Michele Yates doesn’t mess around when she races. Her commanding control over the women’s field of 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships from start to finish is just one example of that. In the following interview, Michele talks to us about how her race played out, her race-day nutrition, and her next racing goal.
[Editor’s Note: For more information, we’ve published a full TNF 50 results article.]
Michele Yates Post-2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Michele Yates after her win at the 2013 The North Face Endurance Championships. Michele, great race!
Michele Yates: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: You’ve had a great season and this really capped it off. Walk us through the race.
Yates: I kind of went out with the ladies and there’s a climb right away. They took it out pretty hard as I expected us to do, but I kind of hung back and I really took care of myself and ate and drank and was merry until I got to the top. On the downhill is when I made my move or I just ran my own race. Downhill is my strength, so I knew I would have to use that in this race. I really just was enjoying it and I expected some of the ladies to come with me, but they didn’t. They were close behind, but I just kept going and one foot in front of the other and was praying that I could keep that or make the lead bigger.
iRunFar: Then you did win. Did you have any rough spots along the way?
Yates: I didn’t really have any rough spots because I was eating like a pig the whole time which was the plan. Around the 30-mile mark, my legs start to always give me a little bit of a scare, but they bounced back as much as legs bounce back in a 50 miler. I, for the most part, felt really good. I didn’t have any lows, I think, because of my eating and taking care of my eating.
iRunFar: What does that look like at 50 miles for you? How often do you have a gel?
Yates: Oh, man. I seriously just kept eating and drinking. It was either GU or I have the Simply Protein bars that I like that sit really easy in my stomach. I had a couple cookies that I make that are gluten- and dairy-free. I just kind of kept nibbling and nibbling. I don’t really take a full GU. I’ll just take a little bit sometimes, or sometimes I try to squirt that whole thing in there and keep going.
iRunFar: Do you have any sense of how many calories you’re getting in in an hour or how many gel equivalents?
Yates: At least… probably a couple hundred per hour in this one, but I don’t normally do that. I would say a little bit less than that because I don’t usually eat bars as much or solid food quite as much. But I’ve just learned this past year that for some reason when I do hills, I get really hungry. So I just try to not go down that route.
iRunFar: You had a couple niggles going into the race. Time for some time off?
Yates: Yes, vacation time at least for a few weeks. Then I’ll be back to training for Rocky Raccoon on February 1.
iRunFar: Do you have some goals for Rocky Raccoon?
Yates: I do. I would like to go for the awesome Jenn Shelton’s American Record. I’m sorry she wasn’t here today so I could meet her because I was kind of looking forward to that. I think it’s possible.
iRunFar: You had run “17 and change” in pretty rough conditions out in Indiana [Trail 100].
Yates: Yes, and I actually held the pace for the record through 60 miles at that point and then of course kind of died.
iRunFar: Even though you were well off the record, it was a confidence builder.
Yates: Yes, and for me honestly with that 100 miler, it was just getting it done. Just doing my first 100 miler and completing it and getting the experience. It was a great experience.
iRunFar: Any other races on the calendar for next year?
Yates: Not really at this point. I’m just going to take it one at a time and focus on that. First of all, not think about racing or running. I’m going to probably go see my family in northern Michigan and then maybe somewhere warm. Then come back and kind of sit down and finalize some things still.
iRunFar: Congratulations on a great season and look forward to seeing you out on the trails next year.
Yates: Yes. Thank you.