Many of us are thinking about spring racing in terms of 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, marathons and, if you’re testing your endurance, a 50k or perhaps a 50 miler. Elite ultrarunner, Annie Weiss (based in MKE), is taking on a lot more – starting on May 1, she will attempt to break the speed record for traveling the Ice Age Trail through Wisconsin – a total of 1,204 miles.
The current male record is 22 days, 6 hours and the female record is 36 days. Annie is attempting to break the current male record for the fastest overall time. Her goal is to run the trail in 19 days, starting at the MN border and finishing in Door County.
Below, Annie tells more about why she’s going after this record and her plan for completing the journey.
Why did you decide to go after this record?
I decided to do this for a couple: First, I think I can do it and second, I want to narrow the gap between a male and female record. There is no reason a female can’t smash any record set – women can set the same records as men! I also want to do this because I need a change from racing. The expectation of myself is to be racing and winning. This changes that mentality for me – it’s not a race against anyone but me, which is really great.
How have you prepared for this journey?
I’ve been preparing for years – since starting to run. There is no super long distance you can just decide to do and train a couple of months to succeed at it. I decided to complete this FKT around Christmas time, but the groundwork has really been set for a few years now. I run, hike, cycle, weight train – everything. The ‘everything’ part is so important. It’s not just running. Much of training is having the time for it. I do on average 100 miles per week just running and hiking, with 20-30 miles of cycling, and about 3 hours total of strength training. I stretch, roll and REST. Lots of rest. It’s not going to work if you don’t recover and rest. Nutrition has played a huge role as well in the ‘training’ process. It can’t be neglected and so much energy is needed each day to keep up with the workload.
What is your plan for the run?
My plan is to run 60-65 miles per day. I’m a morning person so expect early morning starts! A handful of people have already stepped up to run with me for various segments, which is much appreciated, of course!
I stay hydrated with basic water and sometimes Gatorade liquids. Because I’m an endurance athlete, I use real food – I make Nutella sandwiches for long days on the trails and use Clif products. I recover with Fluid Nutrition – it’s honestly been the more consistent item in my nutritional regimen and I believe has allowed me to recover even better day to day.
What types of challenges are you expecting along the way?
I honestly expect a lot of challenges! Of course weather being at the top of the list! Getting lost is a close second though! Those two will be the biggest challenges with other minor things along the way. I’m not too concerned about chafing, blisters or terrain – once you are on cruise control you just have to get over that and keep moving.
How will you overcome challenges?
Definitely with patience and gratitude! Probably help from my crew, Brian, as well 🙂
What are you looking forward to most during your upcoming journey?
The amount of food I get to eat! Lol – just kidding 🙂 I am looking forward to being able to cross out each completed day on my calendar and watch the miles completed fade away. That is the best feeling – for me, it’s always about how much I’ve completed, not how far I still have to go.
How can people help support you during this record attempt?
Definitely find me on social media (https://www.instagram.com/ani_weiss/) or come out to run along on the IAT. Realize that goals can be reached no matter what!
Any other comments?
Coached by Tommy Rivers Puzey and working with the Iron Cowboy, James Lawrence, I am preparing for this adventure both physically and mentally because for any runner it will take strength and courage. This is not only a personal goal of mine as an ultra-distance runner, but also a message of complete inspiration. The body image stigma within the running community is quietly building – I am often asked, “You are a runner?! You don’t look like a runner.” Comments like this don’t feel good and lead most runners, men and women alike, to think we have to look a certain way to be respected athletes. As a dietitian working with eating disorder patients, I hear from a myriad of parents that their child can only be successful at a particular weight even if it’s harmful to their health. By completing this adventure, I want to show people that it doesn’t matter what your size, shape, or build is; talent is not defined by the shell of our bodies, but rather perseverance, motivation, and hard work. Anything is possible. It’s the age-old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover…ever.
Thanks for chatting with us, Annie, and best of luck on your upcoming journey! Remember, you can follow Annie’s record attempt on Instagram.
Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!