On the Road to the Leadville 100 – Approaching Risk and Deflecting Doubt

Life is often lived in hindsight. In the moment of a big decision, it is often hard to fully understand all the factors that go into what you are thinking at the time. And it is nearly impossible to know what the impacts of any given decision will be until it plays out. You can research, plan, and try your best to predict all the possible outcomes. This is what one should do when taking risks. These risks are calculated, and not reckless. But with any big decision, there will be uncertainty and doubt.

I signed up for the Leadville 100 trail run.  Yes, I did this!  I was able to secure a spot in this race by signing up for one of the limited training packages, which also means I am working with a running coach for the first time in my life.  For those who may be unfamiliar, the Leadville 100 trail race entails 100 miles of beautiful, extreme trails in the mountains of Colorado, from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet and a total of more than 18,000 feet of climbing – all in a 30-hour time frame or less. It is one of the absolute classic races of ultra-running. It is hands-down one of the biggest challenges I will be taking on in my running life, if not my life in general, so far. Did I agonize over this decision for days on end before I did this? No, I did not. Did I fail to think this through before I did this? No, I did not.  What I did do was make a conscious decision to approach risk, as opposed to deflect risk. So much of truly living, to me, is exactly that, approaching risk versus deflecting risk.

To me, approaching risk often looks like this: I get an idea. I get really excited about this idea (probably over-excited) and convince myself it is a good idea. I set a plan in action of how to implement or set on the road to making the idea actually happen.

Basically, when approaching risk, I decide to live my ideas.

Part of approaching risk is deflecting doubt. When the doubts are internal, I tend to try to talk to someone who can provide me with real-life experience on the matter. I often seek out someone I know who trusts my decisions and thinks positively.  And someone who really knows me and supports my BIG ideas. When the doubts are external, I recognize that it might be easier for some to deflect risk.  In most of the “unconventional” challenges I have taken on in my life, the majority of the responses have gone something like, “I would never do that ….How are you going to make that work?” In the case of the Leadville 100, typical reactions also include “You’re nuts” and “That sounds awful.”

These responses surprise me because challenges are exciting! And I can think of less responsible things than taking on challenges and following a passion through. In any event, anyone can do anything for a day or two! Remember, these risks are calculated, and not reckless. I clearly see the value in encouraging those taking calculated risks in our world…just the other day my friend said to me, “If anyone can conquer the unconquerable it is you!”  The outcome will remain unknown until the race, but I certainly appreciate such encouragement over the alternative.

The one thing you can never predict when approaching risk is the reality of how you are going to feel. This risk, the unpredictability of how you are going to feel, is the true risk… yet the one that holds the most potential for growth and rewards. All of the other risks are just doubts that can be resolved one way or the other.

I am sure the road to the Leadville 100 will be a true range of experience, both positive and not so positive.  The perfect opportunity to…

Approach risk.  Deflect doubt.  Live my ideas.

Ilene Bloom is an evolving ultra-runner, mother and lawyer who lives in Denver. In conjunction with training for the Leadville 100, she is raising money for the American Cancer Society at this link: https://www.crowdrise.com/leadville-trail-100-run-for-cancer/fundraiser/ilenebloom.  If you have any questions or thoughts about this article, Ilene can be reached at ilenebloom@hotmail.com.

This Is Just How We Live

A simple mantra for outdoor adventurers when the kids arrive

I have a mantra when it comes to adventuring and traveling with children: “This is just how we live.” Behind this mantra is the idea that there is no reason to stop doing the things you love and the pursuits you value simply because your life changes with the addition of children.  It is an exciting opportunity to pass on skills and provide experiences that can become a central part of your family life. And therefore, adventures and travel become a constant, and not a distinct part of our lives.

This is just how we live.

