Q&A with Simple Hydration Ultra Racing Team runner Mickey Graglia

Posted February 28th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Michele Mickey Graglia

Name: Michele “Mickey” Graglia
Age: 31
Height: 6′
Location: Los Angeles, California

Q. Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up in that area and specifically how did it influence your running?

A. I was born and raised in a small town of 5,000 people, called Taggia, in the Italian Riviera. Of course the sport everyone plays there was soccer so there wasn’t inspiration to explore much of anything else at the time really. I was spending all afternoons after school chasing a ball and running around with my friends in the field close by my house, so I guess that was our way to be active and have fun outside.

Q. Does anyone else in your family run?

A. My father is an avid bicycle rider and alpine skier, although very much into sports no one in my family ever ran. My passion for long distance running is something I pretty much grew on my own.

Q. Did you play any sports in high school?

A. I ran my first race in my first year of Secondary School (age 12). The PE teacher expected us all to compete in the local cross country meet. I had no training but ended up winning that race out of gut literally. Right after that a local track & field coach asked me if I was interested in training and racing. So, I guess that’s how my “relationship” with running started. At age 13 I had a 3:09 PR on the 1Km and 4:54 on the 1 mile. The following season I transitioned to 100m and 300m hurdles and got 3rd at the Indoor National Games 60m hurdles in Naples. I ended up quitting track when I was 15/16 to play soccer for a couple of year and eventually stopped playing altogether when I was 19, when I went to the University.

Q. You’re a former supermodel. What was it like being a model?

A. I have worked internationally with most of the high fashion brands and magazines out there, and I was certainly working my way to the top but I can’t say I was a supermodel. I lived in Milan, Miami and ultimately NYC to better pursue my career. As you can imagine, it was a very exciting and fun career, great money, plenty perks and the lifestyle that goes with it makes you feel like you’re in a movie sometimes. Although the pay was excellent and the jobs very entertaining I wasn’t very much happy with neither what I was doing nor the person I was becoming. Don’t mean to sound so deep but it’s really how I felt. At that point Running became an escape, and couldn’t have come back into my life at a better time!

Note: Google “Michele Graglia” to see a variety of photos from Mickey’s time in the modeling profession. Our screen capture of that search is below.

Q. What made you decide to take up ultra running and leave your modeling career behind? Is it true your first running race ever was a 100-mile race?

A. I ran couple of triathlons in 2010 for fun but it was only at the end of that year that I discovered Ultra Running. I wanted in right away and I wanted to start big. Having lived in Miami couple of years prior, I came across the Keys100 and thought it would have been the perfect event! It’s all road, flat… easy, I thought. So, I signed up and in May 2011, after 5 months of training I toed the line in Key Largo. The heat and humidity beat me down to my knees and 84 miles later I collapsed to the hard asphalt completely dehydrated. I was not too aware of the importance of electrolytes back then… My inexperience played a big role and it surely was a hard lesson, but I learned it on my skin and for some reason I was proud of that. No matter how bad it got… I was hooked.

Q. Did your modeling career bring you to the United States and why did you select to live in Los Angeles?

A. I moved to Miami in September 2007 to improve my English and increase the clientele of my Family Company in the Floral Export business. Initially my goal was to stay a few months… a week later I got scouted by the director of a very successful Modeling Agency in South Beach, my life took a whole new direction and, well, I’m still here!

In 2009 I moved to NYC where I met my now fiance’, soon to be wife, Lauren. We decided to move to LA in 2012 so she could better pursue her acting career while my focus completely shifted away from modeling and had the chance to pursue ultra running the way I wanted.

Q. Is there anything from your Italian background that prepared you specifically for ultra running?

A. When I was a kid I was very fortunate to spend several summer vacations with my Family in a small town called Canazei, in Trentino, right by the Dolomites. We would go on long hikes on the Alps every day and that’s when I started to discover and enjoy that feel of awareness and most importantly appreciation for nature and the outdoors. I guess that doesn’t directly translate into loving ultra running but I think it brings me back to that enjoyment for exploration in the rawest and most simple way: on your own two legs.

Q. Do you have a coach or follow some training program?

A. I know now the importance of a Coach. I could have leaned in 1 year what I painfully learned in 4! I’m stubborn like that though and wanted to start completely on my own, without guidance and learning things on my skin through many trials and errors. At the beginning I always aimed to pile miles over miles training mostly to feel comfortable after many hours on my feet, without caring too much about any specific work. In early 2014, while training for the UltraMilano-Sanremo I averaged 180 to 200 miles a week and found that it wasn’t really worthwhile an detrimental after a bit. Nevertheless it got me ready for that race but I would not recommend this approach to anyone really. Over last summer I deepened my research and studied for the USATF Coaching Certification, while training for the Angeles Crest and the Grand2Grand. Since then I have trained and followed a very structured plan with more specific work and although it’s early in the season, I can already notice the difference. I’m looking forward a very exciting 2015!

