff when you're so freaking exhausted. (Courtney laughs) Jokes help everything. Yeah. Yeah. That's part of the strategy sneaky. Yeah I'm actually really bad at telling jokes so it's like a mental game for myself to try and tell a joke with the correct punch line so maybe it's like a- Making sure that you're still- A sanity check, yeah. It is so interesting that equation between mental and physical like we were chatting before the podcast I was in Utah the last couple days I joined the Iron Cowboy for day 91 on his conquer 100 insanity quest. So cool. 

And that guy is a master of the mental game and he's somebody who's so physically strong but also somebody whose mental game so far exceeds his physical capabilities that this guy's willing to just completely break his body like he will not crack there's no way he's gonna give up for a physical reason. His mental game is so strong that he will literally run his body into the ground and do irreparable damage before he pulls out of this thing which is worrisome I think but also impressive and one of the things I noticed I walked a marathon with him the other day is just his ability to remain positive under all circumstances and there's so many people that are congregated around him and they all want a piece of him and he makes time for every single one of those people and then finishes the day and always like spontaneously delivers some impassioned inspirational speech for everybody to take home with them and the kind of presence of mind that you have to have to do that I think is really the differentiator and what you do like the way that you carry yourself like what you do is the way you do it is different but in the Venn diagram like it's that positivity piece I think that is really powerful. 

Yeah well thank you. So what's his mood like as he's walking? Well you don't know what's going on internally because he refuses to say anything negative. Okay. So no matter what's happening he's like it's awesome this is great Yeah. It's this is like we're just we're just doing it man and I'm like are you okay? Yeah. That's cool. I think he is like he he seems genuinely in a good place right now and he's had his ups and downs of course over the last 93 days or whatever it is and he will have completed it hopefully by the time this goes up but it's there's so much to learn by just observing somebody like that. Yeah for sure, what you project out I mean hearing it like you're hearing it in your head but when you say it out loud it can make a huge difference. Right it makes it real. Yeah. Or more real at least. I've told so my husband is often the crew at my races and beforehand we're always like I don't know I tell him just don't ask me how it's going during because if it's going bad I don't need to tell you that like you know and if it's going good we don't need to say that either let's just like carry forward. 

Right, right, right. 'Cause it does nothing to tell you how bad my legs hurt right now. Is that outlook something you've always had or something that you've developed or learned? To not want to share how it's going? No, no just being like understanding the power of positivity and having that kind of fortitude around protecting your state of mind. Like is that a Minnesota thing is that the way your parents raised you is that something you learned as an athlete in high school or is that just Courtney. Yeah I feel like ultra running has taught a lot of it to me. When you're in those 100 or 200 mile races you can learn a lot about what your brain can do and what's helpful from your brain but for sure it's got to come a little bit from my upbringing from my parents, my coaches, my friends and just examples. What do you think about, I mean your your accomplishments put you in the bull's-eye of this ongoing, I don't want to call it a debate, a conversation around the role of male versus female in terms of prowess in the Ultra world, right? 

Like the longer, the science basically proves that the longer the distance is the less of a difference sex makes, right? So these 240s like these super long races like whether you're male or female seems to not make very much of a difference and it's one of the few sports in which the women can like crush the dudes. I think as the distance increases it becomes a little more equal for sure because then it is a lot in your head and it's about persistence and problem solving and some stubbornness, all those factor in quite a bit as you're out there for over 24 hours. Right. I think like Big's Backyard is a great example of a format that I think is pretty equal in what's possible and who might win it every single year where it's that four mile loop every single hour line up on the hour every hour and do it again. Yeah. Until no one will anymore. Right it becomes a battle of will as much as anything else, right? And I wanna talk about that in a minute 'cause I think that's fascinating. 

But being a science teacher former science teacher, right? It makes me think perhaps there is some evolutionary advantage that females developed as the child rearers that they are they have they carry with them like a deeper reservoir of psychological endurance and capacity versus men, right? It seems to like it would make sense I don't know if anybody studied this. Yeah I have no idea I think it would be a cool thing for someone to focus their studies on if they aren't already. Yeah it's wild I remember like before you were born when I was after I was I grew up as a swimmer and after college I moved to New York city and my roommate this guy Matt Nance was a teammate of mine very good swimmer much better than me and he decided to do the race around Manhattan which is a 28-mile swim around the Island of Manhattan. Jeez. And at this time I had no interest in any into I was like go go for it like I'm not interested and he ended up getting second place and I think he I can't remember this was like 1990 I think he broke the course record but he got beat by a 15 year old girl from Australia. 

Wow. This girl Susie Maroney who ended up winning that race a bunch of times maybe three times or something like that so at a 28 mile swim like she just she just crushed him and she beat him by like five minutes or something like that. Really. Yeah. A sprint finish? No I think she had a good lead on him. Okay. Yeah at that point. But it goes to that point of when you reach a certain distance I don't want to say gender 'cause it's not gender it's sexual it's what you call it sexual genetics. Really don't play the factor that they do in other sport pursuits. Yeah I mean I think it it gets closer for sure I would love to just I mean 200s are kind of new so I would love to see how over the years with if there's more men more women competing like just get more people out there and see what happens because I think I mean those 200s are fun because there's like not a ton of information about how they're done or what's the formula to do this as fast as possible whereas like there's tons of 100 mile races that I mean you can look at people's splits you could you know read about their very specific training like there's all sorts of information about that and the 200s I think it's just a little less known and there's a few more variables that make it hard to. 

Right, yeah it's at the cutting edge of where this sport is going I mean it's crazy how much the sport is blown up and the fact that so many people sign up for 100 mile races now is like wild. Yeah they all sell out. I know yeah and it's weird how the mine goes well okay 200 like as if it's somewhat the same thing. Yeah. (Courtney laughs) Like it's only double like the longest thing you can ever imagine, right? And how many people are actually signing up for 200 miles I mean in maybe in five or 10 years it will be like the 100s are right now, right? I think so. But there's so little, it's so new right that you're one of the pioneers here trying to figure out how to optimize performance at that distance. It's a fun one to play with. Do you wish that the races were like 300 miles? Absolutely Yes. 400 miles like the longer the better, right? Like keep going. I know when you were on Rogan there was some discussion about a 500 mile race. Yeah that hasn't happened yet but like the Colorado trail that I tried is about 500 miles and so I was kind of looking for starting to figure out that distance with that. Right so that was your first FTK attempt that was sort of a COVID inspired pursuit, right? 

