2013 Badwater Pre Race Interview with Mark Matyazic

1. What does you training look like this year for Badwater?

Not nearly as much or good as I wanted.   Work has been really busy so I haven’t been able to get in a lot of the longer runs or weight sessions that I would have wanted to, but I was able to get in a few long races (marathon and 50k) and ran the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago, which is excellent training for Badwater
2. Is there anything you’d like to do differently going into this race for the 3rd time?
It’s really had to ‘plan’ for a race like Badwater due to all the variables, so probably not doing anything really different.
3. Are you dealing with any injuries at this time?
For injuries and recovery I also try to get as much body work as possible and I’ve also found it productive to get the same work done on a symetric part of the body, ie if my achilles is bothering me on my right leg, I’ll have it worked on and then have the left one worked on as well.  That way I feel ‘balanced’ when I walk out of the body work session.
Currently I have a right foot/ankle problem and I’ve been working through it. It seem orthotics helped a bit as did the Joints n’ Stuff product with all the anti infammatories in it.
It seems like injuries come in waves and right now, luckily and knock on wood, the wave is at low tide!
Graston Tooling

Graston Tooling helps with breaking down scar tissue and speeds up recovery after strenuous workouts

4. What do you use for calories during the race? 
I go pretty light on calories, but similar to last year, mostly Vitargo as that seems to be by far the best liquid nutrition available.  The calories just seem to last longer, as opposed to maltodextrin which it seems you have to take every 30 minutes or so once you start using it.  I can take Vitargo every 90 minutes or even longer intervals and the effects last.

Vitargo calories and recovery drink

5. What shoes and equipment will you be racing in?  
Not sure about the shoes, but I have decided to go with all 2XU this year.  Through trial and error in the jungles and desert I’ve found 2XU to far surpass other garments in terms of comfort and wear.  The stuff just doesn’t chaffe and I think the way it reduces muscle vibration helps deliver more energy into running, sort of like a carbon fiber cycling shoe helps deliver more energy into a pedal stroke.  I’ve had great results with 2XU.
6. What is your pre and post race diet consist of?  When you plan this out, are you focusing more on the quantity and/or quality of your caloric intake?  Also, what is your opinion on the variety of diets being adapted by endurance athletes today (vegetarianism, veganism, fruitarianism).  Understanding everyone’s physiology is different, do you see (or maybe have experienced) benefits of strictly eating certain types of foods?
Well I eat a lot of cows, chickens and fish, plus a fair amount of veggies and some fruit.  I stay clear of pork.  The systems of pigs and humans are nearly identical, this is why pharmaceutical and biotech companies use pigs in the early phases of clinical trials because they so emulate humans.  Think about that next time you eat bacon or pepperoni…..
I stay pretty clear of the diet fads, ie Paleo, Hollywood, Adkins, Zone, Fruitarina and all the rest.  There is a variety of good food out there.  I eat it all. I do try to stay away from processed stuff and don’t eat a ton of sweets(exceptions below!).  I also eat when I’m hungry and don’t eat when I’m not.  Pretty basic logic.  There are times during heavy training where I’ll easily eat 4-5000 calories a day, but like after I had shoulder surgery I was hardly ever hungry and probably didn’t even eat 2000 a day.
Now AFTER big events is another story.  I try to eat pretty well during recover phase but it seems like I’m incessantly hungry and just can’t get enough calories no matter how much chicken, lean beef, sardines, sushi, rice or veggies I eat.  Example:  I ran the Brazil 135(135 miles) in late January this year and then a week later flew to Costa Rica and did The Coastal Challenge, which is about 150 miles through rough terrain.  When I got back I would basically salivate when I saw live animals I was so hungry.  This went on for a week so finally I went to a bakery and bought the biggest 3 layer chocolate cake they had.  I think it was approximately 10,000 calories and I ate the whole thing over about an hour.  I felt AWESOME after.  I did something similar after Badwater last year so this may be my new recovery regimen.
Running Badwater in 120+ heat

