Fernanda Maciel won the TNF Transgrancanaria in 2012. She had a rough year in 2013, but is back to race TGC again this year. In the following interview, Fernanda talks about what went wrong in 2013, how she continues to focus on speed in training, and what she expects this weekend.
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Fernanda Maciel Pre-2014 TNF Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Fernanda Maciel before the 2014 Transgrancanaria. How are you, Fernanda?
Fernanda Maciel: Great.
iRunFar: This is not your first time to Gran Canaria. You’ve been here two times?
Maciel: No, more. I’ve done four races here. The first one was a vertical race—Vertical San Pedro. After that one, I’ve done a half marathon. In 2010, I did my first Transgrancanaria but it was the half marathon race. In 2012, I did the Transgrancanaria.
iRunFar: You won the Transgrancanaria.
Maciel: Yeah, I won the fourth race here. I really like the place because it has beach and mountains and the people are amazing. There are lots of runners here in Gran Canaria.
iRunFar: When you arrived a few days ago, I saw you come out of the van. You were also on the front of the van. You’re famous here. Your photo was on the van.
Maciel: Yeah, they put my photo in the van. I think it’s very interesting. Last year I did a race in Lanzarote, another island in the [Canaries], and in 1,000 runners, 400 were girls. So many girls are starting to run on the mountains, so that’s why I’m really happy. I’m hoping more girls are coming. It’s really nice. I think the guys will like it, too.
iRunFar: That’s a lot—400 women out of 1,000. That’s great. I wonder how many will be at the Transgrancanaria.
Maciel: Transgrancanaria has 1,900 runners, but I’m not sure how many girls there are.
iRunFar: Hopefully you can inspire some this weekend as you have in the past. Last year you had a very tough year. You injured your foot very badly.
Maciel: Yes, last year for me wasn’t so good. I have some special problems in my life, some tough problems. I think that was a bit with my personal sport of life. But yes, I have my injury of my ankle and it took me two months to recover just in the important part of the season; so that’s why it wasn’t so good. After I recovered, I ran in the Himalaya in the Everest Trail Race which was an amazing experience in front of Everest with the high mountains.
iRunFar: When was that?
Maciel: It was in the end of October, beginning of November. Just after the Everest Trail Race, I went to Brazil to race in the Amazon Forest. It was an amazing experience. It was an ultra trail. They had invited the 30 best runners from Brazil to race. Amazing experience.
iRunFar: What was the distance?
Maciel: 50k race.
iRunFar: You ran faster than four hours, yes?
Maciel: 3:50. It was tough. It was really interesting because we had to cross some rivers and for me was ‘river.’ Yes, of course some bush and really humid and hot.
iRunFar: That’s amazing to have that fast a time. Normally when I think of you, I think of very strong and very tough—the longer and tougher the better—but you have a lot of speed, too!
Maciel: Yeah, I’m trying to train more speed, too, because I’ve been just running longer distance. I’m an endurance runner—for me, longer is better. But I think if you want to be in the front, if you want to be in the lead, you have to get more speed.
iRunFar: Where have you been training this winter? I know you’ve spent a lot of time in Cataluña and Brazil. Where was this winter?
Maciel: Yes, I have a company in Brazil, so always at the end of the season I go to Brazil. I spend always December and January in Brazil. When I come back to the Pyrenees I try to do some mountain skiing. I try because I’m Brazilian, I’m not Catalunyian. I can go up fast, but go down—no. Yes, I think it’s very important the place that I live. It’s Coll de Nargó. I have the high mountains and good options to train.
iRunFar: Has your training been good this winter? How has your training gone this winter? Do you feel strong coming into this race?
Maciel: Yes, I feel okay. My legs are okay. I think my mind is really prepared. Three weeks ago I raced in the desert in Peru. I had a really tough race in the desert, but I think that was really good for my mind. I think it’s really important to train your mind sometimes. Last Sunday, I raced in Majorca, another island close to here. It’s a Spanish island. That was a half marathon to get more speed as well.
iRunFar: The race in Peru was 100k, yes? So you’ve been running fast and short, and you’ve been running almost as long as this race. You sound prepared. What are your goals for this race?
Maciel: Yes, that was training for Transgrancanaria. It was crazy. How can you say, “Ah, I run 100k as training?” Yes, if you train how you pack, how your mind is going, your body, and it’s meaningful to get a good recovery after, no? So take care about your food, sleeping well, resting, and that’s the secret for doing more ultras.
iRunFar: What is your goal this weekend?
Maciel: It will be a really, really tough race. I’m trying to prepare my mind for that. I think all the runners are really good runners. They are friendly. I like them. I never think I’ll win because it’s mountains and anything can happen. I just try to enjoy and try to do my best each second. I always think I need to try my best each second because if I do that, I’m a champion for me. It doesn’t matter the consequence.
iRunFar: Best of luck and have fun out there.