Congratulations on completing 100 100-mile races! Was there a point when you decided that was your goal?
You know, it’s funny because I actually had no idea. My brain would remember the number of miles I ran rather than the number of individual races I did, so I would just guess based on miles. I’ve done maybe six 48-hour runs in Europe, where I ran over 200 miles, so I would amount that to two races in my head. Then I did the six-day race in New York City where I ran 491 miles, so I gave myself four for that.
In 2019, I got an email from a guy who had a list of the 13 people who had completed 100 or more 100-mile races, and I wasn’t on it! So I wrote him and told him I thought I should be on the list, and he said, “No, I looked it up.” So then I learned at the end of 2019, I was at 89 100s, and I was really motivated.
...And then COVID hit.
I was able to do some real races and some virtual ones. For the real ones, I did Arrowhead pulling the sled last year, and I won. And I did The Drift last year and was the first-place woman there. I also did the Bryce Canyon 100, the Javalina Jundred, and the “I am Tough” race, which is – oh my gosh, wow! – that’s a hard race.
As for the virtual races, some of my friends and I would just make them up! I did one from my house, in the Grand Tetons, which was really cool. I just walked out of my house at 4am and ran over to the Tetons and back. I was supposed to do Hardrock last year, but they had a virtual one instead, which you could do either a “flat” course or a hilly course. We did a bunch of it on the Wasatch 100 trail and ended up not doing a ton of vert because we didn’t do the 11-mile climb at the beginning.
My 99th 100 was the Daytona 100, as a real race. From Jacksonville to Daytona, it was all on real roads and sidewalks, which I normally love. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “don’t forget about the cracks!” I was at a good pace, running about 9:30 miles, and I caught one with the toe of my shoe and fell face first. I split my lip open and thought I broke my hand—the one with a pin in it from a previous fall while running. I told my husband to get me a band-aid and I kept going. My hand was fine, luckily!
And I just did my 100th! It was supposed to be Arrowhead, but they canceled it this year. So I ended up finding a Grand Master’s and did that. It was so cool! 100!
Do you have any races that are your favorites either as a single race that you’ve run, or a race you love to go back to over and over?
Badwater is one of my favorites, because I perform well. It’s on a road, so you don’t have to think as hard about running. And I love the heat! In Badwater, you have a van there with your crew, and I’ve been blessed with amazing crews. So Badwater, for sure.
I have to say now, this Drift race, and of course Arrowhead really appeals to me because it’s self-sufficient; there’s danger involved, and it’s filled with excitement and beauty. It’s really cool, but also extremely difficult.
I also have a couple of favorites in Europe, like the UTMB, which is just unbelievable. It’s so amazing running through those towns and there these big, wooden things with water spigots. The water is so fresh—it tastes like the greatest thing ever.
Those are the ones that really stand out. For marathons, I used to say Boston, where I like to run a double. I start at the finish, run it, and then I run the second one. That’s been really special to me, I’ve probably done that seven times.
You made the lottery for Hardrock this year! What does that mean to you?
I know! I’ve been in for the last two years, but it was canceled! So yeah—I'm excited! My husband loves it; it’s really fun when he gets so into it. Then my kids will come out and help me run part of it, and my friend Ernie will run some. It’ll be like a big party! That is such a special race.
I got to do that race way, way back when you didn’t have to qualify. You could just sign up. My husband kept trying and couldn’t finish it. So one year I said, “Okay, we’re going to do it together and it’s going to be a picnic!” Of course, at mile 35, I’m puking my guts out from altitude sickness. He climbed up Handies and I told him to leave me there. He came back and we wound up dropping out. So, when I finished in 2015, it was amazing. I did Western, Hardrock, and Badwater two weeks apart, which had never been done before since Badwater and Hardrock were usually on the same weekend.
Do you have any superstitions for each race?
It’s more about what I’m going to eat before. I always have a beer the night before with a steak, a potato, and a salad to eat. Way back when I was doing triathlons, I always used to eat pizza, and – oh my gosh – I can’t even come close to doing pizza anymore! Anyway, having that meal really helps me.
You run in the Timp, right?
Yes, EXCEPT I wore the Lone Peak ALL-WTHR for The Drift and – oh my gosh! – I can’t tell you how amazing they were. They were a gamechanger. Also, what I did was take the inserts out of my other Altra’s and at every aid station, about every 18-25 miles, I changed my socks and put a new insert in. My feet were fine! I never got cold, and it was -20 degrees outside. It was amazing!
But for trail runs, I wear the Timp. Just two weeks ago, I ran a 20-miler in Arizona, and Arizona running is really rocky. I wore the Timp and they DO NOT slip! You have to have a lot of confidence in your shoe. When doing a UTMB or a Hardrock, or that 20-miler, there’s always a lot of sand and dirt, and if you slip on that, you’re down. The other reason I love Altra is the toe box. Because I tried all these different shoes and my feet would go numb! I never have that problem now.
That’s so great to hear! And thank you so much for taking the time to talk today. Is there anything else you want to add or share?
I am so grateful that I am able to keep running and racing at the level I am. It hasn’t gone without injuries and broken bones, but I’m grateful that I have the body. I do a lot of modality, like acupuncture and massages, and I do saunas and jacuzzis and all of that. People tend to think it comes so easy, but it doesn’t. It’s definitely not easy. It takes a lot of work. But I’m really driven, and I think that’s what it takes. I kind of always wanted to go to the Olympics. I have the mentality of an Olympic athlete; I just don’t have the talent! And I was so lucky to find ultrarunning because you don’t have to have a love of speed. I’m amazed that I can be this age and still get out there and do it. And I’ll do it until I die.