Magdalena Boulet charged early in the 2014 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships, had a rough patch in the middle where she wondered if she’d started too fast, and finished in a strong win. In this interview, hear Magda describe those highs and lows, how she trains for ultramarathons like a marathoner, and what will inspire her future races.
For more information on how the race played out, check out our results article.
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Magdalena Boulet 2014 TNF EC 50 Mile Champion Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Magdalena Boulet after her win at the 2014 The North Face 50 Mile Championships. Congratulations!
Magdalena Boulet: Thank you. Thank you so much, Bryon.
iRunFar: This was your one-year anniversary of becoming an ultrarunner, right?
Boulet: That’s right. This is where it all started.
iRunFar: What a year!
Boulet: It’s been a busy year but so much fun. I feel like I’ve been to a few really special places and explored some nice trails.
iRunFar: And you come home for your first really big win.
Boulet: This was definitely my goal to prepare, to use the races throughout the year to really prepare me for this race at the end of the year.
iRunFar: Going through the year, you felt like that actually worked out pretty well?
Boulet: Yes, I did some races that were a little bit shorter than 50 miles which was awesome and some races that were 50 miles long. I’m trying not to lose the speed but also getting stronger at finishing a 50-mile race is important to me, too.
iRunFar: These days, are you actually hitting the track and doing tempo work on the trails or are you just doing your long runs faster?
Boulet: No, I still do what I did back in the days when I was training for a marathon; it’s just the ratio of speedwork changes a little bit. I still did 200s. I still do short hill repeats—those are my favorite—really, really hard but only 30 seconds long which is very similar to doing 200s but it’s more specific to what I’m racing right now. So, yes, it’s a mixed bag.
iRunFar: You’re out here running 50 miles on the weekend. Why not? You had a pretty dominant performance out there today.
Boulet: Not the whole time. Not the whole time. I think I started… I said I wasn’t going to go out, and I’m going to run within myself, but with the course changes three times yesterday, I got really excited that we got rid of the Muir Woods section because it’s all downhill and really windy and you can’t really open up. So with the two loops up front, that really played to my strength and I really liked that. I pushed it a little bit harder than I really wanted to. It caught up to me once we got out of Pan Toll. I think at Muir Beach I had about a five-minute lead on Megan Kimmel. It was about 20 seconds at Stinson Beach.
iRunFar: You knew that?
Boulet: I knew that.
iRunFar: You could hear the cheers?
Boulet: I could see her. I said, “Oh, boy. Maybe I made a mistake.” Then when we were running the first two loops there were a couple of local guys who said, “Hey, everyone running here is running around seven hours.” I said, “Well, that’s kind of what I want to do, maybe low sevens. I want to break 7:30. Do I not belong here?” It felt good.
Boulet: Yeah. I had some rough patches in the middle, but then I came back strong. I snapped out of it.
iRunFar: Honestly, seeing you race at Les Templiers, I kind of expected you to have that late surge. What was different between Templiers just a month and a half ago to North Face?
Boulet: I wasn’t really tapering for that race. I had a really easy week-and-a-half, but mainly that technical, the difference in how technical the trails are. This is not that technical. Mud made it difficult and scary at times because you have so little control and people are going both directions and you don’t know if you’re going to slam into them. In France, it was a completely different level of technical. I still have some learning to do to run a race like that again.
iRunFar: Do you think you have any races like that on your calendar for next year?
Boulet: I’m looking forward to races that I haven’t done. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to race. It has to be spectacular in terms of nature. That’s kind of my goal.
iRunFar: That’s what guides you right now?
Boulet: Yes. If it’s an epic view while I’m out running, then it’s my type of race.
iRunFar: So you want to pick some pretty places to run.
Boulet: Correct. Usually that means they’re pretty challenging because they’re steep and in the mountains.
iRunFar: You could probably pick races that might suit you a little better.
Boulet: Probably, yes, but I think that I’m looking for a good balance—a challenge, difficulty, but also a place I’ve never been to that I want to discover and say, “Yeah, I’ve run those trails.”
iRunFar: So you’re looking to find what those might be for next year still?
Boulet: Yes, still talking to people and saying, “What is that balance between a competitive race and also a pretty place where I want to go?”
iRunFar: So look for you in some new places next year in other words?
iRunFar: Congratulations on a great first year of ultrarunning. Looking forward to seeing you out there next year.
Boulet: Thank you. Absolutely, I’ll be back.