One tough, brutal trail race brought Tanya and I together. In early 2014, I mentioned to a friend and co-worker that I had signed up for Speedgoat 50k in Snowbird, Utah who shared that her friend had conquered this race the previous year.
Speedgoat’s Race Director, Karl Meltzer, describes it as the “toughest 50k in the US,” which consists of 11,420′ of total climbing all above 7,600’ with the majority of the race above 9,200′. I knew that I’d be in for a challenge, so I gladly accepted my friend’s offer to connect me with Tanya over email to learn more about the race.
Tanya didn’t hesitate to offer many helpful tips and suggestions. It became clear from her comments that Speedgoat would be tough—really tough: “For every uphill, I kept thinking I can run downhill, but some of the severe downhill sections were the craziest rocky riverbeds that were just screaming ‘broken ankle’ so be careful out there.”
While I didn’t break or twist an ankle, Speedgoat was my first DNF (did not finish). I admire Tanya for finishing this very tough race, but more importantly, I admire her willingness to share her experience and tips with me. But that’s the running community—a supportive network, always happy to offer wisdom and insight to their fellow runners.
Tanya’s interview is a great addition to the Going the Distance blog series. After reading her responses, I’m thinking that a race or adventure in Hawaii might just be in my future. Who wants to join me?
Where do you live and train?
How long have you been running?
I did my first half marathon in Moab, Utah in 1992 (that makes me a runner for 23 years).
How did you get interested in running?
I was in college and a group of friends decided to go to southern Utah for spring break. We noticed that a half marathon and the trip coincided, so we decided to sign up…I’ve been hooked ever since.
What about running do you love?
I love the friendships I make during early morning runs and I love running in beautiful scenery.
Do you have a running mantra to get you through challenging runs or races?
Yes…I tell myself, “What you do RIGHT now (for a finite amount of time) will determine how you feel about it tomorrow, the next day and thereafter.” So essentially, I’m telling myself to “SUCK IT UP!”
Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever run?
What do you love about living and running in Hawaii?
After a college summer trip to Hawaii I declared that I would live in Hawaii one day. I can vividly remember sitting on an ocean rock wall with the waves rolling in and out and watching all kinds of people living an incredibly active life near the ocean. At that moment, I decided that I wanted that lifestyle too…and not just in the few summer months that living in Utah provided—I wanted that lifestyle year round. Being able to train 365 days a year in 70-85 degrees is amazing. Oh, and the scenery doesn’t suck either.
If you’re not running, what takes up your time?
My three children—an 8-year-old and 5-year-old twins.
What’s your favorite race and why?
Honolulu Marathon. The race starts at 5 am and the first ¼ of the race is run through downtown Honolulu, which is lit up with Christmas lights. You run half of the race in darkness and finish before most people get up on a weekend morning.
What’ your best running moment and why?
Finishing Speedgoat 50K. I was so happy to be done with my “trek through the mountains.” I signed up not knowing what was in store for me—probably a good thing or else I might not have done the race.
What’s on your 2015 race calendar?
I’m back training for triathlons and have signed up for a trail running series in Honolulu. I’m planning on racing a half ironman (Kawela) and a 22-mile trail race (Maunawili) in July. Both will be hot, but I’m super excited.
What’s your favorite post-run treat?
I hate to admit it, but a cold diet coke is at the TOP of my list.
What race is top on your bucket list and why?
Top on my bucket list is Run to the Sun on Maui, a challenging race that starts at sea level and ascends 10,000 feet in 36 miles. While not an official race anymore, one day I will do it. The race starts near the ocean and runs to the top of Haleakala volcano, where it is very cold.
What’s your superpower?
My mind seems to be my greatest superpower. Long distance running/triathlons requires longevity and the ability to endure discomfort and pain for long periods of time. I had lots of practice with discomfort while pregnant with my twins. Now when I race/train and am tired and want to stop, I just tell myself that if I survived those nine months, I can survive this too!
If you would like to be featured in Going the Distance or know someone who should, please drop me a note.