On Treadmills and Trails: Meet RunEMZ

We are so excited to bring such a diverse group of runners to Golden through our scholarship program and the next winner we want to introduce you to is Emily, or RunEMZ as you may already know her.

RunEMZ is a legitimate running superstar, not in the least because of the milage she logs on a treadmill.  Here's our quick discussion with her about her motivation, running and training for the Golden Ultra.

Tell us a bit about how you got into running…

An ankle injury cut my volleyball career short at a time when I was soaring. It was a devastating injury that left me without a physical passion. I had run a little but mostly only as a part of training for volleyball.  After the injury, I began running, mostly to just stay fit however, I found that each day I craved it more and more. 

I ran my first marathon in 1999 [unknowingly pregnant] where I finished with a time of 4:16. Although I continued to run over the next nine and a half years, I did not run another marathon until December of 2009, finishing in 3:36. This time qualified me for the Boston Marathon, which I ran April 18, 2011.  Once I had completed that second marathon, I knew this running thing was for me! 

How did you enter the ultra marathon world?

I had a friend at my husband's work say, "Okay so we know you can do marathons but why don't you try running a 50 miler?" I couldn't say no. I completed my first ultra in October of 2011. From there the desire to see just how far I could go kept growing. 

We’ve heard you really enjoy challenging yourself with treadmill running?  How did that begin and how often do you run on the treadmill compared to outside?  What drives you challenge yourself in this way?

I began treadmill running in August 2009.  Originally, I began it because my doctor had advised that that would be easier on my joints. I found that it did not annoy, bother or bore me the way it seemed to do so for others. In fact, it was quite the opposite I absolutely loved it. I do 99.9% of my training on my treadmill. For example this past month I ran 330 miles and only 27 of them were outside. Those 27 miles were due to a race-outside. ;) I just love the treadmill. It is just what works for me. 

Do you think treadmill running provides you with an advantage or a disadvantage going into The Golden Ultra?

I'm sure my treadmill running will be an advantage and a disadvantage. I find a huge advantage and the fact that when I get outside time just seems to fly by and I am so focused on the beauty around me that I typically don't see just looking out my sliding door at home. I make sure that my training includes a lot of hill workouts, so I don't think I will be at too much of a disadvantage in this regard. I have completed two trail 100 milers and felt pretty dang good throughout them. 

Tell us about your local running scene.  Where do you most enjoy training, and what will you be taking advantage of to train for the Golden Ultra?

My local running scene is full of a bunch of incredible runners. However, due to my treadmill training I usually only hang out with these individuals before, during and after races. 

Which aspect of our 3 day race scares you the most?  What are you most excited for?  Do you foresee any big challenges going into this unique race format?

I think the tears portion of the race is what scares me the most. I mean the word kind of scares me just reading it. I think when you combine the two days before is probably exactly what will happen out there. But I'm super excited about it. The big challenge with this race will be to do the proper recovery each night leading into the next day’s race. Rest, refueling and recovery will be key. 

You can follow Emily during her training for the Golden Ultra and her other events this year on social media at:

Twitter: @RunEMZ
Instagram: @RunEMZ

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Mueller Pacing for Top Spot in Women's Field

Mueller winning the 2014 Grizzly UltraMarathon

Mueller winning the 2014 Grizzly UltraMarathon

Nadine Mueller is no stranger to epic races, the Golden Ultra might even be tame for her.  As the reigning champion and course record holder of of the Grizzly Ultramarathon in Canmore and silver medallist at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Running Championships, Nadine is clearly a great runner.  That's not all she is, though.  She's also four-time solo champion of 24 Hours of Adrenalin and age group world champion in Xterra triathlon.

We caught up with Nadine between her training sessions to see how her training is coming along for the 2015 Golden Ultra.

Where do you live and train?

I spent the past few years living in Canmore but have recently moved to Victoria, BC.  It's been great so far and I love all the running and biking trails.  The west coast cities are great for their mountains and trails so close to the urban center.

What are your goals for 2015?

I've had a pretty big life change this past year, so just being able to train during this huge lifestyle adjustment is a bonus. Due to my circumstances, I've had to adjust my goals for this year. I have two main goals: the first is to podium at the Singletrack 6 (6-day mountain bike stage race) on a 2-women competitive team and the second to is to keep up with the elite runners and 'successfully' complete my first ultra-running stage race at the Golden Ultra in September.

Nadine with her bike.

Nadine with her bike.

What are some of your career highlights?

I had a successful year last summer in which I finished 3rd in my category in the ITU World Cross Triathlon Championships in Zittau, Germany, finished 1st for the 4th consecutive year at the 24 Hr Adrenalin Solo Mountain Bike Race in Canmore, AB, finished 1st in my age category at the XTERRA Triathlon World Championships in Maui, HI, and finished the racing season, winning and breaking the female course record at the Grizzly Ultra 50km Trail Run. 

