Interview with Shaylee Hurst (@runningonkarma)
- Orem, Utah, USA
When and why did you start running?
I first started running in September 2013 right after I had given birth to my 5th child. At the time, I was a stay at home mom to 5 kids under the age of 4 and wanted to regain my fitness and have some time to clear my head. I have loved road racing and am enjoying transitioning into the mountain trail running scene.
Describe your ideal race.
If I could design my own race it would be in the beautiful San Juan mountains in Colorado. I love a good challenge and always do my best running in cool temperatures.
What’s your favorite trail race to date, and why?
So far, my favorite trail race was a race I didn’t even run… it was volunteering this year at the Speedgoat 50k! I got to meet my ultra running hero Sage Canaday, as well at running legend Jim Walmsley and Tim Tollefson. It was so exciting to see all of their hard work payoff as they crossed the finish line, and it was so rewarding to witness other runners struggle yet prevail in the end.
We noticed you also do a lot of outdoor yoga, something that we are seeing tied in with trail running more and more. Why do you think these two activities complement each other so well?
I love taking my yoga outdoors because I feel like my practice and nature are completely complimentary. Being in tune with your body, your mind, and soul while in the mountains is extremely powerful. Yoga teaches me about respecting my place in the world and about respecting the world around me. In the mountains I am, and because of yoga, I feel at home in my own body. I love practicing in a space that reminds me that I’m free and yet grounded. I also love how therapeutic it is to stretch out my body after some tough climbs and descents. There is no space for the ego while in the majesty of the mountains.
What has been your biggest running / adventure challenge to date?
As a single mother to 5 babies, I haven’t been able to get out on too many epic adventures, but now that my kiddos are growing older I’m anxious to spend my weekends exploring all of the mountains I can get my hands (or feet) on! I love exploring and traveling and experiencing new things! I am so excited about the future possibilities as well as exposing my family to the beautiful world we live in.
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I love taking my yoga outdoors because I feel like my practice and nature are completely complimentary. Being in tune with your body, your mind, and soul while in the mountains is extremely powerful.
Tell us about your greatest running fail (we’ve all had – or will have – them at some point!)
I have completed 3 full marathons and nearly 30 half marathons and in some ways, I feel like I have failed more times than I have succeeded. I try to avoid the word fail because I truly have learned so much, but at almost all of my races I have been over confident, too eager, and disrespected my training. I tend to go out way hard thinking that my mental grit will take over when I run out of fuel, but every single time that blows up in my face and I end up slower than I would have if I would have honored my body and respected my training. It was a difficult lesson to learn, but I think I’ve finally arrived at a place in which I can comfortably approach a start line knowing my personal best race strategy.
What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan?
For too long I ignored caution and training plans, which is silly because I spend lots of my free time reading, studying, and researching running. I’ve finally hired a running coach that I trust and am trying meticulously to follow the plan along with listening to my body. I believe in tempo, intervals, and all forms of quality workouts but I also recognize the benefits of recovery miles. I also know that ample sleep, hydration, healthy foods, self-care, and cross training are key in preparing for race day.
For too long I ignored caution and training plans, which is silly because I spend lots of my free time reading, studying, and researching running. I’ve finally hired a running coach that I trust and am trying meticulously to follow the plan along with listening to my body.
What advice would you give to a new trail runner?
As a new trail runner, some of the best advice I received was to not worry about pace or miles (like we do on roads) but to put more focus on time on feet. Also, a great hydration vest and trail shoes are so important. When I was first starting out I did lots of research about how to keep myself safe (after all I’ve gotta make it back home to care for my kiddos) so, I wanted to know how to react when I came across all types of animals and wildlife, as well as basic first aid. Also, make sure you’re diligent about protecting your skin with SPF while you’re exploring!
[I personally recommend Jack Black Sun Guard SPF45 Oil Free – It has never let me down on those long days in the mountains! Helen has started using it now too! 🙂 – Alastair]
What is your favourite bit of running kit?
I’m really particular about gear I use when I run. I want it to be comfortable, durable, high quality, and functional. I absolutely LOVE my Nathan hydration vest. It’s got a gender specific fit, plenty of pockets and storage, a bladder and room for bottles, reflective properties, as well as a built-in whistle that helps me feel safe when I’m roaming the mountains alone. I also really love my Salomon Sense Ride trail shoes. They are super cushioned and flexible on my feet yet I feel totally protected. I love that they don’t have traditional shoe laces! Drymax socks are heaven sent!
What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?
Next year is going to be an incredible opportunity for me to challenge my body! I am hoping to PR my road marathon time as well as a 50 miler in the Fall. In the beginning of my running journey, I tried to “race” every weekend; I was young and eager to experience everything, but as I’ve matured into running I’ve realized I can only have an A race 1 or 2 times a year. In 2018 I want to get as much vert as I can and really earn my trail legs.
I also really love my Salomon Sense Ride trail shoes. They are super cushioned and flexible on my feet yet I feel totally protected.
Do you listen to music when out running and do you find it helps your mental game?
I don’t listen to any music when I’m in mountains, but when I’m road running I love all of the music. I have everything on my playlist from old school hip hop to current pop. “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera is my favorite song when I feel like the wheels are coming off during a race.
Finally, what do you get up to in life when you’re not running or adventuring?
When I’m not running or yoga-ing, I can be found at home cooking meals for my family, reading books to my children, or soaking in a long hot Epsom salt bath. I always say that I wish I had more time to relax, but when I’m presented with an opportunity to decompress I always choose to go play outside instead.
Social media links:
- Instagram: @ runningonkarma
Thank you, Shaylee, for sharing some of your ‘trail life’ insights with us. It’s so great interviewing people with different motives for running. Yours seems particularly pure and for the sheer joy of the being in the mountains and surrounded by nature.
Good luck in getting that road marathon PR and reaching the finish line of your first 50miler. That will be an epic journey!