Ultra-Runner Shares How She Wins at Everything!

Ultra-Runner Shares How She Wins at Everything!

meredith-dolhare-badwaterAfter a stellar career in high school and college tennis, a busy married life with two young children, a newspaper column on fitness and a career in PR and advertising, a business as a certified personal trainer, and extensive volunteer work, Meredith Dolhare found herself sidelined with a second badly broken foot in 2007. Her husband Walter suggested she set a goal, and she picked Iron Man – although she didn’t own a bicycle. Dolhare started spinning classes while she was still wearing a cast and competed in her first Iron Man in 2008.

Finding Her Outlet

“I realized I had the bandwidth for it,” she says. “I ran a marathon right before it in Prague. I realized that I liked the long stuff and I had a real knack for the bike. I found my outlet for competitiveness.” She ran 12 Iron Mans in three years, Ironman colored logoincluding three on consecutive weekends in the Alps followed a month later by an Ultraman in the United Kingdom – 6.2 miles swimming, 261.4 miles biking, and 52.4 miles running.

After spinal surgery in 2012, Dolhare returned to run a 100-kilometer race and a 135-mile race. She struggled with nausea – vomiting frequently during races when she ate solid food or too many calories.

The Right Stuff has made a huge, huge difference. The first race I used, it I won

“I have a lot of trouble with electrolyte imbalance,” she says. “The Right Stuff has made a huge, huge difference. The first race I used it, I won” – two hours ahead of the second-place woman in a 50-mile race that was training for the 135-Badwater 135mile Badwater in Death Valley, with temperatures up to 130 degrees. The next weekend, she finished a double marathon in San Francisco even faster, and she placed third among women in Badwater, where she took a bottle of The Right Stuff every 2½ hours. Months later, she finished the companion 508-mile Death Valley Cup – the sixth woman ever to complete both races in the same calendar year.

“I used The Right Stuff also during the bike race,” she says. “I couldn’t have done it without it. That product really works for me. I use it sometimes before I run, during the run, after the run. I drink it during the day.” Her 14-year-old son and some others on his cross-country team that she coaches also use The Right Stuff.

Athletic Participation is a Longtime Focus

Athletic participation is a longtime focus for Dolhare, who grew up in Memphis and was the 9th-ranked U.S. tennis player when she graduated from high school. She went to UCLA on a scholarship but transferred after her freshman year to Vanderbilt University, where she was captain of a team that rose from 72nd in the country to eighth by the time she graduated with honors. “It was a great experience,” she says. “I loved it.” But her extensive play – singles and doubles, fall and spring – left her overused shoulder too damaged to pursue a professional tennis career.

Non-Profit Engages People Through Running

After the NCAA tournament her senior year, she married Walter, a star tennis player at the University of Notre Dame who had gone into banking. She started work in advertising and public relations, as well as her “Get off the couch” newspaper column. The couple moved from Memphis to Charlotte soon after their first son was born, and she started volunteering and fundraising. In 2012, she founded RunningWorks, a non-profit running program that engages people in running to foster teamwork, discipline, confidence, self-respect, and respect for others.

Word-Record Holder, Ultra-Distance Runner Shares His Story

Word-Record Holder, Ultra-Distance Runner Shares His Story

Valmir Nunes Graveyard 100 croppedValmir Nunes has been running ultra-distance races [Editor Note: Ultra-distance races are longer than 26-mile marathons, typically 50-100 miles and longer] for nearly half his life, starting at age 26 after battling back from a debilitating disease when he was 18. The globetrotting Brazilian has won races from the United States to The Netherlands to Greece. He has set world records and still holds the South American and Brazilian Ultramarathon records, as well as the record in the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley.

“I became interested in running when I was 16 years old,” Nunes says “My first experience was a 100-meter race and another 1,500-meter race in school. What attracted me to running ultras was that I always liked exercising. I never really got tired from running; it was never too much. Running ultras gave me the opportunity of running for long period of times. I like being a professional runner because I have been all over the planet and I have friends from all different parts of the world. I have been through many things in my life, but my passion for running has helped me overcome all the obstacles.”

