What is your favorite ultra that you have competed in, and why?
“I’d have to say it’s a tie between both Western States and TRT 100’s. Western States because it’s such an iconic event. Anyone who considers themselves a “true” ultrarunner aspires to run this 100miler at least once in their ultra career. It’s an incredible event to be a part of.TRT is another favorite because the course is both magnificent and challenging. Not only is there altitude to manage, but the diverse terrain of rocky single track, sand and steep climbs.”
What is your educational background?
“I have a BS in Broadcast Journalism/Mass Communications and completed Masters degree course work in Kiniseology from San Jose State University. I also have an Advanced Personal Training Certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and am a USATF Level 1 Coach.”
You have an incredibly varied background. Which part of your resume’ translates best to the world of ultra?
“I’d say my profession as a performance coach. I get to take my academic knowledge and pair it with my own endurance sports experience to help others achieve their personal fitness/performance goals.”
Is there a race you always turn as inspiration when training?
“No specific race really stands out. I think 100 mile races are tough for a variety of reasons. Both mental and physical limits are pushed. So during training I think, I’ve made it through a 100 mile race…I can be sure that I’ll make it through a hard training day.”
Is there one portion of your training that you think universally translate to all runners?
“I’d say rest and recovery. Both are critical to being a successful runner, no matter the distance. If you keep tearing down muscle and don’t allow for repair, it’s a matter of time before both body and engine fail you.”
The Ultra scene is changing rapidly—more money, more sponsors—in your estimation is this improving or hurting the running scene?
“Boy…as an endurance athlete who has raced Xterra Mountainbike and Half IM triathlon series events, there’s no getting away from the reality that once a sport takes off…the explosion is bound to happen. It’s inevitable. People can choose the events they want to support. I think there are enough small venues to run if you don’t want to deal with lotteries and inflated registration fees.”
Describe the moment your realized that ultrarunning was your true passion?
“It was after running my first race in 2005. I ran a 50k on a whim. I’d run trail events before but not that distance. It was the end of my triathlon season and I thought why not run an ultramarathon. I won for the women and set a course record. It was then I knew I’d found my new sport. Haven’t raced a triathlon since.”
What aspects of your training do you have difficulty with?
“I’d say time. There’s not enough time in the day to do everything. So I really have to structure my days to fit in my training while balancing responsibilities of being a single mom and operating my own business. Every segment of my life demands attention. I like to give 110% to each segment. But unfortunately I’d say there are times when I’m only able to give 85-90% to my training as an endurance athlete.”
How do you overcome those mental obstacles?
“I pray a lot. I’m a Christian and I really lean on my faith to get me through the days when I’m feeling completely stretched out. God is good and just when I feel like I’m at the end of my rope, He comes through.”
Are you technology driven or do you run by feel? Or a combination of both?“
My running buddies laugh at me because I only just got a Garmin this year. (LOL) I’d say the majority of my running is by feel. I have been doing it this way for a long time, so I know when I’m working hard or just cruising a workout.”
There are so many amazing new products available in today’s ultra running world—how much do you explore all of these options? Are you a “keep it simple” person or do you like to see what the new technologies can deliver?
“I like to stay informed of the latest greatest gadgets, shoes, training gear, nutritional supplements, apparel, etc. But I don’t feel the need to actually incorporate anything different into my training or racing strategy. I’ve found the formula that works for me and as the old saying goes, “ if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it or replace it”. All that being said, I keep an open mind and will try anything…at least once.”
As an elite athlete do you think your training becomes as much a mental exercise as a physical one?
“Absolutely, I think the mental component is HUGE!”
During a race—cuss words or words of encouragement—and how do you use these mental pokes to push it to the next level?
“Man, I’d say neither. I just need to know that I’m sticking with my plan and giving it my best effort for that day. My crew knows this and so does my pacer. I love music so if anything a good song playing in my head (no headphones necessary), is enough. I often ask my pacer to sing a song from the 80’s. I lived the 80’s and still think the music of that time is some of the best.”
Getting lost out on the trail is no fun but in hindsight is there a time that it happened to you that can be considered humorous now?
“Yes! TRT 100, 2010. It was the first year they changed the course. I ended up running close to 9 additional miles. Victor Ballesteros and I both went off course and we both dropped after returning to the start/finish. We can now look back on it as somewhat of a bonding experience for us both.”
Is there a difference between sports becoming life and sports being part of and enhancing one’s life? In other words, how do your balance your life as an athlete with your life outside of athletics?
“I have come to the conclusion that I can’t change who I am or what I do or what I’m passionate about. I have lost some close friends and love relationships because of my focus on endurance athletics. Sad but true…It’s hard to explain to people who don’t run ultras or are as committed to a lifestyle of fitness as an endurance athlete. I try really hard to be a mom to my daughter, a support to my family and friends, and partner to my significant other.”
What does the next 12 months hold for you?
“Good question. Right now my focus is on winning the Pacific USATF Female Ultra Grand Prix Masters Division.
If all goes well at Fire Trails 50 mile and Whiskeytown 50k, October 26th, I will move from 2nd to 1st place.”
Do you work on a long arc or just take life as it comes?
I try to do some forecasting of events as they fill up fast. Some races I’m considering for next season are: Sean O’Brien 50 mile, Lake Sonoma 50 mile, Ohlone 50k, WS 100 (keeping my fingers crossed) or TRT100 (for a possible 3rd win)
Also, might consider a multi stage race with my best friend Prudence L’Heureux.