Describe your experience with the Equinox. Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra? How many times?
I have participated in the Equinox about 14 times. I’ve never run the relay and I’ve done the ultra two times. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs – a lot of good races and a lot of difficult ones.
When do you start training for this race? How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training? How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?
Generally. I like to start training in the winter time if I want to get my a base in, and starting in the summer time, I will do almost the entire course. I do multiple sections of the course throughout the year. I run Ester Dome maybe five to 10 times – I do it different directions, in different courses and multiple training routes. Some years, I got a late start; some years I got adequate training.
What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?
The key workouts are definitely the long runs for me. I try to get in at least 50-55 mile weeks in with a long run. Usually I run 18 to 23 mile runs four or five times for the Equinox.
What’s your favorite thing about this race?
First of all, it’s a great course – lots of variations in it. The tradition of it; the excitement of it; the people we run with; it’s been around a long time; and it’s a great time of year – the weather’s nice and cool.
What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?
Hard to say. It just depends on how you feel. If I have a bad race, the last six to 10 miles are my least favorite. There’s really not a part that’s not my favorite. Actually, my favorite part is the out and back. I like ridge tops, I like rocky terrain, alpine type running.
Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.
The best moment was in 1995 when I had just a fantastic race. I always wondered if I had the ability to run a decent marathon and that particular year I felt great, actually had negative splits all the way to the end. My time was 3:36. My next favorite was back in 2007. I did a 3:50 and felt almost as good as the year I ran a 3:36. The worst one was my second Equinox. I actually dropped out at mile 17 on top of Ester Dome and I was very disappointed. That was the only time I did not finish the race.
Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?
I feel like I’m an average runner as far as being competitive. I’m not really out to compete, but I did manage to win a few age groups and I was pretty excited about that. My running goal is just to continue to run all year round. I do have a minimum goal of a certain number of miles I want to run in the winter time, and a certain number in the summer time. What I don’t like is when I can’t get my training in because it’s extremely difficult to get back into condition again.
What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?
There should be a training plan, but you don’t want to overdo it. It’s something that you have to figure out on an individual basis. I’ve heard it takes five to seven years to really develop marathon distance conditioning, so you don’t want to work into it too fast. I used a Jeff Galloway plan years ago that worked for me.
Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?
Yes! Trying to make up for the lack of training. The first year I ran this, I think I made the mistake that everybody makes of being overconfident and running way too fast. I did have a training partner that year, and I was running with her all the way until mile 18.5, right after Alder Trail, and as soon as I hit this little uphill, I hit the wall–it was a terrible feeling and I actually didn’t know what was going on, I did not feel like moving at all, but I did run and jog the rest of the way. My running partner came in 20 minutes faster than me – that’s how much time I lost.
Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country! What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?
I just enjoy doing the Equinox. I’m way behind in my training, but I do want to do the ultra again. They’re extending the ultra this year to 40 miles, and I don’t know if I can actually do that or not, so I may run the marathon. I’ll know where I’m at in the next month or two. I really liked the 31 mile ultra because I had a specific goal of trying to beat five hours in that. I was only five to eight minutes slower than that, so it’s a good goal to try to meet. But the 40 mile; that’s a different kind of race, and I’m not exactly sure if I can do it.