Late last weekend, word started circulating in the trail running community that someone had broken Ben Nephew‘s legendary FKT (Fastest Known Time) on The Devil’s Path, one of the hardest hikes, let alone runs, in the United States. The Devil’s Path traverses seven of the highest peaks of the Catskill Mountains in one fell swoop clocking over 18,000′ of elevation change in less than the distance of a marathon. It is so steep and strenuous that most hikers plan on 3 days and 2 nights to traverse the path. Josh Burns’ (who owns a few other FKT’s in the Northeastern US) ran it last weekend in 5 hours and 7 minutes, shaving 28 minutes off of Ben Nephew’s seemingly untouchable previous FKT of 5:35 set back in 2010. Announcing his accomplishment with little more than a post to a few Instagram followers “The devil must be in Georgia cause I snuck through on the devils path with a fastestknowntime of 5 hours and 7 minutes today…” and a link to his GPS Download on the official ProBoards site, Josh was kind enough to answer a few questions when we reached out to him afterwards… enjoy!
This interview was originally published on NYOutside.com. Reprinted with permission.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START THINKING ABOUT ATTEMPTING AN FKT ON THE DEVIL’S PATH? AND WHY? THERE ARE A LOT OF FKT POSSIBILITIES OUT THERE – WHY ONE OF THE HARDEST IN THE COUNTRY?
I guess I’m really drawn to the idea of FKT’s simply as a means of exploring the outdoors, and more specifically the mountains. Living in the Catskills, The Devil’s Path is the epitome of that ideal. That being said, the thought never really seemed feasible for a long time. It wasn’t until roughly a year ago that I started to learn the route, and actually give consideration to an honest attempt. That trail is relentless for a good majority of it, so it really does take commitment.
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT TRAINING FOR THIS? OBVIOUSLY, YOU’RE NO STRANGER TO TOUGH NORTHEAST FKT’S, BUT THE DEVIL’S PATH IS A SPECIAL KIND OF CRAZY…
Actually, the majority of my training lacks a lot of structure. It basically revolves around running local trails that have good quality vertical gain. I have Pakatakan Mountain out my backdoor that gains 1,000 ft. in roughly a mile with similar terrain to DP, so I spend a lot of time on that. Although, leading up to this attempt I focused more time actually getting on the DP. This definitely helps to be a local, but logging a great deal of miles on the route really paid off. It made the different sections of climbs, ridges, and descents seem more manageable.
WHO CREWED FOR YOU AND WHAT SORT OF CREWING WAS PROVIDED? HOW DID THAT HELP IN YOUR ATTEMPT?
Well, my girlfriend Jess met me at the ending Spruceton Road trailhead. She was my “crew”. In the morning I left my car at the Platte Clove trailhead, and she helped me out with the post run shuttle. As far as helping in the attempt, there wasn’t any formal assistance according to FKT designations, but you always look forward to seeing loved ones, friends, and family at the finish line of any race or adventure. I guess it was more of a psychological benefit knowing she was waiting for me at the end.
For this kind of attempt there really isn’t support needed. My run was totally unsupported. I carried a small pack with two 16 oz. water bottles and ten gels. I dipped one bottle in the creek at the lean-to near Hunter Mountain. For longer endeavors like the Long Trail or the Appalachian, a full support crew cooking you meals, and laying out a sleeping bag will make an enormous impact on how quick and light you can accomplish them. The Devil’s Path is relatively quick in FKT terms. I don’t know. In the end, it’s all about the personal journey, and I was satisfied with my day.
DO YOU KNOW BEN NEPHEW? HAVE YOU GUYS HAD A CHANCE TO CONNECT POST-RUN?
No, I’ve never actually met or spoken with Ben before. I know we have done a bunch of the same trail races, but I’m not too sure at the same time ever. I have a ton of respect for that guy. He has accomplished an insane amount in his running.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Well, I’m planning on Manitou’s Revenge Ultra later this month in Windham, New York. Then, probably continue scouting some more FKT possibilities, and spending time in the mountains taking high quality pictures with a phone.
WHERE CAN FOLKS FIND YOU ONLINE?
Thanks and cheers!
All images by Josh Burns and Jess Villani. Used by permission.
On Friday May 30th through Sunday June 1st some of the members of the #TrailsRoc board were given the opportunity to spend time with some of the powerhouse elites of the ultra/trail community. We participated in a weekend long adventure in Ithaca as part of the Cayuga Trails 50 – A USATF National Championship event.
Ian Golden, the Race Director brought in a strong field of elite runners to go after his course. We camped with them, ate with, drank with them, ran with them, provided aid for, cheered for, and covered their races –
This gave us the time to ask some questions and bring real world answers on some of the big topics in the Mountain Ultra and Trail community. Read on to see what the elites had to say about some pressing topics.
Why Run Trails?
What is it about trail running that you love and why should someone consider it?
Mort Nace – “The challenge, the scenery and the best community in running – I got involved in Race Directing because I wanted to share my favorite experiences. Rochester didn’t have anything like I had experienced so I wanted to offer that I had been to race in Michigan and Colorado, our trails are great this area deserved to race them”. Muddy Sneaker – A Goose Adventure Race was named one of the top 5 trail races you must do by Runners World Magazine. Check them out!
