Training For Ultra's Training Diaries - Issue #8

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Guest: Lucja Leonard

Episode Title: When a Mountain Lion Ends Your Race - Lucja Leonard's Triple Crown of 200's

Bio: Lucja Leonard is an ultrarunner and coach and, well, she is such an adventurer, it is a little hard to say where she is based, so let’s just say you can find her anywhere there’s a crazy endurance challenge! Although Lucja only got into running a little over ten years ago, as a way to lose some weight, she has done everything from 10ks, multi day stage races, to 100 milers and most recently she ran her first 200 miler! Lucja lived the majority of her life in the U.K., but since she got into endurance events, she has also raced all over the world and the U.S. so, she provides a unique perspective on the differences and similarities of the world’s ultrarunning communities and endurance events. Some of Lucja’s most notable races include: UTMB, Kalahari Extreme Marathon, Marathon des Sables, Mohican 100, and the HURT100. Lucja’s favorite ultras, though, are the ones with the smaller, more low-key start lines where you truly get to know and bond with your fellow racers. She believes it is the suffering and problem solving that ultrarunning requires, which both bonds and empowers people during these grueling events. Running all over the world has expanded Lucja’s worldview and she believes every experience in life, the good and the bad, is a part of training. Lucja is the first to say that time is irrelevant in ultrarunning purely because it is such a small part of such an intense experience and any challenge only adds to the adventure. It is this great mindset and wealth of experience that most recently got Lucja to the finish line of the Bigfoot 200, her first 200 miler. This was also the first race of her 2021 Triple Crown attempt which has now been altered due to the wildfires in Tahoe. Lucja has not let this get her down though and she continues to inspire runners all over the world to persevere and power on through life, training, and racing.  

Lucja’s last appearance on T4U: The Training For Ultra Podcast: The Lost Interview w/ Lucja Leonard (

Quotes from podcast episode:

“It is such a life changing experience to go out there and run 200 miles, on your own steam, on your own two feet. I think the main reason for me wanting to do it was, because I wanted to see how that would feel and how that could change my life. Now that I have come out the other side of it, I feel like I am superwoman, like, I feel like I can do anything… It just makes you feel so strong and so powerful, it’s amazing!” - 7:53 Lucja Leonard

“This is why we do these tough endurance races, is to get to the point where everything hurts and you’re questioning your sanity, you’re questioning your reason for being out there and that's where you want to get to, you want to get to that really really low point, that you have to crawl back out of… It’s such a revealing thing to go and do that. It reveals you as a true person and that’s where the magic happens… I don’t think you can to that in anything else apart from when you’re doing these extreme endurance races. ” 9:14 Lucja Leonard 

“Who runs 200 miles? It’s so hard, it really is… There’s so many of those highs and lows.” - 19:19 Lucja Leonard

“That’s what ultrarunners do right, help each other out?” - 28:01 Lucja Leonard

“I had previously seen Michael Jackson the day before out on course.” - 43:37 Lucja Leonard

“I never would have imagined I could have done that in the last seven miles. It just blows my mind that my body was capable, that I was capable of doing it… I was so scared to try because I thought what if I hurt myself, what if I break, what if I can’t do it? What if I try so hard and I can’t achieve what I want to achieve, but you do and it just really changes your whole perspective on what you’re capable of. It’s phenomenal!” - 50:05 Lucja Leonard

“My goal was to do the Triple, so I am going to have to do the virtual.” - 57:31 Lucja Leonard

“Actually, now that I have had a couple of days to think about it there was a lot of fatigue from actually trying to get organized to do a virtual. You don’t realize how much time, mental energy it takes… all that stuff you need to do to prepare.” - 1:07:47 Lucja Leonard

“It’s amazing how much adrenaline can move your body a lot quicker!... It was the scariest thing I have ever gone through - it was so freaky!” 1:14:55 Lucja Leonard

“We couldn’t even really talk; we just keep looking at each other… you just could not even think about it… I have never felt so scared!” - 1:15:33 Lucja Leonard

“There is something more eerie about a mountain lion, than there is about a bear, or a rattlesnake, or anything.” Lujca Leonard 1:16:23

Episode Timeline:

5:10 Post Badwater 135 experience

7:17 Why do the Triple Crown?

8:45 UTMB experiences

10:10 Bigfoot 200 Experience

15:40 Triple Crown mindset

16:56 When does the suffering/self-doubt kick in during Bigfoot 200?

27:50 River crossings in Bigfoot 200

30:10 Trail naps

34:00 Challenges of coordinating crew during Bigfoot 200

43:30 Sleep deprivation and seeing Michael Jackson

45:40 The last checkpoint 

46:50 Seven miles to go

49:30 Finishing the race in less than 90 hours

52:00 Finish line emotions

53:20 Applying race experience to coaching

55:05 Wildfires in Tahoe

56:30 Salt Lake City 200 Miler 

58:00 Foot care and successful blister prevention

1:00:10 Moab 240

1:00:40 Tahoe 200 Virtual Race route

1:03:00 Final takeaways from first 200 miler

1:04:00 Virtual 200 Mountain Lion Update


Social Media:

Instagram:Lucja Leonard (@runningdutchie) • Instagram photos and videos  Twitter: Lucja Leonard (@Runningdutchie) / Twitter Website: Running Dutchie – Running, personal fitness, health & wellness – I can help you achieve your goals Facebook: Lucja Leonard (@Runningdutchie) / Twitter

Big thank you to the podcast supporters!

John Wayne Cancer Foundation - Run the GRIT Series

Tanri Outdoors - All Natural Sun Protection for Runners (use “ULTRA10” for 10% off)

XoSkin (use “T4U20” for 15% off)

Thank you Patreon supporters!