Featured Runner “Tralaine Benefiel” May 2018

Tralaine Benefiel (in her own words): I have always enjoyed running. I began running sprints (100m & 200m) in middle school and high school. During high school, 2 miles seemed like a really long distance. I may have whined a bit during the runs. After college, preparing for my wedding, I needed to lose the freshman 15lbs that hung on for four years. So, I started running with my mother-in-law after work. I was hooked before I realized how far we were running because we had so much to talk about during the runs. We trained for my first marathon in 1996 with Leukemia Team in Training for the New York City Marathon. Had a baby girl. Started training again for the Chicago marathon. Had a baby boy. Continued training along with raising my two energetic kids. Everyone should know, I have the most encouraging husband ever. I was fortunate to get to stay at home with my little ones to play and train off and on for marathons with my husband and family. Fast forward 17 years after 18 marathons, many half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks.

My sister had an idea that we train for Brew to Brew 44 miles before we turned 40. I thought she was crazy! Well, I turned out to be crazy, too! The training was what I needed to maintain a bit of sanity during the start of our business and raising two kids with very busy schedules. The solitude of many miles alone helped me plan and figure out what truly was important to me and ultrarunning became my new passion. Sometimes, as a stay at home mom, you can lose sight of yourself while putting all your time and energy into your families’ needs and wants.

Running was all about me and feeling a passion and strength I didn’t know I had inside. After several chats with friends and family and a couple Brew to Brew runs (and beers too). I decided I wanted to try the 100 mile race at the Prairie Spirit Trail. I had never been so nervous after finding out the First Annual Event had a blizzard that required they pulled everyone off the course nearly 24 hours into the race. What had I signed up for and convinced my crew into helping me run for longer than I had ever stayed awake…let alone run. Well, I thought, the run is close to home, so my family and friend crew could help me on my adventure and then drive home in 24-30 hours. No big deal! Well, I ended up placing 11th overall and first female, on my first attempt in 21:29:04. I couldn’t believe my fantasy became a reality in under 24 hours (pictured above).

The following year, while training for Prairie Spirit Trail 50 miles, I had some fainting spells that freaked me out. After several months of tests and worrying, my cardiologist determined I had a hole in my heart that 1 in 4 people have and continue happy healthy lives. So, for the next year, my cardiologist determined that I was healthy and ready to return back to my ultrarunning lifestyle. Yippee! Since then, I have ran the Frisco Railroad 50 miler, Brew to Brew 44 miles, for a third time, to my 2nd 100 mile finish several weeks ago.

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful support system to encourage me to train and fully enjoy my ultrarunning journeys. Throughout these journeys, I am finding the inner strength to reach my goals and try to help others achieve their goals as well. Whatever it takes, never give up!

THE BASICS

Date of Birth: 4/16/1972

Place of Birth: Wichita, KS.

Currently Residing:  Wichita, KS.

Marital Status: Married 22 years to my elementary school sweetheart, Andy.

Job(s): My husband, Andy, and I have own our company, Benefiel Professional Plumbing for 9 years. I also, teach cycle and muscle pump at the Greater Wichita YMCA.

Children: Tanna, 20 year old, sophomore soccer player at Emporia State University. Calvin, 16 year old, sophomore football and lacrosse player at Maize South High School.

Height: 5’3”

Weight: 135

Shoe Size: 8 ½ everyday shoe, 9 running shoe.

Best Physical Feature: My smile.

Worst Physical Feature: My frown.

Political Affiliation: Democratic

Educational Background: Kansas State University graduate with an accounting degree.

Personal Strength(s): A desire to succeed- no quitting until I’m done.

Personal Weakness(es): My nutrition should be better, I love to eat (goes along great with ultra-running to burn lots of calories).

Make Of Car You Drive: GMC Yukon, holds my tall kids comfortably for long road trips to their sporting events and my running adventures.

Pets: Two Chihuahuas, Poncho and Liberty.

FAVORITES

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Men’s Health- great ideas for strength training.

Favorite Movie: Devil Wears Prada. Best quote, “I am one flu away from my goal weight.”

Favorite TV Show: I enjoy Netflix series to watch while running for hours on the treadmill during brutal winter months.

Favorite Music: Upbeat, uplifting musical genres for cycling mixes and running mixes.

Favorite Musical Performer: Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Prince, and many others. I really enjoy the power of music to motivate and change my mood and keep pushing me further on long runs.

Favorite Spectator Sport: Soccer (daughter, Tanna plays midfield at Emporia State University) and Lacrosse (son, Calvin plays defender with club ball high school team). Both sports keep my attention for hours and involve a lot of running…go figure! 😊

Favorite Subject in School: Math – I have an accounting degree from Kansas State University.

Favorite Game: Lately, it is Pickle Ball at family get togethers. We are all very competitive!

Favorite Vacation Destination: Anywhere that has a race involved in the agenda of the vacation. Lately, the Rocky Mountains with relaxation in the agenda.

