Tell us a little about yourself…
I was born and raised in Mexico where my father was an avid and competitive rower, and I’m fairly certain that my mother was not exaggerating when she said that all of my siblings and myself were out on the lake paddling on a kayak before we could walk. But to my mother’s chagrin, I was more interested in riding my bike than paddling a boat.
When I moved to California I began dabbling with some bike racing, but it was not until I was in college and grad school in New Mexico that I really dedicated myself full time to road bike racing.
After taking a bit of a hiatus from competitive cycling after moving to Hawaii, I began to run casually until I found myself training for a marathon in 2014. The following year I did my first trail race ever, the 30 mile Tantalus Triple Trek. I was hooked. I hated every moment of that race starting about halfway into the first of the three 10 mile loops. It was horrible. But I loved it! And I knew I had to do it again.
Jokes aside, the camaraderie and warmth of the trail running ohana has been incredibly welcoming and I look forward to sharing many many more miles out there in the trails.
How long have you been running?
Being a competitive cyclist, running was never in the radar. I think I must have done a grand total of two 10k running races one year when I must have had some kind life crisis, or something. Cyclists don’t run.
However, after walking 600km of the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain in 2013, I began to get pulled into the idea of long distance running and I ran my first marathon in 2014. And, well, here I am looking at the prospect of a 100mi race in the near future.
Please list your favorite races and PR’s
I have to say that my favorite race so far has been Tantalus Triple Trek, possibly because it was my first ultra.
In between that first year of serious running and now I’ve managed to squeeze a 3:41:35 at the Honolulu Marathon, a 1:31:35 at the Hibiscus Half Marathon and the Hawaii State championship for the half marathon distance in the grand masters category at the same time, a 5:36:46 at Tantalus Triple Trek, and a 14:09:09 hour Peacock 55 mile race.
What are your 2017 Racing plans and running goals?
HURT 100 in 2018 is definitely the goal for all my training and racing in 2017. I still have to qualify and I still have to get picked in the lottery, so it’s a long shot, but I’m hopeful.
That said, I do want to keep chipping away at my PR at the TTT (Tantalus Triple Trek) and perhaps get under 12 hours at Peacock 55 as well.
Any “bucket list” races?
Ha ha. “Bucket list.,” well, since I’ve been running seriously for all but 3 years, I don’t know about many races out there that I’d put into said bucket, but somehow HURT, Leadville, and UTMB seem to be in my radar.
What is your average weekly mileage?
During the school year I’d say 40-50, so I tend to build my deep base in summer where I’m sure it can reach 80 or so.
What is your favorite workout?
Hills! I love to climb! And I hate having to run downhill. But I’m learning to make peace with that part. How I miss wheels sometimes. But, yeah, rolling terrain that has more ups than downs is my fave.
Favorite pre-race/post-race foods
Coffee! And toast with PB, banana, and honey. Or lately, just a slightly boiled potato. And coffee! After races, almost anything that doesn’t require vigorous chewing.
What is the piece of running gear/food/drink that you cannot go without?
Eyewear. I’ve had several scary eye health and related injuries that have put me way too close to blindness in my life to take them eyeballs for granted. And bike cap, you know, still a cyclist deep inside.
What is your favorite running moment or running quote?
I’d have to say that finishing a race distance in which I’ve never raced before is, to me, one of the greatest moments of race running and racing in general. So. Yeah, my first 10k, my first half, my first marathon, my first 30mi ultra, my first 55mi ultra . . .
I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve not read a single book about running. Yet. (Not to worry, Michael has sent me a reading list already). However, I do have two quotes that I really like from my cycling background that to me also transfer to ultra running quite well:
“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride” -Eddy Merckx
“It doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster” -Greg LeMond
Describe your running before HRL and after
How was my training and running before HRL you ask? Well, let’s see. Google: Marathon training. <poke> <poke> <poke> Hmmm, sure! that looks like a good training program. [snort].
So when I hit the dead end of that rabbit hole I approached Michael. His training programs are clear and well structured. The kind of program that will make the most out of your potential and then some. It was quite fun, too, to see how some of those innocuous looking training weeks or workouts ended up being some of the most difficult ones. But in the end, I’ve been super happy with the results and progress we’ve made together.
Why does training with Hawaii Running Lab work for you?
To me a great advantage is to have a coach that is intimately familiar with the trails, roads, and races in the island and the state. Michael will take the time to tweak your workouts, exploit your strengths, and build up your weaknesses while still taking into account your accessibility to training areas, and your short and long term goals without forgetting that most of us have another life outside of running.
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Photo credit: Kalani Pascual (2016)