Three Friends

Three Friends
Three Friends

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ultra-Marathoner Interview: Moca, part 2

Last time, Moca talked about her family life and how it fits in with her runs and fitness overall. In part two, she gets into the nitty-gritty of her runs: the hows, and how-to-keep-goings. Read on for inspiration and tips, no matter where you are in your running journey (even if you're a not-yet-started like me!)

Look at that smile!

TFF: What are your go-to running shoes?

Moca: I am all about minimalist shoes for road and trail. They help train you to run in a natural way which also prevents injury.

For the road, I have run in Green Silence and currently run in PureConnect (both by Brooks). For the trail, I run in New Balance 110's, also a minimalist shoe.

TFF: How many miles do you average while in training?

Moca: It varies, from 20 miles/week to 40-50 miles/week.

TFF: How many miles do you log while maintaining?

Moca: The same. I am always in training.

TFF: How often do you hit the gym for other strength training?

Moca: At least 4-6 times/week. That is not to say that it's an all-out weight fest every day. I try to incorporate yoga at least one day.

TFF: What other strength training do you regularly use?

Moca: I highly prefer and recommend kettlebells. It's "quick and painful"; that is to say, it's an extremely effective and efficient workout. I can get a great workout in 10 minutes. It is a core-centric full-body workout that blends strength with cardio equivalent to wind sprints. I'd be glad to train you if you'd like!

TFF: What do you eat before you run, and how long before?

Moca: I try to keep it relatively light. A fruit smoothie with 2-3 bananas, a handful or two of frozen berries, a cup of almond milk, about 2 cups of kale, and a little bit of agave nectar for sweetener. Or if I'm pressed for time, soy yogurt with 2-3 bananas.

TFF: During your longer runs, what do you eat to sustain you?

Moca: I carry gels with me if I can't stop back by my car or during a race. If I can stop by my car, I will keep cut-up bananas, cantaloupe, berries, pretzels, and water in a cooler bag with ice packs.

TFF: What do you eat to replenish after your runs?

Moca: Immediately after, I may have a vegan protein bar or raw almonds. Then I have a large meal with proteins, starches, and vegetables.

TFF: What does a typical "non-running" meal look like for you?

Moca: 1/2-lb. spring mix with Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette dressing, a baked potato with hummus or chickpea curry, and some fruit.

TFF: How many calories would you say you eat during the day?

Moca: Roughly 1500 calories (but I don't measure) when I'm not carb-loading for a race; probably 2000 or more in the 3 days before a race.

TFF: What kind of technology do you use when you run? Heart rate monitor, iPod, etc?

Moca: I use a Garmin to keep track of my distance. When I'm on the road, I MUST have my iPod as roads get kind of tedious. I listen to nature when on trails. 

TFF: If you listen to music when you run, what kind of music gets top billing for keeping you motivated for the long stretches?

Moca: I have latched onto a particular band, Pendulum, because they have a driving beat and style of music that makes me want to run. I am very in tune with music, so the beat is a great way to keep pace.

TFF: What has been your favorite run?

Moca: Trail: The North Face 50K. It's breathtakingly beautiful, quite a challenge but definitely enjoyable, not too hard or too easy. Well-organized.
Road: The Air Force Marathon. In my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, which is always wonderful to visit; it's the best-organized race I've ever run. Every mile has an aid station so I don't have to carry anything, and the entire Dayton-Fairborn-Wright Patterson Air Force Base community is enthusiastically involved. Any Airman would be rendered speechless by the displays of Air Force history (C-130 take-offs and landings as you run along the runway; a replica of the Wright Brothers airplane flying overhead; the beginning/end of the race running through a line-up of various planes on either side of you; REAL food at the end). The best finisher medal EVER!!

TFF: What was your least favorite run?

Moca: Trail: Catoctin 50K. I like a challenge, but this one was just sadistic. I realized I just didn't enjoy it- and the point of running for me is to enjoy it. 
Road: Baltimore Marathon. I hit my first wall. Nice finisher medals, though.

TFF: If you could take on any run in the world, whether one made up by someone else (like a super/marathon) or a path made by you (like crossing the Sahara or something), where would you go? (i.e.: What's your dream run?)

Moca: The Big Sur Marathon is definitely one I'd like to do before I die. There is also a really cool Solar Eclipse run that follows solar eclipses that sounds AMAZING. This year it's in Australia. I'd also like to run in Hawaii someday. I'd like to try a mud run someday, too- looks like fun.

TFF: What tips would you give a newer runner for getting past "the hump"?

Moca: Do you mean "the wall"? Oh, wow, my first 'wall' was during the Baltimore Marathon. My body just said, "You think we're doing WHAT? Ha, only if you can go on without me!" It hit me HARD when I was only halfway through!! 

What I did is what I'd recommend: keep moving. Even if all you can muster is a slow walk, do it. DO NOT STOP MOVING. DON'T GIVE UP. Don't be ashamed to walk. 

In fact, some of the greatest runners, former Olympians, etc. recommend a walk-run-walk method for distance running; it can keep you pretty much injury-free and conserves energy (check Jeff Galloway & Danny Dreyer). 

You also might just find a second wind if you keep moving. I did regain the ability to run after miles of walking, and even then, I finished at 5:27:00. Not a bad time considering I was walking a LOT. 

  • Be sure that you are hydrating well throughout the race and 
  • fuel up with a gel or fruit every 45 minutes on the road, every 30 minutes on the trail. 
  • Take salt capsules every few hours, closer together the more you sweat, because nothing you can eat or drink during a hard race will completely keep up with your electrolyte needs. 
  • I also take a little Motrin about halfway through really long races as a preventative for pain and inflammation so that it never gets a chance to stop me, but 
  • make SURE you only do that with more than just gels. Stop at a well-stocked aid station and get cookies, potatoes, whatever is more substantial as ibuprofen
What questions would you ask Moca?

This picture is from her last Ultra...  Doesn't she look fantastic?!

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