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Nirvana, can be found......At mile 92

This week we catch up with Charlotte Werner an incredible athlete who competed in this year’s TSP DIY Solo - not only did she complete, she smashed it out the park. She managed to push herself to new limits deep into uncharted territory to smash a truly phenomenal distance of 161.69km – a mere 9.8km from claiming the overall top spot.

Again, we were blown away by the distances covered and had to find out more

Charlotte Marie Werner, MS, RD, CDN, is an ultra-marathon runner and Registered Dietitian. She has her master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics (Clinical Nutrition) from New York University. Her Ultra Marathon journey started in 2017 when unsuccessful in the NYC Marathon ballot, she decided to run the NYRR NYC 60k which is run in Central Park a week or so after the Marathon. She admits it was hard, but she loved every moment of it and realised that she had found her favourite racing distance (anything more than 26.2).

Personal Bests - Half-marathon: 1:37:58 (NYRR Shape Half 2018) 60k: 5:27:55 (2019 NYRR NYC 60k) TSP DIY Solo: 100.47 miles, 29:51:00

How long before the race did you start training?

To be honest, I don’t think there was one moment where I said – today is the day I start training.

I love running and use it as a time to reflect. It also brings a smile to my face. As a result, I feel

like I’m always prepping and training for my next race. This time it just happened to be TSP

DIY Solo. I’ve been running long distance for years now and consistently put up 10-12 miles per

run just because I like running. With that being said, I guess if you had to put a date on it, you

could say the day I officially started being honest with myself about mileage and ensuring I was

recovering, fuelling, and putting in the miles, was the day I signed up. I signed up after watching

TSP LALV and the amazing miles put in my all the solo runners, but more specifically Jess

Woods as she is someone I look up to in ultra-running.

I think the best part about this race for me was that there was no specific distance that you have

to run. You can challenge yourself to as many or as few miles as you’d like. I’d never run 100

miles before and I just watched solo runners finish 300+ miles during TSP LALV, so while my

goal was 100 in my head; I was initially only telling people that I was hoping to do what I can –

maybe 60 to 75 miles. Ultimately, I ended up challenging myself to 100 miles a bit more

publicly when I was raising money and I think this really pushed me to reach that 100-mile mark.

Can you elaborate on how you prepared and trained?

I run both indoors and outdoors – treadmill, Central Park, and Rockaway Beach, NY on the

boardwalk where I chose to race TSP DIY Solo. I grew up in Rockaway and love the view on the

boardwalk and the sound of the waves. It’s calming and beautiful.

I didn’t have a specific “plan” other than to try to enjoy the run. I also didn’t really know what I

was doing when it comes to 100 miles as I’d only run 60km before, but I felt somewhat confident.

I am also a Registered Dietitian and I love seeing what the body can do if you provide it with

appropriate nutrients and adequate recovery.

My biggest issue when it comes to running is that I always want to go faster than I should. I

needed to focus on staying the pace and not look at what others were doing. I think this is

another way that TSP DIY was the perfect race for me – unless I looked at the leader board, I had

no clue what other people were doing.

I think running on the treadmill also helps me because I start to get used to the way my legs feel

when consistently running at pace. I also do a lot of gymnastics in my brain when talking to

myself where I break up the race into smaller bits, as many runners do. I started doing this with

my first NYRR 60k where it was 9 laps or so of Central Park. It’s much easier to say to myself “I

have 8 laps left” rather than saying I’ve got 31 miles to go or something like that. Just helps a bit

if you can break it up.

How did you feel on the morning before the race started?

I felt great. I was really nervous, and I think my whole family was nervous for me too, so it was a

nervous excitement vibe in my household. I mainly focused on was the fact that I knew I

committed to 100 miles and was ready to fuel, relax, and let my body work.

Could you run us through the event from your perspective?

I made a joke to my sister after I ran the first mile and said, “99 more to go!” and then we laughed

and realised “oh crap that sounds terrible” and then decided it wasn’t the best joke. We both

laughed some more. I think that was how I tried to handle the whole thing. My support squad

(family/friends) and I tried to make jokes that were only somewhat serious, we listened to music,

and I just tried my best to keep moving toward my goal of 100 miles. I really look up to

Courtney Dauwalter and she always makes jokes as she runs and looks so happy, so this was

something I was trying to do too. I think it helped.

The way I ran the race was to run mostly 10-mile loops and then rest in between. 10 miles is a

distance I am very comfortable with and I was able to break 100 miles up into mostly 10 mile

loops, which seemed much easier. I think my pace each loop was fairly quick for a 100 mile

race, but I would then take a bunch of time to rest, fuel, and recover in between each loop and

this worked out amazing for me.

What would you change in how you prepared or competed, knowing what you know

now, if anything?

To be honest, there is not much I would change. I really enjoyed it and even though I had no clue

what I was doing at the 100-mile distance as it was my first time running this far, I thought I

actually, performed really well, was amazed by what my body was able to do with proper

training, nutrition, and recovery, and I genuinely enjoyed it.

Is there anything you’d change about your race to improve it?

I think one thing I would do is have shorter rests in the beginning and longer ones at the end,

rather than trying to space out my rest/recovery time evenly.

Will you compete again next year?

100% and I already plan on not only competing again but aiming to run a bit further. My family

asked me when I finished the race if I would do it again, to which I responded almost

immediately - for sure!

Of all the events you’ve competed in, where does TSP rank?

My favourite.

What was the highlight of the entire race?

Mile 92 without a doubt. This was the first moment in the race where I almost cried. I think this

was also the moment where I realised, oh my gosh I am actually going to do this while

simultaneously feeling oh my gosh I still have 8 miles to go. It seemed so close but so far.

What an amazing effort from a Charlotte, talk about taking the initiative and going headfirst into the unknown and not only coming out the other end, but excelling. I’m not sure even she could have expected to only be 9km short from taking the top spot and that is quite unbelievable and truly inspirational.

Charlottes enthusiasm and passion for running is obvious and we love her honesty, a massive thank you to her for sharing her experience with us. We hope that Charlotte finally gets her chance to race the NYC marathon distance. We have no doubt that Charlotte will continue to surprise herself with her capabilities and will continue to inspire the rest of us of along the way too!

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