…my passion for running has made me overcome all the obstacles

Valmir Nunes badwater_2007Nunes won the 1991 world championship in the 100-kilometer race in Italy and the USA National 100 Kilometer Championship. In 1995 in The Netherlands, he set a world record in the race that stood until 1998. Nunes won the 153-mile Spartathlon in Greece [Editor Note: this race takes a similar path to the one Pheidippedes ran when seeking help during the Battle of Marathon] in 2001 and the Badwater 135 (217 Km) from Death Valley up Mt. Whitney in 2007, in 114° heat in his time of 22 hours 51 minutes 29 seconds, the first time the race had been completed in less than 24 hours. More recently, he won the 170.1-mile (274 Km) 24 Hours in Taiwan and the 24 Hours in Croatan in Croatan National Forest in North Carolina.

“The first time I ever saw The Right Stuff TRS_LOGO_2015_BACKGROUNDwas in a running packet I received in a race in the United States,” Nunes says. “I used it, and I really liked it. The Right Stuff helps me stay hydrated and as a positive consequence it helps me with my resistance – which is very important when running long distances – and lowers my heart rate.”

“What attracted me to start coaching other people was the idea of teaching others what I had learned through my experiences,” he says. “It is very important that runners learn how to pace themselves; how to keep hydrated before, during and after races; how to be mentally prepared to enter a competition; how much to train – and to understand that we all have good and bad times during a competition.”

Nunes, who published a book on ultrarunning in Portugese in 2010, also recommends The Right Stuff to the runners that he coaches.

Running Races and Winning (Ultra-distances) for Women Over 60

Running Races and Winning (Ultra-distances) for Women Over 60

Linda Quirk wants to see how far she can go to demonstrate the vitality of over-60 women in ultrarunning. Quirk, 62, ran the L.A. Marathon, GOPR0047her first, when she was 35 with no prior experience in 5K or 10K. She was hooked and ran many more marathons including Big Sur and Alaska’s Midnight Sun Marathon. At the age of 45, she took up Ironman, with help from a coach, on a challenge from her oldest son.

“I fell in love with Ironman and participated all the way through qualifying for Kona,” says Quirk, who recovered from a biking accident and qualified for Kona in 2008 at Lanzarote in the Canary Islands when the first-place finisher declined the spot.

“Things fell into place for me,” she says. “It was obviously meant for me to go to Kona. “Having reached the pinnacle of my triathlon career at Kona, I hung up the bike. It was time for me to plant my feet back on the ground.”

my feet back on the ground

12932762In 2010, she completed a plan to run a marathon on every continent, then took up the challenge of becoming the first woman to complete RacingThePlanet’s 4 Deserts Race Series (Editor’s note: 2015 races include the Gobi, Sahara, Atacama and The Last Desert [Antarctica]). The races are the world’s leading rough-country endurance footraces, each taking place over seven days and 250 kilometers (over 150 miles) in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet. Competitors must carry all their food, clothing and gear on their back while the organizers provide water and a multi-person tent at night. Quirk and two other women completed the series. Samantha Gash from Australia took first woman and youngest; Quirk took second, becoming the first American woman and oldest person ever to complete the series; and Lucy Rivers-Buckley placed third, becoming the first woman from the United Kingdom. At the time, Quirk was 57 and Gash was 27.

“I did take the first American woman to ever do it and the oldest person to have done it,” says Quirk, who still holds that record. “That was a great experience. I loved every desert. They were difficult and challenging but beautiful places to be.”

She discovered The Right Stuff in the Gobi Desert, the second race in the series, after losing track of her salt pills in the first race. She placed sixth among women overall.

“I said I need something I can just put in my water and drink and not have to think about how many tablets I take,” she recalls. “I’m telling you, it was amazing for me. I took about four ounces every 20 minutes or so.”

I don’t go without it (The Right Stuff) because it works so well

Since then, she’s depended on The Right Stuff in training as well as ultramarathons, including the Brazil 135, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, and Badwater, where she holds the 60-to-69 record. 071713-1689-virginia-photographer-runwell-badwater“I don’t go without it because it works so well,” she says. “I don’t have to think about what I’m putting in my body or how much. It replaces a lot of what’s depleted.”

Quirk, who ran in this year’s Brazil 175 but stopped at 100 miles because the 60-hour limit was out of reach, says she aims to keep up her participation. While some men older than 60 have continued to run ultramarathons, few women have blazed such a trail.