Like all the races were canceled so you were gonna tackle this trail which takes you from Durango to Denver. Correct. 500 miles. Yeah. You got a little hiccup though. Yeah. What happened? Well oh man it's a beautiful trail I mean it's this beautiful single track that goes over tons of mountain ranges through the state of Colorado and I'd been eyeing it for a few years but the pandemic and all the races being canceled for sure suddenly made it like I mean we had a wide open summer to just go for it so I ended up making it about 300 and I don't know five miles and then was put in the ER because my lungs just weren't working like they were supposed to. Yeah you had to be put on like oxygen, right? Yeah it was weird because it started early on like right when I started the trail, I remember commenting to my crew at one of the stops like everything feels amazing but my lungs just are being lazy right now I thought they just weren't turning on like the rest of it but I figured they just needed some more hours and then they would be, they would realize what we were doing and they would come with. All right it comes around like that's that thing in ultra is where you can't really make a informed decision about what's going on or how you feel based on the moment 'cause it changes.  

Yeah exactly. But it just kept getting worse. So I was like wheezing and coughing up a lot of things and it was preventing like any good forward motion but also like sleep wasn't possible anymore because every time I laid down I was just like wheezing like I was breathing through a tiny straw. Right and you had crew with you the whole way? I did yeah. I had a fantastic group. So you were never, you couldn't have been a situation where you were out of cell range or anything like that and in real jeopardy. Yeah I always had a crew, I always had someone running with me who had like a satellite thing that they could communicate so we could have figured it out if anything had really gone to the garbage but my crew just like made the call at 305 where that we had stopped for a rest stop and they had been watching this get progressively worse over the course of these days and then finally they were like we got to just go to this hospital nearby and get you checked out and beforehand I had told them like You know what we're trying to do so if you decide something about like how much I should rest or not rest or eat or not eat like I trust you 100% because I know my brain is gonna turn to mush and so when they said that I mean for sure I needed a little explanation of like, I've been wheezing for hundreds of miles at this point like I thought we were just gonna take that wheeze to Denver like it was coming all the way. 

That's where like maybe you don't have a coach but you need some third-party intervention here because your mental toughness will forbid you from stopping. Yeah I mean even coming into that spot I had told them like I just want to grab a slice of pizza and then let's keep going and they were like no please stop and rest. So I stopped to rest and they were like hey we're gonna take you to the hospital and even on the drive to the hospital in my head I was like I'm just gonna tell this doctor what I'm doing and he's gonna say that's fine go back out there. (both laughing) As he's putting oxygen on your face- Everything is okay. And saying you're not going anywhere, right?

I'm sure they were really worried I mean there was a sense that, that something could be really wrong. Yeah and I mean hindsight like I'm so thankful that the crew made that tough call because they were as invested in it as I was, they didn't want to pull the plug and that then the doctor kind of painted the picture of this could have gone really far South if they hadn't brought you in. Right do you think it's that thing where you probably had some really low-grade infection but you're out there crushing it and it just depresses your immune response, right? So it allows that infection to take root in a way that if you were just sitting at home on the couch you would have been fine. Yeah I think it had to have been something like that because of how it felt at the beginning where I wanted my lungs to wake up and they weren't and it feels like something was brewing in there but with acute bronchitis they don't have like they can't pinpoint the cause. 

Sure yeah and in these super long races it's those tiny little things that can end up burying you, right? Yeah which is why it's so cool I mean the longer the race gets or the longer the challenge you're taking on gets the more puzzle pieces there are that get involved and I think just playing around with those every time it makes you better at doing the puzzles but also like it's just a fun game to me. Yeah so there's events like that this self-styled like I'm gonna tackle this trail and do it faster than anybody there's the structured races like the Moab 240 or UTMB which is kind of like the super bowl of trail races and then there are these last man standing races, right? The backyard ultra that you referenced earlier, which I think is such a cool format. Yes. Do you, like is there one of those formats that you enjoy best like I feel like the Backyard Ultra format, the last man standing kind of thing is perfectly suited for you. Yeah I love those I love all the events though. They just change in what I love about them like a 240 or 100 mile race I love because it's usually a really cool course you're getting to explore with your feet and then ones like these loop courses it's more like exploring in your brain of how to go a little bit deeper. 

Right so for just so like there's a percentage of the audience that is probably a super fan of yours and knows everything that you've done but there's also a large percentage of them for whom perhaps this is their first introduction to you so let's talk about what this Backyard Ultra situation is you do this four mile loop right and basically you they're on the hour essentially. Yep. They're on the hour so you run four miles and however long it takes and then you just have to start the next loop at the top of the hour and then you just keep going until no one's left. So the you don't know how long the race is gonna be. Exactly. (Courtney laughs) Right and so you just did this past year and ended up running 283 miles that's correct it's like 67 loops is that right? Yeah 67. You're the man, you're the science person. Right. A lot of loops. 67 or 68. Until it was just you and Harvey Lewis. Yeah. Right? Yeah, who's an amazing human and it was just the two of us from 200 miles on. 

So the way the race works is everyone starts all at once and then every loop you're starting again all together so you're never you can't like get ahead by a certain amount of time or bank time anywhere it's one hour and that's it. Reset the clock every lap. Yeah and you can either quit and refuse to start another lap or you can miss the hour cut off and that's how the field just starts getting smaller and smaller. You get eliminated. So it ended up with Harvey and I at about 204 miles or so and we're I mean the cool part about this format is you need each other. Because once it's, once you're the last person standing the race is over. You can't keep going. Yeah you don't get to keep doing those four mile laps even if you feel fine. So Harvey and I were like full on let's work as a team we wanna get over 300 miles how can we help each other and we talk on the loops like, what do you need? What do I need? How do we keep this train rolling. But then part of it is also you've gone so far that you need to like really just focus on like not imploding yourself. Right. And so there were quite a few laps where we were both just like totally focused inward on keeping it moving. 

Yeah but that is beautiful and very unique in that your main competitor must become your ally if you really wanna push the envelope and see what's possible for each of you. I think it's so cool and that to be going that far you both need so many things to have gone right for you like that's a far ways to run with your feet so there's all these like hurdles along the way that you have to navigate and to have two people have days like that is really special. Right. But I think I mean the whole field is like a team everyone wants everyone to keep going the more numbers you have getting into those higher distances the more likely everyone is to keep going farther because if you're surrounded by 10 people it feels less crazy than if you're surrounded by one person. Right, right, right, yeah it goes back to that mental game it's the same notion that when prior to Bannister breaking the four minute mile mark people thought it was impossible he breaks it then suddenly all kinds of people are breaking it like it's so strange that that's the way the human mind operates. 

