Anton Krupicka Post-2012 Leadville 100 Interview

In 2012, Anton Krupicka (New Balance) started the Leadville 100 for the fifth time with two fast wins and two DNFs to his credit. After a year and a half of injury, he toed the line with great fitness, but limited pure running during that span. Tony did hold the lead in the second half of the race, but the lack of running preparation eventually caught with to him… as did three other runners. Still, he gutted it out to a fourth place finish. In the following interview, find out how his race went, what failed him, and what happened to him after the race.

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Anton Krupicka Post-2012 Leadville 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Bryon Powell here of iRunFar with Anton Krupicka after the 2012 Leadville 100. Congrats on finishing that one out, Anton.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah, it was a rough one. Definitely the roughest 100-mile finish I’ve had.

iRF: Yeah, we were talking about it before the race. You’ve basically had five races here at Leadville:  two really good ones, two DNF’s, and now you’ve got one in the middle.

Krupicka: Yeah, I’d say this is one in the middle. I was having a decent day. I guess I knew right off the bat we were going too fast for what I wanted to be doing. The main thing, like you asked in the pre-race interview, I was worried about the lack of flat running I’ve been doing this summer. That was the problem. By the time we got to May Queen I was like, “Oh, this is the longest continuous run I’ve done all summer, 13 miles in.” So that was a huge factor because my quads were just blown already at the half-way point.

iRF: From the flat stuff?

Krupicka: From the flat stuff, yeah.

iRF: That’s crazy, because most runners…

Krupicka: The downhills, yeah, but I have no issues with those. It was just the consistent running for so long.

iRF: You all took it OUT.

Krupicka: Yeah, it was sane through May Queen, because I think I got there in 1:42, which is totally what I was hoping to do. But then we got on Hagerman Road and at the time it doesn’t feel that fast, but I remember thinking, “Huh, I’m falling off the pace a step or two.” I was kind of worried about that. But then we got to Fish Hatchery and I was like, “Holy cow, we just split 1:23 for 10 miles or something like that.” That was a little quick.

iRF: And then the road…

Krupicka: And then the road, I tried so hard to go easy. There was a pack of five of us, and I just kind of let them go 50 yards in front of me. But there’s really no difference as I’m running the same pace as them; I’m just not in the group. And then the same thing… Ahh… We were going too quick.

iRF: Who was leading you out?

Krupicka: Well, Thomas [Lorblanchet] and [Michael] Aish. But Aish, he would just run with whoever was in front. He stopped and waited a few times for people. For me, because I caught up to him and Thomas out of the Twin Lakes aid station at mile 40. We were going across the meadows and he just stopped. I was like, “Dude, what are you doing? Run!” He’s like, “Well, I don’t know where I’m going.” “Follow the flags.” “C’mon, man, you know I don’t know what I’m doing.” I was like, “Well, you know how to run, though.” Then half way up the Hope Pass climb, he went off the back, and I never saw him again until I was coming back up the other side of Hope.

iRF: Was he still coming down Hope as you were going up?

Krupicka: Yeah, he was already like an hour behind. He must have taken a picnic at Hopeless aid station or something. I don’t know he got dropped that much, but yeah.

iRF: So Thomas was ahead of you coming into Winfield, right?

Krupicka: Yeah, he passed me just before Winfield. I was having a pretty rough stretch. My quads were already gone by then. So I was on that new contour trail and I was having a pretty rough stretch; so I knew he would probably catch up to me. Then he caught me right me right before Winfield. But then I left the aid station just before him, and I think put almost 10 minutes on him on the climb up Hope. He didn’t catch me again until mile 73 at Half Pipe or Half Moon.

iRF: So was that your plan on the day—to use the hills—because you also took the lead on the climb up Hope the first time.

Krupicka: I did.

iRF: Was that to win money or was that because you’re strong on the hills?

Krupicka: You know, I didn’t know about the money until the day before. No, I didn’t specifically go hard, but I was just climbing faster than the other guys. I knew those 20 miles of the double crossing of Hope would be the strong point of the race for me because of the training I’ve been doing this summer, but it wasn’t like a plan. Just once I was in the front, I wanted to stay in the front. I knew Thomas was chasing.

iRF: When you left Winfield, you were within a minute of [Matt] Carpenter’s record pace. When did you kind of know…?

Krupicka: Was I really that fast? A couple minutes…

iRF: Yeah, you were darn close.

Krupicka: Yeah. The course, I think—because there’s the 2009-now course, and the pre-2009 course, which is when Matt set the record—I think this current course is maybe 10 minutes longer than when Matt set the record, and I think it’s 25 minutes longer for the front runners than it has been the last three years. There’s a lot of extra running over there.

iRF: Tell us a little bit about that section. There were so many rumors before the race about how long it was, how tough it was…

Krupicka: Well, here’s how I gauged it. I got to the top of Hope and it usually takes me 49 minutes from the top of Hope to Winfield. So that would have been 7:25 into Winfield, and I was more like 7:37 into Winfield. So 12 or 13 minutes in one direction. It’s a rough… maybe 25 minutes total.

iRF: So when Thomas comes by you at mile 73, what was going through your mind?

