Episode 170 Nahila Hernandez Ultra Runner

The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 170 – Nahila Hernandez Ultra Runner

[audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi170.mp3|titles=epi170 – Nahila Hernadez]


Show intro by:

Ally Speirs


Scottish Ironman  triathlete/runner/yoga fanatic/proud wife of the @100pushups creator and mom to @slralston,  @dailymile team member  Hammer sponsored athlete


Hello and welcome to the Bayou Running podcast where we wend our way through back country, tidal plain Texas, fighting swarms of biting insects, sucking bogs, muddy rivers and sweltering, sweaty, stickiness in our quest to bring you the quality endurance lifestyle you crave…Well, not really, this is the RunRunLive Podcast and I am Chris your host and this is Episode 170, but I am talking to you directly from a hotel room in Houston, Texas this week.

We have a great show for you today.  I am talking with Nahila Hernandez who is an Cuban/Mexican Ultra Runner who talks to us live from Ciudad Mexico.  She shares with us some of her ultra-running adventures and her plans to become the first Latina ultra-runner to complete the ‘four deserts’ series.

We will also continue our mastering injuries series with how to transition back into training and racing when you start to heal.   And, we’ll talk about how to avoid marathon Ennui and stay engaged and in shape between big events.

I’m on a heavy travel week with my real job.  I’ve managed to cram some runs and bikes and swims in since the marathon last Monday.  The old body is fine and I recovered almost immediately from the race.  This week I started in Chicago on Monday with the rest of the week in Houston.

I’ll be jetting home to Boston on Friday night and running the Poco-Loco social event on Saturday in the city.  If you want to get more details on that I think Steve has been talking about it a lot over on Pheddipidations.

Now for the great unveiling.  What am I going to do this summer season?  I think I’m suffering from afraid to miss out on anything syndrome, but yeah I think I’m going to go with the “do everything” option.  It seems to be the easiest path for me.

We are going to get a crew to go down and ride the Wilderness 101 Mountain Bike Race again.  Now that I know the course, I can prepare better and compete better.  I’m also thinking about running the VT 50 ultra-marathon again.  Those of you who have been listening to the show since the beginning will remember this is the first training cycle that I went through with you 3 years ago.  This scares me a little more because I understand the physical challenge of running up and down mountains for 10+ hours and I don’t take it lightly.

I also want to spend some time re-engineering my swimming form.  I want to find that stroke and form that I can use and truly relax and enjoy swimming.  I did triathlons for a couple summers, before you and I met, and I did work on my total immersion stroke, but I never got it to the point where it was easy and fun.  I’d like to get there, and when I get there I will do a couple sprint tris to test it out.

You may think I’m nuts, but this all actually fits my goals.  It will allow me to recover from the road racing fragility.  It will build and maintain my endurance engine.  It will involve complimentary workouts that will strengthen my core.  I’ll burn enough calories to make up for all the freaking barbeque I’m eating this week!

That is all – On with the show!

Audio clips in this episode:

249 SPOS #249 – Tim Sanders Wants Us all to be rich.

Skits, commercials and parodies in this episode:

Story time:


Guest Blog Reading

Equipment Check:

The post marathon blues…

Boredom is an emotional state experienced during periods lacking activity or when individuals are uninterested in their surroundings.

I wanted to write about this because I have talked to several people post Boston marathon and see a few common patterns.

How do you overcome the horror of a bad marathon especially when it’s your first?

How do you stay focused and on target in between training cycles so that you don’t loose all your hard fought fitness?

First, I wanted to address the first timers and the “I’ll never do this again” scenario.  First time marathoners many times will not have a wonderful experience.  They will hit the wall at mile 18-20 and have to endure the horrible death march to the finish.

Most of us have been there and done that.  I have – more than once, actually more than twice… The one thought that is going through your head as your limping towards the finish at mile 23 is “What the hell was I thinking?  Why did I think this would be a good idea?  I am never going to do this again!”

Then when you finish and meet your concerned spouse the first thing you say is “Don’t ever let me do this again!”

In a couple days you’ll forget the horror of it and want to try again, mostly because you know you can do a better job.  You will be dissatisfied with your performance that led to that suffering, hope will spring eternal and you will start scheming for the next one.  As in life, the dissatisfaction of a job not well done will create a compelling event and some positive action on your part.

