Traci Falbo, 48-Hour Indoor World Record And 48-hour American Record Holder, Interview

An interview with Traci Falbo following her 48-hour indoor world record and her 48-hour American record.

By on August 14, 2014 | Comments

Running one mile in just under 12 minutes—on a flat surface, in a temperature-controlled environment—might not seem like a remarkable feat. Running 10 miles, or 20 miles, or even 50 miles, at such a pace may seem unremarkable, too. What about maintaining that pace for a full 48 hours? If someone could do so, then that someone would run a few notches over 242 miles. It turns out that only two women have ever maintained that pace or faster for 48 hours—and only one woman has done so on an indoor surface. That is remarkable.

From 11 a.m. AKDT on Monday, August 4 until 11 a.m. AKDT on Wednesday, August 6, 42-year-old Traci Falbo ran 943 laps around an approximately 413.6-meter indoor oval at the Six Days in the Dome event in Anchorage, Alaska. In doing so, she logged 242.093 miles, or 389.611 kilometers, en route to setting the 48-hour indoor world record—the record for distance covered in 48 hours on an indoor surface—and also setting the 48-hour American record. In addition, the Iowa native and Indiana resident traveled the second-furthest distance of any woman—ever—on any surface during a 48-hour period.

We sat down with Traci to learn more about her background, her running history, her record setting performance at Six Days in the Dome, eating impromptu Pop-Tarts, understanding car metaphors, and her goals going forward.

iRunFar: Traci, your ultrarunning history is already pretty significant; you have quite a few ultras under your belt.

Traci Falbo: I just started doing ultras in 2011 and I got interested in them after doing back-to-back marathons and [so then] a 50 miler didn’t seem so bad—after doing a Saturday, Sunday marathon—and that led to a 100 miler and so on. That’s kind of where my wheelhouse is, I’m better at going longer.

iRunFar: And you are part of the Marathon Maniacs?

Falbo: I ended up running a marathon in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and I said, I hate long runs, they are awful. I’m never going to do a marathon again. Then I got sucked back in, in 2008, with the Goofy Series. A friend of mine said, ‘Oh come on, you can run for fun, you don’t have to take it so seriously.’ I think, you know, I tried to beat my PR every time and made running kind of not fun. So I got back into it in 2008. I discovered a group called the 50 Staters and got hooked up with them. There are several clubs out there—50 States [Marathon] Club, 50 States & D.C. [Marathon Group], 50sub4 Marathon [Runner’s Club], and then the Marathon Maniacs—and I’m a part of all those groups. I don’t really actively run around in any of the attire per se but I’m a member of all those clubs.

iRunFar: Ultimately, you got into the ultra scene in 2011, and you’ve run a lot of ultras since then!

Falbo: Yeah [laughs], I mean relatively. It’s been three years basically.

iRunFar: As you mentioned before: the longer you go, the more competitive you are, the better you are. You have run quite a few 100 milers, including the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning last summer.

Falbo: Yeah, that was miserable though. [laughs] I met Keith Straw, we ran a marathon in Kansas City in November [2012] and we were both looking into Western States [100] that winter and he said, ‘Oh, if you get into Western you have to slam, it’s so epic.’ So I said, ‘Okay, Keith, if we both get in then we’ll slam together!’ We both got in and I was like, Crap, I have to slam now. At that point I had done two 100 [milers] and both were relatively flat—I mean, I live in Indiana, at 500 feet [above sea level].

I had always wanted to do Western but I didn’t really have a good idea of what I had signed up for. I had done the [IAU] World 24-Hour [Championships] in May, and two weeks later came back and did the Western States training runs and never really recovered and so by the end of the Slam I was just hosed. It was rough. I’m not familiar with altitude and [the Slam races] were a lot more difficult—I’m not a major hiker, I don’t really have places to powerhike around here. So, the Slam was difficult. I learned a lot.

iRunFar: Just in terms of recovery and what you can do?

