Couch to 5K to … 100 Miles

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Shaylene Caffey, who was third place in the female ultra category of the 2015 Trail Runner Trophy Series, didn’t start out as a runner. In 2013, Caffey was 90 pounds overweight, and made the commitment to a “couch to 5K” program to get in shape.

She hasn’t stopped running since. Soon, she found herself running ultras, and acquired Trophy Series points during three races, between 50 and 62 miles.

Off the trails, Caffey, 30, of Kansas City, Missouri, is an analyst for the oil-and-gas industry, has three young children and admits a weakness for sushi, chocolate and french fries.

Her plans for 2016 include recovering from a surgery, running another Western States 100 qualifier race (she ran the 2015 Rocky Raccoon 100) and incorporating more strength training into her workouts.


Which Trophy Series race was your favorite?

The FlatRock 101K in Independence, Kansas. I wanted to lay it all out there, because I was having a hysterectomy a week after the race. I had troubles with nausea, but by running a smart race I managed to finish third female and was very proud.

What does a normal training week look like?

I generally run four or five days per week, mostly easy effort with one day of hills or tempo. I also do one or two strength sessions—mostly TRX and Olympic lifting.

Have you learned anything about yourself throughout this year of trail races?

I learned that I’m not bulletproof. No amount of gutting it out can solve my medical issues. I had some close calls this year with my blood sugar (I’m pre-diabetic), which taught me to make sure that my basics are taken care of. I also learned that I can endure an extreme amount of pain.  Last thing: It’s all worth it.

This article originally appeared in our March 2016 issue.

Want to Know What It Takes to Finish at Western States? Just Ask Hellah Sidibe.

Find out what happened when this six-year run streaker and HOKA Global Athlete Ambassador took on an iconic ultramarathon in California's Sierra Nevada