It did for me.  I decided that not only could I do better but that I would qualify for Boston in my 2nd marathon.  And I did.

Part of my success was being a compulsively curious learning being.  I just want to know the answers.  This led me to asking good questions.  What kind of training would someone have to do to run a 3:10 marathon? What kind of nutrition and hydration would I need to avoid the horrors of severe dehydration? What happens to the body when you ‘hit the wall’ and how do you train your body to deal with it?

Although that first marathon stomped on me hard it caused me to take action the led me to grow.  That’s how you need to think about it.  Don’t let time pass, don’t let the memory of the pain fade, use it to ask the right questions, take action and grow from it.

If the marathon kicked your ass then you have been given a great gift.  Use it.

Now for those of you who have successfully navigated a training schedule to a complete event and are looking at blank training schedule the question becomes, “What to do now?”  You have trained yourself to the mountain top and there seems no where to go but down.

That’s why I recommend overlapping your event goals so that you always have something else to start preparing for.  I overlapped ½ marathon training with marathon training and now, over the summer will mix in training for a series of off-road and multi-sport events.  This will keep me in shape, but also give me something to do so that I don’t go bonkers with boredom and self doubt.

Failing that you want to stay in shape.  I would recommend running 3 -4 times a week for an hour or more.  Make one of these a hill or tempo or speed workout of some sort.  Every 2nd or 3rd weekend throw in a long run of over 2 hours.  You want to go longer than your glycogen barrier so you body remembers how to burn fat for a long event.

I totally recommend cross training for a bike race (either road or MTB), a triathlon, a relay race or some other fun challenging event that you can sink your teeth into.

The break between major event s is also a great time to work on things that you didn’t want to or have time to during your training.  Like re-engineering your form, or working on your core or working on speed.  I know one of our dailymile friends spent all last summer running fast 800’s on the track and PR’ed all his 5K’s in the fall.  There really are infinite ways to set major, minor or stepwise goals to keep your fitness, learn something new and get better and then you’ll be in an even better position to smoke that next biog training cycle.

Featured Interview:

Nahila Hernandez – Female Mexican / Cuban Ultra-runner attempting “4deserts” series.


Mi nombre es Fernando Barba García, nací en Mexicali B.C. México, tengo 27 años, Actualmente soltero, Tengo mi propio negocio restaurantero “Comida Mexicana” también estudio Nutrición en Cetys Universidad Mexicali.

De la nada tuve la idea y la inquietud si era posible pedalear en un circuito de 500 metros por 24 horas sin parar, pasaron días y noches, así que solamente tome mi bicicleta, algunos víveres, agua y algunos panes dulces y le dije a mi madre que volvería tarde. Fue una tarde del 2 de Noviembre del 2008 cuando inicie mi primera aventura, logre correr 24 horas sin parar en bicicleta, cubriendo un total de 550 km, mis padres me esperaban en la meta con una pancarta con la leyenda: “Felicidades Fernando”, quemado por el sol y con cinco kilogramos menos, nos fuimos a comer pizza y a dormir.

Después de esta locura muchos amigos me contactaron para platicarles mi anécdota, al ver los motivados que se encontraban, decidí correr otras 24 horas pero en una bicicleta estática, en un gimnasio local, pero esta vez con un Objetivo, promover la actividad Física y bajo el slogan “Nada es Imposible” el 9 de enero del 2009 Con la televisora y periódico local, pedaleé en una bicicleta de spinning durante 24 horas continuas, con un total de 632 km también en Mexicali.

Me invitan a correr a Tijuana un ultra maratón en bicicleta, fue el 12 de Septiembre del 2009, donde corrí un circuito de dos kilómetros durante 24 horas, un circuito muy pesado porque había que subir puentes que te hacían romper las piernas, y eso hacerlo por 24 horas es pesado, finalmente lo logramos, 463 km.

21 de Noviembre del 2009 fui más alla y programe mi mente para correr en bicicleta 36 horas continuas, esto era estremecedor, el objetivo ayudar a los que menos tienen, recaudando despensas y cobijas por medio de este evento, Viví los peores momentos de mi vida, parecía que moria en vida, ampollas en las manos, dolor muscular en cada parte mi cuerpo, vómito y cansancio, las primeras 12 horas fueron físicas, la hora 24 fue mental, pero llegar a la hora 36 fue usar la fuerza del alma, al final fueron 720 km en medio de una multitud con globos, aplausos, fotos, abrazos, llore con mi madre que me cuido cada segundo, fue algo inolvidable y motivador.

