I'm more than just a brain, I have a sexy body too! Doper endurance athletes.

Plenty of Dopers are known for their knowledge or intellect. I was wondering who stands out when it comes to extraordinary physical fitness; particularly who our ultra-endurance athletes are.

Basically, I’d like to hear about your marathon-plus accomplishment, Ironman triathalon, or any bicycle or swimming equivalent. What is your athletic background? What kind of training did you do, and for how many years before you found that you were prepared?

Your body is obviously extraordinarily gifted, but you must also have a very tough mental make-up. In what proportions do you attribute those aspects to your success? Do you consider yourself an extraordinary person, or just a person who happens to be able to run 100k?

What happens to you mentally and physically during your chosen event?

I guess if you were to write a short autobiography of your involvement in your sport, post it here :slight_smile:

I don’t quite qualify, since the longest race I’ve run is a marathon. But I’ve done a 50K dayhike with 9,000’ of vertical (Pemi Loop in 12:44) and hope to do a somewhat flatter 50K this fall. I unfortunately hang around with some idiots who run 100 milers on a regular basis and they’re having a bad influence on me.

Not bad for someone who hadn’t run further than 4 miles 3 years ago.

I once went to the bank *AND *the dry cleaners in the same day!

Yes, but do you consider yourself an extraordinary person, or just someone who can do two errands in a row?? :wink:

I’ve run a few marathons but I don’t really get anything out of them. I prefer longer distance “runs” (i.e. run/jog/walks.) But the furthest I’ve ever jogged on those is a little over 26 miles, then back down to a complete walk for the rest of it. Longest I’ve ever done is 45 miles in a day. I wanted to finish a 50 miler day but even with walking the whole thing it looks like I’m gonna have to wait until after summer in Florida since just walking slowly for a couple hours in the Florida sun will drain me just as bad as if I were jogging in the winter.

I have run a couple of ultramarathons (longest was the Miwok 100K) and I would routinely do 20-25 mile weekend long runs just for fun (dealing with some muscle pain now so no running for a bit). I was absolutely not a runner until my mid-30s (I’m 42); in high school I was one of those guys who couldn’t run a mile although I always liked long hikes.

Dunno if I’ve got some kind of special athletic ability (certainly not compared to people who are competitive at these things) but I can be remarkably stubborn and keep a positive attitude when I’m feeling crappy which helps in ultras. Overall I’m in pretty good physical condition.

For endurance events you definitely need a certain base level of quality conditioning but I think that the mental toughness is just as important, if not more so. A famous ultramarathoner said the best runners aren’t necessarily the fastest ones, they’re the ones who can handle the inevitable low points. There are plenty of stories of top-ranked runners who collapse, curl up and cry, puke or whatever and they summon up the will to shake it off, get back on their feet, keep moving forward until they feel better (and they always do) and then come back to win.

I’ve done a few long bike rides, Seattle to Portland (~200 miles) four times, Seattle to Vancouver (~175 miles) once. And I hiked across the Grand Canyon a few years ago.

Not terribly impressive as these things go. Those were all two-day events for me, and there are people who easily do them in one.

When I was younger I tried to do an ultra marathon twice. The first time, at 16, I got through about a marathon then quit. At the age of 17 I made it. I was not and am not a runner.

As a swimmer I have tried to do open water swims, once I tried to make it across the mouth of the Potomac River which is 7.5 miles. I made it about 5 before the cold got to me. I have learned since then that while I could make the swim physically, I can not deal with the cold. For awhile I wanted to swim the English Channel, but the requirements make you swim for 6 hours in cold water and I can’t do that.

I was for awhile an endurance motorcycle rider. I would ride 1000 miles in a day, or a few thousand over a couple of days. Then I had kids and that stopped that. It’s a great way to see the country though that’s for sure.

What’s a runner?

I think 30 miles with that much altitude change would at least come close to qualifying! That’s some work.

Counts…I think the beginning of a distance counting as an ‘ultra’ is generally considered to be 50k. :smiley:

It’s good to hear that you weren’t a runner until your 30’s, because neither was I and that gives me some hope! That’s not exactly true, I was in the military, which mean I ran, but I hated it at the time.

Heh, if you made it through an ultra, then you’re a runner :dubious: You just may not be a recreational runner :smiley:

I don’t have a spectacular body, and i’m pretty middle-of-the-pack, but i’ve had a pretty good year. Within the last 365 days i’ve run 2 marathons and 3 50K’s and couple of half marathons.

My next 50K is July 7 at Afton State Park in Minnesota, but i’m really training for my first 50 miler in September! I’m really excited about it, its on the Superior Hiking Trail in Northern Minnesota. Its the Fall Supperior Trail 50 Mile if anyone else is going to be there. Should be pretty brutal since that trail is really technical and some intense climbs and decents… but thats what makes it fun!

I may do some more road marathons in the future, but trail running is my real passion :slight_smile:

Feel ya on that, brother :smiley: Trail running is what took me from slogging through a road run because I felt like I should, to daydreaming out the window about my next trail run!

That sounds like a fantastic run! I hope that I am able to work up to at least a 50k, but we will see what my body thinks about that. I am signed up for a 25k trail race in September that I’ll be comfortable ready for by the time it rolls around.

I’d try a trail run but sand, spiders, and heat isn’t a good combo :frowning:

I think I ran the first mile or two, after that it was walk jog a few minutes, walk, jog a few minutes. I finished next to last and the finish line was closed when I got there, but I did finish.

I come from a family of runners, that’s why I don’t really think of myself as one.

A runner is a jogger with a race bib.


Physical exertion is for people who can’t handle World of Warcraft.

Walk-run is the norm in ultramarathons. There are very few people who can run up and down hills for 10-20 hours nonstop.

24 hours is considered good for WS100; that’s just over 4mph average which is a fast walk. Of course that’s nonstop with tons of climbing and descent (something like 21,000 feet of climb and 23,000 feet descending), all day and all night, through the mountains. You run when you can and walk/scramble on the rough stuff. I haven’t done a 100 miler yet but on my 100k I hit a point around 55 miles where my legs just couldn’t cope with running downhill. I slowed to a walk for several miles until I felt up to running gently again and just gutted it out. The last mile or so was downhill on paved road (ugh) and I started to feel good and “ran” (my wife would probably say “staggered” or “shuffled”) past some other folks, then sprinted (wife again disagrees) the last 100 yards or so to the finish line.

Like the terrain, emotionally it’s a series of ups and downs and you have to have the mental strength to handle it, a la the Gatorade commercial, “Is it in you?”.

I’ve hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. Not that big a deal for many, I suspect, but I’m proud of that.

Does backpacking count? In a six-month period I hiked 2000 miles, including vertical gains equivalent to climbing Mount Everest 16 times, all with 15-40 pounds on my back.

My body was not gifted then or now, and the only thing I’d say is out of the ordinary about me was a greater-than-average ability to be wet/cold/tired/hungry/lonely and still find things to laugh about.

You should be.