Erica and I met during a Newbies Run last spring. As the pack of runners settled into a rhythm, we found we had a similar pace and also realized we had similar goals. Erica had run the Tahoe 100K the previous September and qualified for Castle Peak 100K in August. I had just signed up for the Tahoe 100K, a big step up for me from the handful of 50Ks I had done…so I started picking her brain for tips on the course and any advice on running longer distances. I found Erica to be laid-back with a great sense of humor, which have proved to help her be especially resilient dealing with a series of injuries over the past year.
Unfortunately, Erica got injured before CP 100K in 2019 so couldn’t run…but that did not stop her from volunteering at the Crow’s Nest aid station in the DARK, taking care of runners in some of their most exhausted moments, and sharing her infectious positivity. In her daily life, Erica serves the Town of Truckee as the program director for recycling and organizes events like Truckee Day…bringing the community together in service and, in non-COVID years, for an awesome block party! I am super thankful to have her as a running buddy and part of our greater community.
- Where are you from? What brought you to Truckee?
I grew up in the Bay Area, then lived in Sacramento for many years. I followed my husband here after he got a job in the basin, and was lucky enough to find a job in the area too. Like most Bay Area transplants, I guess you could say we were drawn by the winters, but stayed for the summers.
- When did you begin running? Why?
I always viewed running as a punishment as training for other sports. I grew up playing soccer and eventually played lacrosse in college, when morning track runs were truly used as punishment! Eventually I started running occasional half marathons as a means to stay in shape, but didn’t really consider myself a runner until I moved to Truckee and discovered trail running. I love that every run on trail feels like an adventure.
- Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I would loosely say that I race. 🙂 Racing helps motivate me to stick to training and actually stay in shape. I also love the challenge of setting a goal that may feel like a bit of a stretch (or even a lot of a stretch), then accomplishing the end goal. This year, like most people, all the races I registered for are cancelled. Luckily for me, I am still rebounding from a niggling ski injury, so right now I’m just trying to enjoy some awesome mountain adventures and soak in the sunshine.
- Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
I still have my eyes on Castle Peak 100K, which I was gearing up for last summer before a different knee injury got me. (I’m sorry, left knee!)
- Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
Fav snacks: Peanut butter-filled pretzels, choco chips & rice balls with anything-seasoning!
- What was your favorite running experience this past year?
One of my favorite runs last year was with you, Meggie! It was sometime early summer when you, Chris, Jack Macy & I did Castle to Basin Peak. It was just one of those quintessential runs in the sierra with mules ears popping and wildflowers blooming. Gorgeous.
- What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
Quarantine? Just kidding. I’d say the most difficult thing was my first knee injury last summer. Leading up to CP100K, I got talked into signing up for Speedgoat with a friend as a “training run.” See above reference of “stretch” goals. I ended up taking a fluke fall only a couple miles into the race & scored 13 stitches on a gashed knee. Initially I was gutted that I was unable to do the race I had most been looking forward to (Castle Peak!), but I managed to rehab and get back to running by the fall. I think most people can relate with injuries, that at the time, coming back from injury to running can seem insurmountable. (This is slightly how I feel now, after not running for the last four months.) It can be easy to compare where you’re at currently with where you were at before…running slower than before, or not running at all. Talking about this now is a good reminder to myself of what resilient creatures we are. Those first two weeks of feel-like-sh*t-runs are the worst, then it gets better after that. (If anyone is looking to run very slowly & very short right now, holler!)
- What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I’m hoping to hike or run every segment of the TRT this year. 🙂 Optimistic…
- What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I work for the Town of Truckee and manage the recycling programs. I’m fortunate to be pretty flexible with my schedule. I’m hoping to rebound from this knee quickly so I can properly take advantage of some midday WFH runs before we’re back in the office full time!
- What led you to join the DPMR?
I was looking for some running partners and a friend told me about one of the group runs. At that time I didn’t consider myself a runner, but was in awe/inspired/delighted to have met so many badass runners.
- What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
My first DPMR pub run, the year it was Alibi to Alibi. I was fresh off of running my first (and only) road marathon, and thought why not check out the casual 50k pub run?! Shout out to Kelly Barber who ended up leisurely pacing me and a coworker on the back half of that run. We would have been lost on Sawtooth without you. That pub run was a blast & my first taste at ultras, which inspired me to really run a 50k later that fall.
- Favorite local trail?
Probably the TRT from Rose Knob to Brockway summit for the endless lake views. Favorite workday trails are trusty Waddle loops.
- Do you have a mental training technique, mantra, or similar that you rely on to combat the mentally trying times of a longer run?
My favorite mantra while running is: you are exactly where you need to be right now. I have returned to this mantra so many times both in running and in life. During times that are feeling particularly tough, I often just count in my head to as high a number as possible. I’m told this is a form of mediation, but it seems to help me focus on something other than how my body is feeling. (This also helps in those drawn-out moments in the skin track.)
- Recovery technique(s) that you swear by?
Rolling & dips in the river/lake!
- Do you have a favorite piece of running gear (sports bra, shoe, layer, sock, etc.)?
These Patagucci shorts have become my favorite for the zillions of side pockets and back zipper pocket. For my lady runners, these Senita sports bras are my fave. Support ya girls without breaking the bank.
- What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
Skiing! And like everyone and their mother right now…I’m trying to get my first mountain bike!
- Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
The scar from my Speedgoat fall makes a smiley face when I look at it. Basically I have a Bob Ross “happy little accident” on my knee. 🙂