You’ve been referred to as a “Jack of all trades” in the running world, competing in mountain, trail, marathon and track events. What inspires you to do all these different competitions?
It keeps me motivated. There’s a possibility I would be better in one specific event if I just focus on it for a while—and a lot of people tell me that—but when I have focused on something really intensely for awhile, I don’t get the results that I really want to out of it. By doing a lot of different things, it keeps it fun for me.
Could you describe what a typical week of training looks like for you?
A typical week is … I don’t have a typical week. I have a certain number of miles I need to get in per week (usually right around 100), and I have a certain number of workouts I need to get in per week, and strength training, so I divide that stuff up based on the schedule that I’ve got.
How has it been living in Bend with access to all the trails and athletic community? Has it fueled your running career?
Yeah, it definitely helps. Being in Bend you have so many good resources. The trails are a resource for us. The athletic community is a resource for us—it keeps everybody motivated.
photo by Paul Nelson
You just ran the LA Marathon. What are you training for next?
The big thing for this spring that I’m really focusing on is called Comrades Marathon (May 31). It’s a 54-mile race in South Africa that is the oldest and biggest ultra in the world. It’s very prestigious, very competitive.
What are some of the hurdles you’ve had to overcome as an ultra runner?
One thing that really sticks out is the learning curve for an ultra race—it’s pretty big. You have to overcome the elements usually, things that you’re unsure of because you’ve never trained at that distance. Nutrition is a huge part of ultras, and it took me about three or four years to actually be able to overcome that nutrition hurdle and be able to eat right during a race to where I could finish it well.
What do you eat during ultra races?
I do Gu, electrolytes and water. I have it fine-tuned enough to where I know what I need and when I need it. And that’s worked for me in several races now. It was learning enough about myself to know that I just needed a lot of it.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
I have a couple of those. The 2011 World Mountain Running Championships in Albania. The win there was huge for me. That was my first world championship win. Last November, the 100K Championships in Qatar is another one of those that really sticks out in my career.
What are some of your favorite trails in Oregon?
Actually my favorite trail I’ve ever been on is the Timberline trail around Mt. Hood. It’s a 42-mile trail that goes all the way around Mt. Hood and is just incredible. There are things on that you would never see from a car, and that’s part of the reason. Getting out of the car or out of the city allows you to see a lot more than you normally would.