Rachel Lemcke has a growth mindset. In 2019 she finished the Hellgate 100+ kilometer race in 14:16 taking third place. In 2020 she finished in 12:23 in second place. In 2021 she won the darn thing, breaking the course record becoming the first woman to go under 12 hours, a record that still stands, 11:59:06. Though sports media loves a “natural talent”, usually the most interesting and relatable stories are still about those of us who seek progress as we keep trying to get better. Rachel has the inner drive to be challenged, prove Dr. David Horton wrong, and see where her abilities can take her. Look out for Rachel at this weekend’s McDowell Mt. Frenzy 50-kilometer, a race she won last year. That’s right, she already won it so what does she have to prove? Well she’s going back looking to keep improving and remind us all that sometimes the most rewarding victories are the ones we win against our past selves.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a swimmer who swapped fins for running shoes after college to avoid the sadness that comes from what to do after your college athletic days are behind you. I have turned into a running and outdoor enthusiast after spending 15 years with my face in an indoor pool. I have also transformed from a swim coach to a running coach. I currently work with runners one on one to help them achieve their goals! I am also involved with a non-profit organization called Smile For a Lifetime, where our mission is to provide dental care access to children from low-income families. When I’m not busy playing in my backyard trails, you can find me exploring new places in my van, accompanied by my awesome hubby Logan and our dog Rosie.
Do any of your group chats have names? If so, what are you willing to share? How did they get that name? What is a major topic of discussion in them?
It doesn’t have a name but I am in a group chat with my 2 sisters and my dad. We primarily talk about music from the 60s-80s!
If you could change one thing about your favorite social media platform, what would it be?
On Strava you can’t write “Easy Miles” if you get a bunch of PRS or crowns. I also think Strava should have direct messaging so you can connect with more people! Fun fact I connected with my now husband on Strava. It would have been much easier with DMs.
What is a book of fiction that you really enjoyed, for no other reason than you liked it?
I am more of a non fiction girl. I like reading about real events and people! I actually just scanned my book shelf and realized I do not have a single fiction book on it.
What is one song you’ve been listening to on repeat recently?
Try by the Mezingers… because punk never dies
What is one trend that started in 2020 that you love?
A greater focus on self-care! I personally took this one very seriously!
What is one trend that started in 2020 that you hate?
Tik Tok… Do we really need another social media platform? The answer is no 🙈 Another one is telling women to focus on intermittent fasting… just no sorry.
What are the last three emojis you used?
What is the last thing you bought online?
Running snacks from The Feed
What is your most controversial food opinion?
Pineapple belongs on pizza, olives belong in the trash, and potatoes are a superfood. I also believe there is no one way to be healthy when it comes to food.
What three videos are at the top of your YouTube recommended homepage?
Full Day of Eating Ultra Marathon Training
Which Allie is your favorite?
I like following Allie Mac! I love her spirit!
When you go home for the holidays, what is the food or tradition that it wouldn’t be the holidays without?
My grandmother makes the best Italian cookies. It is not a celebration unless she makes them! She even made an assortment for my wedding. She is the best!
When I say in-seam you say…?
When has your ego caused you to do something you sort of regret but also would describe as wild and worth it?
I think my ‘ego’ got me into doing ultras and trying challenging, and competitive races. But I think ignorance is a better way to put it and not understanding how hard this sport really is. It helped me jump into the deep end and try scary things like racing a 100-kilometer as my second ultra, doing races at altitude from sea level, and showing up to competitive start lines and getting knocked around a bit! So that being said it feels very worth it!
What was your worst running fuel decision? What was the surprising best?
On the night before my first 100-kilometer (Hellgate which starts at midnight) I ate veggie pizza. In return I had more bathroom stops in the first 50-kilometer than ever and I learned a good lesson about carrying wipes with you in ultras. However, I did recently go for a run an hour after eating Taco Bell and did not make a single bathroom stop so I think that is a super power.
What is your death row meal?
Out and back or looped course? Why?
Out and back to see more friends and give high fives!
Barkley or 24H track race? Why?
Barkley! I spent 15 years swimming in a circle so my desire to run in circles is very low.
When I say PTRA you say?
Love when people are working to make things better than when they found it!
When I say UTMB you say?
Can we say UTMB out loud without getting in trouble right now…?
What is one thing that absolutely scares you? Why?
Making small talk with strangers and making phone calls to customer service lines… may or may not be one of the reasons I got married…
What is a time you felt you didn’t measure up? How did you get through that?
I participated in the Black Canyon 100-kilometer race in 2021, an experience that left me feeling a mix of sadness and humility. Prior to this event, I had a highly successful first year of ultra racing, mostly on the east coast. Feeling ready for more competitive challenges, I decided to venture into larger, more intense races. After the Black Canyon race, I realized that mastering these significant competitions would require enduring a few rounds of setbacks and challenges. This experience taught me that competing at this level demands resilience and patience. While I’m still in the learning process, my mindset has undergone a significant transformation through these experiences. I have learned a bad run doesn’t equal a bad day :).
Who is another runner that flies under the radar that we should all get to know?
Kristina Mascarenas, Lauren Puretz, and Hannah Allgood! The Colorado Springs area is full of strong, humble women! Sawyer Magnett is another one who races mostly on the east coast and she is a college senior. She puts in the work every week while balancing student life. She broke a 50-kilometer record of Sarah Biehl’s (Sarah Biehl plug here too!) so you know she has speed.