INKnBURN is so comfortable to wear that we hear stories of fans sneaking their gear into the workplace. As an added bonus, it makes going from work to a run our workout a breeze… since you are already partially dressed!
Here are some ways that our ambassadors get the most out of INKnBURN’s versatile gear:
1. Layer your INKnBURN Singlet or Tech Shirt with a neutral cardigan, blazer or sweater:
2. Sport colorful INKnBURN Tops with dress pants or a skirt for a pop of color:
3. Wear your INKnBURN Tights, Pants or Capris under a dress or long blouse:
4. Pair your INKnBURN with fancy footwear for a more dressed up look:
5. Organize a lunchtime run or yoga session with your colleagues. This means you’ll get to wear INKnBURN and sneak a workout it in:
6. Wear under a lab coat or nursing jacket… Medical professionals report that the colors give patients a nice boost!
It can also be worn under chef gear to keep cool:
7. Wear for theme days or casual Fridays:
Or… find a job that allows you to wear INB all the time! 😉
We love getting Fan Mail! Robin kindly allowed us to share her inspiring story and feedback with our readers:
I’ve been wearing InknBurn for oh, a year and a half now and I have an ever growing collection. I love your unique designs and quality construction. A friend who lives in California introduced me to your clothing. I thought “hey, that would look great in race photos and make it easy to pick me out of a crowd when my family is trying to spot me from the sidelines”.
I feel like I run my best when I look my best. Last year, I ran Destination Races’ Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon wearing your singlet and skirt. I just got an email encouraging me to sign up for next year before the prices increase. (The race paid the photographers so they own all the images.) I was pretty surprised to see myself in the email image! I am pretty sure it wasn’t just my big smile that made the marketing department choose this photo — look how great your zen skirt and singlet look against the rolling hills of Oregon’s Wine Country! It was a really hot day and I was dumping water over my head at every water stop but I look as fresh as I did at the starting line thanks to the performance fabric.
As someone who had asthma from infancy, was morbidly obese for 15 years, and has suffered from chronic daily migraine for the past 7 years, I never dreamed I would be used to “sell” race registrations. I probably should also have mentioned that a big part of my story is that I lost over 90 pounds and have kept it off for 3 years and 4 months to date. I have only been running for about 3.5 years! I did I did it with counting calories, first walking then running, and kettlebell training. I have fibromyalgia and chronic daily migraines but a daily dose of endorphins keeps me smiling.
We often hear about amazing friendships that have been sparked through a mutual love of INKnBURN! So, we recently asked our Ambassadors to share their own stories about how INKnBURN has brought them closer to someone. Michele Williamson wrote back with the story of two amazing friendships born from a passion for INKnBURN:
It all began when I admired someone’s race gear. I found out it was INKnBURN and joined the For the Love of INKnBURN Facebook Fan Page. I learned about the stunning apparel and was proud to discover that is is all Made in America!
At my next race, I yelled “Way to go, INKnBURN!” at a girl running by. We found each other through the Facebook Fan Page the next day. Her name was Hannah.
Since then, we’ve trained together and raced together. I’m now an honorary aunt to her newborn daughter, Mia… and blessed to call her my friend.
I also became friends with Melinda, who we affectionately call Ginger. She was stationed overseas for a while and fan page members had fun sending her cards and care-packages. Her brother David (pictured above with Hannah and I) hosted us last fall and I raced my first marathon.
Recently, I had the honor of flying to San Antonio with my husband to witness Ginger’s retirement from the military after over 20 years.
This is the only time I have ever seen Ginger and her husband, Robert, not wearing INKnBURN:
When people asked how we became friends, we say “INKnBURN” first… then we smile and say but we are really now family by choice.
What do Dean Karnazes, Mike Wardian, Scott Jurek and Jeremy Sanders have in common? They are all runners, but more importantly, they are all fathers first. Jeremy Sanders is also a proud INKnBURN Ambassador and author behind the popular blog, “Running Dad.” In October 2012, two years after Jeremy started running, he stumbled across the domain www.RunningDad.com for sale and something clicked: what if he started a blog documenting his running journey? It would be a site where fathers could find running tips and connect with other dads who ran. He started working on a logo; shortly after, he created his first blog post.
Sanders’ first few blog posts detailed the races he ran. He then went on to review shoes, at which point his blog started attracting visits. His most popular blog post to date is an informative post on the treadmill set-up he designed, complete with TV and wireless audio set-up.
Since 2012, Jeremy Sanders has amassed a following of runners, both male and female, looking to balance work, family and running. RunningDad.com uses fonts reminiscent of superhero strips, complete with comic hero-esque detailing. In many ways, RunningDad promotes the idea of a superhero’s lifestyle–saving the day while still leading a normal life; in layman’s terms, balancing work with family life, and balancing family life with running.
