Archive for badwater ultramarathon

056: Visiting with Podiatrist Rebecca Rushton [Podcast]




Rebecca Rushton BSC, author of the Advanced Guide to Blister Prevention

Rebecca Rushton, BSc, author of the Advanced Guide to Blister Prevention

Today I am pleased to welcome podiatrist Rebecca Rushton of Esperance Podiatry in Esperance, Australia, to the podcast. Without a doubt, Rebecca is one of the world's foremost experts on blisters!

Now if you've never struggled with a blister, then the information she has to share might not seem all that important. I believe however, that at some point in the future, each and every runner or endurance athlete will experience a blister, and probably at the worst possible time. What we can all learn from Rebecca could make the difference between a painful struggle to the finish line, or busting a new PR with a smile.

Some of the things we discuss in this podcast:

  • What are the most pervasive myths surrounding blisters? There are plenty!
  • What's the difference between rubbing and shearing and why does it matter?
  • Are certain folks more prone to blisters?
  • What about shoe fit and lacing options?
  • Do lubricants like vaseline or powders work to reduce blister risk, or are you actually making things worse by using them? (Hint: I unfortunately discovered this during my last race, a 50 mile trail race in Florida a little over two weeks ago! Not good). 🙂
  • And much more!

Rebecca has created a terrific FREE online resource called The Advanced Guide to Blister Prevention. If you want one single resource that will be your go-to for all things blisters, this is definitely it.

For more resources from Rebecca on how to take the mystery out of blisters, go to her website.

I'd like to thank Rebecca for joining me today. I sincerely hope this short 25 minute podcast makes a difference for someone out there who, at some point in the future will be able to avoid a blister, rather than struggle with one. Happy Trails everyone!

~Coach Al 

046: An Interview With The Amazing Larisa Dannis! [Podcast]




Ultra-Runner Larisa Dannis (2nd Woman overall at the 2014 Western States 100) smiling as she rolled into the 100k aid station at Western States!

Ultra-Runner Larisa Dannis (2nd Woman overall at the 2014 Western States 100) smiling widely as she rolled into the 100k aid station at Western States!

Today I'm really excited (I mean, REALLY excited!) to be able to share a wonderful conversation with elite ultra-runner and friend Larisa Dannis, on the heels of her recent 2nd place finish at the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run. In a nutshell, Larisa simply shocked the ultra-running world and took it by storm with her amazing finish!

Also, Larisa and I were joined by Pursuit Athletic Performance ultra-runner extraordinaire (and Larisa's pacer for Western States), Deborah Livingston.  If you haven't yet, check out my chat /podcast with Deb from a few weeks ago here, where among other things, we talk about Deb pacing Larisa at Western States 100!

At the very young age of 26, Larisa has already accomplished more than most runners could ever even imagine.  And believe me, she's done it all with incredible toughness, class, a huge smile, and a zest for life!

Here are just a few of her most recent racing highlights:

  • 2013 Vermont 100 Endurance Race: 18:38:10; 1st woman, 8th overall
  • 2013 Peak Ultra 50 Mile: 10:40:27, 1st overall
  • 2013 Zion 100 Trail Run: 20:22:23, 2nd woman, 10th overall
  • 2013 Beast of Burden Winter 50 mile: 7:18:35, 1st overall, women's course record
  • 2014 Rocky Racoon 100 Mile: 17:10:30, 4th woman, 19th overall
  • 2014 Boston Marathon: 2:44:14, 33rd woman overall (1st in the non elite field), 17th American woman
  • 2014 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run: 18:29:18, 2nd woman, 22nd overall

Our chat is jam packed with incredibly powerful pearls of wisdom that every athlete, regardless of experience level or sport, will absolutely want to hear.  Among the many topics we delve into:

  • Larisa's development as an ultra-runner; her childhood background including what ultimately led her to follow her passion of ultra-running (not what you might expect but intriguing and very powerful none the less!).
  • Her philsophy on eating and fueling (she considers herself a low-carb, high-fat runner, but is she? Listen in to find out.)
  • Her "mental" approach: thoughts, strategies, and wisdom from inside the mind of a truly unique and humble elite ultra-runner.
  • What's next?  Larisa shares some of her long terms goals and what she hopes to accomplish. (and she's not even competitive!)
  • And much more!

