Patagonia Santa Cruz hosts evening soiree for running enthusiasts

By Avery Robins

Avery write a caption here (Avery Robins).

Good friends and the world’s best wizard beard (Avery Robins).

At 6pm on a cool January night, I joined about 30 runners of all ages, shapes and sizes on the famous wooden deck in front of the Santa Cruz Patagonia Outlet store. We gathered to go on a group run and listen to a book release talk with elite ultra-marathoner Krissy Moehl. The store is known for bringing the community together with their free Sunday morning yoga sessions, and trail stewardship events – and this time it was no different.

Smiling faces bustled around on the deck, munching down mini Clif bars, Clif Shot Bloks, and other goodies provided by Moehl’s sponsors. Once everyone had their laces tied and Clif bars down, Moehl simply announced “Let’s run!” Our group of 30 scrambled off the deck and down into the heart of downtown Santa Cruz: Pacific Avenue.

Some were wearing costumes (a Woody the cowboy suit, and several pink tutus to be exact). So, we got a bit of a reaction out of the people strolling around downtown. All positive.

We rounded out the 3-mile run around Santa Cruz High School and back down to the Patagonia Outlet. People definitely got an endorphin kick judging from the smiles all around!

Krissy Moehl and her book: "Running Your First Ultra."

Krissy Moehl and her book: “Running Your First Ultra.”

After everyone had a few beers (provided by Discretion Brewing), gobs of salmon spread, and cheese hunks, Moehl took to the microphone and announced, “I’m not really a microphone kind of gal, can everyone scoot in closer?” We enthusiastically did.

A Q&A session began with “What has been your hardest race to run?” Without skipping a beat, Moehl replied, “The Hardrock 100.” She has an admirable way of saying just what needs to be said, and leaving it at that.

More questions came, and particularly interesting was “What do you think about when you are deep into a race?” Moehl says her thoughts usually go something like “I choose to do this. People are at the end waiting for me – I won’t give up now. And I love to run. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t want to move my body in this way [running].”

We segwayed into questions about nutrition- in particular, what to eat before, and during a 30 mile race. Krissy says that food needs and preferences can vary so much from person to person, so personal trial and error during training is especially key to find what works best for you. Moehl says she can handle heavy foods out on a race (think grilled cheese and gobs of peanut butter), but many can’t. For those who can’t, simple carbs and sugars in lighter forms like toast or energy chews are best.

Moehl also fielded questions about running’s effect on her knees. She says that her knees have not been an issue. In fact, the spacing in her knees is healthy, and reminiscent of someone much younger than she.

After the Q&A, the Patagonia staff headed up a raffle that was full of swag from Moehl’s sponsors, which include Patagonia, Vasque, Julbo, Clif Bar, First Endurance Nutrients, and Flora Health. (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous of the guy who won the light blue Patagonia Houdini windbreaker …)

Toward the very end of the night, Moehl was asked what her favorite part of an ultra run is. She replied, “The juxtaposition of total nature, and the NASCAR-like energy of an aid station.” I haven’t run an ultra yet, but I think I would agree with Krissy. Cheers to Patagonia Santa Cruz, Krissy Moehl, and all her sponsors for an amazing night!

All the donations and proceeds from the evening have been gifted to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, a non-profit dedicated to protecting and managing land with significant recreational, agricultural, cultural, open-space, or resource value.

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Woody, just back from zesting up the streets of Santa Cruz (Avery Robins).

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Beer, cheese, and fruit, oh my! (Avery Robins)

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The most consistent running partner (Avery Robins).

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The youngest of the raffle winners (Avery Robins).

IMG_3137 Avery Robins currently lives in Santa Cruz with six friends, three bicycles, and one hyperactive dog. You can find her distance running, rock climbing, or dreaming up recipes involving peanut butter. She can also play the song “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder.