Q&A with Trail Runner Penelope Freedman

By XTERRA
Sep. 16, 2016

Penelope Freedman finished 3rd for the women at the 2015 Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running World Championship. This weekend, she is tackling a challenge that's a little closer to home at the 2016 Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running National Championship in Ogden, Utah. We checked in with her before the big race on Sunday.

XTERRA: Why did you want to come race at the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run Nationals event?

Penelope: I am excited to run this race because of the location and just to be part of another XTERRA event. Every XTERRA event I have participated in has been extremely well organized and has made me feel very welcome. I am also particularly excited about the location. Having been a former competitive snowboarder, I have snowboarded at Snowbasin and spent lots of time snowboarding all over Utah during winter. However, I have never been spent any time in the summer at gorgeous SnowBasin, so it should be interesting to see the mountain from a different perspective.

XT: Do you have any specific goals for the race?

PF: I try not to put any expectations on myself during races because that could set me up for feeling like I failed if I don't meet those expectations. I train very hard and try and set realistic goals for myself. I would like to be among the top 5 women to finish at XTERRA Trail Run Nationals.

XT: What has your 2016 racing schedule looked like so far?

PF: I have had a very interesting season!....The first part of my race season (May - June) I raced 3 weekends in a row; all in highly competitive races with a strong professional field. I believe pushing myself so hard at the start of the season contributed to a sciatic nerve injury, which I am now recovering from, so that has been a bit stressful.

The last 2 months I spent on the East Coast (for work; as well as 2 weeks coaching at a Nike Trail Running camp in New Hampshire) so I did not get to do as much altitude and mountain running as I would have liked. On the other hand, my coach worked a lot with me on improving my speed during that time so I definitely feel like that has improved vastly. It should be interesting to see how that translates into the XTERRA Nationals Race.

XT: Can you tell us a little about your running achievements?

PF: Some of my results I'm proud of this year include .

3rd overall female in the Pro-division at the Park city Discrete Peak series half marathon.

5th place overall female @ the Go-pro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado

1st place overall female @ local Howelson Hill 8miler trail run in hometown Steamboat Springs

XT: How will it be to race at elevation?

PF: The elevation is almost Identical to Steamboat so in that regard I have an advantage to competitors traveling from lower elevations. Again, I myself have trained at sea level most of the summer and only been back in Steamboat for a few weeks, so that makes me a little nervous.

XT: What do you do when you aren't running?

PF: It is extremely expensive living in Steamboat so I, like everyone else, often have two or three jobs. I own a raw, gluten free, vegan, super-food company producing energy bars, vegan cheese, chocolates, etc... and distribute and sell locally. The Company is called Kenchuto Bliss. I also coach the local triathlon team in all their track workouts. In addition I nanny for a 5 year old and family's hire me out to privately to coach snowboarding during the winter.

XT: What is your favorite thing about trail running?

PF: I love trail running as it is just another excuse to get into the mountains and experience them from a different perspective than snowboarding. Mountains are my number one passion and one of the greatest ways to express my joy for living is through trail running. I love the serenity and silent strength of the mountains and the humbling respect and fragility of life I experience through all the sports I do in the mountains.

XT: What is your game plan for Sunday?

PF: Having never done this course before and having no expectations for the outcome, my main game-plan is to HAVE FUN and make some new friends.

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