JACKIE PALMER – “The trails are just more interesting, I love running in the woods, I am a physical therapist, and this is so much better for your body. Biomechanically, trail running creates less injury. On top of that it is more enjoyable and everything feels like it is zipping by – No long road to stare down as you go, just trees zipping by”.
Check out her on personal page below
Why run an ultra?
The ultimate question to the elites is often how did they get here
Matt Flaherty -“Simply – it’s because I am well suited for this. Endurance was always my strong point I ran the 10k in college at Univeristy of Illiiois- For me the 50 mile is a nice distance – I can train for and race 5 or 6 a year and still have proper recovery. It is the distance I am best at.” As for the why? “It really does come down to the community – The Ultra and Trail community is killer, I love it. I am surrounded by great people all the time.”
Check out Matts fun site below!
What About Recovery?
Chris Vargo – The Cayuga Trails 50 Champion this year.
Many of you will love this answer, but after putting in hours of training and or racing for Vargo the answer is simple.
“Eating a lot”
On racing though he says It’s hard to do monthly back to back races. “I like down time I will take 3 days off after this and always always get in some great nutrition post race as soon as possible.” Chris suggests protein drinks and meals higher in fat for recovery. “I am actually a pescetarian I tend to lose weight easily and have found not only does this lifestyle help me with my weight but also with my recovery.”
Check out Chris’s Vargo Running below.
On Hill Work-
We are lucky in our region we can do steeps in the Rochester area – Drive an hour to Hi-Tor or a few hours to Ithaca and get in some great climbs – We all know how important this is to trail racing – but what if you live where there are not a lot of hills?
Brad Lombardi – Badwater competitor -Says he runs Bridge repeats in Florida. “I just go hour on hour back and forth. It’s tough to really simulate trails so you do the best that you can. Thefolks coming from areas with natural hills and mountains have an advantage.”He doesn’t let that bother him though and has a great outlook on the hills – Think of the mantra below next time you need to climb some monster hills.
“If its comfortable its not attactive”
“I like to sign up for races that scare me – That gets me going – that helps me train harder.”
Check out Brads site below for some other great tips and information.
On Mental Prep
Bree Lambert –
Oh how we can all benefit from some advice here – Read it, use it – Bree is a fantastic runner with a strong history of success at events like Cayuga 50.
“For me I just always break down the distance. I never ever look at it as one big chunk. I tell runners break it down into bite size pieces so its not overwhelming. My best advice during the long stretches to avoid slowing and getting negative is to get to the next aid station. Once you are there, you start over. It’s a new race, a new distance, and then you repeat.”
On handling those low points during training when your body is tired and sore and you ask yourself “why”… “I coach runners I am a performance coach, a personal trainer, and I love to coach ultra runners, When you are having an off day, look at is an opportunity or as a way to recover. pay attention to your body. Are you over trained, are you fueling properly. Off days are a time to evaluate “whats going on” adjust if you need to, Don’t blindly follow a printed out plan.”
“Before you decide to run an ultra, you need to realize its going to take discipline, and internal motivation to get there – It wont be easy – be patient and mentally understand that its a sport of discipline and time!”
Check out Brees’ site below for more tips and advice
Ian Ridgeway –
“You can recover fine on most foods – I think every runner out here will say that there is nothing special to it. You just eat a lot, on hot days eat more salts – Eliminate all processed foods and you will feel better and be healthier. My wife is a med student and is up on all current health matters but this is pretty simple advice. I don’t perscribe to one diet – Vegetarian, raw, paleo, I just eat clean and it works.”
I am on strava and have a website http://www.iansrunning.blogspot.com
2 silver medals in US Trail Championships 2011 and 2012 and 2 time USATF 100 Mile Champion – Believes a lot of runners are using too much gear. It is simple he says to the runners he coaches “Be prepared for the weather you will face, and if you need to, carry a hydration pack. I suggest duct tape in your pack as it fixes pretty much anything”
For shoes – especially on the trails Dave says again it’s simple – “Something with a little grip and something that you personally are comfortable with – I am not in bed with any one brand, there are lot’s of great choices out there, find one that works for you.”
Check out Daves awesome site below
On Fastest Known Times
– The newest boom in running where runners try to run a segment faster than anyone has before and log it here: http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/ FKTs –
Great explanation of the concept here here – http://www.irunfar.com/2013/04/fastest-known-times.html
Ben Nephew is one of the most well know FKT guys out there right now and we sat down to discuss it– “The draw to to it for me is simple. It fits in my schedule and those trails always offer me a competitive venue. I can’t always be at a race, but I can schedule my own FKT attempt. It’s actually hard to go back to a standard race venue. I can do a FKT attempt anywhere – Especially in places that would never give out a race permit – For example the Presidential Traverse in the White mountains will never have a race, this way we can still race each other there.”
You have to post your times and talk about them in order for the FKT to count, Ben wishes more folks would start doing this.
“I wish people were more active about posting it, that is what makes it the fastest KNOWN time” –
Ben is looking to get back his FKT in the Great Range Traverse to take a run then the hut traverse in New Hampshire-
As for how he does it ?
