Despite what you hear and see on social media, there are other ultramarathons besides Western and Hardrock. Here are a few of them. Avocados with edible skins and no pits sound like something out of a dream, right? Apparently they're real. Yo Brits, ...


Ultramarathon Daily News | Thursday Dec 14 and more...

Ultramarathon Daily News | Thursday Dec 14

Despite what you hear and see on social media, there are other ultramarathons besides Western and Hardrock. Here are a few of them.

Avocados with edible skins and no pits sound like something out of a dream, right? Apparently they’re real. Yo Brits, have you had one? What do you think?

I had erased doubts and calloused my tolerance for discomfort. I was ready to run as fast as I could for 50 miles. What I did better than anything during the race was forget. As the race progressed, I forgot about the previous miles and steep climbs. As I hit the towpath and settled into a faster pace, I forgot about how long I still had to go.

Excellent post by Eric Senseman about making lemonade out of lemons, using his JFK win (podcast here) and Zach Miller’s debut 50 miler as examples. And whoa, very cool! Looks like Eric just signed with the rabbit pro team!

Broken Arrow Skyrace registration is open! With something for everyone (26k, 52k, VK), now’s your chance to run in the only Skyrace on the west coast. See you there!

Quite a punishment, eh? Two hundred Russian athletes may be competing in the games.

And in more shocking news, Chris Froome gets popped for doping and blames it on a preexisting condition. (Again, if you can’t compete without banned drugs, you shouldn’t be competing at a pro level.)

Check out our latest interview with Anthony Costales. Last month, Anthony finished 2nd to Mario Mendoza at the Moab Trail Marathon, then four weeks later, clicked off a 2:13 PR at Cal Int’l Marathon. What’s in store for 2018? His first ultramarathon, Olympic Trials, and running with his dog.

Last week, Patreon changed its billing and service charges and many patrons (and creators!) were upset. Yesterday, they announced that “they’ve heard us” and will not be implementing the new changes.  Thanks again to everyone who’s supporting the show and site via Patreon. I appreciate the heck out of it.

I shot this from my balcony in New Delhi, mid morning. The building directly across the park (behind the dish) is barely visible. New Delhi, 2016.

How to run in the smog. I tried clicking off a few miles in New Delhi last year (pic above) right around the Diwali celebration (festival of lights and insane firework displays) and made it 3 miles before I couldn’t breathe…and I was raised in Southern California.

Great story of a Vietnam vet dealing with his PTSD by running trails. Give it a read.

How to stay fueled (and keep your nutrition edible!) in cold weather by Dr. Francesca Conte. Want a free sample? Click here!

This fifty-something Kiwi followed the steeplechase but never competed in the event, so he did what anyone else would do: Built himself some barriers, practiced for a few weeks, then showed up and started breaking age group records.


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Anthony Costales Interview | Preparing for Ultra Distances

Anthony Costless just clicked off a 2:13:12 marathon at CIM, a mere four weeks after finishing 2nd at the USATF Trail Championships to Mario Mendoza in Moab. While Anthony hasn’t yet crested 26.2, we talk a lot about sub-ultra distances and what he’s doing to train for his first trail ultras in 2018. Keep your eye on this guy!

anthony costales
Anthony Costales and his heeler on a training run.

In this interview we talk about:

  • How he coaches himself and handles “off days.”

  • Running with his wife and dog on cold days in Utah.

  • Marathon race strategy and why CIM was so perfect.

  • Which elite MUT runner he’s looking to for ultramarathon advice.

  • How he plans on handling nutrition during an ultramarathon.

  • Which races he’s eyeing for his debut in the upcoming year.

(outro music by The 88)

Anthony Costales
Anthony and his wife and Moab Trail Marathon.


Episode Sponsor: Broken Arrow Skyrace

Watch this video from last year’s race then head on over here and sign up for the 26k, 52k, or VK at the 2018 event. Ya gotta trust me (and the video!)…this is a rad event that exemplifies mountain running and adventure.

