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The Optimistic Runner

An interview with ultra-runner Kami Semick; by Marion Ang

An explorer, trail seeker and mother of one – elite ultra runner Kami reveals her training tips and experiences when preparing for a 100K marathon.

A bubbly Kami during the interview

Reaching the midway mark, fatigue starts kicking in – taking another step is heavy and painful. Breathing heavily and battling against mind games, ultra running proves to be a physically and mentally tough challenge to take on. For many, participating or completing a 100K race is simply an impossible dream. However, for Kami Semick, 46, who has been an ultra runner since 2005, her trick to completing a 100K race is regular training, proper recovery and self-motivation.

With her humble and down-to-earth nature, speaking to Kami was like chatting with an old friend over a cup of coffee. A sprinter back in high school, she fell in love with running when she was 16. It was only in 2005, when she took part in her first ultra marathon and she is now one of the top ultra runners in the world.

Currently residing in Hong Kong, Kami was happy to share some key points of her regular training, “The back bone of my training is long runs. I will do back-to-back long runs, because what’s important to me is being able to train my body to run fatigued.”

She prefers to schedule rest rather than be forced to rest. “I take one complete day off a week, other runs are slower recover runs done on softer surfaces so my body can recover,” she says.

Despite facing setbacks in some races, she believes the key to running through a race is to always keep going: “I have mentally struggled through so many races, and that’s the sport.”

Kami Samick

“I may feel bad after I feel better,” says Kami with an eye-rolling chuckle, “but at least I know that I can feel better, and then manage through that.”

Speaking from her experience, Kami has had some of her best races feeling the worst, “You have to be an optimist to be an ultra runner. You have to be confident, that you will be stoked when you get to the finish line.”

“There are a lot of mental games that we play, but you learn to play ‘em,” says Kami.

As for nutrition, the lean and toned lady is a strong believer of having a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner. While running a distance of 100 miles, Kami suggest eating solids, like turkey or cheese sandwiches. She candidly shares her personal experience of bringing her food with her as she races, in her jog bra, revealing that it adds to the “grilled cheese effect. “

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