What a champion.
Meredith Quinlan didn’t start running until she was 31 years old because she wanted to take up a sport that would allow her to continue eating the way she likes.
Quinlan really enjoys cooking and food but was worried when her metabolism started slowing, so her Sister-in-Law suggested she take up running. It began at her local oval doing 15 minute runs, three times a week where she would alternate between running and walking. It took her six months to prepare for her first five km fun run.
Now Quinlan has become a 24 hour Ultra Marathon champion as well as a Mountain Biking champion and USANA Health Science Ambassador.
We had so many questions about why she took up running and why competing for 24 hours appeald to her. So we asked her all of them. Here’s what she had to say.
Why dis you want to do 24 hour marathons?
I love pushing the boundaries on what is physically and mentally possible. I don’t come from a sporty family so to be able to run/ride and compete successfully is still a novelty for me. I love the sense of achievement and conquering things that I fear. I’m not afraid of failure and enjoy taking risks.
Do you enjoy it?
I race to train, as opposed to train to race. So it’s the training lifestyle I enjoy most and the races create a framework and goal for the trianing.
Races are great when you get through the first half and find your rhythm. Getting through that first half though is tough mentally, as you tend to question why you are doing it at all. For some reason once you have a fair chunk of the event done it all makes sense.
What’s going through your mind when you’re competing in a 24 hour event?
I usually try to switch my mind off as much as I can other than working out the maths to achieve my goals. Running 24 hour races is a lot more peaceful and less of a mental strain than the equivalent biking races. However there is a lot of pain to deal with, which is mentally and physically draining.
What do you listen to? Music? Or something else, or nothing?
When Running a 24 hour race I love the music and don’t allow myself to listen to it until 12 hours into the race as a treat. It’s one of the things I really love about racing. For many years I wouldn’t listen to music when training, that way the music would be fresh and have an even better effect when I did put on the earphones eventually in a race. You can really get lost in music and disassociate from the dull pain that inevitably sets in.
What about going to the toilet? What are the logistics?
Because these are timed based races, there’s not limit to how much you chose to be off the course. I don’t achieve my distances through speed but rather by staying out there as long as possible and minimising breaks. I don’t have to go to the toilet much as I know how to optimise fluid intake. Some races I will only go once or twice and they usually have a horrid super loo on the side of the track – which to be fair is kinda heaven having a sit down in the dark.
What are the weirdest side-effects you’ve noticed?
I had completely lucid hallucinations at the end of the Coast to Kosciusko (Australia’s ultimate 240km Ultra Marathon from the beach at Eden to the top of Australia). I was looking at the bathroom floor at Rawsons Pass where I had popped in for a nature break and there was clear as day spaghetti on the floor circulating around. Maybe I was craving a proper meal!