Topics Covered In This Episode:
- Tips for first-time ultrarunners
- Getting perspective on your training
- Krissy Moehl’s book Running Your First Ultra – 2nd Edition
- Mentorship in trail and ultrarunning
- Female-specific training considerations
Krissy Moehl is a professional ultrarunner for Patagonia, author of Running Your First Ultra – 2nd Edition, and the race director for the Chuckanut 50k.
Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.
Corrine Malcolm (00:07):
My guest today left me starstruck and maybe you’ll feel the same way. I’m talking a professional ultra runner for Patagonia author and race director, Chrissy male Chrissy has the second fastest time and is still the youngest to have ever completed the grand slam of ultra running and has winds at UTM B Vermont 100 Wach 100 hard rock 100. The list goes on. She’s run, I think everywhere. Um, we talk about that a little bit today when she’s not busy running incredibly fast in the mountains or chasing her dog PD Chrisy is also the, the race director for the checking up 50 K, which has to be one of the most competitive 50 Ks in the us. And is the author of running your first ultra, which just released its second edition in March. I wanted to have Chrisy on to talk about mentorship and trail and ultra and forging her own path and being authentic to herself in all the many hats she wears. I also wanted to ask her advice for first time ultra runners, after all she did write a book about it. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Hi Chrisy thank you so much for making time to chat with us today.
Krissy Moehl (01:14):
Hey Karen, it’s good to see you and hear you.
Corrine Malcolm (01:18):
Yeah, I feel like we, uh, have been ships passing in the night a lot over the last couple of years, both some points in time being based outta Bellingham and some points in time being based out of all over the place. Yeah. Um, and we’re actually, we’re moving back up to Seattle in may. So hopefully our paths will get to cross a little bit more frequently once again. Um, but I, what I wanted to do first is while I think everyone in our listening audience should know who you are, um, that might not be the case. And so I would love for you to just introduce yourself to our listening audience. Who are you, what do you do? Um, that’d be a great place for us to start.
Krissy Moehl (01:58):
Oh, well, thanks. Uh, I think our paths have crossed a lot that just not the same time, so we just need to work on our timing. Uh, um, uh, my name is Chrisy male. It looks like mole, which I know you if you know me by how you pronounce my last name. So I go, um, Chrisy male. I live in Bellingham, Washington. I just recently, not even a month, uh, moved into a home. I was a van lifer for the last 20 months. I started during COVID, but was able to purchase a home for my dog that she’s allowing me to live in. I, the dog mom of PD it’s PD, the initials. And I have to have a long story with everything, but PRA Doda translates to hard rock. I’m a Spanish minor. So that poor little girl has all sorts of, um, explanations of who she is.
Krissy Moehl (02:46):
Uh, more, more relevant. I am an author. I just released the second addition to running your first ultra. I coach a bunch of wonderful athletes. I tend towards the first timer mentality in terms of who I love working with. I love working with runners period and the mindset. That’s curious, like, what is next? What, in terms of distance, or I guess I don’t really get as like honed in on time. Like I just, I’m just about people turning things that are impossible to possible for them and, and just restricted the check in of 50 K. So my brain is a lot of different places right now, pulling all of those. They all kind of happened all at the same time, book release, house buying, uh, race directing, and my coaches, coaching clients were very lovely and understanding while I was going through all that.
Corrine Malcolm (03:39):
That’s amazing. And for those of you listening to this too, I also have a dog named P but P E T E Y. And we’re also trying to buy a house for her that she will let us live in is living.
Krissy Moehl (03:52):
Corrine Malcolm (03:52):
That’s the goal is that we’ll have a house for her that we’ll get to be graceful grace, her presence periodically as well. Um, but yeah, we run around yelling our dog’s names quite frequently. And we’re gonna talk about all that. We’re gonna talk about Chuck. We’re gonna talk about, um, the book and these athletes. Um, I definitely work with many, many athletes who come in and honestly, their first experience with, with an ultra has oftentimes been reading your book, following the, like following a plan and running their first 50 K or their first 50 mile. And it’s so, so exciting to like have those athletes come in and get to like build from there. So, um, I hope that like brings a bell with, with people that are listening to this too, but kind of building off of that. I’ve been thinking a lot about mentorship in our sport and obviously you have 20 plus years of experience now as an ultra runner in the sport of trail and ultra running.
Corrine Malcolm (04:49):
And I think I’ve been looking up to you since, before I even started running ultras, because I knew a little bit about you. I was following your adventures. I was fortunate enough to be really great friends with Nikki Kimble in Bozeman, Montana, kind of as one of my first mentors. And so I’m wondering what has in the last, you know, you you’ve been in the sport for quite a while. What has that mentor like mentorship and representation meant to you? Or how have you seen that evolve in the sport of trail running over the past two decades?
Krissy Moehl (05:22):
Yeah. I feel really lucky to have come up in the sport when I did to experience the many transitions it’s gone through prior to me and through these 20 years, can’t believe it’s been 20 years. Um, I just, my own experience was definitely growing up with the boys. Like I got to run just right place, right time if you wanna call it that. But Scott Gerich had just won his first Western states. Scott UB had just opened the Seattle running company in Seattle. I had returned from a study abroad and Ecuador and wanted my job back. So, and then the group of people that they drew into the store and created this ultra hub trail runner magazine, did a lovely review of that time in life. And I to look back at it at, look back on it with perspective and not know what was being built at that time when we were in it.
