Ultra Marathon Tips From the Pros

Nancy Hobbs – USATF Mountain, Ultra, Trail Council Chair.

Stepping up to your first ultra (longer than 26.2 miles) can be a scary thing. So before I toed the line for my first 50k, I wanted to make sure I got some advice from accomplished ultra/trail runners on how to do is safely and quickly. Not only was this my first 50k (The Flagline 50k), but it was also the USA 50k Trail Running Championships.

The best place to find a large number of top ultra runners assembled together – the race registration table the day before the race. So I waited around at FootZone in Bend, Oregon for some tips from the tops.

There are some real gems of wisdom in these interviews. I hope you find value in them.

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Fit On Raw Interview at the Woodstock Fruit Festival

Swayze Foster & Tim Van Orden

In this episode of the Running Raw Project: Tim sits down for an interview with Swayze Foster of http://fitonraw.com while at the Woodstock Fruit Festival (http://woodstockfruitfestival.com)

Fit on Raw is a site dedicated to fitness and a raw vegan lifestyle. Swayze offers coaching and advice to those on or transitioning to a raw vegan diet. Even more impressive than her coaching skills is the fact that Swayze is teaching people about raw and vegan diets in the deep south – Memphis, Tennessee! As Frank Sinatra once said “If she can make it there, she can make it anywhere.” Well ok, he didn’t say it exactly like that, but you get the picture.

Check out our interview here:

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Causes of Emotional Eating

Yulia Tarbath & Tim Van Orden talk about emotional eating.

While attending the Woodstock Fruit Festival, Tim was asked by Yulia Tarbath of http://rawsomehealthy.com to discuss his thoughts on emotional eating (see video at bottom of post). One of the reasons that so many people fail on a vegetarian, vegan or raw diet is that we haven’t learned how to ‘deal’ with cravings and stuffing down our emotions with food. At some point, everyone on any kind of diet is going to have to deal with food cravings and a successful strategy for doing so can make or break your diet.

Tim talks about how the primitive layering of the brain sets us up to use food to calm our emotional pains and needs. Tim also mentions the role of the epithelial cells in the small intestine and their ability to produce oxytocin, which comforts us when these cells are ‘massaged’. Viewed from this angle, emotional eating really does provide comfort and sense of bonding.

Tim suggests that rather than getting angry with our cravings and labeling them as negative, we should treat our cravings the way we treat a small child – with love and acceptance. We do this by listening to the emotional needs of our more primitive aspects of mind and offering emotional comfort rather (which is what is really desired) than substituting food to satisfy these cravings. In other words, don’t yell at your inner child, or give in to it’s tantrums by emotionally eating, give it love instead.

By accepting our imperfections we can satisfy our cravings in healthier ways.

You can view the interview here:

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Raw Veganism, Cults and Emotional Health

Tim Van Orden speaking about diet and emotional health.

While speaking in Highland Park, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) I gave a talk about diet and emotional health. All the research that I’ve read leads me to believe that emotional health trumps diet and exercise in the quest for overall health.

Many in the raw and vegan movements believe that diet alone is responsible for vibrant health and longevity, but this is simply not true. Numerous studies and papers have been written on the effects of stress and social interaction on our health and well-being. The belief that diet alone is responsible and that specific diets (such as a raw vegan diet) are the only option leads to misguided (but well intentioned) and cult-like behavior.

While a raw vegan diet will bring about significant health changes, it is only one piece of the puzzle of health.

This is discussed further in the clip below.

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Interview with Dan ‘The Life Regenerator’ McDonald at the Woodstock Fruit Festival

Dan ‘The Life Regenerator’ McDonald

Over the past seven years on this journey I’ve seen ‘raw’ personalities come and go. Dan McDonald is one of my favorites. His ‘evolution’ on this path towards raw health has been fun to watch.

I had a nice talk with Dan ‘The Life Regenerator’ McDonald at the Woodstock Fruit Festival about raw, vegan low fat and 80/10/10 diets.

Dan talks about flexibility in diet and life and uses the analogy of a palm tree in a storm to describe how he bounces back after challenging situations and dietary slip ups.

Dan and I agree that a hard line, dogmatic approach to diet is not the best way to go. Even though we both eat a raw vegan diet, we try to avoid using those labels in our own lives as it causes stress.

While there are many judgmental factions of the raw vegan movement, Dan asks people not to judge the dietary choices of others because we don’t know how far they’ve already come on their journey.

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My interview with the controversial Harley Johnstone a.k.a. Durian Rider at the Woodstock Fruit Festival

My interview with the controversial Harley Johnstone a.k.a. Durian Rider at the Woodstock Fruit Festival.

In a rare moment, I get to sit down with Harley Johnstone aka Durian Rider to have a chat at the Woodstock Fruit Festival. Harley, on his channel ‘durianriders’, likes to stir the hornets nest and get people thinking in provocative ways about veganism… while I prefer to take a more gentle approach, Harley’s method is very effective at getting people into the vegan conversation. Many in the raw and vegan movements see myself and Harley on opposite sides of the fence, but we are essentially on the same page – helping to educate as many people as possible about plant-based, vegan or raw diets.

Here’s the interview:

For more info on Harley check out his website 30bananasaday.com or go to his YouTube channel – durianriders.