June 15-17, 2018 in Squaw Valley…three days of racing, talks, beer, expos, film festivals, and more!  See you there!

broken arrow skyrace

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Ultramarathon Daily News | Wed, Dec 13

Wednesday Funny: AlSal writes a letter to Santa.

A few days before his 72nd birthday, this dude clocked a 5:29 mile. He runs a few times a week and does a ton of strength work…here’s more.

While the ride, fit, and lacing system are solid I think there are better and more versatile door-to-trail options available today.

Ben reviews the North Face Cardiac II right this way.  Be sure to read his PSA at the bottom…what do you think?

Backcountry trails that cover 600 miles and visit 30 whiskey distilleries in Tennessee? Who’s got the FKT?

I’ve often wondered what “Sister Cities” are really good for. Here’s a cool program that’ll showcase Japanese marathoning talent in Austin and send some of our athletes over there.

Here are the ten top Strava segments in the US. I can’t even f’ing imagine running 4:30 pace down the Embarcadero in San Francisco.

Say hello to your new Olympic-torch-carrying overlords.

Short news day. What did I miss?

Stay tuned for a new podcast with emerging ultra/trail dude Anthony Costales.

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The North Face Ultra Cardiac II Review

Overview of The North Face Ultra Cardiac II

The North Face Ultra Cardiac II is an updated model from The North Face that feels and acts quite differently than the original Ultra Cardiac. While I found the original model to be stiff and narrow the Ultra Cardiac II is a fairly simple and flexible door-to-trail shoe. Overall, the Cardiac II is a good value door-to-trail option for folks who don’t need a lot of protection and like a consistent ride.


  • Weight: 311g / 11oz (US men’s 9.0); 258g / 9.1oz (US women’s 8.0)
  • Category: neutral
  • Drop: 6mm (not sure on stack height; feels like around 20mm in the heel and possibly 14ish in the forefoot)
  • Fit: true to size (i.e., your normal running shoe size)
  • Upper: mesh upper with TPU overlays
  • Midsole: single-density, compressed EVA foam
  • Outsole: Vibram® Megagrip (non-lugged version of Megagrip yet semi-sticky and durable)

Presenting The North Face Ultra Cardiac II

Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to six areas:

  1. What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the shoe.
  2. What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the shoe better.
  3. When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the shoe excels.
  4. How it compares: my current go-to shoes and how this shoe compares.
  5. Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase this shoe or not.
  6. Purchasing Information: where to go to purchase this shoe.

I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!

What’s good?

  • The consistent ride. With a single density piece of EVA foam used for the midsole the Ultra Cardiac II has a predictable and consistent ride. I’ve always liked the feel of single density EVA foam midsoles even though they are not nearly as durable as the trendy TPU-based midsoles. I do worry the midsole will flatten out prematurely as most pure EVA foam midsoles do but so far, the midsole feels good.

Medial side view of The North Face Ultra Cardiac II

  • The fit. The original Ultra Cardiac II had a narrow and tapered fit that I simply did not like. The Ultra Cardiac II has a fit that is more forgiving. The heel hold is solid and despite a unique lacing system the midfoot and forefoot fit is spot on as well.

While the shape appears quite pointy in this picture it feels like a traditional semi-round shape on the foot

The heel collar is moderately padded and once broken holds the heel down just fine

  • The lacing system. When I first saw the lacing system and then felt the laces I thought there is no way these stretchy laces are going to hold my foot in the shoe on uneven terrain. I was wrong. The laces are smooth and stretchy and do a nice job of keeping the foot locked in.

Close-up view of the unique laces and lacing system

  • The value. At $110 this shoe is a decent value when compared to its closest competitors on the market.

What could be improved?

  • Some lugs. While I actually like the road-like outsole it will probably scare away many people who won’t see it as a true trail running shoe.