Krissy Moehl (06:15):
But then to be able to look, can see what like launched from that Seattle group of runners and the majority of them were men. There are a few women. In fact, one of ’em Jamie mirrors came up and ran chucking up this weekend. And she’s one of the first women I really remember running with like, like being on the trail. She carried a Algen water bottle and it kept dropping on the trail and we’d have to, to run and pick it up. Just kind of funny, like, like really stand out stories because the, the scene at that time was, was what it was. Um, most people were at least 10 to 15 years older than me and they were, um, male and I identify as female and I love what’s happened so much change has happened in the sport. Like a professional ultra runner was winning Western state seven times on your own credit card.
Krissy Moehl (07:05):
Like that was Scott, Scott jerks, like early career. And now people have sponsorships and we’re starting to like, see a professionalism side of the sport that like, I don’t even know if it was fathomable, um, back then. And so seeing these evolutions and being a part of ’em like, I don’t know that I really had anybody to look up to for the exact path, but there was so much support from everybody loving what we were doing. And so things just evolved out of that passion as opposed to, I don’t know, like I think of like a doctor that knows that they have to go to school for a certain amount of years and then, then this happens, they pass their MCATs and then they get a job and then they do, you know, that path, it wasn’t necessarily clear for an ultra runner. And it seems like there is more of that coming, but to have been a part of that, like passion for it creating piece.
Krissy Moehl (08:00):
So I think a mentorship, a lot of times, like the person knows what they’re doing and they tell the other person how to do it. Maybe that’s like a really dumbed down explanation, but to get to kind of experience mentorship as a collective was I think a really cool way to come up. Um, the, it was really garbly as I was listening to you talks through, but my, the point for, I think, was there something to be about more women involved in the sport and that’s probably the most exciting thing. There’s a local group, as an example, here in the Pacific Northwest, working to flip the numbers on the F KTS. And it, I think I heard you guys talk about it on trail society also. And I was, I joined one of the calls and there were 70 like little screens of P women’s faces that were talking about all these badass things they were gonna do.
Krissy Moehl (08:45):
And I just felt like such an old lady, cuz I was like, this was not what it looked like, like look at this change. And I, I, I don’t know, I get kind of emotional, but I just was so excited for the sport to see so many people that weren’t represented in the sport 15 years ago now sh like really showing up in a really bold way. So I, I just, and what does that lead to like again, it’s, it’s not like there’s this set path and we know how to get from a to B it’s all evolving from this like collective passion for something we all love so much.
Corrine Malcolm (09:21):
Yeah. I think that kind of is like the representation piece, like when you were coming up in the sport or when Devon Yako was coming up in the sport at that point in time, like very young ultra runner still like that I think would be considered a young ultra runner at that point in time. Like I think what Danielle Snyder and Mar Fisher are doing with the women who F K T project is really cool because it’s like a, I can like, why can’t I do this thing? Like kind of challenging what we think is possible. And given, given who you had around, when you came into ultra running, do you think that was kind of some of that mentality of like, oh, they don’t think I can do it. Let me show you that I can do the grand slam type of thing. Like I’m wondering if like what kinda inspiration you drew from, you know, maybe, maybe like trying to like prove yourself in a lot of ways to forge that path forward.
Krissy Moehl (10:17):
How that’s so funny that did actually happen specifically around the grand slam. That’s so funny. Um, but it wasn’t my running group. It was actually my boss, I, that was when I was working for Montreal. So the athlete coordinator and pro um, program manager for all the sponsorship of the events. And I was three years in four, four years into the job at that point. And I had won Wach as my first a hundred miler in 2004. And at 27 year old years old decided, well, I wanna be the youngest woman to run the grand slam. And he, my boss at work told me he goes there. I mean, there’s no way you’ve only done 100 miler. Now you think you can go do four. And I telling my mom that if I ever talked about not finishing one of the grand slam races, that she just had to say his name. And anyways, unfortunately never became, actually was such, was the next year, the last one of the grand slam. I was pretty beat up. I had some pretty bad patella tendonitis going on, but, and she pulled his name at about, I think Alexander Springs or something. And I, I mean, I marched it in, but
Corrine Malcolm (11:26):
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s, I don’t know. That’s what fires me up to is like, oh, you don’t think I can do this. Watch me, like, I, I, I will make this happen. I had that same, that same thing it was before I, I think I’d even run Leadville. Um, so it was probably 2016 or 2017. And I was like, do I have enough time to do the grand slam? Can I be younger than Christy? And then it never, never came to fruition. Um, but I think it’s cool that like I saw, you know, I knew you had done this thing and I was like, okay, I can do it too. And I think that’s why representation is important is seeing someone else super
Krissy Moehl (12:00):
Corrine Malcolm (12:01):
Go before you and kind of like, and, and in a lot of ways and pave that path. And so I think we’re gonna talk a little bit about Chuck nut now with the idea that, you know, so recently chucking a 50 K happened. This probably come out about a month after the race. Um, and it was both your first ultra and it was my first ultra. It is many people’s first ultra. Um, it was supposed to be my little brother’s first ultra I’ve had athletes do it for their first ultra. So many people do it for their first ultra. It’s a great race. Um, and you’ve now been the race director for 20 years, I think again, which is very, very impressive. Um, but in watching the coverage of Chuck ANU and in talking to people after the race, there was this really beautiful moment where you literally pulled women, some of the elite women forward to put them on the, like at the front of the start line, along side there, the other, like the male elites. And I’m just wondering if you can tell us about that moment about making this like this action of being like, no, no, no. You belong here, like pulling these women forward to be on that start line.
