You came in 2nd last year. Tell us how you got the win — within seconds — this time around.
I did come in second last year (and I was a tad bit slower this year). I am typically a strong downhiller, but suffered from an overuse injury at the end of my season last year. Then I competed all winter in ski mountaineering (skimo), so I am a bit behind in terms of leg impact. I became a little complacent around mile 11, settling into a comfortable stride. I had no idea the number two female was on my tail. Lesson learned — almost the hard way! Regardless, I’m pretty stoked with my performance!
Give us a little background on your running. When did you pick up — and discover you were good at — trail running? How many races do you typically do in a year, and what's your favorite distance?
I played stopper/midfield in soccer for years, constantly running in circles on the soccer field. I started running trails in Boulder. I went to CU. I ran my first marathon in 2000 — I think in Hawaii. I was hooked on the longer distances but not in love with pounding the pavement. I moved to Vail in 2001 to be closer to my first love, skiing, while continuing to run trails. Popped out two kids — Team M&M (Maizy and Mack), a.k.a. my support team, and the race was on. All that running with the BOB stroller provided me with a great foundation. I typically run two to four races a month from May to October, with longer distances towards the end of race season. 21K’s and 50K’s are more my speed, along with some stage racing. In fall I transition to skimo.
Altitude is a big player in the Leadville races. It seems you and altitude a good mix. Do you have any secrets or tips for racing at altitude?
Altitude is a huge factor at Leadville. Lucky for me I live in Vail and train at elevation all the time, all year long. Wish I had some tricks to conquer the thin air. Acclimatize and hydrate, train high, live high!
What’s your favorite pre-race (night prior) meal?
Gluten-free pasta with heirloom tomato sauce and sautéed spinach, a glass of red wine and some lemon cookies for dessert. I try to keep this meal pretty pure.
What's your favorite on-trail fuel?
I'm a Hammer Gel girl for anything under 15 miles. Over 15, more hammer products combined with “real” food. Love the Stinger Waffles. I accidentally chugged some Coke at the Heavy Half — it actually hit the spot!
You also compete in ski mountaineering. Coincidentally, J. Marshall Thomson, the male marathon champion, also does that. Why are the two sports a good fit?
Yes, Marshall and I are both on the U.S. Ski Mountaineering team. We competed in worlds this winter in France (it was a blast!). Marshall is a machine — and such a lovable guy, too! The two sports — trail running and ski mountaineering — complement each other in so many ways. They both require an aerobic engine, endurance and the strength to scale mountains. I love trail running. Grab a pair of runners and go! Long runs, intervals, tempo runs — all great training for both disciplines, and you are working similar muscle groups. Again I love the downhill — something that trail and skimo both incorporate. Mostly I just love traveling in the mountains, be it by way of running, skinning, or skiing.
I have the Vail Uphill on Saturday, July 6, then the Vail Half, possibly the Aspen Power of Four 50K, Imogene Pass Run, to name a few, as well as UROC Ultra in September.
Yes, I will probably do the marathon next year. I truly enjoy racing Leadville. I would love to tackle the 50 and ultimately the 100. The Vail running community had told many a story stemming from the Leadville Trail 100 last year and years prior, not to mention the book Born to Run. I ran Hope Pass during Transrockies. Not sure about lapping it twice… Hats off to the Leadville race crew. It’s always a pleasure to run there in such an amazingly supportive environment with very well stocked aid stations. They keep me coming back for more! Thanks and cheers to you all!