Running Badwater in 120+ heat

7.  Even though competitive long distance running has existed for centuries, Ultra Running is somewhat of a new sport compared to many other currently marketed and organized sports.  With that, where do you see the sport of Ultra Running in ten years?  Do you see the following expanding as more of the population begin to become more active?  in addition, where do you see yourself as an athlete in ten years? 
No, first for an audience, ultra running is very boring. I mean there’s no real action or blood and they can’t ‘see’ the pain.  It’s probably ironic as I think some of the fittest people in the world are distance athletes.   I mean you have to be just to go that long.  Anyone can put out for 20-30 minutes and take a break, ie all the game ‘sports’, crossfit, and sprint races but put them in a marathon and they will drop.  Get to the 100 mile distances and you not only need endurance but a lot of strength, esp to get you through the later miles.   Most of these races begin around mile 60 and the weaker of the human population can’t even get that far.
I think this is also the reason why there is a comparatively small number of avid ultra runners.  People are going to gravitate to what’s easy or quick.  Ultra running is neither so I just don’t think it will ever draw the masses.  I came from triathlon where there are literally millions of competitors worldwide.  I moved on to ultra running for the additional challenge and I’d bet there are fewer than 10,000 ultra runners globally and thats being generous.
In ten years:  IDK.  I try to remain pretty balanced, meaning putting equal time into sport, fun, friends and family, work, etc.  This may fluctuate a lot too, ie in the summer months I may train a lot more as the industry I work in (dietary supplement) seems to slow down a lot, but then in winter/spring the industry is crazy so I hardly get to workout at all, but over the year I guess it balances.  In 10 years, barring death or injury I do hope to be working less, and doing more on the fun side, including training.  I may even train for a few triathlons again but I think I may forever be burnt out on those.  Who knows, maybe they’ll have ultra cage fighting where you aren’t allowed out for 2 days or something novel like that.
I really just want to stay balanced.  I don’t want to be in a high rise in NYC or trading on the floor making tons of money with a tire around my gut, but I also don’t want to be financially insolvent but being able to run with the wind.  So we’ll see what 10 years brings.
Deep Squat

Deep Squat

8.  How is it doing the same races multiple times and is it harder to get motivated? No I actually like it. I did this with marathons and tri’s too.  You can learn and also become familiar with a race/course over time, plus, if a race is particularly challenging, why not go back?  Badwater tests pretty much every element of human strength, endurance and perseverence.  There are many people who have done it a dozen times or more.  It’s a race one can sort of bond with.
Badwater 10am starters

Badwater 10am starters

9. Tell us about the aftermath of such an enduring race, and what do you do to recover?
Oh, I sort of did that earlier with the cake thing but my recovery really depends on the length and type of race I do.  Usually I try to plan a nice vacation right after, ie Europe, Caribbean or something and I’ll not run for maybe 2-3 weeks, even a month.  Even for 2 weeks after I’ll do nothing but eat and then when I come back I’ll start with yoga or swimming and then add some crossfit or weights and then when I feel like it all start dong everything.
I do have a recovery concoction, based on Vitargo, that I’ll take immediately after a long event to really kickstart replenishment, and then take that every day for maybe a week.  I have noticed a huge difference when I take that daily for a few days after than when I don’t.
I’ve also found wearing recovery skins, like 2XU,  as much as possible, immediately after the event and up to 3-4 days after.
Any closing words?
Well there are a lot of fads out there, poser trainers, funky diets, etc all trying to take an athletes money.  You just have to have fun and be wary of something that may not sound right or make sense.
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Interview With Ultra Runner Alexa Dickerson

When did you do your first Ultra and how was that experience?

I did my first ultra when I was 19. It was the Mt. Dissapointment 50k and it was brutal. I had only done one road marathon a couple months prior, however a few of my trail running friends who had done the race before encouraged me to go for it and said it was a great first ultra (but they were lying!). The race was slightly longer than a 50k, maybe 33 miles instead of 31, but it was in August in the San Gabriel Mountains and really hot! I was dying by the mile 13 aid station but kept playing games with myself telling myself I could quit at the next aid station. I played this game until I got to the last aid station so I decided to just finish, even though the last 3 miles (which are all very technical and climb 2000ft) took me probably 2 hours to finish. The whole race took me 9 hours and 16 minutes to finish, which is incredibly slow for a 50k, but all in all I had a fun time (kind of) and I was hooked.

Trail running exposes one to beautiful nature and spectacular views.

How was Badwater last year?