Q. What about competitive ultra running do you love?

A. Beside the deep connection between yourself and nature, what I truly love about Ultra Running is the sense of accomplishment that we all share on race day, from the first to the very last runner. The magnitude of the experience often transcend the competitiveness of these events and the infinite support and sense of comradery really make all the difference. You meet a very unique breed of people and it’s an exceptional Community that I’m very proud to be part of.

Mickey Graglia

Q. What are your personal bests (PBs) at various distances and also please list top race performances with place?

A. I don’t really have a fast 50 mile pr because the very first one was in the Everglades through swamps and the last one I ran last year was at high altitude with significant elevation gain. I have a 15:33 100 mile pr (which is a split on my way to 175 miles) at the UltraMilanoSanremo in March, 2014.

Here are some of my racing results:
- Angeles Crest 100 (California, 2014): 2nd place overall (20:25)
- UltraMilano-Sanremo (Italy, 2014): 1st place overall and course record; 175 miles in an astonishing 31:49
- Grand to Grand Ultra (Arizona/Utah, 2014): 1st place overall and course record; 167 miles in 31:25 total running time (stage race)
- Kodiak 50 (California 2014): 1st place overall (9:32)
- Leadville 100 (Colorado, 2013): Top 30-finish (22:10)
- Virgil Crest 100 (New York, 2012): 2nd overall (21:53)
- Palm 100k (Florida, 2012): 1st place overall and male course record holder (9:23)
- Everglades 50 (Florida, 2012): 1st place overall (8:18)

Q. What person(s) in running inspire(s) you?

A. It all started reading Dean Karnazes book, so I guess he was/is probably the biggest inspiration to me. I also find Scott Jurek, Valmir Nunes, Anton Krupicka very inspiring as well.

Q. Looking back over your short running career thus far, what was your best or favorite race and why?

A. It’s really hard to tell. I would say it’s a tie between the Grand2Grand and UltraMilanoSanremo. G2G was by far the most beautiful and satisfying event/experience of my life. Although UMS cannot compete with the breathtaking views of the high sand dunes and the rugged red rocks of the high Utah desert of G2G, the meaning that event holds to me goes beyond anything else.

Q. Is there any event or adventure that you would like to do one day?

A. Badwater is certainly on my list and it’s a maybe in my 2015 racing schedule.
My dream is to cross the 4 biggest deserts and climb the 7 summits.
There’s a world of opportunities out there…

Q. What is a typical week of training in your life right now?

A. As mentioned before I recently shifted to a more structured plan where I include some speed work, strength and long runs. The San Gabriel Mountains are close by and are the perfect playground for weekend fun runs! I just got back into training after a couple of months off season so my mileage is not too crazy, perhaps 80 to 90 this week.

Q. At what distance do you take water/hydration with you on a run?

A. Usually on runs over 10 miles in the winter and 6 miles in the summer.

Q. What was your reaction to the Simple Hydration Bottle when you first saw it?

A. It got my curiosity right away. Thought the smaller bottle is a very smart solution and the shape of it makes it extremely comfortable to wear and super easy to carry!

Q. What was your reaction to the Simple Hydration Bottle after using it?

A. It just confirmed my thoughts! I started using them in my morning runs and couldn’t go without!

Q. How do you use the bottle in your training?

A. On shorter runs I usually just throw one behind my shorts and let it hang. On the other hand, on longer runs I find them very useful in the front pockets of my pack.

Q. What races do you have planned for 2015?

A. – Sean O’Brien 50 mile February 7th. (Update: Mickey placed 2nd overall in the 50 Mile race)
- TransGranCanaria 77 mile March 6th.
- Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), August 26th.
- La Diagonale de Fous in La Reunion Island in October.

Q. Anything else you would like to add about yourself?

A. I recently launched a Coaching Program with a ultra runner friend of mine: Dave Krupski. Our website is: www.zwittyultra.com.

Q. Who are your other sponsors?

A. SKINS Compression / ALTRA Running Shoes / HAMMER Nutrition

You can follow Mickey on his blog: Keep on going.

15 Questions with Judith Dore

Posted February 27th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Simple Hydration Run Team member Judith Dore (Saratoga Springs, New York) answers 15 Questions.

Judith Dore

1.) What is your favorite color?

Green

2.) What is your favorite song right now?

Come With Me by KONGOS

3.) What is your favorite book?
Green Mile
“The Green Mile” by Stephen King

4.) What is your favorite movie?
Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge

5.) What is your favorite snack food?
Natural almonds, usually with something salty like pretzels

6.) What is your favorite word?

Strength

7.) What runner inspires you?

Meb! Like many runners, I cried when he crossed the Boston Marathon finish line.
NOTE: This is Meb’s recent speech at the TRI-Palooza Awards on February 21 in San Diego. He talks about and explains his race win at the Boston Marathon.

