Name: Traci Falbo
Location: Charlestown, Indiana
Q. Where did you grow up?
A. Several cities in Iowa
Q. What was it like growing up in that area?
Q. Did you play any sports growing up or in high school/college?
A. I was in Gymnastics/Tap/Jazz in grade school, Soccer in middle school, Cross Country, Basketball, Track, and Softball in high school. In college (2500 enrollment), I ran on the JV squad, but wasn’t very good-ran 22 min 5ks.
Q. Are other people in your family active or into running?
A. My daughter is fast and runs cross country and track, but isn’t going to run next year in college.
Q. The people that follow you or visit your blog know your story of weight loss and setting goals. What was the catalyst in your life that made you take the steps to losing weight?
A. I was already depressed and unhappy. Then, I saw myself in a swimsuit in a photograph. You know that you are overweight, but until you see a photo of yourself, you don’t understand how much. I thought, “GROSS!” I knew I needed to do something. Plus, my weight hit an all-time high…higher than when I was pregnant with either of my children.
Q. What steps did you take that first year that allowed you to lose weight and keep it off?
A. I exercised at the gym at 5am with a friend before our kids would wake up. I lost 15 pounds in 6 months and was a little frustrated. I looked at my diet and realized my portions were out of wack. I adjusted my portions and exercised and lost another 65 pounds in 7-8 months.
Q. What was the first marathon you ran in 2004 and how did you feel at the finish? Did you know immediately it was something you wanted to do again?
A. Rocket City in Huntsville, Alabama. I was soooo incredibly sore, but I felt a great sense of accomplishment having qualified for Boston, so of course I had to register for Boston 4 months later.
Q. If my math is correct you ran your first marathon at the age of 31 in 2004. You’ve recently just finished running a marathon in all 50 states and 94 marathons total over the last 11 years (not including ultras). What 5 marathons would you recommend to other runners?
A. My favorites are: Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey-hard & hilly, but FUN; Disney Marathon-I LOVE DISNEY characters…take a camera and stop the whole way-race for FUN; Big Sur is beautiful, Marine Corps is a riot…beautiful sights, great course, and people dressed up for Halloween; Grand Island Trail-beautiful-take a couple of days to enjoy cool sights in the UP, plus great course!
Q. Is there a specific marathon you would still like to run?
A. Mount Desert Island
Q. In addition to all the marathons you’ve really set yourself apart from other runners in the longer distances. You were selected as the 2014 USATF Masters Road Ultra Runner of the Year and were picked by Ultrarunning Magazine as the #8 Ultra Runner of the Year. Completing 21 ultras to date and not having a single DNF is impressive. Do you feel better the farther you go or is it simply about handling the pain better?
A. I think it is easier to go longer. I am not fast. I can run for a long time at a decent pace. Shorter races are more painful with burning lungs
Q. You’re 2014 was extremely impressive. You set the American and World Records covering 242.093 miles at the Indoor Track 48 Hours in Alaska. How did that race feel?
A. It was a dream come true. I have always set high goals. I wanted an American Record at some point in my life. I thought I might have a shot at in the 48-Hour race. When, I crossed the mat and broke the Indoor World, and American Record, I had to fight back tears of joy. It was so emotional for me, unlike anything I have ever experienced.
> Read Traci’s interview with iRunFar about that race.
In November of last year you set an American Trail Record (at the time) at the Tunnel Hill 100 miler running it in 14:45. That’s 8:51 per mile for 100 miles! Did you go into that race with the mindset that you wanted to break 15 hours? And when did you know you had the record?
A. My goal was to break 15 hours. I was aware of the trail record, but wasn’t sure if the gravel surface would count as a trail or not. I wasn’t sure if it would count as the record until iRunFar emailed me
Q. Another huge accomplishment is your 4th place finish at the World 24 Hour Championships in 2013. What was it like representing Team USA and finishing 3rd on the team to help the women win gold?
A. Running for a team is awesome. You have more motivation to push because it’s not just your result…it’s the team’s result…it’s USA’s result. I was the 3rd female for the USA and needed to keep pushing…Japan was within 5k as a team. I wanted to stop so bad, but couldn’t…the team was counting on me. There is a lot more pressure, but I rally with pressure. It was super cool to run with people from other countries and talk with them, as well as listen to other languages while running. Nothing beats standing on the podium and hearing your National Anthem.
Q. Is there anything about the sport of ultrarunning that surprised you?
A. There is a lot of variety within the sport.
Q. Do you have a coach or follow some training program?
A. No. I have 2 friends who I bounce workouts/training off of, but am mainly self-coached.
Q. What are your personal bests (PBs) at various distances and also please list top race performances with place?
A. 3:01:18 marathon, 7:02 50 mile, 14:45 100 miler, 147.676 24-hour, 242.093 48-Hour
Q. What person(s) in running inspire(s) you?
A. People who are still running well as they age…Meghan Arbogast and Connie Gardner come to mind.
Q. Is there any event or adventure that you would like to do one day?
A. Spartathalon and Comrades (planned for 2015 & 2016)
Q. Please provide a typical week of training in your life right now?
A. Lift/cross train Monday and Friday, Tues-8, Wed-14, Thurs-6, Sat-30, Sun-20
Q. At what distance do you take water/hydration with you on a run?
A. Usually 10+ miles unless it is especially hot
Q. What was your reaction to the Simple Hydration Bottle after using it?
A. I love it. I don’t like drinking out of bladders in packs and I like hands-free running!
Q. How do you use the bottle in your training?
A. Stuff it in the back of my skirt and go
Q. What races do you have planned for the remainder of 2015?
A. 24-Hour World Championship in Italy, Utah Valley Marathon, Black Hills 100, Blister in the Sun Marathon, Spartathalon, Tunnel Hill 100, Flying Monkey Marathon, Rocket City Marathon (I am their Pasta Dinner Keynote Speaker as well).
Q. Anything else you would like to add about yourself?
A. I am certified in SCUBA, have my private pilot’s license, love to play games and cards, and scrapbook if I ever have time
Q. What companies sponsor you besides Simple Hydration?
A. Altra, Hammer Nutrition, Running Skirts, DryMax, Coast Headlamps.
You can follow Traci on her blog: Ms.Adventures of an Ultrarunner