Krupicka: Oh, it was wreckage. Dakota [Jones] had been pacing me and I’d been walking some flat stuff. I was moving pretty well on a lot of it, but I knew I was going slow. Unless people behind me were really blowing up there was… I thought it was going to be Clarkie [Nick Clark] that would catch me because he can just grind these things out and it was Thomas’s first [100-mile] race. I stopped at that crew access just to switch out the insoles of my shoes because the shoes were getting kind of crushed out, and he caught up basically right then. I left the aid right before him, but he passed me shortly after that. It was funny because we got on the road and I had Scott [Jurek] pacing me there and it was pretty windy. So I just tucked in behind Scott, and Scott just set the pace and we kind of cruised. He only put a couple minutes on me there. At Fish Hatchery he only had two minutes on me, so I thought, “We’ll get to Powerline, and I’ll catch him again on Powerline.” But I just had nothing. Then I got to the top of Powerline and I just walked down the other side. It was bad.

iRF: Wow. That was probably a little humbling.

Krupicka: Oh, yeah. Then, off the top of Sugarloaf, that’s when Clarkie and Zeke [Tiernan] just came rolling by. I was just walking, so anything could seem fast by comparison, but it seemed like they were just moving really well. I was just, “Wow, this is just crazy.” I was planning on walking in from there. Then once I got on the Colorado Trail, I started running again. I probably ran 90% of the rest of the way to the finish then.

iRF: It seemed like after you had that rough spot, you started moving, you got back in gear.

Krupicka: Yeah, I started running again, you know, instead of just walking flat stuff.

iRF: Do you mind talking a little bit about after the race?

Krupicka: I don’t know, it was just mismanagement on my part. I’d been pretty nauseous since Fish Hatchery really. I was eating well, Scott had me eating every 20-25 minutes. Afterwards I was nauseous. I didn’t feel like eating anything in the med tent, and so I didn’t eat anything after the race. Then I got back down to the house and I just blacked out. I was like really out of it, and I was like, “Alright, I’m going to crawl in the truck and go to bed.” I was just lethargic. Next thing I know, I’m lying on the ground. I remember hearing this clank and it was my chin hitting the tailgate; my jaw is sore this morning. Then my mom comes over and is trying to pick me up. Then Adam Chase comes over and I’m leaning on Adam and I collapse again. You know, Adam’s a small guy. It was wreckage. I just had some food and a shower and I was fine. I’ve never blacked out before. It was pretty wild and kinda scary.

iRF: You’re all good today.

Krupicka: Yeah, I’m fine. It was just low blood sugar. I’m happy I finished. In the moment, I was like, “This is the silliest sport ever.” It’s always good to finish.

iRF: Yeah, well congratulations.

Krupicka: Thanks a lot, Bryon.

* * * * *

iRF: So Anton, you’ve got a lot of followers and a lot of fanatics. You also have a lot of people who choose variations on your name. What is your favorite pronunciation or version of your name and nickname? Do you have any?

Krupicka: Nickname? More people than you think say “Krupickachu” or something like that. It’s like, “What? Okay, that’s weird.” I don’t know. It’s Eastern European; it kind of throws people. I don’t know… nickname… I don’t know… I can’t even think… I’m tired, man.

iRF: Krupikachu.

Krupicka: Yeah, people just get flustered I think.

iRF: So for the people at home, what is your name?

Krupicka: Anton Krupicka [Kruh-pitch-ka]. You can call me Tony, though.

iRF: See ya, Tony.

There are 17 comments

  1. Bartman

    Bryone,

    Thanks for the interview with Tony. Gutsy,tough,badass guy. No mention of the shin so I guess that problme is resolved for now?

    Good to see Tony back in the mix.

    Bartman

  2. djconnel

    I'm hardly qualified to comment on Anton's strategy, but he does seem exceptionally prone to over-enthusiasm. It would be interesting to see what would happen if he forced himself, despite massive temptation, to go out at an even-split pace. His minimalist, laid-back style to training and running is otherwise really inspiring.

  3. Chris Cawley

    Nice grind, Tony. It's interesting to compare TK's training logs from ~2008, which are presumably similar to logs from 06/07, when he won leadville in 17:01/16:14. 4 (6?) years ago, he was running 150-200 miles a week, on gravel roads and single track around Pikes Peak and C-Springs. Now, after "not running 13 continuous miles" in however long, and racking up huge vertical with less regard to actual mileage, a 17:21, on a longer course, with blown quads, after walking a couple of flat/downhill sections. Sounds like a good trade to me.

    It will be awesome to see Cavall Del Vent in a month. Rest those hiking pegs, Tony!

  4. fredp

    Krupicka! Somehow he seems more human after finishing in such a tough way. It looks like he is back! With a little more structure in his training it is scary to think what he will do.

  5. Jay

    Best line " this is the silliest sport ever"! Pretty sure I have thought that on more than one occasion while wandering through the night on a few 100 milers. Congrats Tony on your finish and thanks for coverage Byron!!

  6. Mpleigh

    Loved the interview. Tony "Krupikachu" put it in perspective, for sure. Expecting that all the pieces of his training will come together very soon. It will be an exciting thing to see.

  7. Michael

    Bryon, noticed that not many of the lead runners were carrying water on course…why? And if possible, could you see what they did? Food wise as well? What was consumed on course…gels, are a given, but what else?

  8. Charlie Waag

    I loved it when TK said, almost apologetically, that he wasn't willing to do mile repeats in order to win….I think that statement reveals a lot about what makes TK unique amongst an already iconoclastic group that comprises the elite ultrarunners. I really admire this guy for his love of the sport and his un-willingness to make winning the end-all/be-all goal.

    Bryon-thanks for the awesome coverage/interviews….love irunfar and have visited the store to support the cause…keep up the gr8 work!

    1. djconnel

      I don't know… I think if he's not going to do race-specific training he needs to be much smarter in his pacing. He went out at a faster pace then he did when he won the race. Cracking is the logical result, not bad luck.

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