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Steven Moore Maintains Life Balance and Sets Course Record at Cactus Rose 100…Again – Interview

“And who said anything about waiting till the end to drink beer?” – Steven Moore

Steven Moore returned to Bandera, Texas to defend his 2010 win on the ruggedly challenging Cactus Rose 100 course (results summary). With a handful of tread looking to chase down this Texas ultra athlete, Steven was inspired by the challenge and crisp morning air that saw him showcase a spicy pace at the word “Go!” and never look back.

Steven won the 2011 Cactus Rose 100 in 19:28:32, breaking the course record that he set in 2010 (19:35:47).

After his Monday hot tub session, Steven was super kind in answering a few questions for the Endurance Buzz community.

Learn why Steven is unable to make the ultra popular toenail necklace.

Check out his low mileage, quality based training approach that has helped him create a life balance and knock out some spicy times.

What groovin’ tunes supported him through the middle miles of Cactus Rose?

All of this and much more!


Background  / Training

[EB – What is your running background? When did you start ultra running and what led you to explore the sport?]

I’ve been running since I was a kid. My dad’s contribution to soccer coaching was to make sure we were in shape for late in the game! I ran some in college (UT) while I played lacrosse and then hashed (Hash House Harriers) for 10 years with the Austin group.

My parents retired to Telluride, Colorado and I learned about the Hardrock 100 on a visit up there. I was hooked on the idea immediately. I didn’t immediately pursue it however.

My dad and I ran the Imogene Pass Run in 2001 and I returned again in 2007. I found some local 30k trail runs in Austin and signed up for my first ultra, a 60k, in 2008. I jumped in with both feet after that.

Imogene Pass Run - 2007

[EB – Besides the black toenails and post-race beer, what about 100 mile races do you enjoy and what attracts you to the distance?]

(TMI warning) Funny you mention the toenails! Oddly enough I had both my big toe nails permanently removed in the early 90’s after my lacrosse years. It was a great move then but now that I’m into ultrarunning it’s turned out to be very beneficial!

And who said anything about waiting till the end to drink beer?

The 100 mile mark just seems like the gold standard to me. The 100k is an awesome distance but after running my first one I felt the pull of the 100 mile mystery even more. After 60 or 70 miles I’m usually down to my core self. The wandering thoughts are gone and the Zen of moving thru the air in front of me is what I wait for.

[EB – What does a typical training week look like for you? How much training do you do on the trails? Do you do any type of cross training?]

My MO involves a lot less training than most. I’m sure I could be better (or at least hurt less afterward) with more long runs but…I have a family and a job and I’m not ready to spend more time running than I already do.

A typical training week: Monday is hot tub day. Tuesday is ¼ mile hill repeats. Wednesday is a fast 10 mile easy trail run. Thursday is eight miles at lunch (usually hot). Friday is 30 minutes on the stair-stepper (at gym) and stretching, then sand volleyball after work. Sat is my long run, usually 18-24 miles on trail. Sunday I try to sneak in a fast 10 miles on the road (with hills) from the house or get back out on a trail for back-to-back 20’s if I’m ramping up.

I’m lucky enough to ride my bike to work so I get in ~11 round trip miles almost every weekday.

Helping out at Hardrock!

Eating more Jalapeno

[EB – 2011 has seen your times continue to drop from previous years with top placings in all your trail adventures. I especially enjoy looking at your Bandera 100 km progression from the last three years (’09 – 10:34, ’10 – 9:58, ’11 – 9:32). What do you feel are the top reasons for your continued improvement?]

What’s up with that!? Shave 30 minutes off each year and drop three places?! Credit to all the fast runners ahead of me out there! [Dave] Mackey and DJ’s [Dave James] times out there this year were just sick.

I don’t believe in the Long Slow Distance method and since I don’t train as much, I have to make sure my training is intense. I have a pretty good base fitness level and I feel like if I can show my body what it’s going to be like on race day a few times it will do what it needs to do to be ready.

Mostly I think I’ve gotten smarter/wiser about the whole race day process too. The more times I race the better I get at detecting problems early or preventing them from getting started. It’s a fun puzzle to try to crack; lots of variables and a dynamic equation.

Cactus Rose 100

[EB – Coming into Cactus Rose, how was your preparation in the lead up? How was the body and mind feeling race morning? Did you feel any pressure or excitement as the defending champ with a number of feet setting their inspiration target on you?]

I ran all 3 x 60km Capt’n Karls races this summer in the searing heat and a ~60 mile road run for the 9-11 memorial in New York. Nothing too extreme but I felt pretty tuned up and ready.

I hate tapering but managed to get a week’s rest and a good night’s sleep Friday night. I’m a pretty laid back guy so nerves aren’t really an issue. I know I’m going to give it my best effort and if someone else beats me, I know they’ve done a heck of a job too so, I’m cool with that. I’ll never lie down and let someone take it however.

It’s fun to let it play out and see what happens. I knew Brian Hopton-Jones was ready and I caught wind of Lorenzo [Sanchez] and Rhonda [Claridge] the night before. Last year I had a chip on my shoulder from my 2009 result. This year I was comfortable returning to defend.

[EB – You took the lead early on and seemingly flew through the first 25 miles in an ultra fast 4:01:44, creating a 15 minute gap from youthful speedster Brian Hopton-Jones and the chase pack. Was this pace part of a specific strategy? How did you determine your run effort throughout the day (feel, HR, time, position of the moon, etc)?]

In retrospect that was a little fast for lap one although that is kind of my style; fly and die. I felt great early and decided to just let it flow. My buddy Chris M was in the relay and we just laid it down. Felt great on lap two as well. Actually, I felt pretty darn good the whole race but obviously I slowed considerably.

