Magdalena Boulet took third at this weekend’s 2014 Grand Trail des Templiers. In the following interview, Magdalena talks about the highs and lows of her race, some of Les Templiers’s unique aspects, and her thoughts after her first year of running ultramarathons.
Be sure to read our results article for the whole story on this year’s Grand Trail des Templiers.
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Magdalena Boulet 2014 Les Templiers Champion Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Magdalena Boulet after her third-place finish at the 2014 Grand Trail des Templiers. Congratulations!
Magdalena Boulet: Thank you.
iRunFar: How does it feel to…? I assume this was your longest run ever?
Boulet: Well, no, 50 miles…
iRunFar: Time-wise? Pretty close?
Boulet: Time-wise? I want to say the 50 miler in Ithaca, New York, which has 12,000 feet of…
iRunFar: Cayuga Trails.
Boulet: Cayuga Trails, yeah.
iRunFar: So, close.
Boulet: Pretty close, yeah. So, second.
Boulet: Very tough.
iRunFar: You started out the morning getting pumped up. Tell us about what the start was like.
Boulet: The start was like… being in the dark and at 5 a.m. and… I wish I spoke a little bit more French because the speech was so intense by the race director… the music, they had the music pumping… fog… I think I saw fireworks.
iRunFar: There were some flares going on.
Boulet: It was done right. I got all pumped to go.
iRunFar: Obviously you did the competitive road-racing scene. Was there ever anything like that the marathons?
Boulet: It’s always nice when some of the major marathons allowed the women to start ahead of everybody else and putting emphasis or a little bit of media on that, but nothing like this. This was incredible. It just got you really excited to get out the door.
iRunFar: Then your race went pretty well. Did you take it out hard like I know you were thinking about doing?
Boulet: No, I did not. I think I started in about fifth or sixth. Probably until we got some daylight I was a little careful running with the headlamp, not too careful. It was nice to have so many people around you with headlamps. I was able to feel a bit more comfortable. It wasn’t until probably the first aid station that I started to feel like I could open up on some of the sections, but that didn’t last very long.
iRunFar: Why was that?
Boulet: I took the opportunity to fuel on the parts that were not runnable and just really pay attention to my nutrition, but the downhills were just so technical that I lost a lot of ground on that. I went back and forth with second place after being able to catch her by aid station three—back and forth on that long section between aid station three and four.
iRunFar: Really long.
Boulet: Yeah, it was really long and very technical. I was looking forward to the uphills, believe it or not, but I was not prepared for the last 4k. That middle k after that last aid station—it was brutal.
iRunFar: When you first start that last descent…
Boulet: Yeah, I was in pain. It was just… I just couldn’t really have much control of my body. You’re just holding onto ropes running down. You needed ropes to hike up as well. I hit a tree with my head and almost gave myself a concussion.
iRunFar: Are you okay?
Boulet: I was looking down so much. This course had it all, and it was very challenging. I’ve never run anything this hard.
iRunFar: In training had you run anything that technical?
Boulet: No, we’re very spoiled in the Bay Area. We have very nice trails. You really have to make an effort to find something this brutal.
iRunFar: Do you like the variety that all this throws at you? Not just the running, but you had the different start. Does it feel like a whole new world of running? You’ve been running for a long time.
Boulet: Absolutely. This is why I got into it. It’s a different challenge but also excitement. It’s something I haven’t seen. It’s something I haven’t done. It’s what keeps you going. I’m 41 and there are still new things to explore and places to see. This area is incredible, and I probably would have never had the opportunity to come here on my own. Yeah, it’s such a treat.
iRunFar: You’ve now had some experience—three 50 milers, a couple 50k’s—and you develop product at Gu Energy. Has your own experience in moving up to ultra distances and being maybe in a new crowd changed how you look at things or even your own approach to races?
Boulet: My nutrition? Yes, I think that, more than anything, I look at that there are hundreds and thousands of other people besides the elite athlete that might have different needs and really just kind of exploring and looking at nutrition from a different angle. You line up with people that might still be at a 50-mile race, but it takes them a lot, lot longer than it takes the people up front. They might be looking for different things in combination with what Gu provides. So, being able to integrate what we make at Gu, but also it gives me some ideas to play with in the lab and come up with some new stuff.
iRunFar: We were talking a little bit before the race about even just having a variety of flavors, not just different shades of vanilla and chocolate, but just having out-there flavors.
Boulet: The longer you’re out there… some people will pull it off and they’ll just go 100 miles on the same flavor, but there are people out there that have flavor fatigue. They could swear by one flavor they use in training, but they get into race mode and they need a break. You have to have some options. You have to have options ready on race day.
iRunFar: Are you facing fatigue or can we see you out at The North Face 50 in a couple of weeks?
Boulet: Is it in a couple of weeks though?
iRunFar: Seven weeks, sorry! Sorry! It’s a month-and-a-half.
Boulet: Yes, I’m fully committed to that race. This is kind of the end of the season for me. This is what I’ve been training for. This race gives me an idea of what I need to work on. Just some of the downhills when you’re tired and you’re at mile 40, you’ve got to be able to still turn it over. This was good practice and it’s going to lead towards The North Face, definitely.
iRunFar: You were second there in your ultra debut last year. Are you gunning for…?
Boulet: I just would like to improve by one spot. It’s always an honor to be on the podium, definitely. I would like to feel more confident going into that race. I remember it still… I think of that mile 40 and being at the bottom of Muir Beach and having a two-mile climb. That kind of broke me mentally and physically. I just don’t want to do that this year. I want to feel like I can take on that hill. That’s my goal.
iRunFar: Congratulations on a great race here, and best of luck preparing for The North Face.
Boulet: Thank you. Au revoir!