Camelia Mayfield continued her rise up ultrarunning’s ranks with her third-place finish at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. In our first interview with Camelia, she talks about her history with running, how she’s been around ultrarunning her entire life, and what’s in store for her next.
For more on how the race played out, read our 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile results article.
Camelia Mayfield Post-2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Camelia Mayfield after her third-place finish at the 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. How are you doing?
Camelia Mayfield: I’m good. I’m no longer hot, so that’s a good benefit.
iRunFar: You’re wearing a jacket—a beautiful one at that. How about that for a finisher’s jacket? That’s pretty awesome.
Mayfield: Yeah, it’s a huge benefit.
iRunFar: It was a nice, cool morning, but it didn’t stay that way. When did it start getting really hot for you?
Mayfield: Correct. I’d say probably around the halfway point. That’s when it started heating up quite a bit.
iRunFar: You came down from Oregon?
Mayfield: Yeah, actually I’m from Central Oregon, so Thursday there was snow flurries in town, so going from that to 75 degree and sunny day is pretty hard.
iRunFar: April races are like that, especially 50 miles. This wouldn’t be hot in the summer, but you’re not ready for it yet, huh?
Mayfield: Yeah, it felt like 90 instead of 75.
iRunFar: But you had a very consistent race, yeah?
Mayfield: As consistent as ultras can be. My goal was to go out pretty conservative in the first half. A few weeks ago I kind of bombed at Chuckanut 50kand went out way too fast and kind of settled and finished in eighth. This race, I just wanted to be talkative the first half and find some people to run with.
iRunFar: Did you manage that?
Mayfield: I did. I met some awesome people out there. Then, the last half it got a little lonely once you run out of all those people who are still going out and are encouraging you. From mile 30 on, it got pretty quiet. Those were the hardest parts.
iRunFar: Yeah, what was most… it was hot. Did your legs hold up? Did your nutrition hold up out there?
Mayfield: I’d say so. There are always difficulties when you have heat in the equation. I definitely had more… my stomach was definitely filled up with just liquids. I’d normally take more gels and that type of thing. But overall, there’s only so much “holding up” your legs can do when it’s just up and down the entire day.
iRunFar: At some point Tropical John changed the tagline to this race to “relentless.” Did it feel like that out there?
Mayfield: Yeah, going out more conservative definitely helped with that. There’s… by the end, those hills, you definitely cursing them at points.
iRunFar: Does it feel like your best ultra performance to date?
Mayfield: That’s a hard one.
iRunFar: What would rank up there with this?
Mayfield: Definitely Waldo 100kin August which I won. It’s a little less competitive, but that overall was maybe a more positive day.
iRunFar: You felt good?
Mayfield: Yeah, I felt really good in that whole one, and that’s 13 miles longer. But just knowing that I was out here with some really legit competition and I was able to pull off a third place, that’s a huge honor.
iRunFar: That’s got to build some confidence going to other races. You can win a Waldo alone, but to be here and race some really spectacular women…
Mayfield: Yeah, it was great. I forget who got second place…
iRunFar: Taylor [Nowlin}.
Mayfield: I just heard the entire time, “She’s one minute ahead of you!” It’s hard with all the twists and turns, you don’t see that as easily as some other races. I definitely knew that she was hearing that as well and probably pushing it. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch her, but she ran an amazing race.
iRunFar: But you made a race of it. How did you get into ultrarunning? Were you a runner before that or an athlete?
Mayfield: Yeah, I’ve been running since middle school cross country, and definitely in college I got more serious about running 10ks on the track. I had a really amazing coach who encouraged me to do trail races on the off season.
iRunFar: Really? That’s a rare coach!
Mayfield: We had a little bit of a trade. If I’d redshirt and go to school an extra year, I could do some trail races when I was redshirting. I do come from a family of long distance runners. My dad has been doing ultramarathons since before I was born. He actually was running Western Stateswhile my mom was in labor with me.
iRunFar: And your mom still doesn’t forgive him for it?
Mayfield: Yes, definitely not. She sees how much I love running and the gift that that’s given me, so maybe a little bit?
iRunFar: So finding ultras eventually was a pretty normal thing for you?
Mayfield: I’d say so, but even when you have that family history when you’re out there on the trail, you still question why we do it.
iRunFar: You mentioned you did track 10ks, to me, the concept of that is so much more difficult than being out on a beautiful 50-mile jog around Lake Sonoma—mentally taxing running every lap, every lap for 25 laps.
Mayfield: Yeah, a little bit. It’s definitely interesting. I went to Portland State University, and we’d always come down to the Stanford Invite, and now it’s interesting because I’m coming down to the Central California area to run a highly competitive trail race instead of the Standoff Invite which took place two weeks ago.
iRunFar: You almost had a couple of Stanford female alums at this race.
iRunFar: What do you see yourself doing the rest of the year? Is there anything else on your calendar?
Mayfield: Well, I guess there’s talk that maybe Keely [Henninger]won’t accept her Golden Ticket?
iRunFar: It’s fairly certain she won’t because she’s going toLavaredo.
Mayfield: I’m not getting my hopes up.
iRunFar: Let’s just hypothesize… if Keely decided not to run…
Mayfield: Absolutely, I’m at Western.
iRunFar: Have you done a 100 before?
iRunFar: Awwww, it’s such a cool race to do your first 100!
Mayfield: Yeah, it would quite honestly be, to get to the finish line…
iRunFar: You’ve been a competitive runner for very long, do you think you could make that switch to make that a number one goal or a major goal just to finish as opposed to racing…?
Mayfield: There will be a goal in there, it’s just to be determined at this point, and I’m certain talking to my coach and talking to my crew, that will also kind of determine how it goes.
iRunFar: Yeah, so you’ll set reasonable goals that are in addition to the finish.
Mayfield: Yes, definitely eyes on the buckle, so that’s the number one goal. After that, I’m engaged and getting married in August. That’s a pretty big life milestone that I should probably focus on.
iRunFar: Congratulations. You may have some things to do other than some maintenance running.
Mayfield: I also got accepted into a Masters of Social Work program that starts in July.
iRunFar: That would be a good summer—your first 100, Western, in June, starting grad school in July, and getting married in August, September is going to be a hard month to top that. You’ve have to find something.
Mayfield: Yeah, just continuing to survive. I think that you talk to a lot of ultrarunners, and I’d say a lot of them tend to overextend themselves in the same way.
iRunFar: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Congratulations on a great race today. I look forward to seeing you at some race in the future.
Mayfield: Thank you. Thanks.