Yeah. But it is true. It's very true. Yeah but did you feel like you could have kept going if there was somebody like Harvey taps out. Yeah I mean yes I was set on continuing on and in the moment I felt like I could do more but you never know like that the race is as crazy as it is because one bad hour can take you out and then suddenly you're done. Or one bad footstep where you roll your ankle or something like that happens. Yeah, so yeah I was when he dropped I had gotten into this really good zone I was like kind of robotic through the loop and I knew my spots where I ran and I knew my spots where I walked and it was like just put it on autopilot and yeah I was kind of having fun like being a robot. And where does your mind go like what's happening are you daydreaming are you focused on what you're doing are you listening to music an audiobook like what is that about? So when he stopped it was in the night and in the night sections we switched to a road out and back and there's music allowed in the night so I think I was blasting some music and then I was I think I was just like really embracing the robot mentality of like don't think about anything just do and like stay right where your feet are because that one any ultra really but that format in particular if you project too far ahead like how much farther are we gonna be going, are you kidding we have to run until sunrise or like or you start thinking about how the other person is looking and like they'll never quit. Yeah. 

Then it can get into your head and spiral pretty quickly. Yeah now that's helpful. No. You just have to be where your feet are, right? Yeah but that's a discipline. Yeah it's hard but I'll even like talk outside, I'll talk out loud to myself like no stay right here if I start thinking ahead too far. Yeah what else do you tell yourself. (Courtney laughs) Well mostly it's like stay here and then this is fine and I'll just say that over and over. This is fine, this is fine. This is fine. We're good. No matter what. And when you come in at the conclusion of a loop obviously you're eating you're trying to rest like what does that routine look like and what is the sleep piece. Yeah I think this is the one where I mean just doing the race format you learn so much from it and seeing you know what's helpful what does five minutes feel like? What does eight minutes feel like? Of sleep. Learning all of that or just time like I mean we rarely look and see what five minutes feels like when we're just like in normal life but when you're in this format five minutes is really important and you need to use it fully. Right. 

Like everything should have a purpose and so I think I was averaging daytime loops at like maybe 48 minutes or 50 minutes and then nighttime loops because it's that road out and back it's a little easier and so I was probably coming in at more like 45. So you're getting anywhere between 10 or 15 minutes? Yeah at night I was, we had a really good routine of just I would come in the little tent I had a cot set up and I would shovel some bites of food and then I would lay down and I'd have like 10 minutes until the two-minute whistle blew and then I would get up maybe drink some things and then get back out there and even if I wasn't falling asleep I would just lay there pretending like I was sleeping. Yeah. And just convincing myself that that pays off also. Were you able to fall asleep though a bunch of times? Sometimes yeah for sure. So there's the famous story of in the Moab 240 you got one minute of sleep for the whole thing but you felt like you slept for hours or something, right? Yeah fully recharged after one minute. Is it really one minute? It was. It was that's so crazy. So crazy I thought my pacer had tricked me I thought he let me sleep for 45 minutes there it was 60 seconds. 

You're mad at him. Yeah. (Courtney laughs) Why'd you let me oversleep Yeah. Now you're getting, you could get like 10 minutes of sleep. Yeah I've never been able to replicate that one minute nap though like I did another 200 mile race the Tahoe 200 and I was trying I was hoping for that magic. I know how to do this now. Yeah I totally thought I had figured out the sleep thing and then I couldn't get it to work again. So I mean that keeps me coming back to these as well as like you think you learn something you think you have a puzzle piece figured out and then you got to throw it back in and start again. Do you think that that the sleep deprivation part of the whole thing is something that some people are better at than others or do you think is this hard for everyone? Like I feel like maybe you're well suited to manage that maybe better than other people like is that part of something you would consider to be an advantage? Maybe I'm not sure though I think. Yeah you don't think about it. (both laughing) 

That's it that's my answer for everything. Right yeah well listen it's working for you don't think about it. We did it we figured it out. There's nothing you could do about it either you're good at it or you're not, right? yeah but I've, so I'm still learning and I'm like I love that I can use myself as this guinea pig and just test things and see and like Johann Steen is another runner who has done backyard races amongst many other things and watching him the first year at the Backyard race that I went to, he would come through a loop sit down and immediately be sleeping, every single lap, that year and so he's like nailed it and I would like to figure it out so I could nail it like that. We'll be back in a sec but first if you dig this podcast and I hope you dig this podcast then I think you'll really enjoy my latest book, "Voicing Change" featuring excerpts from Poignant Essays by and glorious photography of some 50 of my favorite guests over the last eight plus years of doing this thing this podcast it's a gorgeous artful compendium of the show and copious wisdom shared therein all wrapped in a hardcover coffee table form that provides a great taste of what we do here at the RRP and serves as a beautiful keepsake or gift for the ardent fan. 

The book is only and exclusively available on our website, signed copies are available and we are shipping globally direct to any coffee table on planet earth. So to learn more and snag your copy today visit RichRoll.com/vc, that's richroll.com/vc. All right let's get back into it. So as a tinkerer or somebody who is experimenting but is also self-coached like what is something that you've learned over maybe even the last two or two and a half years that you're doing now that you weren't doing in 2018 or 2019 like what where are the kind of evolutionary hacks in your training or your kind of strategy with these races. That's tricky, I think getting on trails more and yeah playing on mountains more has changed. More play. Yeah and then I think just learning from all the problems that come up like you do these long races inevitably there's problems that come up and then you've experienced those problems so then you have this filing cabinet in your brain where you can say like here's all the things that I know of already that can go wrong and that can help you better prepare for the next one where maybe those things happen again but also maybe something brand new. 

Listen through it. but also having collecting all those experiences you know when things get tough like I've been here before. Yeah. And this is what I did or I got through it so I know I can get through it again. Yeah for sure I'll think that if I'm like puking in the bushes I can open up a whole folder in this filing cabinet of times I've been throwing up during a race and like then the options that I have of what worked before or what I at least tried before. Right I feel like you need to get into a lab and have some test run like they've done tests on Killian they know he has a crazy threshold. Alex Honnold has had his brain yeah analyzed and they realize he his brain is a little bit different when it comes to his fear response like I feel like we need to get Dr. Andrew Huberman my neuroscience buddy to test your head and see what's going on or like do you like have you had all those markers evaluated so you know where you are? You haven't even done that, right? Like I feel like let's get you in the lab let's figure out what's going on. 