Last year was my first year at Badwater and it was harder than I ever thought it could be, but a better experience than I could have ever wished for. I had the best crew and we just had a blast the whole time, which definitely helped to make it a good experience for me. The heat surprisingly was the easiest of the elements of the race to deal with. I had done a lot of heat training in Palm Springs and Mexico with my boyfriend, Mark, who was also running the race, and when we trained we had to be self sufficient on the majority of the runs. We would either carry huge hydration packs of water plus handheld bottles, which was super annoying and we would still run out of water, or we would stash water jugs, but by the time we would get to them the water would be really hot, which was not very thirst quenching! Anyways, at Badwater having a crew to give me ice cold water and ice bandanas whenever I needed made a huge difference and made the heat much easier to deal with. What I wasn’t ready for was the crazy headwind that we had to deal with going up to Towns Pass, which is a 17 mile hill with reported 50mph winds that night. It was just impossible to move fast in that wind. Around mile 30 in the race I also contracted really bad hip brusitis, which made the rest of the 105 miles more painful than they should be. My hip just felt locked up and I had no range of motion in it. We periodically would ice and stretch and I would do leg swings to help open it up, but nothing really worked too well and it was just something that I had to deal with. I ended up finishing the race in 38 hours and 53 minutes, which was under my goal of 40 hours and so I was still happy with how things went, especially for my first Badwater. I’m hoping to break that though this year!

Managing the heat is key to finish badwater.

When did you decide you wanted to do it again?

I think that the second I crossed the finish line I knew that I wanted to do it again. Its amazing how quickly you forgot how hard it was! The feeling of accomplishment made every step worth it.

What’s your worst injury?

I have been injured quite a bit, but my most annoying injury was probably dealing with a piriformis/hip in 2011. My piriformis (which is one of the external rotators in your glute) would just get so tight it would be so uncomfortable to run. Eventually it started to affect my hip and I felt like I had maybe torn or fractured something, however an MRI showed that I didn’t. I ended up just having to take about 2 months completely off running and get some massage and graston sessions for it to finally go away, but I came back really strong after the break. My most painful injury was actually shin splints back in 2010, which I got during a 50 mile. The last 3 miles were all downhill and they hurt so bad I literally thought my tibia was going to snap in half. I have never been in so much pain. However, I wore a boot for 2 weeks and didn’t run and it went away pretty easily, thank goodness.

Runners always seem to be dealing with one injury or another. How do you prevent and deal with yours?

I am probably not the best person for this question because I tend to get injured a lot lately, however if I do feel that something isn’t right, I try and get in to see Jess as soon as I can so that it doesn’t become a bigger problem. In addition, I try and eat really healthy. I have noticed that when I eat junk, injuries start to flare up, so I try and eat as healthy as possible when I am training really hard. After long runs I will also try and do an ice bath and foam roll (but sometimes I get lazy).

Working on Alexa’s hip around mile 30

What are your top 3 exercises for running.

My three top exercises for running would be squats, deadlifts and plank hold. I like to lift really heavy and I have noticed that having really strong legs prevents me from fatiguing during long races and also helps me to be better at hills. Planks are probably the best exercise for your core and having a strong core will help to maintain good posture during long races as well.

Strength is beauty!

What’s your running gear set up right now?

As far as shoes, I love Hokas. I love the cushiness of them and they also help prevent me from fatiguing early in a race and I have also noticed that I get injured less with them. For running bottles, I like the camelback insulated bottles and then I usually wear my UltraSpira vest to carry all of my extra items that I need while running (calories, salt tabs, phone, etc..). As far as fuel of choice I do Vitargo as my main calorie source. I have also been mixing it with Mila (which is a brand of chia seed) which has been great at keeping me extra hydrated. As far as clothes, I love Lululemon because they’re cute and girly and socks, definitely Injinji because I never get blisters with them!

Alexa Dickerson.

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2012 Badwater Foot Race & Interview with Ultra Runner Mark Matyazic

The now ritual 2 mile run the day before at 116 degrees.

In 2011 a patient and now friend Mark Matyazic asked me to crew him for the Badwater Ultra Marathon Foot Race. The first thing that poped to mind was how I’d have to take time of work, but then I quickly came around to thinking about what an experience this could be. I haven’t done anything really mind blowing since skydiving over a dacade ago, so I thought why not give it a go.  Now here we are after my 2nd time crewing and I’m still enamored and deeply humbled by what I experienced – JessD

Whats makes Ultra runners different? Do you think Ultra running will make it into the Olympics, and would that be a good thing for the sport?
I think ultra runners are much more independent than most other sport demographics; the ‘do it yourself’ type and also fairly stubborn.  I mean in ultra running you can’t really rely on anyone or anything else.  All you need is shoes.  Because it’s not very exciting to watch and takes so long to complete an event, I don’t see it being commercially viable for TV, ie Olympics.

