Next in The Long Run Interviews is a chat with Rosie Warfield, an ultra runner and yogi who is happy on the trails at any time of the day or night. After completing her first HURT 100 in 2012, Rosie has gone on to complete many other ultra distances, including a further two 100milers. LRY was especially keen to hear Rosie’s thoughts on the HURT 100.
Interview with Rosie Warfield
LRY: Preparing for a 100mile trail race is a big undertaking. What made you decide to tackle the distance, and how did you begin training for your first HURT100?
RW: Ultra running helped me through a dark period in my life. It gave me focus. I would go out and push my body to the max by doing things like going out at noon and running in areas with no shade, bring no water, wear no sunscreen and try to suffer as much as humanly possible. I’d run as far and as fast as I could until I couldn’t go any farther, then I’d turn around and have to come all the way back.
Somewhere along there I decided to create my own “ultra” as my first. I wanted to run straight through from midnight on New Years Eve through the first sunrise of the New Year, symbolizing a fresh new start. After a tiny champagne toast, I took off and ran from Sandy beach over to Kailua and back. I still recreate versions of this run on New Years to this day. The thing that really clinched it was before I ever ran with HURT or did any distance over a marathon, I came out to pace a runner at HURT in 2011. Being in the woods in the middle of the night and running through a sunrise was one of the coolest things I’d ever experienced. I KNEW the race was for me and I devoted 2012 to becoming part of the H.U.R.T. community. I ran all of my firsts that year: 1st 50mile, first 100k, and first 100 mile. Ultra running has changed everything for me.
LRY: What were the highs & lows of your first 100m race?
RW: My first 100 miler was the most excited I had ever been. I didn’t want to eat, I couldn’t sleep, I bounced around all day bothering my co-workers for weeks prior to the race…I wasn’t even nervous. I was more excited than I had ever been for anything. Funny enough, the jump from marathon to 50 miles, was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life.
When I made the decision to enter HURT, almost instantly everything in the universe fell in to place to help me succeed. It had quotes like this written everywhere:
Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under; it will lift you up… This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.
My first 80 miles or so flew by like I was on crazy magic dust. I didn’t have any pain in my legs, I wasn’t tired, and I was flying over everything. I think my favorite part was dropping my pacer 70-ish miles in to the race and getting applauded by the HURT patrol. They were like ‘Yeah you dropped your pacer!!!!’
As for the lows, it wasn’t until I was climbing out of Manoa on the 5th loop where I started to really feel it. I didn’t have any caffeine. All I could think about was lying down to sleep. I’d never felt such a strong impulse to sleep. And I remember clearly never even thinking about quitting, but I did have the thought that I would rather die than keep moving. All I could do was just count 1-2, 1-2, over and over in my head as I took each step. Then as I was taking my final step down in to Nuuanu on the 5th loop, I stopped, bent over, burst in to tears and could feel my brain literally snap like it was imploding after all the hours on the trail. I had chased that feeling for so long and finally got to experience it (it hasn’t happened since), so in a way it was a weird high point.
LRY: Can you remember the first thing that went through your mind when you finished?
RW: There is nothing better in life than finishing a 100 mile race. The high you get when you finish is otherworldly and pure magic.
I remember being completely blown away by the support and party of people I had at the finish. My aunt flew in, all my friends were there and a HUGE crew of folks from work. They even made me shirts! And my coworker brought in his dog that I always joked about wanting to meet…to be honest, seeing Cocoa might be the most memorable moment. Isn’t he cute?
LRY: The HURT100 on Oahu is in January, but it is still warm & humid in Hawaii. Do you have any advice for people visiting Hawaii especially for the event?
RW: If it was me and I was coming to run in the tropics from a winter climate, I’d be spending LOTS of time in the sauna beforehand. And I’d come out as early as possible to taper in paradise! When I heat trained for a desert race, the sauna made a world of difference.
LRY: The HURT100 is infamous for its rocks & roots – how did you cope with these tricky obstacles, and what are your recommendations for staying on your feet during those sections?!
RW: There is definitely a home course advantage. I’ve been over the trails so many times I think I could do them in my sleep. These trails are really all I know. I try to stick to the same lines and hike where I know it’s tricky, e.g. Pauoa flats. That said, there isn’t much time to enjoy the scenery on the HURT course unless you come to a full stop. Our saying is ‘If you look up, you go down.’ I’d recommend some neck exercises so you don’t get tired from always looking at the ground!
LRY: What are your favourite things to eat & drink during a 100m trail race?
RW: Applesauce squeezey packets, wintergreen lifesavers and gumdrops are always in my bags. This year I’m loving salty (shelled) pistachios. If I could only eat one thing, it might be miso soup…I drink it every chance I get. By the time loops 4/5 roll around, I’m usually on gels and liquids. Perpetuem, soups, juices, anything with calories keeps me going when I don’t want to eat. In any long distance, I’m known to go through a gel every 15 min or so in the final 10-15 miles.
LRY: In a nutshell – how does the HURT 100 compare with other 100m events?
RW: HURT 100 casts a spell on everyone lucky enough to be a part of it. We have a huge turnout of repeat offenders each year. I always tell those lucky enough to get in that it will be the best two days of their life. I usually get some funny looks over that.
LRY: If there was one word or phrase you could say to someone running their first ever 100miler, what would it be?
RW: I always point people to the 10 commandments of endurance (click HERE). It starts with my favorite phrase – expect a journey and a battle.
I think many go in to this distance of running thinking they can beat the pain or the fatigue or the struggle when really they should be embracing it. That’s what it’s all about. Intense suffering brings out qualities that only lie dormant until you are tested. It strips you of everything else and leaves you with only your true self. Besides, we wouldn’t want it to be easy right?
Bonus tip: Running a 100 miler gives you rockstar status for life (even if you never run another step!)
LRY: Ok now for a few fun questions!!
LRY: Bananas or Pineapple? RW: Bananas
LRY: Mountains or oceans? RW: I’ve been drawn to mountains for as long as I can remember (thanks Mom & Dad!)
LRY: Juices or smoothies? RW: I make the best chocolate-banana-pb recovery smoothie. On earth.
LRY: Roads, trails or track? RW: Trail
LRY: Compression gear or no-compression? RW: I couldn’t run 100 miles without my CWX compression tights. I wear them in hot or cold, rain or shine.
LRY: Thanks Rosie! Can’t wait to try one of your smoothies!