Although ultra-marathon sensation Courtney Dauwalter is not your typical person, most people wouldn’t think of running for hours on end through difficult, undulating terrain.
Dauwalter’s exploits typically take place at distances significantly greater than that, typically between 100 and 250 miles, despite the fact that an ultra-marathon is technically defined as any race that is longer than 26.2 miles.
The 38-year-old’s list of accomplishments is nearly endless. Dauwalter, who has been named “Ultra Running Magazine Ultrarunner of the Year” four times, holds numerous course records for the outrageously long races that take place both in the United States and abroad.
The Moab 240, an annual 240-mile race in Utah, was Dauwalter’s turning point. At the 2017 version, soon after pursuing the choice to turn into a full-time ultra-sprinter, Dauwalter got done with the tasks a barely convincing 10 hours in front of any remaining contenders – male and female.
According to Ultrasignup’s results database, Dauwalter won her 15th consecutive race by gender at the Transgrancanaria event on February 24, which was her most recent outing.
The native of Minnesota completed the arduous 128 kilometers (79.5 miles) course around the Canary Islands in a course record 14 hours and 40 minutes, gaining more than 7000 meters of elevation. over ninety minutes ahead of her nearest rival.
Pizza and pints
Her approach to the sport is what makes Dauwalter’s success even more remarkable. With rigorous training schedules, extreme diets, and a plethora of advanced technology, you might anticipate her to have a forensic perspective on the craft given the extraordinary distances covered.
The inverse is valid, as a matter of fact.
“Pre-race I’ll typically go with pizza,” Dauwalter tells CNN Game. ” Pizza is not difficult to track down anyplace, it’s anticipated, and it’s scrumptious.
“Thereafter I’m many times hankering a lager and simply a tremendous heap of nachos.”
Dauwalter is of the opinion that intuition cannot be replaced in coaching. She doesn’t even have a heart rate monitor on her.
She asserts, “The best way for me to train right now is not to have a coach, not to have a plan, and really just to tune into those signals – physical, mental, and emotional.” Then I can evaluate myself and see where I am at each day.
“One of the cool things about this sport is that there are so many different ways people train for these races; there is no one right way to finish a 100-mile or 200-mile race.”
‘The Pain Cave’
Dauwalter’s dominance in ultramarathons appears to be perplexing. When one thinks of an extreme sport phenomenon, it’s hard to imagine someone who is approachable, modest, and has a reassuring grin.
Under that grin, notwithstanding, lies an unfaltering obligation to mental strength, helped by a specific perception practice she made for whenever hard times arise: The Cave of Pain.
Dauwalter explains, “The Pain Cave is the place I go to in my head when it feels like I physically can’t take another step.” Because I’m a very visual person, I’ll imagine actually grabbing a chisel and entering this cave in my mind. Our bodies often want to quit before we’ve reached our limits.
Dauwalter is supposed to use the fictitious tool to increase the depth of the cave, thereby increasing her mental capacity to push her limits and making the physical pain into a productive exercise.
She adds, “If we can just stay strong in our heads and change our mindset to something useful and positive, we can usually achieve a lot more than we thought.”
Friendly flying eels
This isn’t to imply that that the brain over-matter methodology comes without risk in ultra-long distance races.
Dauwalter told the Rich Roll podcast in 2017 that she once lost her sight completely during the final stages of a race. She said that for the last 10 miles of a 100-mile race, it was “pure white” in her field of vision.
When ultra-marathons push human resolve to its limits, hallucinations are common. Andrew Mojica, a previous brain science understudy at the College of Texas, told Trail Sprinter Magazine in 2017 that “essentially a third” of the contenders he concentrated on in 2003’s 135-mile Badwater Race in Death Valley, California, experienced mental trips.
Dauwalter, true to his character, uses a creative and upbeat strategy to deal with the out of the blue visions.
She exclaims with a chuckle, “At first I didn’t know that these hallucinations happened during races – I distinctly remember I was doing a race in Colorado and there were flying eels like bombs coming towards my head.” On this Colorado-like mountain, there was also a giraffe standing right next to the trail.
“I’ve just grown to appreciate it now that I know those things happen and I might make some friends out there,” she said. “Like, what friends might I make on this race?”
The forefront of science
Dauwalter’s ongoing success against men and women has sparked debate about the science of biological sex and how it affects performance as distance increases. She was a science teacher herself.
Dauwalter provides the following explanation: “There is a lot to learn about what people are capable of in this sport – and specifically there is a lot to learn about what people are capable of in those races that are 200 or more miles.”
“Racing a race requires endurance and strength, but suddenly you also need the ability to solve problems, mental strength, stubbornness, or the ability to stay awake.”
Dauwalter excels in these less tangible skills, and the Colorado resident is excited about the prospect of participating in the ongoing process of learning about race length.
“This multitude of different abilities that don’t have anything to do with muscle size and are abilities that truly anybody could create or be normally great at,” she proceeds.
“Thus, it will be fascinating to perceive how we might interpret what’s conceivable creates as we get an ever increasing number of individuals doing them (longer races) … and to be a piece of that is truly energizing.”
Exploring the world with your feet
Given the breadth of her accomplishments, it would be remiss to describe Dauwalter as happy-go-lucky; however, she insists that her enjoyment of her exploits and the problem-solving that comes with absurd distance are essential to her successes.
Dauwalter asserts, “It’s fun for me to train, race, and explore what’s possible with these ultra-races, the really long trail ones.”
“Furthermore, I love stretching my boundaries and seeing what’s conceivable – so keeping that as fun as we can is first spot on the list of significance.”
Ultra-long distance races’ inbuilt relationship with nature keeps the satisfaction new for Dauwalter.
“It feels truly exceptional to have the option to investigate in like that, to see the value in how quiet it very well may be in a portion of those minutes and a portion of those spots and not actually understand what’s coming,” she says.
“It’s such a cool surprise to have,” says one hiker, “when you come around a corner on a trail and you have no idea of the huge view you’re going to be rewarded with.”
There is truly a global circuit for ultramarathons. Dauwalter has won races in Texas, Cape Town, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean alone in the past year. The runner is thankful for the sport’s travel opportunities.
She remarks, “I really appreciate exploring these places with my feet.”
Dauwalter is too modest to think about legacy and accomplishment. She asserts that she herself is “definitely not keeping track” of her winning streak. However, her popularity and following continue to expand (as of this writing, she has 420,000 Instagram followers).
Her message is clear when she is forced to consider what she wants her impact to be on the sport and beyond: We ought to all try harder to push ourselves.
She asserts, “In general, I believe that everyone’s standards are just a little bit too low, and that we should raise the bar for ourselves.” We ought to pursue what sounds somewhat insane or sounds somewhat too troublesome and simply see, since, what difference would it make?”
For Dauwalter, it doesn’t matter if that extra effort comes from her favorite sport.
She says, “Yes, I want more people to experience ultrarunning.” I’d love for people to decide that’s their thing, even though it sounds crazy. Yet additionally, I figure individuals can simply do that with anything in their life and see what occurs with it.”