8.) What is your favorite workout?
Intervals on the track. I never thought I’d say that.

9.) What is your favorite running shoe?

Newton Aha or Distance Elite

10.) What is your favorite race medal or award?

I’m not huge on medals (I have started donating them to Medals for Mettle or sending them to my irun4 running buddy, a 4-year-old with cerebral palsy. I did win a lucky horseshoe for a 3rd place AG win for the mile on a harness track. That is pretty cool.

11.) What race would you highly recommend?

I’m a fan of the Rock n Roll race series and recently ran their race in New Orleans. They have the process down pat and have been a lot of fun for me. I also thought that the Baystate Marathon was an excellent, smaller race.

12.) Have you ever bonked in a race?

Nope (knock on wood). I train with UCAN and don’t generally fuel during races. I think it helps me avoid the bonk.

13.) How many miles have you covered without walking during a run or race?
16. My last marathon, I walked through the water stations for the last 10 miles, but otherwise kept it up. I was proud of that since I had bad GI distress during that race.

14.) Do you prefer running in the summer or winter?

Summer, although since I don’t mind treadmill running, winter isn’t that awful to me.

15.) What is a fun fact about you?
I will try eating just about anything at least once, although I draw the line at sea urchin because it looks like snot on a plate.

15 Questions with Mick Thwaites

Posted February 23rd, 2015 by Brian Hock

Simple Hydration Run Team member Mick Thwaites (Virginia, Queensland, Australia) answers 15 Questions.

Mick Thwaites

1.) What is your favorite color?

RED

2.) What is your favorite song right now?

Cosby Sweater – Hilltop Hoods

3.) What is your favorite book?

Into Thin Air – John Krakauer

4.) What is your favorite movie?

The Italian Job

5.) What is your favorite snack food?
Peanuts

6.) What is your favorite word?

Fantabulous

7.) What runner inspires you?
Yiannis Kouros
Yiannis Kouros – Most of his records in ultra running are still standing after so many years.

8.) What is your favorite workout?
I would have to say that I really enjoy my long runs at a steady pace, but downhill repeats at breakneck speed are always fun.

9.) What is your favorite running shoe?
Skechers
Skechers GO RUN3

10.) What is your favorite race medal or award?

3 Litre Magnum of Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz (2004)

11.) What race would you highly recommend?
Tarawera 100KM
Tarawera 100KM (New Zealand)

12.) Have you ever bonked in a race?
Fortunately not severely yet! I really work on getting my nutrition right. Hope it doesn’t happen tough!

13.) How many miles have you covered without walking during a run or race?

I’d say probably 42.2KM (Marathon) as every other race I’ve ran in has been a hilly trail or 24HR racing in which i have planned walk breaks. I feel that walking is an important area to practice.

14.) Do you prefer running in the summer or winter?

Either, I just love getting out there.

15.) What is a fun fact about you?

I’ve driven a tank and completed numerous bungee jumps from different positions, (like from a handstand).

15 Questions with Elle Park

Posted February 20th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Simple Hydration Run Team member Elle Park (Jersey City, New Jersey) answers 15 Questions.

Elle Park

1.) What is your favorite color?

Pink and teal (but not together)

2.) What is your favorite song right now?

Sara Bareilles’ “I Choose You.”

3.) What is your favorite book?

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

4.) What is your favorite movie?

The NeverEnding Story

5.) What is your favorite snack food?

Chocolate. But in reality, I don’t snack much. I prefer to eat a hearty meal than to graze all day. I’ve tried the “eating small eats throughout the day” plan, but I got too upset about still being hungry after having a small meal. I didn’t see the point of waiting two hours to eat a snack when I was *hungry* now. So I ate all my snacks after my meals, which defeated the whole point.

6.) What is your favorite word?

Habberdashery – it’s a fun word to say. I’m also very fond of the German word for vacuum – staubsauger. The literal translation of the word is dust sucker. I love how literal German can be.

7.) What runner inspires you?
Leo Manzano – the kick that he displayed in the 2012 London Olympics for the 1500 meters was unbelievable! He came out of nowhere to win a silver medal. His tenacity is what I admire most about him. Meb Keflezighi – he gave us the American win at the 2014 Boston Marathon, which we so desperately needed after the tragic bombing in 2013. Desi Linden (née Davila) – in my opinion, a very talented but underrated and underappreciated marathoner. She doesn’t receive nearly as much media attention as I think she deserves for her accomplishments. Anne Bersagel – lawyer by day, marathoner before and after work. She is so very highly accomplished in both of these fields, in where just reaching her level in one of those fields would have been an achievement in it of itself. I admire her greatly. Tirunesh Dibaba – her nickname “The Baby-Faced Assassin” says it all. I watched her completely destroy her competition in the 2012 London Olympics for the 10,000 meters. Whenever I feel tired and want to slow down, I think of her and mutter to myself, “Be the Baby-Faced Assassin” to power through.