Falbo: Right. And I learned—I don’t mind climbing hills, I like running hills, relatively. I love them if they go down especially. But I learned that I’m not ever going to be a competitive hiker unless I move to the mountains. I mean in order to be competitive at Wasatch [100] and Western—not so much Western but certainly harder ones like Wasatch and Hardrock [100], things like that—you have to be a good powerhiker. I learned that I’m just a good runner, period. I can run a long time but I’m not necessarily a good hiker.

iRunFar: So in May, you ran the World 24-Hour Championships?

Falbo: Yeah, May 2013—the May before the Slam. I did that which was huge and taxing and I gave everything I had to that and then went right into the Slam. I think that was a big one-two punch that didn’t add to my success in the Slam.

Traci Falbo - 2013 IAU 24-Hour World Championships

Traci competing at the 2013 IAU 24-Hour World Championships. Photo courtesy of Traci Falbo.

iRunFar: Were the World Championships late in May?

Falbo: It was middle of May. But like I said, two weeks later I did those 70 miles of training runs and then I raced a marathon and then I raced something else. I’m used to being able to race—last year I learned a lot—marathons in quite frequent succession. Thinking that I might be able to do that with ultras was not very bright.

iRunFar: Experience teaches a lot.

Falbo: Absolutely. And you don’t know unless you try.

iRunFar: And how did you do last year at the World 24-Hour Championships?

Falbo: I was fourth in the world. I was third for the U.S. It was Sabrina [Little], Suzanna [Bon], and then I—we went two, three, and four.

iRunFar: [The U.S.] won the gold there.

Falbo: We did! We won the women’s [gold] and men’s [gold] last year, which was great.

iRunFar: That is great! Congratulations on that. And how much distance did you cover there?

Falbo: 142.73 [miles]. And that was my second 24 hour. So Six Days in the Dome was my third timed race.

iRunFar: Okay, taking a step back, where are you from originally?

Falbo: I was born and raised in Iowa and then went to Oregon for three years to finish my naster’s degree for physical therapy and then came to Indiana and have been here since.

iRunFar: Any running in your past?

Falbo: Yeah, but I sucked. [laughs] I looked back because my daughter is a senior in high school and she’s a really good cross-country runner. So I looked back at some of my times and in college I ran like 21:30. That was probably one of my best for the 5k, and I know we ran some hard courses but nothing spectacular. Then I took about 10 years off; I had kids and got fat, and got back into running in 2004 and had lost about 80 pounds and joined a running group. I had always wanted to do a marathon—it was on my bucket list—so I did a marathon in 2004.

iRunFar: You must have a lot of marathons under your belt. Do you know how many you have run?

Falbo: I think 94. I think 94 marathons and 20 ultras [or so], I’m not really sure.

iRunFar: Is there something about racing that gets you doing it so often?

Falbo: The marathons, per se?

iRunFar: Yeah, the marathons or ultramarathons. You race a lot, so you must really enjoy it.

Falbo: I do. I got into the marathons, and I kind of got obsessed about the 50 states. So, I was banging those out. 2012 was my craziest year: I think I had maybe 25 marathons and four ultras or something. And I had a blast. But I think I’ve kind of realized, I really enjoy the ultras but I can’t race them as frequently; although, I’ve done three 100 [milers] this year and a 50 [mile] and now the 48 [hour]. For me, I’m trying to get it down to not leaving the house more than a dozen times a year. It’s hard to find the right balance: I have a job, and kids, and a husband, and it was hard being gone so much. So I’m bringing it back. And sometimes I’ll use a marathon as a training run, I pace sometimes, and that’s fun.

iRunFar: Since you got started, have you done much by way of research, in terms of how to train for ultras?

