My 2014 Bridger Ridge Run recap

First of all, I wanted to thank all the race coordinators and volunteers for helping us runners do what we love and congratulations to all the runners who ran this amazing race. Also, check out the trailer above for some great footage of the race and please support the film.

My goals for this year’s BRR was to have fun and run faster than my 2011 time of 3:40:56. I felt like I was in pretty good shape and knew the course a little better from running it that year and my barefoot attempt in 2012.

The night before the race I camped near Fairy Lake at 7500 feet.IMG_2639 I get excited the night before races so I like to camp and watch the stars. This year I was treated to 4 huge bucks hanging outside my tent at night.

I woke up at 5 am, ate and went to the start where I hiked around Fairy Lake and then warmed up running for about 30 minutes. I knew this year there would be about 6-8 runners who could run faster than me. Since the BRR is a relatively ‘short’ and fast race for me, I wanted to be adequately warmed up. Looking back, I wish I warmed up for an hour.

The race started and I immediately felt ‘off’. No big deal, I knew I just needed to get sufficiently warmed up. Going up Sacajawea Peak which tops off at 9839 feet, I felt sluggish and tired. For the first half of the race I ran with several runners, chatting and joking as I continually tried to get into my groove.

I didn’t get into my groove till Baldy peak which is over 15 miles into the 20 mile race. The middle section of the race was quite a struggle for me but I was having fun and pushing myself. It was great to run with other runners and cooperatively help each other out with encouragement and conversation. As I ran along, I was struggling with the uphills but I felt like I was faster this year on the downhills and rocky, technical sections of the race. I ate two Hammer gels and drank about 20 oz of water during the race.BRR

As I approached Baldy, I was finally feeling pretty good and started the 4-5 mile rocky descent knowing I had a lot left in my legs. I bombed down it which for me was just about all out. Running this section is always interesting for me because I feel totally out of control but completely in the present moment. Since I practice my running technique so much, I’m able to run pretty fast downhill with confidence and speed. As I approached the finish, I could hear the crowd below at the M and I was very happy to be finished.  I finished in 4th place with a time of 3:46:04.

Overall, I didn’t run as fast as I wanted but more importantly I had a ton of fun, ran with great friends and got to cheer a lot of people on. Running the BRR is so much more than finishing times and place. It’s about doing what we love, sharing our passion for running and enjoying this beautiful place we call home. Again, congratulations to everyone who ran. The BRR is a superb race with amazing volunteers and support, I highly suggest the race to any trail runners out there who want a unique, one of a kind experience.

Run easier, not harder

I’m here to share with you an approach to running that is very effective, enjoyable and has long term benefits.  The concept is to view running differently than you probably currently do.  I am suggesting you set a goal for running to be easier, not harder.  Do you view running as a workout or mundane, exhausting activity?  Keep reading because I want you to enjoy running as a life changing, effortless, soul satisfying journey.

You may be saying, “But I don’t want running to be difficult, it just is.”  I am here to say it doesn’t have to be that way!

Why do you run?  Maybe it is to stay in shape, lose weight or get a workout.  Do you have specific running goals?  To get faster, run a specific race or run farther.  Well, I’m sure you have been told and believe that in order to reach these goals and have specific results you need to run more, burn more calories, run faster, work harder and sweat more.  To be a better, faster runner you need to train more, train faster.  Well, this approach isn’t very effective, leads to burn out and it sure doesn’t sound fun.

There is an alternative approach that is more effective, fun and will have long term results.  Running can be effortless, fluid and enjoyable.

This is what I recommend.  Decide to transform running into an enjoyable experience, even a moving meditation, by changing a couple of simple things.  Choose a different purpose for why you run.  Maybe to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.  Or because you love the feeling of movement.  The feeling of setting a goal and accomplishing it.  Maybe you can run for a good cause, a specific goal or higher purpose.  Or maybe just because you truly love to run.  I also suggest focusing on your technique, breath and the feeling of how you move. This can really transform running into a moving meditation and into a practice.  Instead of running being a mundane workout, it becomes a lifelong journey full of lessons, incredible benefits and pure enjoyment.

I also suggest giving up the watch, the GPS and heart rate monitors.  Skip the treadmill, the workouts and instead, head into the hills, mountains, woods and abundant beauty of Earth to play.

Instead of work, transform running into play by changing your mindset.  Many successful elite runners approach running this way.  Sure, they run very intensely.  But it is approached as a playful, challenging and rewarding gift.  Not painful work that has to get done which results in burn out and boredom.  Learn to love running by changing why and how you run.

Finally, I recommend finding out more about Wholistic Running and learning from a certified running instructor such as Damian.  Damian can teach you to run more efficiently so it is physically easier and transforming your running into an enjoyable meditation and not a painful workout.  You can learn to run more relaxed and effortlessly. Wholistic Running is easy to learn and the results are very rewarding and long lasting.

Sub-2:30 marathoner Dr. Mark Cucuzzella runs easier, not harder.  Check out         Natural Running Center

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