Favorite Time Of Day: Early morning before the sunrise.

Favorite Item Of Clothing: My running belt, it holds my life together.

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Cycling and hiking.

Favorite Running Shoe: Hoka One One Arahi – this training I switched from Cliftons for more stability. They really do feel like pillows on your feet. Thank goodness they are getting a more fashionable appearance.

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: I don’t eat a lot, a bite or two of banana and a bar.

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Gatorade, Propel, bars, bananas, sandwich meat and cheese, peanut butter, chicken noodles more broth than noodles as it gets dark and cold.

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Recovery drink, a protein shake, coffee then cheeseburger and beers.

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): My husband, Andy and daughter, Tanna are great crew and pacers. My son, Calvin is great support crew member. I am very fortunate to have a workout group of 8 that enjoy helping me through the trainings in any way they can, mentally, physically or crewing. Along this training I recruited my younger brother, Louis to help and our friend Kelly to run with me. It took many to support me and the roller coaster of emotions during 2018 Prairie Spirit Trail 100.

Tralaine with her family (all smiles) after her recent PST 100 finish!

Favorite Place To Run: Sedgwick County Park for location and no traffic.

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Asphalt…but, I end up doing a lot of concrete for convenience and lighting early in the morning.

Favorite Famous Quote: “I don’t live to work, I work to live.” — Noel Gallagher. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” — Fred DeVito.

ULTRA STUFF

Number of Years Running Ultras: Since 2012- 6 years.

Number of Ultras Finished:  Six after the 100 miles at Prairie Spirit Trail 2018.

Best Ultra Performance(s): 2014, 100 miles at Prairie Spirit Trail. First female 21:30.

Most Memorable Ultra: This past 100 mile race. I wanted to quit before hitting Garnett (25 miles) and new it was going to be a tough battle. I have never DNF’d and thought this was going to be the day. I had a cold or allergies causing difficulty breathing and getting deep breathes. The mental battle was extreme for me too early in the race. My crew family said I looked sheet white and they were wondering if I was going to make it, but they reminded me, our family mantra, “We don’t quit!”

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: 25 weeks, with 2 build up weeks and 1 recovery week. Mondays I teach an indoor cycling class. Tuesday medium length run. Wednesday I teach an indoor cycle circuit. Thursday short run to the YMCA, I teach muscle pump, then run home. Friday, longest run of the week and Saturday run again. Sunday is eating and resting day. Try to throw some yoga in somewhere.

Injuries: Cranky left ankle leading to a weaker left leg, but, knock on wood…nothing major yet. I have been fortunate to have Dr. Hummel, my chiropractor, put me back together when I start falling apart and my strides turn into shuffles. Ice baths hurt so good!

Why Do You Run Ultras:  I enjoy pushing myself for an extreme goal that I think I may not be able to complete. Training for 25 weeks is so mentally and physically hard and rewarding all at the same time. It is the best feeling to push past the point of no return and come out the other side as a survivor. As I get older I learn to appreciate the little things more and realize that I want to do what I can to get the most out of my life and hopefully help our children get the most out of their lives. Why not keep trying!

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Use a training plan and stay positive! When you think you can’t handle any more, you truly can push yourself more. The satisfaction is emotionally so amazing that words can never explain the raw feelings of joy you will feel. Fight the inner self doubt and fear of failure in order to fulfill your desire to succeed. Push failure away with the determination and the ability to say I will and I can.

ACHIEVEMENTS / GOALS / MEMORIES

Personal Hero: My mother-in-law, Sharon LaFoe. She started me on my long-distance journey in 1995 to help me loss weight before my wedding. We have continued to run ever since then for many miles and we enjoy walking, too. Her positive attitude and joy for life is so contagious. She reminds me to be the best person I can be every day.

Personal Philosophy:  Be positive and never quit, whatever it takes.

Short-Term Goal: Keep moving forward and never say never.

Long-Term Goal: Too early to decide.

Most Proud Achievement: Putting myself through college.

Happiest Memory: The birth of my two kids.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: To be independently wealthy, or sponsored, so I could work out where ever and whenever I wanted. Oh, the places I could go…running!

DISLIKES / FEARS

Least Liked Subject: Biology, the only science I ever enjoyed was the Chemistry between me and my husband.

Least Liked Household Chore: Dusting, you wipe away the dirt and it comes right back.

Pet Peeve(s): Negative personalities, we all have rough times but why dwell on it. Move on and realize it will pass. Go for a run!

Greatest Fear: Not being able to run.

SPARE TIME

Hobbies: Group Exercise Instructor at the Greater Wichita YMCA. I currently teach cycling and muscle pump 3 days a week. I get to meet the most amazing people during my time at the YMCA and have made some wonderful friends.

Collections: Running shoes, hee-hee. It’s time to purge the closet and get new ones!

What’s Next: I promised my husband we would do the 50k next year together at the Prairie Spirit Trail.

Tralaine, “chillaxin” with her husband, Andy!

 

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