Local trail running great Jess Schluter has joined our star-studded line up of ultra running elites in pursuit of the BTU 110 km number one. We were able to pick Jess’s brain to find out a bit more about what motivates her to compete at the highest level.
How did Jess get into running? “I have always enjoyed bush walking and hiking and then I got into running as a way to deal with work and study stress. Being out exploring the bush with my dog is seriously one of my most favourite things to do.” Jess’s kelpie is very lucky and must be super fit to keep up with her!
Jess represented Australia in the 2018 World Trail Championships in Spain. We wanted to know a little bit more about how she got there and her experience. “The first six months of 2018 was some of the most solid and consistent training I’ve ever had. The race was held on the Penyagalosa Trail which is in the east of Spain near Valencia. The trail covered 85km of rocky mostly single track and had over 5000 meters elevation. At one point in the race I remember needing all four limbs to climb up some very rocky sections that seemed to go on forever. The other Aussie reps were so supportive and we had a fantastic time hanging out before and after the race. There were plenty of crewing locations along the course and luckily all the Aussie runners finished with 30 minutes of each other which meant it was a great experience at the checkpoints for the crew and then at the finish line celebrations. I finished in 12 hours 30 mins and the women’s team came 12th. It was an experience I will always cherish.”
With so many achievements, it would be difficult to pinpoint a favourite race but it is a question we have to ask! “Probably Blackall 100. It was my first individual 100km event and because of this event I was able to race in Spain. But I also love Kepler Challenge in NZ. The mountains and views there are just mind blowing. Plus you get a chocolate milk and a beer when you cross the finish line.” Hmm, it appears that there are many more draw cards to an event than just the views!!
There are always the downfalls for a high training load and unfortunately Jess has had to rehabilitate from injury before. It was in July last year that she had a torn plantar fascia. What would you say is the most important part of your recovery process? “It has been a tedious and frustrating time but I’m hoping I am through the worst of it. I’d have to say the most important part of recovery for me has been trusting your gut instinct. I have seen so many physio’s, doctors, podiatrists, acupuncturists and have gotten so many different opinions on how to fix the problem. Early on in the process I was given advice that just didn’t feel right. I didn’t follow it and I’m glad I didn’t cause I would have ended up in a world of pain. Oh and also patience. I have none and that has been a big learning curve for me. No point in rushing things if you are only going to be back to square one after a month or so. The race/event/trails will always be there but maybe our tendons/joints/muscles won’t be if we bugger them up!” Well said Jess.
Nutrition is such an important part of endurance running. Let’s find out if Jess has any tricks of the trade. Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? and does it change when you are getting ready to race? “I don’t have any specific nutrition plan. I try not to eat processed foods because I feel better for it. I am not a fan of cooking so am lucky to have a partner who is great in the kitchen and cooks up a storm. Pre-race I do try and up my probiotics as I think this helps with gut troubles during events.”
Jess, how do you balance your training/racing/work/personal life? “Since stopping shift work a few years ago training has gotten a lot easier to fit into my week. I used to be a mess after night shifts but now I am lucky to work Monday to Friday. I train before work either by myself or with my friends and then weekends are for long runs and cross training on my mountain bike. I have a very supportive partner who puts up with my alarm going off at 3:30am and with me falling asleep on the couch at 7:30pm.”
What is your usual running kit? “I like my Salomon shoes and pack but will run in anything that fits well. I’m good at chafing so if anyone knows of a good sports bra that doesn’t chafe I’m all ears!” I’m sure you’re not the only one interested in a response to your question!
What advice would you give to anyone looking to step up to the next level in their running? “Find a good massage therapist. They help keep niggles at bay. I see a bloke who treats me (beats me up!) every fortnight and I swear I would be a broken mess if it wasn’t for Bruno.”
We’re hoping Jess is super excited about running the BTU110km. But what else is on the cards for the next 12 months? “First goal is to get to the start line of the 110km at BTU fit and ready to run. After BTU I will take a few easy weeks and reassess things. I would love to do Blackall 100 this year. If all is well after Blackall then some training through summer for Ultra Easy in NZ in February.”
“We are so lucky to be able to have access to hundreds of kilometres of trails so close to the burbs.”
And finally, as a Brisbane local, Jess for sure would have her favourite parts of the D’Aguilar NP. Jess and her training partners Deb and Brad love to run up at Mt Nebo on weekends. This means running from the Mount Nebo transfer station and exploring all the trails around there including Lightline Road, Dundas Rd, Lake Manchester and Mermaid Mountain. Jess, you didn’t mention the vertical gain and loss around those trails!!
The Team at Brisbane Trail Ultra Festival would like to thank Jess for taking the time out to have a chat to us. It is great to have so much local talent to compete in the Brisbane Trail Ultra alongside our interstate elites. Looking forward to seeing you sail through the BTU110km in July! BTUF Team – Shona, Cora & David