Will a Local Runner Break the Ice Age Trail Speed Record?

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.

Annie Weiss

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!

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Let’s Get to Know … Annie Weiss

You met Annie about a month ago when we featured Fit With Food Consulting. Now’s your chance to get to know a bit more about the runner behind the business.

Annie recently placed 5th at the Black Canyon 100k in Arizona, her first attempt at the distance. We’re so impressed with her transition from the roads to the trails – and below she tells us how she did it!

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Age: 30
Years running: 5-6 years
Favorite workout: Long runs!
Favorite distance to race: 50 miler
Pre-race routine: So easy – I just wake up, and go!!! I get ready the night before – clothes and gear all laid out, glide in the AM and lace up!
Favorite post-race treat: Burger. Definitely a burger.
Must-have gear: Hydration pack and my Altras.

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How did you get started with running?
Honestly, I was sick of going to the gym to workout. One summer day in 2008, I said to myself, I think I’ll go for a run. And then I just kept going.

Do you have a quote or philosophy that inspires your running?
“Miles Make Champions.” Another runner said that to me during my first ultra and it has stuck with me ever since.

What does a typical training week look like for you?
I’m currently starting my next training period, so right now just building up the miles. I do 1-2 workouts per day. Typically one is easier than the other. The easier one will be weight training, spinning or hiking with a backpack of weight at a 15 percent incline. The other workout is a run that varies in intensity, speed and length. My miles per week range from 40-80.

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How did you get into trail and ultrarunning? And what was the transition like moving from the roads to the trails?
I got into it when a running mate told me that I have the potential to get to Western States. So I started to run ultras. After about two years of injuries and having to stop running for a bit, I am finally back and going full force to achieve my goals. The transition from roads to trails wasn’t too challenging for me, but it all depends on your goals. A couple of years ago, my goal was an Olympic qualifying time. It would not help my road racing to stay on the trails; just like road racing now doesn’t help my trail goals.

How is trail running different from road running? And, do your racing strategies differ when doing a trail race versus a road race?
It is so different! You have to have extremely strong stabilizer muscles, be able to slow down quite a bit, and tap into your aerobic capacity for long periods of time. Lots of patience and strength are needed – physically and mentally. It’s a completely different beast. My racing strategies differ completely – in trail running, the tortoise will always win.

What is the longest distance you’ve raced? How did you find the strength to push through the final miles?
Longest right now is the 50 miler [Note: since this interview, Weiss raced a 100k], and this year, I have a 100k and 100 miler scheduled. I find the strength to keep pushing because I love the feeling of crossing a finish line – I always keep that feeling in mind.

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Will you continue to focus on trail and ultrarunning or are more road races in your future?
There are no road races in my future, unless coach says so! Right now, I will remain on the trails and completing ultra distances. When I attempt to make one of the national ultra teams, I’ll be back on the roads, but I have a little time for that.

Do you currently work with a coach? If so, how has that relationship helped strengthen your running?
I do currently work with a coach. I have worked with ThunderDome Running in the past – AWESOME for road racing. And I have also worked with Zach Bitter – another awesome coach! Based on my current goals, I am working with Tommy Rivers. My relationship with him has driven my motivation out the roof. He is incredible to work with.

Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee?
My favorite places in Milwaukee include the lakefront for sure! I run the back trails of Tosa once in a blue moon, but do nearly all of my running in the Northern and Southern Kettle and Lapham Peak. Also, Nashota Park, Pike Lake and anywhere there are woods.

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What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?
When I was road running, Run into the New Year was always a blast! On the ultra side of things – Ice Age and Kettle are two of my favorites!

What are your running goals for the upcoming year?
My goals for this year include building up my endurance again and avoiding injury. Pending the next two years, we will pick a distance that I excel at and attempt the National Team. Long-term goal is to make the Altra Team.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Annie! If you’d like to learn more about Annie or Fit With Food Consulting, you can connect here:

Website: http://www.fitwithfoodconsulting.com/

Blog: https://aniweiss.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ani_weiss

If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at keeprunningmke@gmail.com if you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Let’s Get to Know . . . post.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Fuel Smarter With Fit With Food Consulting

Does diet matter? According to Annie Weiss, owner of Fit with Food Consulting, it does – but not in the way trendy diets may have you believe.

Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach many fad diets take, Weiss believes a successful training diet is all about nutrition ratios, timing and the individual runner.

Below, learn more about how fueling affects your running as well as how Fit with Food Consulting can help you reach your goals!

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Why is the start of a New Year the perfect time for runners to clean up their diets?
Every day offers a perfect opportunity for anyone, runners included, to clean up their diet. The New Year is simply another day; why people wait to change until Jan 1st is beyond me! Everyday can be a Jan 1.

How can eating right help improve a person’s running?
An individual’s running can improve immensely with proper fuel – nutrition and hydration! I’ve seen some of my athletes drop 5-20 minutes off their times with weight changes, fuel tweaks and just simply starting to drink water! But it’s all based on timing, amounts and the runner. Eating right on a regular basis does not mean you run better – you could eat the right ratios of macronutrients in pizza and beer and run as well as someone who eats fruit and quinoa – it’s all about when and dialing in the numbers.

What does a good diet look like for runners in training?
Runners in training need to be eating a lot – with weight fluctuations along the way. An increase of 1,000 calories is possible on any given day pending the workout. There is no right or wrong diet … but the MOST important thing to remember … RECOVERY. If you aren’t getting the right recovery in, your training and racing will be affected immensely.

What about fad diets, like Paleo, Gluten Free, etc. – do these diets work over the long term? And are they beneficial for runners?
What about them!? They are no good … that’s why they are called fads  Please just don’t even look at them! Here’s the skinny … these are diets that are advertised to EVERYONE in the world as a general diet that is good – each one may work for a different type of person, but certainly not everyone. We can’t generalize runners – each one is different and needs a specific nutrition plan just for them. None of my athletes have the same nutrition plan – they all follow different ratios, eat different foods, eat at different times – all based on their goals and their lifestyle. Eventually it dials in and results are made. Fad diets are for the birds 

Some runners believe running allows them to eat whatever – and however much – they want. How true/untrue is this idea?
It really depends on the person – I’ve seen superb athletes eat a gigantic burger before a game and do really well, and I’ve seen it backfire. It really depends on the person. Tailoring a plan for someone may include that gigantic burger or to eat whatever they want. I currently have an athlete that at 4,000 calories is still struggling to gain weight – some people just have the ability to eat anything. But let’s face it; serious runners aren’t the ones eating garbage every day. As long as the ratios of carbohydrate, fat and protein are dialed it, it really doesn’t matter what foods help an athlete get there. Ideally though, certain foods are better for other reasons – heart health, etc.

What are some other myths out there about running and nutrition? What’s the truth behind the myths?
There are so many myths that you probably read in magazines. No matter what you read make sure of one thing … that it’s information from an unbiased, accredited resource! As you know, Dr. Oz was proven to be a quack now! Lots of myths out there are written by people who are trying to earn a buck – don’t fall into that … nutritionists are not accredited, dietitians are. Just know where your information is coming from.

Can you tell us about Fit with Food Consulting and the services you offer?
Fit with Food Consulting offers nutritional consulting for weight management, athletic performance and eating disorders. I work with a variety of men and women to achieve a variety of goals – some just need to know how to eat better because they want to feel better during the day, others want to lose 20 pounds. I work with athletes of any caliber … runners, weight lifters, swimmers; all with specific goals. And I also see those with a history of eating disorders, or current, that are stable in their illness.

What happens during a typical appointment?
My services are primarily online and sometimes face to face depending on the person’s needs and goals. Typically, I get information in advance and crunch some numbers beforehand. I will also get a diet recall to know what the person has been eating on a regular basis. After a 30-minute or 60-minute discussion and gathering more information, I will do a report and plan for that person – this may include a meal plan, the ratios needed or recipes for at home.

What sparked your interest in nutrition?
I decided to become a dietitian after undergoing my own eating disorder in college. I wanted to help people, because in today’s society, we put way too much pressure on people to look a certain way, or eat a certain way. My full-time job is working with eating disorder patients. I love it! I got more into sports nutrition being a runner myself. I have a passion for all of it.

Thanks for chatting with us, Annie! If you’re interested in learning more about Fit with Food Consulting, you can connect here:

Website: www.fitwithfoodconsulting.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fitwithfoodconsulting

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!