“inov8 been good to me – mountain peak fitness is amazing -I have coaching duties there –
Jordan McDougal –
“Thats why we race – Anyone of us can go out and sit in the pack and we can try to out kick each other – The records though, that takes guts, that takes carnage off of the front pack – That takes throwing caution to the wind. It’s way more exciting and that’s why I do what I do”
Check out Jordan on Twitter – @JJMCDOUGALER
On fame/lack of it in the ultra community
– In what other sport can the best in the world walk around and not many people know who they are? We got to camp and hang with these guys – To some of us a big deal, back home people don’t get it. We asked Cassie Scanlon what that’s like.
“I don’t think of it as being famous I guess. The reason I come to races is a reunion a lot of times. If people dont recognize us that doesn’t bother me, It can actually be kind of nice. -Most don’t get our sport, but it has great support, even being injured i feel like people around me care –
Cassie isn’t currently running a website – but she does want us to plug some sponsors which we would love to do – Check out her crew
Drymax – Hammer – Justinsnutbutter – Julbo – rocky mountain runners place – and of course Salomon
On doing Ultra and having a family
Jordan McDougal – As a father of a 7 month old baby Jordan has some great advice.
“You have to schedule everything. I can tell you as a parent of a newborn, when I was tired – If I did not have everything planned out, it didn’t happen. Sometimes my long runs change. I would have to hit roads and push the stroller, which is something that was new to me.”
On his biggest advice to new parents? Trust your legs, and schedule your training. Sometimes it’s early. Sometimes it’s late. Be there for your spouse – and don’t lose focus on family –
I think we can all give that a try.
So there you have it – Of the crew we met, they were down to earth folks who remembered names and just happen to be able to run incredibly fast. We encourage you to check out their websites – twitter pages – facebook pages etc. It’s through YOU all that the sport grows, and through them we can watch some amazing performances.
Oh and almost all of these guys stuck around in cheered in finishers HOURS after they had finished – If you have never done that – Try it sometime, it’s extremely rewarding.
See you on the trails!
How am I going to run a mile straight without dying
Did you have past running experience? What is your past with the sport? Did you run in grade school? college?
I always played sports growing up. I played organized baseball up to 8th grade and organized basketball up to 9th grade. Running is obviously a component of those sports, but I never ran just to run. I never ran track or cross country in high school or college. In 2008, I cut something negative out of my life and figured I should replace it with something positive. My brother ran and that is what originally sparked the idea. I owned sneakers and knew how to physically do it. I could just walk outside and go. No lessons, no equipment, no team, no gym membership. If I had questions, I could just ask my brother. It was frustrating at first. It wasn’t easy, I didn’t seem to get any faster, my body hurt. It was discouraging. Then I noticed a run that had been tough the prior week had gotten a little easier. At that point I was hooked.
What is your future with running? Do you see yourself doing this for a long time?
I started skateboarding when I was 12 years old. I never thought anything would come along that would consume me like skateboarding did. Then running came along. I still love skateboarding, but running has definitely taken over. Unless something else comes along to steal me away from running, I plan on doing it for a long, long time. I love it.
On the biggest challenges of running high mileage.
Longer races mean higher mileage in training. Staying healthy becomes a priority. All the training in the world doesn’t matter if don’t make it to the start line. It’s a delicate balance. You have to get the miles in to be prepared for the race. You also need to be able to shut it down if an issue arises. It’s easy to tell someone to listen to their body, but actually doing it yourself can be challenging.
I was lucky to spend the majority of 2012 healthy. When I decided to take on the 50 miler, I thought I should do something besides running to prepare for it. That ended up being Muscles For Mileage at Fore Performance in Brighton. It’s a strength training class once a week lead by Josh Rossi that is specifically designed for runners. The class is awesome! We work on strength, core, balance, stability, flexibility, running form, etc. The class had a huge positive impact on my fitness level, my ability to run more efficiently, my ability to recover faster, and it helped me stay healthy for most of the year.
The difficult year of training finally caught up with me in October when my left ITB flared up. It caused me to miss the Catalina Island Eco Marathon (which I deferred registration and will run this year!). I tried to stay off it and hoped it went away. It didn’t. I was bummed, of course, but I took it as an opportunity to learn. What caused it? How can I fix it? How can I prevent it from happening again?
Josh referred me to Melissa Graham at Sport Physical Therapy of NY in Webster. She diagnosed my issue and helped me get back on the right track. You are going to get injured if you run long enough. Dealing with injury, mentally and physically, is a great skill to develop.
You know what we love, but which do you prefer, trails or roads? why?
I prefer trails. The varied terrain offers more resistance and helps me get stronger. Running through traffic is boring. Running through the woods is not. A road is a road. In trail running, the terrain can change from day to day and that keeps things interesting. I love to get out on the trails after a thunderstorm or high winds. I can’t wait to see how the trails have changed. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, hot, humid, windy, rainy, snowy…being out on the trails is just more fun. (We couldn’t agree more and are thrilled to hear Dan explain why with such ease!!!)
Here is one many people worry about…Have you ever found yourself lost out on the trails? What did you do?
Crap, did I miss a turn?