Krissy Moehl (13:07):
Mm oh. It was one of those, like you look hindsight, like it wasn’t premeditated at all. I was standing there with everybody else so excited that we were like gathered and I think it was probably more challenging pulling together the list logistics of chucking up this year, because there was that wonderment, like, do we have to have everybody in masks? Do we have to police that like the vaccine cards was a thing of it in and of itself? Like all these pieces of the, what if how’s it gonna a look? And then here we were standing there, the mass mandate had been lifted just a week earlier. Like all these things just happened and it was, it was happening. Like Jeff Fisher was like on the countdown or starting the countdown pretty soon. And I looked over and it’s, it’s a smaller starting line because of the timing mats that we have down.
Krissy Moehl (13:55):
And the Hoka sponsorship bins are blow up things next, next to the start. But I was like, I can’t even see the women let alone having someone on the starting line. And I, my mom had come over to say, can we stand together? Cuz this is her 20th year as well. I have not done this alone. She wait, her role has changed over the years, but she wanted to come stand. So we were standing there and I, she was holding my arm and I was like, mom, I gotta go. And I ran over and I found some of the girls, they were probably three or four deep, um, behind the men. And I said, girls, you need to be up on the front. And I tried to push them forward and they maybe moved like one person and forward. And so I got in front of ’em and like kind of like you would maybe at a, um, a club or a dance scene or something.
Krissy Moehl (14:45):
I was like, hang on, pulled him to the front. And I said, Hey guys, we need to make some spots up here for these women. And I just, I looked and it was all just like happening really fast, cuz I mean the countdown, we were less than a minute to go. And then I got back over and stood with mom and then I looked and it was all women. I think maybe Adam was like one, the one male that had his toes on the, and it, it took a, a bit of encouragement to move them forward. But once they were there, they just owned it and the smiles on their faces. And then just to be honest, like the race started and then you’re for as a race director in go mode. And what I really appreciated after was it’s so simple, but with LA’s PO on, um, on Instagram and it was just a quick in her story, but how that moment meant a lot to her.
Krissy Moehl (15:38):
And it just kind of reinforces that like when you have a gut instinct to do something, to do it and not like question like, oh, is that the right thing? Or, oh, just like I said, um, trail sister’s event, we need to have women on the starting line. If it’s not happening organically on its own, I’m gonna step in and make it happen. And then just that it, it meant that much to the field. It wasn’t just the women that stood on the line. Like I, the guys got it too. They were just as supportive, which I thought was really cool.
Corrine Malcolm (16:08):
Yeah. That is, that is so, so cool. And I think kind of building off of that, talking about it, being a trail sisters event, like why, why is that important? Why like you’re, you’ve, you’re a, one of the most decorated female athletes in our sport. You’re a race director of this amazing race that was insanely competitive and insanely fast. And I think is a, a standout spring race for everyone. You know, you had this amazing moment at the beginning race that was super organic. Like why, why is it important to you as an athlete, as a you’re you’re now all of our mentors, um, as a, as a race director to, to make that stuff happen to, to listen to your gut and to, to make sure that you’re promoting the women as well.
Krissy Moehl (16:50):
It’s, it’s so simple. I’m just driven by it. Like it’s not a, um, I don’t, I was trying, you, you wrote some questions in an email to me before, too, and like of how things have unfolded or, and it’s so much just been about like gut checks and maybe it’s cuz my mom’s always told me to listen to my gut, like kind of get outta my head and listen to my gut. And um, yeah, a lot of my life decisions are just made that way. I, I wanna think it’s like just how I operate. And I would say when I’m not operating that way is when I feel like way less authentic. Um, and it shows up in ways that I’m, I’m not proud of, or I’m not psyched about. And if I look hindsight it’s cuz I didn’t trust myself and I was either too much on my head or too much like, like trying to, to please like externally other people.
Krissy Moehl (17:38):
So I think when we act from an authentic place, people know, and that is a pretty easy form of mentorship or leadership because it feels real, it’s not contrived or made up to be what you they are thought to or is maybe what people want to hear. It’s truly what a person is like leading from it’s from their own, their own soul. So it hasn’t always made life easy. I’ve I’ve definitely thrown my, like I thought I’d live in my van for three to six months and ended up being 20, but I still, every day that the worst on my statement is the worst day in the van was better than the best day in the, in my previous living situation. So, um, I knew my gut decision was the right one.
