Best of Inside Dirt 2013
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10 of the best stories from our weekly enewsletter
As 2013 winds down, we look back at a year of inspiring stories, thoughtful essays, beautiful photos, profiles of colorful characters in the trail-running community and in-depth explorations of the culture of our sport.
Inside Dirt is published once a week, in addition to our eight annual print issues. Here is a roundup of 10 of our best Inside Dirt stories of the year. Happy reading!
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1. Trail Running in a War Zone: A Black Hawk helicopter pilot’s daring evening jog on the FOB
By Jerry Smith
It’s the end of another stressful day somewhere in Afghanistan, my second combat tour here, and I’m about to abandon my combat gear—boots, body armor and M-4 carbine rifle—for running shoes, shorts and a T-shirt. Even here, on a forgotten Forward Operating Base (FOB) in southern Afghanistan, you’ve got to get out and hit the trails, right?
2. Healing from the Inside Out: A story of devastation and comeback at the TransRockies
By Rachel Cieslewicz
In August 2011, I drove from my home in Salt Lake City, Utah, to race TransRockies Run6, a six-day, 120-mile stage race across the Colorado Rockies. Riding high from my fifth overall XTERRA Worlds finish, an age-group World Champion title in trail running and new road PRs in the 10K and half-marathon, I was excited for the challenge.
3. Ras Vaughan’s Unsupported, Sextuple Rim-to-Rim: UltraPedestrian sets OKT (Only Known Time) for epic Grand Canyon route
By Tim Mathis
Jason Vaughan, 41, widely known as Ras, and who performs music under the name Jahson Ites, has become somewhat of a living folk hero in the Pacific-Northwest running community, and the only races he’ll likely ever win are the ones in which no one else participates.
4. The Joy of the Non-Race: Grassroots events embody the spirit of trail running
By Yitka Winn
As our low-key sport gains popularity, many of us have experienced new challenges. To have a shot at even getting into a race, we have to pencil into our calendars the date and time that registration opens. We need to add a column in our annual budget for race fees. We buy an extra dresser to house our ever-growing collection of race-commemorative tech tees.
5. Disposability is Dead: Musings on reducing single-use disposability and waste in the endurance community
By Nick Triolo
There was no escaping the oppressive sizzle of Baja heat at midday. Equally unavoidable was the metric ton of trash strewn across the road in every direction. Plastic cups clink-clunked across the carretera while discarded, single-use water baggies flapped on the ground like feathered asphalt. Every passing runner trampled the trash as if unconsciously trying to hide the mess, to send it downward, out of sight, back to their earthly origins. But the plastic remained. It remained, defying decomposition, those petroleum-based, factory-farmed freckles. It remained.
6. Under Fire: Ultrarunning and coaching legend Tim O’Brien fired as XC coach; students and supporters rally
By Mike Benge
The year was 1989, and the fourth running of the Angeles Crest 100-Mile Endurance Run would take place in late summer in the rugged San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood, California. (Back then, there were six total 100-milers in North America; now? … 110 plus!) After surviving a rigorous training regimen that topped out at 200 miles per week, a budding ultrarunner Jim O’Brien, then 36, would set a course record of 17:35:48.
7. Run or Die: The Kilian Jornet Way
By Kilian Jornet
I recall the words of Jordi, my trainer. Running is an art, he said, like painting a picture or composing a piece of music. And to create a work of art, you have to be clear about four basic concepts: technique, effort, talent, and inspiration. And all this must be combined in dynamic equilibrium. You must have perfect control of technique and avoid superfluous movements that don’t help drive you forward and only waste energy.
8. Wounded Warrior Tackles Bandera 25K: Eduard Lychik runs his own race
By Charles Seligman
While working as an Air Force chaplain the Center for the Intrepid, a physical rehabilitation center for the department of defense, I met an extraordinary wounded warrior. Eduard Lychik, 22, of Tacoma, Washington, had lost his left leg in Afghanistan when a rocket struck the truck he’d been riding in while on mounted patrol.
9. Trail Running and Addiction: Staying mindful to keep things in the proper perspective
By Ben Luedke
I’m a psychotherapist who works with people struggling with addiction, and I’m also a long-distance trail runner. I’m reluctant to apply a clinical word like addiction to a generally healthy pursuit like trail running. Trail runners, like all runners, are often healthy, happy, functional and well-respected people. That being said, any activity can lead to addiction if that activity results in a feeling of elevated affect. In other words, if I get a pleasurable feeling from participating in an activity, I’m more likely to repeat that behavior and could become “addicted” to the feeling it provides. If I continue with that activity despite negative effects on my life and the lives of those I love, an unhealthy addiction has developed.
10. 10 Trails That Should Be on Every Bucket List
By Colleen O’Neill
Last week, we asked readers to help us build a bucket list of the world’s best trails. Here is a (by no means comprehensive!) list of 10 beautiful picks, near and far alike, to get your trip-planning juices flowing.
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