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Mueller Pacing for Top Spot in Women's Field

Mueller winning the 2014 Grizzly UltraMarathon

Mueller winning the 2014 Grizzly UltraMarathon

Nadine Mueller is no stranger to epic races, the Golden Ultra might even be tame for her.  As the reigning champion and course record holder of of the Grizzly Ultramarathon in Canmore and silver medallist at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Running Championships, Nadine is clearly a great runner.  That's not all she is, though.  She's also four-time solo champion of 24 Hours of Adrenalin and age group world champion in Xterra triathlon.

We caught up with Nadine between her training sessions to see how her training is coming along for the 2015 Golden Ultra.

Where do you live and train?

I spent the past few years living in Canmore but have recently moved to Victoria, BC.  It's been great so far and I love all the running and biking trails.  The west coast cities are great for their mountains and trails so close to the urban center.

What are your goals for 2015?

I've had a pretty big life change this past year, so just being able to train during this huge lifestyle adjustment is a bonus. Due to my circumstances, I've had to adjust my goals for this year. I have two main goals: the first is to podium at the Singletrack 6 (6-day mountain bike stage race) on a 2-women competitive team and the second to is to keep up with the elite runners and 'successfully' complete my first ultra-running stage race at the Golden Ultra in September.

Nadine with her bike.

Nadine with her bike.

What are some of your career highlights?

I had a successful year last summer in which I finished 3rd in my category in the ITU World Cross Triathlon Championships in Zittau, Germany, finished 1st for the 4th consecutive year at the 24 Hr Adrenalin Solo Mountain Bike Race in Canmore, AB, finished 1st in my age category at the XTERRA Triathlon World Championships in Maui, HI, and finished the racing season, winning and breaking the female course record at the Grizzly Ultra 50km Trail Run. 

What are you looking forward to at the Golden Ultra?

I'm looking forward to running alongside and learning from the elite ultra-runners during my transition into ultra distance running. I'm excited to enter my first ultra running stage race, albeit an inaugural ultra stage race, and being among other like-minded runners during 3 days of pure suffering bliss where friendships will be made and stories exchanged!

What motivates you?

I'm still searching for that answer myself...LOL! People ask me where I get my determination and discipline but I think it's just me wanting to push myself and see how far I can go. You usually can always go further than you think..."Just one more..." seems to be my saying as well as "It's not pain, just manageable discomfort!"  I'm always up for new challenges!

We're looking forward to having you in Golden in September, Nadine!  

The Golden Ultra is a 3-day trail running stage race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Meet our Running Guru, Elinor Fish

For those runners lucky enough to be coming to our running and yoga retreat in June, you'll get to be mentored by Elinor Fish for the entire weekend.  Here's a bit more information on this beautiful soul and fantastic runner.

ElinorFish.jpg

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the little ski town of Rossland, British Columbia, though I spent a lot of my childhood in Nelson, sailing on Kootenay Lake and riding horses.  After many years of running, traveling and studying on three continents, I now live in Carbondale, Colorado, which is about 30 miles north of Aspen.

Why did you move to Colorado from Canada?
I moved here from Canmore, Alberta, in 2006 to join the editorial team at Trail Runner magazine. I met my husband soon after and we decided to raise our family here because it’s a fantastic outdoorsy mountain town ideal for raising active kids.

You’ve competed in events ranging from  track and cross country in University to 100-mile ultramarathons. What keeps you going?  
Over the course of my 25-year competitive career, my source of motivation has shifted dramatically. In the beginning, I thrived on the competitive aspect of the sport, and spent many years pushing myself to see how fast and how far I could go.

But more recently, running has become much more about managing stress and supporting my overall health. I have a chronic auto-immune disease that reacts to stress. I’m good at working myself to the bone and pushing myself to always do more (at work and in sports), but if I don’t take care of myself, I suffer immensely.

Not only does my condition flare, but I get exhausted to the point I can’t get out of bed.