Falbo: No, I really didn’t. A friend of mine who I had run with had always wanted to try 100 [miles]. He’s my main training partner, and he said, ‘Hey, do you want to try one?’ And I said, ‘Sure.’ So we pulled a training plan off of and I like their training plans! I still sort of go off of them; I’ve tweaked it here and there, but I’m not a huge high-mileage runner. We sort of went off of those plans. Coming into our first 100 we ran and self-crewed. My second 100, which was Umstead [100] in 2012, I ran and self-crewed and actually ended up winning that. But I didn’t have any idea until, I’d say, Umstead in 2012, that I might have some talent in the ultra world. I never really thought I was that great of a runner. I mean I was a decent marathoner, but certainly not going to qualify for the Olympics. And I was a decent ultrarunner but still there are plenty of women out there who I feel could spank me at many things. It’s a humbling sport and it’s so varied. Aside from like, Ian Sharman, who manages to be good at flats and mountains, typically people have strengths in one area or another.

Traci Falbo - 2014 Umstead 100

Traci during the 2014 Umstead 100. Photo courtesy of Traci Falbo.

iRunFar: Do you follow any other training plans now? You’ve tweaked the training plans you started with—is that done through experience, or do you have a coach?

Falbo: No, I don’t have a coach. I have the friend that I referred to that started the first 100 with me. He and another guy, who’s a runner friend, and an ultrarunner also, I just kind of run stuff by them at times. ‘Here’s what I’m thinking about for my mileage in between this training section, does that sound reasonable?’ And they’ll say, ‘Yeah that sounds good’ or ‘You need another down week.’ Sometimes I have a tendency to not take enough recovery but I’ve learned better to do that.

iRunFar: Is your husband a runner?

Falbo: He’s not. He runs a few miles, probably three days a week. I’ve managed to twist his arm into a few half marathons through the years. He did one marathon with me with no training when I was injured and thought I would have to walk the whole thing, so he kind of got sympathy roped into that one. But he’s a great crewer. He supports me highly and he is the best crew out there. I know lots of people would say, oh, my person is the best crew. But truly he is the best crew. He’s perfect in what he gives me and what he says, he’s stern when he needs to be—you know, when you feel all pouty and want to quit.

iRunFar: And your kids, do they think their mom is crazy?

Falbo: [laughs] Pretty much. I think ultimately they are proud of me. But they think it’s crazy: marathons were crazy, then 50 [milers], then 100 [milers], 24 [hours], and now 48 [hours]. They thought I had fallen off my rocker but ultimately I think they are proud.

iRunFar: Your job, do you work sort of a standard 40 hours a week?

Falbo: I’m a pediatric physical therapist. I do home health. So I see about 21 kids a week. That sometimes ranges up to 25 kids a week but typically I keep it to 20. Between driving and seeing patients, it’s probably close to 30 hours and then I have paperwork and what not so I’m probably pushing 35 [hours] by the time I get all that in. But it’s nice because it’s flexible. I generally try to work four days a week so I have the weekends open in case I have to go somewhere.

iRunFar: What town are you from in Indiana?

Falbo: Charlestown.

iRunFar: And you’ve been there how many years?

Falbo: Since 2007. It’s been about seven years.

iRunFar: Let’s move onto your Six Days in the Dome experience. What got you interested in the 48-hour timed race?

Falbo: In all honesty, like I said, in high school and college I wasn’t much of a runner. Then I got into marathons and had a little bit of success, and then got into ultras and had a little bit more success. Then I made the 24-hour [U.S.] team and that was an awesome experience. But I guess at some point, in all honesty, I wanted an American record at some point in my life. That would be the pinnacle of my running career—not to say I have a career in running. But of all the things I could do—I guess I’ve always had big dreams—I thought, Wow, that’d be awesome. And the further I go, the more competitive I seem to be. So I thought, Well, I might have a shot at 48 [hours]—I looked at the sheet [of American records] that said 235 [miles], and thought maybe I could do that. I told my husband and he said, ‘24 [hours] was hard enough on you.’ And I said, ‘I just want to try it once. Can you support me and let me try it once?’ And he said ‘Yep.’ And I said, ‘Will you crew me?’ And he said, ‘Yep.’ So, I thought I would give it a go. It went great!

iRunFar: You were aware of the previous record of 235 [miles]?