Corrine Malcolm (18:21):
Yeah. That like that drive to kind of be as authentic as possible, I think is, is really powerful and something that we all I think should strive to. It’ll make us all a lot, a lot happier. I’m wondering, um, kind of leaning into more about the race directing side. What has that meant? Like it’s very, I mean, you’ve got one hat in the athlete world, one half hat in the writing and coaching world, one hat in the race directing world. What, like how, what does that, what do you learn from race directing that you apply to the rest of your life? What do you, what bring to race, directing being, being a runner and a coach that you think makes, makes something a race like Chuck not so special. Like I’m just really curious. I think putting on these races are such a, it’s such a labor of love. And so I’m wondering, kind of like give us a little insight into what that looks like.
Krissy Moehl (19:05):
Well, all those pieces like, or hats you said, uh, that are represented of like they all impact each other. Like I’ve had this amazing opportunity to travel all over the world. And my passport until recently was all stamps representing races or runs or adventures that I’d done over the world. Like there’s only been a couple trips in recent, like 2019 that were not, uh, run running related. And I am so thankful for that understanding of the world through this running lens. And so like what I saw in Japan and like the, like the organization that happened at hero Chicago’s race, like those were things I brought back to check or, um, food, examples. It, I remember at U T M B and the fur year where they just had chocolate and dried fruit and bread and cheese. And we actually were trying to share with them like, well that might work here, but like here’s some other examples of things that we’ve seen on the tables in America.
Krissy Moehl (20:02):
So it’s just like, I mean, that sounds so dated, but like, um, just sharing the experiences across all, all of ’em. I guess if I can say it a little better, if, if you can experience it and then teach it and then like execute it, then you know it, so as a, as a runner, that’s never race directed. Or how about this as a race director? When I go to another event, like I’m gonna run me walk in early may and I know where Tia Boddington’s head is right now. Right. So I can be like empathetic, not just sympathetic, but empathetic to where she’s at. And if there’s something missing from an aid station, like I’m not gonna get bummed out about it. Like I’m gonna understand. And I just, I feel like if you’ve had both sides of the experience or maybe multiple sides of the experience, like we’re crewing and pacing all come into understanding how ultras work or whatever your passion is, it doesn’t just have to be, I mean, we’re talking about ultra running, but the more experience you can get in and around, whatever it is that you love, the, the, or you’ll be another example is to, for Gaylor like that, man sta started in like shipping in warehouse and like ended up being CEO of north face and pretty much any company’s decided to be a part of since, but he knows business from all aspects and it makes him great at what he does.
Krissy Moehl (21:22):
So I, I guess maybe I try and amplify that or example. So through that of like knowing as much as I can to do whatever part I’m currently in as like best I can with having the most perspective I can have.
Corrine Malcolm (21:36):
Yeah. There is a lot of like, I don’t know, intersectionality there as far as like how, how they all can inform one another, which I think is an important reminder when I talk about like goal setting with athletes, like, oh, goal setting for running is not dissimilar from goal setting for personal growth or for professional growth. Like they kind of all, you can take those skill sets across the board. Um, so you’re running me walk in may. That’s really exciting. What other adventures do you have planned for the upcoming year now that you’re in a house and you’re not in the van?
Krissy Moehl (22:05):
Well, the van now gets to be what I, it to be as an adventure rig, you know, like it wasn’t intended to be a home. A lot of people always thought I would live in the van. I was like, maybe people know me better than I do, but like, I, I love having a sense of home and nesting. And when I’m out adventuring and being like in other, in another part of the world, if I get like a little scattered or feeling ungrounded, like just being able to picture where my home is, is very grounding to me. So I’m very thankful to be in this spot now. And the van provided that for a bit. It was getting a little, like a little stretched from where my comfort zone was. Um, but yes, going to me walk, but actually before that to dear friends, Jenny jerk and Kathleen Egan and I are jumping on the first 200 miles of the Arizona trail.
Krissy Moehl (22:53):
So we’re doing, we’re starting at the Mexico border on April 6th and making our way a little bit, I think it’s around 200 miles. Those dear girls did a lot of the planning while I was in the midst of chucking it. So it was this like great tech stream of them, like saying, you know, all the clothing and gear and whatever they’re carrying and I’d be like, sounds good or like, and they would go through all the details, but here we go. And, um, I’m really excited to have that as a, I kind of consider myself an experiment for my clients. So like I’ve done 20 plus years of ultra distance training and I’ve done some of these fast packing adventures along the way. And so kind of utilizing this as a training block for me, walk and then seeing how that shows up for a race where like ideally, probably a month out you’d, you’d be doing more run specific stuff, but the, the strength and stability that I’ve found from doing these longer distance hikes, carrying weight, I’m kind of curious to see how it shows up, um, doing an event. And then I can help translate that over to other people.
Corrine Malcolm (23:57):
That’s really exciting. I think that, so I’m going, I’m leaving that I will probably be gone while this comes out. I am leaving for a, a two week like ski, like ski, mountaineering, ski touring trip, and then I’m going to Madeira directly afterwards. So I will have like,
Krissy Moehl (24:11):
Corrine Malcolm (24:12):
Yeah, few weeks on of ski touring in the caucuses. And then I’m gonna go to fly straight to Madeira and have like a week and then I’m running Madeira. So we’ll see how two weeks of ski touring translates to a very hilly hundred, but I love that, that it, like you have to kind of personally experiment to like help to relay that information to athletes like honestly, Tahoe, RI trail that you and you and I are both very familiar with. You were, you were the time that I was chasing out there. And the, one of the reasons that I wanted to go out and do it and that information, I don’t know if you’ve, if you’re coaching any 200 athletes, but that experience helped so much helped so much to inform training and strategy for my 200 mile athletes, which is like kind of wild. What, what else have you found? And we’re gonna talk about the book here in a second. What else have you found in that kind of personal experience, self experimentation that you’ve been able to translate into, into your coaching life?