8.) What is your favorite workout?
I have an unorthodox speed work that I love. I start by running 1.25 at a pace that is about 30 secs faster than my current 5K pace. Over weeks, I slowly work up the distance to 2 miles. Then I start over at 1.25 miles with a pace that 10 secs faster than the prior pace. It’s short, hard, and fast. It’s a great way of getting a work out in when I don’t have a lot of time. I’ve set numerous PRs in 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons with this speed work.

9.) What is your favorite running shoe?

My favorite brands are ASICS and Saucony. I wear ASICS Hyper Rocket Girl for 5Ks and speed work. I alternate between Saucony Kinvara and ASICS Gel Hyper for longer runs.

10.) What is your favorite race medal or award?

My most favorite medal is the horseshoe finisher medal from the Bird-in-Hand Half. It’s handmade by the Amish and made from a real discarded horseshoe. It’s so cool and unique. A close second favorite medal is the handmade glass medal from Wineglass. Each medal is made one at a time from a local glass artisan in Corning, NY.

11.) What race would you highly recommend?

- Race 1 – Bird-in-Hand Half because it takes place in Amish country, Lancaster, PA. The aid stations are manned by little Amish children. There’s a free bonfire and s’more party the night before (and they bring a prominent runner as a speaker, Bart Yasso in 2013 and Christopher McDougall in 2014). What other race as a whoopie pie as part of your swag? The race starts with a hot air balloon launch. And if that’s not enough, a free lunch is provided after the race.
- Race 2 – Wineglass Half/Marathon is another big favorite of mine. It’s a fantastic gentle overall net decline course, so it’s PR-friendly. It takes place in autumn, so you run in the beautiful countryside with gorgeous fall colors. Wineglass has the best race swag, which includes a wonderfully designed tech shirt, a local bottle of wine, and wineglass. The post-race nosh is pretty good too.
- Race 3 – Sleepy Hollow 10K, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow took place in Tarrytown, NY, and this Halloween race embraces the lore. A headless horseman (yes, riding a real horse) leads this race at the start. Local residents and runners wholeheartedly support the race by wearing costumes. Incredibly funny signs and houses decorated for Halloween are found all throughout the route.

12.) Have you ever bonked in a race?
No, not yet, but I threw up right after I crossed the finish line a couple of times.

13.) How many miles have you covered without walking during a run or race?
18 miles. I haven’t done a marathon yet. I’ll be training for a fall marathon this summer, so 20+ mile training runs are coming up in my future.

14.) Do you prefer running in the summer or winter?

Now that I live in the East Coast neither. I miss living in the San Francisco Bay Area with its year-round ambient 75 degree temperature.

15.) What is a fun fact about you?

- Can eat an entire jar of Nutella in one sitting (did it several times)
- Traveled to 27 different countries
- Despite being right-handed, I wear my Garmin on my right wrist.

Simple Hydration Sponsors “The Long Haul – John Muir Trail” Film

Posted February 18th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Back in early August of 2013 JB Benna posted photos on his Flicker account of Hal Koerner and Mike Wolfe as they were attempting to break the speed record for the John Muir Trail. What immediately caught our attention was that Hal Koerner was using a Simple Hydration Bottle as part of his gear. So we immediately took a keen interest in this record attempt by the runners.

The record to beat had been set by Brett Maune in an unsupported time of 3 days, 14 hours and 13 minutes from the Whitney Portals. It was fun getting updates from JB and his wife Jennifer as they would make their way to various points on the trail to help supply the runners with needed food and supplies. For most of the attempt Hal and Mike were running strong and there was no doubt they would get the record. Then later in the attempt they were really struggling to even run at times. Well, 223 miles later Hal and Mike had broken the record in a time of 3 days, 9 hours and 41 minutes.

Hal Koerner and Mike Wolfe

I later found out that JB Benna was documenting the attempt with film for his company Journeyfilm. The movie “The Long Haul – John Muir Trail” is now out and they recently did a premier event in Los Angeles. We feel the movie turned out great and does a nice job putting you right with the runners as they make their way on the John Muir Trail.

Simple Hydration is proud to support this film as a supporting sponsor. View the trailer.

Here’s a synopsis of the film as posted on Journeyfilm’s site.
The Long Haul – John Muir Trail is a 39 minute short film featuring Mike Wolfe and Hal Koerner. Both Hal and Mike are experienced world-class UltraMarathoners as well as soon to be dads. Follow their grueling trials and tribulations as they set out on their most challenging event to date, in their attempt at the Fastest Known Time running the John Muir Trail. With 223 miles of rugged mountain trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, and 80,000 feet of elevation change. The film will explore not only the physical toll, but the mental toll of running for nearly 4 days straight. The film features interviews with Jenn Shelton, Sue Johnston, Brett Maune, Buzz Burrell, and Peter Bakwin as they share the storied history of this grueling feat and the ever evolving record as it continues to be pushed. See the beauty, purity and ruggedness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains through their eyes and a new lifelong bond after the duo’s completion of this momentous task.