I have gotten turned around before and not really known where I was, but never to the point where I needed to worry. There was a point in my 50 miler last year where I was cruising along all alone. I couldn’t see anyone ahead of me and no one behind me. It’s a pretty big race, so that worried me. There is a relay going on the same time as the ultra and as a result there are many different color flags marking the trails. For about a mile and a half I thought I had made a wrong turn and was running the wrong section. I started to get nervous. It turned out I was on the right trail, but I remember that feeling, “Crap, did I miss a turn?” Not a good thought 20 miles into a long race.
What kind of gear is typical for you on a long run/race? What gear do you suggest for others interested in the sport? How about nutrition? What do you eat anddrink on long runs?
I keep the gear to a minimum. I run with a Garmin Forerunner 410. My shoe brand of choice these days is inov8 (RocLite 295, BareGrip 200). I have had great luck with their shoes. They are light, supportive, feel great right out of the box, and have an aggressive outsole. I’ll stick with them until I have a reason not to.
I have a CamelBak handheld water bottle. I only drink water when I run. I try to consume a full bottle (21 oz) per hour. On long runs, I either stash water or I run where know I have access to running water. I can hit all the water spouts in Mendon on a long run right when I need them. I love planning those runs. I need to hit the spouts every hour or so all while not running the same trails twice. It forces me to get creative with the routes.
I use a SpiBelt to carry my nutrition. My food of choice is Clif ShotBloks. I take in a large number of calories when I go long. I eat three ShotBloks (100 calories) every 20 minutes. There are plenty of things that can go wrong on a long run. Hydration and nutrition are two things I can control, so I take full advantage. What works for me might not work for someone else. People should experiment and find what works for them.
– Editor – That advice about hydration and nutrition is some of the best we have heard – YOU can control that – you can’t control weather – terrain – other runners – but you CAN control nutrition -Thanks for pointing that out, Dan.
Have you ever had a time when you were out running, or just preparing for a run, or even just done with one when you asked yourself “what is the point of all of this” what did you do to overcome that feeling?
Up to this point, I have never seriously asked myself, “What is the point of all of this?” The worst I have ever felt after a run was the Rock-N-Roll Las Vegas Marathon in December 2011. I was very confident going in. I didn’t eat or drink enough during the race and I went out faster than I should have. I was fine through 19 miles. At mile 20 the wheels came off. It was a struggle get through those last six miles. After I finished, I was dizzy, disoriented, cramped, dehydrated, hungry, sore, etc. I still ended up with a solid time (3:22), but it felt so terrible. As bad as that race was and as discouraged as I felt, I knew I would continue to run. That race taught me the importance of pace, hydration, and nutrition. If I keep those three things in check, I will never feel like I did after Vegas.
Dan- you have had a lot of success how about some advice for someone who is interested in trail running, and for a runner who is interested in becoming an ultra runner!!!
The Greater Rochester area has a great trail system. More than that, it has a great trail running community (we like to think we add to this). If you think you might enjoy running trails, get out and try it. If you are worried about getting out there on your own, Medved can help. Throughout the summer, they host a weekly group run through many of the local parks. All skill levels are welcome. There are people there that can answer questions, you don’t have to worry about getting lost, and you get to meet some like minded people who enjoy trail running. The conversation makes the miles fly by. It’s perfect for someone looking to give it a try. My first trail run ever was with the Medved group in Mendon Ponds Park. It was a great experience. It encouraged me to keep coming back.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I was able to work my way up to the marathon distance on my own. When I registered for the 50 miler, I thought it might be time to get some help from someone who knew what they were doing. Too much can go wrong over the course of 50 miles to go in unprepared.
I started working with Nate Huckle after hearing him speak at a meeting for the Medved Endurance Project. He helped me figure out the hydration and nutrition plans that worked for me. He gave me my workouts a couple of weeks ahead of time and could tweak them based on how I was handling the training. I learned quite a bit from Nate and I think that is why my first ultra was such a great experience. Running is very mental. I think people are capable of more than they realize. You just have to want it and want to put in the work to get it. When I was struggling with how I was going to run a whole mile, running a 50 mile race couldn’t have seemed more impossible.
It was my motivation over the past few years, along with the support of my family and friends, that pushed me to see where I could take this. Last year I ran my first ultramarathon (50 mile Dances With Dirt in Hell, MI). This year I am going to tackle the TransRockies Run (120 mile, 6 day stage race in the Rocky Mountains with 20,000 ft of climbing). I can’t tell you how to be an ultra runner, but if you are motivated enough, you will make it happen.
On living and running in Rochester – What do you love about it
I was born and raised here. My family is here. My friends are here. My job is here. It’s affordable. There are plenty of good trails and a great running community. There are races almost every weekend of the year. Winter! Two winters ago I started running trails on snowshoes. It’s the best! If you snowshoe all winter, you will be stronger than ever in the Spring. Rochester is home.
So there it is – We hope you enjoyed meeting Dan and reading some advice from one of our areas better runners. If you want to see Dan in action – Check out our new Trail Runner of The Year Series– We are sure you will see him at some of these races.
Many of you know that there is a new and challenging Ultra Race coming to our region this summer. We have heard much discussion on our facebook page, and much discussion at our events. To those of you who are not aware, The Cayuga Trails 50 is open for registration and ready to impress you with it’s deep field, innovative course offerings, and challenging yet beautiful terrain.