Traci Falbo - Six Days in the Dome 4

Traci earlier on during Six Days in the Dome. Photo: Mark Godale

Falbo: 234.8 [miles] was the American record and I think it was held by Sue Ellen [Trapp] at that point. The world record is 246 point something. I’m not sure what it was. After I signed up for the 48 [hour], Joe Fejes had said that he thought there was an indoor track world record, and it was 231 point something. Given that [the Dome] was an indoor surface… so, if I could set the American, then I could set the world indoor track at the same time. I had no idea when I signed up that that would be a possibility too, but it was sort of a two-for-one. I was amazed. I was thrilled. They worked hard to get a tester up there because Zach Bitter was maybe trying to set a record at the 12 [hour] and Connie Gardner was going to try to set an indoor track world record in the 24 [hour] and it came down to the 48 [hour] and, we had testers up there, no one had been able to use them yet unfortunately.

iRunFar: It sounds like after Worlds last year you started motivating yourself and thinking about the 48-hour race?

Falbo: I have lots of goals. I think it’s good to set goals and push yourself. So, I want to see at some point how fast I can run a 100 miler. I have thought about Desert Solstice, and [the Dome] came up and Joe mentioned it to me—I had met him from being on the 24-hour team last year. I debated about what to do: should I try 24 [hours]—like Zach came up and ran 12 [hours]—should I try to run 100 as fast as I can? I was looking at the lists and thought I might have a shot at 48 [hours]. You know, running 142 [miles] and then going almost 100 miles the next day, I couldn’t imagine, because I was so spent after 142 in the World Championships before. But I thought if I pace myself better I might have a shot and I wanted to give it a go. I started looking at it when Joe’s event came up because it seemed perfect in that climate-controlled environment. I’m not a big fan of the track—never have been—but I thought I would give it a go.

iRunFar: Leading up to the 48-hour event, did you do anything in training that you never did in the past for, say, 100 miles or 24 hours?

Falbo: I pushed my mileage up a little bit more, not a lot—I only have so much time to run. I talked to Joe, and he said even for six days, 48 hours, 72 hours, he doesn’t really increase all that much more—he doesn’t really go much more than 100 miles [per week]. I pushed my mileage up to…I think my highest week was 90, 92 [miles] somewhere in there. Generally for my 100 milers, I do 75 or 80 [miles], somewhere in there. I did do some parts of some longs runs on the track, six or eight miles, and the rest on the road but I didn’t do anything much different than increasing my mileage and doing some runs on the track.

iRunFar: Do you focus much on speed workouts or any particular focus in training?

Falbo: I do some speedwork but not a lot. A lot of my runs are at a decent pace. I don’t have a lot of pokey runs and I don’t have a lot of super-fast runs. They are all just kind of middle of the road: a push but not killing myself. I’ll have times of the year where I’m doing more speed than others but, in general, I don’t really like speedwork [laughs], so I don’t do a lot. I’ve been able to do long runs and have decent enough speed so it’s hard to make myself do speedwork when I don’t like it and I can get away with not doing it.

iRunFar: How did everything go on the day of the 48-hour race?

Photo: Six Days in the Dome

Traci running strong during Six Days in the Dome. Photo: JeffGenovaPhotography


Falbo: It was a little nerve-racking. I was proud of myself because I stayed calm. When I really have a goal that I want to accomplish I have a tendency to get anxious. So around 10 minutes to nine o’clock we were all ready to go and the RD came around and said they were having problems with the timing system, the race isn’t going to start until 10 o’clock. So if you take anything—you eat two hours before, some people take pre-race supplements—we had all taken everything that we wanted to so what do you do? We just lay around and were quiet and trying to be centered. Then about 10 minutes to 10 they said, ‘We’re still not ready. We’ll give you a 15-minute warning.’ Now we have this unknown start [time]. At first it was an hour and now it’s like, crap. So at 10:45 they said it would start at 11. So it was two hours. I’m easy with what I take; I live off of gels for the most part. But now it had been two hours, I ate my pre-race food two hours before that. I hadn’t had anything and hadn’t run so what do I do? So I ate a Pop-Tart. I had never eaten a Pop-Tart in an ultra but it sounded good so I ate a Pop-Tart. We started and it was nerve-racking at first but what else can you do?