Krissy Moehl (25:08):
Mm I’m really, I hope you’ll talk about how that does translate for you when you do the two weeks, wherever I, I hear your voice in lots of different places. So I hope you’ll have an episode or something where you talk about how the, the training translates. Um, so the question was, how do I use those specific? Sorry, like, yeah. Like
Corrine Malcolm (25:27):
What do you use? I mean, oh, that was a very Ramly tangential question. Um, how, like, besides like this upcoming fast pack, how else have in the past, have you used personal experience, like the Tahoe room trail or whatever it might be to inform some of your coaching, um, moving forward with athletes who are doing kind of have wacky schedules or wild events or whatever they might wanna tackle.
Krissy Moehl (25:46):
Yeah. I’m mostly in conversation, right? So like working with the athlete to listen to what they have going on, and I might have some anecdotal like stories that kind of relate or whatever, or a, a story that might help them reinforce something that they’re feeling about their training. But for the most part, I would say it’s just having had lots of D life experiences to help people be aware of what they’re going through. So whether mine really impact them or not, it’s more like that. I have this, I hope to have, I try, like when I get on the phone with an athlete, like I turn everything else off. I wanna stay focused on them because I wanna hear them process, like we’re on, where are we are our own best coaches. So I kind of see myself more as a sounding board. So a sounding board that has these different experiences that maybe are relatable or help me ask the right que I dunno if they’re the right questions, but ask questions that will help them get to a place where they’re like, oh, this is why, you know, this race felt like this.
Krissy Moehl (26:46):
Or I did this thing, even though we talked about this other way of approaching it, or so I think it’s more, mostly a perspective and awareness thing is what all these experiences bring. And I’m not just a, a, you made the comment that like a lot of like goal planning in running also pertains. Like I love reading and integrating like counseling or life coaching and working on all aspects of life, like how that I can continue to make the most of my time here and running has just probably been one of the most consistent teachers, but I definitely lean on meditation and other like trainers and that look at the sport in different athletic trainers that look at the sport in different ways to, to then offer that when I’m working with a client.
Corrine Malcolm (27:33):
Yeah. I was just thinking about how life experience is so important. And I was like, oh, I’m not here to like poop on young coaches. I myself was a young coach. I probably an inexperienced coach. But thinking about how life experience informs, like can inform our coaching, right? Like that is a, that is, that is why experience is important. That’s why, you know, being in this thing for a long time or having walked many different chapters of life is valuable as a coach. Like, I’m just, now I’m gonna spin on that for a while in my brain. This is great. I’ll never sleep. It’s perfect. Um, but I wanted, I, one of the reasons I reached out to you is that we’ve been going back and forth about your book, the second edition of which just came out. Um, as I mentioned at the very beginning of the show, I have many athletes who they used running your first ultra by, by Chrisy male as their first, you know, training reference guide, which is so, so cool. So I, I wanna know about the book. I wanna know I have my copies in California right now. It’s in, in the moving boxes of the shuffle. Um, oh boy. But yeah, exactly.
Krissy Moehl (28:37):
I get the shuffle. I know exactly where you’re at. Right?
Corrine Malcolm (28:41):
All my stuff is everywhere. It makes no sense. I don’t know where any of my belongings are. Yep. I wanna understand what inspired or who encouraged you to write the first edition to get this thing off the ground?
Krissy Moehl (28:53):
Mm that’s actually a really unique story because I’ve also tried to write a book that like would be more storytelling of this, these 20 years. And the book writing process is hard, like the proposal and, uh, putting together a business plan and a marketing plan to get your book accepted. This one, the publisher came to me and they had been reading my, this is back in 2014. They’d read my blog. Remember when blogs were like, cool. Oh, and actually Claire Gallagher is bringing the blog back. I’m super stoked. But, um, yeah, they contacted me and said, we like your style of writing. We publish how to books. What would you like to write about? And I proposed like this training plan for first time, ultra runners and the, the different chapters and everything that would go with it. And they wrote back and said, well, we actually already have somebody writing a book like that.
Krissy Moehl (29:46):
Would you like to, you know, could you write something else? And I, you know, I thought I was like, man, I, I could write something. Maybe I done like the Colorado trail. Um, as my one fast pack, I was like, well, I could do maybe something about fast packing. And then I wrote this like, very like, like just heartfelt email about how I felt this was the book I needed to write. Like I could, I have dabbled in these other things that maybe I could, but I feel like I’m the person to write this book. And these are the reasons why, and it, and then I didn’t hear from ’em. And it was like three weeks later that I got this email. I just DNF on the John me trail with Jen Shelton. I’d gotten super sick and was literally on the couch trying to do some emails, um, in recovery mode.