What are you looking forward to at the Golden Ultra?

I'm looking forward to running alongside and learning from the elite ultra-runners during my transition into ultra distance running. I'm excited to enter my first ultra running stage race, albeit an inaugural ultra stage race, and being among other like-minded runners during 3 days of pure suffering bliss where friendships will be made and stories exchanged!

What motivates you?

I'm still searching for that answer myself...LOL! People ask me where I get my determination and discipline but I think it's just me wanting to push myself and see how far I can go. You usually can always go further than you think..."Just one more..." seems to be my saying as well as "It's not pain, just manageable discomfort!"  I'm always up for new challenges!

We're looking forward to having you in Golden in September, Nadine!  

The Golden Ultra is a 3-day trail running stage race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Broken Back? No Problem!

One of the amazing things about the ultra running community is that every runner has their own story of why they run and how they began. Our next scholarship recipient we want to introduce has an incredible story of injury, recovery and success. We look so forward to seeing Chantal Warriner in Golden this September and dare you to read her story and not be inspired.

How did your running journey begin? How did you get into ultra running?

My father says I started running as a small child.  We lived in a small town in Northern Ontario, and one day, when I couldn’t be found around the house, he drove down the streets to look for me.  When he pulled up beside me, asking me what I was doing, I answered “running”.    

I can’t remember my life without running.  Even when running wasn’t the focus, such as when I played high school sports, I always ran to keep in shape.  Prior to having children, I competed in triathlon.  After my oldest was born, almost 6 years ago, I started competing in local trail races.  I got hooked and the race distance just kept growing.  I’m now training for the Golden Ultra and my first 100 miler.

10 years ago you were critically injured in a trampoline accident, which do you think is harder - recovering and rehabbing from a serious back injury or training for and running ultra marathons?

I can’t believe the accident was already 10 years ago!  I learnt so much about myself after the accident.  There are so many similarities between the ‘recovery’ and ultra marathons.  The biggest, in my opinion, is focusing on ‘relentless forward progress’.  No matter how slow, or how much pain I’m experiencing, it’s important to just keep pushing through.   

I believed in my ability and my inner strength.  Don’t get me wrong, I had many tears, many pains, and many days were the end goal seemed so far away, but with small, sure steps, I did it. I have that same mentality when I an ultra distance.  I treat every race or training session in the same matter.  I accept the fact that I will be running a long time, and know that at one moment or another, my legs will want me to stop.  But like my injury, I believe in myself and push through, accept the pain as a reality and know I could get through it.  I use a lot of positive self-talk! 

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your injury/recovery experiences and how have those helped you with your running?

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that there will be pain.  Life is full of it.  There is good pain and bad pain.  My body knows the difference and I have learnt to listen well.  Oh and I can’t forget to mention my secret to my success: I’m consistent.  I don’t miss workouts!  No matter how busy life gets, I make time to train. I can get pretty creative!  This consistency helped me recover from my injury, and it’s helped me win races.

I also learnt that success is a team effort.  I couldn’t recover without the help, love and support from my family, friends and doctors/therapists. I have the same approach with running.  The never ending support from friends and family inspires me.  They are always behind me, no matter what my next goal is.  My coach, Mike Coughlin @ Discomfort Zone and I have been working together for a long time.  I see physio and chiro regularly.  And I have the greatest pleasure to represent some pretty cool companies: Runningskirts, Ultimate Direction, Brooks, and Icespike.    

Tell us about your local running scene? How will you be preparing for Golden?

I live in Barrie, Ontario.  Barrie itself isn’t a very large city but I’m within driving distance to some very cool running spots.  Simcoe County forest and Copeland Forest hold a dear spot in my heart.  They are the closest to me so I spend many hours training on those trails.  When time allows, I drive to Collingwood, Algonquin Park or Hockley Valley to get hill training.  I love technical, single track with lots of climbing. I’ll be preparing for Golden by running as much as I can on that type of terrain. 

What are you most excited about at Golden? Do you foresee any challenges in this unique race format? 

I’m very excited to give stage racing a try.  Stage racing has been on my bucket list for a while.  I love visiting British Columbia and look forward to the beautiful climbs and sceneries during the race.  I have never been to Kicking Horse before.  I look forward to seeing where my coffee comes from! 

The challenges I foresee is muscle soreness. For example, I can’t imagine waking up Sunday morning feeling fresh.  Hydration, caloric intake, foam rolling, ice baths will all be carefully executed over the weekend. 

Do you have any advice for runners who have big dreams but are facing physical issues or challenges?

My biggest advice would be to surround yourself with a good support system. You don’t need any negativity.  It will just bring you down and hold you back.  Our bodies can do some pretty amazing things.  There are stories and stories of people overcoming challenges.  Don’t give up on yourself! Believe you can do it and you will overcome the challenge.