It’s always a great day when you run into Nattu (and his wife Karen) out on the trails. I can’t even remember when I first met Nattu as it just seems that he is always out there– far and wide– running, racing and crewing. Gracious and humble to a fault, his resume of races reads like any ultra-runner’s dream list. Read on to learn more about Nattu, his amazing shared recipe, a love of napping and (spoiler alert) a “first” at Badwater.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Originally from India but live in Auburn, CA currently.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
Started running in the early 2000’s but was doing some hiking before then. Around 2003 is when I started doing long distance trail running.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I used to do a lot of “races”. Doing multiple races during the course of the year keeps me honest and motivates me to maintain a good training schedule.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
Hardrock 100 but I lost all my tickets as I don’t have a qualifier for the 2022 lottery.
What was the best running advice you’ve received?
Take in the scenery and have fun. It will always get better.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
No favorite on-trail food but I use mostly gels supplemented with some solid food at aid stations. Burgers (Lamb burger from Burger me!), fries and root beer is my go to post run meal and beverage.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
I am from South India and most Indian restaurants around here don’t have this. It is called Aviyal (https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/avial-recipe-kerala-avial-recipe/). Has lots of vegetables, coconut, yogurt and turmeric among other condiments.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
Exploring trails in Arizona while spending a month there (to escape from the smoke here) training for Mogollon Monster.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
Getting stuck in a pouring rain storm in altitude going down a very steep trail and losing the trail. No cell coverage and my wife was stuck at the bottom without car keys. What was meant to be a 4-5 hour run turned in to a 10 hour ordeal but thanks to a couple of good Samaritans I was able to hitch a ride back to the car.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I want to finish a 100 miler as I have not finished one since 2018. I want to feel the satisfaction of finishing a 100 miler once again. So I am signed up to do Across the Years 48 hour run and Cruel Jewel 100.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I work in the Financial services industry as a market data specialist and software architect. Some days it is hard to fit in training because I mostly work with people in our London office.
What led you to join DPMR?
To support a fun group of running friends.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Castle Peak 100k. The organization, volunteers, trails and everything about the race is great. Every year I swear that I will not do it again but keep signing up for it year after year.
Favorite local trail?
Pioneer trail and Cardiac close to home.
Do you have a mental training technique, mantra, or similar that you rely on to combat the mentally trying times of a longer run?
Sometimes just repeating “You are strong and you can do it” seems to take my mind off being on the struggle bus.
Do you listen to audio while you run and if so, what have you been enjoying lately?
I don’t listen to any audio while running. I prefer to listen to my breathing, foot steps, birds and mother nature.
Recovery technique(s) that you swear by?
Eating well after a run and sleeping. I have been known to take a 1-2 hour afternoon nap after my long runs.
Do you have a favorite piece of running gear (hydration system, shoe, clothing layer, sock, etc.)?
Hoka shoes. I was a very early adopter of Hoka shoes and haven’t found anything else as good as them.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
Building apps and tools to quantify carbon footprint.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
I was the first person from India to finish Badwater.