Runner Questionnaire - Erin Rasco

When and why did you start running?

I originally started running when I was 8 years old. My older sister had just joined the cross country team and I really looked up to her. It didn’t take too long before I enjoyed beating boys in my elementary school class and that really made me love it.

What’s your favorite race to date, and why?

At this moment it’s Upstate Classic this year. I had originally planned for the Mohawk Hudson Marathon to  be my “comeback race” after having two kids. I got very ill right before it and DNFed at 10 miles. I had Upstate Classic as my backup, and thankfully Josh Merlis let me switch to the full marathon. Well, my husband tested positive for COVID 11 days before, so I thought that was it. Everything ended up working out in the end and I did better than I had predicted on a not so fast course. It was a beautiful race and the finish was made grander by all the obstacles in the way before it.

What has been your biggest running adventure to date?

Right now, I have two young kids at home so I stay as local as I can (I’m from Plattsburgh). I used to be a  triathlete and have gotten hailed on in Ironman Texas. I enjoy snowshoe racing too, and used to race up Whiteface Mountain.

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who?

I was following a marathon plan from Jack Daniels last year. After the Upstate Classic, I just started with a new coach, Dave Ames from Ame for It Coaching. I figured I wanted to do what I could to go up to the next level.

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season?

This past year was about 60 miles per week. I have been very careful and gentle with my mileage increases due to a history of stress fractures. This is my first real off-season as a runner and not a triathlete. I took some time off after my marathon,  and did some easy mileage. Now I’m adding some hills and speedwork in but more on effort and time rather than pace. I live very upstate and winter running can be a bit tricky.

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill? If you do run outside, what safety measures do you take?

I mostly brave the cold, but my one exception is ice. At this point this year I’ve had multiple runs with a wind chill in the negative teens and twenties. The cold doesn’t bother me as long as I’m dressed well for it, and living upstate you get pretty used to it. I do have a treadmill and use it when necessary.

When I was running while pregnant I used it a lot more due to safety concerns. I just picked a good Netflix  show to keep me busy.

I run outside at night after my kids have gone to sleep. I use a flashing light-up vest, a headlamp, and a fluorescent jacket. I carry pepper spray, my phone and I always have my LiveTrack on my Garmin running. I live in a pretty safe neighborhood but would rather have it all just in case.

List your PRs: Race, time, year

Half marathon -1:24:34 at Half Unplugged in VT 2021

Marathon - 2:56:24 at Upstate Classic 2021

Half Ironman - 4:59 at Tupper Lake Tinman 2013

Ironman-10:31 at Ironman Maryland 2014

What was your worst injury and how did you get over it?

I fractured my pelvis (pubic ramus to be exact) snowshoeing. It was pretty predictable. I took some time off running with my first pregnancy due to hip issues, then came back too much too fast. It took about 8 months and two different orthopedic doctors to get a correct treatment plan and get it to heal correctly. I had to even stop doing anything with my core and couldn’t even sit on an upright bike to cross-train because they were all slowing healing.

Your favorite shoe for training and racing

I vary what I train in: Saucony Endorphin Speeds to fast days, Asics Novablast for easier runs, and I’ve been enjoying Skechers GoTrail for winter running. I race in Saucony Endorphin Pros.

Ever run in a costume?

Yup! My favorite was running as a banana and making cheesy jokes about how I “gotta split.”

Do you work with a dietitian to enhance your performance?  If so, who?

I do not.

What are your favorite pre-race and post-race meals?

When I was a triathlete, I once read about a multiple Kona (the Ironman World Championship) winner eating pizza and a tray of brownies before each win. So after some testing, pizza is my pre-race dinner always. The morning of a race is something boring like coffee, and peanut butter on an english muffin. Afterwards it’s usually something Mexican, like a nice burrito.

What activities do you enjoy when not running?

Spending time with my family is my main activity outside of teaching. Between working full time and trying to squeak in training, my family time is what I value the most.

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

My plan is to do a few more marathons and halves to try to improve my times. I do want to race a few 5-10ks to work on getting PRs there. I always toy with the idea of hitting some trails but we’ll see what happens.

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?

To put the watch away and not get caught up analyzing everything. I’m a scientist, so I like numbers. But   we all are doing this just for fun, and a watch doesn’t measure that.

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