Larisa is wise beyond her years. We can ALL learn from her AND be inspired by her, not only as it pertains to training, running and racing, but perhaps most importantly, life in general.

If you want to learn more about Larisa and follow her developments, check out her blog here.

For more interviews (including Larisa's) from the Western States 100 (and other ultra events), check out

Thanks for joining me on this podcast - it was a ton of fun to host! Happy Trails!

~Coach Al 

Coach Al: Three Takeaway Tips from the Badwater Ultramarathon

Badwater, ultra marathon, Pursuit Athletic Performance, Jason RitaCoach Al here. A few weeks ago I crewed for Ultrarunner Jason Rita as he took on the hardest footrace on the planet, the Badwater Ultramarathon. My experience in Death Valley was extraordinary on so many levels. I want to take a few minutes in this video to present a synopsis of the training and racing tenets I affirmed during my time in the desert.

There are three takeaways I want to share with you, and I go into more detail on each point in the video. These issues have been on my mind a lot of late as Lisbeth Kenyon, an athlete I coach who happens to be the 45-49 Ironman Age Group World Champion, takes on the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon on August 5. While a number of racers I saw at Badwater did not have these three elements in place to support their racing, I know Lisbeth is fully equipped and ready to handle the most grueling one-day race in the world.

The Importance of the Basics and the Fundamentals
It always circles back to the basics, doesn't it? In the video I talk about how essential it is to nail fueling and hydration, have a race execution plan, and be mentally prepared for what may come your way. Sure, we talk about this stuff a lot as athletes. But the essential importance of these elements are laid bare in the desert, that's for sure. It's important to revisit.

Strength, Strength, Strength
When you are in an endurance race (or even a 5K for that matter) and you tire, your posture goes to pot, the body begins to collapse, and the effects of gravity and ground reaction forces beat down on you. It is then that the truth rises regarding how STRONG your foundation really is. You can subscribe to this running method, or consciously try to employ a particular technique, but when you are deep into it, what comes to the fore is your strength--or lack thereof.

At Pursuit Athletic Performance our mantra is MOVE STRONG. What I saw out in Death Valley was clear. If you want to finish strong, you have to first move strong. There is no doubt about that.

The other truth made fully evident by the rigors of Badwater is the issue of mindset. How you think about yourself is profound. What your negative critic tells you, and how you react to those low (sometimes very low) moments is key to success or failure. Developing a mindset that allows for unlimited possibilities opens up so many opportunities in training, racing, and life as a whole.

Badwater was an extraordinary experience, and I hope these musings are helpful to you. Let me know if you have any comment or questions.

~Coach Al

Pursuit, Badwater Ultrarunner Jason Rita Team in Haiti Relief Effort

Q: What do Haiti, the Badwater Ultramarathon, and Pursuit Athletic Performance have in common?

A: Jason Rita

Jason Rita, an accomplished ultra-distance marathoner and long distance adventure racer is a client and good friend of ours who does extraordinary things.

Starting today, Jason is competing in the Badwater Ultramarathon, the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. Badwater begins at 280 feet below sea level going through Death Valley with temperatures hovering around 130 F. The race covers 135 miles with climbs totaling 13,000 ft of vertical ascent over three mountain ranges culminating with a finish at the top of Mt. Whitney at 8300 ft. As Jason takes on this beast of a race, our own Coach Al will be by his side as one of the support crew. In fact, he began his race prep here at Pursuit Athletic Performance. You can watch the video here.

Pursuit Athletic Performance, Badwater, ultramarathon, Jason Rita, Coach Al Lyman, Delaware Medical Relief Team, HaitiJason and Pursuit are also teaming up to raise awareness and funds for Haiti's isolated Bainet community. For every Gait Analysis purchased from July 15 to Aug 15, we will donate 15% of the proceeds to the Delaware Medical Relief Team, the agency fighting the effects of "bad water," including cholera in Bainet.

With the economic challenges facing the western world, it is easy forget that the 2010 earthquake killed over 250,000 people in Haiti, displacing many more, and caused tremendous health challenges. In response, Jason and his wife created a non-profit, 501c3 called Delaware Medical Relief Team (DMRT).

