Anton Krupicka returns to racing this weekend after a year-and-a-half layoff due to injuries. He’s in the best shape of his life. In the following interview, hear what Anton has to say about his injuries, his training, his take on this weekend’s race, and what he’s up to next.
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Anton Krupicka Pre-2012 Speedgoat 50k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Tony Krupicka before the 2012 Speedgoat 50k. How’s it going, Tony?
Anton Krupicka: It’s going well, Bryon. How are you?
iRF: Alright. It’s been a long time since you’ve raced, man.
Krupicka: Yeah, it’s 18 months, I guess—18 months exactly. Rocky Raccoon 2011, last year, February—that was the last time I raced. I’m just really excited to get back at it. Training has been going well for the last couple of months, so I’m definitely feeling fit and healthy.
iRF: First you had a broken leg?
Krupicka: No, first I had the shin issue, the posterior tibialis tendonitis. Then, I broke my leg last summer. The shin was just starting to get healthy. Then, I broke my leg and was out for 3 months with that, the entire summer. Then, when I came back from that, pretty much literally within 5 days of returning to running, the same shin injury flared back up because it was the same leg that I broke. So it got weak and atrophied and I probably didn’t rehab it enough. So then, it was just this cycle of feeling ok, then rushing back into things too quickly, and just over and over again. Finally last spring, things started working again.
iRF: What happened? What did you change so that it started working again?
Krupicka: It’s not like… there’s no one thing. I really worked on the strengthening in the area. I resolved to be patient with it, I guess?
iRF: Something that you’re not always…
Krupicka: Oh, I’m horrible at it. I just get really excited about a little glimmer of hope in the injury, and I come back and do a 2-hour run or something and it just sets it back. So yeah, I was just really patient with it. I really tried to let go of any competitive ambitions. Taking the trip to Spain seemed to be really good for it; it forced me to rest for 10 days. Then, there was just good energy there for sure. I came back with a really positive mindset about running and the injury itself. I just kind of built momentum ever since I got back from Zegama, I guess.
iRF: When you were injured, most of the time, you weren’t running a whole lot, but you were hiking a ton, correct?
Krupicka: I think I was telling someone else in a different interview recently that even though I wasn’t able to run, I was still getting the uphill aggression out for sure. You can really hike hard uphill on a steep grade and go totally anaerobic at altitude. I was doing that daily, but the downhills were super tedious and frustrating. Hiking downhill isn’t very fun, but I was still putting in… some days I’d put in two Green summits. That went on for months, from September of last year until May of this year.
iRF: When you started running again, how quickly did you jump back in to your mileage?
Krupicka: Oh man, it’s funny because even now I still do a ton of hiking. I don’t even really track miles anymore. It’s much more… I can tell you last week I did 26-27 hours or something like that. Of that, the amount that was running… the amount of miles that I did was probably in the range of 130 miles. That’s a pretty slow 130 miles in 27 hours. So a lot of it is still hiking because that’s the kind of terrain that I seek out now.
iRF: Even though you’re doing a mix of hiking and running still…
Krupicka: That’s by design though. I could be running 100% of my miles if I wanted to.
iRF: How’s your fitness?
Krupicka: I think it’s really good. You know, here we are the Thursday before a race on Saturday, and it’s a really stacked race. I could look silly on camera saying, “Ah, I feel great and fit and ready to go,” and then have a bad race, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I feel really fit. Everything I’ve done in training has indicated that I’m in the best shape in my life, and I’m really excited about that. So, we’ll see.
iRF: How’s it stack up this weekend? It’s a great field. Who’s going to be up there right at the front?
Krupicka: Right at the front? I see myself obviously. Kilian—he’s the best runner in the world in the mountains, so he’s going to be hard to beat. I think Ricky Gates is going to run really well. I got out for a run with him last week. I was really beat down from a long run I did, but he seemed pretty strong. We went for a run up Green in Boulder. Max is just sort of a consummate runner in general; he can do anything. I think this race, I don’t know if he’s been sleeping in an altitude tent or not, but this race at 11,000 feet could hurt him since he’s coming from Oregon. I think he’s probably been down at Steens Mountain or something. Who else—Jason Schlarb has been living in the mountains and training in the mountains and had a really good race at San Juan Solstice. There’s a whole handful of people like Nick Clark, Dylan Bowman, Jason Loutitt from Canada will be a factor. A lot of guys I think will be touched by the altitude. Jason Bryan—altitude, hard to say. Jorge Maravilla, same thing. I know I’m forgetting people, but…
iRF: Oh yeah.
Krupicka: Justin Ricks, I just ran into him this morning. He’s been running a lot at altitude actually, because I’ve been running into him a couple times up in Leadville. I don’t know, we’ll see.
iRF: So you were out at Hardrock recently. You had an entry into Hardrock; you didn’t take it. How are you feeling?
Krupicka: Yeah. Yeah. Ahh, a little bit of regret, a little bit of regret. It’s hard. It’s really difficult to sit it out because this shin injury has been really up and down the whole time. The reason I decided not to do Hardrock is about a month before the race, I kind of had a little flare up with it again. I did an 8 hour run on it. I figured, well, if I’m going to run Hardrock, I should be able to run for 8 hours—even that run had a lot of hiking in it. The shin flared up after that. So if I can’t do 8 hours, there’s no way I’m going to be able to do 24 hours of the course. So, I decided I wasn’t going to do Hardrock.
Then, two days before the race, I was down there, so I went and ran a section of the course. I did 8 hours on it and felt great. The shin was totally fine. I paced Joe 8 hours on it a day and a half later. Then another 3 days later, did an 11.5 hour run on it last Tuesday and it’s been completely and totally fine. So I feel 100% healthy now but definitely some regret that I didn’t do Hardrock now. It’s just like, such a good race this year, the course was so fast, and I think this direction is the more fun direction to do it—not having to run up all those long gradual grades. But, hopefully, I’ll get into the race again in the future and give it a shot.
iRF: So you’re fit, you’ve had a long layoff from racing. How are you going to hold yourself back from not over-racing or over-eventing in the next couple of months?
Krupicka: I’m just going to listen to my legs. Hopefully injuries aren’t an issue, but also just energy and burn out can be an issue. I have a lot of fun stuff lined up starting in September, but if I’m just completely worked after Leadville next month in August, I’m not going to go to Spain and do Cavalls on dead legs. I want to go in rested and feeling good. So we’ll see. We’ll just play it by ear and see how it goes. I’m going to be traveling to South Africa for New Balance anyhow, so that trip should be happening anyway. So we’ll see if Cavalls happens or Reunion, but right now I’m 100% happy with my plans.
iRF: So you have Cavalls del Vent and Diagonal of Fools on Reunion. You’ve talked about Nolan’s 14…
Krupicka: Yes, so that’s going to get squeezed out the most, because there’s 6 weeks between Leadville and Cavalls. I want to be at my best going to Cavalls. Kilian’s going to be there again, Miguel [Heras] might be racing, Andy Symonds is racing, Dakota’s [Jones] racing, Joe’s [Grant] going to be there. It’s going to be a super deep field, you know. So if anything, I might just shoot for 10 peaks of Nolan’s just to kind of get a sense or get a pace set for what I can do on that line. Last week I did the first five peaks before getting hailed and lightninged out. I could have gotten seven really easily. We’ll see. I’m not going to force anything. It’s a lot of vertical on that line. It can beat you down for sure. Yeah, I’m just going to try to be smart about it.
iRF: Well it’s so good to see you back racing and training, Tony. Good luck this weekend.
Krupicka: Thanks a lot, Bryon.