“He who isn’t flexible gets bent out of shape”
Ty Draney is an Ultra Athlete who has more than a few things on his plate. Being a full time teacher, part time coach, full time father and husband while training for a race is no easy task. We all have lives that can get pretty hectic and I wanted to speak with Ty about his life and how he continues to find time to train with so many responsibilities. Life balance can be tough on athletes and I hope to share some motivation with you from Ty Draney, one of the people who has great success with it!
Ty has been a runner for over 30 years and has spent 18 of those years participating in ultra running. His very first trail race took place in Jackson Hole during the summer of 2000. Shortly after he moved to Oregon and became immersed in the sport and the culture. “I always say I fell in with the wrong crowd and just couldn’t kick the habit” Ty chuckles as he described his start to ultra running.
Ty is coming off of an extensive Achilles injury which called for major reconstructive surgery to be done. When asked about the process of training with an injury Ty stated “It just simply takes time to come back from something like this. More than just the obvious physical hindrances that come with an injury of this level there are lots of mental hurdles also. It becomes very easy after a year or so to get lazy and blame my injury on the reason why I am not out training. Sometimes you have to be that voice of reason in your mind to get yourself back into gear.”
White Mountain 100
Recently Ty has been training for a very special race, the White Mountain 100. This is no easy race, steep climbs, bowel-clenching descents, sharp turns, areas of active overflow, glare ice, tree stumps, roots, and bare tussocks are all part of the White Mountains trail network. Competing in a winter ultra has been one of Ty’s bucket list items and this year Ty is crossing that off the list. In order to enter, Ty had to lottery out and upon doing so he realized that ramping up the training was a must. “You have to prepare for a lot of variables. What to pack, how much to pack, and what to leave behind. This is always difficult because you are truly at the mercy of nature.” Ty said. What Ty does have on his side is that he has lived in the winter elements for over 15 years. Training on groomed trails and not groomed trails is a big help to get Ty prepared, the downside is access to certain areas are tough. “I find myself running on roads more than I would like to sometimes.” Ty stated as he describes his training details.
“One of my favorite quotes is this, he who isn’t flexible gets bent out of shape.” Ty has had to make many adjustments to find the time to train and keep focus with the many things going on in his life. “We make time for what is important to us, I have had lots and lots of headlamp hours.” Ty said. Ty has learned to wedge training into small windows of free time that he does have, 30 minutes here, 20 minutes there and that can equal a lot of time for training when utilized effectively.
Effective in the Field
Ty has been testing a new UltrAspire prototype in the midst of training for the White Mountain 100. “When you need to carry more stuff, you learn in a hurry what works and what doesn’t.” Ty has been helping develop this specific product for a long time. As someone who must be as effective as possible in many aspects of life, the same goes for the equipment Ty chooses to bring when training for a race. “It really is surprising more companies don’t train from the field, doing that can really tell you if you’re onto something.” Engineering from the field is something Ty feels is important in creating a product specific to athlete use. “There are certain things I need access to while on a run, especially one like this. I need things to be simple and organized and as functional as possible.”
Ty Draney is a great example of an ultra athlete who makes room for what he is passionate about. “We make time for what is important” is a quote Ty said that really stuck with me throughout my week. Remember that although life can take us in many directions; it is important to make time for what sets your soul on fire.