Abril 2010, 65 km a pie de Mexicali a San Luis Rio colorado para recaudar fondos para el terremoto de 7.2 en Mexicali.

Septiembre 2010 Ultra Biatlón 73 km a pie más 100 km en bicicleta, para recaudar fondos para una casa hogar de Niños abandonados

Diciembre 2010 Doble Maratón Oficial, 84 km, para promover la campaña si al deporte no a la Delincuencia.



Quick Tip:

Mastering injuries series – part 9

Getting back on track – managing the transition back into training and racing.

You’ve done your penance.  You’ve taken your proscribed rest days.  You’ve kept from going stir crazy.  You’ve done your cross-training.  You’ve managed your injury. You’ve made it through the mental and physical injury cycle and now it’s time to pick up the shoes again and get back to training and racing.

How do you manage the transition back into training?  You can’t just jump in where you left off.  You don’t want to re-insult the injury or cause another one.  You’ve lost some fitness and some strength, but how much?

If you have endured an injury that has caused you to take some time off from your training you have lost at least a month.  I say this because it takes at least a week for most runners to figure out that they are injured, diagnose the problem and come to the conclusion to take some rest time, some healing time.  An injury of this type is going to take at least 3 weeks to heal.  Your transition period to get started again will be 2-3 more weeks.  All told you are looking at close to 2 calendar months before you can get back to pre-injury load and intensity.

There are no absolutes in this equation.  The time off and the time to get back on is highly dependent on a number of variables, some of which are under your control, some of which are not.

Your starting point before the injury will impact what you can expect coming out.  The larger and higher quality your base was the better able you will be to weather the injury.  If you have taken my advice and engaged in replacement therapy, like aqua-jogging, you can mitigate some of the fitness loss.  You can keep your engine in capable order.

The larger issue is your muscular strength.  You will lose strength due to the loss of the weight bearing exercise.  Cross training is great but it can’t replace the shock of 200 pounds hitting the ground and toeing off forcefully.  Expect to be sore the first couple workouts back.  Expect to have less performance and expect it to take 2-3 weeks to get your training fitness back.

You don’t want to aggravate the injury or create a new one so you have to be patient in the transition.  The longer you have taken off the longer it will take you to get back on.

I would suggest the following steps:

  1. Wait until you are pain free.  It makes no sense to test the injury 3 days early if it is going to cost you another 2 weeks.  Give it 2-3 days after all pain is gone.
  2. Start slow and test it.  You are going to be excited but you need to give yourself permission to stop during those initial test runs if something feels off.
  3. Warm up the affected area before you go out.  Self-massage, foam roller, heat cream and all that – give it some TLC so it is loose and warm when you start.
  4. Support it. Tape it, wear a brace, wear a sleeve or wrap it, whatever you can do to mechanically support the injury. I wore an ankle brace for 6 months after breaking my ankle – I may not have needed to, but why not?
  5. Add in the load and intensity slowly.  Start with low intensity, low mileage and every other day.
  6. Schedule rest days.
  7. Continue to cross train during the transition to keep the fitness up and make the transition seamless.

I’ll give you my recent injury as an example.  It may not be a good one but it will give you an example.  I tore my calf on a Saturday.  I had an extremely solid base of miles and quality and was in the peak of my training.

I figured it out by Tuesday.  By the following week I was in the pool aqua-jogging away.  It took 3 weeks for the pain to be totally gone.

The first week back I ran an easy 1 hour run on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday with aqua-jogging on the intervening days. That Sunday I raced the New Bedford half marathon.  It kicked my ass. I did not have the muscle strength to race strong through the whole distance.  The difference in finishing time before injury and after was around 5-6 minutes or about 30 seconds per mile.

I was very sore that week.  Like the first week of gym class sore.  Like I had never used my muscles before sore.

The second week back I upped the intensity with some tempo work, still not every day.  The third week back I was back to my normal training intensity and raced a 20 miler with reasonable results.