Being run on June 8th, 2013 with a $12,000 cash purse including in race incentives on a beautiful course with historic stair cases? Please read on to find out more.
We had an opportunity to sit down with Race Director Ian Golden late last week to discuss the upcoming race, and we wanted to share some of the more relevant, and exciting pieces of that chat with you.
We hope you take a look at this race, the course, and the energy being put in to it, and consider it on your race schedule this summer.
It may seem odd to start a chat about your first ever running of this race by asking about next year, but it can show how organized and ready to go this race is, can you tell us about the exciting news we have been hearing about this course and the year 2014?
For 2014…yeah, pretty cool, we will be hosting the 2014 USA Trail National Championship. The truth is that not many events bid for the titles. It’s more work on top of a lot of work already on RD’s plates. I’m excited to host and it should for sure provide a bit more coverage of the event. It’ll be great to bring the 50 M championships east, with a larger event in terms of numbers, and be able to provide solid prize money to a trail championship event.
When/where did the idea for the event come from and why did you pick that area?
Krissy Moehl grew up 14 miles from the trails and mountains in the state of Washington yet she never ventured out onto them. She was a ballerina, a basketball player, a bowler, and she even spent some time riding horses as a child. Throughout all of those activities though, she never hit the trails.
So how did she end up being one of the worlds best ultra distance runners? How did she end up winning her first ever Ultra Race,The Chuckanut 50k? How did she become a pro at tackling mountains, running technical single track, running hard through the night on races that would last upwards of 36 hours? It was simple as Krissy says; she “just ran”.
Running is my constant
The story of course is more detailed than that. It always is isn’t it?
When Krissy is running, you almost always see her smiling. This contagious smile goes back to her very first 50k and her mother, who was worried about the long distance effort – She told Krissy, “If you look bad at any of these aid stations I am pulling you right off of that course”. She made the choice right then and there to smile – to have fun – and to make sure she was running for the right reasons. She smiled and laughed at every aid station. Yes she was putting on a show for Mom, but she also loved being out “playing in the dirt” as she puts it.
TrailsRoc was excited this weekend thanks to Medved Running and Walking to have an opportunity to run, eat, and talk with Krissy. Check out our newest runner spotlight in a brief chat below, and when you run, as Krissy would say, do it because it is fun, and smile all the time!
Thank you for sitting down with us today, can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born in California, and when I was about a year old my family moved to Washington (state). I grew up there playing many different sports. My mom had me in everything from Ballet to Horseback riding, with only one rule, I was not allowed to ski. She had hurt her knees doing that and it was off limits for me. I recently moved to Boulder Colorado and my boyfriend is convinced he is going to teach me this winter, I just keep reminding him I am a runner, not an athlete.
So how about your running? How did it start, where did you really take off with it?
I ran Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor track in high school. I was decent but not great. I enrolled at The University of Washington, and made the track team as a walk on. I ran for 3 years, (editors note: Krissy was an 800 meter runner.. yes.. 2 laps, and now she runs 100 MILES), and then during my senior year I had to make a choice between track, and a job opportunity. I chose the job.
I was able to spend time living in Ecuador and that is where my true love for long runs came from. I was lucky that my coaches all the way back to high school had instilled in me a sense of loving the run. Of running for running and not for anything else. I found this in Ecuador. I would just lace up and head out. I loved it
I must have seemed crazy, this white girl in a sports bra, running in places I should not have been running at times I should not have been running, but I just loved it.
I took a job at The Seattle Running Company. Scott Jurek and Scott McCoubrey both worked there, they began pressuring me to run some trails with them. I ran with them, and slowly but surely added miles and then just a few months after my very first trail run I entered the Chuckanut 50k.
(We asked how she did, and humbly she smiled and said “I won it” Asked if she was happy with her time and the win.. again almost not wanting to admit it… “Well yes, I was thrilled because I even broke the course record”)
There is something about this sport that makes even it’s stars humble. Perhaps it is the simple fact that every race is new and nothing is promised?
In an effort to get Krissy to brag a little, we asked what her greatest RACE success was to date.
I would have to say Ultra Trail Mont Blanc in 2009 (in which she won). I had failed big time (in my eyes) at Western States and I learned form it. I am always learning from my runs, my training and my racing. The weather was perfect. I had a great day and everything worked in my favor. I was fortunate to pull off the victory and it is still the highlight or one of the highlights of my career!
What was running (and winning) Europe’s most prestigious ultra like?
The racing is so different in Europe, they love endurance events. They line up for them. I am sure you have seen the Tour De France, it is really like that over there. Towns and cities actually PAY the race directors to host events rather than having race directors fight for permits and pay huge fees to host events. It’s different, it’s energizing. I love it.
You have been in the sport for sometime now, you won your first event, and had success at the international level – So what is your future in the sport?
Longevity – It’s as simple as that. I am 35, a young 35 – I met a 70 year old out there running this morning. That is what I want. I love running for the highs the lows, and as I have said – Running is my constant. I just want to always be able to do it.
You have seen the changes in the sport from larger purses to more sponsors to younger runners – What do you think is the future of the sport?