We got going and I just tried to stick to my plan. Initially, I wanted to try to run 130 [miles] on the first day and 105 [miles] on the second day. I was on the 24-hour team and had an auto-qualifying spot from the Netherlands. We were supposed to run in the Czech Republic in June; it got cancelled. We were supposed to run in Taiwan in December; it got cancelled. So the next one is supposed to be in Turino in April but I don’t have a qualifying distance now. I don’t really want to run another 24 hours this year. So I decided to push and run 135 miles and reach the top qualifying mark, hoping that there aren’t six women that between now and probably mid-January next year could run that much, so I can be on the team again. So, I changed my plan a little bit and tried to get my qualifying spot and hoped I wasn’t screwing myself in the process. The day went fairly well as planned and I had some low spots the first day but got through those. I got through the first 24 hours and decided to take a break. I had never done this before. I took an hour and the guy that was crewing for Joe was a doctor and was going to work on Joe’s feet and Joe asked if he would work on mine because I had some blisters. I switched my  socks and shoes and tried to lie down for 30 minutes but couldn’t sleep much. Then went again, I honestly struggled a lot after I started back at noon, and between noon and 8:30, I ran for a couple hours and felt dizzy. My husband said lay down and I lay down for 10 minutes. I lay down and then ran for a couple hours and then felt dizzy and lay down again. My husband consulted Joe and Rich, Joe’s crewer, and my friend, and they all said, ‘Yeah have her lay down for a half hour.’

He started using some metaphor about how I was pushing a car and needed to fill it with gas and I’m thinking, I’m 30 hours into an ultra and you’re giving me some metaphor about pushing some car. What’s the point? He said, ‘We all think you need to take a half hour because you’re getting dizzy. We think it’s from not sleeping. Take a half hour and then you’re going to have to get up and run.’ I said, ‘Okay.’

I got up and felt absolutely horrible. My husband had to help me up, I felt like I couldn’t stand or walk or anything. It felt so crazy and I got all weepy and crappy, like you do in an ultra, and thought all hope was lost and wanted to throw in the towel. I told one of my friends doing the six day, ‘They screwed me. They shouldn’t have made me lay down for half an hour, now I’m worried about my time, I don’t know if I have enough time to get it done.’ She said, ‘We all have lows in ultras.’ She told me exactly what I needed to hear—you’re fine, let’s just start walking, then start shuffling, then start jogging. Fifteen minutes after that, I ran the rest of the time, basically about five miles an hour, from 8:45 that night until 11 the next morning. Something clicked and I started having a good day.

I was really worried because I only had 48 miles in maybe—after the 135 [miles] at the halfway point, then I had only 48 miles in the first half of the second day. So I was going to have to negative split the second day at the end of 48 hours and I was really nervous about that but, for whatever reason, my body came alive—I don’t know how to say it—and felt good and I just ran and felt fine and happy for the most part and didn’t really have any trouble after that. It was bizarre.

iRunFar: So you hit 135 miles right at 24 hours?

Falbo: Yeah, pretty much right at the 24-hour mark.

iRunFar: Did you do much fueling, take in a bunch of calories, before or after you lay down to nap halfway through the second day?

Falbo: The whole time I tried to take in 200 calories every hour. I took a gel every half hour; I lived on gels for the most part. I told my husband—sometimes what I don’t get enough of is salt—so I told him to get sodium in me so he’d give me chips or chicken-noodle soup on occasion. After the nap I took an hour off. I don’t remember what all I took in. I know I took something in because I was hungry. I started adding some protein in later. I took in some turkey and peanut butter and they had some eggs in the morning. I honestly don’t know what turned it around. All of a sudden I felt good.

iRunFar: Was it almost as if you had just woken up from a good night of sleep and you were on a morning run?

