Describe your experience with the Equinox. Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra? How many times?
My first experience with the Equinox was as a volunteer. I held a stop sign at the Musk Ox crossing. Since I was running for UAF I couldn’t run the race for a few years, but I knew that I wanted to immediately. The first time I did the race was in 2008 as a relay. I thought that running the downhill leg would be “easier” but I was VERY wrong. I wore racing flats (very silly of me) and I trashed my legs. Of course, I wouldn’t let myself slow down and by the end of the race I was in a lot of pain. My calves were so sore that my husband carried me up and down the stairs for a week. In 2011 I ran the full race for the first time. Ironically, I was less sore after running the full marathon.
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?
I train more or less all year long. I don’t follow a very rigid plan, but I do try to plan most of my workouts. As soon as the snow is off of the course we are out there running most pieces with our dogs. We live at mile 20-21 of the course which means that we do a lot of running on the Henderson/Alder Chute portion. The “dome” gets incorporated into some long runs and as a stand alone workout as well.
What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?
I haven’t really gotten the training “down” yet, but I think that the long runs are key. I think that in addition to helping my body prepare to run for four hours these long runs help my mind prepare as well.
What’s your favorite thing about this race?
I love the trails.
What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?
Running down the alder shoot after coming down the cute. I also really enjoy the view coming down Henderson.
Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.
The best moment was coming down the chute in last year’s race and realizing that I wasn’t too tired. It was so much fun to be able to really run down the hills.
The worst? I hope to never have one of these moments.
Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?
Tough questions. Yes! (Or, at least I like to pretend to be!) My running goals are not very specific at this point in time. After a few years really “off” I am just enjoying getting fit again and running new distances. I would like to race a half-ironman triathlon new year.
What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?
Don’t run too fast on long runs. Too often I see people running their long runs at “race pace” and I think that this is a really easy way to burn yourself out.
Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?
I started too fast in last year’s race. It wasn’t a huge flub, but I got caught up in the crowd mentality. I then was passed by a lot of people for the next two miles and it really killed my confidence. Thankfully, I slowed down and recovered by the second half of the race.
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?
Yes! I signed up a few weeks ago, but I have been planning on racing ever since finishing last year’s race. My motivation? The race forces me to train, the pressure of the competition helps me run on days when it is difficult or inconvenient due to the constraints of work/life.