Fernanda Maciel finished third at the 2014 Transgrancanaria, and now she’s back for another go at the 2015 edition of the race. In this interview, Fernanda talks about her attempt at setting a speed record on Aconcagua in South America earlier this year, what she’s looking forward to about this weekend’s race, and her 2015 goals.
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Fernanda Maciel Pre-2015 Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Fernanda Maciel before the 2015 The North Face Transgrancanaria. How are you?
Fernanda Maciel: Great. I’m feeling really good to be in Gran Canaria to work and relax. This is an amazing place. We have been talking and it’s hot out and it’s pretty nice. It feels like the tropical weather is really good.
iRunFar: You just came from some hot weather.
Maciel: Yes, this is why I’m happy.
iRunFar: You were back in South America for most of the last half year working in Brazil, but you also had a project in Argentina.
Maciel: Yes, it was a great month(s) that I spent in Brazil and also in Argentina. It was a tough project. I did the White Flow Aconcagua. With this project, my objective was to try the record (FKT) up Aconcagua peak. It was pretty tough because I spent 45 days living at 3,000 meters and training 6,000, 5,000, and 7,000. So after training for me it was a hard recovery. The day that I chose was hard, too.
iRunFar: Did you enjoy getting to really use your strength and athleticism for something other than a race?
Maciel: Yes, last year was nice for me. I think I learned a lot as a runner. This is why I’m trying to do something different like this kind of project. All these kind of high mountains always are like… it’s a new challenge that’s good for us as ultrarunners.
iRunFar: Yeah. Last year you also did run a lot of races. You were here at Transgrancanaria and Fuji and TNF Australia, Mont Blanc 80k, UTMB. Did you find that you were very tired at the end of the season?
Maciel: Yes, like totally, after UTMB I needed to call my mental coach and say, “I cannot do any training.” He said, “Stay one week and just drink wine so you recover well.” Yes, so I did that in September and October. I took two months to rest. So in November I started to train again. So, I think this is important and was a good key for me to keep going after that.
iRunFar: Do you feel strong now?
Maciel: Yes, I’ve been feeling in my body is pretty strong, just like my organs are a bit tired because I’ve been traveling a lot, working a lot, sleeping not too much (just sleeping in the airplanes). So let’s see if that was good training or not.
iRunFar: Because you just flew back from Brazil to Spain and from Spain to here, or from Cataluña to here.
Maciel: Yes, just this week I have been in five countries, just this week. So it’s tough. The jet lag and the day hours without sleeping and the work and training—so it’s hard to get recovered.
iRunFar: Maybe it’s time to spend a little time in a pool and have some good restaurants and relax for a day or two?
Maciel: Yes, I’m really happy that this is a longer race, so I think I have likely more than 15 hours to think about myself and my dreams and to be focused in myself. I think when you have a lot of work and lots of training sometimes to get to a race is good, too.
iRunFar: You find that you’re actually able to, in a race like this, think about things other than the race itself? Think about life in the big picture?
Maciel: Yes, I’m used to being in silence a lot, so when I’m in this kind of race where we start with 3,000 runners, after a half an hour, I’m sure that I will be completely alone for 15 or 20 hours. So this silence and to be in nature for me is hard in the physical part, but for my mental part, to be in silence where it’s quiet it’s good, really good.
iRunFar: Last year you were third here and you had a lot of other top results, but one person kept finishing in front of you and she’s here. What is it like racing Núria Picas all the time?
Maciel: No problem. I think there are plenty of strong girls here, but it’s always the same—I don’t care. I think it’s too much job just to think about me and to think about my race. Yeah, I like to be just concentrated on myself. I try to go to the finish line. That’s what’s important.
iRunFar: Do you have any large goals? It’s the start of the season. You haven’t run anything since UTMB, correct? Any races?
Maciel: Yes, this year I’m doing the Ultra-Trail World Tour. Last year I was second, so I wish to be the first place.
iRunFar: So maybe there’s a little bit of competitiveness in there?
Maciel: Let’s see, yes, for me it is a dream. Yes, I’m working for that. I’m training. I’m focused, but it’s not just about me. I think it’s any details that will show us who will be the winner, the best.
iRunFar: Good luck this weekend and enjoy your time out on the course.
Maciel: Yes, thank you. Good luck for everybody and enjoy.