GETTING TO KNOW.....Traci Falbo

In this, the first, edition of GETTING TO KNOW...., find out how Traci Falbo, an accomplished American ultra runner from Charlestown, Indiana found her way to running races as long as 2 days long. In addition to being one of the most successful ultra runners in the nation, she is also a mother of two and a full-time pediatric physical therapist. However, her most successful feat was losing over 80 pounds as she made a life altering decision twelve years ago. Since then, Traci has run a marathon in every state, winning 19 of them. She has been a member of Team USA for the world 24 Hour championships in 2013 and 2015. At the 2015 world championships she ran 239.74 km (149 miles) to win the silver medal as the USA won the team title.  In 2014 she set the indoor world record in the 48-hour event; running 389.61 km (242.10 miles)
Tell us about your weight loss experience and what motivated you to change?
I went to Hawaii in 2003 and had my photos developed. When I looked at them, I was disgusted with how heavy I looked. When you are overweight, you know it, but you don't realize how bad you look until you see a picture of yourself. That was the turning point.  it took me a little over a year to lose 80 pounds.

What was your secret to losing the weight?
It was pretty simple, eating sensibly and exercise.  I wish I could say it was more complicated.  I guess truly committing to a change in lifestylewas the key. 
Explain how you became interested in ultra running?
On my way to run a marathon in every state, I ran back to back (Saturday/Sunday) marathons to save on plane fare. A friend of mine, said...if you can do that, you can do a 50 miler. After a 50 miler, came a 100 miler and I fell in love with ultras.
What was it like to have been a member of Team USA on two 24 Hour teams?
It is an honor and a privilege. There is nothing like representing your country in competition! I felt so proud to wear "USA" on my shirt. It's a different experience because you are not just running for you, but your country, and your team (because there is team scoring). So, I always train hard, and aim high when representing USA.
What exactly goes through your head during those 24 hours and what do you do to pass the time?
Everything from stuff I need to do (in life) to "why do I do this-this is hard-I want to quit" to enjoyable conversations with other runners to cheering people on to listening to music.
How do you balance being a mother, full-time pediatric physical therapist, and one of the top ultra runner’s in America?
It is a big juggle. I have to be adaptable. There are times when work runs over or kids need something and I have to cut runs short. I often juggle my schedule as it is home health with kids who get sick or parents need to reschedule for one reason or another. I have to be flexible and creative. I often try to train early enough on the weekends, so that I still have time with family.
I also could not do it without the support of my husband and kids. They are incredible.
What does a typical week of training look like for you?
I run 5 days a week, and cross train the other 2 days. I typically do core and PT exercises 3-4 times per week.
What is one thing you cannot live without?
Describe your worst habit?
Describe your pre-race ritual?
Try to read about the course and make a race plan. I get up 2 hours before the race and eat a bagel with peanunt butter and honey.
What is the perfect post-race meal?
Recoverite mixed in a G2 immediately post race. As soon as my belly settles, I LOVE a good burger and ice cream. 
If you had a day off from running and working, how you spend it and why?
Sleeping in, enjoying a day with my hubby and family...doing anything from playing cards, watching a movie, something fun and relaxing...usually involves eating out.

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with special thanks to Bethany Neely for her contributions on this article