QuynhAnh Nguyen (in her own words): First off, I’d like to say I feel very under-qualified to be chosen as the Featured UltraRunner this month. I was a little hesitant, at first, to be honest. But then, I realized there are other runners out there that might be where I am- at the beginning of their ultra journey. My first ultra was Free State 40 Mile trail ultra at Clinton Lake a few years ago. I highly recommend this race as it is a very, very beautiful and technical course. (I’d like to come back for the 100K soon) After that race, I took some time off from running as I got busy with raising kids and going to school full-time. (Not an ultra, but just a fun tidbit…Last year, I qualified for a Guinness record at the Layton Marathon for a silly feat of being a part of the largest, ever documented, tethered group of runners.) Then, this year, I ran Heartland 50 mile, Gravel Grind 50K, and Heartland 100. Each one of these races was memorable for very different reasons. With every race, and race preparation, I’ve become stronger, physically and mentally, and have learned more about myself. Running long distances has helped me deal with life’s stresses and I find it to be very meditative. I enjoy running solo as much as I do with friends. I’ve also met the most amazing, friendly, and encouraging friends in the ultra community. I hope to meet many, many more of you, soon…happy trails!!!
Date of Birth: Earth Day, 1979
Place of Birth: Woodward, OK
Currently Residing: Wichita, KS
Job(s): Owner of Windswept Acres (horse stables); Asst Teacher at Tap & Tumble; Realty Assistant; Substitute teacher.
Height: 5′ 2.5″
Weight: 118-124 ( I never get skinny- I love mah’ food!)
Shoe Size: Regular shoes 7.5, running shoes 8.5
Best Physical Feature: My legs
Worst Physical Feature: My legs (It’s a love/hate relationship)
Educational Background: Lifelong professional student.
Personal Strength(s): Stubborn, optimistic, spontaneous.
Personal Weakness(es): Too stubborn, too optimistic, too spontaneous.
Make Of Car You Drive: Toyota Sienna
Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: Never really cared or thought about it, probably something loud and powerful and fast.
Pets: We raise goats, miniature Hereford cows, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, and dogs.
Favorite Author: No favorite (too many good ones).
Favorite Book: No favorite–Too many good ones, but I especially enjoy memoirs. The last good one I read was With or Without You by Domenica Ruta.
Favorite Non-running Magazine: Entrepreneur
Favorite Movie: Don’t have a favorite movie…just don’t like movies with sad endings.
Favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy
Favorite Actor/Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Matt Damon
Favorite Music: I like all kinds
Favorite Musical Performer: Josh Groban, Pentatonix, Cold Play, and Garth Brooks.
Favorite Artist: My kids
Favorite Spectator Sport: My kids’ soccer games and tennis matches.
Favorite Subject in School: Biology, sociology, and teacher education courses.
Favorite Game: Monopoly, Taboo, Charades, and a new favorite- Speak Out.
Favorite Vacation Destination: Coastal California and Pacific Northwest.
Favorite Time Of Day: Sunrise and Sunset
Favorite Item Of Clothing: Running windbreaker
Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: PiYo (challenging blend of pilates and yoga)
Favorite Running Shoe: New Balance 1500 series (getting harder and harder to find, sad face)
Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Leftovers from the night before, or whatever I have at home.
Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Bone broth and Perpetuem
Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Pho
Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): ThuThuy Kahler, Sara Gillespie, Kevin Swinicki, my 19 yo son.
Favorite Place To Run: I’m really digging the rail-to-trail system here that runs from Wichita to Garden Plain. < And > Air Capital Memorial mountain bike single track
Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Dirt, gravel, and snow
Favorite Famous Quote: “Do or do not, there is no try.” -Yoda
Number of Years Running Ultras: 2 years: ran 1 in 2013, 3 in 2016
Number of Ultras Finished: 4 (I’m definitely still a newbie!)
Best Ultra Performance(s): Well, I haven’t DNF’d yet, so I’m proud of that!
Most Memorable Ultra: They all have been memorable for different reasons!
Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: 75-90 miles/week plus cross-training
Injuries: Fell and injured my ulna nerve in my right arm and lost strength and feeling in my fingers but that has since almost completely healed.
Ultrarunning Idol: Kathy Bratton
Why Do You Run Ultras: Running long distances is very therapeutic for me. It calms my mind and soothes my soul. Plus, I’ve met the most wonderful people, many of whom are my closest friends, in the ultra community.
Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Believe you can, and you can. The mind wills the body. Walk if you need, but keep moving.
ACHIEVEMENTS / GOALS / MEMORIES
Personal Hero: Anybody who has fought or is fighting a debilitating handicap or disease/illness
Personal Philosophy: Always find the good in every situation and in every person.
Short-Term Goal: Complete another hundred miler.
Long-Term Goal: Run ultras throughout the world and run the US coast to coast, not to beat any time record, just to do it.
Most Prized Possession: Photos of my kids.
Most Proud Achievement: Not letting auto immune disease define my life.
Happiest Memory: The births of my kids.
Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Win the lottery and become rich but live like a homeless, in other words…be a wandering nomad, setting up camp in the mountains, and running in and with nature for the rest of my days.
Greatest Adventure: In Colorado, going off the trail, taking a “shortcut” (DON’T DO THIS, KIDS!!) and almost falling off the side of a mountain as the terrain got very steep, climbing and grasping (sometimes loose) boulders….very frightening situation and also the most memorable adventure.
DISLIKES / FEARS
Least Liked Subject: Chemistry, Philosophy, and Political Science.
Least Liked Household Chore: Dusting above the kitchen cabinets.
Pet Peeve(s): When people are inconsiderate.
Greatest Fear: Losing my loved ones too soon.
Book Currently Reading: May I Be Happy (A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind) and Prophet’s Prey.
Hobbies: When I have time- reading (I like memoirs) and watching movies (especially documentaries).
Collections: Material possessions mean nothing to me (except photos).
What’s next: A spring 100