No lugs on the sticky, Vibram® Megagrip outsole

  • More protection. There is no rockplate and as a result it further limits the terrain this shoe can handle. I’d love to see either an Altra-like removable rockplate insole or a minimal built-in rockplate in the design.
  • Shed some weight. The mesh upper is fairly thick and substantial. As a result, the upper bunches ever so slightly at the forefoot flex point. You can see it in the pictures above. While this hasn’t been an issue yet I’d love to see North Face streamline this in future versions of the shoe. This would help cut down on the weight as a result. While the shoe rides lighter than its official weight I would still like to see it shed an ounce or so.
  • Additional color options. I kind of like the ‘moon shoe’ color option, and the sole women’s colorway is even better, but with only one colorway for each the men’s and women’s shoe many folks may be turned away.

When to use it?

  • Door-to-trail on moderate terrain, gravel roads, etc.
  • It probably has just enough cushion for most folks up to 50k but beyond that I would look to a more cushioned shoe.

Similar shoes to compare with

  • Nike Terra Kiger 3 or 4: While both are great door-to-trail options the Nike shoes are better in nearly every way. Nike wins easily here.
  • Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2 (review here). Just like the Kigers the Speed Instinct 2 is a great door-to-trail option as well. No contest as the Hokas win this head-to-head battle as well.
  • Hoka One One Mach (review here). The Mach is a much better shoe in this category of door-to-trail options as well.

Should you purchase?

So, the $110 question – should you purchase the North Face Ultra Cardiac II?

In a word, no. While the ride, fit, and lacing system are solid I think there are better and more versatile door-to-trail options available today. (PSA for The North Face – you have an unbelievable team of sponsored ultrarunners available to you – use them and bring their ideas to life faster! This team combined with the VF Corporation resources behind you could produce amazing trail running shoes I believe. Your trail running apparel is great and we would love to see the trail running shoes reach this same level of design and execution.)

Questions, comments, or feedback on this shoe? Please share! And thanks for reading!

Purchasing Information

If you’re interested in purchasing this shoe, please check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.

If that is not an option please use this link (women’s) or this link (men’s) to purchase from Amazon. It will drop a few nickels in to the URP bucket.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your support!

Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf

I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.

Disclaimer: This shoe was provided to URP/Ben for testing purposes. All words and thoughts are ours and no compensation was offered or received.

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Ultramarathon and Trail Running News | Tue, Dec 12

What are your trail and ultramarathon goals for next year? Sarah tacks a different way and offers up some alternative goals for the year that sound doable, refreshing, and don’t depend on lottery results.

Quick interview with Nick Symonds after his 3:00:35 marathon debut.

Be sure to check out our latest interview with Ben Nephew. He’s got the east coast bonafides, a massive list of big wins, FKTs, and heck, he studies stress physiology and answers some big questions from a scientific standpoint.

These five undesirable-and-unhealthy-MTB-personality-traits can also be translated to describe some of our trail running brothers and sisters.

Over the years I’ve compared a lot of things to ultramarathons, from brick laying to disastrous family vacations. In this post, Sophie relates what she’s learned in self-employment to what she’s learned training for races.

Welp, apparently the reports of athleisure’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Today’s the last day to take iRunFar’s Trail Safety Survey. Quick, easy, and painless. I took 2 minutes to answer some questions, you should too.

Ian looks back at mountain, trail, Sky and ultramarathon running from this year. What a year!

Mario’s Morning Shakeout: Boston elite list, time management, and the passing of Coach Joe Newton. I had a similar experience with my HS track/XC coach. By the early 90s, he’d already been coaching 10 years and to this day is still going strong at 70something years old. Gene’s got one arm (lost it to a rattle snake on a desert run) and not only coached a bunch of gringos to multiple state championships, but taught us integrity, passion, and the benefits of giving 100%. There’s no way I’d be where I am today without his guidance and mentorship. More on him right this way.

URP Daily News from Dec 12, 2012: A look back.

Trivia for the day: The John Muir Trail is an iconic trail in California. Where’s the other John Muir Trail?  Interesting and intriguing answer right over here.

ben nephew

Looking for your first 100 or maybe want to lower your time? The C&O Canal 100 in Knoxville, MD is a flat and fast 2 loop course along the Patomac River with great aid, a low key vibe, and a great price ($150 incl Patagonia singlet and buckle.). Here’s Caroline Boller’s report from the race.


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