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Van Orden Takes Masters Crown at U.S. Half Marathon Trail Championships

June 10th, 2012

The start of the 2012 U.S. Half Marathon Trail Championships.


Bend, Oregon

Nearly eight hundred runners took on the challenge of the Dirty Half Marathon in Bend on Sunday. For the third year in a row, this race has served as the U.S. Half Marathon Trail Championships. Crystal clear blue skies and temps in the low thirties greeted runners as they barreled down the trail towards the Cascade Mountain Range and views of five snow-capped volcanoes. Thirteen-point-one miles of scenic, winding, single track trail was the proving ground for this event. Race favorite Max King, of Bend, did not disappoint, as he took the lead early and earned his third straight U.S. Championship at this distance in 1:15:48. King was also the 2011 World Trail Running Champion and the 2011 World Mountain Running Champion. Running a strong second was Ron Tibaduiza in 1:16:24. Third place went to Scott Gage in 1:16:52. Fourth through sixth places were a tightly contested battle to the finish, with Mario Mendoza getting the edge at the line in a time of 1:18:48, with Santi Ocariz and Kevin Cave both finishing in 1:18:49. Tim Van Orden, 44, of Bennington, Vermont finished in seventh overall in 1:19:52 and repeated as the U.S. Masters Champion in the event.

In the women’s race, a back and forth battle between Marci Klimek, (1st place, 1:24:34) and Megan Kimmel, (2nd place, 1:24:36) ended feet before the finish line in very dramatic fashion. Stephanie Howe took a solid third in 1:26:49, with Amber Moran fourth place in 1:27:08, and repeat Masters Women’s Champion Katie Caba in fifth with a time of 1:27:16.

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Getting Started #53 – Defeating Goliath

Tim Van Orden on Mount Anthony

It’s been a while since I’ve made a video and some of you may have guessed that if you don’t see a video from me for a while, it means that the ‘sheep’ has hit the fan. It’s been a tough time. I’m getting ready for the World Championships, keeping my training up, dealing with everything else in my life, and dealing with depression… It’s been a lot to handle. So today, the day after my 44th birthday, (That’s right, I’m 44. I can’t believe it.) I’m out doing some trail work on Mount Anthony. I love the trails here. The terrain is just beautiful and I want to keep the trails clean so that others can enjoy them as much as I do. So my trail work is partially a public service and partially a tool that I use to move forward in life… especially when I’m feeling stuck and overwhelmed.

My job for the day is a big cherry tree a foot in diameter that has fallen across the trail. As I begin to chop away at the tree, I become focused on the task at hand and the rest of the world (including my problems) just melts away. After a little while I begin to feel better… I feel strong… I feel clear… I’m totally calm… There’s no depression… There’s no anxiety… There is nothing else in the world that has ‘got’ me right now… Just this big cherry tree. Cherry trees are catagorized as a hard wood and are therefore a very dense wood and tough to cut. This task is made even more challenging by the tools that I’ve chosen to work with – a little fold up hand saw and a tiny hatchet. I carry these tools with me because they are small enough to run with and they allow me to clean up any downed trees or branches that I
come across. This tree is being really stubborn… or very cherry… And I’ve just got to keep going at it… No matter how long it takes. It’s already been close to three and a half hours and then I’ve got another tree a few hundred meters away that I’ve got to clear off as well. Just what the doctor ordered.

I’ve learned that when the going gets tough, find some place to become tough yourself. This tree will not defeat me. It will not win, and I don’t care how long it takes, I’m going to get this tree off the trail today. So not only will I have accomplished something, but I will have also done some really hard work and unburdened my mind in the process – by taking on an obstacle that has nothing to do with the obstacles that are currently overwhelming me in my ‘real’ life. By winning here against this immovable object with tiny little hand tools, by defeating Goliath, I can celebrate victory and a job well done. I can then take this triumph and this sense of accomplishment and clarity back into my life and to my obstacles and use it to move forward. I now have evidence that I can succeed. Evidence that I can take on things that are bigger than me. Evidence that I am capable of victory. Evidence that I am the guy who does not give up. Evidence that I am not afraid to take on big challenges. This knowledge of what I am capable of fills me with a cool confidence and determination. I am victory. How do I know? Because I just spent the better part of the day conquering with this tree.

So go find an obstacle that has nothing to do with the rest of your life and defeat it. It doesn’t matter what the obstacle is, but it’s an added bonus if you can find something that somehow benefits you and your community as you take it on. People use the trails that I’m clearing, so by taking on this tree I’m doing a service to my community as well as to myself. So find an obstacle, and find your victory. Don’t give up, defeat it, and then take that victory with you into the rest of your life. So when I’m done with this tree, I’m going to go home and I’m going to take on the biggest obstacle in my life right now, which is organizing my trip to Germany for the World Championships, cause MAN is it stressing me out. But I will not
let it defeat me. I will be victorious and I will arrive in Germany and I will let it all out. So find a downed tree in your life and chop the crap out of it.

Watch the video here:

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The Belly Fat Myth

There is so much misinformation on television and the net about fat loss, diet, exercise, stress and specifically on belly fat loss, that I decided to put out my two cents on the subject.

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Why I Run

I’m often asked why I run so much… am I running away from something? Here’s my answer (inspired by Henry David Thoreau). Why do you run?

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