Falbo: You know it almost was. It didn’t start out like that. I was laying on an air mattress on the ground. My husband literally had to fully pick me up. My legs didn’t have anything to help. Then I felt like I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t walk. But like a baby bird I had to get out of the nest, I started walking, just two laps of walking, a shuffling lap, then boom, I was gone, just cruising. I was thrilled.

I was doing math, like eight or nine hours out, thinking if I could keep that lap pace up I would have an hour and 25-minute buffer to get to that 235 [miles]. I lost about 10 minutes in bathroom stops but it was pretty close, I managed to keep the same lap splits.

iRunFar: Were you running the whole time or did you take walk breaks?

Photo: JeffGenovaPhotography

Photo: JeffGenovaPhotography

Falbo: I pretty much ran the whole time. I haven’t actually seen the splits, but I would check the lap splits every time we went around the board. I would come around pretty much 2:50, 2:55 every time, so just sub-12 minute miles, which isn’t anything astonishing or exciting but it was just tremendously consistent from then on.

iRunFar: So 135 miles for the first 24 hours, then 107 for the second 24—though most of those miles on the second day were during the second half.

Falbo: Yeah, really from 9 p.m. to 11 a.m., about 14 hours. I think I had gotten through the first half of the second day with 48 miles, so I did almost 60 miles on the second 12 hours, which seems stupid. That doesn’t seem right, you should continue to slow down.

iRunFar: And, at the very end, all of a sudden, you started to drop some two-minute, 2:05 laps?

Falbo: Like I said, nine hours before the end I started to do the math, and I would look at the clock and say, Okay run another hour until nine o’clock, and I just made myself mentally get from hour-to-hour. Timed races I think are sucky because you can take a break and take a nap and stop. You know a 100 miler you run until you get to the end. With this, there is so much…like the sirens are drawing you to be lazy and make you not want to work as hard. So you have to try to find a way to keep yourself going. For me, breaking it up every hour was good. Basically, when I got to 235 [miles], I wanted to walk the rest of the way. I mean that was my ultimate goal and I have never hit my highest-tier goal ever. But they said, ‘You can’t stop at 235! The second-best ever in the world would be 240. There are lots of chicks at 239. You don’t want to walk when you get to 235. You want to run until you get to 240.’ So I’m like, Okay. They said, ‘You just have to keep the same pace going, five miles an hour and you’ll be fine.’ As I’m hitting the world indoor track record, they were all gathered around and they had a cowbell. Then I come around a couple kilometers later and hit the American record and they yelled.

Then they said, ‘Okay you have to hit 240.’ So I get to 240 [miles]—somewhere in there I knew I had it, so I wanted to get to it sooner so that I could walk, because somewhere in my head I had it that I was just going to slow down. I took off at a pace that you really shouldn’t do. I ran about two laps and thought, I don’t know what I’m doing—I can’t hold this for 45 minutes. I did slow down a little bit and got to 240 with about 25 minutes to go and I said, ‘Can I walk when I get to 240?’ They said, ‘We’ll talk about it’ and I knew it meant no. My husband said, ‘You’re going to do this, you’re having a great day, do the best you can.’ But sometimes you need that mental push and everyone said, ‘Go, go, go!’

Basically they said, ‘Traci has lane one. Everyone get out of lane one and let her through.’ I was apologizing to people, ‘I’m sorry to make you get out of the lane—you’re fine if you want to be here!’ They said, ‘No, that’s fine you’re having a great day, finish it out!’ I wouldn’t ever think I could pick it up at the end of a 48. But honestly part of the last mile my body was so fatigued that I started listing to the right and I started listing forward. So I was going forward and to the right and I felt like I was falling the last mile and my legs were going faster I think because they were trying to keep up with my body so I didn’t fall down. At some point, a friend of mine said—I haven’t looked at the splits—I pulled like a sub-two minute lap. Not that that is any big thing but I was out of control, falling around the track. They said, One more lap, 390k, and you still have four minutes left!’