Somewhere around mile 30

Tell me about your first ultra run, and how you transitioned from Marathons to Ultras?
My first ultra was probably in high school.  I used to just go out and run, sometimes for 4-5 hours or so.  In college while lifeguarding there was a race that involved 13 miles of running and 13 miles of swimming. I won but it took all day. That got me hooked on ultra events. I don’t think I entered an ‘official’ ultra marathon though until maybe 10 years ago. I basically alternated between competing in marathons, swim races and triathlons for years, mostly using tri’s as a stepping stone before moving on to ultras.  There just wasn’t anything really ‘epic’ about triathlons.   Tri’s are just too commercial for my liking and way too predictable. I was looking for something more.  Triathon has it’s place but I always felt ultras are where the human spirit can thrive.
Looking back, I have memories of most of my ultras burned into me, especially life changing events like Badwater.   I didn’t/don’t have that with triathlon.  I spent a lot of time in tri’s and they give a great training background before moving on to longer, more grueling events.

Desert Running means 120 plus heat and heavy cross winds

As a bodyworker I quickly noticed that Ultra runners seem to get hurt less than “normal” runners that say run 3-10 miles a week. What’s been your experience? Well I think ultras are the ‘weed out’ course for runners, sort of like organic chemistry is in colleget.  There are a lot fewer ultra runners than the 10 mile a week runner.  Those that tend to get injured more often just never have the opportunity to get to ultras.  Those that do ultras seem to be those that have the bodies that get injured less.  That being said, most of us have some type of nagging injury, just usually nothing that keeps us down for long. Also, the more years you run, the smarter you get about avoiding injuries.  I’ve learned a lot just in the past few years on that.

96 starters, 89 official finishers. Ultra runners are a different breed.

How is Badwater different from other ultras?
Badwater is in a class by itself.  I mean there is just nothing else that offers all the varied challenges in one day, in one race, plus it is just so raw.
You have the distance, the heat, the hills, some altitude, calorie and water issues, mental resolve and a host of other things.  One just can’t explain Badwater until you complete it.  It’s twice as hard as a typical hundred and several fold more difficult than say an Ironman or something.  There are elements of Badwater you just never get to experience in other races.  I mean your going hard all day, then at sunset, then all night, then at sunrise and on through the next day.  You have to me strong in a lot of ways to get through that.  Plus, nothing can change a person like Badwater can.  You look at things and people different after something like that.

How was your training different this year from last year?
Not much different.  I did more desert stuff and longer runs in the heat.  Weird stuff like running in Palm Desert at noon for a few hours with no calories or salt and minimal water.  Fun stuff like that.
It’s fun to be on a trail in the middle of nowhere, with minimal gear, and passing a group of military peeps training with all their gear and getting a ‘look’.
I did a bit more weight training too but different than what I did last year.   I think its a lack of overall strength that have people slowing down in ultras.  I learned that at triathlon.  The stronger types usually excelled on the run stage.

How has your recovery been this time around compared to last year?
I can’t even explain the difference this year.  I don’t know why that is other than mainlining on a new recovery product I’ve been toying with the past few months.  I mean last year I was fairly trashed for a few months.  This year I ran a 100 miler 4 1/2 weeks after Badwater and PR’d.  I felt sort of ‘soggy’ the whole way but still beat my previous 100 mile time by an hour.  I still feel pretty good but there’s an underlying tired feeling I’ve learned to listen too.  Sept is going to be Travel and Movie Month :)

Tell me about your worst ultra experience and how you pushed through it?
That was Rocky Racoon where my water pack froze.  My fingers also nearly froze so I couldn’t even open my calorie packs.  I essentially only got water and calories at the aid stations.  At mile 92 I was so hungry I sat there and ate one whole box of Oreo cookies, something like 3000 calories as it was an ‘Econo-Pak’. Of course I got sick 2 miles later.  That combined with dyhydration made things so bad it took me 90 minutes to finish the last 3 miles. I am definitely not Cold Miser.
I essentially just ignored the whole thing, sort of removing myself from the entire day, and found myself at the finish line in about 18 hours.  Not a great time but I did finish.  That race qualified me for Badwater so I had to complete it.  No real choice anyway when your in the middle of the woods. That’s another thing ultras offer, that need for independence.  You can’t just drop and ride a sag truck back to the finish with a pile of excuses.

