Mile-High Motivation - Page 7
At 44, Nuzum remains speedy. She had a standout-racing season in 2010, competing well in both trail and road races. At the Vail Hill Climb, a 7.5-mile uphill race, Nuzum finished second woman. At the Taos Up and Over 10K, she finished second female just four seconds behind the 31-year-old Rachel Ciesiewicz. On the road, she finished third woman and first master at last fall's Anthem Turkey Day 10K in Broomfield, Colorado.
In addition to her competitive talent and drive, Nuzum is also motivated by the challenges of running. "I gravitate toward races with big climbs." At the 2008 Pikes Peak Ascent, a 13.3-mile race with more than 7800 feet of elevation gain to the summit of Colorado's Pikes Peak, racers encountered dangerous weather conditions, snow and lightning, on the summit. Race organizers were eventually forced to halt the event mid-race. Nuzum says it was a hard race, indeed, and she had many opportunities to opt out of the deteriorating conditions before the race was canceled. She continued, and says with nonchalance, "I was mentally and physically prepared to go to the top." And that's what she did.
What's next for Nuzum? Besides a full docket of marathon-distance road and trail races, she says that she'd like to try ultradistance racing in the future as well.
Nuzum offers great heartfelt advice to other trail runners. "Do what makes you happy," she urges. "Think about the feeling you have after a long, hard run. Try to recreate that feeling back each time you go out."
Nuzum on Happiness and Running
- Focus on the part or kind of running that makes you happy. Nuzum believes running has become a joyful foundation to her life, because she focuses on the kind of running that she likes best.
- Be prepared for what you might encounter on a mountain run. During bad weather, "having the right jacket can be the difference between a good and dangerous run," she says.
- Take a break from running if you need some bounce to your step. Nuzum unabashedly took two weeks off from structured training at the end of 2010, because she was feeling flat of foot.
Geoff Roes Explores
"I have an explorer's mentality. I'm always more excited to go somewhere I haven't been before," says Geoff Roes, the 2010 Western States 100 champion and course-record holder. Indeed, that exploratory inclination is why he's a trail runner. "The biggest reason I'm into running is that I like being outdoors, but, beyond that, I really enjoy going to new places," he says. "I like how much ground running allows you to cover in the mountains and in the wilderness on foot."
During much of his ultrarunning career, Roes lived in Juneau, Alaska. There, trails climb up each of the four main mountain ridges that run east-west away from the coast and toward the Juneau Icefield. Each trail is heavily trodden for its first two or three miles, but beyond that, Roes says the trails "feel like no one's been there before. You see no sign of people and you're far enough back into the mountains that you don't see or hear the city."
He admits that one can soak in some beautiful sights during a half- or full-day backpack from Juneau. However, he's quick to note that, if you can double the distance you're covering by trail running, you can get all the way back onto the Juneau Icefield, where a runner will encounter glacier-filled valleys strung between rocky ridges.
Last autumn, Roes moved to Nederland, Colorado, a town perched in the Front Range high above Boulder. He quickly started exploring before winter fell upon the mountains. In one notable session, he logged a 30-miler in the nearby Indian Peaks Wilderness, one of Darcy Africa's favorite places to trail run. He notes, "It's the type of loop that would have been a three-day journey if I was backpacking, so it was nice to be able to essentially circumnavigate the entire Indian Peaks Wilderness in one outing."