What if they only find air but that would be instructive too, right? Now we know you know. Like yeah like either you have some genetic disposition that differentiates you and even if you don't that's super interesting also. Because then it does then it does I think in my mind that tells me oh this person has developed a mental toughness that you can't calibrate with any scientific rigor and that's interesting to explore in and of itself. Yeah I would be curious what they would be like testing for or looking for. Well they could test your like I mean you're not wearing a watch right now I'm not sure about- How do you measure crazy? Yeah I know right I don't know, I don't know maybe some scientist knows how to do that it's not crazy but they could test your aerobic threshold and your resting heart rate and your heart rate variability and like all of that kind of stuff that you ignore. Yeah. 

You wear a watch though when you're running don't you? I do. You wear a heart rate monitor? Nope I just have the one that's built into the watch but I don't really use heart rate. Just go with the joy. Is that surprising? No it's not surprising at all like I kind of love it, its great. I think I have a good gauge of effort. I'm sure you know yeah it's like you're so connected to yourself that you don't need that because you already know intuitively where you're at, right? And that comes with experience you've been doing this for a long time. Pretty long. Yeah, I mean when did you you started running cross country in junior high, high school. Yeah cross country starting in middle school and then cross country skiing through high school. Yeah and you were a state champion in cross-country skiing. Yeah. Were you? Yeah. Why are you like laughing? (both laughing) why is that so funny. It's not I'm just awkward. (Courtney laughs) You're not awkward relax we're just having fun here it's all good, it's all good. It seems like your parents are really supportive and cool. Yeah they're the best they're amazing. 

I was watching the video that Salomon made around the Western states with your parents there they were so cute being interviewed. They were so fired up to get to see this race where it's like kind of there's so many crowds and so much excitement around it so, I was really lucky they could come out for it. Ever since I started doing these ultras they've been full on supportive and like the first 100-mile race that I ended up finishing. So my second one I had signed up for, it was just my dad and brother and Kevin as my crew none of us knew what we were doing and we're like up in the woods of Minnesota at the Superior 100 like figuring out what these Aid stations are and what the trail looks like and how to even like go about getting to a finish line. Yeah I think there's this misconception that you like won your first race and it's just been podiums ever since but you started in what like 2012 running ultras and it was a couple years of you growing and learning before you hit your stride and started winning. For sure yeah it took a lot of races to start to put the pieces together. 

Did you know with that first one then though that like oh this is gonna be my thing. No I think so I just stumbled upon the ultra running world I had no idea they existed and there was a 50k at a Local Park so I signed up for that and was intrigued by it but I wasn't like hooked on the sport right away and then I did a 50-mile race a little bit later that year and that got me hooked all the way and then I just wanted to know what else was out there and what could I try. What was the decision to sign up for the first race though why were you interested to begin with? So I did a road marathon and surprised myself by finishing it like I didn't think I'd actually get to the finish line of 26.2 miles I thought my legs would shatter I thought I would die on the side of this road and when I finished it it kind of like flipped a switch for me of just wondering if that sounded too hard but I did it what else is there that sounds too hard that I could try. 

So I tried like a tough mudder then and then stumbled upon like these races that were just a smidge longer then a road marathon a 50k, what five miles more I was like I gotta try and see if the extra five miles kills me and then I did it. Well if that didn't kill me. Exactly yeah so then it was a real quick progression I did the 50-mile race got hooked and didn't die and then instantly I wanted to try 100 miles. It really fits your your disposition though because as somebody who is all about intuitive feel to be a marathon runner is really kind of a data driven thing like oh here are the workouts you need to do and here's how you have to hit your splits but trail running is all about the terrain dictating everything so all of that goes out the window and it's just about like being present in the experience and tackling things as as they're thrown at you it's not about anyone else other than you and you. Yeah I think in that 50k I was so surprised that everyone was chatting out on this trail winding through the woods no one's watches were beeping splits and then at aid stations we got to just fill our pockets with jelly beans I was like I'm in. (both laughing) We're gonna talk about your garbage patch kids diet in a minute. I feel like we have a lot in common there. 

Yeah oh my goodness. (Courtney laughs) You're young there's more to learn. It is interesting as somebody who's trying to to achieve peak performance in all these areas that your approach is to not focus on all these things where people are trying to get that incremental advantage whether it's through some scientific approach to training or a dietary approach like you're just like no, not doing that I eat whatever nachos, cheeseburgers, french fries. So good. Candy right? Has that evolved at all? No. No. No and I realized like that is definitely an area where maybe if I did something differently maybe it would help but then like weighing that against how much joy I get out of just living life like this I just I love nachos too much. I don't blame you I'm not I'm like I got nothing but love Okay. For that. I think the enjoyment piece is really important because if you're not enjoying yourself then you're putting a shelf life on your career and if it becomes too rigorous or restricted whether it's through training or diet or any other like sleeping in an altitude tent like all these like you don't even use Normatec boots right? No. Is that not changed. 

No. Yeah I was broken he couldn't remember what they were called but like that's something that is like De rigueur with endurance athletes and you were like I don't even know what that is. (both laughing) like that's nuts but the good thing is if you ever get interested in those things then there's a whole world of opportunity and possibility ahead of you. Yeah. To explore all that stuff. I'll just keep them in my back pocket. Right yeah pull it out when you need it but so far so good, right? Let's talk about the Barkley marathons. Yeah let's. I'm fascinated by this race and the people involved and what this is all about so explain what it is for people who've never heard of it. So it's a race in the mountains of Tennessee outside of a prison and I believe the history came about because a prisoner escaped this prison and when he was found 60 hours later he had only made it like five miles or something from the prison and so Lazarus lake is the race director and I guess him and his buddies were just jaw boning about how they would make it farther and they should then make this race out there. 

So it's not marked like a normal ultra marathon is and it's not on actual trails it's just bushwhacking through these mountains and you have to complete five 20-ish mile loops in order to be a finisher of the Barclay marathons. You say 20-ish because they say it's 20 but it's not 20. It's not 20, but maybe 25 or 26 mile loops not positive and the way you prove that you made it around the loop correctly is he's hidden books out in the woods and you have to get to the book and then you rip out your bib number to prove you were at that book and then turn them in when you finish your loop. Right. And it's uncrewed there's no aid stations. The only time you can get more things is when you're back at the camp between loops and then there's a few stops out on the course where he's put some jugs of water. And over is it five loops total. Five loops total. To complete it and there's something like 60,000 feet of elevation gain, right? Yeah easily I bet. I now its a lot. So you're out there it's not marked you don't really know where you're going I mean people are getting lost all the time, right? Yeah. 