Me crewing Mark during the hottest part of the run.

Have you ever felt like you were going to die on a run?
Oh that’s common. In ultras you usually start tapping on Deaths door around mile 70. Other sports just don’t give you that opportunity.

It's all uphill. The Badwater route covers a total cumulative vertical assent of 13,000 ft.

Tell me about “The Zone” and when it hit this time around.
That’s a strange place with some wicked real estate. I think everyone hits something like that in an ultra, usually at night and sometime after mile 50. Some hallucinate, some become delusional, some drop. For me, every time offers something a bit different but its definitely always a unique zip code. It has a lot to do with pain and meditation. I think its about as close as possible to an out of body experience as you’re going to get and it’s also sort of fun. This time, I was at about mile 72 and was basically tolerating about as much pain as I was going to take. I knew I had a solid 60 miles to go, a quarter of that was a 5000 foot climb, so I had to trash the pain somehow.
I know when I go into that Zonish place I don’t drink water or take calories or anything as I’m really not ‘here’, so I stopped at the crew truck, topped off with water and calories, said I wouldn’t need a pacer, or really anything for a few hours, and took off into the night.
You can sort of help yourself into the Zone with some meditation so I first sort of tried putting pain in a box and discarding it. That worked for a bit but the box seemed to find me. Next I started looking around at all the space around me, the earth below, space above and simply figured I’ll just leave for awhile….maybe hide from it. Not 30 seconds later was that usual ‘Womp!’ I hear and next thing I know I was doing a million mph diagonally up and to the right Check out: http://gritgutsandglory.wordpress.com/2012/07/

Again, I really don’t know what the Zone is but I think it’s the minds way of dealing with a situation it doesn’t want to deal with but has to. Not to oversimplify it but you see pain as a choice and simply opt that sense. Since pain is a pretty strong impulse, I think the brain has to do some outlandish things to escape. I swear something was helping me deal, as per the details above, but who knows.
Since Badwater I did another ultra a few weeks ago. Beast of Burden 100 (my crewchief talked me into it), and even there I hit a ‘mini-zone’ from about mile 85-95, so basically the race was over at 85 as I just cruised the last 5. The Zone is like a serious vacation from reality and you just never know where you’re going to go, who you’re going to meet and what wisdom you may come upon. With each visit I realize I change a bit. You see things differently and think a bit different. Some things you mellow on a bit and others you find more zeal. I’ve talked to others who’ve ‘visited’ and it seems like it just makes you want to do more, be more, see more and sort of avoid monotony, habits and patterns.
I think although the visits are infrequent and short, you can take a lot away from it and use that for personal growth.

Mile 125 going up the 5000 ft assent to the finish at Mt Whitney Portal.

What is your philosophy on running and has any person or particular experience helped shape it?
Well I just think it’s one of the most natural and most primitive things to do, with swimming as a close second, so your body, mind and soul, especially your soul, want to do it. I truly think everyone would if they didn’t let life get in the way. Running can unlock a lot of things if you let it, so long as you don’t let it rule you. Very few people I’ve met know this and this is why I think the comeraderie among ultra runners is tighter than any other sport. Running is like the opposite of death. Maybe that’s why the Zone is so cool as your riding that line.

There’s a lot of talk about “the right shoe” and “the correct way to run; “what are your thoughts?
Bunch a BS. ‘Pose’? what a joke. Go out and run. Your body will tell you what to do.

Whats next for you?
I don’t know. I travel around the world a lot and have done a lot of unique races. I try to stay clear of the heavily marketed, commercial things that every one and their brother has done. New York, Boston, etc. Less people have finished Badwater than have summited Everest. That’s the kind of stuff I like.
I may to Brazil 135 in January. There’s also a 4 day stage race on the archipelago of Panama in the Spring. There’s a cool new event running in the desert of Saudi Arabia. Maybe I’ll do them all, maybe none. I’ll see what spirit grabs me…..

