Joelle Vaught ran away from an amazingly talented field of women’s ultrarunners and bested Devon Crosby-Helms’ course record by more than half an hour at the 2012 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. She shares how her race played out, her ill-advised race nutrition plan, and what races she might be running this season.
Joelle Vaught 2012 Lake Sonoma 50 Interview
iRunFar: I’m with Joelle Vaught, the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile women’s champion. How are you doing?
Joelle Vaught: I’m doing good! Now especially, I’m doing really good!
iRF: Well, it looked like you were doing good all day. Every time I saw you, you were in the lead and smiling. How did your day go in terms of your run?
Vaught: My day went really good for the first 4.5 hours. That’s about how long I train for and I felt great that whole time. Between 5-6 hours, I suffered. I got real dizzy and had to actually stop and gather myself and so I kind of slowed down quite a bit. With about 5 miles to go there was a little out-and-back and I saw Tyler Stewart on the out-and-back, which meant she was really gaining on me. So then I ran really scared the last 5 miles not wanting her to catch me with 2 miles to go after leading all day. So I just ran as hard as I could and managed to stay ahead of her.
iRF: Managed to stay ahead of her and set a massive course record. What was your time today?
Vaught: It was 7:52.
iRF: So over a half hour or so?
Vaught: I think around a half hour or so, yeah.
iRF: Are you happy with that?
Vaught: I am happy with that. I didn’t come in here really expecting to win. I’d seen Tyler’s Way Too Cool 50k results and they were faster than I’ve ever hoped to run Way Too Cool. There were several other women here that I thought had a chance of winning, too. So I just came in and tried my hardest.
iRF: It wasn’t your normal spring as every year you’ve run and often won Way Too Cool. What was your thinking behind not running Way Too Cool, you ran Chuckanut 50k and you ran here…
Vaught: Yeah, my dad lived in Sacramento so we’ve made it a trip to run Way Too Cool. We’ve done it for 10 years probably. He recently moved to Florida so this year I was like, “Well, I’ll try something different.” I had talked to Krissy (Moehl) and she was like, “You should come to Chuckanut,” so I said “Well, I’ll try something different.” So I ran up there. I missed Way Too Cool because I love it, but it was fun to run something new, too.
iRF: What is up next for you?
Vaught: The next thing I’m signed up for is Pocatello 50 mile, which is a very awesome course. It’s alpine, gnarly, there should be a lot less snow this year, so I’m looking forward to that. I haven’t gotten anything planned for May, so I might be looking for something for that, but I’m not sure.
iRF: Any hundreds on your calendar for this year?
Vaught: I don’t necessarily have any on my calendar. I’m thinking maybe about the new Run Rabbit Run 100. Today, I qualified for Western States so I have to consider that now.
iRF: So that’s not a “no.”
Vaught: That’s not a “no.” I feel like, gosh, it’s a short time to get ready for a hundred because I’m certainly not ready right now. But I did have a bad time there last year and so I’d like to make up for that.
iRF: You could do that and then see if you want to run another one in September.
Vaught: Yeah, we’ll see. Luckily, I probably have a little time to decide. My husband will probably say, “What are you thinking?”
iRF: Sometimes you have to get that monkey off your back, right?
Vaught: Yeah. I hope I would. I have to learn how to eat though, I don’t know how to eat well (in ultras).
iRF: What did you eat today on the course? What is Joelle Vaught’s nutrition plan in a 50 miler?
Vaught: I eat a Clif Block every half hour. That’s my nutrition plan. And I did eat a couple chocolate chip cookies because I got really dizzy and I thought maybe I needed some sugar. So I grabbed some cookies and got chocolate all over my body and they tasted good. I’ve never really eaten cookies in a race, so…
iRF: Maybe we’ll talk some off camera about a nutrition plan. FOLKS DO NOT FOLLOW HER NUTRITIONAL PLAN!
Vaught: I need a nutritional plan. You know it works fine for a 50k. You don’t really need to eat much for a 50k. A 50 mile I can get by just fine. But in a 100 mile you can’t get by without getting some food and I’ve learned that.
iRF: Totally. So on the gear side, there was a lot of mud and a lot of water out there, what were you wearing on your feet -shoes socks – what was the combination that worked for you?
Vaught: My Drymax running socks I’ve worn for quite awhile now and they’re awesome. The Montrail Masochist is my favorite Montrail for sure.
iRF: The original [Mountain Masochist] or the 2?
Vaught: I guess it’s probably the 2 as it’s a different color this year. I just love those shoes. I never have any feet problems. My shoe did come untied once and it was triple-knotted, so I’m not sure how that happened. It worked perfect. I did a really muddy race in Idaho in January. I did Hagg Lake, which was probably the muddiest year ever in February. I did Chuckanut, which was really muddy and snowy. So the mud today wasn’t so bad… just a little mud here and there.
iRF: Compared to Idaho and Hagg it wasn’t so bad!
Vaught: Yeah, it would be interesting to do a race without mud.
iRF: Congratulations on the great run today. I have a feeling I’ll see you in Squaw Valley or Steamboat.
Vaught: I’ll be sad not to run with you in Squaw Valley, that was like the most fun I’ve had running ever, I think, in the snow last year.
iRF: That was a great time and a great memory.
Vaught: I need you, I need you out there!
iRF: Well, talk to the race directors, I’ll come run it with you if I can get in. You’ve heard it!
Vaught: Sounds good!