This is probably an outlier example because my calf tear was fairly minor and I was in really good shape going into the injury. That being said I managed it and was able to turn it around fairly quickly to do well at Boston a month or so after the transition.  Your mileage may vary.  Take it easy, have patience, give yourself the time to transition back.


Ok my friends,  That is it, you have eaten your way through the endless barbeque buffet that is the RunRunLive Podcast, episode 170 in the can.  Next week I’ve got a really good interview with Jim Parry who is a teacher doing inspirational things with his running for his kids.

We’re short on time, so I’ll keep it short with one quick travel story.  I found a big park behind my hotel in Houston this week.  I went out exploring on a 8+ mile run back there as the sun was coming up over Houston.  I followed one trail that dead-ended in a river and had to double back.  Then I followed some power lines for a few miles.

At one point I followed a road off into the woods and it ended at another muddy stream.  But sitting there was a big metal, wire cage.  Like the kind of cage you see on nature shows that they use to release the bears or wolves back into the wild.  A couple meters long, a meter or so high with that door that slides up on the end to let the angry carnivore out.

So, I’m thinking to myself, here I am in the middle of the woods and I’ve stumbled into the velociraptor compound of Jurassic park.  Apparently I made it out alive.

I wanted to thank Sandy (not her real name) the college student who is doing the interview editing for me.  She really did a great job on the last couple shows where the raw audio was really rough.

I met Sandy because her mom listened to the show and heard I was looking for someone to help me.

Sandy’s Mom probably started listening to the podcast because she wanted to learn about running.

I started producing a podcast because I wanted to share everything I have learned about running and how it changes lives, and also interact with our community by providing some content that would be valuable to the people who wanted it.

Hold on, I do have a point.  And it’s coming.

I’m currently reading Mitch Joel’s book “Six Pixels of Separation” and in it he gives many examples of the unintended but wonderful cause and effect relationships in social media communities.  For example: starting a blog and ended up with a book deal.

Well, I asked Sandy what she is studying in school and it turns out it is an engineering discipline closely related to what I have experience in – in startup companies.

See – the point is starting to coalesce now.

Sandy told me she was looking for an internship this summer.  I mentioned this to one of my venture capitalist friends at lunch.  He reminded me of another mutual VC friend who is based in the same city as Sandy.  I put them in touch and they are having lunch this week.

She already has her internship for this summer but this guy she is meeting up with is a multi-millionaire who has sold multiple tech companies and knows everyone in silicon valley.

So how cool is that?  Look at how all the dots connected.  Look at how seemingly unrelated the cause and effect is?

So the next time you are hesitating to do something because you can’t figure out if it will be effective – just do it!  You don’t know what the results will be but if you set the wheels in motion something good will happen.

Cast your bread upon the waters without expecting to catch any fish and see what happens.

And as it is happening I’ll see you out there.

Music tonight is a catchy short 2 minute long surf tune by “beware_the_dangers_of_a_ghost_scorpion” called “texas_blood_money”.



From Podsafe




About the RunRunLive Podcast

Each Podcast we’re going to have a full agenda.  We’ve got some inspiration and tips to keep you moving forward.  And In our featured segment we will be speaking with interesting members of our sport to share their accumulated knowledge with us.

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There are millions of normal, everyday folks like us who use running as a way to lead a balanced, happy and challenging lifestyle.  Would you like to learn from them?

I have had the privilege to have kicked around the mid-pack of the sport for some time.  I’ve learned a ton about myself and running.  I’ve met a whole bunch of incredible, and sometimes odd, always interesting people.  We’re going to share all this with you.

Listen to the RunRunLive podcast and learn from experts and regular Joe’s – get that inspiration and affirmation you need.   All you have to do is go to the Itunes store – search on “Running” and subscribe to the RunRunLive Podcast – it’s free and it will be autmagically loaded onto your iPod as new episodes become available.

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Chris Russell lives and trains in suburban Massachusetts with his family and Border collie Buddy.  Chris is the author of “The Mid-Packer’s Lament”, and “The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy”, short stories on running, racing, and the human comedy of the mid-pack.  Chris writes the Runnerati Blog at www.runnerati.com.  Chris’ Podcast, RunRunLive is available on iTunes and at www.runrunlive.com. Chris also writes for CoolRunning.com (Active.com) and is a member of the Squannacook River Runners and the Goon Squad.

Email me at cyktrussell at Gmail dot com

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