Closing thoughts and anything else you’d like to share?
Not really, other than having fun is what’s important. I see these people getting caught up on pace, heart race, body fat, weird diets. They create their own prison.
Our ancestors didn’t do that. The stronger of the tribe ran down a deer, killed it and ate it.
The slower runners died.
It’s a little different now, but unless your bank account depends on it, athletics should be fun.
All of us runners want to run our best but there are fun ways to get there. You asked me earlier what other stuff I do. I love to run and I’d like to run at my best AND enjoy life. It’s one in the same. If you like watching your heart rate and calories, then by all means do it. Not my thing.
I do a lot of cross training, ie swimming, yoga, a lot of primal movement stuff, a little Olympic lifting, some kettle bells, some time on the bike and occasional meditation. I do what I feel like doing at the time. Sometimes your mind needs something to make your body happy so it’s not all about busting ass.
I think travel does a lot for the soul and then that in turn enriches your mind and body - Mark Matyazic.

Crossing the 135 mile finsh Line in 26 hours and 24 minutes.

The Crew and Runner from left to right: Milko, Jason, Molly, Mark, Jess and Dean.

Life is short and precious. Challange yourself and do things that make your heart race and bring a smile to a face. Face your fears head on and you will live a full and memorable life – JessD

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Healing Crisis and Emotional Release explained

As of recent I’ve been addressing the central nervous system with more holistic intention. In doing so I’m seeing more emotions releases and healing crisis symptoms. Today, one of my patients forwarded me this article which just about sums up everything. Hope you enjoy the read:

By Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.

Any person receiving bodywork can experience what is known in the industry as a “healing crisis”. Such an occurrence can be frightening, both for the client and for the therapist. Learn how to identify the symptoms of a healing crisis and what steps for prevention you can suggest to clients.

Also known as the “Herxheimer Reaction”, a healing crisis occurs when the body tries to eliminate toxins at a faster rate than they can be disposed of. The more toxic one’s bodily systems are, the more severe the detoxification experience, or healing crisis. This reaction signifies that the bodywork received is working and that your client’s body is going through the process of cleaning itself of impurities, toxins and imbalances. While a healing crisis is temporary, it can occur immediately, within several days or several weeks after a bodywork session. Symptoms usually pass within several days, but can persist for several weeks. Often the crisis will come after a client feels their very best.

A healing crisis is a reaction to previously sequestered toxins being systemically released. Such poisons can be stored in all kinds of tissues, primarily muscle, fascia and adipose. During manipulation, whether it’s deep tissue massage, energy work or reflexology, these poisons are squeezed out of the holding body tissue into the bloodstream. This sudden increase in blood toxicity causes a toxicity reaction, until the body is able to effectively process and eliminate the poisons. While not a pleasant experience, a healing crisis signifies that a cleansing and purifying process is underway.

While cleansing can be physical, emotional or spiritual, a true healing crisis typically involves all three of these aspects. Due to the body’s fascinating ability to store memories and emotions in the tissues, their recollection or release can accompany the manipulation of those tissues. Most practitioners refer to the surfacing of memories or emotions without physical symptoms as an emotional release. An emotional release is a typical component of most healing crises.

Emotional Releases

Most people have some emotional issues or traumas occurring sometime in their life. Whenever an emotional trauma or situation happens it is stored in the nervous system. Though we may think we are over it and not even remember it, the mark or impression could still be there and negatively affect our health and psychology. During any form of bodywork it is possible to release these stored issues or traumas. An emotional release may give rise to feelings of anger, grief or another emotion. This release is indicative of a healthful body transformation, where the body clears itself of the negativity previously stored within.

Learning to suppress our feelings typically causes them to go into our physical bodies. The tensing of neck muscles will prohibit frowning, holding one’s breath can replace crying and jaw clenching may stifle yelling. When these patterns are repeated, emotional suppression becomes a habit, the unconscious mind takes over, and the body becomes a storehouse for unexpressed, unconscious feelings.

Suppressed emotions and traumas are a key factor in the development of muscular tension, high blood pressure, heart disease, immune weakness and other diseases. Most practitioners agree that real healing begins when this suppression is released, freeing the body to heal at the deepest level.

What are the symptoms of a healing crisis?