Though Sanders is known as The Running Dad now, he wasn’t always a runner. Long before he started the blog, and before he had his two sons, Cole and Connor, aged 10 and 4, Sanders was a father-to-be, excited to meet his son, Lucas. “We already had everything ready for him,” says Sanders. “His room, outfits, everything.” His wife, Jen, was 31 weeks pregnant when she complained of back pain. A regular baby appointment was set up on for mid-September, but with Jen’s typical work day totaling more than 13 hours, the majority of it on her feet, back pain was, as Sanders puts it, “nothing out of the ordinary.” On September 17, 2002, the day of Jen’s appointment, an ultrasound indicated that something was wrong. Fluid on the baby’s lungs and under the skin sent Sanders and his wife to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Viriginia. “The doctors decided that having Lucas by C-section was his best chance,” says Sanders. The appointment was scheduled for the next day. “We spent the night listening to his heartbeat on the monitor that the doctors had attached to Jen. It was strong,” he says. On September 18th, the C-section was performed and Lucas was born.
Unfortunately, Lucas lived only an hour in the NICU. He was born with Hydrops fetalis–a condition in which an abnormal amount of fluid is built up in two or more body areas. Lucas’ lungs weren’t strong enough to survive the condition, and he passed within the hour.
The entire Sanders family was in shock hearing the news that Lucas didn’t make it. “We all turned our attention to helping Jen recover from surgery,” Sanders says, “but we were all devastated. They brought Lucas to our room so we could spend a little time with him. We cherish that time and wish we could have had more with him.”
The hardest thing Sanders has ever had to is leave the hospital empty handed after he had planned to leave with Lucas. “It brought us closer as a family as we focused on physical and mental healing,” he says, although learning how to manage loss was a different experience entirely.
In the days following, Sanders focused on his wife’s recovery post-surgery. Once they returned home, Sanders turned to drawing, creating an illustration that, he says, captured the emotion of his loss. While art and graphic design were one outlet, another was food, and yet another drink. “I was spiraling into a bad pattern of self-destructive behavior,” he says.
It wasn’t until years later that Sanders decided to change his life–in more ways than he could have imagined. The birth of their son, Connor, in 2006 brought more activity than they had bargained for into their lives. As Connor grew older, his participation in sports increased. One day, while waiting in a gymnasium where Connor was playing basketball, Sanders looked around him. “I was surrounded by out-of-shape dads playing on their cellphones,” he says. “I decided I didn’t want that to be me.”
Sanders decided he wanted to lose weight, and to do so he would start running. After just one run, he was hooked. The weight came off quickly. “I lost 40 pounds over the course of the year,” he says. Sanders began coaching for all of the team sports that Connor played. “I became an involved dad, no longer on the sidelines.” With the addition of Cole, in 2012, Sanders became even more involved with his children’s activities. Additionally, his own running took off: since then, he’s completed 6 marathons (including two Boston Marathons), a 50-miler, and countless 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons. One year ago, Sanders turned 40 and ran sub-3 hour marathon. “I’m not slowing down!” He says. His most recent placement of 24th out of 5,445 runners at the Shamrock Half Marathon (3/18/17) and age group (40-45) win with a 1:21:27 is proof that he has, indeed, sped up!
While Jen is not a runner, as Sanders puts it, she is equally active in obstacle racing and mud runs, in addition to staying fit with group classes. They’re both also active in the fundraiser, The Lucas Fund, that they created shoryl after Lucas passed. “When I started running, I decided that I would donate a dollar for every mile that I run to the Lucas Fund,” he says. The monthly donations have grown to over $200 as Sanders puts in his training mileage; additionally, several fundraisers and challenges on RunningDad.com have helped raise money. To date, the Lucas Fund has raised over $30,000 for babies at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UVA.
Outside of fundraising, Sanders has also become a coach. “I always have people asking me for advice on running since they had seen my steady improvement in health and running performance,” he says. “I wanted to make sure I was giving good advice.” Sanders completed the Road Runners Club of America’s Coaching Certification course and became a licensed coach. Sanders gives credit to his personal running coach who has helped him realize that everyone can use motivation to both exceed their comfort zone or pull in the reins when needed. “I love to help people reach their goals in a way that they stay injury free and still have time for their families.”
While running is Sanders’ passion, his first love his still his family. What makes Sanders’ family special, however, is that they’ve all embraced running in some form, whether through running, fundraising, or sharing the joy of movement. Connor, especially, has embraced running. “He isn’t hesitant at all to enter races and push himself, but at the same time he doesn’t beat himself up when he does not do as well as he was expecting.”
Most important to Sanders is that his children can see how much work he puts into training and how it pays out in the end by achieving his goals. “I hope they learn that they can set goals and reach them by working hard.” Sanders’ goals for the future include finding interesting destinations races where he ran bring his family, creating a fun trip for everyone. Eventually he hopes to be a full-time coach–“I just need a couple hundred more clients and a generous company to sponsor me!” In the meantime, he has a busy race schedule including the Boston Marathon and the Yeti 100 in September!
INKnBURN Ambassador Kimberlee Hummel, seen above in INKnBURN’s Kimono Tech Shirt and Running Skirt, paused to share a beautiful and wise reminder. We invite you to take a moment to read and enjoy the
amazing photos taken by her husband, Aki Hummel.
Life comes in seasons, doesn’t it? This summer was most challenging for me. A difficult personal situation, MS symptoms I didn’t ever wish to experience, and my small business changing at an almost overwhelming pace honestly led to many moments when that fire I usually carry within me felt like just a flicker. It was hard.
