Pat Ambassador Krissy Moehl Posts New Record on Leona Divide 50
[Ed note: The following submission is from Patagonia Velocity and Performance Baselayer Designer, Jenny Uehisa. Together with Krissy Moehl, the duo are responsible for the design and development of many of the products found in Patagonia's line of running apparel.]
I first met Krissy about 7 years ago when we shared a tiny workspace together at Montrail. At the time, she was brand new to trail running and since I thought running was something you did only in case of an emergency, I was fascinated by her. I remember asking her, “What’s an ultramarathon?” and she explained that it was any race longer than a marathon, 26.2 miles.
“And people do that for fun?” I asked.
It didn’t take long for me to catch the bug as Krissy has an infectious way of making everything look fun and easy, including trail running. She set a new course record for the first 50K ultramarathon she entered and has rocked the ulltrarunning scene ever since (see her bio on our homepage).
The thing about Krissy is that when she gets something in her head, she is unstoppable. So when I read her Facebook status, “Krissy Moehl hoping for 7:38 on Saturday!” I knew her old course record was going down.
[Photo: Krissy Moehl collection]
The Leona Divide 50 Mile Race is mostly on the PCT. A few weeks ago, I did a trail run on part of the course and ran by the sign that has all the previous winners and their times engraved on it. It was such a treat to see her name on there…twice!
I emailed her the picture and she said that inspired her to enter the race again. Read her full race report below!
Heading in to the Leona Divide 50-mile Trail Run I was excited to race and to check in with my fitness. A couple of test runs earlier in the week let me know that my consistency was paying off. On the Sunday prior I did a loop at Smith Rock in Bend, Oregon and pushed myself up a couple of the climbs I typically walk. The loop time was faster than normal and I felt like I recovered quickly. Running with the Bend Footzone crew on the Wednesday lunch run was another attempt at speed; it is good to try to keep up with those guys. Eating and sleeping well all week, in spite of traveling for my work week in Bend, was another important prep point that paid off.
A girlfriend whom I’ve known since grade school, Melissa, flew in to LAX from Seattle to crew for me and hang out for the weekend. We arrived late in Palmdale after delayed flights and slept for a few hours before the 4 a.m. alarm sounded.
Climbing out of the Lake Hughes Reservoir parking lot at sunrise with about 150 other adventurers the group was full of good energy, excitement and wonderment of what the day would bring. Having run this race in 2006 and 2007 I had an idea of time splits for the aid stations along way and was curious to see how this year’s route changes affected the overall times. I think Melissa and I were both surprised when I made it through the first station five minutes faster and when I saw her again at the fifth and was 18 minutes ahead, the new section of trail felt faster and I kept my eye on the previous course record.
From mile 28 to the finish the course followed the original course and runners face a hot climb to gain the ridge and roll along the top viewing the varying ridge lines that stretch as far as the eye can see. There is no place to hide from the sun as the sandy and rocky trail winds out to a grove of pine trees where we turn around to retrace our steps to the finish. This is my favorite section of this race for its beauty as well as the opportunity it affords to check in with and cheer on the other runners.
When strangers and friends find out that I run these longer distances I am often asked why. It is in the later miles of a trail race that I find myself digging deep and answering the question “why do I do this?” There are many reasons, for the beauty of the places I am able to see, for the amazing people that I meet, because I can, and mostly because I want to. To me, running on remote trails, preferably in the mountains, brings me back to the basics, simplifies life and allows time to sort out what is important. It is meditative, it is my time, it is an opportunity to test myself while still being wonderfully simple. It forces me back to what I love most and simplifies life to what I love and need: movement, connection, food and water. Food and water are the utmost basics. Movement and connection are my personal life forces. I need to move, to cover distance. Whether in accomplishing a task at work or running 50 miles, I need forward movement (many close friends and family will vouch that I’d don’t sit still all that well). And connection, probably the most important driving force in my life is to feel connected with people I care about and interact with. It is odd to find that connection when running these distances when most of the training and racing miles are alone, but to first connect with yourself allows that connection with others. Additionally running puts you at the most raw of states. All barriers and walls are not able to exist, one is at a very true state and I feel most human, open, and even vulnerable. I believe this is the reason that the friendships/relationships that are made on the trail (whether friends, companions or strangers supporting or running together) are often for life.
I feel very fortunate to have running as an important part of my life, to be healthy enough and to have balance with other activities and enjoy it when I am able to focus and make the concentrated efforts on hard training and racing. Leona Divide was a great test of this year’s training, there are many more miles and hours to log before the next one, and I look forward to them.
Krissy Moehl lives in Seattle, Washington and works for The Conservation Alliance. At the Leona Divide 50 mile race she ran 7:25:37 for 3rd place overall and 1st place female.