synchroblog: UltraVT

Friday, March 21, 2014

I've had the privilege of running with an amazing group of runners, now friends too, over the past year. In fact, my first run with Ultra VT was almost exactly a year ago and, to say the least, it was a total disaster.  I've grown a lot as a runner in the past year and attribute a good bit of my growth to finding this amazing group of inspiring individuals.  So it seems fitting that almost a year into running with this amazing group that we embark on a new journey together, a synchroblog.  That I know of, there are eight of us who are participating in this fun little adventure.  So here it goes!  And make sure you check out the other bloggers to see their take on the questions/topic/discussion (Rudy, Guy, Mike Jones, Kristen, Rachel, Dylan, Alexandra, and Jonathan)

How do you describe to a stranger ultraVT?

Dear Overzealous College Student,

We all know dodging those annoying people on the drill field is exhausting.  And bake sales.  UGH.  IF I HAVE TO SEE ANOTHER BAKE SALE!  WHAT IS THIS? THIRD GRADE?  Class?  Who goes to class?  Social life in the pits?  College isn't living up to the party-21-And-Over-image you thought you saw on the back of the Virginia Tech brochure? Feel like you have plenty of energy and no where to expend it because the ultimate team is too serious?  Come join Ultra VT!  We're a group of students runners who run occasionally go to class and travel to fun races all over!

Never run further than a 5k? Perfect.  You thought McAfee's Knob and Tinker Cliffs were fun hikes? HA. HA. HA.  We'll help you discover the beauty of the New River Valley and show you amazing scenery that doesn't involve McAfee's or the Cascades.

Ultra VT - More Miles, More Fun

PS - No Crossfitters

When did you get involved with ultraVT?

I kind of addressed this earlier.  But if we're being exact.  The exchange went like this:

How do you see yourself within ultraVT?

I feel I brought the "it's okay to #HaveFun and not race ultras attitude with me.  I suppose Rudy put it well one day on a run that because I'm slightly older...and engaged...and a graduate student...that running isn't the only thing I do but rather it's just one of the things I do.  I try to ensure the atmosphere is jovial.

Conversely, I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to perform to MY expectations and consequently that pressure sometimes shows through in not the most positive light.

What's your favorite aspect of ultraVT?

The fact that can't isn't in the vocabulary.  We're runners.  So perseverance is engrained in our DNA. Being around a group that is ALWAYS building you up and believes in you more than you believe in yourself is inspiring.  I'm sure I would've eventually signed up for a 100 mile run but the group makes you feel that your capable, and then supports you to get there.

What's your favorite trail run in the Blacksburg vicinity?

This is a super tough question for me.  Although technically not a "trail" the New River Trail is super gorgeous but if we say specifically running on a trail than pretty much anything with water is awesome.  Forest Ridge Preserve is a great unknown place to run trails in the area but more popular trails I really enjoy running are Poverty Creek in Pandapas and the Cascades.

Any secrets you'd like to share?

Have Fun.  I recently listened to a podcast of a first time ultra runner who put it pretty well, I'm paraphrasing but the general take away was that if we (as ultra runners collectively) are out there putting in hours of running every week that we better be having fun doing it, otherwise why are we doing it in the first place?

So basically, don't take yourself too seriously and embody the spirit of trail/ultrarunning by having fun and talking to other runners out there.

Favorite post-race meal?

Favorite-any-meal:  Burrito.  I want to open a restaurant where every meal is served in a burrito.  Think about it!  BOOM!  Michelle and I on a weekly basis discuss (more like Michelle has to endure me ranting and raving) about the practicality of an industrial tortilla steamer for our home.  It has yet to happen.  One can always hope.

and the question of my choice...

What runner, elite or average joe, inspires you the most?

I've mentioned this before in my recap of TNF Endurance Challenge Championship race report post, but Mike Wardian is a pretty kick-ass elite who has a job, a family, and serial races at a very high level and he's 39 to boot!  Check out these podcasts if you haven't had the chance to listen to them.  Oh...and here's an awesome picture I got with him in San Francisco!


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