Originally posted by Susan Nowell on Ultra Running Limited
Are you a desert Runner? You will be soon!
Running in a hot, dry climate comes with its own challenges, as does the sometimes soft, sandy footing.  Think through your training and equipment ahead of time to give yourself the greatest chance for a successful day on the trails!  
1. Be Adaptable to Weather Changes
The first thing most people think about when they think of the desert is….. HEAT!!! But don’t be surprised if you find yourself running in the wind and rain. My first adventure in the Sahara desert was accompanied by rain and hail during the last stage of the four day race. Honestly, I WELCOMED the rain as it made it easier to negotiate running in the sand. And the hail,…well, it kept me alert and on my toes, which helped lighten my steps. Being adaptable will serve you well!
2. Get Savvy with Gear 
Temperatures in the desert can be extreme and can range from 37 to 0 degrees Celsius (100 to 31F). Come prepared with the right gear to dress for success. This includes: light, breathable material that moves away water for running in the heat and polypropylene layers, fleece and hat for cold nights. Packing a windbreaker for windy moments on or off the run is also a desert savvy thing to do!
3. Know Your Salt Type

With the combination of heavy exercise and heat, salt supplementation is crucial for running in the desert. Some people use simple table salts while others prefer supplementations with a combination of electrolytes (with Mg included). We all have different sweat rates and stomachs, so experiment with different products to see what works best for you…. before you get to the race!!

4. Shoe Up the Right Way 
No matter what type of terrain we are running or trekking around on, the joints in our feet serve as the initial reactors to ground reaction force. Make sure you find a shoe that properly supports your foot structure (e.g. pronator, neutral, supinator). Many stores now use force plates to analyze structure and help you find the right shoe. Find the right shoe for you and buy two pairs: one for training, one for racing. Make sure your racing shoes are broken in at least 3 weeks prior to your stage race!

5. Baby Your Feet 
Beyond shoe wear, taking additional care of your feet can make or break your long training or endurance race. Blisters gone bad can have you limping and missing out on crucial mileage and/or fun with your friends! Try vaseline or some other lube and lather up your feet before a long run or race.

6. Take Care of Your Soft Tissue 
Running is physically demanding…and preparing for an endurance run in the sand even more so. Taking care of tired, inflamed muscles is just as important as your actual training. In a period of intense training, schedule in regular massage (weekly if possible!) and place emphasis on consistent stretching, foam roller exercises and yoga… and sleep!

7. Avoid Junk Miles
Targeting your runs to your specific race distance and number of days (if a stage race) will help avoid overtraining and make you less prone to injury.

8. Get Your Training Customized
We are all different and have different needs and focuses when it comes to training for big events. A customized, targeted program that takes your specific lifestyle, personal needs, fitness level and goals into account will be your KEY to SUCCESS!!!

Saturday, 17 February 2018 09:02

On the Trail – Pain and Glory

Originally posted on Independence Run & Hike
My feet are raw, really raw. Specifically my heals. I have hardened callus skin on most of my toes. Basically dried out blisters. I am sure I will lose two of the toe nails. My calf is tight, the right one. My left is much worse. My quads are literally peeling, sunburnt. My shoulders too. I’m driving eastbound. I was in this same spot a week ago, but westbound. I can see sections of the course. I have a much greater respect for the trail seven days later.

Seven days before.
Strawberry Shortcut 10k
I awake and slip out the door without disturbing any of the relatives visiting for the annual Strawberry Days Festival. With coffee in hand I drive to town for the locals foot race. This year will be a little different as I have a new team kit to sport. I’m in town for the annual 10k  foot race. A little locals race of about 100 athletes. I heard a rumor of a new course and that was true. Pretty standard meet and greet around the makeshift start line and then we’re off! I accomplish my goals, but my mind is already wandering…, wondering…, with anticipation… for the week to come…

start at Loma

Six days before.
Stage 1- Salt Creek
This stage was pretty familiar for me as I have trained and raced on the first 12 miles of this 19 mile stage. Mary’s, Lions loop, Troy built, all really flow-y single track fun. Crossing the Salt creek on the pedestrian bridge to the finish was all new terrain for me. I floated in the creek to cool the core temp and it was really helpful. The climb out of  Salt Creek was obnoxious. I was pleased to see the aid station at the crown and the two track road to the finish of the stage.

