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Ultra-Parenting: UTMB Runners on Training, Life With a New Addition to the Family

With a new baby in tow, Rachel Drake and Tyler Green have made ultra-running and training the keys to love — with the right gear.

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Trail running: the pinnacle outdoor experience that brought ultrarunners Rachel Drake and Tyler Green together. But before the two Osprey brand ambassadors found love at the McKenzie River 50 km in 2015, they had to cross the finish line first. With two spectacular waterfalls, a pristine lake, lava flows, old-growth forest, and numerous log bridges, the trail is not a bad place to find a running — or life — partner.

Since then, the couple has continued to push the boundaries of the discipline. Drake won the U.S. Trail Marathon Championship in 2018, competed for Team USA in Villa la Angostura, Argentina, in 2019, and placed first in five European trail races, including the Trail du Ventoux 46 km.

In 2023 alone, Green placed second in the Western States 100 mile and won the Tiger Claw 50 mile, Yakima Skyline Rim 50 km, and Orcas Island 50 km.

Ahead of a 2023 trip to Chamonix, where Drake competed in OCC and Green competed in UTMB, GearJunkie was lucky enough to speak with the couple about how Osprey’s Duro/ Dyna hydration packs fit into their training regimes, as well as on race day.

Exploring Paths Untraveled

More exciting than a gold medal, a different kind of first arrived in autumn 2022 when the couple celebrated the birth of their son, Lewis. During the last 9 months, Drake and Green have waded the unfamiliar waters of parenthood while juggling their lives as athletes and working professionals.

Tyler and his son, Lewis, share a pre-run moment. (Photo/Osprey)
Tyler and his son, Lewis, share a pre-run moment; (photo/Osprey)

Since Lewis was born, Green has found a new source of motivation when competing, even if it’s an extra push to get to the aid station faster to give him a kiss on the head. He now feels like he is not only running for himself, but also for a higher purpose. 

“This is about honoring my family, because I recognize that they make sacrifices to make sure that I can run, and run well,” Green said.

A Change of Perspective

Inevitably, there have been some bumps in the road. In Drake’s case, returning to training prematurely found her injured as a result. Despite this setback, she allowed herself ample time to heal before getting back on the trail. Rather than defining herself simply as an athlete, she reminds herself that she is now a mother and is adjusting her expectations accordingly.

“It’s been challenging to navigate nursing and training — I ended up getting a stress fracture four months postpartum. That was difficult identity-wise. And then not being able to run at all was really hard. I’m back to running now, but it’s more about finding my ‘new normal.’ I’m figuring out what my new body is like, because it’s never going to be exactly how it was before. And that’s OK — it’s just been challenging not being able to express myself on the trail the way that I used to, and the way that I like to,” Drake said.

Rachel and Tyler have reexamined their risk tolerance after becoming parents. (Photo/Osprey)
Rachel and Tyler have reexamined their risk tolerance after becoming parents; (photo/Osprey)

Green explains that becoming a father has changed his approach to ultra running, specifically when it comes to evaluating the risks he takes.

This was evident on a recent family trip to eastern Oregon, where he and Drake went for a casual run in the Wallowa Mountains.

“We were looking at the stats and I thought, ‘OK, this is almost 17 miles and 8,000 feet of elevation gain. That’s going to take four or five hours, maybe,'” Green recalled. “When we got out it was far more rugged than we had planned and it ended up taking seven-and-a-half hours. There was also some mild exposure as well, and I thought, ‘We can’t mess this up.’ It does give pause to us as far as, how we are training and what reasonable risks we’re willing to take.”

Daily Training: Osprey Duro/Dyna

In preparation for competition, Drake and Green agree that the Duro 1.5 and Dyna 1.5 are ideal for out-the-door runs around their Portland homebase. This model features a 1.5L run-specific reservoir and has ample room for snacks, phone, wallet, keys, and an extra layer if needed. For Western States, Green used his Duro 1.5 for the first 30 miles, before switching to handheld water bottles for the remaining 70.

On cooler days when he needs less water, he brings along the Duro/Dyna Handheld instead. To Green, the handheld is a must-have for runners of all levels, because even smaller amounts of water are better than none at all.

“You should definitely plan for carrying water. You just need to figure out and calibrate what works for you. When I’m coaching, I tell my high schoolers, ‘Osprey has their silicon handheld — bring it on all of your runs.’ I want to make sure that they are hydrated, even if it’s only running for an hour,” Green said.

Raceday Ready

In situations like that day in the Wallowa Mountains, preparation is key. Green knows that trailrunners can get deep into vast wilderness and not have sufficient gear in the event of an emergency. Especially when competing, he plans ahead by packing his essentials into his Duro 6.

For UTMB, Green plans to use his Duro 6 because there is a list of mandatory gear, such as a rain jacket, extra headlamp, and other items that he needs that willl require a little extra room.

“I will always have my Garmin in reach, a small first-aid kit, a little knife, a headlamp, extra calories, and a fire source. If I have to spend the night in the wilderness, I could survive, it would just be a little uncomfortable,” he said, laughing. “So that requires a little bit of extra room in my pack, which the Dura 6 is perfect for. I think that it’s important that we think about that and that things can happen.”

Rachel pushes through a cheering crowd somewhere in the Alps. (Photo/Osprey)
Rachel pushes through a cheering crowd somewhere in the Alps; (photo/Osprey)

Drake has noticed an obvious increase in her water intake recently, which is due to a combination of nursing her son and returning to training post stress fracture. Her go-to hydration pack is the Dyna 6, which features a 1.5L run-specific reservoir. She currently uses the same Dyna that she got in 2017, which she feels is a testament to Osprey’s impeccable standards of durability.

“I like that the pockets are all optimally placed for what I want. There are two sneaky pockets on the sides in the back, and those are great for stashing something that you are not going to be needing to get to very frequently, but you can get to without taking the pack off. We talk about wanting to be sustainable, and what is more sustainable than just using the same pack and not contributing to waste?” she said.

Key attributes across the Duro/Dyna line include a close-to-body fit, a variety of smart pocketing options, reflective graphics for low-light visibility, and seamless access to water.

Designed with sustainability in mind, every product is constructed with Bluesign-approved 100% recycled 320 nylon stretch mesh and is PFAS and BPA free.

Find Your Favorite Trail With Osprey

To Drake, her favorite adventure is the one where gear is not a hindrance to performance and the overall experience. Luckily, her Dyna 6 has hit the mark countless times and continues to do so 6 years later.

“I honestly don’t even notice that it is there. I think that is the best thing — that it doesn’t bounce and that the fit is really solid. I know we are talking about the Duro/Dyna line, but all of Osprey’s packs have that sort of quality to them. I’ve been on adventures before where the pack is the thing that is holding me back because the weight isn’t distributed quite right, or it’s bouncing, or it’s chafing. I don’t ever have any of those problems with Osprey,” Drake said.

The couple uses Osprey's Duro and Dyna during a run in the desert. (Photo/Osprey)
The couple uses Osprey’s Duro and Dyna during a run in the desert; (photo/Osprey)

Like Drake, Green is proud to represent Osprey as a brand ambassador. He admires its All Mighty Guarantee and appreciates having a reliable piece of gear for years, which he loves more and more as time goes by.

“It feels like Osprey is a family to us,” Green said. “We got to go to the launch of the 50th anniversary and meet more of the people behind the scenes, and they are just really great people. It makes it super easy for us to promote Osprey when we authentically like their products and all that they do.”

This article is sponsored by Osprey. Check out its Trail Running Packs online.

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