UltraSpire, is an active ambassador for Patagonia, and is the race director for the famous Chuckanut 50k.
She gives back to the sport at every turn, travels the world smiling and reinforcing a positive image for American ultrarunning worldwide, and serves as an inspiration for runners everywhere. She agreed to answer our Q and A, and I was thrilled to have her here, as she is one of the nicest, most humble people you'd ever like to meet. Thanks, to Krissy for taking on Above Average Athletes!
Average Guy: You are sponsored by one of my all-time favorite companies, Patagonia. It looks like Patagonia has some interesting new shoes coming to market this year, what kind of relationship do you have with the company, do you provide feedback on products?
Krissy Moehl: My relationship with Patagonia is a long-lasting one that has evolved over the years. I love working with this brand and appreciate their focus, commitment and challenge to the typical mode of operation. With their current commitment and focus on trail running we are really starting to see all of the gear, head-to-toe, have features and details specific to our sport. An important part of the ambassador relationship with the brand is product feedback and input. We have a great connection to the designers and fabric gurus. The most rewarding piece is seeing that feedback come to life in the products.
Average Guy: You have raced and traveled throughout Japan as a Patagonia ambassador. From your blog, it really comes through that you have a strong fondness for the country. What is your favorite place and/or experience you’ve encountered while visiting Japan?
Krissy Moehl: I have raced in Japan twice, most recently in 2010 for the Shinetsu 5 Mountains 100k. The culture and community is incredibly welcoming and accommodating and even though I speak only a handful of words the common language of trail running prevailed. I had a blast interacting with fellow trail runners of Japan. I love the different variety of foods, trying and experiencing new things. I definitely look forward to returning to Japan for more travel and racing experiences.
Average Guy: You have amassed one of the most accomplished resumes of 100 mile wins and finishes of any runner of your generation, male or female. What is it about that distance that draws you in?
Krissy Moehl: Honestly, I feel there are resumes out there that I don’t even begin to hold a candle to. I have a lot of respect for people that can log 100 mile race after 100 mile race, year after year. The toll these races take on the body, immune system and endocrine system is impressive and the recovery is longer than getting the muscles to work again. Oddly, I do enjoy the distance for all of the challenge and unknown that it brings. In my opinion you can not stand on a 100 mile start line and know how the day will go – and that intrigues me and gives me mad respect for all of the legs and hearts lined up together to see what will unfold.
Average Guy: If I am not mistaken, you hold the second fastest single year Grand Slam of Ultrarunning cumulative time (Vermont, Wasatch, Leadville, Western States 100 milers) for your performance in 2005. Where does that rank in your list of accomplishments and would you attempt it again?
Krissy Moehl: That was a pretty cool year in many regards. I wanted to be the youngest female finisher of the Grand Slam and when I earned an entry into Western States in 2005 I figured I wasn’t getting any younger. It was an amazing summer of travel and experiences at the classic 100 mile races of our sport. The people that engaged with me to make it possible will forever hold a special place in my running memories. I have to give a ton of credit to my Ma, Peggy Moehl. Ma Moehl took vacation around each of the races so that she could be at every race with me (even before I had registered for them all!). Her support continues as I continue in the sport years later even though she can’t be at every event.
(would I attempt it) Again? There are so many races I would love to see and do. To loop together the funds and time to Slam again is a huge commitment… I’m not saying no, but there are some other experiences that will come first.
Average Guy: You give a lot to the sport, from your RD work at Chuckanut to your well-documented admiration and support for mid packers. What advice do you have for new ultrarunners or runners like me who have completed one or two shorter ultras and want to step up to the 50 and 100 mile distances?
Krissy Moehl: Love what you are doing. This sport really is for people that love to run, I believe that to my core. In order to last in this sport you’ve got to have a love that keeps you going out the door on chilly, wet mornings, snowy, windy solo runs as well as the sunny days surrounded by friends covering miles on your favorite single track.
Smile. It has an amazing way of alleviating whatever ails you.
Keep it simple and don’t do too much too soon.
The longer races and miles will come.
Average Guy: A while back you left your job at the Conservation Alliance to essentially become a full time athlete. How much of a difference did that make in your training and racing? Now that you are involved with UltraSpire, are you still mostly a full time runner?
Krissy Moehl: When someone says “full time athlete” I feel like they assume the days are filled with running, eating and sleeping. Perhaps it is my personality, but I spend more time working now than I did when I had a “job.” Piecing together the life of a full-time athlete is interesting and keeps me on my toes. Working with amazing sponsors – Patagonia, Patagonia Footwear, UltrAspire, First Endurance and Udo’s Oil – coaching, event coordination, athlete sponsorship for UltrAspire and additional contract work here and there are a few of the items that fill the days and keep me on my Mac. The flexibility to get these tasks done around training is the beauty of this lifestyle choice.
Average Guy: Speaking of UltraSpire, can you tell us a little about the company and your role there? What makes UltraSpire different?
Krissy Moehl: For many years I have had a great friendship with Bryce Thatcher. We have worked together in many capacities and I told him long ago that I would go where he went. Bryce is the mastermind when it comes to hydration and integrating athlete feedback into hydration products. His brain never stops and the creations and inventions he comes up with continue to evolve the sport. He also believes in testing products and ensuring their usability and durability. That is where I come in. J I work with a team of athletes to get sample pieces out and gather feedback.
We recently held an athlete summit where 20 of our athletes met up at the UltrAspire headquarters to review Spring 2013 samples, run and enjoy some sun. It was an awesome couple of days for gathering feedback, training and hanging out with a bunch of friends that love to “geek out” on product.
I think there are two things that make UltrAspire different. One is the family feel of the company, they are inclusive and intend to provide the best customer service and create the best products. The second is the commitment to making products for endurance athletes. Bryce has said numerous times to me that he does not care to use cheaper materials or to make products that hit a price point. If we make products that work for running 100 miles and can endure that wear & tear and function in those extreme conditions then he is happy.
Average Guy: What will your race calendar look like for 2012?
Western States 100 – June 23
Hardrock 100 – July 13
UTMB 165km – August 30
Otter Trail Adventure – October 13
Average Guy: One last question…is it true that Scott Jurek played such a big role in your start as a trail racer and ultramarathoner? I read on your Patagonia bio that he was one of the guys who talked you into that first long trail run. What a way to get your start, having one of the most accomplished ultrarunners in history encouraging you.
Krissy Moehl: And he still encourages me. I recently moved to Boulder, for many reasons. One reason, to be closer to Jenny and Scott. With their encouragement and numerous visits I decided to make the move and it is one I do not regret. The two of them have shown me the trails, introduced me to friends and awesome restaurants and made me feel right at home.
Scott in many ways is a mentor to me in the sport, but in the years that we have known each other our relationship has evolved to a solid friendship. A highlight in my running career was standing on top of the Hardrock rock with Scott in 2007 when the two sea-level Seattle-ites won and set course records. To stand there with the guy that got me into the sport 6 years prior was a pretty amazing feeling that I still draw on for motivation.