Maili Costa

Athlete: Maili Costa

Lives: Marin, Ca

Go To Gear: HydraQuiver VP1 & HydraQuiver VP2

Primary Sport: Trail Running

Tell us about yourself. 

I have been running for 6 years. I was never athletic as a kid, at least not in sports. I danced ballet very seriously for 12+ years. But never ran a step until January of 2011. What started as a weight loss journey after pregnancy quickly grew into a passion for running. Immediately after crossing my first 5k finish line, I was hooked!  Since that first race, I've run somewhere around 100 races, from 5k to 100 miles. This past year I have set my focus on ultra distance trail running and getting into my dream race - The Western States Endurance Run, 100 miler.  My first few years of running were on road but I have since ditched the pavement for the dirt!  Mountain trails are not only easier on my body, but they are where I feel most myself, where I feel free to be exactly who I am. It doesn't matter if I'm running solo or with others, I always feel connected out there... to myself, to my friends, to the environment but also to the greater trail running community, which is one of the most supportive I have ever known.  One of my greatest joys in running is having my family run with me and getting to support their races.  Some of my most cherished runs are the ones I get to run with my son, daughter and husband, exploring the trails together all over the mountains in Marin.  Without their support I wouldn't be able to do all the amazing things I've been able to do, and hope to accomplish in the future. I am endlessly grateful. 

What sports do you participate in? 

Trail running, preferably mountain trails

What's your favorite race food? 

I never eat before a race, I take in mainly Tailwind Nutrition during races, and afterwards it's craving based! I ALWAYS have a Revive Kombucha though! 

What is your go-to hydration mix?

Tailwind Nutrition. Hands down. The best.

Do you have a major quirk you'd like to share? 

Maybe this is a question for my husband or best friends! Lol!  This isn't major but I will only wear black shorts (almost always Oiselle Roga) to race in. 

If you were related to an animal, what would it be? 

Elephants

If a newbie to your sport asked for one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Always love what you're doing and don't lose the joy! If it's not fun, what's the point? 

Do you have any racing pet peeves? 

Not so much in trail racing, but when I ran road marathons I HATED when people would throw trash on the ground! Just because it's a race doesn't mean it's ok to be litterbugs. Volunteers are out there picking up all that garbage! There are plenty of garbage cans, I think we can all make the 2 second effort to try and get the gel packs and paper cups in the cans. On the trails I always try to pick up trash I come across, and keep one pocket of my OM pack available for it. Trail Karma. 

What do you do for fun? 

Run trails! Haha! When I'm not running, I love spending time with the fam and our dogs. Usually on a trail somewhere! 

What is your post race ritual? 

Depends on the distance. After an ultra, kombucha, shower and sleep. Then EAT! After shorter races, kombucha, eat and get on with my day with my family. There's always something going on! 

How long have you been running? 

6 years. 

Why do you enjoy the sport?

Running trails are beautiful, and hard, and fun, and take you to the most incredible views. It brings out a vulnerable side of people, opens them up in a way that you wouldn't normally experience in other situations. I have gotten to know complete strangers, better than people I've known for years, just during the course of a single race! Running trails exposes you, tests you, shows you where your weakness are, gives you the time to work on them, and then rewards you with being able to clearly see your strengths. 

What's your favorite trail race? 

So far, I don't have my own favorite race. I really do love them all, and appreciate each offers their own challenges and rewards. But my favorite trail running experience was actually pacing a friend during his 3rd Tahoe 200 mile race. We ran a 20 mile section together that was absolutely stunning. The light, the landscape, the runnable trails. And watching him FLY after having run over 150 miles was a beautiful thing. 

What's your go to piece of Orange Mud Gear and why?

I ALWAYS wear my HydraQuiver VP1 on every single run. Even if it's just 3 miles, I like the storage and I feel that it's important to always have water no matter the distance. Injuries happen, and I never want to be in a situation where I have no water. I also use the VP2 for longer runs and the Endurance Pack for super long runs/races, or runs where I won't have access to water fountains for refilling bottles. 

Professional background/education? 

I recently started a business with one of my best friends coaching beginner runners. And my education was in holistic health and nutrition. 

What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?

So far, my biggest accomplishment in trail running was finishing my first 50k. It was much hotter than usual for the area, had quite a bit of climbing, but I was HAPPY the entire race! Despite terrible calf cramping in the last few miles, I finished with a smile, a 3rd place AG win and 4th overall female. I felt pretty ok with this! 

What's your dream race? 

Easy. Western States 100. It may take me years to get in, but there will be no giving up! 

Favorite book for athletes? 

Ultramarathon Man, by Dean Karnazes. I've read a ton of running books, but this was the first book I read about ultra running. I didn't get it. I hadn't even heard of any of the races he talked about. But it sparked something, and now it's a fire! 

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

I am super inspired by fellow trail runners. Billy Yang's films in particular, have not only inspired me, but my family, especially my 13 year old son. I'm fortunate to live in a place that is brimming with incredible mountain trail runners to draw inspiration from, but it's the rest of us... the stories from the middle of the pack, the people who I've been lucky enough to get to know out on the trails, through running groups and social media, they are the ones who inspire me every single day to get out there and do the work! 

Have you struggled with any injuries? How do you manage them?

Unfortunately yes. I am fairly injury prone. I manage them though, by seeing my Advanced Muscle Reprogramming specialist on a regular basis. She's magical! And she fixes every injury I ever have. I also focus on eating an organic, whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet. I truly believe we are what we eat! 

What is the best advice you were ever given? 

The best advice I was ever given?  "Stay in the mile" 

Favorite local running store?

San Francisco Running Company