The most recent newsletter from McMillan Running contained a cool interview with Texas ultra runner, Meredith Terranova, as she shares the journey of her recent Quicksilver 50 mile win (race report), her sports nutrition and training, wellness career, and more.
Thanks to Greg McMillan for reprint permissions.
Preparing for the Western States 100 -Mile Endurance Run: An Interview with Meredith Terranova
On May 8th, Meredith Terranova, from Austin, Texas, won northern California’s Quicksilver 50 Mile Endurance Run in eight hours and fifteen minutes; almost an hour ahead of the second place woman. Though not new to the ultrarunning scene (she ran her first ultra in 2003) Meredith has made steady improvements in recent years. Here she talks about her most recent win at Quicksilver, her passion for proper nutrition (both on the race course and off) and her quest to finish this year’s Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.
1)Can you sum up your weekend at the Quicksilver 50 Mile?
Things didn’t start off great. I got lost on the way to the race start, so I hurried through my last minute preparation (no pre-race potty break). I enjoyed the uphill start as I got to settle into my own groove. Not being a strong climber this has been a good lesson in the past two races on how to conserve early for the later miles. It has now paid off twice. I wanted to head into the woods for the restroom but the trails were covered in poison oak and I am highly allergic. So my stomach badly paid the price. I continued to push fluids and fuel despite the stomach issues and the legs felt great. My stomach never got better, but never got worse.
I came through 50-kilometers in about 4:56, which would have put me second woman and thirteenth overall for the 50K. As it turns out, I felt my strongest from mile 41 to the finish. I ran the last nine miles in 75 minutes, which I am pleased with. I ran according to plan and, once again, had strong legs on the back end. I finished in eight hours and fifteen minutes. I was first woman and eleventh overall. Had I known the other guys were slowing in front of me I probably would have picked it up a little more! I am happy to have finished with minimal soreness and no quad fatigue from the downhills!! Not bad for a flatlander from Texas.
2) We understand that you create your own race day nutrition (in fact you do this for a living). Can you discuss this as well as your other top keys to successful training and racing?
I am a firm believer in keeping things simple and using fuel that you know you will enjoy and tolerate. I went through a time when I thought gels were the end all be all, but when things got tough I’d stop taking in fuel. It was due to the simple fact that I didn’t like the taste of gels.
Now I take in 99% of my calories and electrolytes through liquid nutrition during races. It is easy and allows me to stay hydrated. I supplement with the occasional Clif Blok, a vegan cookie (which I have in drop bags as a treat), Mountain Dew (something I wouldn’t normally drink on the day-to-day basis, but works well during races for me), and maybe a salty chip here and there. The nice thing about getting in everything via liquid is that I don’t have to stress about stuffing my face at aid stations. I know what is in my bottle and how often I have to refill it. I am a heavy sweater but have never cramped; I attribute this to my liquid nutrition.
Outside of running I focus on a very clean daily diet. I prepare most of my meals with lean protein and lots of vegetables and grains. When I found out that I got into Western States I actually cut all sugar (aside from fruit, milk, and yogurt) out of my diet as a commitment to the training. The only exception to this is when I use these sugars as fuel during training or racing. I seem to recover quickly and feel strong, and definitely feel that my diet is part of that.
As far as training, I think having a coach has been essential. I knew of some of the “bread and butter” things I needed to do, but I needed guidance with my workouts’ focus, quality and recovery. I respond well to high mileage running, but having my workouts purposeful has been beneficial for me.
I do two workouts that I consider my “bread and butter” for staying healthy and being a solid downhill runner (my strength). I bike a ton on the trainer for recovery and use Powercranks to support even leg strength, and I do downhill repeats almost every week (in the heat of the day when it is 90+ degrees outside).
3) What are your future running and/or racing goals?
Get to the finish line of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, and hopefully enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed the lead up!
After I recover from Western, I’d like to have a strong run at Mountain Masochist 50 Mile in Virginia in November. I have run it two other times, and am excited to see what I can do out there. I am a completely different ultrarunner than I was on my last trips there.
4) What do you do outside of running?
I love my job! I work with the most amazing clients and get to help people create healthy nutrition lifestyles. I assist them in nailing down their race-day nutrition; their most troublesome race-day issue. There is no real description for how rewarding it is. Emails from clients often make my day!
My running and career are really just pieces of the puzzle of me. It’s all about being healthy, enjoying people and the gifts I am given!
(To learn more about Meredith’s Eating and Living Healthy Services go to: http://www.eatingandlivinghealthy.com/ )
5) Can you describe which you feel are your top three ultra-racing accomplishments?
- My performance at Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile in February of this year. It was one of the first times that I pushed hard all day, and when it got tough I kept pushing. I realized what I was truly capable of and it was pretty awesome! I didn’t win, but I ran 7:12 for the 50-mile. My goal was to run sub-7:25. My previous 50-mile best was 8:02.
- Pacifica 50 Kilometer last July. I felt great all day and just kept getting stronger as the race went on. I passed the first place woman with about five or six miles to go after chasing her all race long. It was awesome to watch my Garmin on the last downhill and see that I was able to run 6:30’s at the end of a 50K. It also felt pretty darn good to finish feeling as if I had barely run.
- This current journey of getting to the finish line of Western States. This has been a long time coming. This will be my last 100-miler, so the journey has been just as important as what the race will hold. I am not looking to place in the top but just be grateful and enjoy the ride. I have had tremendous support and have been healthy all the way through. I consider that a huge accomplishment: Being able to balance my life and enjoy the process!
(Continue to follow Meredith’s path to Western States on her blog at: http://mersadventures.blogspot.com/ )
Good luck to Meredith in this weekend’s Western States 100! Woohoo!
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 25 Jun 2010