We love how unique and diverse the Freshly Fam is. We have musicians, moms, business managers—and even ultramarathoners in our midst! Emily Theresa is a powerhouse. She runs hundreds of miles monthly, climbs mountains, and has an insatiable appetite (understandably). She fuels with Freshly meals because they’re a great go-to during training and are perfectly satisfying on marathon day.
We asked Emily about her hobbies, habits, and even grabbed some exclusive advice. Okay, off to the races!
We saw on your Instagram that you ran 122 miles and climbed 11,000 feet in the month of February alone! 👀 When did you first start running and climbing?
I used to run track in high school but took a very long (ten years long) hiatus. My husband and I invested in a treadmill right before the pandemic in early 2020, which led me to complete my first half and full marathons virtually when everything was canceled.
Despite the accomplishments, I was self-conscious of my pace and found myself drawn to longer distances on the trails. I discovered that what I may lack in speed, I make up for in endurance. I ran my first trail 50k in March of 2021 and have finished eight ultramarathons since.
The term ‘climbing’ refers to the amount of vertical gain that you ascend during a run, which is hugely important in prepping for hilly or mountainous trail races! I accumulated over 50,000 feet in 2021, and am on track to more than double that in 2022.
We know you’re extremely involved with the Eastern States 100. Tell us more about it and why you signed up!
Eastern States is really special to me. It’s a 100-mile trail race with more than 20,000 feet of elevation gain—all to be completed within a 36-hour cutoff in the middle of August. Their website states, “A rocky death by a thousand cuts in the heart of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon” and how could anyone not be drawn to the impossibility of that?!
However, as a newer ultrarunner, I felt I had no business even considering this. I still went on to read every race report I could find, looked through photo albums from prior years, and ended up volunteering at the 2021 race to get a feel for the race and community.
There is so much contagious energy and fulfillment in supporting the runners, providing hydration and fuel, and sharing words of wisdom. I knew I was meant to be a runner there the next year. The ironic part was, as hell-bent as I was to run this and how I felt inexplicably drawn to it, I couldn’t even sign up! When registration opened in October, I didn’t have the experience (a 50-mile or longer trail race) to be accepted.
So naturally, I found one. Less than a month later, I toed the starting line of the first-ever Summit 50/50 race in Allegany State Park, New York. I was one of eight people running the fifty miler, and I finished dead last with 11 minutes to spare. The belief in myself and my dream got me through it (plus the incredible support and crewing from my husband!), and I signed up for Eastern States the next day. Every week, I post my training and count down to race day: August 13.
What are your favorite running trails?
Any given weekend you’ll find me at Baldpate Mountain in New Jersey. It’s local, technical, rocky, muddy, and has plenty of steep climbs. Plus, it offers a beautiful view of the Delaware River! Bear Mountain State Park in Upstate New York, and the Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania are some of my other favorites. I began my running journey on the Delaware Canal Towpath, so that has a special place in my heart as well.
What advice would you give to someone training to be an ultrarunner?
Anyone can do it! Your pace doesn’t matter. Where you place in your race doesn’t matter. Check out UltraSignup for races nearby or Facebook for local trail running groups and see what’s out there that gets you excited. You’ll make new friends, explore beautiful places, and eat a lot of good stuff. If it scares you, it’s worth trying!
How have your eating habits changed since you began your ultra marathon training?
As my mileage increased, so did my hunger. There was a period where I neglected my diet and didn’t get the nutrients or balance my body needed. I wasn’t recovering quickly and even though I was incredibly active, I didn’t feel good.
During long runs or races, calories and carbs are king. I fuel with simple carbs for energy—stuff like gels, potatoes, candy, and Coke to get enough calories in—but my diet outside of racing needed work. That’s what led me to discover Freshly! Now, I’m much more focused on the classic 80/20 rule and eat a balanced, protein-heavy diet. I feel better and I’m running better.
What drew you to Freshly?
I started researching meal delivery services (no meal prep!) because I needed easy to prepare options that were affordable and nutritious. It was also important to me to find something that would work for my husband—he is vegan and the chef of our family, and it was exhausting to cook two different meals every day!
The plant-based options are awesome and made it a no-brainer for us. It is such a relief to not have to think twice about grocery shopping or paying for Instacart, meal prepping, or having any food go uneaten at the end of the week.
Do you have fave Freshly meals?
I’m a creature of habit—I think I’ve ordered the same 4 or 5 meals every week since I discovered Freshly! The Baja Green-Chile Chicken Stew, Golden Oven-Fried Chicken and Mash, and the Homestyle Chicken are my absolute favorites. The other day I had the Tricolor Beef Lasagna with some garlic bread, and it became another staple in my weekly order. I also could live on the Masterful Mac, too. It is so good.
With mealtime stress off of your plate, how are you using your extra time?
Watching bad reality TV or cooking shows, reading, and playing with my cats. My evenings post-work are so much more relaxing now and if I need to work from my office, lunch isn’t something I need to prep ahead of time anymore!
Reading is another way I decompress, and I’ve managed to read two books in the last few weeks thanks to the extra time in my day.
You train a whole lot. What does a day of relaxation look like?
You’ll find me relaxing and traveling with my husband. We’re currently planning our belated honeymoon and have a ton of weekend trips coming up! I love photography, spending time with my friends and family, and reading. I’m also an MBA candidate, so a lot of my free time outside of my day job is spent on coursework.
While Emily keeps crushing it on the course, we’ll handle the cooking. Want to be featured in a future highlight? Use the hashtag #FreshlyFam to gush about what you’ve got going on!