Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the history of the UltraLadies?
A: We are a come-and-go-as-you-wish ultra running group under the guidance of Ultra-Mama Nancy Shura-Dervin. We've been together since 1995. We are primarily a women's training group, but also welcome UltraLadies'Men to run with us. We are especially supportive of new ultra runners to train for the Bulldog 50K in August as their first ultra running experience. In 2017, UltraLady Cyndi Wyatt joined our team as Event Director for UltraLadies.
Q: When does the UltraLadies training season begin and end?
A: The UltraLadies have two training seasons each year. Each training season is approximately 20-weeks each. Spring/Summer season starts in April and runs through August. Fall/Winter season starts in October and runs through February.
Q: Do I pay to run with the UltraLadies?
A: The UltraLadies have two training seasons of approximately 20-weeks each. Enrollment fee for each season is $250.00 and includes bi-weekly group long runs, bi-weekly tempo group runs, Ultra Running 101 group seminars and 25% discount on all Trail Run Events races.
Q: Can men run with the UltraLadies?
A: Indeed, men do run with the UltraLadies. They are appropriately called "UltraLadies'Men".
Q: Where are the training runs held?
A: UltraLadies training runs are usually held in the Santa Monica Mountains, north of Los Angeles.
Q: How do I find the meeting time and place?
A: You will receive email updates about the meeting times and place. You can also check the "Latest Info" page on the website for any last minute updates or possible run changes due to weather, fire, etc.
Q: Am I Ultra ready?
A: Anyone in marathon condition can train with the UltraLadies. We encourage newbies join in the spring of each year; our training mileage starts low and follows a build-up to the Bulldog in late August. If you have a one-year base of steady training (without lapses due to injury) or have completed a recent marathon injury-free, you are ready to train with the UltraLadies.
Q: Am I too slow to run with the UltraLadies?
A: You do not necessarily need to be a fast runner to train with the group. We usually run "out-and-back" timed runs so everyone get a chance to spend the right amount of time on their feet, and improve as they continue to train.
Q: What are the training runs like?
A: The runs are hard and hilly. But the nice part is... you get to go at your own pace! The runs are social (leave your competitive ego at home). Nobody cares who gets back to the cars first. Don't be intimidated... the average training pace is on long runs 4-5 mph. Be prepared to deal with altitude, uneven footing, and possible encounters with wildlife. Before your first run with us, please read the Trail Running Guidelines. Reading through this information will help ensure your comfort and safety on the trail.
Q: Are the runs held rain or shine?
A: Yes, we run rain or shine, but do check the "latest info" page on the website for any last minute updates or changes in location.
Q: What gear do I bring to the runs?
A: The following is recommended:
- Trail-running shoes (or running shoes with a wide heel base and knobby tread on the soles). Ultrarunners usually buy their trail shoes one full size larger than their road shoes.
- Double-bottle belt (or hand-bottles w/straps). On some runs in July, August & September you may be carrying up to 3 large bottles (90 oz) of water. You will eventually need to buy a double bottle belt. You will also need to invest in a couple of bottle straps for hand carrying 20-oz bottles (available at any running store). Note: Camelbacks and other bladder type carriers are not recommended for these long runs because they have been known to spring leaks when runners are 10 or more miles away from a water source.
- On long runs, pack a small snack, a gel or two, and salt or electrolyte replacement tablets, etc. Gatorade (or similar) alone will not be enough to replace the electrolytes you'll lose on long runs in warm temperatures!
- Trail gaiters. These fit over your running shoes to keep out stones/dirt. Go to Adventure 16 (Reseda & Ventura) and ask for OA ankle gaiters or buy Dirty Girl Gaiters on-line.
- Hat/bandana/sunblock/etc(see Trail Running Guidelines).
- Folding chair and small cooler w/drinks for after the run. We usually bring drinks to each run but you're welcome to bring what you like to drink.
Q: What if I need to do my business?
A: We will try to schedule at least one toilet stop during the run as much as possible. To poop, go off-trail, dig a small hole with the heel of your shoe, and then bury the remains. Do not bury soiled tissue; pack it out in a baggie. It is acceptable to pee by the side of the trail but no leaving tissue please! If you leave the trail to go in the bushes, always leave your water pack on the trail as a marker of where you left trail.
Q: What is "Ultra Pace"?
A: "Ultra pace" means to walk all the up hills and run all the down hills and as much of the flats as possible.
You might be a fast runner or you might be a slow runner! Sometimes you might be fast on the way out and slow on the way back ;-). Please go your own pace, following the arrows. You are not expected to "keep up". If you feel like running the up hills, save it for the return trip. As most of our runs will be "out-and-back", you are encouraged to go as slow as you need to go on the way out; that will help insure that you can come back a little faster.
Q: What does "time on your feet" mean?
A: Even though we have mileage posted, everyone runs for "time on your feet". The slowest runners should plan to maintain a pace of 4-mph overall to complete the recommended distance. A cut-off time will be established for each run and if you are slower, you should expect to turn around at the cut-off time and head back to the cars. This means that although the run is tagged at xx number of miles, some of you may actually run fewer miles but will still complete enough "time on your feet" to finish a 50K race.
Q: How can I finish a 50K race if my longest training runs are shorter than that?
A: Which do you think is more advantageous for finishing a 50K: Running 26-miles in 4h or running 24-miles in 6h? The runner who spends more time on her feet actually has an advantage over the faster runner when it comes to distance running. On race day, the slower runner will have an easier time adding the extra 7-miles while the faster runner may struggle more to complete those last
Q: What does "running at your own risk" mean?
A: The UltraLadies training runs are unsupported. “Running at your own risk” means: No aid is provided; course markings are minimal and can not be guaranteed to be accurate; you assume responsibility for your own safety, navigation, hydration and support during the training runs and if necessary, your own rescue and/or removal from the training course, including but not limited to air evacuation.
Q: Why do I need to use the sign-in sheet?
A: Using the sign-in sheet is the only way we know for sure who is out on the course. When you arrive to run, place your information legibly on the sign-in sheet. Always include your car license plate number and cell phone number.
When you return from your run, check-off your name in the “returned” column.
If your name is not checked off at return, we will look for your vehicle. If your vehicle is gone, we will assume that you returned early and left without checking off. If your vehicle is still parked, we will assume you are still out on course. If you do not return in a reasonable amount of time, we will assume you might need assistance and we will attempt to reach you by cell phone and finally, you should expect that we will call 911 and dispatch search and rescue to come and find you, at your expense. This is a very good reason not to proceed beyond the recommended turn-around time.
Q: How do I contact Nancy?
A: By mail:
PO Box 17900
Encino, CA 91416