Moving into fall is a blessing. I started mine with a beautiful trip to the Sequoias and Yosemite with my dear husband. Fall is my favorite time of year, as the trees gently forfeit their leaves and nature prepares to sleep beneath the cool blanket of winter. It’s also a season of gratitude and thanksgiving and a time for everyone to revisit the reason we’re all here on earth….To connect. To feel. To give and receive love fully and openly.
So why not start with yourself? Love and feel. Align with your truth. Lovingly accept all parts of who you are and the stories that brought you to where you are today. Be forgiving and patient and loving with the beautiful work in progress you are.
Utilize the most empowering gift you have – the gift to create your life simply through what you think every day. Your mind will believe anything you tell it. What you consistently believe daily and over time will manifest and become your reality. Every moment you spend in a negative thought process about yourself or another (a habit most of us have) is a wasted moment you can never get back, and contributes to your happiness or unhappiness which only you can control. It’s so powerful….
Instead, choose love, joy, and gratitude. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, there is always something good. When love, joy, and gratitude become your priorities, everything simply becomes easier. Your relationships become more loving. You free yourself from negative energy that drains you. You become more accountable for your happiness instead of seeking it outside of yourself or blaming others because you lack it. You connect with your higher being and let go of that pesky ego that can drag you down and hinder your relationships. You’ll be able to lean in to the love that literally surrounds you…. wonderful, juicy, crazy, sometimes scary love that you often push away because of false beliefs that don’t serve you. You’ll start to attract more abundance in every area of your life and in your relationships….and guess what the best part it? This beautiful shift starts to happen almost immediately and blossoms as you consistently choose love, joy, and gratitude over time.
Every moment of every day you receive an invitation to fully engage in this beautiful life. Even through challenge, you can choose to keep your fire burning, growing, and thriving.
I’ll end by sharing one of my favorite quotes – “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owner, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is a spiritual experience living every moment with love, grace, and gratitude.”
Go fill your heart to the brim every day. Allow little miracles to flow. Choose love. Choose joy. Choose gratitude. Be happy.
Katalin Nagy (see above in INKnBURN Women’s Motion Singlet and Bee Sports Skirt), the newest addition to the INKnBURN Elite Team, is a long-distance runner. Scratch that–she’s a long-distance champion. In 2014 she broke the 200-km American record (at the time) and in 2015, Katalin won the 24 Hour Run World Championship, running 151.9 miles to take home both the individual and team gold medal for the USA. Most recently, she placed first female and fourth overall at Spartathlon in Greece, with a time of 25 hours, 7 minutes, 12 seconds. She covered 152 miles, averaging just under a 10-minute mile for the entire duration.
While Katalin represented the USA and now calls Sarasota, Florida home, her home country is Hungary, where her coach trains her from more than 5,000 miles away. After becoming a citizen in 2008, Katalin opened her own house cleaning business, which gives her the opportunity to put in consistent 80-100 mile weeks of running. Since her first ultra in 2012, Katalin, has quickly become an elite runner, often winning her races as first female and placing top 3 overall in most of her races.
Between training and racing, Katalin had the chance to answer some of our questions about the what, when and where she runs.
Hometown: Gyongyos, Hungary
Current town: Sarasota,Florida
When you were first introduced to ultra running
I ran my first ultra in 2012. It was a 50mile race at Key West. I fell in love right away! At that time I was training with a local running group without any plans or schedule 2-3 times a week. A few of my friends told me that I ran a pretty impressive time for the first time without real training and I should look into to find a coach and see how far I could take it. My coach and I have been working together for 4 years now. I have a very strict training schedule. Monday is my rest day and I run 6 days a week between 80 to a 100 miles.
How has your weekly schedule trained since beginning your running career?
I run Tuesday to Sunday and Mondays are my rest days. I do mix it up between flat and small hills run. Since having a coach, my training runs are targeted and very specific depending on the upcoming race. Oliver (my coach) and I try to discuss my race schedule 6 months to a year in advance so we can focus on each race with a different approach. It’s been a big change from running with a fun group to working with an elite coach.
What is the community of Sarasota, Florida like in terms of running?
I don’t know many local runners–most of the times I run by myself as the runners I know are running much shorter distances. My favorite places are Siesta Key Beach, Turtle Beach, Nathan Benderson Park, Celery Field and Whitlacoochee State Park.
What were your goals going into your most recent race, the Spartathlon?
I focused my attention on the finish line.
How did you prepare differently for this Spartathlon compared to last year’s event?
My primary goal was to finish; because I was limited in training I wasn’t mentally confident, but my body surprised me and I was able to finish strong. This year was also different because I was recovering from an injury. I was unable to run for nearly 3 months but mixed in some cycling to preserve conditioning.
Can you take me through some of the lows you experienced during the race?
The first 80km is rolling terrain but not difficult. During the first 40km we aren’t allowed any aid or support from our our crew. After 80km, every 8-15km the crews are able to provide support. I felt good through 160km all the way to the top of the mountain. By that time it was night and the normal stomach issues were setting in. I was unable to eat for the last 60km and even though I was very hungry, I was able to maintain reasonable energy levels despite my inability to eat. It was also cold throughout the night.
How are you recovering now?
I’m taking 2 weeks off from training but have been running casually…easy runs of 5-6 miles every other day.