Krissy Moehl (30:36):
And I saw this note come in that said, sometimes the stars align from the publisher. And I clicked on the box and opened up on my screen. And the previous writer that they’d had contracted had decided to not write the book. And would I like to write this, this book on running, we didn’t have the title at that point, but what, what then became running your first ultra? And I was like, like, I think I bounced off the couch, even though I was so super ill still like trying to bounce back from that craziness. But, um, yeah. And then I wrote that book in two months, which was pretty just like head down eight hours a day. I’d go for a run just to like kind of work through thoughts and then be back on the computer. So I had, we signed the contract in December. I submitted my manuscript on my mother’s birthday, February 24th, and then drove from Colorado to Washington to put on checking it that year.
Corrine Malcolm (31:33):
That’s, that’s an intense writing block. I’ve, I’ve helped with books and it’s, it’s a slow, tedious process at times. So that is exceptionally quick. So that was the, the story of the first one getting off the ground. The second edition has come out. Um, I think second editions are super valuable. I, myself that’s helped Jason coop. My, I would, I call my boss. He doesn’t like being called my boss, but he’s my boss, um, helps him write the second edition of his book. And that’s a common question is why the second edition. Why? Like, if people are, are looking at this book, you know, why, why should they acquire the second edition of running your first ultra?
Krissy Moehl (32:12):
Um, why? Well, the, I guess the changes they, everybody can come to their own conclusion of if they need it or not. But the, um, the changes came about because I wrote to the publisher around Christmas of 2020, just saying like I have had, I was surprised at cuz it’s kind of the first edition’s kind of race specific. And I couldn’t believe how many people were reaching out to tell me how the book had been so helpful for them during the pandemic when they couldn’t race. So they were still using the training plans and getting a lot out of the book enough to write to me, you know, some people might feel that way, but they, if they take the time to write to the per, to the author, um, that I, I felt like could we do some sort of companion piece or so into like, kinda add to the first edition?
Krissy Moehl (33:02):
And that was actually the publisher that wrote back and, or actually got on a call with me and said, let’s write the second edition. Let’s make it bigger, bad, better. And we had a great conversation about it and signed another contract write before Christmas and submitted my manuscript. This one, I got a little bit more, more time. I think it was early April when I finally end of March early April. And that was the year that check was virtual, totally different ballgame, like in terms of new, um, assets that we created for the race. But we weren’t, um, like we weren’t literally in person like the cods and I were me meeting virtually. So I had the with to write the book as alongside, um, planning for that virtual event.
Corrine Malcolm (33:46):
That’s so cool. I love that. I mean, it, it takes, it’s really, it’s really impacting people if they get the like activation energy to not only enjoy it, but then to reach out and say, Hey, this thing really helps me like it does. It takes it certain degree of activation energy to, to actually to, to, to give positive feedback. I think it takes less when people wanna give you negative feedback, they’re more likely to say,
Krissy Moehl (34:08):
Hey, unfortunately one
Corrine Malcolm (34:10):
Our review, but I do. That’s really cool. That’s that, that makes me very happy that people found solace or direction in the book throughout the pandemic when racing wasn’t on the tape, because that was a huge, a huge thing. Um, and I participated in some virtual checking up stuff. So I understand the, what was going on kind of behind the scenes there, um, and had a really good time doing it. But I guess given that the book is geared towards the first ultra running your first ultra let’s, let’s give some advice to those as early those first time ultra runners. I think that running your first ultra or stepping up in distance can be incredibly intimidating, right? Like, can I do this thing? Am I, am I, am I skilled enough? Am I fit enough? Am I strong enough to do this thing? What advice do you have for those runners that might be hesitant to take that leap into the unknown?
Krissy Moehl (35:03):
Mm. That are hesitant. I find that the P maybe by the time I’m talking with someone they’ve made that leap in their mind and they just want the reinforcement of the, how to they, they, um, but if somebody’s just at that point of like, like super curiosity, and as you rattled through all that, my instinct was to respond you’re enough. Like, whatever you wanna do with life you’re enough. Like, I don’t want anybody to think that an ultra makes them less of a per whether they do it or not makes them more or less of a person it’s, that’s all, that’s all there. The one thing I would say that you enough is time, like looking at your life. Do you have enough time for the training and the recovery and the planning and the, all the mental space? Like, is there, is there enough time in your life to, to do this?
Krissy Moehl (35:57):
And I think with as much as we have, like coming at us all the time, do we carve out what it means for, to do this like 50 K or 50 mile, the longest distance that you’ve done to date. And then I guess I really try and coach sustainability. Like, I, I want people to be runners. I want them to like, check off a list and then be gone. So like, as they’re making this time commitment, like making a Mo making people aware of like, well, if you do one, it might not just be one. It might be more and it might mean a calendar of, or so looking at the other aspects of life, do you, if you, if you’re in a relat, do you have partner support? If you have kiddos, do they, does the timing work for what’s also required for that?
Krissy Moehl (36:45):
Like your job does, do people understand that you come and go? Is there some flexibility there, like to show up late, if you need to, or like that you might be a little bit tired cause you got up earlier just that people are aware, like communication, I think is a big piece of this being a part of one’s life. If somebody’s gotten to the point that they’re even curious to think about it, I, I just really believe anybody can, like, I, um, it’s, it’s these other like life pieces that have to also line up, um, for it to happen. So like personally, I think everybody can, the like the doubt on that part, I, I would, I don’t want to minimize, I, I just want to, to let people know they can do it where I would just really tune in to is like the external factors. I think I just said that three times in a row.
