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Any Plan is Better then No Plan

It's a oft discussed topic in the world of ultras with firm opinions on both sides. To have a plan or to not have a plan?

The no plan camp says that a detailed chart can lead to more mental anxiety then not if things don't go according to that plan. There is truth to that statement - how many times in a race have you targeted specific goals and then struggled when the goal times weren't met? Seeing goal times at checkpoints slip away can have a devastating effect on a race. Athletes either push too hard trying to make up time or just give up because the goal is gone. Pushing too hard often has the opposite effect. Instead of making up time, there's too much energy expended and the athlete loses more time in the end. On the other end of the spectrum is the athlete who simply gives up and stops. This athlete isn't hitting the goal splits and doesn't see the big picture that while one segment of the race might not go according to the plan, there's miles left t…

Preserverance - The 2018 Imogene Pass Run

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This is from Merideth - her story of perseverance despite crazy odds to reach the finish line. 
Imogene Pass. A little slice of heaven that separates Ouray, CO from Telluride. I was privileged enough (thanks to a dear friend) to secure a highly coveted place in a 17.1 mile race that goes over this 13k foot high pass. (All 1.6k-ish slots sold out in less than 30 minutes). 5,363 feet of constant and unrelenting elevation gain while climbing for 10 miles, and then descending 7.1 miles back into Telluride. There were 3 cutoff points where the race officials reserve the right to turn runners around based on weather and elapsed time. The first cutoff for this race was 7.65 miles in.  Runners have 2.5 hours to get to this cutoff point, and “all” runners who arrive at this point after the 2.5 hour mark were supposed to be turned around to trudge back to Ouray with their tails between their legs.

Luckily, beautiful weather and forgiving volunteers let me continue even though I arrived 10 minut…

Ultra Part 4 - Dreams Worth Dreaming

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This is Merideth's story about her first ultra - the Pikes Peak Ultra 50k. PPU is one of the harder 50ks in the state, with over 7k of climbing, including summiting Mount Rosa at over 11,500 feet before dropping back into the city. I have it split into four parts for easier reading.

At the base of Rosa, I encountered the second to last aide station where one of my friends was volunteering. Not only did I grab my typical potato chips and Coke, she also handed me some candied bacon she had brought with her. My nutrition felt really good at this point, and honestly, I stopped checking my watch. I was within 10 minutes of my target overall time, and I felt really good. I also had a bit of a cell signal at this point, and got a text from my coach - who had already finished - reminding to be mindful on the decent I had in front of me because it had some rough spots.
Just past the aide station, I received a notification on my phone for rain that was supposed to start very soon. I was gra…

Ultra Part 3 - Reaching the Summit

This is Merideth's story about her first ultra - the Pikes Peak Ultra 50k. PPU is one of the harder 50ks in the state, with over 7k of climbing, including summiting Mount Rosa at over 11,500 feet before dropping back into the city. I have it split into four parts for easier reading.

The race started at 6:30am sharp. The first 7.5 miles of the course included a few miles of rolling trails before the first big ascent started up High Drive. I started the race with just a small hand held water bottle and a gel. Earlier this year, I ran the High Drive Challenge, which is a 10 mile out and back race that includes the exact same first 5 miles as the PPU. I used my times from that race to help guide me on my pacing up the 2.5 mile ascent and to help me gage my food and fluids. Once I got to the top of High Drive, the course circled around to a trail called Captain Jacks, which is a mountain biking trail that descends another few miles to the first aide station. I felt great by the time I …

Ultra Part 2 - Ultra Dreams and Demons

This is Merideth's story about her first ultra - the Pikes Peak Ultra 50k. PPU is one of the harder 50ks in the state, with over 7k of climbing, including summiting Mount Rosa at over 11,500 feet before dropping back into the city. I have it split into four parts for easier reading.
Last year, I found a love for trail running. It started with the peer pressure of friends to sign up for the Pike’s Peak Ascent, but was solidified through the running of other local trail races and adventures on the back country trails of Pike National Forest. My confidence in myself as a runner really started to establish roots in trail running. I didn’t feel like I had to be fast. I just had to be strong and determined. Check. I could run a half marathon up the side of one of the tallest mountain peaks in Colorado and complete 5-6 hour long runs in the middle of the wilderness. What else could I do? A few weeks after I completed the Ascent, I was continually researching trail running so I could lear…

Ultra Part 1 - Prologue

This is Merideth's story about her first ultra - the Pikes Peak Ultra 50k. PPU is one of the harder 50ks in the state, with over 7k of climbing, including summiting Mount Rosa at over 11,500 feet before dropping back into the city. I have it split into four parts for easier reading.

I am a runner, but you would never know by looking at me. I don’t fit a stereotype of what one might think of as a runner – lean, tall, strong. My sister and father have had running in common for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I remember watching my dad leave for hours at a time to complete his runs, as well as watching him run across the finish line of our annual local 10k in rural central Illinois. When she was in middle school and high school, I remember watching my sister at track meets – tearing up the track in the 400. Her junior year of high school, she even ran on a relay team that won second place at the Illinois state track meet. I remember wanting to be a runner so I could have that in…

Summer Recap

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It's been a busy few months and I've been remiss on the athlete updates and results. Lots of racing and training going on for Thelen Coaching athletes over the summer. Quick recap of all the great things going on right now. Hopefully I didn't miss anything!

May
May brought some fun events and some serious events. Merideth traveled to Southern Utah for the Ragnar Relay Zion, racing with her family. The trail relay events are as serious as you make them and Merideth and her team had a blast. They ran hard but also enjoyed the family time camping in the desert.


Also in May, Brenda rode in the Santa Fe 50 mile ride, smartly making the choice to drop to the shorter distance when the weather proved more then challenging. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor and making the smart choices can mean more time to train and play later.

Over Memorial Day, Dianna and Merideth ran in the High Drive Challenge 10 mile race, running to summit of High Drive and back down. It wa…