How does it feel being an elite athlete, even after you’ve proved yourself so many times with high-placing race results?
It’s awesome! I never thought that I’d ever be competing at such a high level. I’ve always been active however it was a huge surprise for me to become a world champion.
How do you motivate yourself to train every day?
Running is my passion and it’s very natural to me. I love to train! When I have a bad day I always try to think about the next race and it gives me power to pull through.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’ll keep running but I’m not sure if I’ll run on such a high level. I hope to have a family by then.
I found INKnBURN through the Internet around 2 years ago. I really liked their unique design. INKnBURN came across as a fun, fresh and colorful new brand on the ultra-running scene. From day one I had been wanting to try their apparel because the clothes are so outstanding from the usual look.
What are your favorite designs?
I love the new Bee design. It has a beautiful color choice with great art work and it’s sporty but feminine at the same time.
INKnBURN Elite Grant Maughan shows no signs of slowing down–in fact, he might actual be speeding up. His latest venture took him to Badwater; although he’s completed Badwater 135 4 times, most recently placing 6th in a highly competitive field in July, he wasn’t out there to race competitors: he was looking to set the Badwater 146 Solo (from Badwater to the top of Mt. Whitney), and in under 50 hours. His FKT was solid, made more incredible by the fact that he completed Leadville 100 in under 24 hours the week before, and had tied for first place (and the course record) at La Ultra High, a 333km race in the Indian Himalayas.
Between racing, recovering and traveling, I had the chance to ask Grant a few questions about his latest ventures.
You recently completed the Badwater to Mt. Whitney Solo FKT (Fastest Known Time), covering 146 miles in under 50 hours, which is a feat in itself–but you had also finished Leadville 100 and the 333km La Ultra High race several days before that. How are you currently feeling?
Surprisingly I felt really good after the Badwater 146–sore, of course, but not debilitated which I thought might be the case after so many hard miles in the preceding weeks. I was really sleepy, though. A couple days after I finished I drove pretty well non-stop across the country to South Florida, only napping in the drivers seat at truck stops or rest areas. I really wanted to lie down but I knew I would go into some sort of sleep coma and maybe wake up a week later. I spent the next week doing a lot of recovery sleep and just lazing about, which my body totally needed…
Did you plan out these races in advance or did the opportunities present themselves over the summer?
Bit of both really. I had the Badwater 135 pencilled in. Last year I won a slot in the lottery for the Leadville 100 but I couldn’t do it because I was doing UTMB, so they let me defer until this year. Then I had some friends that have been needling me to do the La Ultra High for a couple years. I was in contact with the RD and said I was on the fence with so many other things going on so he said to take my time and make a decision when I felt it was right.
I was headed off to try to climb Denali in Alaska so when I got off I had decided I would sign up and see if I could make it. I knew it was close after Badwater and was concerned I might be a bit drained afterward but in the end I felt great and spent 10 days in Ladakh before the race acclimating and hanging out. I managed to slip in a solo summit climb of the 20,182 ft. mountain, Stok Kangri before the start.
The race is 333km long and goes over three high altitude passes reaching 17,800 ft. and even the plains in between are over 10,000 ft. On the first and highest motor-able pass in the world, Kardung La (which separates Ladakh from Pakistan and China), I ascended too fast and suffered severe symptoms of AMS (acute mountain sickness) and HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and was barely able to make the crossing. My larynx felt like it was being choked in a vice and when I tried to inhale I had a loud “bark”, which sounded just like a seal. I was stumbling badly and felt in quite a lot of distress. The course medic was a bit surprised I was still going and followed me as I descended about 1500 ft. before the symptoms started to dissipate. My Serbian buddy, Jovica Spajic, and I ended up finishing the race together and breaking the course record in 60 hours 37 minutes. It was a grueling event, not just the altitude but the extremes in temperature, mileage and sleep deprivation.
After the race I jumped on a plane and spent two days getting back to Denver, grabbed my car and drove to Leadville, checked in and was then at the start line at 4am the following morning to race. I was tired and told myself I would be taking it very easy and just trying to finish. I didn’t push myself at all but moved very consistently, which is a great way to do any ultra. I didn’t think I would make sub-25 hour but pushed the last 25 miles and managed to come in sub-24!
I didn’t really have intentions to try the Badwater 146 Solo but I had been carrying my cart around on the roof of my truck for months in case I got the chance. You have to do it between July 1st and August 31st so I was running out of time and decided in a moment to just go out there and have a go at it.
Soon after I drove two days to Lone Pine, put my cart together, got a ride to Badwater basin and headed off into the unknown to try and finish the BW146 Solo self-contained challenge carrying all my water and needed supplies to get from BW to the summit of Whitney un-aided..
Was there a specific race or FKT you prioritized this summer?
No.I just wanted to keep busy, do some great races, do some mountain climbing and enjoy my freedom. I always say I never go out looking for the podium but I do go out to try to put in a good performance that I will be proud of. That seems to have worked well for me this year…getting on the podium has been a great bonus. I had a 2nd place at the Tuscobia 160 winter race pulling a sled and a shared 1st place at the Iditarod 130 Trail Invitational in Alaska pulling a sled. I managed to summit the highest mountain in the Southern hemisphere in Argentina, Aconcagua (22,838 ft.) in February then tried to summit Denali in May but spent 9 days at nearly 15,000 ft. trapped in a storm and had to retreat. I also had a good run at the Badwater 135 this year for 6th place, so it’s been really satisfying for me in 2016.
