Badwater Ultramarathon & FKT’s


I have a hard time understanding how anyone can run for more than 40 miles in a day.  How do you have the time to train for ultramarathons?  I have a hard enough time training for marathons when I’m due for my long runs.  Running 30+ mile training runs would take most of my day when you factor in pre run prep and post run recovery.  Having kids’ and family activities all weekend, I wouldn’t have the time.

Following guest article talks about the infamous Death Valley to Mt. Whitney run.  The weather channel just ran a piece on this race.  It’s brutal.  Especially because it’s run in July with temps in the 120 degree range.

I enjoy reading about these “ultra” adventure runs, but I have no desire to participate.

Enjoy this article & click through the links.

Solos and FKT’s

by Patrick Reed

If my count is correct, this upcoming Monday, July 15th, 2013, marks the start of the 37th running of what is dubbed “The Toughest Footrace on Earth.” It is the Badwater Ultramarathon, affectionately called the ‘Badwater 135′ by those in the know. And as you probably know, this brutal running race begins at 282 feet below sea level (-86 meters) – the lowest point in the United States – and boils its way across and up to the Whitney Portal, gateway to the highest elevation in the USA’s ‘lower 48.’ The portal stands at 8,360 feet of elevation (2,550 meters). The 135 mile trek is run at the hottest time of the year, in order to most maximally test the 99 entrants who are either fortunate enough to be a part of the field or foolish enough to toe the line. FYI, the men’s course record holder for this epic feat is Valmir Nunes, 43, Brazil, who in 2007 ran 22:51:29. The USA’s Jamie Donaldson, 35, set the women’s mark of 26:16:12 in 2010.

Held up as indeed one of the world’s greatest ultramarathon challenges, the Badwater 135 is not alone in its insanely brutal course profile, weather challenges and distance. Nevertheless, many list the race as tops on their bucket lists…

But there are other memo’s I’d encourage you to be writing down as you explore the feats which beckon you from your marathon slumber. One such challenge is the ‘Solo’ effort. Another limitless set of self-tests are FKT’s — or “Fastest Known Times.”

First to the Solo’s. I pulled this synopsis off of Wikipedia:

Through the years, runners of all abilities have completed individual Badwater to Mt. Whitney crossings in the spirit of the early crossings, usually aided by crew. In 2005, Hugh Murphy initiated an informal gathering known as the Badwater Solo Ultra 135/146. Runners could finish at Whitney Portal (135 mi.), but were encouraged to continue to the summit of Mt. Whitney (146 mi.) Finishers of either distance were presented with a bronze belt buckle. In 2007, the informal group start was dissolved due to National Park Service permitting regulations. Solo runners continue to complete the course on an individual basis during the months of July and August. The word “solo” is used to designate runners who are not part of the official race. These Solos should not be confused with the unassisted crossings of Ulrich or Weber. In compliance with National Park and Forest Service permitting rules, the Badwater Solo is not a competitive race or an organized event of any kind. In general there are three types of recognized “solos”. “Solo badwater” where the runner has a crew. “Solo self supported” or “Solo Oasis to oasis”, where the runner does not have a crew but can use/buy/stash water and food. “Solo self contained” where the runner cannot get help and has to carry all food and water ( see exact rules established by Marshall Ulrich). Since 2007, Marcia Rasmussen has attempted to verify each Solo crossing and continue the tradition of awarding a buckle to each finish. “Badwater” Ben Jones maintains a “Master List” of all Badwater-to-Whitney crossings, including finishers of the official Badwater Ultramarathon and the Badwater Solo. As of spring 2013, all 146mi crossings will be tracked and documented at -> and will be discussed and approved by the community. (source:

And then there are the FKT’s. Fastest Known Times are efforts where runners test themselves over a course or challenge of their own making. Documenting and recording their times, they share them with the world. Hence, a limitless set of gauntlets are thrown down for runners across the world to match or better. These FKT’s do not need to be seen as threatening marks established for the world to race after; and ultra marathon culture – with its still somewhat innocent infatuation with the simple joy and bliss of the run – would keep this less competitive vibe. Still, FKT’s – just by the mere fact that they are recorded and shared – are lines in the sand, replete with ambition, glory and just a touch of bravado;) Which begs the question: why do we share our exploits? But that is a memo for another day.

Today, I ask you: what is your next solo? What first frontier will you strive to conquer as a FKT? Will you share it with the world? Or is it enough for you to hold your personal achievements close?

Something in us seems to want to shine — which means to strive and share.

Keep shining!