While each individual’s body is unique, there are some common symptoms typical of a healing crisis. Below is a list of Herxheimer Reaction symptoms most often experienced after receiving bodywork:

• Dizziness and light-headedness
• Fatigue
• Nausea and vomiting
• Low-grade fever
• Joint and muscle aches
• An odd or metallic taste in the mouth
• Muscle cramps
• Skin eruptions
• Intense emotional states
• Increased sweating, urination or defecation

For more info: http://www.integrative-healthcare.org/mt/archives/2006/10/how_to_prepare.html

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Badwater Interview with Mark Matyazic

How long have you been running and what got you into ultra running?

Been running since I was about 12.  It was mostly just to get out of the house and suburban Ohio in the 80′s was quite boring.   That and I enjoyed the dynamic aspect of swimming so much when I was younger; running offered a dryer and more social alternative.

Tell me about your experience at the Copper Canyon race with the Tarahumara runners?

That was one of the more epic of my adventure explorations.  It was unique to be an obvious minority among one of the most interesting, and peaceful, cultures I’ve ever experiences.  Similar to the Indians of ‘back woods’ Costa Rica I met during The Coastal Challenge.

The Tarahumara and Raramuri really honor the concept of ‘korima’ which is essentially karma.  They’ll give and give and be extraordinarily polite, expecting nothing in return, but knowing it will come back to them if they are in need.

Quite a concept that I haven’t witnessed anywhere else in my global treks and certainly diametric to the standard in developed countries.

I hear that the Tarahumara runners use the mythical Chia seed, have you used it?

Yes, Chia seed is the same as the Cha- Cha- Cha- Chia pets we all (or was it just me) had when we were younger. It’s quite high in essential oils like Omega 3, and also contains a lot of energy in form of those oil and carbohydrate.  They are quite high in vitamins and minerals.

How does one qualify to Badwater?

There is an entry form in which you basically qualify in one of a few ways.  The most common is having a lengthy background in endurance sports and also more specifically one has to finish 3 100 miles runs, one within the same year as Badwater.   There is still no guarantee you will get in as there is a committee that selects you.  Doing ok, like top 10, in those 100 mile races will increase the likelihood of acceptance.

Tell me about your fitness routine and how you prepare for the Badwater race.

It’s dynamic throughout the year.  Running is my staple as you need the volume and nothing can replace that. I also through in quite a bit of swimming, Bikram yoga, cross-fit and cycling.  Cross training is essential and keeps things interesting. I’ve found that just running can be boring.

What kind of supplements do you take during an ultra race?

Primarily only Vitargo.  It is the ONLY University proven effective fueling and recovery fuel.  It is quite superior to any form of maltodextrin or simple sugars (mono or di sacharides).  Once I was introduced to it I use nothing else.

What time are you going for this race?

I’d sorta like to finish before midnight of Day 2 but I’ll take 2 am on Day 3 as that is 40 hours.
What motivated you to start running ultras?

I got bored and burnt out with the monotony of triathlons.  Ultra’s offer miles and miles of exploring far off and secluded trails that most people don’t get to see, including mountains, swamps, beaches and even rainforests.

What keeps you going at mile 92?

I don’t know, probably just something inside that says keep going.  I mean if one isn’t severely injured, only a real woose would drop due to plain ole fatigue, because they’re not winning or some similarly lame excuse.  If you start something, finish it.

Please share you best and worst experiences during a race

Worst experience was around mile 38 when it was 125 degrees, I thought I was on another planet and reports have it people were asking me questions like what I wanted to drink and I answered in numbers like “oh, 6:30″.  I also couldn’t fathom 100 or so more miles but figured I’d get there someday.  Time really really slowed down and it felt like  I ran those few miles over  few days.

Best experience was cresting Towns pass and not only have a down hill but also a temp drop of 30 degrees. It was literally night and day and my mile pace went down nearly 80%.  Both my pacer Jamil and I were maxed out doing nearly sub 6′s.  That feeling lasted nearly 30 miles so we also ran the whole way up Father Crowly grade.

Another low point was going up the Whitney portal road.  For some reason I thought I had 8 or so people a 1/4 mile behind me (they were over an hour) and I kept swearing and running! That paranoia probably cut a mile off my pace as I only walked when I absolutely couldn’t run. My pacer Dean ‘reminded’ me that I was walking every time I stopped running which was another motivating (if not irritating) factor,  but that’s what pacers are for.  Like a verbal cattle prod.

Finishing was an insane feeling of accomplishment, looking out east over the desert and that long black strip of pavement we traversed for 135 miles and just under 28 hours.
Best race you’ve run?