Of course, the reality is that things do change, and activities have to be modified to include young children. You might be car camping more often. It might be easier to rent a car than to ride buses around foreign countries. To me that is part of the fun and the challenge – how can we make this adventure or trip work for the whole family and still have it be enjoyable, worthwhile and full of character? First, I want to emphasize that I think the sooner you start with your children, the better.  The sooner you start, the more natural it becomes, because it is all they have known since the beginning.  Provide the opportunities, the tools and the experiences early…and the kids will know the drill.  If you are worried you might not get a good night of sleep when camping with an infant, consider that it is entirely possible the same will happen at home.  So you may as well be camping!  If you are worried your kid might throw up as you race to the airport to catch a flight or are coming home from an adventure in the mountains take note: You simply clean it up just as you would at home! The point is that you have to deal with things as a parent no matter where you are. Stuff comes up. You deal with it. You move on.

This is just how we live.

I believe in the trickle-down effect with my kids and adventuring: If I’m excited, positive, relaxed, and flexible, it’s much more likely my children will take on the same attitude and approach while in the outdoors and while traveling. . The ability to remain positive, calm and flexible is important to happy parenting in general, making the outdoors a wonderful training ground to sharpen these skills. Of course this does not happen 100 percent of the time.

Being excited and positive: An important element is involving the kids in the planning and preparation for travels.  Do not do all the work for them.  As a result, they will feel accomplished and learn new skills in the process. We usually go to the library before traveling, or the kids read the travel book, and we try to plan the trip together and let them help us decide on things they might like to see or do.

Be flexible: Will you be touring around from 8 a.m. until midnight? Will your camping trips be the same as when it was just you and your buddies? It will certainly be modified, but that should not mean you will not do it.  When traveling with children, you will likely see things you might not have otherwise.  You might stay outside as much as possible. This is also part of the fun for me – teaching the value of exploration and spontaneity when traveling or being outside, especially because daily life with children can feel so structured.  The art of the free-for-all!

Some people hold off on adventuring and traveling with kids while they are young because they think the kids will not remember it.  Well, no, the kids won’t remember every detail (neither will the parents!) but I think you will be surprised of what they do remember. In any event, it truly shapes kids’ personalities and the willingness to try new things and have new experiences on a consistent basis. It is truly worth it.

This is just how we live.

Ilene Bloom is a mother/evolving ultrarunner/lawyer who lives in Denver. She can be reached at ilenebloom@hotmail.com with any questions about this article and adventuring with children.

Olympic Gestapo Puts Kibosh on Photo Sharing, Pisses Off Kate Grace’s Bfriend

Kate Grace
This is one of the photos of Kate Grace the US Olympic Committee asked a sponsor to remove from social media.
by Patrick O’Neil
Team USA welcomed my girlfriend Kate Grace to the team by making her support system of 5 years, Oiselle, delete all images of her winning the USA Olympic Trials and realizing her Olympic Dream.
I ask you to please SHARE this post to make people aware of the behind the scenes bullying that Team USA does to the athletes chasing their dreams and the people and companies that are there for them during the years of training when no one else is.


This company, these people, have stuck with her through all the highs and lows that come with chasing the Olympic Dream. They have not only supported her financially, but have been part of her emotional bed rock for all these years and they are there for her now as she prepares to try to bring home an Olympic Medal for her country.

They posted photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their website of her dream of making the Olympic Team come true. Now, the so called champions of the U.S. Olympic Dream Team USA are forcing (legal threats) Oiselle to delete the evidence of this magical moment from all their social channels and website. Erasing this amazing moment that wouldn’t have happened with out them from internet history.

This is one of the photos they posted as they saw her for the first time after she made the Olympic Team. If this doesn’t embody the joy and Olympic spirit I don’t know what does.

I ask you to please SHARE this post to make people aware of the behind the scenes bullying thatTeam USA does to the athletes chasing their dreams and the people and companies that are there for them during the years of training when no one else is.


Honoring the Spirit of Ultrarunning

Credit: Ethan Veneklasen

by Special Guest Contributor, Ethan Veneklasen

For the past 13 years, the Western States Endurance Run has been an annual event for me. Whether running, crewing, or pacing, I rarely miss this gathering of our crazy ultra tribe.

This past weekend, I was honored to crew for my Canadian Salomon teammate, Andy Reed at his debut appearance at the “big dance”. I witnessed some amazing moments out on the trail, but that’s pretty much par for the course…amazing things happen every year at this most iconic race.

I saw something interesting this year that I want to call out.