💥Trail Gangsta of the Month (March '21): Colleen Lingley 💥

Name: Colleen Lingley

Age: 42

Hometown: The Surface of the Sun (Phoenix, AZ)

Current Residence: Flagstaff, AZ

Occupation: Registered Dietitian

Colleen Lingley has always been a speedster: helping her ASU cross country team to a 6th place finish at Nationals in 2000, but it wasn’t until later in life that she discovered she was a force at the ultra distances! In her first 100 miler at the 2018 Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach 100, she won decisively by setting the female course record which still stands today! Read more about this badass mom and dietician and her secrets to success! 

1. How did you discover trail running? 

We’d run the trails by our high school for cross country practice (Trail 100 in North Phoenix). My first real trail race was the Jerome Hill Climb with my Dad in 2007. Between then and the end of college eligibility in 2000, I only raced on roads.

2. How does your knowledge of nutrition help you with fueling during races?

I frequently read studies on PubMed about endurance nutrition and it leads me down many rabbit holes. Here’s what’s worked so far:

  • Nutrition for recovery: multiple various spices and anti-inflammatory foods, collagen
  • Performance foods the week leading up to a race: red beets, spinach, cocoa, caffeine
  • During a race is very personal for everyone: drinkable calories and lytes when I’m breathing super hard and can’t eat anything (Skratch SuperFuel); Picky Bars and chips, caffeine and even cookies during 50+ mile ultras!

3. What’s your favorite part of being on the Aravaipa Racing team? 

The people and human connections. Between my teammates, Aravaipa staff, and the runners who’ve reached out to me because of the team, I have made some really great friendships that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. A close second is the buffet of Aravaipa races to choose from, and the ability to jump into those races at the drop of a hat.

4. What race performance are you most proud of? 

Finishing the Stagecoach 100 mile (my first hundred) despite a ridiculous amount of puking and dehydration for the last 55 miles of the race. Overcoming my stupid nutrition error at mile 45 and somehow earning the female champion buckle in a course record time. Thank goodness for my badass lady crew/pacers and my Dad! I finally urinated again 12 hours after the mistake: chugging concentrated sugar/electrolyte drink and running out of plain water for too long in 85 degrees with no shade at 7,000 feet. Nothing was stopping me from finishing that damn race, haha!

5. Your daughter Dot loves to run! How did you introduce her to sport without making her feel like you were forcing it upon her? 

My husband PJ & I kept introducing her to different sports to see what clicked. Skiing is her all-time favorite and this is her second year of ski team. She actually hated running for a long while (which bummed me out), so I didn’t push her to run AT ALL. 

I would just ask once each day if she wanted to ride her bike with me while I ran, or ride in the running stroller while I pushed her. She was my song-singing, story-telling running buddy. Then when she turned 7, she started getting competitive - wanting to run the most laps at her elementary school jog-a-thon and raise the most money. Really I’d say quarantine was the beginning of her love of running - maybe because my running had taken a backseat and she and I were doing it at her pace with zero pressure.

6. You’re now technically a masters runner and you crush completion of all ages.  What do attribute to running so fast after age 40? 

Thank you! I joke that I could be some of these runners’ mother. When I start dwelling on my age, I look at Rob Krar winning Leadville at 45 years old in record time after knee surgery and a year off from running and say “age is obviously just a number, mindset and experience is all that matters.”

7. What advice can you give specifically to women interested in trying trail/ultra running for the first time?

Just tie your shoes, get in the car and show up. Use it to de-stress and run off the day. Don't worry about your weight or your pace. Don’t let your brain tell you that you’re not good enough, that you didn’t train enough to race, or that you can’t do it. You CAN do it. And once you’ve done it, you will wonder why you waited so long to try.

8. What’s your next race or adventure? 

Crown King Scramble 50k at the end of March and Run Rabbit Run 100 in September!

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