I’ve had a few good triathlons and stage races but I’d have to say this was my most grueling and well executed race of my life. It will never be forgotten.  My crew was a big, if not THE most integral part of that experience!

At 135 miles with 120 plus degree heat and 20,000 ft elevation gain, why Badwater?

It doesn’t get any harder. I mean really, what’s next?

Editors note: This was Marks 1st time racing Badwater. He completed the race in the very fast time of 27 hours 48 minutes, and finished in 6th place. Crewing Badwater has exposed to me the awesome power of the human spirit and our ability to accomplish unfathomable acts of athleticism. When there is a will, there is a way!!

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Badwater Photos

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barefoot running

Check out this article I found on NPR:

Some scientists say we are natural-born runners, that our body has evolved to run. Now, the leading proponent of the so-called human runner school concludes that we do it more efficiently without shoes.

NPRs Christopher Joyce has this story on barefoot running.

CHRISTOPHER JOYCE: Anthropologist Dan Lieberman says human ancestors needed to run well – away from big animals and after small, tasty ones, for example. He based that view on fossil bones.

Lately, though, hes been studying runners, living ones. It started at a lecture he gave before the Boston Marathon. A barefoot runner – someone who runs long distances without shoes – peppered the professor with questions he couldnt answer. So Lieberman took him to his lab at Harvard University. He had him run over a flat, metal plate that measures the collisional force of a footfall. Lieberman says runners generate a lot of collisional force.

Professor DAN LIEBERMAN (Anthropologist): Most runners, when they land and they heel strike – they land on their heel – they generate this sudden impulse, this sharp spike of force. So its like somebody hitting you on the heel with a hammer about one-and-a-half to three times your body weight.

JOYCE: Lieberman was surprised by the extremely low force readings made by the barefoot runner.

Prof. LIEBERMAN: He ran across the force plate and he didnt have it. And I thought, gee, thats really amazing and it kind of makes sense because that spike of force hurts, and I wonder if other barefoot runners do that.

JOYCE: So Lieberman tested several groups of runners: Kenyans whod been walking and running barefoot all their lives, and Americans who grew up walking and running in shoes, and some who switched from shoes to running barefoot. He found that runners in shoes usually land heel-first. Barefoot runners land farther forward, either on the ball of their foot or somewhere in the middle of the foot, and then the heel comes down. That spreads the impact force across the foot, ankle and lower leg muscles. There’ s less sudden vertical force shooting up the leg that way.

Also, people who switched from shoes to barefoot running eventually, without prompting, adopted the barefoot style. Lieberman, who runs marathons himself, says the reason is simple.

Prof. LIEBERMAN: Its pain avoidance. Its very easy to do. And your body naturally tells you what to do.

JOYCE: Running shoes dampen the shock of a heel-first landing. So, Lieberman says, thats probably why shoed people run that way. But is that the most efficient way to run? Lieberman thinks not.

Prof. LIEBERMAN: Turns out that the way in which barefoot runners run seems to store up more energy.

JOYCE: To understand how that works, I talked with anthropologist Brian Richmond at George Washington University. He points out that the human foot has an arch with ligaments inside that stretch and contract with every footfall.

Professor BRIAN RICHMOND (Anthropologist, George Washington University): It allows the arch of the foot and the calf muscles to act as a better spring and to store up energy, and then give it back in the beginning of the next step.

JOYCE: Think of a compressed mattress spring pushed down and then released. Richmond agrees with Lieberman that the front-first landing of barefoot running probably capitalizes on that spring mechanism more than heel-first landing – it gets more spring out of the spring.

Richmond, in fact, has discovered fossilized footprints dating back a million and a half years. Those human ancestors who left them had an arch. They were walking when they left the prints. But Richmond now suspects that when they ran, they landed front-first.

Prof. RICHMOND: It looks like this is how our ancestors have been running for a million years or more. Its only been in the last 10,000 years weve had any kind of shoes, really.

JOYCE: Lieberman published his findings in the journal Nature. He received research funding from a company that makes minimal shoes, which mimic barefoot conditions. He adds that he received no personal income from the company. He also says hes not taking sides over which style of running is better or safer.

Prof. LIEBERMAN: I think we have to be really careful about what we do and we dont know. We have not done any injury studies, so this is not an injury study.

JOYCE: That, he says, is next.

Christopher Joyce, NPR News.

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