Today’s Member Spotlight features an incredible endurance athlete at the top of Fitocracy’s leaderboards. If you’d like to nominate someone for a member spotlight, email email@example.com or contact users lexyloowho or xJenYxvx.
[Editors note: apologies for not running a spotlight for the past couple of weeks! New feature releases and the holidays crept up on us faster than we expected. But no worries, we’re back on track now.]
Current, and any ‘before’ photos :
Before – fellrnr, circa 1995 at ~205 pounds:
After – circa 2010 at 135 pounds
What sports or fitness activities are you involved in? Do you compete at any
I’m an ultramarathon runner, and I compete at a local, national and next year, international level.
What’s your story? When, how and why did you get into your chosen sport or
Because of my skin condition I never did any exercise as a child. By my early-30s I was overweight inactive and not terribly healthy. It was at this point I got my “wake-up call” in the form of a particularly severe migraine. This migraine was unusual in that the early symptoms included not only loss of vision but also impaired the speech center of the brain. I was unable to speak coherently, understand what was said to me, or even read and write. In many ways the symptoms mirror those of the stroke, and were quite frightening. This migraine did not last long and I recovered fully but it made me realize that unless I did something can to improve my health than the stroke was a very real possibility. I started off by joining an aerobics class and got into running as a way of getting to and from the class. My weight dropped from its high of 205 pounds and I started getting into longer distance running. I entered my first half marathon woefully unprepared having only run a maximum of 6 miles before. I was nearly the last one to finish the race competing for DFL with a 70-year-old woman. I could barely walk for a week afterwards, so naturally I signed up for the London Marathon. I finished the London Marathon in 1999 and moved to the US in 2000, where I continued running marathons. After a few years of marathon running I realized that speed was not my forte but I did have a lot of endurance. I found the world of ultrarunning rather more relaxed and over time found myself becoming competitive in the longer distances.
What are your current athletic or fitness-related goals?
I’ve qualified to represent the United States at the 24 hour world championships in Poland in 2012. I also want to break 150 miles in 24 hours, and I will compete at 50 and 100 mile distances next year as well.
What is your workout or training regimen?
I have to go running four days per week, with each run relatively long (marathon distance on longer). A few months ago I changed to running every day. I haven’t come to any definitive conclusion on the merits of each approach, and so the experiments continue. I do no strength training, stretching, or core training, though I’ve tried each of these several times in the past and found them relatively ineffective.
What does your diet look like?
I often joke that I have the genes of a professional athlete, but the sport is sumo wrestling. Keeping my body weight under control is a continual battle for me and I struggle with overeating. I generally try to keep my carbohydrate intake low and slow, with a lot of protein and good fats.
What have you achieved so far? What are your ‘numbers’ (times, weights, heights, etc)?
146 miles in 24 hours, 100 miles in 15:58, 100K in 9:31, 50 miles in 7:08, 50K in 3:38, 26.2 in 2:53.
What is your competition and/or training philosophy?
I believe the competition and training is in many ways more about mental toughness and physical endurance. The ability to keep going when you desperately want to stop is a core aspect of long distance running.
What challenges do you face?
My biggest challenge is my skin condition.
How do you motivate yourself?
At the core, my motivation is a simple refusal to quit.
What advice do you take, and what do you ignore?
I tend to favor scientific study over anecdotal advice, but I’m aware of the benefits of both.
What are some training or diet-related things you know are true but cannot
There is remarkably little scientific evidence around the effects of endurance training. I believe that there are long-term, slow acting changes that occur in the muscles that make them more efficient and more fatigue resistant. I believe it endurance training has effects that accumulate over months and years.
What injuries have you dealt with? What are the injury risks that come with your athletic endeavors?
At one time or another I have had most running related injuries. I sometimes suspect that my success is related as much to do with my ability to fix myself as anything else.
Any advice on how to deal with these injuries and risks?
I’m a big believer in using self massage to diagnose and treat minor injuries before they become major. I’m also a big proponent of using ice (not gel packs) to repair muscular damage.
What are your favorite sports/fitness books/DVDs/websites?
Is it too self-aggrandizing to suggest my own website http://fellrnr.com?