International Adventure Girl -- Bria Schurke

International Adventure Girl — Bria Schurke

Bria Schurke, a 22-year-old woman from Ely, Minn., has led a life straight from the pages of National Geographic. As the first-born child of explorer Paul Schurke, Bria went to the North Pole in first grade and picked through mammoth bones on Russia’s Wrangel Island while still in junior high. Oh, and she’s now an ultra racer as well. This is my profile of Bria’s life so far, dog sleds, Greenlandic pack ice, raw seal meat, and all. . .

BPA in the News

BPA in the News

BPA is in the news again. That’s short for bisphenol A, a controversial compound that mimics the hormone estrogen and is found in polycarbonate containers, notably in those ubiquitous cylindrical water bottles from Nalgene. But this time around the news, which was picked up yesterday by every major network, revolves around a study about baby bottles and the presence of this chemical, which some researchers say has been linked to obesity, diabetes and developmental problems in lab animals. . .

Andy Knapp -- Survivor

Andy Knapp — Survivor

Can perseverance and fortitude forged from a lifetime in the outdoors boost your strength in other parts of life? For Andy Knapp, a 60-year-old retail buyer at Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, the answer is a big Yes. For the past five years Knapp — a lifelong adventurer — has fought kidney cancer, and he’s tried to approach the sickness with the same type of strategy he’d apply to a tough mountain climb: Each painful therapy, each new experimental drug is a pitch to scale on a steep face. Kick one foot into the snow, rest, breathe, then step up and kick again. . .

Fitness in the Blood

Fitness in the Blood

What on earth is a blood lactate threshold? I had no idea before last week, when I got on a treadmill to undergo a fitness test. But knowing your blood lactate threshold — a point where lactic acid floods muscle cells too fast for the body to metabolize the excess — can help trainers prescribe personalized fitness regimens that maximize your time outdoors (or indoors) running, biking, hiking, etc., in preparation for that next big event. . .

What does it take to run Badwater?

What does it take to run Badwater?

The bitter pill that is the sport of ultramarathon — footraces of 50 miles or more — is unusually hard to swallow in Death Valley National Park, where each July the Badwater Ultramarathon attracts 85 men and women to run 135 miles through the desert sands and to the mountains beyond. What does it take to run the Badwater? Ask Blake Benke, a 30-year-old athlete and ex-Marine from New York City who finished in eighth place during this year’s event. This story is a profile of his race. . .