A couple years ago, Team Wicked Bonkproof was a twinkle in Caleb's eye. He's a pal (and outrageously phenomenal runner) I've known through Dailymile for years. Once upon a time he offered to help me out with a training plan. At the time, my expansive knowledge of training consisted of: run. So of course I took him up on his offer because are you kidding me?
Fast forward a few years and dozens of races, and Team Wicked Bonkproof is for real. We've become a legit thing. Coach Caleb has wrangled more than 70 of us from all over the world -- no joke. Like, entirely different continents. Together we make up this giant collection of rad people under the direction of one pretty rad coach.
I've known some of these people for what feels like all of time, while others have quickly melted into my little bonkproof heart. Either way, I love this particular group of people like a very large, talented and dysfunctional family. I do. I want to put them all in a pouch and carry them with me everywhere, which may or may not be borderline creepy and/or illegal.
I'm proud of what Caleb's accomplished, mostly because of the teammates I've gained out of the deal, and partially because my running has improved. But whatever, details.
Each week Caleb spotlights a different "teamie" on his site, and today it was my turn. Not gonna lie, it felt a little like the week you were chosen in kindergarten to decorate the bulletin board with photos and factoids about yourself because it was your week. IT'S ALL ABOUT ME, PEOPLE. BACK UP OFF MY BULLETIN BOARD.
You can see the whole thing here (and you should, because I said so) , but I've included the Q&A below. Go on, read. Learn. And next time you see me sporting my Team Wicked Bonkproof singlet on race day, you'll know why. BECAUSE WE'RE MADE OF MAGIC.
When did you start running and why?
I was on my 7th grade track team and never stopped. I hated track pretty hard, but once high school cross country happened, it eased the pain. I don't know why I started or why I never stopped. It just makes me happy most of the time. I didn't run my first marathon, though, until I was 23. The first thing I said when I crossed the finish line was, "I'M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN." I've run 13. So, oops.
What is your current "big goal" as a runner?
Speed, I think. I'm working on speed for an upcoming half marathon that I think I'd like to try and PR. It's gonna take a lot of work, and that's kind of scary, so we'll see. I've got a marathon a month and a half later, so hopefully I can carry that speed into that, too. Goals are hard. I tend to make them, then freak the hell out. Just ask Caleb. [Editor's note: No comment!]
What is your proudest running accomplishment to date?
Crossing the finish line of the North Face 50 Miler in 2011. I think I happy-cried for the last mile, and I felt awesome, which seems impossible. All of my best friends were there making a "power arch" with their arms into the finish chute, and my friend Amy threw an actual handful of glitter directly into my face. That basically sums up everything about that day. I'll never ever forget it. Ever. Look, I might weep just thinking about it.
Do you have any funny running habits (superstitious behaviors, lucky gear items, etc)?
I have a little stuffed pony named Penelope that comes to the majority of my races. When I run trail races, I strap her onto my CamelBak so she can play, too. I also have a tiny porcelain unicorn that my mom gave me in the middle of my 50-miler that also never misses a big race. I usually tuck it into a pocket when I run. If you know me, the fact that ponies and unicorns are my luck is not the least bit shocking.
Who is your running hero and why (Coach Caleb is not an acceptable answer)?
Probably my friend Marty. He's run some pretty extraordinary races, and just does it. He doesn't win, he doesn't beak records, he doesn't complain, he just runs. He's sort of the backbone of my running circle. The dad, sort of (never mind that he's only 4 years older). He takes care of us -- makes sure we have the right nutrition, the right pace, the right plan, the right course, the right gear, enough water. We've run probably hundreds of miles together, and I've yet to die. It's become a thing, actually. My mom always asks, "Is Marty running this race with you?" She only asks because she knows if Marty is there, I'm not gonna die. I ran my second attempt at a 50-miler with him last year, and it was absolute hell. I'm pretty sure we were in actual hell. We DNF'd that day at mile 40. When you go through hell with someone, you form a hell of a bond. When we made the decision to call it quits, nobody cried, nobody second-guessed, nobody regretted. We just immediately sat on the ground at the aid station and ate cookies because, well, at least we were still alive.
What's the best piece of running advice you ever received?
In an attempt to keep us from clenching our fists, my middle school track coach once told us to run as though we're holding Pringles between our thumbs and forefingers. I never forgot that, mostly because I love Pringles.
Anything else you want the world to know about you as a runner or person?
I hate butterflies. I think that's pretty pertinent.