An interview with 2017 Superior 50 Mile winner Kelly Teeselink (KT) – Interview conducted by Kevin Langton (KL)
KL: First, congrats on an incredible race and a great season (including a win at Kettle Moraine 100). Please tell us how your race played out.
KT: Thank you! It’s been a fun year so far. I went into the race not knowing what to expect. My plan was to run strong but comfortable and I was hoping for an 11-12 hour finish, but I also wasn’t too focused on time and wanted to respect the course. I passed a huge conga line around mile 6 and then found out I was in the lead at the first aid station—which is not how I usually roll. If it’s in the cards, I prefer to hunt rather than be hunted! I never knew how far behind the second female was during the race so was a bit anxious I would get passed eventually if I slowed down at all. But I just continued to run my own race and ended up having a really good day out there holding a steady pace for the most part.
KL: This is your first time racing this course (as far as I can tell). What did you think of the course and how did you prepare for it?
KT: I absolutely loved it—the course, volunteers, runners, everything about this race was awesome. I was prepared for rocks, roots, and hills (which were plentiful) but was surprised how much I could open up a bit, too. I really had a fun time out there. I didn’t have a ton of time between Kettle and Superior but did get about two months to really focus on this race. I’m coached by Matt Flaherty and he had me working on getting good vert in—which as you can imagine is hard to do in Iowa! We did this with uphill workouts on the dreaded treadmill and I did a bit of traveling to trails on the eastern border of Iowa along the Mississippi where long climbs are easier to come by. Most of my long runs were not super long—but I would focus on quality so stronger running on the ups/downs, faster finishes, etc.
KL: What is something besides running that helped your race? How did it help?
KT: Deep tissue massages! With just a few months between my races, recovery was super important. I did not want to dig myself into a hole. I’ve got the best massage therapist in town and I take full advantage. I don’t know how many little aches/pains he’s prevented from becoming full blown injuries—and I don’t want to find out!
KL: What was the lowest point of your race? What helped you get through it?
KT: I usually always have a bit of a low point right before the halfway point and this race was no different. I was able to get through it because I saw my friend and 100-mile runner Tanya Giannottii on the course right before the mile 26 aid station! She was going through a low point too so we were both happy to see each other. I stopped and checked in with her and we even took a photo together. That encounter lifted my spirits tremendously and I never really had a low point after that. I also got to see her finish and that was definitely a highlight of my Superior experience.
KL: What’s something we should know about you that doesn’t have to do with running?
KT: Let’s see. This is hard. A lot of my life revolves around running in some way. Before I was a runner, I used to be a somewhat competitive golfer in my high school days. I also used to smoke. Ew.
KL: Bonus question! Please make up a question you think we should know about and answer it.
KT: To piggyback on the previous answer, I started running when I was 23 with the Couch to 5k program. A lot of people who hear about ultrarunning think they could never do it and that us ultrarunners all have a running background. Truth is—a lot of us don’t! That’s not saying everyone should go run ultras but if you really have the desire to do it, it’s 100% possible. I am so thankful I found trails and the ultrarunning community. Both have made a huge impact in my life and can’t imagine my life without either!