Corrine Malcolm (37:33):
I always say that nerves are normal. Nerves are nerves. Are there because you care about the thing. And I think the hesitation oftentimes comes from just low, like a, I don’t know, being like I’m interested, but I’m not sure if I can. And it’s like, you can, like, if you’re interested, you can, you’ll find, you’ll find a way. But one thing I thought was interesting too, is that, you know, you, you do kinda lay out a plan for people. And I wonder if that comes from personal experience of the fact that when you were early into ultra, there might not have been a plan that might have been like, what do I do? What do I’m just gonna do? What, what I feel like doing today? Like how do you think going from that to now coaching runners and providing plans for them or people using your book and, and using that as a guide, uh, like a tool of guidance, like, is that correcting from, you know, your own like saving people from personal mistakes that you made early in your ultra career, the
Krissy Moehl (38:21):
Corrine Malcolm (38:22):
Big difference between having a plan versus kinda winging it day to day?
Krissy Moehl (38:26):
Mm, well, and as a coach, just that we didn’t, there was not ultra coaches either, is that perspective. Like, I don’t even write my own plan anymore because I coach so many people. I want somebody else to have that perspective for me and David Roach. I have not filled in my training plan for two weeks. I owe him that. But like, um, checking out, I’ll put, checking out on the, the blame for that buying house, all the things. But, um, having that, some of do this, writing you a plan, but also has perspective on life for you. Like, it’s hard to have that for yourself. So when there are all these other factors and pieces, I tell my clients, like the more you can give me in your notes, the better I can, like tie this in with your life. So you might, you know, tweak your ankle on a Tuesday, but if you don’t write to me daily that you tweaked your ankle and then you just fill in the whole week on Saturday and your ankle’s feeling fine.
Krissy Moehl (39:19):
I don’t know about that. So then next Wednesday, you’re you roll your ankle and you don’t know why, but if I’d had that note from the previous Tuesday, I might have, we might have been able to say like, Hey, do some stabilization stand on one foot while you’re brushing your teeth this week to make sure that everything’s good in there. So just, and that can go to that’s a physical piece that, that can also go to emotional stuff as, or like life stressors as well, where someone’s like, I don’t know why I don’t have any energy today. Well, your kiddo’s been sick. There was a COVID scare. And you’re going back to the office now, when you’ve been able to work from home, like, like if you, that perspective of is hard to have for yourself, I think,
Corrine Malcolm (39:58):
Yeah. A hundred percent agree when people come in and say, why should I have a coach? I’m like, well, like it’s really exhausting actually to figure out what to do every day. Like, let, let me do that for you. Let me take that piece off, off your plate because it is, it’s hard to have the big picture in mind. It’s hard to, it’s hard to ask those questions. I tell my athlete. It’s okay. Like, let’s ask yourself why a couple times when you’re writing in your training log, like I’m tired. Why are you tired? Mm I’m tired. Cause I didn’t sleep
Krissy Moehl (40:24):
Corrine Malcolm (40:25):
Why didn’t I sleep last night? I didn’t sleep last night because work really stressful. Why is work really stressful? Like this is one of Steven’s medical school mentors made him do this. And I thought it was super annoying at first. And now I’m like, oh no, ask your yourself why three times? And you’ll probably get to the bottom of the issue or a lot closer to it versus kind of being, being in that limbo. Um, I’ve got a couple more questions for you. One being one of my favorite questions that I ask people is, and I think this like really will help summarize our conversation is what are things that, you know now that you wish you knew when, you know, in the early, the early two thousands, when you were, you know, running chucking up for the first time running your first hundred, running the grand slam, like what, what would you tell that, tell that Chrissy
Krissy Moehl (41:14):
Women’s health, holy cow, and I’ve talked to Keely about, I’ve heard you three talk about it on trail society. The I impact, sorry, I just get like woo fired up. Like when I, so I’m 44 now, and I’ve been really curious about how menopause and para menopause may impact or be a factor in my life as I move through this, this decade of change. And as I dug into research and there’s not very much, there’s there’s, there is more coming. There’s just not a lot. But Stacy Sims was like my go-to girl for a lot of this. And what I finding that got me like fired up and even somewhat upset was all I did not know about how female hormones were affecting and impacting my training in my twenties and thirties. So like we just ran through periods or we maybe like what I’ve learned about my cycle now is like, I’m my stronger.
Krissy Moehl (42:13):
When I’m on my cycle, I started my period 18 miles into the Tahoe rim trail. FK T like talk about having my best day. Like I, I thought I was, you know, mentally, I thought, oh man, I have to deal with this. But knowing what I know now that was like the best day for me to go for an FK T because of where the shift in my hormones, the, the strength that I get out of that where like during ovulation or midway through my cycle, that’s a really tough time for me to try and train. So finding this awareness about how my cycle is a part of my training. And so trying to help that or offer that to, uh, my climate clients that have a cycle that are cycling naturally. So I don’t do as much with, um, hormone affected, whether it’s an I U D or the pill, but people that are cycling naturally to see where like how emotions impact training, how maybe we should back off on mileage at this point, because it’s, it’s, it’s not working for you right now, but know that we’ll get it here, bringing the confidence with when it will come mileage and training relative to when your body can absorb it.