Guest Post: Running & Racing –

run for the prize

Running & Racing

Running races during a 16-24 week marathon training plan is one of the ways to best prepare yourself for a marathon.  Depending on what kind of shape you’re in prior to starting your training period, you should easily be able to run 1-2 races.  I recommend nothing short of a 10k and I wouldn’t go longer than a 1/2 marathon.  The reason you want to run a race is it will help you get the feel for preparing for a race or running faster pace than your typical training pace.  They will also get you used to getting prepared for race day activities (waking early, eating before the race, getting to the start line, etc).  Racing also gets you used to running with a lot of people.  Besides, the experience, it’s fun.  I love the post race entertainment and food.

Take a look at the following guest article.  Coach Patrick discusses racing to win.  I wouldn’t taper prior to the race.  Instead, just mix the race into your schedule. I hope you enjoy the guest post.


by Patrick Reed

“Don’t you know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24

Racing is where the distance runner dances. It is the weekly or monthly — maybe even just yearly — prom. It is the proving ground, the laboratory. It is instant youth and it is Play.

I used to love the game of soccer so much — even in my collegiate days — because it represented a complete cosmos, ruled by fairly just judges, and its parameters were as clear as white chalk lines. The object of this bounded life’s pursuit was evident, the rules were agreed upon — and inside of this world, captivated by it, all else in the universe fell away. The game became all of life itself — and outside of the game was irrelevant.

Of course, that worked pretty well until 4th year hit — and graduation loomed — and then suddenly arrived! On that commencement day, so far from the eternal destiny of the soaring black and white orb, striking the net with an elegance fit for heaven; on that day of new beginning, I became the tired runner staring at his shoes, sitting on the curb and wondering what happened. I guess I hadn’t trained hard enough. I guess I hadn’t any plan.

BUT — I knew what I loved. I loved to play that certain game.

And now racing has become that itinerant play. Itinerant by necessity. For only a few of us can play for our living — and then, I have heard, the play is not so much play any more.

So what does the Apostle Paul mean by “Run in such a way as to get the prize”?

Clearly this much and nothing more: Run to win. And what is it we aim to win? Is it the heaps of gold bestowed upon the forward thinking practitioner, who aligned himself adroitly for an easy destiny? Is it to get to the finish first at any cost? Dope, deceit or deviance — you choose?? Or is running to win not really about what we think winning is at all?

For it must be possible, says the theology which stands behind and supports Paul’s words, that every man can “get the prize.” Each only must “run in such a way…”  What of this race where every soul can win? Is this the cheapest race — and is its prize, by the market’s definition, the most sordid and banal stuff?

No — emphatically NO!

And maybe, just maybe – your distance running addiction can aid you here in the way of the most elegant illustration. Each of us can indeed win in this game of life. Like the soccer game I so futilely longed to live within eternally, each life’s course is marked by clear boundaries and indeed has a just lawgiver and judge. Better still, the game is made for each of us – tailor made — and the gamekeeper wants, longs, dreams that we would win.

And only one thing is necessary: that we believe in the one whom He has sent. Namely, Jesus Christ – who died for you and me, that we may share in the new life he won in being raised from the dead on the third day.

To run to win — in this greatest race of all — is to believe. Nothing more and nothing less. All else is dross.

Run the race to win it — every day. I am racing right along side with you.


Coach Patrick

image credit: womanwithamission

How, When & Why to Hydrate During a Run

Hydration for runners







[UPDATED 1/25/16] The following article about hydration for runners was posted a few years ago.  I wanted to update it with some observations from my recent performance at the 2016 Vancouver Lake 1/2 Marathon.

Background: A few months ago, I read an article in Runner’s World about 60 year old, Dave Walters.  I posted my comments and a link to the article on my Facebook Page.  One of the main things discussed in the article was Dave’s commitment to hydration.  One of his secrets to recovery was to hydrate before, during and after the race (in this case, the 2015 Chicago Marathon).

My results: Yesterday, I completed the Vancouver Lake 1/2 marathon.  Although I’ve always attempted to hydrate properly prior to any race and workout, I really made a commitment starting last Friday to get hydrated.  Even if it meant that I would have to get up at night a few times, I wanted to ensure that I was properly hydrated.  By the time Sunday morning arrived, I knew that I was easily hydrated because I was needing to go every 20 – 25 minutes right up to the race.  Although I wasn’t able to drink a lot during the race (only 4 aid stations and I spilt alot), my pre race hydration really helped me, because I felt very strong through much of the first 7-8 miles while maintaining a strong pace.

I’ll continue to drink a lot the next few days and also complete my regular recovery regime (proper nutrition, short runs, massage, etc).  I expect that the renewed focus on hydration will be a big plus for my recovery and to start my training for the next race (Portland, OR Shamrock Run 15k on March 13th)


By Nuun Guest Bloggers Jesse Kropelnicki and Jaime Windrow of The Core Diet.


One of the many concerns I hear from my athletes is, “I can’t seem to drink while running, what is the best strategy?”  The answer to that question is whatever way works for you is the best!  The important aspect is just getting those fluids and electrolytes down, and to practice that method day in and day out.

Why do I need to hydrate during a training run?

The goal is to not only stay hydrated and fueled for the workout you are currently performing, but also to prepare the body for the future workouts in days to come. Yes, a runner can “make it through” a 60-minute tempo run without fluids and fuel, but did that runner perform to the best of her or his ability given that their performance can be impacted with a 2 percent dehydration factor? Probably not. And that runner will then enter into the next day’s run already dehydrated before the workout even started. Most of us have higher goals than to just “make it through,” and proper hydration is directly correlated to performance.

Our bodies also need hydration training! We need to practice hydration during training runs to train the gut to be able to handle what our body may require on race day.  Athletes can’t expect their body to magically be able to handle their race fueling on race day with out regular practice of it in training.

What are my options for hydrating during runs?

  • Hide fluids with electrolytes along the course you are running.
  • Design an out-and-back run from wherever you can store fluids with electrolytes such as your car or home.
  • Carry your own fluids with electrolytes in one of the hydration carrying systems below:


This consists of a bottle that is much smaller than your standard 24 oz. bike bottle.  The shape of it makes it easier to hold and they usually have an adjustable strap so you do not have to consciously hold onto it.  You can find them with or without neoprene insulation and pockets for storing a gel and Nuun tube, cash or a key.

Advantage: Easy to refill and not much extra weight.

Disadvantage: You can only carry a small amount of water or sports drink and will need a water source to refill if going out for longer training runs.

Waist Pack:

This system attaches around your waist and consist of one to two standard bottles or multiple smaller “flask” style bottles such as Fuel Belt.   Most have some sort of storage pocket for performance fuels or small miscellaneous items.

Advantages: You can carry a larger amount of fluids for longer runs but you have the option to bring less.  This option is also good for those that prefer hands free.

Disadvantages: When all bottles are filled, there is quite a bit of extra weight that takes getting used to.


A bladder carrying system that rests on your upper/mid back.  Attaches similar to a traditional backpack, hence the name, but much smaller. A small hose connects to the “bladder” filled with sports drink or water and attaches near the shoulder area which allows the runner to take a swig when needed.

Advantages:  You can carry large amounts of water such as 70 or 80 ounces and there is much more room for fuels and other items.

Disadvantages: When filled, this system adds quite a bit of weight you have to carry around.  These are ideal for those training or racing ultras or running long distances where there will not be any chance to refill another kind of hydration system.

How much do I need to take in?

Every runner has a different sweat rate that depends on several factors and the more you sweat out, the more you need replace. Using an electrolyte tablet, such as Nuun, with your fluids will ensure your body is making the most of your water to keep you hydrated.

Try weighing yourself before and after training sessions in various weather conditions.  Keep in mind that that 1 pound lost during a workout is equal to 16 oz. of fluid.  This simple test will help you determine your individual sweat rate.

Although we are on the tail-end of the colder months, the summer months will be approaching fast and using an on-board hydration system will only benefit you; especially if you have no access to fluids during your running.  Take this aspect of your training routine seriously, and improve your running and racing in a big way; most importantly, with easy changes….we all like free speed!


Nuun provides great-tasting active hydration.

About Nuun

Nuun is a great tasting on-the-go hydration tablet with the electrolytes you need to hydrate and re-fuel, but none of the sugar and junk found in sugary sports drinks. Nuun is available in over 5,000 stores in the U.S. and in over 30 countries. Visit to learn more.

About The Core Diet

Jesse Kropelnicki is an elite triathlon coach and founder of, a leading provider of sports nutrition. He coaches professional triathletes Caitlin Snow, Ethan Brown, and Pedro Gomes with quantitative training and nutrition protocols. Track Jesse’s coaching strategies tips on his blog at

Jaime Windrow is a Registered Dietitian and the Nutrition Programs Director at Jaime’s interest in sports nutrition began when she danced professionally for 12 years with the Radio City Rockettes, and continued when she began to race in triathlons as an elite amateur. Jamie holds a number of age-group wins and podium finishes, as well as a finish in Kona at the Ironman World Championships.