February 22 | 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
The Long Haul: John Muir Trail will have its East Coast Premiere in New York City. JB and Jennifer Benna will be in attendance for a post film Q&A.
You can get tickets online for this event at Journeyfilm’s site.

You can buy / download this film and others on Journeyfilm’s site.

Some of the photos posted by JB Benna during the record-setting attempt. Note that Hal Koerner used the Simple Hydration Bottle tucked into his waistband.

15 Questions with Rees Buck

Posted February 17th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Simple Hydration Run Team member Rees Buck (Porirua, New Zealand) answers 15 Questions.

Rees Buck

1.) What is your favorite color?

Light Blue

2.) What is your favorite song right now?

My five year old insists on listening to “Freaks” by Timmy Trumpet & Savage whenever we are in the car – so by default it’s in my head every time I run!

3.) What is your favorite book?

Running Book = 30 Years of World Cross Country, or any IAAF Yearbook cause I’m a stats geek.
Non-running book = Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky

4.) What is your favorite movie?
Transcend
I’m not much of a movie buff but I’ve just received my copy of ‘Transcend’ which is a pretty cool story with lots of awesome running scenes in it.

5.) What is your favorite snack food?
I find it hard to go past a good cookie!

6.) What is your favorite word?
“Ameliorate” – because it’s such a useful word, however, I realized a couple of years ago that most people just think I’m being pretentious when it rolls off my tongue mid-sentence.

7.) What runner inspires you?
Kenenisa Bekele
Meeting Kenenisa Bekele and racing against him it was hard not to be inspired by such a beautiful runner.
More recently Kilian Jornet is someone who just oozes a passion for running and achieving more every day – a real modern day running hero!

8.) What is your favorite workout?
10 x 1km with 60 secs jog at 10km race pace, all controlled at threshold – this is/was my bread and butter when I am fit and flying!

9.) What is your favorite running shoe?
New Balance
20 years ago – Nike Talaria
10 years ago – New Balance 902v2
Now – New Balance 1080v5

10.) What is your favorite race medal or award?

I have twice raced in Alcala de Henares just outside of Madrid, Spain. It is the birthplace of Cervantes, Author of ‘Don Quixote’, which I read in college. For winning I twice received a small, solid bust of Cervantes as a trophy. They weigh about 3lbs each so traveling home to NZ two years in a row with one of these in my luggage really limited the space for extra shopping!

11.) What race would you highly recommend?
The Goat
Definitely ‘The Goat’. It is a no-holds-barred kind of race that surprises even the fastest and toughest of competitors. It was the first race I ever did that was more about an athletes’ mental toughness and endurance rather than their speed or technical ability – a real challenge even for a seasoned trail runner.

12.) Have you ever bonked in a race?
I’ve had tough races but luckily I tend to assess my current abilities well and am a good judge of pace and relative fatigue. That said, not-bonking is easy when the majority of my racing history is between 1500m and 12kmXC. I’m kind of expecting a rude awakening now that I am venturing into the Ultra scene – I just hope my first major bonk isn’t in my first Ultra at Tarawera ‘15.
UPDATE: Rees finished 3rd overall at Tarawera 65K and didn’t bonk.
Rees Buck Tarawera 65K

13.) How many miles have you covered without walking during a run or race?
The longest run or race I have done so far is 26 miles and up to that distance there isn’t even a consideration of walking. This is something I am learning will be different as the distances creep up and up.

14.) Do you prefer running in the summer or winter?
Summer
Definitely Summer, however I do miss running in the mountains in Colorado when it’s snowing.

15.) What is a fun fact about you?

I am one of only three athletes to have raced both the short race (4km) and long (12km) race at the same World Cross Country Championships on three occasions. Kenenisa Bekele is one of the three.

15 Questions with Jon Bohnsack

Posted February 13th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Simple Hydration Run Team member Jon Bohnsack (Shawnee, KS) answers 15 Questions.

Jon Bohnsack

1.) What is your favorite color?

Red

2.) What is your favorite song right now?

I have an (un)healthy obsession with 80s new wave music. My go to song is Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget about me)

3.) What is your favorite book?

With two kids running the house, the only books I get to read are princess stories to my 4 year old girl, and picture books to my 1 year old boy. I love every minute of it.

4.) What is your favorite movie?

Rad

5.) What is your favorite snack food?

Beef Jerkey

6.) What is your favorite word?

Bliss; Life is to short to live it unhappy.