Traci Falbo listing near the end of her effort. Photo: JeffGenovaPhotography

Traci listing near the end of her record 48-hour effort. Photo: JeffGenovaPhotography

I literally thought I was going to fall. The lap before my last one, I almost fell over the inside white line. And they had said that if you touch that inside white line one time then your record doesn’t count, it’s disqualified. I knew I had time to go another lap but I was so freaked out about falling and ruining the record I had worked so hard to get, I wasn’t about to go anymore. They were pushing me, that was great, but at some point I just finally lost it. I broke down and my husband said, ‘She’s done,’ and they backed off. I think I physically probably could have made it around but I don’t know if I could have made it around and not fallen over.

iRunFar: Were there tears at that point? Where you happy? Sad? Overwhelmed?

Falbo: I think at that point… the thing is I’m a workhorse, if someone wants me to work, I’ll work. I felt awful that I couldn’t go one more mile. I started boohooing because I felt bad and they weren’t listening to me. Initially it was tears of feeling bad that I couldn’t go one more lap, which was ridiculous, I had just set two records and I should be happy. Then they whisked me off to some pole-vaulting mat and I sat up and they got some covers on me and I got my Recoverite and it was joyous.

When I ran around and they celebrated the world track record and then the American record, I would start to tear up and cry but I thought, You’re running, you can’t cry; if you cry you can’t breathe. Shut it down! Then I came around a couple k[ilometers] more and I’m doing the same thing—this is absolutely a dream come true. To set an American record, that is so freaking cool. I’m still choked up and tearing about it now and I did it when I was running, but I was like, You can’t, this isn’t the time, so stuff it back in.

iRunFar: I have no doubt that you’ve thought about how close you were to the world record of 246 miles. Are you motivated to go for it again?

Falbo: No, not at this time. I told my husband this was a one-time thing. I had a great day but I’m thrilled with a world and American record. I don’t feel like I have to go chomping off the block for the ultimate world record.

iRunFar: What are some of your goals in the future?

Falbo: I still would like to break three hours in the marathon. I’ve run 3:01. I have a goal to run sub-four hours in all 50 states—there’s a club for that. I’m lacking one state, Vermont, because that was a 100 miler and I couldn’t quite get that under four hours. [laughs] I’m going back to Vermont in October. The other goal I have is to run a sub-15 hour 100 miler. I think it’s possible. I ran 15:35 in the Keys [100]. It was a better-weather year but it was still in the 80s and it was still hot and humid. So I think if I could get some good weather that would be totally doable for me.

iRunFar: And are those goals you hope to achieve this year?

Falbo: I’ll get the sub-four goal in this year and I’ll honestly likely try for the sub-15 goal this year. We’ll see how that goes. I don’t know about the sub-three marathon. I think that will probably hold until spring maybe. I have to do a half marathon—I shouldn’t say have to—I’m planning on doing a half marathon in February with my daughter at Disney just for fun. But she’s getting faster and she beat me at a 10k recently, so I feel like I need to tune it up so I at least have the half-marathon distance—I might be threatened there. Then I might have a good shot at a sub-three.

iRunFar: You don’t sound competitive at all!

Falbo: [laughs] Yeah, no, I’m not at all.

iRunFar: I hope you have success with those three goals coming up.

Falbo: Thank you. I want to say I think [Six Days in the Dome] was well set up. I have to give credit to Joe Fejes. He looked for an event where records could be broken. And of course he broke the American record for the six day. It was a phenomenal set-up, well run, the people in Alaska came out and supported it. The timers were great. The photographers were cheering us on, all the time. I have nothing but great things to say about the event itself.

Eric Senseman
Eric Senseman runs far to explore what’s possible and in pursuit of the good life. It will likely keep him running forever. Find out more about him at Good Sense Running.