I run mostly on feel and I was feeling good. Maybe I should have held back but I’m willing to take some chances and see what happens. I love the thought of having to dig deep to hold off a late challenge. You get into some serious mind games at that point.

[EB – You were the “hunted” for the entire race, leading at the front. Is that something you put much attention on or do you stay more internally focused?]

I like being at least near the front. I like to know where I stand and it’s easier to know that if I’m up front. I just try to run relaxed and let the race evolve.

At Leadville 2010 there were about 15 guys doing sub 7’s in the first three miles; I hope I’m not going to fall for that anytime soon.

I do like to bank some time for a hundred. Even if I fade some, everyone else is usually hurting to some degree as well. I was definitely gambling a little at this race. It didn’t pay off the way I wanted but it was good enough. I’m more proud of last year’s splits than this year.

Most common visual of Steven throughout the Cactus Rose adventure.

[EB – What was your nutritional approach for Cactus Rose? How were you energy levels throughout the 100 miles?]

The race went almost perfect in the nutritional respect. I consumed more calories than ever before. I stayed on top of my hydration, calories and electrolytes pretty well. My wife Sandi was my crew and she got me in and out of the aid stations quickly.

I’m a Hammer guy (hint hint Hammer!) and rolled thru three bottles of Perpetuem before switching to some plain water and then HEED.

I tried some solid food this race in the form of whole wheat bread with blackstrap molasses and it worked well. I think the grain adds some longer lasting carbs to even things out some. I use Hammer gel and eat S-Caps and Endurolytes too.

I pounded half a Lone Star beer after laps two and three as well; gotta stay hydrated!

[EB – I noticed you jammin’ to some tunes during sections of the run. Who were you air-guitar’n to?]

This was the first time I’ve used the Shuffle for racing in years. I figured it would be a good distraction for the middle 50.

For training and biking it’s all live Grateful Dead but for CR100 I had some Black Joe Lewis, Karl Denson, Global Funk Council, Raconteurs, White Stripes and a few other random tunes. It worked out pretty well but I tore it off at mile 70 to enjoy the sunset and pain from the rocks on Boyles and Cairns.

[EB – What were some of your strongest memories across the 19+ hour scamper? What were some of your biggest challenges you had to overcome?]

I won’t forget the first 50 for a while. I had a few minor issues (lingering PF) but to have a cool morning on trails with friends and running free like that is where it’s at!

I got pretty hot during lap three so I was really looking forward to the sun going down and cooling off. Also, I knew Sandi was going to pace from 75-80 and help me get lap four started.

Our friend Megan escorted me for the next 15 (just like last year!) and then Sandi again for the last five. Pretty cool.

I was expecting the fatigue and I think everyone is cursing the damn rocks by then but I never got down this race.

[EB – What were the first thoughts in your mind after crossing the finish line, defending last year’s win, and toppling your own course record by over seven minutes?]

The first thought is pure pleasure, defined. It’s over. I had already processed the slight disappointment that I didn’t hold on better and go sub-19 so by the time I finished I was just glad Lorenzo [Sanchez], Rhonda [Claridge] or Brian [Hopton-Jones] hadn’t caught me from behind!

Oh yea, did someone say there was beer near….and a chair?

Looking Ahead

[EB – Do you have any running events planned for the rest of the year? Any other epic ultra adventures on your radar you would like to experience but haven’t yet?]

I’ve matched my ~400miles of racing from 2010 now and I’m not signed up for anything else….yet. I might squeeze in another 50 miler this calendar year. Hate to think about Bandera 100k just yet but to go back and get beat by the best is pretty fun.

I’m in the Hardrock 100 lottery again and I plan on trying for Western States 100 again too. I’m trying to do at least one out of state ultra each year. If I don’t get in Hardrock I’ll need to run another qualifier for it next year.

So many trail ultras….so little time.

A huge thanks to Steven for taking the time and sharing so many insightful thoughts with us.

And if the beautiful natural surroundings of this sport aren’t enough, the amazing group of fellow dirt-lovin’ runners will often seal the deal!

As someone with a family and a full life, I can’t help but be inspired by Steven’s ability to enjoy and excel at this sport with a relatively low mileage approach. I can dig it!

Btw, Steven had a secret wish to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. We at Endurance Buzz did our best to make it happen. Check out the Endurance Buzz Facebook page as we made his dream a reality. 🙂

Do you have any questions for Steven?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

6 Responses to “Steven Moore Maintains Life Balance and Sets Course Record at Cactus Rose 100…Again – Interview”

  1. on 03 Nov 2011 at 4:30 pm Chris R

    Great interview. Steve is also a class guy and always has time to say hello to us slow folks out on the trail. Hey it would be great if you could track Rhonda Claridge down. Would love to know what compelled her to come down from Co and what she thought of race.

  2. on 03 Nov 2011 at 4:41 pm David Hanenburg

    Thanks for sharing Chris!

    …and yes it would be. 🙂

    Enjoy some recover time after that great run at CR!

  3. on 05 Nov 2011 at 8:51 am Michael

    I met Steven once… after the 2nd Capt’n Karl’s Race this year I finished the 60k I sat down and soon felt like I was going to pass out. Thankfully he and a couple other runners were kind enough to help take care of me until I had all my senses about me! In addition to being BA athletes, ultra runners make a nice community of people too.

  4. on 07 Nov 2011 at 9:46 am David Hanenburg

    Michael – Nice story…although I would have preferred you weren’t in la-la land. 🙂 A nice community indeed!

  5. on 20 Nov 2011 at 7:51 pm Linda and Jerry Moore

    A great interview from a great guy. We are very proud that he is our son.

  6. on 23 Nov 2011 at 11:09 am David Hanenburg

    Hi Linda and Jerry – Thanks so much for visiting and sharing on Endurance Buzz! Love it. 🙂