7.) What runner inspires you?
Anyone who runs inspires me. I love to stay around to the end of the race to see and cheer in the athletes who are finishing just before the cut off. That is inspiring.

8.) What is your favorite workout?
Group rides and runs with friends are my favorite. It is fun to push each other to get faster.

9.) What is your favorite running shoe?

Brooks Pure series for roads and trails, Zoot for triathlon

10.) What is your favorite race medal or award?

Decided last minute to sign up for the 2014 Kansas 70.3 relay with two friends. It was a different experience only doing one part of the race after doing it by myself the last couple of years. We ended up coming in third and having a blast.

11.) What race would you highly recommend?

I know the WTC(Ironman) gets a bad reputation for their rising race entry fees, but they do deliver quite the experience.

12.) Have you ever bonked in a race?
I did end up in the medical tent after Ironman Louisville in 2012, but fortunately, never during a race.

13.) How many miles have you covered without walking during a run or race?
Marathon 26.2
Multiple Marathons

14.) Do you prefer running in the summer or winter?
My favorite way to start a day is a sweaty summer run.

15.) What is a fun fact about you?
Team Banana Hammocks
My racing friends and I decided in order to keep us from getting to serious about triathlons we now race our local races in Speedos as part of Team Banana Hammocks. It reminds us, and hopefully others, that we do this for fun.

15 Questions with Evan Schmidtke

Posted February 12th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Simple Hydration Run Team member Evan Schmidtke (Ashland, OR) answers 15 Questions.

1.) What is your favorite color?

Green

2.) What is your favorite song right now?

Anything by Strand of Oaks

3.) What is your favorite book?

The Yosemite, John Muir

4.) What is your favorite movie?

Darjeeling Limited and the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks.

5.) What is your favorite snack food?

Is a burrito a snack?

6.) What is your favorite word?
Burrito

7.) What runner inspires you?
Timothy Olson

8.) What is your favorite workout?

I look forward to long-run-Sunday!

9.) What is your favorite running shoe?

Pearl Izumi Trail N2

10.) What is your favorite race medal or award?

Finishers medal from The North Face Endurance 50 miler. It was our Christmas tree topper this past year.

11.) What race would you highly recommend?

Siskiyou Out Back, local race in Ashland run on the PCT and some of the most beautiful/remote singletrack in the PNW. Also, the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb. Little over a half marathon straight up the mountain.

12.) Have you ever bonked in a race?
OH YEAH!

13.) How many miles have you covered without walking during a run or race?
Not sure. I’ve lost hours just taking in the scenery and zoning out.

14.) Do you prefer running in the summer or winter?
Yes please! It’s always sunny in southern Oregon!

15.) What is a fun fact about you?

I grew up in Iowa, and had never seen a mountain until I was in college. Now running up mountains is my passion.

Q&A with Simple Hydration Ultra Racing Team Runner Ashley Erba

Posted February 10th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Ashley Erba

Name: Ashley Erba
Age: 19
Height: 5’4”
Location: Louisville, CO

Q. Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up in that area and specifically how did it influence your running?

A. My early childhood was spent in central California which is where some of my best childhood memories were made. I loved our family camping trips, homemade games, and the tree house my dad built for my brother and me. My family moved to Winona Lake, Indiana, when I was almost 4yrs old though, and that is where I stayed until I left for college. Living in Winona Lake had some great parts like having my grandparents less than a mile down the road, access to a lake and water sports, and nearly 10miles of mountain bike/hiking trails across the street from my house. I liked Winona Lake but always knew I belonged somewhere else. I was a bit of a loner in high school and I think this may have affected the degree to which I invested in cross country and track.

Q. I understand that both of your parents are ultra athletes. What was it like having parents run races with you and understand your pains and issues when running?

A. Having parents who are both seasoned endurance athletes is one of the biggest blessings. My dad raced on an elite level as an Ironman Triathlete when I was little – placing as Fastest Rookie one year and 5th in his age group the next in Kona – and now has moved into ultra-running as well. My mom has raced multiple 100milers and has run her whole life. Having their perspectives and experiences to draw from is an amazing boost. My favorite part of my parents being runners is that I can truly share my passion with them. We can all go on adventures together, partake in the same experiences, and understand each other on a much deeper level.

Q. When was the first race when you beat your Mom and/or Dad or both? How did that feel?

A. Oh gosh, I’m not sure! According to my mom, I passed her by when I was in middle school – officially finishing in front of her at the Sunburst Half Marathon at the end of my 8th grade year. While my dad claims I kicked his butt in our training runs going into my senior year, he still has a faster 5k PR than me! He ran a sub-16 minute road 5k in 2009 that I still have yet to dip under. It’s never been important to me to beat my parents, though. I’ve always seen us as being on the same “team” so to speak so there’s never been competition there.

