We continue our TALON Meet the Tribe series with a Q&A with Lori Enlow of Oklahoma. Lori is fairly new to the sport but has quickly jumped into the deep end of the pool earning a variety of wins, top placings, and good always fashionable gut-it-out finishes that include the Leadville 100 last August.
What is your running background? When did you start trail running and what led you to explore the sport?
I’ve been a casual intermittent runner since high school. I ran track in high school, but wasn’t very good. I loved running though and continued intermittently over the years. Then about three or so years ago I found out I was diabetic. That was it. I started taking diet, life and running more seriously.
I had a friend who asked me to start training for a 50 mile road ultra about a year later. Started putting in more serious miles for that. I had never run off road until right about two years ago. In training for the 50 miler, I signed up for the War Eagle 50km in Arkansas. First time I ever set foot off paved road. That was the most miserable run I had ever done and swore I would never run trails again. It took me nearly seven and a half hours and I looked and felt like I had been wrangled by a grizzly bear…and smelled like it too!
I swore off trail running at that point.
I cruised along, did the Midnight Madness 50 miler that summer and fell in love with the ultra distance. What next? Well a hundred miles of course! This would be the Pumpkin Holler in 2011, not trail, but dirt road. While training for this I discovered the Turkey Mountain trails in Tulsa. This is where I started to change my mind about trails. I still found them hard and a little frustrating, but loved the beauty and diversity of running on them. Pumpkin Holler was absolutely amazing, the volunteers, the other runners, pushing my own limits. When you run 100 miles you really feel like there’s nothing you can’t do.
I went from not knowing people even ran distances beyond the marathon to running my first 100 in less than seven months. Seven months before Pumpkin Holler, the farthest I had ever run was nine miles. Proof that anyone can do it! I’ve been in love ever since.
Current or last book you read? Or if more of a movie person-last movie you watched?
Oh dear, no recent books other than those I read with my daughter. Kids, work, and running leaves little time for reading.
Last movie? The Water Horse, a kids movie about a boy who discovers the Loch Ness monster. It’s a really sweet story.
Favorite trail race distance?
Favorite trail race distance I would say the 50km and 100 mile.
I like the 50km because it takes less training and less recovery and I can do more of them, but it’s still an ultra and requires endurance, thoughtful running and focus on nutrition hydration. I like ultras because it can really be anybody’s day. The shorter distances almost always go to the fastest person. The ultras require more and I really like that. I like juggling all that goes into having a good ultra…smart pacing, nutrition, hydration, training, mental toughness, and sheer luck, weather, among other factors.
The 100 milers are just amazing to experience as a runner and as a spectator/volunteer. I’ve only done two 100 milers. I hope someday to be a strong enough runner to do at least two or three a year.
Craziest/funniest thing you have seen/heard during a trail run or trail race?
Not really crazy, but it was funny at the time. At Leadville , during the day it got warm enough that people were shucking shirts and articles of clothing on the trail. At night when the temperatures dropped to freezing, those items were being picked up by other runners for warmth. Nothing like wearing sweaty gym shorts of someone you don’t know to try and add a layer of warmth! I think Tommy Brennan even ended up finishing in a Hello Kitty T-shirt. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
Favorite local trail?
Favorite local trails include Turkey Mountain in Tulsa and Ouachita Trail near Poteau, Oklahoma.
If iPod user, do you have specific go-to tunes in the early miles, when in a groove, when in a funk, and when close to the finish?
Early miles I usually go without music. I have a very eclectic collection of music for when I’m in a groove…everything from Bob Marley to The White Stripes. I’ve got 70s classics and newer alternative rock, even some classical/instrumental only. When in a funk sometimes I turn my iPod off and sing songs that make fun of how I feel (only when running solo or too delirious to care). Tunes I belt out include “She’s Got Legs” by ZZ Top, “Dr. Dr”-artist unknown [I think Robert Palmer], “She’s so cold” by Rolling Stones-for those 100 milers at night when I’m freezing to death, “Hurt So Good” by John Mellencamp. The list is endless. This usually gets me laughing at my plight. When I’m racing or running hard I go with a fast beat, usually rock alternative music.
What two tips or insights on the sport have you learned that may be useful for someone just entering the sport?
Soak it up, take it all in, and run like there’s no tomorrow. Sorry that’s awfully esoteric, I’ll take it down a notch.
I do recommend following a training plan. When you’re really young you can get out there and just go and suffer little consequence. To run ultras and be able to run many ultras without or with less injuries and frustration, requires dedication to training. It takes time to toughen up all those ligaments and muscles that are required to work for those distances, to form extra blood vessels to feed those muscles to do what you are asking. You will hurt all the time and be plagued with injuries if you aren’t consistent and build. If you train smart and give your body the training and fuel (good nutrition) it needs to do what you love, it will reward your dedication and effort.
My diabetes is in remission, I am nearly 40 and am healthier, faster, stronger and have more energy than I did when I was 20. It didn’t just happen and it hasn’t been easy, but ohhhhh it has been sooooooooo worth it!
Which animal best describes your approach or style of running?
I jokingly say my running and decision making often resemble that of a squirrel crossing the road! Maybe that’s why I like all those zig zaggy trails!
A big thanks to Lori for sharing with us.
To meet additional TALON runners, check out the Meet the Tribe series.
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 10 May 2013
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