Anthony Parillo is an ultra addict. He meticulously plans his vacations, weekends and pretty much any free time he has traveling the country and running ultras. I envy this guy. He was a partner in crime in the Double Top 100 debacle and I was fortunate to get to know him quite well on many fronts. Anthony will be running the TARC 100 in a few weeks and I see him at the front of the pack. "Throw the kettle on" folks (thanks Padraig!), it's a good one!!
First off, how did you catch the ultra running bug?
I always had it in me, but didn’t realize it I guess. Back in high school cross country I would get in trouble because I would often extend the “planned” run and show up an hour or two later greeted by a furious coach! I had heard of ultras, but never thought I was capable of doing one. I ran Boston when I was a senior in high school with not nearly enough training, I finished, but it wasn’t pleasant. I was pretty content that I had done the pinnacle of long distance running until I showed up to the Vermont 50 in 2010. I was into mountain biking at the time and was about to attempt my longest ride and was pretty concerned about the course vertical and difficulty. I just remember being in the starting tent at 5:00 AM looking at all these runners and thinking to myself what the hell am I worried about, these people have to run 50 miles! At that moment I decided that next year I was going to run the Vermont 50, I knew I had some work to do. In 2011, I completed the 50k at VT50 and let’s just say I’ve caught the bug.
Tell us about your weekly training regimen.
I really don’t run that much. I’ll run 2-3 times during the week to and from work (4 miles each way) usually adding an extension along the Charles on one of the days. When I don’t run to work I bike. I also try to make it out to the fells or blue hills once or twice a week in the evenings for some night running (6-8 miles). Weekly mileage adds up to 20-30 miles then I’ll do a long run or race over the weekend. I do a lot of races so in between I’m usually just doing recovery and tune-up miles. On weekends I try to hit it hard, basically I just spend all day outside doing something physical, running/hiking, swimming, and biking in the summer. Nordic/downhill skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
I also recently have added strength training 4-5 times a week either before work or during lunch. I feel this has really helped in both performance and injury prevention.
I’ve checked your Ultra Signup results (ya, I’m one of those guys), and your times have dropped drastically since you’ve gotten into the sport. What’s your secret?
I dived into the sport pretty fast and my body wasn’t really ramped up for it. Most of last year I was plagued with nagging injuries and was just plain beat up from doing too much. Maybe I overdid it, but I don’t care, I was having a blast! Just with anything when you do it enough you start to get the hang of it, I think that’s what happening here.
You also race a ton! How do you recover so well and line up ready to go for the next adventure?
I don’t think I have ever toed up to a start line fully recovered! I enjoy doing races and try to fit as many as possible into my schedule. With that said though over the last year every race I do the recovery time seems less. Last year after Vermont I could barely walk for a full week. I did Leadville the next month and showed up to work the following Monday off the redeye and barley had a limp. Funny how things work.
Since I started doing ultras my goal always has been quantity over quality, maybe at some point that will change but for now I’m having too much fun.
You’re a gear junkie. It’s official. Tell us what you are wearing at the moment. Head to toe.
Well I’m gearing up for my run home. I have brooks pure connects on with smart wool socks. Salomon exo shorts with mountain hardware way2cool tank top. Smith glasses and a merrell running cap. I carry my work clothes in an REI Flash 18 backpack. Man when you write it all down it sounds like a lot of stuff!
Give us 5 pieces of trail running gear that are must haves.
1 Mountain Hardware effusion jacket
2 Salomon exo tights
3 Ultimate direction handheld
4 Mountain Hardware Way2cool tank top
5 Salomon S-lab hydration vest.
Were you always a trail runner? Tell us about your background in sports or
I did XC running, skiing and track in high school and was known to be a gym rat. The days when we ran on trails for training runs were always my favorite. I grew up in a very rural town outside of Boston and when I did run for recreation I would always run in the town forest along the Charles. In college I played Rugby and managed to injure almost every part of my body. I learned pretty quickly that contact sports were probably not a good idea. After School I moved out to Sturbridge and started up trail running and mountain biking again for fitness. That is kind of what got me back into the sport.
You are currently attempting 10 100 milers this year. How is that going so far?
Well it’s May and I’ve only done two this year, so you tell me! The race cancellation at doubletop kind of put a kink in my schedule. I re-arranged a few races and I should be good to go at least logistically. I still have to run all of them! If I’m still able to run by the end of the year it will be a miracle.
I’ve noticed you wear Hokas during your races, have you always trended toward the maximalist approach?
Only recently. I have a lot of shoes, it’s almost embarrassing. I like to think of my shoes as tools, each one is for a specific purpose. Currently I use merrell trail glove for short strength training runs. Inov8 trailrock 245’s for mid distance trails runs. Brooks connects and pure grits for runs that are on roads and mixed trail respectively. Then there are the specialty shoes such as x-talons or c-lites that I’ll use in wet rocky conditions. There is also the closet of shoes that didn’t quite work for me. I’ll take the hoka’s out for really long and recovery runs. Although it seems I’ve been leaning to them more and more lately.
What is your favorite race/run?
I would have to say Vermont. I don’t know what it is about that race but it’s just so special, maybe because it was my first 100 or because Vermont is so beautiful in the summer, or because horses run at the same time. I had such an awesome time and can’t wait to do it again.
Favorite New England trail to run on?
That’s a tough one, but I would have to say the breakneck pond loop via the ridge trail in Bigelow Hollow state park Union, CT. If you haven’t been, check it out, it’s amazing. It can’t be compared to the whites but it holds a special place in my heart as it was where I did all my training for my first ultra.
10 in 60 (10 questions in 60 seconds. One or two word answers will suffice or the first thing that comes to mind)
1. Favorite ultra food? GU gels
2. Hand held or pack? Handheld, although I’m wearing packs a lot now!
3. Music or no music? NO MUSIC!!!
4. Favorite blog or ultra site? irunfar
5. Best pre race meal? Plain bagel or toast
6. Post race meal? Anything
7. Beer me. Yeah or nay. Always
8. Running injury? Bring it on
9. Western states grand slam
10. Walking in ultras Everyone does it, even those who don’t admit it