The weather's terrible. The weather is horrendous and you're navigating just with a compass and the day before the race he puts out his map that you copy onto your own map of like the line you're supposed to take. It's not a orienteering race it's not like you can just go any direction through these woods to get to the books you're supposed to follow his line. And isn't it a thing where he doesn't tell you when it's gonna start. Yeah he gives you a one-hour of warning so it can be anywhere in this like I don't know 12-hour window of time or something 20-hour window of time and he'll give you the one-hour warning and this year I was lucky enough to get to try the race and he gave that warning at like 2 A.M or something. Right 3 A.M start. Yeah. He lights the cigarette which is the thing he does I mean he's the character of this guy, what's the story with this dude? (Courtney laughs) controversial too. Yeah he's a character, but he's created all these events where like he just wants to help people see what's possible for them so like Barkley is that you know people sign up for it knowing they're not gonna finish probably I think in total there's been 15 finishers ever of the Barkley. 

He's created the Big's Backyard where it's like run till you can't basically so. 15 people total finish, I thought it was a few more than that I don't know but no woman has done the whole has completed the whole thing is that correct right? Correct yeah. And when you did it you did you completed the first loop within the time limit and then on the second loop came in like on 12 minutes too late. Yep we're 12 minutes over the cutoff so we weren't allowed to then leave on our third loop. so there's- Did anybody finish? No two people made it the fun run which is three loops. So they I think it's like 40 hours you have to get three loops done in order to count for a fun run. Right but it doesn't actually count as. Right yeah. So this is like the only race where almost where basically nobody finishes like every single year. Yeah. How long has it been going on? A long time. Yeah. I mean I'm not sure. We can look that up. I know are you gonna go back to that? You got to crack that. I'm really intrigued by it like just getting my feet wet and getting to actually see what it's all about was really cool. 

I mean it's just as hard as as everyone says like it's just straight up and down these mountain sides and then finding the books is like this silly game where they're like hidden in the most obscure places like it's like in a hole, under a rock, on this log, like it's hard to find them. I can't imagine like being that tired and it's like dark out too, right? Yeah. So you have this map and you're like the book's supposed to be here and you can't find it. Yeah, luckily I was with veterans and so they had a better gauge on like the lay of the land and just having been there before like there's some spots that he repeats the book being hidden there so they knew like, oh we lift up this one rock and then it's wherever but like the whole first half of the first loop this year was in the dark and then it was in the fog and so everyone going to the race had told me pay attention on that first loop figure out your landmarks so that when you do it again on the second loop you start to piece it together and you can like see the land in your head and where you're going kind of and that whole first half of the first loop I'm like, I couldn't see like 10 feet out I'm like guys I'm really trying to see the landmarks. 

Oh my God. So all right a couple questions first of all the map that you have is that on a like a an iPhone with a GPS or is on a piece of paper. No technology so. Right so you can't see your dot on thing and to make sure that you're on course. Yeah no phones, no GPS watches he issues you. It is an orienteering race then he said it's not but it kind of is. Kind of except in orienteering can't they go however to get to the point? Oh I don't know. 'Cause this is like a very specific path to get to the book that you're supposed to follow. So maybe it's a little bit orienteering but not like a free-for-all like. Did he change it up like could you go at other parts of the year and train on the course so you get familiar with all the rock formations and everything. You can train off trail in the park and so like the park makes a special exception for this race every year to happen off trail but otherwise during the year you have to stay on just their normal park trails. Right. But this year the watch he gave us was a like pocket watch like clicks open with the lid and it was so useless. Right and isn't it that like the entry fee is like a $1.60 or something and then there's always some random thing also like a license plate. 

What's that all about. Yep license plate. If you're new to the race you have to bring a license plate that year and then if you've done the race before there's like a different thing you bring him I think he's done like socks and cigarettes and whatever else. Great oh my God. Yeah it's pretty cool though I mean it was just like it was silly the weather was so bad that a few times I was with this small group we were just going up and down these hillsides and everyone's just slipping everywhere there's mud down the whole hillside and so like zooming out and watching it I'm like this is like a comedy movie like people are just slipping and falling and like tumbling and then back on their feet and running like it was the most normal thing to be doing. Right, right, right, well I'm wondering whether there's something so beautiful and pure about that but also balancing that against risk and liability as this sport is continuing to grow like it's very much in its juvenile years in terms of what we're learning about what's physically and mentally possible but also in terms of onboarding all of these enthusiastic runners who are looking to push their limits and we just saw what happened in China recently where 21 people died. 

When it's fun to talk oh we're sliding around in mud but like there's real life you know ramifications of this where people can get seriously hurt we saw that and it's going to be interesting to see how that impacts race directors and races going forward in the United States like it's a cautionary tale like this is very real and people are pushing themselves to places that not everybody's ready to go. Yeah. And they can be inspired by you but if they're not somebody who's been doing this for a long time people can get into very real trouble pretty quickly. For sure yeah. And like just because it's this marked course doesn't give you this bubble of safety around it like it's still mountains and there's still. Yeah and you're in these remote places, there's no hospitals nearby and most of these races remain very grassroots there's just a couple people there. There's not a lot of infrastructure and that's what makes it great and cool and fun and cultivates this amazing community and rapport that you have with everybody but on some level there is a, sure this is that event makes me think like well maybe it's time to mature a little bit. Yeah or yeah I don't know if like the application process needs more information from each runner to see. Stronger waivers its your fault. 

But also like can you make smart choices out there like what's your wilderness training or experience in that kind of thing I don't know what the solution is but it's scary how real it became when something like that race happens. And at the same time there's money coming into the sport we just saw iron man partnering with UTMB which is another controversial thing like how do you feel about that. I'm not sure I don't know. I guess we don't know yet, right? Yeah. You'll probably learn more when you go to the race this year. Yeah we'll all we have- What aspects of the race are gonna be impacted by it positively or negatively. Yeah we'll see. Yeah you're gonna be very politic here. (Courtney laughs) I mean it's hard it's hard to know right now I think the fear is that it will corrupt the integrity of it on the positive side there's an infusion of money that could make the sport better and create opportunities for more runners and the like but I think protecting the integrity and the legacy and what makes ultra running and that community special is important and so I think people are afraid that that partnership could threaten that. Yeah and I mean I'm not even trying to stay neutral I feel like I've just read a lot of things where it's like guessing what might happen. 