Five days prior
Stage 2-
“If pain is weakness leaving the body, then this can only make me stronger.”
The days mantra for me was pivotal in the work being done. Two-track roads and some pavement sections were in order for the 38 mile stage. This day proved to be the warmest of the week. I struggled in the heat and was unsure if it was actually hot, or if my issues were with the cumulative miles of three days of consecutive racing. John confirmed for me that it was indeed hot! I owned my mantra through my rough times and worked them out. I thought about our soldiers who have braved warmer climates with much more than some silly stage race on the line. My day was successful, but many others did not have the same results. Our incredible medical team had recorded temps of 121 degrees on the pavement. I kept a steady constant pace as best as possible but the third day of racing was taking its toll. We all eventually made it back to camp safe and tired. I heard stories of great teamwork, camaraderie, and looking out for each other. They all played into the days events. This ultra community is simply amazing.

Four days earlier
Stage 3- Sprint stage
This is the shortest of the stages at 9 miles. No one, including myself, wanted to sprint. We all took the short stage to recover and just survive to day 4. The route has spectacular views of the Colorado River and had a little more climbing than I would have expected, but still less than 1,000 ft. After the few hours of running, we all enjoyed the river at Dewey Bridge. The participants were relaxed and the work crew was flawless, like a well oiled machine. The sites and sounds made me think of a traveling circus, a good one, if there is such a thing. We were becoming a tribe.

Three days ago
Stage 4- Expedition Stage
“It’s going to be OK.”
This stage was the pinnacle of the week. The 7,750 ft of gain over the 42 miles was enough to get my attention. I carried extra water, lights, as well as a shell… you never know… This was my day. The best day I was to have on the trail. I stuck to my nutrition plan and actually enjoyed the run. This section was the most scenic of all the days, and it did not disappoint. A grey fox was spotted playing on the rocks near the start and that was the just the beginning. It got hot, but I kept my cool about me. When the course topped out at 8300 ft. I had a bit of a break down, a good one. I enjoyed the view.I thought about the opportunities that I have been given and that I have created for myself. I thought about my family and my friends sending all those positive vibes from afar. I enjoyed the open trail and one of my favorite albums, singing most of the way down. I did fry my quads pretty good and needed to walk backwards down Castle Valley Boulevard in the steepest of descends.

Two days prior
Rest day
Ahhh, the well needed, well deserved rest day. AKA, the calorie and hydration game!! It was an amazing day of relaxing on Sandy beach and eating, and eating… It was nice to be able to clean up and take care of our bodies. A hidden waterfall off camp was so nice and refreshing.

Stage 5- The Marathon
” I am the only one who can bring me down. No one else has that power”
I was able to do my homework for this stage on the rest day. It starts out with a 10k climb before falling to the finish 20 miles later. There is an out and back section on the famous Porcupine Rim Trail that climbs 750 ft in the 2.5 miles. Pick up your stone and return to the aid station and then your home free- sounds simple-ish, right? Nothing ever is…
Destroyed myself on the climb, because…, that’s my thing. I like to climb. I wanted to cruise the down and get ‘er done, but I had a feeling about the stone. Man, was I right. Upon my arrival, my stone seamed out of place, larger you might say than the others. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t think twice. I accepted the challenge and moved on, moved through it. ” No one but me…” I owned that stone.

Its MY rock!!

After leaving my rock at the aid station, there was only a rolling descend to the Slick Rock parking lot. That 10k was bittersweet. I thought about the week, these people, this tribe. I thought about how I didn’t want it to end, the circus. I thought about the challenges we all accepted to push ourselves, push our comfort levels. I thought about my own journey to this moment. I thought about my girls at the finish, waiting for me. I put on my music and start to sing…

My feet are raw, really raw. Specifically my heals. I have hardened callus skin on most of my toes. I roll the windows down and find my album. I think about my girls. I put on my music and start to sing…
You’ve heard of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails. Now add one of these ambitious hikes to your bucket list.

Have you through hiked the Hayduke Trail?  How about the Great Eastern Trail, the North Country Trail, or the Ice Age Trail?

While this list includes some amazing trails, are you as surprised as I am that our wonderful Kokopelli Trail isn’t included?

On the western slope of Colorado, the famous Kokopelli Trail winds its way through sagebrush, ledgy slickrock, winding double track, sandy washes and fast jeep trails and crosses the state line toward Moab, Utah.
Unique beauty, amazing wildlife and profound solitude – all the elements of true adventure – reward riders willing to brave the Kokopelli journey. Vast landscape and ancient obstacles combine to create the rugged and stunning beauty of this classic trail.