“I enjoy pushing and seeing how far I can go,” she says, adding that she has paid close attention to nutrition in recent years to sustain the effort. “I hope to show that women don’t have to stop. I try to push the envelope as long as my body is allowing me to.”

Is a 100 Mile Run a Long Enough Race to Really Challenge?

Phile-Rosenstein-BadwaterPhil Rosenstein decided he wanted to do an Ironman triathlon in 2004, before he even knew the length of the race.

“I ran cross-country in high school – the longest race was five miles or something,” he recalls. “I somehow got it into my head that I wanted to do an Ironman triathlon. Later that year, I ran my first marathon and six months later did the first Ironman.”

Then Rosenstein joined an Endurance List e-mail group and discovered ultrarunning when the first post was “At what point in a race do you sleep?” – which he first assumed was a mistranslation by an international runner.

Going Farther

“I didn’t know that stuff even existed or people could even do that,” he says. “These guys are elite professional athletes. There’s no way I could possible do this – could I? Maybe. Maybe if I really focused hard and trained hard. You get carried away. That’s what happens with a lot of us. A marathon’s not far enough. We’ve got to go farther than that.”

Phil-Rosenstein-Finishing-1

Rosenstein ran his first 100-mile race in Vermont in 2005, months after his first Marathon. He did two more that year, then five 100s, three 50s, two Ironman and one double Ironman in 2006.

In 2007, he tied with another runner for the most races 100 miles or more – nine 100s and three 150s.

“It became a lifestyle for me for a while,” says Rosenstein, who left his international pharmaceutical marketing job to become an animal control officer, then took a domestic pharmaceutical job where he often gave Monday presentations after a weekend of running. When that company was sold in late 2007, his severance supported him for a year.

“For a while, I was a professional runner,” he says. “It was the central part of my life really right up until 2010 or 2011. It was what I focused my life around. For three or four years, all I was doing was running races, giving speeches to running clubs about running, volunteering, pacing, coaching,”

In 2008, Rosenstein ran the Badwater 135 (from Death Valley up Mt. Whitney) just months after lung surgery because of complications from pneumonia. Doctors said his powerful cardiovascular system saved his life.

Three weeks later he started a 3,300-mile run across the country – Los Angeles to Chicago to Atlantic City, N.J, in 92 days, pushing a cart with his sleeping bag, clothes, and water. I just refused to give up

“I still don’t really look at it as I’m superhuman,” he says. “It’s just because I wouldn’t quit. I was like a robot bouncing against a wall until either the robot breaks or the wall breaks. I just refused to give up.”

Rosenstein found The Right Stuff about four years ago, a research-based product that improved on the trial-and-error attempts at physical care he had done in the past.          (Editor’s Note: Published studies show the formula is significantly better for fighting dehydration symptoms, protecting the body from overheating and increasing athletic endurance by over 20% more than any other NASA-tested formula).

“I used to joke that I put lotion on my feet that is made for cows and sold to farmers,” he says. “I used Pedialyte for kids, Ensure for old people. At the time it was ‘whatever works for you.’ This NASA-developed product was actually designed for this. A lot of time, money and energy was spent developing this and it’s what we found works. The Right Stuff works really well as far as giving your body the electrolytes it needs.” He takes a serving in every other water bottle during the day, every third bottle at night. “That’s what seems to work best for me. My legs always feel fresher at the end.”

Rosenstein, 44, married Karla, whom he met when she was a novice runner at a race in Leadville, Colo., several years ago. He lives in Colorado and works in inventory management. He last ran a 100-mile race in November 2012 because he is recovering from a fifth bout with pneumonia.

“I miss it,” he says. “It’s a culture all by itself. When I started doing these crazy races, there were 25 races in the country and probably 1,000 finishers a year – 75 to 100 people who would do more than one. It’s a small community. The sport’s grown a lot, but I do miss the people, the friendships, the places. You’re always running these races in beautiful parks – and the camaraderie you have! It’s 2 a.m., you’re at mile 75 or 80, it’s pouring rain, it’s 45 degrees. Whoever you come across on the trail is now your best friend in the world.”