Trail running puts me in beautiful mountain places and wipes the mental slate clean so I can do everything I want to do in life, and have the energy to show up for the people who rely on me.

Lots of people say that running is not a lifetime sport.  What do you say to that?  
I specifically wrote The Healthy Runner’s Manifesto, an e-book published last year, to dispel that misconception.

Running is one of the healthiest habits we can possibly have, and when you run for health above all, then you can do it well into old age. When I see stories about people running marathons in their 80’s, I see them not a physiological marvels, but people who’ve got it right: they not only place a high value on their physical well-being, they find immense joy in the experience of running.

Instead of running to achieve specific performance goals, when you run for the process of it, of being in your body and truly experience running’s meditative qualities, then you’ve just tapped into a bottomless source of motivation that can last a lifetime.

You do a lot of personal coaching; what inspired you to help other runners? 
Trail running helped me through dark periods of mourning, loss, deep sadness and discomfort during many transitions and disappointments in my life.

So I committed myself to understanding specifically how running makes us more resilient to stress. This led me to dive into a four-year research project (that’s still ongoing) to fully understand the science behind how running changes the mind as well as the body.

What I discovered blew my mind, and I want to share those lessons with other runners. My clients are runners who are broken, burned out, disillusioned, or desperate to have running in their life, but face many obstacles.

I help them get a clear picture of their total stress load (from all aspects of life) and how it  affects their health. Then we take specific action to reduce the stress and rebuild health. It’s customized to each person, but usually involves a combination of natural running form, nutritional habits, self-care and recovery, sleep habits and mindfulness.

That foundation of health becomes the basis for their running training, whether they run ultramarathons or run to socialize or whatever their goal.

Retreat participants are looking forward to your running technique sessions. What immediate improvements will they experience?
Yes, tweaking one’s running form can create immediate improvements in running economy (efficiency), endurance, comfort and post-run recovery.

At the retreat, we’ll talk about what is means to let gravity do more of the work. Instead of using muscular force to push them through the gait cycle, I’ll show runners how to align their posture to lessen the work load.

When you don’t have to work as hard, you can be more relaxed while running, which helps you not only decrease your chance of injury, but find more joy in the experience.

What are you most looking forward to running during the retreat? 
I’m really looking forward to Kristen Stuart’s yoga classes. As a mountain athlete herself, Kristen has a deep understanding of how we endurance junkies can benefit from the thoughtful, controlled movements of yoga. I began doing yoga with the intention of working on flexibility and core strength, but I’ve learned that it offers so much more. Yoga is great for teaching runners about how to find ease and relaxation in the face of discomfort or challenge. 

A Challenge for the Ladies

(c) Fast and Female

(c) Fast and Female

Golden Ultra organizers are putting up a big challenge to female runners: join us in Golden and your participation will contribute to keeping girls involved in sport throughout and past their teenage years. 

The Golden Ultra will be donating 20% of each registration fee for every additional female registered over male participant to the Fast and Female organization.  Runners will also have the opportunity to donate to Fast and Female as part of the registration process and collect pledges from others for participating.  Ultramarathon and trail running events traditionally have a higher percentage of male participants so this is a challenge to female trail runners to gather in Golden in September to change this trend.

Chandra Crawford, Olympic Gold Medallist and Fast and Female Founder responded to the fundraising initiative with her typical enthusiasm: “How cool is this?  A gorgeous mountain adventure and you can sign up for the entire beastly thing or just one stage... let’s get our run on, ladies, and raise awareness and funds for female empowerment with Fast and Female while we do it!”

Fast and Female is a not-for-profit society founded in 2005.  The organization’s goal is to support, motivate, inspire and empower girls aged 8-18 to stick with sports and a healthy lifestyle.  Fast and Female creates “empowerment through Sport” for girls by hosting fun-filled, non-competitive programming led by female Olympians and elite athletes, as well as by delivering educational content to parent and coaches.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.  For more information, please visit www.goldenultra.com.