Our newest coach is Rachel Drake! A few weeks after a second place finish at the 2019 US 50K Trail Championships Rachel won the Trail du Ventoux 46km. Last year she won the Waldo 100K and USA Trail Marathon Championships in Moab. Between great races Rachel pursues her MD/PhD at Oregon Health and Science University, with a focus on metabolism. We are thrilled to have her joining the Trails and Tarmac coaching team!




1) You won the USA Trail Marathon Championship in November, earning yourself a spot on the US Long Distance Mountain Team. What lessons did you learn training and racing Moab that you can apply to the training build up for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships this fall in Argentina?

The biggest lesson I learned was that a little bit of focused training can go a long way. I had Tyler coaching me and he gave me very manageable workouts that provided me with a lot of fitness and confidence going into the Trail Marathon Championships. One of the key workouts was a long run at marathon pace with some up-tempo miles thrown in. This trained both my body and mind that I can run hard and recover while still moving quickly. The best part of this training block was that it wasn’t drastically different from what I had been doing prior, but a few minor tweaks made a huge difference.

2) Favorite trail ever?

USA: The Wallowas Traverse from Wallowa Lake to Cornucopia.

30 miles and 9,000 feet of elevation gain

This is a grand Eastern Oregon adventure. I really enjoyed the route finding and point to point nature of this route.

Europe: Walkers Haute Route from Zermatt to Chamonix.

125 miles and 50,000 feet of elevation gain

A burlier alternative to the Tour du Mont Blanc, this route offers stunning views, cozy mountain huts, and copious vertical gain!

3) 2019 race schedule:

This year I’m looking forward to challenging myself in new ways, including my first road marathon and a burly European mountain race!

2/16 – FOURmidable 50k/ USA 50k Championships (Auburn, CA USA)

3/16 – Trail du Ventoux 46km (Bedoin, FRA)

6/22 – Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth, MN USA)

8/30 – CCC (Courmayeur – Champex – Chamonix) 100km (Chamonix, FRA)

11/16 – World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships (Villa la Angostura, ARG)

4)  I read on your blog that you just finished reading Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. What was the biggest takeaway from that book for you? Other book recommendations?

Endurance is an incredible adventure novel, the story itself is absolutely jaw-dropping. It also taught me that reading books – especially with a loved one — is a great tool for both recovery and race preparation. I’ve often had trouble shutting my mind off the night before a race, and it’s a great way to relax and distract yourself before going to bed. Reading is the perfect way to unwind after a hard day at work or school and an excellent alternative to watching Netflix. It’s engaging and there’s no screen, signaling to your brain that it’s time for bed!

Some of my other favorite books include:

Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse  

All the Light We Cannot See, by Another Doerr

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

5) You’re an MD/PHD student at OHSU, Whats your favorite thing about going to work everyday?

I really love learning. During the first two years of medical school I learned more facts than I knew existed, but I’m most excited about all the things we still don’t know (that’s where the PhD comes in). I’m currently studying fat metabolism in hearts from babies that suffered from placental insufficiency, an obstetric complication that results in growth restriction. These babies are born small, often hospitalized and are more likely to suffer from chronic disease in adulthood. My long-term goal is to understand these babies’ metabolism so that we can give them better nutrition when they’re not able to breastfeed, and hopefully set them up for better long term health. I love the trouble shooting, collaboration and creativity that is afforded to me as a fledgling physician scientist.  

For a snapshot of Rachels adventures and running check Instagram @rachelraedrake and at UltraSideHustle.com 


Posted March 28th, 2019 by David Laney
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