Right all these hot takes but we don't know yet we don't know we'll see soon enough, right? Yeah. What is your, of the two races that you're preparing for right now let's talk about the differences between something like Hard Rock and UTMB because they're they're very different. Yeah the courses will be kind of similar I mean they're both mountain terrain lots of climbing but just the races in general are all the way different. Hardrock has like 150 people in the race, UTMB has thousands and thousands. It's crazy the crowds that show up for that. Yeah I mean I've only been over there once but it was insane I've never experienced anything like that but I'm excited to have both of them I think it's so cool when you roll into an aid station that's just a folding table out in the middle of nowhere with some volunteers that camped there the night before to get there I think that's just as special as like rolling through a hyped up town with crazy tents and NASCAR style crewing. 

So it'll be fun to have these races that are both beautiful mountain 100-mile races but then different in so many other ways. And what does the training look like in between the two are you just trying to like recover as much as possible so you can be fresh? Yeah I think that'll be really play it by hear and see what my body needs and how my brain is feeling. Maybe some weeks of training squeezed in there but maybe it'll just be like recovering and then trying to show up as fresh as possible at UTMB. Well I guess you'll just wake up in the morning and figure it out, right? Yeah after coffee. (Courtney laughs) It's cool I can't wait to see what you're gonna do do you feel like you shoulder a little bit more pressure and a sense of expectations now because of your accomplishments does it change how you approach these races? For me it doesn't no I mean I expect from myself to give it everything I have and so what someone else is expecting from me is like not part of the equation. Yeah that's pretty healthy. I'll do my very best no matter what. That's a a healthy mental approach. 

I mean we're I don't know if you saw this this past weekend with Naomi Osaka like refusing to do press. Yeah I just saw that. For her mental health which made the internet explode. Yeah. But I thought it was really cool that she's like listen I'm not a product and I need to protect myself and why should I expose myself to all of these reporters who say negative things and that affects my ability to perform and I think it's created a really interesting conversation about the responsibility of the media and the empowerment of the athlete to like say no to this stuff like just because you're competing at this level doesn't mean that you owe anybody anything. Yeah super interesting G dropped out of the tournament now I think right? Yeah I think so yeah. How old is she do you know? I don't know I should know she's young though? Pretty young. Yeah yeah yeah but that was a bold that was a courageous thing to do I think and there were a lot of the people on the other side saying this is your job. 

This goes with the territory you should know this and on some level yes you make yourself available to the press but doesn't that need to be reasonable and within certain parameters and can't we respect the sovereignty of the athlete when they say enough is enough. Yeah probably all the social media changes the dynamics of sports. What is your approach to social media like do you feel like you need to be sharing stuff and you've got sponsors and people that want you to be kind of out there in that way. Yeah I mean I'm sort of I feel sort of new to it still but I just it's a cool way to connect with people is how I view it and so like, I am having fun sharing my story using it because maybe it can connect with someone who maybe it helps them try something hard I don't know and I mean my sponsors are fantastic so I don't have pressure from them to like do a certain thing or. Yeah Salomon is your main sponsor. That's correct. Yeah you know I just joined the Salomon team I'm so excited. 

Now we gotta go running. I think we're gonna announce it tomorrow. I'm super excited about it. No it's hilarious like oh joining the Salomon family I'm like with people like Courtney like I don't like I'm way in the back like I can't even believe that I'm here but I'm really excited about it and I love all the people that I've met and gotten to spend a little bit of time with and everything is just so dialed in and super pro from the gear to just the integrity and it's been really it's like a dream come true for me. Oh that's so cool. So Aaron and Juris were supposed to come out and do the Iron Cowboy thing with me the other day but their young end wasn't feeling well so they couldn't do it but I was hoping to see them on Saturday. They're so great. Yeah. I'm so pumped you're on the team. I know I should figure out some kind of I feel like I have I really have to live up. No. (both laughs) I got to find some kind of challenge for myself or whatever to legitimize the relationship. I'm really proud, I'm really proud. What would it be? Would you want to do a Backyard race? Maybe I have to put in quite a bit of work between now and maybe in a year I have to get ready I gotta heal my back up. If you had to choose between a Backyard or a 200. I think I can wrap my head around a Backyard. 

Yeah that's what's cool about it is that it can be as as hard as your body is able to go, right? And those little breaks become super significant. And mentally it's not as intimidating. Yeah it is a cool format I mean, the first year I was there I think, there was a person who was like. I'm just gonna try to run my first marathon ever today and they wanted to stay in to get their 26 miles and then they were gonna feel satisfied and they ended up doing I think 100k like 62 miles because four miles at a time they just kept thinking like oh I can do one more, I can do one more. Yeah I think the the Goggins challenge where he did the four by four by 48 was a similar thing because it feels bite-sized and you don't realize that it's actually hard when you think about it until you're actually doing it and you're in the middle of the night Right. And it encourages people to try something that maybe they would have been too intimidated to do if it was signing up for like a really long race. Yeah absolutely. Yeah I wanna think of something like create my own thing though too like I think there's something cool about that and if there was a silver lining to the pandemic with respect to ultras it was the like Backyard, the Backyard challenge thing that was was Mike Wardian the one who created that he's the one who went the furthest. 

To do the virtual Backyard. Yeah the virtual thing. Yeah went the furthest he was our Dave Proctor and his team in Canada who like put together the event. Yeah those things are cool. Yeah. To be able to create community when we couldn't be together. Yeah oh it was so fun. Well I know. It felt like we were all hanging out together even though I was just staring at this little screen. I know right I know. Well it must be nice to feel like you can start traveling now and the world is opening up a little bit and all that. Yeah it feels awesome. Like seeing people doing things I think though like I kind of liked last year and like finding appreciation in these trails that were right out my door all the time that I had gotten taking them for granted basically and then being stuck at home all last Spring and into the Summer it was like oh there's a lot of cool link-ups you can actually make if you're just looking for it. Right it encouraged you to explore a little bit more. Yeah and I saw way more families out on the trails and just getting outside more so I think it could have some cool things come from it even though it was definitely not great. Amelia Boone lives in Golden also doesn't she do you ever go running with her. 

No I saw her during a virtual run I was doing and we crossed paths on the trails but otherwise we haven't run together. Really didn't you but one of the 'cause the the the Backyard Ultra you do it in teams right? That like the the U.S. has their team and there was like wasn't Amelia part of one teams? Yeah so we that was in person at in Tennessee in the Fall we were able to share a ton of miles there but never in Golden. That's so that's funny yeah I feel like I had this idea like oh you guys are like hanging out and running and having coffee and doing stuff like that all the time no. No not recently, we should. What is the ultra running community of the future that you would like to see like where is all this heading and like explain to somebody who's listening or watching who's unfamiliar with this world like what's great about it and why maybe they should think of stepping into it. Oh man so many reasons just exploring with your feet like the places you end up with just your body carrying you there is pretty cool and it feels special to be in the middle of nowhere and to have gotten yourself there on purpose. 