Four of our classic races utilize the Kokopelli Trail, in part or in whole:

Come join us for an adventure today!
Sunday, 11 February 2018 09:00

Desert RATS Bio 2018 – Thomas Mullins

Stage Race Sunday! Who’s coming to play in the desert this year?

Texas isn’t big enough to contain the adventures of Thomas Mullins! Let’s bring him up to the high desert for an adventure!

Marital Status: Married 17 Years

Number of Children: None (That’s Why I Have Money)

Basic life support instructor. (Cprguydfw.com) Product development and testing for athletic apparel.

Years running: 
My whole life. Grew up on a remote ranch did lots of running and walking went broke down on the middle of nowhere sometimes would run into town a miles one way.

Years running ultras: 
Started running ultras four years ago. Raced mountain bikes and adventure racing for 20+ years got bored with it and discovered destination running back country and ultras. Great way to see the back country with a bit of a safety net.

Ultras I have done: 
Bigfoot 206.5; Leadville 100 a couple of times; Transpecos Ultra 160 – seven day stage race in Big Bend, TX; Dinosaur Valley 100; Silver Rush 50; Cross Timbers 50; Rocky Hill Texas 100K; Rough Creek 40. Too many to list. Not an ultra but also the San Juan Hut-to-Hut 200 from Durango to Moab.

Favorite race and why: 
Hands-down my favorite race and trail adventure was Bigfoot 200 last year (2017). The various ecosystems we ran through were crazy amazing. Started out running around Mount Saint Helens – crazy hot – then had freezing fog, torrential downpours, and snow over the course of four days. My wife drove from aid station to aid station over 600 miles of forest roads through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with the rest of my crew. It was amazing running with so many other people through such a remote area and helping each other along the way. Life-changing for sure. Another favorite trail adventure is the Leadville 100 Training Camp held in June.

Best results in races: 
The best results in my races are the ones I finish with no injury and meet many new people along the way. I love adventure and being outside in the great outdoors.

Tell us something about yourself, running related or other: 
I love adventure and being outside in the great outdoors. Love traveling and dirt bagging my summers away in Colorado. I am a basic life support instructor, also certified and trained in wilderness medicine through the NOLS program, also a certified water rescuer and RRCA certified running coach. Gave up watching TV a few years ago, read lots of books. Love destination running – it gives you the opportunity to see backcountry. Have run across the Chihuahua desert and also R2R2R as well as the rooftop of the Grand Canyon. Have traveled and lived all over the United States and also went to school overseas. Grew up farming and ranching. And also am a full time RV’er down here in the heart of Texas. Mostly avoiding growing up and being responsible. Always looking for the next big adventure. Hello Desert RATS, my name is Thomas Mullins. Super pumped to be here!

What’s your favorite way to train for Desert RATS: 
My favorite way to train for Desert RATS is one day at a time. This Texas heat with 90%+ humidity is excellent training for that desert jog from Grand Junction to Moab.

What are your goals for Desert RATS: 
My goals for the Desert RATS Stage Race is to experience the wonderful desert between Grand Junction and Moab, have fun, laugh, learn, eat, finish injury free and hopefully make lots of great new friends. I will be using this as a training race for Moab 240.

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 08:59

Five Life-Changing Adventures to try in 2018

Beyond organized races, at Gemini, we love to dive into wilderness adventures.  Did you know we offered guided services for a variety of Adventure Getaways?  From trail running to mountain biking to canyoneering, river rafting, and much more, we’d like to be your epic adventure in 2018!  
In this article, our Moab Multi Sport Tour is mentioned as a Dream Trip – and we well agree!  Let us make your dream come true.
Set in the heart of adventure mecca, Moab USA, [Gemini Adventure’s Multi Sport Tour] is a four day and three night multi-activity package. There’s hiking, running, mountain biking and canyoneering packed-in, all set against the region’s dramatic peaks and canyons. All you have to do is get yourself to Moab, and everything else is taken care of. Once you’ve enjoyed a full day’s activity, you’ll be driven to a local town to enjoy an evening meal and accommodation in a local inn, so you don’t have to worry about roughing it. This is ideal for between three to 12 people and is suited to families or groups of friends alike. Incorporated into a longer holiday, it makes for a brilliant four days of adventure.  Read more…
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