Caroline Boller, the in-house counsel for Terravant Wine Company, has made huge strides since she took up running in 2012. Now a member of the Nike Elite Trail team, she won the women’s USA Track & Field 50K national championship title in March with a time of 3:22:50, setting a new American 50K Masters 40–44 record in the process. In June she’ll compete in the Western States Endurance Run, where she placed eighth last summer in her debut at 100 miles. We caught up with the 41-year-old from Solvang, Calif., on what motivates her and the lessons she’s learned in the sport.
Why do you run?
I started running when my kids were pretty young. It was a great stress reliever and a way for me to have something that was just for me. Running makes me happy and it’s a way to challenge myself on a personal level.
Are you surprised at your success?
I never thought there was an athlete in me. Running has taught me you never know what you may be capable of until you try something that seems entirely outside your comfort zone.
What’s your favorite race distance?
I love the marathon distance for road. For trail, it’s definitely 100K. It’s a sweet spot of having the time to get in a rhythm without the mind-shattering exhaustion you get running a 100-miler.
What do you do on your rest day?
Well, I haven’t had a lot of them recently. I used to take one rest day a week, but my body felt very out of sorts. Now I have one day a week where I have a relatively short—8 miles—and easy run. It means I don’t have to crunch as many miles into a six-day week.
What’s Your typical pre-race meal?
The night before a race I go pretty light with just a salad and salmon. I do a little carbohydrate-focused eating in the days leading up to a race.
I have lots of post-race fantasies but most of the time they don’t come true. After an ultra the idea of anything sweet isn’t appealing. Then I always think about getting a massage, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had one. Life gets busy.
Last good book?
“Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon” by Ed Caesar. It was really good.
What lessons have you learned as a runner?
It’s twofold. More is not always more—I tend to push too hard. And I do not yet have the depth of knowledge or perspective to self-coach, so having a coach is really important to me.