You attempted the BW 146 Solo–what did you do differently this year?
In 2013 after my first Badwater 135 run, I placed 2nd then decided on a whim to try to do the “double” so summited Whitney, found a crewman on Facebook then started running back to Badwater basin. In 2014 I decided to try the Badwater 146 Solo self-contained, so had a cart built and went out there with Lisa Batchen when she started her Badwater Quad run. I had way too much water on the cart plus other gear–it was horrendously heavy and I basically wore myself out trying to just get to Furnace Creek. It was very hot and I suffered bad. At one point I thought I was about to faint just as some of Lisa’s crew came back to make sure I was all right. I got some ice off them and sat in their car for a bit, so I couldn’t claim to have done the solo self-contained. I went ahead and finished the course and climbed Whitney but I knew at some point I would need to go back and try again. This time I trimmed everything down and took a lot less water and gambled that i would have enough.
What supplies did you carry with for BW146 Solo?
When doing the Badwater 146 solo self-contained you must carry everything you need to get from the basin to the summit of Whitney without resupplying or getting assistance along the way. You also have to carry all your trash. This means you have to carry enough water for the entire trip. Plus calories, clothing and pack for the Whitney section; being a large mountain, you are advised to take warm layers plus wet weather gear, headlamps, satellite trackers and whatever else you think you may need I needed battery packs and a solar charger for the headlamps, and GPS satellite gear. I also took some trekking poles and a pair of sandals. I used pretty well everything and even though I thought my water supply was marginal it lasted me well and I even dumped some before the end to make the load lighter.
How do you prioritize recovery after big efforts like these, while still preparing and training for your next upcoming race?
No impact is about the most important thing for me when trying to recover. Even if I am walking I do so slowly and softly. If riding a bike, it’s in low gear so I can spin easily with hardly any effort. I try to sleep a lot if possible and eat and drink lots of protein. It’s not any more technical than that. It seems to work well for me and so far I have had no significant injuries or down time. I have had a major schedule of running, traveling and adventuring for the past three years. Most of my races are 100 miles or over and I tend to gravitate towards the harder challenges whether it’s temperatures of hot/cold or altitude or major elevation changes.
I think I know my body pretty well and know when i have to back off to let it catch up to my demands on it.
What races are next on the calendar?
I have some winter races I am planning for early in 2017, like the Iditarod 350 miler and will look at other challenges as well.
How do you deal with all of the travel?
I have 24 hours in the day like everyone else. I think it’s just time management and making the day full. I get bored easily and have way too many hobbies. But don’t get me wrong–I love to laze around, eat chocolate and sleep like the best of them.
What’s your current favorite INKnBURN item?
One of my favorite shirts right now is the Phoenix bird. I wore this at Badwater 135 and got so many comments I thought someone might steal it off my back if I stopped for a rest.
I wore the medieval shirt for Spartathlon 153 in Greece. It really fit the bill and was like Pheidippides running to Sparta to warn of the approaching Persians.
Any advice for people who want to start taking on FKT projects?
Research is a good thing. Anything about the area from weather trends to topographic data. Proper gear is essential if going to the mountains.
On September 23, 1,400 runners will take off from Fuji-kawaguchi-ko Town, Japan, the official start of Ultra Trail Mount Fuji, a 100-mile race that circumnavigates 12,388 foot Mount Fuji. The runners will fly in from France and Belgium and Latvia, South Africa, Nepal, and Iceland, just to name a few of the countries represented at this year’s race. A handful of runners will be from the United States, one of which is INKnBURN Elite Nickademus Hollon.
Before he takes off for Tokyo, Japan next week, I asked Nick some questions about his thoughts going into the race and how he plans on recovering from Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (UTMF) and transitioning to his next big race, World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) in November.
Here’s what he has to say:
From your resume–which includes endurance events in Italy, Germany, Canada and Nicaragua, among others–you seem inclined towards international races. Why UTMF specifically?
I’ve always been fascinated by foreign languages and cultures. It was one of the first interests my fiancé and I ever fully shared, traveling. I love the diversity, the different food, cultures, customs and environments that I get to run through. I feel very grateful to be in a position in my running career where I am afforded opportunities to travel the world like this.
How are you training for UTMF at the moment? You must be in the taper phase now, right?
I am nine days out from the race currently and shaking in my pants. But yes, aside from that, I’m tapering or as some call it “sharpening”. During this time I’ve cut volume down to about half of what it was during my peak training. I hit the track yesterday for a speed session and will likely still keep up the intensity of my workouts leading right into UTMF, just in much shorter duration. I’ll cut out strength training by the end of this week and really try to focus on low-stress, long sleeps and clean nutrition during the last few days going into the event. I feel being well rested is particularly paramount going into UTMF given the extensive travel required to get there.
In May you won (and nabbed the course record) at Cruel Jewel. Are you preparing for UTMF any differently?