I have seen 12 years of evolution in this sport. As you said, the money has really increased. While the money has increased the age of runners has gone down. When I started the average age of many Ultra Runners was almost 50 years old. Now its much younger. The younger runners are here to stay. They can recover faster and run more often. Last week at The North Face Endurance Championship I was 6-8 years older than most of the women I was racing. It’s a different sport – with a strong future and I am happy to be an ambassador of it.
But 100 miles, Krissy? Really? Where are the struggles out there – What do you do when the going gets tough?
Thats the thing – I really do love it. Running offers so many parallels to life. I am always learning while running and that helps me with the tough stretches. What can I learn from this, why is it happening? I mean I have to deal with the weather, or stomach issues, or fatigue just like everyone else, but for me, I love the unknown. It keeps me going.
When you toe the starting line, adventure is certain. Sure we are safe, but there is nothing predictable about these races. That gets me through. Adventure.
What about RACING 100 miles though – That is much different than simply going out and running/finishing 100 miles.
It’s not though. Your goal in an event like this should always be to finish. If you go in with other goals you are most often, especially if you are a beginner – setting yourself up for failure. In 2009 I wanted to win Western States 100 so bad. I even made a spot in my house for the trophy. I wanted it, I expected it, and I forgot my “finish” mentality. I went out way to hard. I was hurting at mile 30 – The next 70 miles I suffered.
I spent 6.5 hours in the medical tent after that race. I finished, I placed well. I did not win. I run because I love to run, I forgot that, and I felt like this was a stupid race strategy. The win or die trying attitude is not me. I just love to run. It works. I think more people would improve if they adopted this and forgot about place.
So why trails? What makes trail running so awesome? (We have a few ideas)
Like I said. I grew up about 14 miles from the trails and mountains. I would see mountains as a place you would take a car or bus over or around. I never dreamed of using my own two feet to go ON them.
I used to look at mountains at something that was cool off in the distance, now I look at them and wonder how can I get to them! It’s so liberating and freeing.
You have been at this for many years as you said and you have begun to make a bit of a name for yourself in the ultra world. So take a minute and tell us about your sponsors.
Patagonia means so much to me. I was working at the Conservation Alliance in Bend, Oregon and I was at the Outdoor Retailer Show and they approached me about joining their team as an Ambassador. I joined the Patagonia Montrail Race team and began to serve as an Ambassador 5 years ago. 3 years ago Patagonia got into the footwear arena and I decided to go head to toe in Patagonia gear. In actuality I am honored to be head to toe in their gear!
The company is so responsible. From the way they treat the environment to the way they treat their employees they show respect. I believe in the mission, I believe in the product. I would not be part of this if I did not believe in them. They believe in us as employees, and everyone as endurance athletes or outdoor lovers. We have a book called The Responsible Company -This company treats employees as family members – not as corporate entities.
I had a solid career with CA, but I knew the road I was on. Patagonia was offering me adventure. I told myself if I did not take this opportunity I would always wonder “what if”. If it ended up with me eating beans and rice and living in my car, that would not be so bad. People work themselves to death, they need to find something they are passionate about and make it that a career. I had 2 rules when I made this decision;
1. Have fun
2. If I had to incur debt to keep doing it I would stop.
I’m still here, still having fun. Who knew what this life would like?
I am also blessed to be working with Ultraspire – I get to work with amazing athletes and amazing products.Check out their line of products, try them on, try them out. I think you will love them.
Udos Oil is a company that Scott Jurek introduced me to. It has totally changed how I think about nutrition. It’s a great company. When I started following the plan my entire physique and recovery and running changed. I love it.
And finally First Endurance is another nutrition and recovery product that I just LOVE. I believe in all of the products they make and I stand behind them 100%.
I am fortunate to have these products in my corner and on my team while I am racing.
What else Krissy? What final advice do you have for aspiring runners? Where can we find you online? Any final thoughts?
Do this because you love it! Do not get caught up in time goals, or anything else – Run because you love to run. Ask tons of questions – listen to people who have been there before and most of all enjoy the journey.
I’d like to thank Medved for having me here today, the run this morning, and the entire day was wonderful. I think what TrailsRoc is doing for the running community in Rochester is awesome, keep it up guys!
You can find me online –
My Website – KrissyMoehl.com
Facebook – Krissy Moehl
I have also started to coach athletes. I LOVE working with beginners – I think anyone can come up with a plan, write it down, share it. Not everyone has the ability to motivate, to make you a better athlete, to relate to what you are going through, but I think I can. I know I can.
So there you have it everyone. We hope you enjoyed our chat with Krissy Moehl. Please check our her site, and her sponsors and keep checking back for more trail love and future spotlights!!
A special thanks to Medved for allowing us the time to meet with Krissy and setting up this wonderful event.
You are going to start seeing some awesome posts from a few lovely ladies on our blogs, twitter, and facebook. You will also see some events that are going to be geared more towards getting women out on the trails and enjoying nature. We know that some women just feel more comfortable with other women.
So without delaying this any longer we welcome our first female member to the spotlight :
Sheila – aka: Sugar Momma
1. Why TrailsRoc? What attracts you to the organization?
I love TrailsRoc because it allows people who love running on the trails, regardless of their ability, a chance to meet up and do what they love together. We are so lucky to live in a city with such phenomenal trail running and phenomenal runners! I have never felt as welcomed into any community as I did the trail running community here in the Roc.
