Morgan Johnson Hoffman is a USA Triathlon High Performance Team Coach at Playtri in the Dallas Fort Worth area. She is also a triathlete herself. Most recently, Morgan won the XTERRA Rock Dallas Trail Run 15K.
We caught up with Morgan and talked about coaching, trails, and running in the dark.
Q. How did you get into trail running?
A. I always loved trail running and I've always loved the XTERRA Trail Run Series. I even competed in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in 2009.
Q. You are a triathlete. Why did you sign up for the XTERRA Rock Dallas Trail Run?
A. I took a break from triathlon training from 2014 - 2016 to focus on coaching and managing a team and I'm just getting back into it again. It made sense for me to sign up for the XTERRA Rock Dallas Trail Run rather than the full triathlon.
Q. What were your goals for the race?
A. I had zero expectations in terms of how I was going to place. The goal was to have fun and run a sustainable effort.
Q. What was the course like?
A. Going out, I had a vague understanding that the first half of the course would be super technical, but the descriptions prior didn't do it justice! I pushed the pace a bit during the first half with the hope that I would clear the more technical portions prior to it getting dark, since I knew that they would get much tougher once my visibility was restricted.
The trail had a lot of variety, which kept me on my toes, and the Texas humidity was really turned up full force for the first time this spring. I made a concerted effort to keep hydration consistent from the beginning and not be afraid to walk if my heart rate was spiking higher than was sustainable.
Q. What was it like to run in the dark?
A. As it got darker, I had to pick my way a lot more carefully through the technical parts, which made for a much slower pace. By the time I had been told I was the first female for the 15K, it seemed like it would be a shame to lose just because I rushed and wiped out.
I decided that being conservative would give me a better chance at a good finish. Towards the end, once it was full dark, the trail thankfully smoothed out a lot and I was able to open up my stride a bit and just go. Although I still had a few near misses!
Q. What were your thoughts after your win?
A. The win was a bit of a surprise! All in all, it was a great experience, and I thought Terra Firma did a stand up job with the organization. It definitely made me want to do more of the XTERRA events this year.
Q. Why do you run?
A. I love trail running because regardless of whether I feel "good" or "bad" during a training run or a race, ultimately every run is money in the bank, so I can just focus on getting it done to the best of my ability, and know that results will eventually follow.
Running is great meditation and constantly reminds me that the journey is more important than the destination.