Cruel Jewel was a great race and the result of a carefully planned peaking. I feel like I’ve finally got a grasp on the year long programming it takes to perform well at these events. I’m pretty happy with my training going into UTMF. Sure, there are those “lost days of training”, times I wished were faster and days I should or shouldn’t have run and yeah, I’m still addicted to the occasional pastry and didn’t have the massive “fat adaption” breakthrough I’d dreamed of post-Cruel Jewel. However, I’m stronger (in the gym) than I’ve ever been and have been more purposeful than ever with my training each and every day. Whether it’s foolish or not, I feel like I’ve got a pretty decent idea of the follies of my mindset. I know better than ever how to avoid psychological lows before, during and after the race. So I’m excited to see all these focused weeks come together.
Who do you foresee as competition? Are you going into the race with specific goals?
My ego. That’s my primary competition. Myself. There is quote in a book called the Tao Te Ching that say, “To conquer your enemy is strong. To conquer yourself is true power.” I think that’s at least what I am trying to convince myself of going into this race. UTMF is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour this year, so it’s even more notoriously competitive than most years: Dylan Bowman, Sebastien Chaigneau just to name a few international names, plus I’m sure dozens of Japanese and Chinese professionals who will lay it down strong out there on race day. I learned (the hard way) in 2014 that although my “endurance” may seem unlimited, I’ve got a limited amount of “expectation” or “competitive juice” as I like to call it. Just as an example, let’s say each year I am only allotted 30oz of “competitive juice” before I burn-out. And with that in mind, here is how 2016 has gone so far: I burned up 10oz (at least) at HURT 100 in January, then I strategically used up another 10oz at Cruel Jewel 100 in May chasing the course record. That leaves me with about 10oz of the precious fluid between UTMF and World’s Toughest Mudder (my other big fall event). I’ve had a chip on my shoulder about WTM since 2014, so I really want to see all 10 of those last ounces go fully towards WTM if that makes any sense. Sure I want to be competitive at UTMF, and yes, I’ll be nervous at the start and still give the race my all, but I don’t want to start layering on expectation or harsh goals, despite the fact that I feel I’ve got the training to back it all up.
What are you most looking forward to while in Japan?
It’s a short trip, only six days, two of which are travel and two of which are the race itself. So really only two days I’ll have pre and post race. That being said, I really want to go into it with no expectations and open arms, welcoming whatever strange foods or epic bath houses I come across. During the race itself, I am most excited about seeing the small remote villages and seeing how and where the Japanese live. I love witnessing subtle differences in global activities like washing clothes. Will they hang their laundry like the people in the Italian Alps? Will they have washer/ dryers like us? Will they use the rivers/ streams to wash clothes like the people in Nicaragua? And then honestly, I’m really excited for the bugs. I both want to see and don’t want to see the Japanese Giant Hornet. It looks pretty cool on google, but in person? I think it’ll be terrifying.
You have 50 days between UTMF and WTM. How are you planning to recover from one race and prepare for another?
50!? Ah, you calculated my remaining days…I don’t know if 50 days or six weeks sounds better. But either way, it’s not much. If you’ve picked up anything from my rants above, it’s that peaking takes months and competitive “juices” are finite (for me at least). So that being said, the first goal post-UTMF is health. Recover, eat well, sleep a lot and cross train when necessary. I’m pretty confident in my current aerobic capacity going into WTM as I’ve spent 8 months of the year building it. WTM has some weird components to it, though. It’s really unlike anything else out there. One factor is that the majority of the race is run in a wet suit. The six week period between the events will be spent mostly recovering, ensuring that I am 100% healthy, optimizing my gear and improving upper body endurance.
We wish Nick the best of luck as he takes on UTMF!
To see INKnBURN’s Men’s Collection, Nickademus’ gear of choice for training and racing, CLICK here!
Tasha Holland, a 42-year-old mother of two from Ceredo, West Virginia, has always been petite at 5’3 and barely hovering over 100 pounds for most of her early adult life. Over the years, however, she started to gain weight which she attributed to little activity, stress and poor food choices. “Looking back,” she says, “none of that was true. I was in denial.” As a shy person, Tasha began to stay in what she calls the shadows, hiding from cameras and people, embarrassed that her weight had crept up to 178 pounds. “I was terrified that I was an embarrassment to my kids.”
Tasha had been dying for years, she says, sleeping for 20 hours a day and constantly monitoring her heart. Her digestive system had shut down and her organs were in distress. “I couldn’t dress myself without being out of breath. I couldn’t feed myself cereal,” she says, explaining that her hand would shake from the effort of raising the spoon to her mouth that the cereal had fallen off before she could eat it. “I wasn’t living,” she says. “I was dying.”
It was on vacation with her kids in 2013 that Tasha decided she needed to face herself and her problems head on.“I was fed up feeling anxious, depressed, and not good enough.” Additionally, her youngest child, Keely, was having stomach problems, which amplified Tasha’s decision to take control of her–and her family’s–health.
To start, Tasha’s friend, Tammy–a celiac from Oklahoma–recommended that Tasha try removing gluten from their diet. “I researched going gluten free and decided we should all give it a try,” says Tasha. The family began the new protocol on Tammy’s recommendation–to begin slow. “We started out with gluten free pasta, cereal and desserts and then gradually did away with those items.”