2. What is your endurance background AND what makes you tick… why do you run?
In high school, I played a ton of soccer, mostly midfield because I could run back and forth all game long. I ran track for a couple of years to stay in shape for soccer during the brief lull between winter-indoor session and spring-outdoor session, but I never really liked it. In college, I played occasional pick-up soccer games and would go to the gym to “run” on the elliptical. After college, I continued my elliptical “running,” but insisted that I hated running “just to run,” even when I met a tall, handsome stud (enter Eric aka @roctherun aka Ber Beer Bear), who talked incessantly about running. He tried, numerous times, to get me to run with him. I tried, numerous times, to get him to ask me out on a “real” date. A year or so after we started dating, Eric finally convinced me to go for a run with him. I think I made it to the corner of our street, and I would’ve complained the whole way but I was too busy sucking wind. It was a mess. I wish there was a more glamorous or legit reason for my running to have taken off–but I started running more seriously when I found out that Breuggers had a local 5k with free bagels post-run. I believe I told Eric, “All I have to do is run 3.1 miles for free bagels?” I ran a bunch of 5ks on roads with no real training and frequently said things like “I can’t imagine running more than 5 miles.”
That quickly changed as I began training for my first half marathon, the inaugural Flower City Half. I was woefully underprepared, walked/ran from mile 7 on, finished the race, puked (for all the gory, embarrassing details, see below), cursed Eric out for signing me up for the half, and swore I would never run farther than 5 miles again. A few hours later, I found myself wondering how much faster I could be if I trained smarter, now that I knew what to expect. What they say about getting bit by the bug is true. I’ve run 2 more halves since then, improving my time significantly both times (still not where I want it, but we’re getting there). After the second, I mentioned in passing that I thought I could probably run a marathon at this point. I thought nothing of my flippant comment, but Eric had other plans. I came home from work 2 days later, and he proudly announced that he’d signed me up for the Corning Marathon. While running the marathon was a huge accomplishment, training for it was even more so. The 4 months of marathon madness were an amazing personal journey for me.
2 summers ago, I ran my first trail race. Walking up a hill (*ahem, mountain) by myself, I was near tears. I finished the race more miserable than I’d ever been (except for after that first half marathon) and again told myself never again. Except that I love being outside. I’ve always loved hiking. I had anticipated running my road pace on trails and was upset about how much slower I was on trails…until Eric and I compared other peoples’ road times to their trail times and I realized the two were incomparable. After reframing my expectations, we started running more trails. I realized I LOVED it. Trail running is so much harder than road running. It’s more rewarding, physically and mentally. The camaraderie of trail runners is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and being able to work out in the natural beauty that surrounds us is just amazing. I still like running on the roads, but trail running is a pretty amazing option!!
3. Why should people join TrailsRoc?
TrailsRoc is a great opportunity to meet new people. I love meeting new runners because everyone has a unique view, a unique story, and something to teach. It’s always cool to make new friends, and I am so grateful for all of the amazing people who have come into my life as a result of my involvement with TrailsRoc and running. I can’t wait to meet more people, so come join us!!!!!!
4. Your favorite Trail Event?
Just one??? I’m going to go with the GVH Mudslog here in Rochester. A trail race WITH some serious obstacles, including a swim, horse jumps and a whole lotta mud. It was easily the most fun I’ve had running!
5. Where can we learn more about you? Blogs, twitter handles, etc..
Follow me on twitter @shme105. I’ll also be adding blogs on this site now.
6. What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done on a run?
Aside from the almost weekly tripping (thereby destroying the knees of a couple pairs of running tights and permanently scarring my knees), my most embarrassing running moment would be at the finish line of my first half marathon. As previously stated, I was super unprepared for the race. I had no hydration plan, but Eric had mentioned that I should drink at water stops. So I did. Every. Water. Stop. EVERY 2 miles, I drank a full cup of water. Around mile 7, when you hit the part of the course that cuts through the cemetery, I started feeling nauseous. I switched to walking, fearful of what happens if you puke on a grave (bad karma, right?). I ran/walked the rest of the course, continuing to drink (I have no idea why) at every water station. As I crossed the finish line, I realized I was going to vomit. I pushed by people, grabbed a medal from a startled volunteer, pushed another one holding out a finisher’s mug out of the way, and promptly puked. Time stopped, thousands of people were staring at me, I was in my own little special time warp. And then my knight-in-shining-armor came up to me and asked, “Ummm why are you puking into your hand? You know you can’t catch it, right?” At which point I woke up from my time warp, looked down, registered that time hadn’t stopped, just the people in the immediate vicinity were staring at me, and horrifyingly I was puking into my hand, and the puke was trickling through my fingers to the ground. Thank goodness a nice girl nearby grabbed me some cups of water to rinse off my hand, because Eric was too busy mocking my attempted puke-grab. To this day, I frequently get nauseous post-race, and Eric and I are convinced that it is in my head. So if you see a girl dry heaving at the end of a race, it’s probably me. Come say hi–and bring a cup of water for me, just in case! 🙂
7. What is your DREAM race and why?
TrailsRoc is extremely excited to be able to bring you another big name runner spotlight. This spotlight features The North Face Endurance Athlete, Mike Wolfe. Mike is known as one the worlds elite ultra runners and we were excited to have a chance to sit down and talk with him in person! His wife Stephanie is from right here in Pittsford, NY so it was a natural fit for Mike to come here and help open the new The North Face store in Victor.
