Mile-High Motivation - Page 5
A few months before Jurek's record run in France, his mother, Lynn, passed away from complications associated with multiple sclerosis. Jurek saw the race as a "celebration of her life," channeling her energy on the course. "I saw my mother's life extinguished. I shared in that amazing experience of her leaving this earth. I told myself that this race was only 24 hours of pain, compared to my mom's lifetime of it. I knew I could get through it."
Of course, it takes a certain kind of person to use exquisite discomfort for the purpose of celebration. Lynn lived for most of Jurek's life with the degenerative effects of MS. Watching his mother power through such obstacles, Jurek learned lessons about running. "There's always a yin and a yang. If you want to look at it scientifically, a positive and negative." According to Jurek, the good and bad, the hard and easy, are often coupled in running.
The same is true for life, says Jurek. "Running is one tool for me now. I'm using it to explore what my body and mind can do, and, on a deeper level, my spirit."
Jurek's Wisdom for New Trail Runners
- "Listen to your body," says Jurek. "Your instincts tell you everything you need to know about your running and its progress.
- Avoid comparing yourself with others. "Embrace the experiences that you go through in training," advises Jurek.
Anton Krupicka Redefines Possible
On a now-almost-historic day last summer, during the 2010 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, American ultra-phenom Anton Krupicka and Catalonian endurance-sports superstar Kilian Jornet ran stride for stride through the race's famed canyons. Over about 20 miles, the course dips in and out of three deep, exposed and often brutally hot drainages. Krupicka recalls, "Kilian ran when I ran. I hiked when he hiked. It was a team effort." Working together, Krupicka and Jornet demolished the canyons, running that section of the race faster than anyone had before.
When they arrived at the Foresthill Aid Station at mile 62, Krupicka, a runner known for hammering to the edge of his capacity in search of race wins and course records, was surprised to hear what came out of his own mouth. "I told my crew that I didn't care about winning," says Krupicka. "Kilian and I did this epic thing, cranking through the canyons together."
Despite that statement, Krupicka, who's running credentials include two wins at the Leadville 100 as well as wins at the American River 50, Miwok 100K and White River 50, acknowledges that his main motivation for racing is competition, or "imposing dominance over fellow man." He laughs, continuing, "It's a little more evolved than that. It's about working with fellow man, bringing out the best in each other."
Krupicka and the Boulder-area trail-running community are bringing out the best in each other outside of competition, too. Krupicka, Jurek, Geoff Roes and a whole host of other top trail runners join each other for training runs in the mountains above Boulder. Krupicka says these runs are neither races nor proving grounds. "We each know our own abilities, so there's no reason to have a pissing match up a hill. We're a bunch of guys who run the same speed and like training in the mountains all day."
According to Krupicka, he and his buddies are looking up a steep curve in ultrarunning's evolution, the same curve that the previous generation of runners also experienced. "The sport hasn't been around long enough to experience stagnancy. We're nowhere near our limits."