Tasha and her family went gluten-free for months before deciding to slowly reintroduce it back into their diets. Her family was fine (and they soon discovered that Keely’s stomach pain was stress-related), but Tasha immediately became sick.
Tasha began to do research and learned of a disease called Hashimoto’s, a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in fatigue, weight gain, depression and other negative symptoms. She was shocked: she had all of the symptoms.
At roughly the same time Tasha and her family originally went gluten-free (and organic), Tasha started to run. “I chose to run because I didn’t have time to go to a gym,” she says. What started as a convenient way to exercise quickly turned into a full-on love affair with running.
Tasha started with a couch-to-5K program. The first day, she struggled to run half of a block. “I went home shocked and demoralized,” she says, but came back the next day and the day after that. Soon Keely began to join her, following Tasha on a bike. They would talk about their day, what they wanted for dinner and their plans for the week. Within three months, Tasha ran her first half-marathon; 7 months later, despite saying she would never run a marathon, she did. Soon after she completed a 50K and was suddenly immersed in the world of running. But, there was still the weight gain and fatigue to deal with.
Shortly after realizing that Hashimoto’s was the likely culprit in her health battle, she called the Cleveland Clinic to make an appointment. She went through a multitude of tests to determine if her suspicions were correct–they were. “I finally had an official diagnosis of celiacs and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis,” she says. “It was such a relief. Now I could research and find the correct tools I needed to fight back.”
Tasha began following the Autoimmune Protocol, an extremely rigid food regiment to reduce inflammation and other issues. “The list of what I can’t eat is so long that it’s easier to follow a list of what I can eat,” Tasha says, noting that she is lactose intolerant and cannot consume soy, nuts, legumes, night shades (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.) and gluten, amongst other foods. What does she eat? “Sweet potatoes, dates, spinach, chicken, fruit homemade energy balls, olives and Honeystinger products.”
While Tasha has had to change her lifestyle in many ways, she refuses to let Hashimoto’s win. “I’ve reclaimed my life,” she says. “I hike, bike, swim, kayak, and run. I’m 120 pounds and back to my size 0 and extra smalls. I have 10 pounds left to go. It’s still a battle. It will always be a battle. I can gain 10 pounds in a week with one wrong decision, of if my body reject my meds. I have to stay alert at all times to stay on top of my disease. I have to always move forward, and yes, the easy weight gain and bouts of insane tiredness makes it easy to want to give up and give in. But I refused to go back to that dying woman.”
Since taking that first step out of her front door, Tasha has finished 16 ultra marathons of varying distances and is signed up for another five, including the Tunnel Hill 100 and the Pistol Ultra Run, both 100-mile races this fall. Additionally, she has recently joined INKnBURN as an ambassador. “I first discovered INKnBURN during a random search on the internet for running skirts. I loved the vivid colors and unique designs,” she says. Tasha no longer knows how many INKnBURN pieces she owns–“I can tell you it’s a lot. I love the way I feel when I’m wearing my InB. I feel feminine, fierce, strong. I feel like the brand was created just for me. I don’t want to hide in the shadows anymore, wearing baggy clothes and worried who I will embarrass. I want to stand out and be proud of who I am, who I have fought to become.”
Tasha’s favorite INKnBURN:
Lucky Charm skirt, the PI tech, the Denim Shorts (all of them), Sunflower Shorts, Lust Capris, Nerd Tights, the original Zombie Kit, the Mummy Tech.
Keely’s favorite INKnBURN (Tasha’s daughter):
Keely, my 12 year old ultra runner, loves Ink as much as I do. She loves the colors and designs. She’s got her own collection started. She likes Flutter, the Mummy Tech, the Bee Tech, the Robot Capris, the Denim Tights, the Mermaid Capris. She likes to mix designs as well. She’s come up with some fantastic combos! She asked me once during a trail 25k why more people don’t run. She said, you get to wear cool clothes, eat lots of food, and play in the woods all day. Who wouldn’t love that?
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Heather Gannoe is no stranger to adventurous races, nor to writing detailed and often humorous recaps on the races she runs. From 5K color runs to the Disney Princess Half Marathon, the Spartan Race World Championships and 24-hour runs, Heather has run and reviewed all of these races and dozens more on her popular blog, “Relentless Forward Commotion” (formerly “Run Faster, Mommy.”) As a mom of two boys, an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist trainer and coach, and an INKnBURN Ambassador (as of 2015,) Heather is used to always being on the go. Her latest venture took her to the TransRockies Run, a 6-day point-to-point stage race that covers 120 miles and 20,000 feet of elevation gain and loss from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, Colorado.
On her blog, Heather documents the entire journey from day one to day six, recapping both the logistics of packing and preparing for a six-day run, to the highs of summiting mountains and the lows of dealing with cold, hunger and long climbs. Through it all, her (now) fiancé, Geoff, is by her side. On the blog post detailing Stage Six of the run, she has difficult explaining how best to summarize the trip. However, she seems the perfect sentiments on the following blog post, a few days later. Heather writes:
“Late Sunday afternoon after we had crossed the finish line of the 2016 TransRockies Run, Geoff and I had managed to haul our dirty, smelly selves and all of our gear into the Pines Lodge Resort at Beaver Creek. Under the proud and attentive eyes of our family, as well as a blatantly annoyed look from a resort guest who nearly had to share the elevator with us (and clearly had no idea what we had just finished, though he likely didn’t care) we made it to our hotel room. For the first time in over 6 days, I sat down on a bed, under a roof, in a warm, heated room, and immediately thought to myself : what the h— just happened?”
