Q&A with Ultra Runner Lana Weber

Lana Weber
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New Balance and RootsRated have teamed up to profile runners making a difference in their communities. We asked each of our runners a series of questions to learn a little more about what running means to them, where they like to run and what are some of their running goals.

Lana Weber is a mother of two adventurous kids, partner to an equally active, adventurous husband, full-time coordinator for a conservation organization, and a magnetic member of the Boise community. She is also an ultra runner with an admirable list of achievements, including the McKenzie River Trail Run 50k, the Hells Canyon Adventure Run and a handful of half marathons. She is an inspiration for reaching her goals within an amazingly busy schedule. And she does it calmly, happily, and with a warm, inviting smile—you’ll probably want to join her for a run in Boise’s foothills.

Why, and when, did you start running?
I started dedicated running about 3 years ago. There were a lot of moving parts in my life and a lot of transitions, running was a big stress relief. My runs offered head clearing and they were a nice way to end the day. Now, it’s different – sometimes I run to give myself space after a long day, but more often, I run to maintain friendships. Sharing runs is a great way to spend time with friends. And, I love to run with my dog Greta. Bringing her into our lives was in large part, to motivate me on the trail.

How does running fit into your life now? As a full-time mom and full-time worker, how do you carve out time?
I tried to be a morning person, to get it in before the “family day” started, but I found it miserable. The start is a struggle, especially when it’s dark out and cold. Instead, I found that if I fit in running in some capacity—at the end of the day, during lunchtime, or run in the morning and start work late—it works better. I’m not regimented or scheduled. It varies, and maintaining that flexibility, that's what works. I plan my long runs on the weekends, when I know I have a little more free time.

Was it hard to get buy in from your family on carving out time for your runs?
Running has never been a priority over my family. The whole family is active and very adventure minded, so it’s not a foreign idea to them. I try to get them involved and work around their schedules; I’ll run on trails near the field where my son has soccer practice for example. My kids will ride their bikes to school and I’ll run with them, or my son will want to ride his skateboard on the Greenbelt and I’ll run along with him.

Do you prefer running with a group or solo?
50/50. It depends on the day. It’s that variability again! I like goals and encourage friends to work toward those goals together with me. Most of my bigger planned races have been with friends, it is so fun to share the experience and sense of accomplishment together.

Memorable Races?
One of my first planned races was the YMCA Great Potato half marathon—yes, it’s really called that, this is Idaho after all! I’ve finished the See Jane Run half marathon and the Nike half in San Francisco, which was the first run I traveled to, and the Race for Robie Creek. I am most proud of the McKenzie River Trail Run. At 50k, it’s pretty long! At the time I did it, I was at a point in life where I needed to do something big, have a sense of accomplishment, and adventure. It was new and different and hard; and I’d definitely do it again. The trail was beautiful.

Willing to share your favorite local trails?
Boise has such distinct seasons. My favorite trails change seasonally and by time of day too. In the fall, Polecat is a favorite, the views from the top are amazing. In the summer, the cooler trails of Bogus Basin or Rocky Canyon are where I go. And Camels Back on summer evenings when it cools down in the low creek hollow is a refreshing break from the heat too. The winter is never too bad, the sagebrush is actually really neat when it is all frosty. The snow doesn't stick around very long in the valley but we have a great paved Greenbelt along the Boise River. When snow and ice do cover the trails winter, the Greenbelt is relatively dry and ice-free.

What are some of your more memorable runs?
Running along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River has been amazing. Having rafted it once before, when we had another opportunity to go this fall, I decided I wanted to experience the river in a new way. So I ran the trail along the river. It feels incredibly remote, nearly fading away in places – you quickly realize that you are very alone. This wilderness area is the largest in Idaho and the second largest in the lower 48. With my rafting party behind me, I knew it was just me and the bears.

Any essential running gear for your long runs?
It depends on the weather. Definitely water and my Nathan pack, I love my Patagonia shorts, New Balance shoes, Zoot CRX compression calf sleeve and visors! I’m kind of known among friends for my visor collection. On remote runs, I carry water, snacks… and a space blanket (she laughs when she says this and comments she thought twice about her run when packing the space blanket). I don't carry bear spray or a SPOT, but do wear a Garmin watch.

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