Western States Champion Cat Bradley delights Colorado Springs crowd

On the eve of her 26th birthday, Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run reigning champion Cat Bradley, was at the Colorado Running Company in Colorado Springs, sharing her ultra running story with a standing room only crowd. Her can-do attitude and easy-going demeanor inspired and entertained the group for more than an hour as she offered tips, spoke about women in the sport, reflected on lessons learned, and highlighted goals ahead.

Cat Bradley P/C @aaroncoluss – http://www.aaroncolussi.com/ – Aaron Colussi

Trail Running Tips

Find your passion – “I was recruited by UC Santa Barbara where I ran the 800 meters. I wasn’t passionate. I hiked the Appalachian Trail when I was 19 years old and that’s where I found trail running.”
Don’t give up – “I attempted the record a bunch of times before I got the record (FKT of 7:52:20 at the Grand Canyon R2R2R). This goal was three and a half years in the making.”
Build community – “I attribute my success to the people around me”
Get a good running shoe – “Connect with a local specialty retailer to get advice from the experts.”
Take time off…truly off – “I’m a huge advocate after a hard race, to take time off. After Western States, I took a month off. I did not run from June 24 to July 20. I went on some really slow hikes. I did 3-4 swims and a bit on the bike.”
Listen to your body – “If I have a free second, I’m rolling. Know what hurts and address it. I’m constantly re-evaluating what I’m feeling.”
Nutrition – “Practice your nutrition plan. It’s trial and error. You figure out what works quickly. I do depletion runs. I know that feeling and I know that I can get through it and that helps me in a race.”
Best piece of equipment – “A good headlamp.”
Mental attitude – “That also takes practice. I learned a lot being last (Bradley was DFL at her first two 100 milers), spending a lot of time on the trail. It’s important to go to the start line and don’t make excuses. And, don’t use excuses.”
Choosing a race – “I always say do a race with more vert…there’s more opportunity to walk. Even if you are walking, you’re walking with purpose. I walked about 10 miles at Western States.”
Practice hiking – “There are a lot of people who hike really well. Sometimes I’m running uphill and people hiking are going just as fast.”
Obstacles – “Use your obstacles, don’t step around them. It opens a lot more space and saves more time.”
Running Downhill – “Follow someone faster on the downhills. You’ll get faster.”
Be prepared – “Research the route you will be running and know where the water is, where you can take potty breaks. I carry a water filter on my longer runs and food.”
Plan – “I’m a meticulous planner.”
Be consistent – “The most important thing is consistency. Record what you are doing, how you are feeling. Get a watch.”
Get involved – “I’m a huge advocate for women supporting women and women inviting women (into the sport). It’s up to us to do something about it.”

Cat Bradley P/C @aaroncoluss – http://www.aaroncolussi.com/ – Aaron Colussi

Success at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

Plan ahead – “I’m a meticulous planner.”
Set goals – “I went into Western with a top-10 mentality. My goal going out of Duncan Canyon was that no one else would pass me. I flipped the switch and my attitude changed.”
Don’t count yourself out – “No matter what your goal is, don’t count yourself out.”
On course – “Take it out slow. Run (the) long downhills. Hike the uphills.”
On the weather – “Take care of yourself in the heat. Leave the aid stations cold.” (Bradley had her crew put ice packs on her to cool her down.)
Time – “The time is lost in the aid stations, not on the course.”
Nutrition – “Sip and nibble.”
Think about the finish line – “Running around the track is so special. That is why I’m going back. Whether you’re first or last, that finish is special.”

Upcoming Goals and Races

  • Qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the marathon – Bradley needs to run 2:45, which she will attempt at the Surf City Marathon on February 3, Huntington Beach, CA.
  • Way Too Cool 50K – March 3, Cool, CA
  • Canyons 100k – April 28, Foresthill, CA or Miwok 100k May 5, Stinson Beach, CA
  • Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run – June 23, Auburn, CA
  • Festival des Templiers – October 21, France – this will be Bradley’s first international race
  • Barkley Marathons – “If no other woman does it this year, I’ll do it next year.”

Although Bradley’s focus was on running she said, with her beloved puppy and boyfriend Ryan in the audience, “I have been able to draw self-worth from so many other things. It’s not ALL about running.”

Bradley’s talk was presented by the Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race in partnership with the Colorado Running Company and the non-profit Achilles Pikes Peak, the beneficiary of this year’s race on April 28. In an inclusive move, the organizers of the 50K, 25K, and 10K events will have award categories for physically challenged and visually impaired runners.

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