Krissy Moehl (43:20):
And then also like how, um, our bodies might be more inflammatory at a certain point in our cycle too. So offering more recovery time or things that will help reduce inflammation so that we don’t feel, um, the, the effect of that. So if I could talk to younger Chrissy, it’d be like, start tracking your cycle, learn like, pay attention to how your hormones are shifting and see if you can line up training and just let, let yourself be elaborate in that realm. I’m doing that totally now, but that would’ve been so cool to have been really aware of through those two DEC earlier decades of running.
Corrine Malcolm (43:57):
Yeah. I, my cycle’s very similar in the sense that I’m like, oh, I’d rather get my period. Like the day before or day of a race than be like, then get my period. Like three days after the race. Like that’s like me at my absolute worst is like in that week before versus like, yeah, gimme my period. That sounds great. I’ll, I’ll run, I’ll run with that during or big big event. That sounds perfect. Um, okay.
Krissy Moehl (44:20):
We’ve always been told that that’s the worst time, like I know what’s it like, are you poor thing? You’re no, actually this is my time to shine.
Corrine Malcolm (44:28):
Yeah. Yeah. It might be a little annoying, but otherwise it’s not exactly
Krissy Moehl (44:31):
It’s and I think that’s
Corrine Malcolm (44:32):
Corrine Malcolm (44:33):
I was say, I think it’s just important for like women to recognize that like their cycles are gonna be different and it’s gonna be different across, across your peers. And it’s important to understand what, what you need that is. I do wish younger athletes, younger our, our younger selves that we could be like, Hey, you’re okay. Let’s look at this stuff, all of this stuff. Um, if people were, you know, found our conversation today, interesting or inspiring besides reading the book that you just put out, is there something that you’ve read recently listened to recently cons like media you’ve consumed recently that you think our listeners would enjoy books, podcasts, document entries, what do you got?
Krissy Moehl (45:13):
I have I’m like I just mentioned like looking into how menopause might be a factor and especially like, I can be specific to the fact that, like, I haven’t had kids, I’ve been an athlete for two decades, like, and digesting information that’s that specific is kind of tricky. And I found this podcast actually by, um, Celine Yeager she’s, uh, co works a lot with Stacy Sims and it’s called hit play, not pause. And she has interviewed some amazing just researchers and athletes. Um, there was a pod, a podcast recently about how eye health is affected by our hormones, changing dental work, like all these different aspects. That it’s, it’s what I’m like curious about right now. And it’s really applicable. She’s a, she’s done amazing in triathlon and mountain biking and just road cycling over her years as an athlete. And so then sharing her experiences, she’s in her late forties, early fifties now.
Krissy Moehl (46:09):
And so that’s been a great one for that, for the person that wants that kind of information. I love what you girls are doing on trail society. Honestly, like if I’m not like, I just, I really like how you are speaking to the audience and not shy away from topics you’re just head, you know, taking ’em on head on. Um, and then even I really loved the episode where when you were talking about like fueling and how, like you got challenged by males to speak to them too, and then how you ended up, um, handling that. Like, I, I really appreciate what’s what’s happening there. Um, and I listen to the news and this American life and wait, wait, don’t tell me and all that fun stuff. But as it relates to running, um, trail runner nation is another one that just for like pure joy of running, I love Don and Scott and they’ve had me on a bunch and for different reasons. And then I just love how they, they talk to the community and, um, like as they say, take us on a trail, run with them. So yeah, we’re lucky. There’s so much great stuff to like soak up now while we’re on our long runs or, or, you know, commuting or whatever.
Corrine Malcolm (47:16):
Yeah. I’m a podcast listener. When I, when I run, I don’t listen to music, but I will listen to a podcast for sure. And so that’s kind of my catch my catch time and I’ve had to mix it up. I listen to the news, but sometimes I end up crying on my runs. So I have to mix it up. I have to listen to wait, wait, don’t tell me I have to listen. The, the fun, the fun things too, because it can be, it can be hard. I had to stop listening to this American life for that reason. I was like crying on, on runs because they are, they hit you right in the fields while you’re 20 miles deep into a run can be, can be really, really hard. Um, okay. So where I guess to, to leave, to leave our audience and we’ll, we’ll, um, put this all in our show notes as well. Where can people find you if they wanna find the book, if they wanna find your, like, reach out to you via social media or online, where, where can people track you down?
Krissy Moehl (48:03):
Uh, if you can spell my name, you’ll find me. I have just, I’m not very creative on like, um, nickname or anything. So my website is Chrisy mail.com. My Instagram handle is Chrisy mail. So K R I S S Y M O E H L. And those are my two, you know, email me or, um, even Instagram messenger. I could be better on, but I do, I do try to get back, but email you’ll find me for sure.
Corrine Malcolm (48:28):
Wonderful Christy. We could have talked about a million different things for a million different hours, but I just wanted to, to thank you so much for giving us a little bit of your time today and coming on the podcast.
Krissy Moehl (48:38):
Well, hopefully we’ll get to do that on a trail run soon.
Corrine Malcolm (48:41):
I’m very excited about that.
Krissy Moehl (48:43):
Yeah. Welcome to Seattle or welcome back.