To find out what exactly happened at TRR, I asked Heather some questions on her experience training at sea level, running at attitude, and getting engaged!
Why TransRockies? Why was this race so important to you?
I came across the TransRockies Run a few years back and KNEW I had to run it one day. I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Vermont, but my family didn’t leave the confines of New England often. The mountains out west looked absolutely awe inspiring. Plus I had never been to Colorado, so what better way to see the Rockies than to run through them?
What was the most harrowing part of your six-day run?
The altitude truly was the hardest part of the six day run. Even though we live at sea level, in a very flat area lacking any climbs, I’m familiar with the “suffering” that comes with long sustained climbs. However, what I wasn’t familiar with was the incessant feeling that I couldn’t catch my breath. Mentally it was so hard to push through, it felt almost as if I was completely out of shape and had never run a step in my life. I had to keep reminding myself that I had trained hard for this race, and it was simply my body adapting to the altitude.
What was the most worthwhile part?
That is almost like asking me which one of my kids I love the most–ALL of it was worthwhile. How did you train for TransRockies while living at sea level?
Though it is impossible to replicate altitude at sea level, I read a number of articles that pointed to a potential correlation between humidity training and altitude. Here in South Carolina during the summer, we have no shortage of ridiculously high humidity. It certainly makes running (and breathing) much more difficult. We forced ourselves outside for every single training run, and we didn’t change our schedule based on the temperature. If it was time to run, we ran, despite the heat. Night time in the tents was a bit uncomfortable, but running in the cooler temperatures was a wonderful change of pace from the South Carolina 100+ degree temperatures.
You were recently engaged–congratulations! Can you describe your proposal?
Stage Two summited over the top of Hope Pass, 12,536 ft above sea level. We were warned the previous night and that morning that inclement weather and possibly thunderstorms were headed our way, so we were encouraged to get up and over the pass as quickly as possible. Once we got to the summit, it was incredibly windy and pretty cold, so we took a few pictures and got ready to head back down the other side of the mountain. As I grabbed our friend, Jen, and Geoff to see if they were ready to go, Geoff asked me to hand my camera to another friend for her to take a picture. I thought this was a bit odd, as we just took pictures, but humored him all the same. I walked over to stand next to him, and he turned me to face him and said “Hey, do you want to get married?” I laughed, because it was seemingly so silly, and I also wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly. I replied with something along the lines of “Wait, are you serious?” To which he said yes and I noticed he was crying. Of course
Did the proposal influence the trip in any way after that point?
Geoff and I have a very strong and unique relationship and I was quite happy and content with it as it stood pre-proposal. The proposal certainly showed an awesome level of commitment and love, but it didn’t change who we are as people. That said, of course it was still exciting, and my fellow TransRockies runners helped contribute to the excitement. We were congratulated by tons of people over the course of the week, and actually planned the entire wedding while running!
You seem to be able to turn difficult moments into ones you can laugh at–were there any events in which you found it hard to find that humor?
Stage Four included a very steep climb, ascending about 2,000 feet over just under four miles. We started at just over 9,000 feet above sea level and finished at over 11,000 feet, and my body was refusing to cooperate. I couldn’t breathe, I was dizzy, and slightly delirious. Usually, I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing and making light of the difficult parts of a race, but I just could not do it that morning. I suffered. When we got near the summit, one of the TRR guys was dressed like Super Mario, and when he told me the climb was nearly done, I started crying! I never cry during races or training, so it goes to show you how that particular climb and day had truly broken me down.
I have to ask–in every one of your TRR pictures, you’re wearing a different INKnBURN item! How many kits did you bring with you?
I wore INKnBURN every single day we were in Colorado. I raced in it, then changed into other INB after each stage, and even traveled to and from Colorado in my INB. (My Octopus Hoodie came in VERY handy, as I was always cold at night and in the morning!) INKnBURN is so incredibly lightweight that it packs REALLY well, making travel much easier. Not to mention, its performance on trail cannot be beat. I was pleasantly surprised to see countless other people on the course and at the camps also wearing INB, from the newer designs to classics!
What’s your favorite design?
Geoff’s favorite is his “Tank Tank”. I couldn’t tell you why. But I do remember the second he saw it on the website, he declared “I WANT THAT ONE!” Run Or Die has always been my favorite. I was incredibly excited when the classic design was released earlier this summer on a “Throwback Thursday” tie-dye singlet! The design speaks to me, both aesthetically and spiritually. Running truly did save my life when I was going through a very rough and low point in my life. Now, running has become such a regular part of my life, it’s almost akin to water and air. I know that’s a stretch, but it truly is a part of my being. I write about running, as well as coach people to become runners, for a living. My “social hours” are always spent with friends on trails. And of course, I run for me. I truly have a single track mind!
To read more about Heather’s TransRockies experience, check out her blog here: http://relentlessforwardcommotion.com