Meet Molly. A naturally gifted athlete since childhood, and later, a record-breaking All-American field hockey MVP. Today she’s part of team RockTape… and running across the USA, from Santa Monica to Montauk. Why? So challenged athletes can stay in the game and go stronger longer. We radioed Molly in Missouri last week for this interview, or something like that…
Molly, tell us a little bit about yourself and your athletic background.
I grew up outside playing basically every sport, whether it was out front in the street or in an organized league. Soccer was my main sport growing up; I played competitively. I decided to play field hockey in college, where I had a very successful career on and off the field. I was a three time All-American, four time Academic All-American, captain, broke nearly every record the field hockey program had, and set some new ones of my own.
I’ve always been a good runner because of soccer and field hockey, but I never considered myself a distance runner. It wasn’t until I decided to do this run across the country that I began to train.
Right now you’re in the middle of an epic endurance run across the United States, from coast to coast (Santa Monica CA to Montauk, NY). What gave you the idea to do this?
I had heard of people doing it as a group – each person would run a leg and they did it for a cause. I got wind of the idea but knew I wanted to do all of it. I knew it was going to be a HUGE and uncomfortable challenge for me and it would get people’s attention. I wanted to make a big statement to bring more awareness to Challenged Athletes Foundation.
How did you become affiliated with the CAF Foundation?
When I decided to run across the country, I didn’t have the foundation picked out yet but I knew that I wanted it to be revolved around people with physical disabilities. I did some research online and CAF checked all the boxes and then some. In late 2017 / early 2018, I called them and right away they were onboard – asking how they could help me. I’ve been to a handful of events for them and have since connected with some of their athletes. It was tough to find time to do all this while training but I’m really looking forward to getting more involved once I’m done with the run.
How did you train?
I hired a coach, Bree Sanders. She is an accomplished and well known ultra runner in the San Jose area. She focused on building my aerobic base and strengthening my entire body – mostly my core. Each week I would have tempo runs, a speed workout on the track, a run by feel, and a long slow day. My weekly mileage started off low – this is where I started to build my base. I also had gym workouts each week which included a lot of box jumps, cable rows, balance exercises, and core stability workouts. After I built my base, my runs got longer/faster. This helped with injury prevention. Bree’s main goal was to make sure I stayed injury free the entire time of training – which worked out.
You stopped in AZ to see a Rock Doc for an injury. What happened?
I had an Achilles injury in my first few weeks of running – something that has never hurt me before. Dr. Jimmy in Scottsdale, AZ treated my calves with acupuncture and RockPods. The Achilles pain was because my calves were so tight. He also used RockFloss and taped me up before I left. He helped me tremendously not only physically but after seeing him and talking with him on how I could do things to prevent this, I mentally felt stronger.
How did your expectations match up to the reality of the run?
I think I prepared myself very well. I physically feel like I did what I had to do. Going into this I knew it would be more of a mental game though, so I told myself if was going to be hard. My expectations match up to the reality pretty well.
I wish I did a better job of eating while I ran. I would do this on my long slow runs periodically, but looking back I don’t think I did it enough. I struggled the first month with eating while running – this could have probably gone smoother if I practiced it more in training.
What are your pre-run and post-run rituals?
Pre-run I always wake my muscles up with my massage gun. Then I’ll roll out using my TriggerPoint roller, I’ll do some warm up movements with RockFloss on and then I tape my Achilles. They don’t hurt anymore but I still tape them for preventative measures. I also weigh myself every morning before I eat.
Post-run I put my feet in an ice bath right away for 20 minutes. I use Rapid Reboot hip and leg attachments. I do the hips for 20 minutes and the legs for 30 minutes and then immediately put my legs straight up on a wall to let the lactic acid drain. A few times a week I’ll do an epsom bath on my feet too. Every night I get a deep tissue massage (Thanks Mom!) – which has been a game changer. Ever since we started incorporating this, I don’t wake up as sore.
What has been the most unexpected experience of the run so far?
WEATHER. I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting all of these thunderstorms. The rain is fine to run in (I actually like it) but when the lightning starts…we can’t really mess with that. I wait till the last minute, up until it’s super close to us because I want to run as much as I can.
How do the running conditions differ from state to state?
Arizona was a dry heat which didn’t really bother me. In Texas it started getting more humid and I noticed because I was sweating more. The thunderstorms started in Oklahoma and have been present ever since. Again, I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting it would happen so much. Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri have been very stormy and I feel like this is just how it’s going to be for the remainder of the run.
I’m in Missouri right now. It has been hilly and stormy, but when it’s sunny out, it’s so beautiful. Their highway is lined with green and trees and it feels like I’m going through a lush forest.
How do you stay motivated when you want to throw in the towel?
CAF is always the main motivator. I am doing this all for them and I want to achieve my fundraising goal and I know that can only happen if I stay on track running wise and continue spreading the word of their incredible foundation. While that’s always my #1…I have other ways of “staying in the game.” When I go out to run I never go out and run 40 miles. I always tell myself I’m going on a 5 mile run. I break my day up in 5 mile increments. When I finish 5, I eat a snack, and repeat up to 8 times…simple as that (LOL)
How can we follow you?
You can follow on Instagram! I post stories daily on how my day is going, where I am in the country, and more. You can also visit my website, milesbymolly.com for more info on why I’m running, who CAF is, my blog, and most importantly…my DONATION LINK.
How can we help?
Donate. Donate. Donate. And spread the word. The more people that know about CAF, the better.