I think it's the most welcoming community my the first 50-mile race I did one of the things was that hooked me was how awesome the people around me were and I mean we were in hail and sleet and just awful weather and people were wearing garbage bags as their raincoats because it kept them a little bit warmer and all signs pointed to like we should be hating life right now but people were just making the best of it they were hooping and hollering, splashing through puddles finding like all the joy they could in this miserable situation and they're also the most helpful because in that same race I face planted in a mud puddle and a person 15 yards ahead ran back offered their hand and pulled me out of this puddle to keep running together like where does that happen? Yeah. You went out of your way to help me it's not just that I was conveniently in your way like they turned around and came back for me. Yeah that is something really unique about the community I think. And I find that in every race I mean everyone's ready to help if you're on the side of the trail having trouble like everyone who goes by is going to ask what can I do how can I help you to get back on track. 

And you might even hallucinate and you could go blind. Yeah also perks. (both laughing) Can we talk about the hallucinations. Have you ever hallucinated. No. Yeah it's fun you make some good friends. Yeah I like your it's for me I mean you hear lots of stories of ultra runners having hallucinations but what I love about your hallucinations is your relationship to them like they're like your friends or something like you're like oh this is awesome there's Mickey Mouse over there doing whatever like what is going on. Mickey Mouse was throwing out T-shirts to the crowd and he did not throw me one. (Courtney laughs) Do you know they're not real when they're happening so there's a detachment or are you thinking this is really real and it's still cool for the most part now I can tell they're not real there are some instances where I have to like take double or triple takes at something because I can't believe I'm seeing these people dancing right there and like what are they doing. But usually I can recognize it's not real and it means that I'm doing something really cool because these friends don't just come out anytime. Right it's special. Yeah. 

Here they come, do you know it's always gonna happen at hour or whatever. It's not a certain hour but it's definitely over 24 hours of effort and then like night time for sure brings out more friends. So like UTMB starts in the evening and so the night is when you're a little bit fresher and so I made no friends at UTMB because. You're like where are my friends. Yeah even though that course would be hard enough and take long enough where I maybe I would have made them if the night had been at the end section. I think you're a very healthy person I'm no shrink but I think the the the sort of good-natured aspect of your hallucinations speak to somebody who's you know a very grounded individual like if it was a lot of demons coming out at night and people trying to kill you and stuff like I feel like you should write them all down and then you could give that journal to a psychiatrist and say tell me who I am. Yeah I don't know if I want them to analyze it but I had to my friend Maggie who does Big's Backyard and all sorts of adventures she has really scary ones like she sees like heads on spears and clowns and stuff. Right. 

I'm like Maggie you gotta watch happy movies the day before like she's watching IT the night before a race. Yeah Annabelle Yeah I'm like what do you think you're gonna see? (Courtney laughs) That's funny what about the blindness though. Explain that story for people that don't know it. Yeah I don't recommend it, but what happened was it was a 100 mile race and about 12 miles from the finish my vision was just getting really foggy on the edges. I thought it was my contact lenses I thought it was my headlamp dying like I couldn't figure out what was going on but I for sure noticed I was seeing less and less and by 10 miles out from the finish line it just had closed in all the way where it was pure white in my field of vision. Like I waved my hand in front of my face and I couldn't see my hand. But there were 10 miles left and so it was like, problem solving figuring out what solutions I had as options to keep moving forward. I didn't ever feel like it was permanent because it had crept in like it did and it didn't come from like falling and hitting my head it had just like slowly happened over time. 

So I determined it was safe and then if I just stared down at my toes I could see this tiny arc of the trail in front of them to keep moving as quickly as possible. So you could see enough to gauge your foot placement. Yes I could see that I was on the trail still and I knew that section of trail I knew there weren't like spurs off of it where I would end up lost or I knew it didn't cliff out anywhere so I was like if I can just stay on this single track it'll be okay. Right you're not gonna fall off a cliff. Yeah. Oh my God. I mean some areas if that happened I would sit like if it's an area where it does clip out or if I'm unfamiliar with what it does I would probably have to like make a different choice. Yeah. 'Cause I'm not trying to go off a cliff anywhere. I hope not. Yeah but then I made it to an Aid station with about six miles left and the volunteers were very kind and sent one of their Aid station workers to run next to me and she narrated the trail to me then and so she was like. Oh my God. There is big rocks on your left, the trail is turning slightly to the right and it just made it so much easier because I could like sort of then predict with my body where I was going next. 

When I was by myself it was I was falling everywhere because if you can't see in front of your feet I mean I was landing on every rock and route and just tripping on everything. I don't even know where to begin with this so. Yeah I don't know if you should maybe we just leave that. You're like all right moving on next question. (both laughing) I mean come on first of all you're wearing contacts for like days on end right probably not a smart idea. Yes. You probably stopped doing that after that, right? No because I can't see without them. But you can get like I'm blind as a bat you just get glasses. Oh I could do that. Yeah right I've heard LASIK makes it happen more often. It's corneal edema that's what's happening, right? So essentially your body's so under so much stress that you're having this immune response creating inflammation in your eyes that is crowding out your ability to see like it's basically pressure on the optic nerve. 

Yeah and they I mean the best diagnosis or reason they said is probably that and it was dusty and smokey air and like rubbing my eyes maybe just aggravated. You mean like allergic response. Yeah. But the frame of mind when that happens to not freak out and say I gotta stop like I can't see and you're like oh it's good we'll just keep going like I think it's gonna be okay it was so great I had a guide like that's not normal. Right you recognize that. Yes and I like I don't recommend people just do this like maybe make the choice for you if it ever happens to your eyes like figure out how you feel about all the factors you know but. But when it happened you didn't know what corneal edema was like now if it happens again you're like this has happened before or I read something about it but when it was occurring in real time most people would have just freaked out. Yeah I think in general how I try to stay is just without emotions in situations like that so like what are the facts of this situation and then what can I actually control about it. How long before your eyesight returned? It was probably like five or six hours after the finish. 

