Describe your experience with the Equinox. Have you completed the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra? How many times?
I’ve hiked it once; ran the relay twice; and I think I’ve ran the full marathon 3x. Had a bad race with some cramping and have one DNF.
What does your training schedule look like to prepare for this event? When do you start training? How often do you run on the course, the trails, and the Dome?
When I ran, I ran all year round, keeping my base in the winter, and then slowly adding on mileage/distance in the spring. Planned a long run of 15+ miles most weekends starting in June, except for when I raced. Averaged three to four 20 milers on the course in preparation for the big day. I would only trail run a few times a month, and include the Dome about twice a month during the summer.
What’s your favorite thing about this race?
The Equinox is such a spiritual experience for me. It’s so wicked hard, and pushing myself to finish this crazy race is very empowering and emotional. And I love sharing this time with everyone out there. It’s a shared celebration of our hard work, and we became a community. I get a big sense of connection that day.
What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?
I love the trails up to mile 9, and then the trails following the chute and running down Henderson. Honestly, I find the Dome to be evil. It’s so hard, even when I’m in really decent shape!
Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.
My best moments have been crunching on the leaves on the trails and feeling the crisp air; feeling prepared, fit and ready to conquer! Turning a bend and seeing my family there cheering me on and supporting me. I always feel so accomplished when I don’t trip or stumble on the roots or on the out and back! My worst moment is my DNF when I cramped up on the Dome in the pouring rain and didn’t have the heart or will to finish.
Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?
Gee, I used to take myself so seriously, and I would have considered myself a competitive runner! I laugh at that now! My current running goals are absolutely none! Stopped running a few months ago and I’m now enjoying walking, hiking, spinning, but mostly yoga. I plan on taking a tai chi class this summer or in the fall. There could be some running in my future, but I’ll definitely have a much more casual approach with my training and racing.
What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?
Pacing is super important, and I don’t think I ever quite got that right for this marathon. The Dome requires so much respect, and it will crush your soul (or your legs) if you’re not careful. The last relay I did (leg 2), I walked a fair portion of it and still managed a time of about 90 minutes. I always made myself run run run the Dome, but maybe there’s something to walking parts of it! I’ve heard this a lot before, but never believed it until I did it myself. Have a Dome strategy!
Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in the Equinox?
I’ve had so many flubs! Not drinking enough which really needs to be figured out in your training runs. Not dressing properly on the Dome which really zapped me of some precious energy. Wear layers! Running the first 9 miles super fast and bonking too soon.
Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? Why do you participate in this event and what keeps you motivated?
I think I’ll always want to participate somehow in this wonderful event, even if it’s volunteering or cheering on others. I think I’ll either hike it or run/walk it this year. The beauty, the sense of community, the people, and hanging out in nature keeps me keenly interested in the Equinox.