Mike Wolfe grew up in Bozeman Montana enjoying “Big Sky country and all of the outdoors sports that come with living in wide open spaces. He talks fondly of his time spent outdoors as he grew up, recounting how his time spent in the mountains of Montana likely fueled his desire for adventure as he grew up.
Like many of the other top runners today, Mike did not grow up as a runner, he was an avid fan of the outdoors yet his athletic accomplishments were found on a soccer field not a mountain trail run!
On a whim, and almost by chance Mike became involved in long distance running. At 18, a bunch of his friends were running the Bridger Ridge Run in Montana, a 20 mile mountain race. He loved it, decided to train for a 50k later that year as an experiment to test himself and thus an Ultra star was born.
Check below for a quick conversation with Mike! You will gain some insight, get some humor, and maybe learn a thing or two about why Mike loves running as much as many of us.
How did you get your start in ultra running –
– I ran a 20 mile trail run race with some friends when I was 18. I loved the feeling of climbing and descending those mountains and decided this is something I wanted to try out. I signed up for a 50k, then a 50 miler and went from there. I kind of played around with it, loved what I was doing, did well with it, and it kind of took off from there, ya know?
You have had some great success with running – 2nd overall in the Western States 100. 2nd overall in the Tour De France of trail running the Ultra Tail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) You have broken course records and won national championships – So what is your future in the sport?
Wow, good question… Well, hopefully good things! I have had a lot of success trying out many different distances 50k, 50 miler, 100 milers etc. I think I want to focus on specific races. Specific distances. I really love mountain courses – I am attracted to the sky running in Europe. The more the elevation gain, the more technical, the better. I love the races in Europe it’s like a different sport over there. I also really want to run Hardrock (the hardrock 100).
I was a lawyer working full time. I worked as a Federal Prosecutor with the U.S. District Attorneys office. We decided to give it a go as a full time runner. It was hard to “get away” when you had to be at work, you can’t exactly just go to Europe for 3 weeks and run a race if you have a job. So a few months ago we made the transition.
In order to race and run a distance like 100 miles, you really have to train. What is the biggest challenge for you?
Knowing when to rest. Like literally rest. You have to know when to back off, it’s hard to rest because you feel like you should be out there running, you feel like you gotta get those miles in, but you have to rest. If you race year round, well, it breaks you down. I have learned that I want to peak for specific races and that means resting sometimes.
What about racing a 100 miler?
It really comes down to absolute focus. When you run that hard, that far, and then even harder for those final 20 miles its 95% mental to me. You have to find the edge, and not lose it. Find the zone and pin it. Don’t think about it.
That kind of focus is challenging, have you ever been out on a run and asked yourself “Why, What’s the point”?
Oh I totally have those moments, where I feel “beaten down” Sometimes it feels selfish to be out running, away from friends, family, work, social groups. I always get this feeling during a 100 mile race, I literally say “this is so stupid, why do I keep doing this, who runs 100 miles?? But the adventure, the mountains, it is liberating. I love it. I crave the feeling of pushing my limits, I want to find out what I can do and that’s a cool feeling.
It seems like an odd question given where most of your races are, but, Trails or Roads? You know what we prefer!
Trails. The scenery, the change. It’s easier on the body, it’s good for the mind. it just seems so much better to be out on the trails. I think that is the reason for the extra competitiveness and the growth in trail running, people enjoy trails more.
We are here for the Grand Opening of The North Face in Victor, NY – So let’s talk about your partnership. Why The North Face?
Well just like my start into running in general it just sort of happened and I got lucky. I am friends with Conrad Anker who is sort of like our team captain. I am also friends with Nikki Kimball, speaking of did you see the new trailer for the movie about her Long Trail adventure coming out?(we have- you all should check it out.There is also a website here to check out). These guys hooked me in. It’s amazing I have been here for over 5 years with The North Face. It’s a huge company but it really feels like a family to me. I feel like I know everyone, it’s a close supportive group!
What about nutrition Mike? What do you eat on these long runs?
I can stick with the gels and blocks up to about 50 miles, anything past that and I need real food not just “sugar” ya know? My stomach starts to go sour with all that sugar. I eat real food, potatoes, bananas, PB&J sandwhiches, the normal ultra food choices.
So we have covered gear, food, motivation, your start, your successes, how about some advice for some of our readers who may be new trail runners or are thinking about running an ultra? What have you got for them?
Surround yourself with successful and supportive people. You need to be motivated. Find a community like this one you are building with TrailsRoc. It is hard to start out running that kind of milage alone on the trails. Find people who enjoy what you enjoy and run with them. Befriend them!
Most of all though, just enjoy your time on the trails. Have fun!
So there it is. We suggest you check out The North Face in Victor, and follow Mike on twitter @mwolfepaw. Then, as usual, join us on the trails!
Special thanks to Mike Wolfe and The North Face Victor for setting up this interview for us!