That's a long time to be sitting there like at hour four like is this gonna work out. I was very happy when it came back I went to the hospital so I mean they checked me out they weren't worried about the eyes. Oh okay that's helpful. Yeah. So what do you do, is there anything you do now to help prevent that like drops or anything like that. Yeah I do eye drops pretty much through every Ultra. Now I'll have them in my pack or I'll use them at Aid stations and then protective eyewear so just trying to keep out as much dust as possible. But still with the contacts. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah I don't know I don't maybe I could try glasses. Have you never worn glasses? Not really oh I've never really worn contacts. Yeah maybe we can switch. Lets do us all- I'll start wearing contacts and I'll give you my glasses and we'll see how that works out. Yeah perfect. Maybe I'll get like really good at Ultra's and then you'll your back will start hurting you. (both laughing) Thank you sounds like a good trade. We can wrap this up in a few minutes but I one thing we're starting to lose the thread. 

One thing I'm interested in is as somebody who's out there pushing the envelope in your sport showing the rest of us what's possible and breaking all these boundaries and barriers how does that affect your mental disposition and how you approach other facets of your life like how does it spill over and how you think about possibilities and potential in areas that are outside of running. I think it's possible in every area outside of running I'm not like seeking it in any other area right now but I think what it's shown me is that like people are selling themselves short and setting their bars too low of what they could actually do if they went all in on something whatever they're psyched about to just see what happens if they invest a little more time and energy into it. And what about for yourself? For myself? See you deflected a little bit there. What never. Because I was asking about you too. I never do that. Yeah I know. Like am I pursuing am I. 

Well right now you're all in on running, right? This is 110 all your focus and all your time but there are other interests I'm sure that you have and you're married and you have a relationship and I'm sure there's other goals that maybe you're thinking about for your life after running or in conjunction with your running. Talk a little bit about that and how you kind of see your life unfolding. I don't know how I see it unfolding. 'Cause you're just here right where your feet are. Yeah what I know is. You I wake up in the morning and decide. Yeah I'm having, like I love this chapter that it's in right now and so just enjoying that fully and knowing like chapters don't go on forever so this ride you know will end at some point and what comes next I'm not sure. But I hope whatever you know page it flips to next I can be just as excited about finding out what's possible. Right, but you don't have a sense of what that might look like. I don't know no, do you think I should? Not necessarily I think you should be you. Okay. I think it's working out fine. (Courtney laughs) Yeah I don't know. 

Well I no I think that's interesting that you asked me that because people ask me that what where do you, what's the next thing or where do you see yourself in five years and I don't really approach my life that way I really don't think about those things then I feel guilty because like here's my five-year plan like should I have a five-year plan I don't know. Do you so you don't have a five-year plan. No. You have a weekly plan. I have a schedule of things that I'm doing but everything that ends up on the calendar is a reflection of me I mean I'm in a very privileged place where I have the opportunity to seek out things that interest me and pursue my curiosity whether that's in sport or with the podcast or other creative outlets and not everybody has that kind of life so I'm very grateful for that but it's all about like oh this is cool let's see what this is about rather than like I'm working towards this thing and there's a destination and it's gonna look like that when I get there like I don't function that way. Yeah that's cool me neither. 

Yeah I don't get that well but at the same time you do like well you say these are the races I'm gonna do this year and I'm working towards my best performance of them. So they're anchored, you're those are like the anchors and then your life kind of orients around that but within that there's so much opportunity to be flexible and intuitive about your approach. Yeah for sure. Yeah one of the things that you see in ultra running is a problem with longevity in careers like you see athletes who come onto the scene they crush it they have a window of time a couple years where they're indestructible they're just winning everything in sight and then something happens and they can't quite match those performances anymore I've seen it mostly in men time and time and time again and I've often thought like what is causing that or why is that and I'm not sure anybody knows the answer to that but obviously you're aware that this is the case so do you think at all about how you can protect the longevity of what you're trying to accomplish like do you put any effort into that or thought. 

Yeah I wanna be doing the sport as long as possible and I mean my schedule, my race schedule four years ago would have been an ultra every month because I love it so much and I just wanted to do this thing I love and also I felt good doing it so why not sign up for more but have wisened a little bit over the years to ease back on asking my body to go to that place so many times a year and also I mean I had an injury a few years ago that taught me to not neglect the small things like core work or stretching foam rolling like things like that. I now implement because it's this tiny change I can do to maybe keep me in the sport longer. Yeah I think I remember when you're on Rogan he asked you about stretching and you're like yeah I should probably should but I don't really so there's a change, right? You're growing wiser. Yeah a little bit. Yeah but it's life's lumps that force you to make those adjustments. Yeah for sure. Yeah well soon the diet we'll talk about that. (both laughing) Yeah we can talk about it. We'll see no I'm not getting involved you're doing fine and are you still like you don't know no supplements or anything like that No nothing. Just candy bars. Yeah mostly jelly beans. Jelly beans yeah the fruity candy is my favorite and it's getting vitamins in there somehow so. 

And then when you're out training like with a hydration pack what is it's tailwind like what is your go-to. Tailwind, honey stinger and then if it's a race I'll probably have some mashed potatoes in my pack and then if it's a really long race then it's like any other carbs, pizza burgers, pancakes, pierogies really good. McDonald's french fries. So good yeah. The salt, right? Yeah I mean yeah and really any form of potato tastes great during ultra. Yeah they work well they're effective for sure. Well I'm excited to see these races unfold with you. Thank you. It's pretty cool, which shoe are you gonna wear? Probably the S-lab Ultra three have you tried it? I haven't tried that one yet. I've been running in the the Ultra glide the new shoe that's about to come out. So good. Yeah it's great, right? Yeah. Enjoying that I like the the Sense very much too those are what I'm wearing right now I think. The Sense ride. Yeah they're great. I need I gotta try those S-labs though I haven't I haven't run in those. I'm so happy you're on the team. Thank you. Its exciting. 

I'm very proud I feel unworthy, all right so I want to live up to it. You're very worthy. Yeah I'm, I was nervous and awkward and scared myself to talk to you because I have so much respect for everything that you do and you're such a joy and a pleasure to speak to and I wish you only the best. Well thank you. Yeah and I look forward to spending a little bit more time with you and getting to know you and being a cheerleader for your success. Thank you, yeah let's run some trails today. I would love to do that I don't know my guy's here I got a lot of work to do I don't know if I can talk my way out of the office but I'll see what I can do. Yeah they won't know. Cool so if people want to connect with you, what's the best way for them to find you on the internet basically if you type in her name in Google there's plenty yeah in Instagram maybe. Awesome. It would be great. All right well come back after these races and tell me about it Yeah I would love that cool. 

No comments:

Post a Comment