Q. Did you play any sports (besides Track and XC) in high school? Please share what events and times you ran. Did you ever envision yourself running professionally?

A. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was a Varsity cheerleader my Freshman and Sophomore years in high school before I began taking my running more seriously. I ran cross country (the 5k distance for girls in Indiana) and in track I ran mostly the 1600m and 3200m with the opportunity to race the 5000m at NBON my Junior year. I ran my PR for cross country my senior year racing on two fractures in my right foot – I believe it was a 17:06. Due to fractures I missed my senior track season so my track PR’s are all from my Junior year when I ran 4:54 in the 1600m, 10:24 in the 3200m, and 16:18 in the 5000m (new national meet record). I did indeed envision myself running professionally – just through a very different avenue! I invested a great deal into logging the times and places that would get noticed by the best D1 colleges. I dreamed of NCAA championships and a professional track career to follow. It’s amazing how dreams shift yet often leave you in a much much better place!

Q. I think I read where you had some struggles in High School. What was it like to win the 5K at the National Championships?

A. Yeah, I had a few different struggles in high school. My freshman and sophomore years I struggled with low ferritin levels, but the struggles you read about were likely referring to the four fractures I got in my right foot. They happened at an extremely unfortunate time for me. I had just won the 5000m at the 2012 New Balance Outdoor Nationals and set a new meet record. The meet was an incredible experience and I left on a real high. The rest of the summer was filled with great training. I had high aspirations for my senior year, and was prepared to have a crazy fast cross country season. I got my first fracture in August and it was likely from overuse. I told myself there was no way it could be a break though since I could still run on it. The second fracture came from spraining that same foot in a race a few weeks later – likely resulting from favoring the other foot. Again, I continued to run on it thinking that if I could still run on it, it couldn’t really be hurt. Five months later a pain in my second toe finally convinced me to go to the doctor and get X-rays where I learned of three of the fractures – the fourth was initially overlooked and wasn’t treated until I’d already been in a walking boot for 9 weeks. We’ll just say that June 2012 felt very different from June 2013!

Q. Your Twitter account has a large Providence logo on it and it says in the bio you’re a future Friar. Did you go to Providence? Please share the story as I think you opted to just move out west. What are you doing now besides running?

A. I actually totally forgot I still have a Twitter account! I haven’t made a post on it for over 16 months. I did indeed go to Providence College last year, though. In high school my main goal was to get good enough grades and run fast enough times to get a D1 scholarship at a great running school. After going through the whole recruiting process my junior year – official visits and all – I accepted a full ride athletic scholarship from Providence to run cross country and track. Rehabbing from the fractures after my senior year was a longer and more taxing process than I hoped it would be, however, and I still wasn’t back running consistently when I moved to Rhode Island. While I enjoyed my academics at Providence, in every other way the year was filled with frustration and disappointments. When the school year ended I hadn’t jersey-ed up once, still wasn’t running consistently, and knew I needed a change. By the end of June I knew I couldn’t go back to Providence. Since I was a semester ahead on course-work, I took the fall semester off and came out to Colorado to visit friends and run in the mountains. After only a few weeks, I knew there was no way I was leaving. Along with running I enjoy the other epic activities the mountains have to offer and have transferred into the University of Colorado Boulder for the Spring 2015 semester.

Q. Did your family background come into play with you running ultra races?

A. I think my family background definitely has played a part in the path I’ve taken with my running. Being active in general and running specifically have always been part of the way we live. Further, my family has always loved nature and learning from it. They also emphasized the importance of being yourself and learning through living. In my opinion, ultra-running embodies all of these components and I think that subconsciously I was drawn to ultra-running for this reason.

Q. Do you have a coach or follow some training program?

A. Nope, not at all! Since mid-May I have been doing whatever I want, whenever I want. After years of following extremely structured and meticulous training regiments, it’s been nice to just do my own thing. Pretty soon I think I’ll be ready to start doing specific training and some structured workouts again but a break from all that has been quite refreshing.

Q. Tell us about your experience with competitive ultra/mountain running? What about it do you love?

A. I just love running in the mountains. And I love pushing my limits. I’ve always had a competitive nature and so ultra/mountain running seems like a natural place for me to be. It isn’t about times, or places for me right now. It’s about getting to do what I love in beautiful places with others who share the same passions. One of the things I love most about competitive ultra/mountain running is the community that comes with it.

Q. What are your personal bests (PBs) at various distances and also please list top race performances with place?

A. 50k – PR: 3:52. 1st female/3rd overall at Uber 50k (UROC) 2014, 1st overall at Glacial Trail 50k 2014.
5000m – PR: 16:18. 1st place at New Balance Outdoor Nationals 2012. (Track)
3200m – PR: 10:24. Indiana Girls State Champion 2012. (Track)
5k – PR: 17:06. Indiana Girls State Champion 2011. (Cross Country)

Q. You won the Glacier Trail 50K overall in 2014 and beat Cassie Scallon’s record. How did that race come together? Does trail running come easy to you?

