Meghan Arbogast is a favorite for the women’s win this weekend at the Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon. In the following interview, Meghan talks about the highs and lows of her two races so far this year, her move from Oregon to California, and her strategy for this weekend. Don’t miss the bonus question, either!
For more on who else is racing this weekend, read our preview article.
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Meghan Arbogast Pre-Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Meghan Arbogast before the Tarawera Ultramarathon. How are you doing, Meghan?
Meghan Arbogast: I’m doing well. How are you, Bryon?
iRunFar: Alright. It’s a beautiful day here in New Zealand.
iRunFar: Yeah, Rotorua is a pretty nice spot, too—redwood forests…
Arbogast: Fern trees. Who ever heard of a fern tree? “Fuhn tree?”
iRunFar: I have. So this is not your first time to New Zealand.
Arbogast: It isn’t. This is my third visit, second time coming for a race.
iRunFar: The first one turned out pretty good.
Arbogast: Christchurch Marathon 2003. I won which was kind of fun.
iRunFar: Your only road marathon victory?
Arbogast: Yes, it is; my only marathon victory period.
iRunFar: Nice. So, coming back to familiar territory—not quite?
Arbogast: It’s always fun to come back to New Zealand.
iRunFar: And you’re coming here for a little bit of time, too, right?
Arbogast: I’m going to spend two weeks total.
iRunFar: First things first—you’ve got a race this weekend but not your first ultra of the season. You ran Bandera 100k two months ago now. You won that, correct?
Arbogast: Yes, I did.
iRunFar: But it was not your…
Arbogast: I’m not proud of that race. I tell people that winning takes the edge off of making mistakes. If I hadn’t won, I’d be beating myself up over the mistakes I made. They were kind of rookie mistakes, and I’m not a rookie anymore. I got lazy about taking care of myself and got myself in kind of a hole.
iRunFar: But you corrected those.
Arbogast: I did. I went to Sean O’Brien 50 three weeks later and I was actually still tired. I had an okay race, but mainly I took care of myself and that felt really good. I had a steady slow for the day.
iRunFar: You ran for the positives and the good lessons and good habits as you go towards the heart of your season.
Arbogast: Yes. Yes, absolutely.
iRunFar: You’re still looking ahead to here and Western States and…
Arbogast: Yes, I don’t think any of us are ever 100% dialed into an event, so it was nice to get through Bandera and had obviously not dialed some things, and then I got them better for Sean O’Brien by quite a bit. So I just keep working at that but not get slack because we can’t do that in this sport.
iRunFar: You’ve had some big changes since last season. You’ve moved from Oregon down to Cool, California. What’s that change been like?
Arbogast: Yes. It’s been incredible. For one thing, California has had a very mild winter.
iRunFar: You’re becoming soft.
Arbogast: No. I can actually choose better when I want to run. If it’s raining I don’t have to run. I can wait until it’s not raining because that’s usually the same day or the next day. It’s alright. I have not run on so much singletrack ever. Every day. Back in Oregon, I’d probably run 50% of my running on the pavement because it’s easy, it’s convenient, and it’s right out my door. Now, I run 90% of my running on singletrack and a lot of it is technical, and it’s just awesome. I’ve already been able to run the last 60 miles of Western States. So to get that much trail running in this time of year is pretty awesome.
iRunFar: So you’re definitely building towards being even a stronger trail runner, literally strength-wise and more rounded in that regard. On the opposite side of that, how do you think it’s going to affect your speed? This race is very quick. It’s a lot of dirt road and slightly downhill.
Arbogast: I think it will be fantastic because I still go to the track once a week, so I’m getting in good volume of speedwork once a week. So I think it will just feel kind of good and kind of easy.
iRunFar: You’ve already had a 100k and a 50-mile race in this season. Are you ready to bring your A-game this weekend?
Arbogast: I am. I am. I’ve gotten some good mileage in since Bandera, since Sean O’Brien, and got my head around, ‘I’m going to go out and run all day.’ I’ve got to be smart about it.
iRunFar: Good luck out there.
Arbogast: Thanks, Bryon.
iRunFar: A quick bonus question for Meghan: you recently got Giardia.
Arbogast: Oh, yay! Yeah.
iRunFar: Lesson learned?
Arbogast: Yeah, don’t drink out of the streams… really. Actually, it’s better to be a little dehydrated. It was a cool day; it’s not like I was going to go into kidney failure. The water just looked so good; I was so thirsty.
iRunFar: How long ago was this that you drank it?
Arbogast: I drank it 10 days ago? 11 days ago?
iRunFar: When did it hit you?
Arbogast: It hit me six days later. I thought, Okay, this is either I ate something or it’s Giardia. The next day I was like, Well, I don’t feel sick but I still have diarrhea. I’ll give it one more day in case it was something I ate. The third day I was like, No. So I went right in and I got antibiotics.
iRunFar: Nipped it in the bud?
Arbogast: Nipped it, well yeah. The diarrhea is over with.
iRunFar: You feeling better?
Arbogast: Feeling much better. Appetite is good, but I can’t have any alcohol which breaks my heart.
iRunFar: None of the good Kiwi wine?
Arbogast: Well, that’s what’s good about staying for two weeks. I’ll be done with the antibiotics; the medication will be out of my system, and I can enjoy some Kiwi wines.
iRunFar: Well enjoy some down there.
Arbogast: I will.