Leaving her long time post with the Conservation Alliance wasn’t a decision Moehl took lightly. She loved her work and didn’t know if she could support herself on racing, sponsorships, motivational speeches, and race directing.
But Moehl figured she’d never know unless she took the plunge. Several months later, she’s experienced a whirlwind of traveling and running related events on behalf of sponsors Patagonia, Vasque, Rock/Creek, and Green Foods. The toughest part, she’s discovered, is actually finding the time for her own training.
“The running has been great, but the recovery is hard,” Moehl said. “There’s no consistency. I don’t sleep in my own bed, go to yoga class, or have the same morning routine.”
For 32-year-old Moehl, the GORE-TEX TransRockies Run will mark the first time she’s actually raced since placing third in the Miwok 100K in early May. She’s ready to start running.
“I have a bit of an itch,” Moehl said. “I’m excited to compete.”
Moehl decided to sign on for TransRockies after hearing positive feedback from friends who attended the event. One of her sponsors, Vasque, offered her a spot on a mixed team with fellow Vasque athlete Bryan Dayton.
Though Dayton and Moehl have known each other for years through their relationships with both Montrail and Vasque, Moehl feels a bit nervous about the idea of trying to keep up with him during the race. She sees 36-year-old Dayton as a speedy 50K guy, and herself as “a steady 100 mile girl.” Also, she lives at sea level in Seattle, while Dayton lives and trains in Boulder.
Moehl is not concerned, however, with the idea of being part of a team. She grew up playing soccer and was a member of the high school drill team. She’s hoping to make the American 100K World Championship team because she wants to compete on a squad with other athletes. On her regular training runs around the Puget Sound area, she’s more often with a partner than alone.
“I hardly ever run by myself anymore,” Moehl said. “There’s something special that happens when you’re out there running with someone. You have conversations you might not have when you’re sitting in a car or out to dinner.”
Moehl knows she and Dayton will encounter tough competition at TransRockies. She sees Caitlin Smith and Martin Gaffuri of Team Salomon as strong contenders. Moehl’s strategy will be pacing herself for the entire six days, and making sure she recovers after each stage. That means soaking in cold creeks, wearing compression socks, and trying for a good night’s sleep.
The competing won’t stop for Moehl after TransRockies wraps up. She’s heading to Japan in mid-September to race the Shinetsu Five Mountain Trails 100K. In December, she’ll race the North Face 50 Mile Endurance Challenge in the Marin Headlands.
By participating in TransRockies, Moehl removed the possibility of defending her women’s title at the 165 kilometer Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. The two races take place at the same time. As such, Moehl isn’t racing anything longer than a 100K this year, but she wants to return to the 100-mile distance next year. She may go back to Mont Blanc, and also counts Western States and the San Diego 100 milers as possibilities.
“I really put my heart and soul into 100 mile events,” Moehl said. “They take a long time to recover from, but as a competitor, the longer the better. Sometimes I just run out of miles.”
Heidi Dietrich is a journalist and runner living in Seattle. Her web site is www.heidiseattle.com.