A. The race came together really well. I basically just winged it like I did Uber 50k. Leading up to Glacial I had done a lot of biking as cross training and I wasn’t really sure what it would feel like to run on trails in the Midwest again. Other than my stomach feeling a bit tweeky the last 12 miles or so, I had a ton of fun. I ran by myself pretty much the entire time but since it was an out and back I was able to see several of my Midwest ultra-running friends. It was also a great day because both my parents were able to make it up to the race to watch me run.

Q. Is there any event or adventure that you would like to do one day?

A. There are SO many of these I don’t think I could name them all. I have a thing I call “The List” that I add future adventures to. A few items that are definitely on the list are Western States, UTMB, hiking the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest, and summiting all the 14ers in Colorado.

Q. What is a typical week of training in your life right now?

A. It varies quite a bit right now but most weeks I’ll get in a few solid runs during the week, cross train the other days, and go “adventuring” in the mountains on the weekends with my boyfriend, Logan, and our roommate Adam. These weekend excursions often include summiting a couple 13ers and 14ers or doing a Fat Ass run in our general area.

Q. At what distance do you take water/hydration with you on a run?

A. If it’s hot, I’ll take water for just about every distance. When it’s colder, as a general rule I carry hydration for runs over 10 miles or runs that will take me up in the mountains for multiple hours.

Q. What was your reaction to the Simple Hydration Bottle when you first saw it?

A. I actually first saw the Simple Hydration Bottle when my mom messaged me a link for it. I like carrying as little as possible while running – within reason of course – and really don’t like carrying things in my hands so she immediately thought of me when she saw it. Being a small person and wearing tight clothing when I run, the 12oz capacity of the bottle along with the shape make it a great fit for me!

Q. What was your reaction to the Simple Hydration Bottle after using it?

A. I was impressed with how well it stayed in place and fit next to my body while I ran. Before trying it I wondered if the bottle would pull my shorts down or slide around my waist band but neither of these were a problem at all!

Q. How do you use the bottle in your training?

A. I typically use the bottle for longer runs where I know I won’t be wearing a hydration pack.

Q. What races do you have planned for 2015?

A. So far I’m signed up to race Moab Red Hot 55k and Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, both of which I’m really excited for!

Q. Anything else you would like to add about yourself?

A. I’ve been vegan for most of my life. Not sure if this is really relevant here but it’s a fun fact if nothing else.

Q. Do you have any other sponsors?

A. I’m also sponsored by Down to Run.

15 Questions with Nicole Kallo

Posted February 7th, 2015 by Brian Hock

Simple Hydration Run Team member Nicole Kallo (Cheltenham, UK) answers 15 Questions.

1.) What is your favorite color?

Any blue in the rainbow

2.) What is your favorite song right now?

“Til It’s Gone” by Kenny Chesney

3.) What is your favorite book?

“A Woman of Substance” by Barbara Taylor Bradford

4.) What is your favorite movie?

Star Wars (yes, I’m a total geek on A New Hope)

5.) What is your favorite snack food?

A “good choice” fave snack: roasted almonds
A “bad choice” fave snack:funyions

6.) What is your favorite word?

yougottabefreakinkiddingme

7.) What runner inspires you?
Any wounded warrior that I have the honor of toeing the line with. If that double-amputee is running the same half as I am, I have no room to complain about how cold it is or how long I have been waiting in my corral to reach the start line.

8.) What is your favorite workout?
Getting a great shoulder workout in at the gym (I love weight lifting days)

9.) What is your favorite running shoe?

I have always called the Asics 2100 series as my “magic” shoes but I am currently running in Brooks Adrenaline GTS.

10.) What is your favorite race medal or award?

The Shamrock 1/2 Marathon in Virginia beach (03/19/2006) because it was my first half marathon ever.

11.) What race would you highly recommend?

The Army Ten Miler. There is something about running in our Nation’s capitol that gets me excited about this race. I am a member of the TAPS Run and Remember Team and the ATM is TAPS’ biggest race. It is an honor to run for my fallen soldier, my friend 1SG Ernest Utt. I always raise money for TAPS when running the ATM to honor his memory and the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country.

12.) Have you ever bonked in a race?
I bonk at every half marathon I run. At the Long Island Half one year, I bonked right at mile 12. It took me 20 minutes to get to the finish line. Ridiculous!

13.) How many miles have you covered without walking during a run or race?
10 miles before stopping

14.) Do you prefer running in the summer or winter?
I am a cold-weather runner! I hate running in the heat!

15.) What is a fun fact about you?

I was a special guest on the Montel Williams Show in NYC. I sat on the velvet couches across from Mr. Williams’ dear friend and spiritual medium Sylvia Browne.