DMRT immediately responded to the crisis by sending to Haiti eight medical teams, hundreds of volunteers, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars used for medical aid and supplies.

At that time with the spotlight on Haiti, governments around the world made huge promises. As these countries' economic challenges worsened, they failed to deliver promised money, infrastructure, and aid. In response, Jason and DMRT are once again picking up the call to action, and Pursuit Athletic Performance is backing the cause.

The goal is to help the isolated community, Bainet in its health struggles withPursuit Athletic Performance, Jason Rita, Delaware Medical Relief Team, Badwater, ultramarathon, Haiti the consequences of bad water. DMRT has committed to working with the local health clinic to transform it into a functioning hospital.

In addition, we are planning a marathon from the ocean-side port town of Jackmal to Bainet! Our plan is to use the event to help Bainet in three major ways: as an incentive to local authorities to rebuild infrastructure, an event that will create a recurring source of revenue, and a way to raise additional aid.

If you are interested in supporting this marathon initiative in ANY WAY... whether it be marathon participation to various levels of support, please use leave your information on our interest form, and we'll be in touch!

Help us help Jason and Haiti - donate today directly at the Delaware Medical Relief Team web site, or purchase a Gait Analysis. Either way, you will be pursuing--and doing--something great!


Learn more ...

  • Register for our Haiti marathon interest list!
  • To learn about Jason's prep, check out the video here



Live from Badwater! Coach Al on Three Keys to Successful Racing In The Heat

Badwater ulatramarathonHello from Furnace Creek, CA--Death Valley!

It's the day before the start of the Badwater Ultramarathon! I'm here in Death Valley to serve as support crew for friend and client Jason Rita who will take on this epic 135-mile beast of a race starting tomorrow.

Badwater is the hardest footrace on the planet. As Jason will face temperatures as high as 125?F, I thought it would be an opportune time to post a few tips to help you in your summer racing. As Jason's crew, we need to help him handle the fundamental triad needed for racing in the heat--hydration, electrolytes, and calories-- or Jason will have no chance of finishing this race. A DNF or poor performance can happen to any of us as we face racing in the summer--even if the heat is not as extreme as what we'll face in Death Valley. The video below gives you my thoughts and guidance.

We will be posting updates as we can from Badwater to give you an insiders view on such an epic event, and to let you know how Jason is doing. He is dedicating the race to raise funds to help alleviate the effects of "bad water" in Haiti, and we are teaming up to help him do that. You can read about our efforts here.

Signing for now with three keys to successful racing in the heat!

Coach Al

Badwater Ultrarunner Jason Rita Preps for Grueling Race with Pursuit Athletic Performance [Video]

On July 16, Pursuit client Jason Rita will begin the the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet--the legendary Badwater Ultramarathon. Jason will run 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in temperatures up to 130F (55c). When he takes on the beast known as Badwater, our own Coach Al will be by his side as one of the support crew. We'll fill you in on details of the race as they unfold!

Jason has accomplished incredible feats in the world of ultra-endurance running including an unassisted speed summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Himalaya 100-mile stage race, which included a third place finish at the Everest Challenge Marathon. He finished third in the Leadville 100 "Leadman" competition, which is comprised of the Leadville Trail Marathon, a 50-mile mountain bike, a 50-mile trail run, 100 mile mountain bike, and a 100 mile trail run. The list goes on and on.

gait analysis, Jason Rita, Badwater, marathon, ultramarathon, ultrarun, Pursuit Athletic Performancegait analysis, Jason Rita, Badwater, marathon, ultramarathon, ultrarun, Pursuit Athletic Performance







So how does an athlete with such an amazing and accomplished running pedigree begin his prep for Badwater?
By running?
By learning how to MOVE through our Gait Analysis.

Our hope is that every athlete learns how important it is to begin their own epic journey--whether it be taking on a 5K or Badwater--with solid functional strength, and stable movement that is the foundation for conquering your hopes and dreams. Let's hear what Jason learned from the experience in this video.

Best of luck, Jason! We'll all be cheering!