If you don’t like it, change it. After a decade of trial and error, my husband Dominic and I have realized that the formula for success in ultramarathons (and most everything in life) really is that simple.
You’ll hear a lot of cliché sayings, “it’s 90% mental… a lifetime lived in a day… an eating and drinking contest, with some running thrown in” but at their core, they all boil down to this: ultrarunning is a problem solving activity. Both the environment of the course and the runner are in constant flux, from the terrain and weather to one’s physical and mental state. Perhaps the greatest marker of success in this sport is a willingness and ability to adapt.
"There's nothing else that I've found that makes me feel the way trail running does."
– Katie Grossman
"Having a fit that you can dial in, you find, some deeper level of performance that you never thought you had in yourself."
– Dominic Grossman
"The unique thing about running is it reduces you down to your most honest and pure form."
– Dominic Grossman
From the very beginning, Dominic and I built our life to thrive as athletes. Living in Los Angeles, we had all the right pieces – big mountains, proximity to the West Coast racing scene, and idyllic weather allowing us to train year-round; but the trappings of the city and its inner workings often prevented us from utilizing and enjoying these tools to the full extent. The traffic was neverending, the buildings were overcrowded with people, and the constant noise was grating. The city became something from which we were constantly trying to escape, and the grind was beginning to take its toll on us as athletes and as people.
"But just as training and racing on the edge for too long will burn you out, living that way will do the same. When we made the decision to become parents, it became crystal clear that the only way to preserve our athletic ambitions was to adapt."
Did the people we are and the ideals we hold draw us to ultras, or did ultras teach us the lessons from which we formed the foundation of our life? Whichever came first, it has been the flexible approach to everything (save our hamstrings) and commitment to optimization that has continually led us to the greatest happiness.
As we’ve transitioned from reckless young guns to parents and veterans of our sport, we’ve realized that a myopic focus on one’s goals rarely leads to success. At least not how we define it. With over 100 ultramarathon finishes and one baby between us, we have already evolved so much as partners, parents, and runners, and we are absolutely dedicated to the process for the long haul. Each day is an opportunity to dial in every aspect of our lives to allow us to live and run our best. Our sport is not something from which we plan to retire.
Fresh Foam Hierro Boa
Dominic and Katie pound the PCT in the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro Boa. The dual dial configuration activates a tri-panel canopy design for unrivaled stability and a more consistent connection to the midsole. Zonal adjustments activate the Boa Fit System to accommodate different foot volumes and swelling throughout the day.
Designed for speed, the New Balance 1500 T2 is built to perform. The Boa Fit System activates a tri-panel canopy design, improving stability and micro-adjustability to the sock construction of the shoe’s upper.