Tackling any ultramarathon is no easy task, but flying halfway around the world to jump into a race that is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT), the most competitive series of races an ultrarunner can attempt takes the challenge to another level. Topical Edge Ambassador and professional chef, Justin Cogley did just that late last month when he flew to Portugal to compete in the demanding 115 kilometer Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT).
He not only finished the race, but was the second American to cross the line in a field full of elite European racers more familiar with the terrain and racing much closer to home.
"I am so excited to have reached a personal goal, but I'lll be honest that I have jumped right back into the swing of life. Kids, school, work, travel and creating menus, I don't think my accomplishment has fully settled in yet," he said in a recent interview with Topical Edge. "My feet are finally not swollen and I am feeling pretty darn happy!"
Full recovery from a nearly 24-hour race can sometimes take weeks or months for even the most elite ultrarunners (Justin finished in 20 hours and 21 minutes good for 67th overall), but with consistent PR Lotion use, Justin has found his body has come around pretty quickly. "My body is recovering! It took only one week and I am ready to hit the trails again and start training."
With the 300-mile Chefs Cycle event taking place this week, Justin got back into the swing of things quickly, incorporating running and cycling to get back up to speed preparing for his next endurance event. He admits, he's still digesting the whole journey to Madeira, the Portuguese archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean.
"My personal draw to MIUT is that I love to travel to unique destinations, I like climbing and I like to do everything to the extreme. The best part of destination ultras is the amazing local support. The cheering, the energy and the love you feel is like no other and can carry you through the race. It takes the head game out and just makes it an amazing experience."
What's the overwhelming feeling he took away from the 115km, steep, rocky and rugged terrain?
"Pure joy," he said emphatically, "It will be hard to ever find a race as amazing as MIUT!"
Despite unfavorable weather conditions, Justin admitted he wasn't bothered at all and the race played out nearly perfect for him.
"The race played out like a dream. I kept pushing and the aid stations seemed to have just what I needed to carry me through. The 6 hours of rain and fog weren't planned for and the steep descents were very technical, but I always enjoy a challenge. How boring would it be if everything we planned for happened?"
That couldn't be more true. Attempting an endurance event of this magnitude will always deliver the unexpected and it's those who respond with the fearless attitude like Justin that often come out on top, ready for more.
"The most important thing I learned was probably to keep positive regardless of what happens. Anything is truly possible."
It definitely helped to have PR Lotion in his pocket as he said that he reapplied our pain relieving sports lotion every 20-miles during the race to keep his legs feeling as fresh as possible from start to finish. An added benefit of his PR Lotion use was his ability to recover so quickly following the race and start preparing for the rest of the year ahead.
"My calendar is packed with work," he said, "But I hope to get play in there too. Maybe I'll run with my wife or my kids too." Admitting he hasn't yet signed up for another ultra, but is already on the hunt for an experience just as challenging at MIUT in the very near future.