Dylan Bowman is three-and-a-half months out from the nasty ankle sprain that kept him from racing the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc this summer, but he’s healthy now and has been training hard for 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. In this interview, Dylan talks about how his move to California has allowed him to train daily on the race course, how his training has recently evolved with a new coach, and who he thinks are the guys in the game for the win on Saturday.
[Editor’s Note: For more information, we’ve published a full men’s race preview with links to other pre-race interviews.]
Dylan Bowman Pre-2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Dylan Bowman before the 2013 TNF Endurance Challenge. How are you doing, Dylan?
Dylan Bowman: Really well, thanks.
iRunFar: I haven’t seen you in awhile, but it’s good to have you out here. You’ve had a good year so far. You ran really well this spring at Ray Miller and Miwok, fifth at Western States. What have you done since then?
Bowman: Well, I had a nice vacation in Europe that was supposed to include a run at UTMB. Unfortunately, I hurt myself there and it’s taken me awhile to get back healthy and training. Last month I went down to Nevada and ran Ian Torrence’s race, the Bootlegger 50k, which was a really fun sort of training race for this. I’m healthy and happy to be training again.
iRunFar: What did happen with your ankle?
Bowman: It was just a really severe sprain when I was training in Europe, basically the first run I went on when I was in Chamonix. I just stepped on a rock just the wrong way and it just went. It’s been 3.5 months now. It’s still something that sort of affects me, but it’s more of a mental thing now than a physical problem.
iRunFar: It’s not going to slow you down on the course physically, but steep downhill…?
Bowman: It’s something I’ll think about while I’m out there, but I don’t think it will affect me, no.
iRunFar: How was your fitness at Bootlegger? You were fit at the USATF 50k Championships?
Bowman: Yeah, I was happy. It was just a good reintroduction to racing. I definitely was… I feel like I was pretty smart in how I raced. I wasn’t totally happy with my performance, but after the break that I had and the injury that I had, it was a super-fun time and a great reintroduction. It should serve me well from a training perspective for this race.
iRunFar: You were seventh here last year, if I remember correctly, and since then you’ve moved to the Mill Valley area. I don’t remember exactly which town, but basically very near the course. You know it really well now. How much of an advantage do you think that is, going into a race like this?
Bowman: I certainly hope that it’s an advantage, but yes, you’re right. I live very, very near the course and train on it nearly every day. From that perspective, I think I’m totally prepared. I certainly won’t get lost. It’s a great course. I’m really excited for us to be able to run the original course since it got sort of thwarted last year with the weather. It will just be really fun to have the whole community out here and racing on my new sort of ‘home’ trails.
iRunFar: You’ll definitely have a lot of friends at aid stations and out on the course. That will be great. What’s interesting in a race like this is it’s so very deep especially in the very top guys to 30 back. How do you go into it shooting for a performance? Do you go in with the mindset that it is all out from the gun, and “I’m going for the win?” Or do you just set expectations on where you want to be out there? How does that play out in your head?
Bowman: That’s a good question. For me, it’s almost always something I figure out during a race. I try to avoid drafting any serious plan. What I’ll do is try and stay with the group as long as I can. If it feels like some people are going too hard, I’ll make those decisions on the fly. I have certainly been doing the kind of training that I think is necessary to do well here and that is running fast. I certainly hope to have a good day, but if it comes down to a point where I feel my pace is unsustainable, hopefully I’ll be smart enough to make those decisions on the fly.
iRunFar: Has the structure of your training changed since you’ve moved from the Colorado Rockies out here?
Bowman: Yeah, absolutely. Really in just the last couple months since my injury, I’m now working with Jason Koop. He has me do a ton of really intense lactate-threshold-style work which is something I’m totally unfamiliar with. It’s great. I feel really fit. It’s added a new dimension. I think when I was in college, I felt like I was really fast back then. I think I’ve lost some of that in the last few years. It feels good to sort of feel fast again. Hopefully that is something that will allow me to have a good race on Saturday.
iRunFar: There are a lot of fast guys out there this weekend. You’ve at least given a little bit of thought as to who is going to be out there. Who would be your top five?
Bowman: I don’t know. I think Dakota Jones is due a win here on this course. The kid is just crazy talented. Beyond that obviously Miguel Heras has a good track record here. I think guys like Alex Nichols who passed me at mile 42 last year and beat me by seven minutes or something—I think he’s definitely somebody to look out for. Adam Campbell has a good track record with a third and fourth. Local guy, Jorge Maravilla is definitely somebody to look out for. He’s the biggest sandbagger in the field himself.
iRunFar: Definitely look beyond the huge international names. There’s a lot of other talent in there as well.
Bowman: Absolutely. There are probably 15 guys who could probably win the thing.
iRunFar: Awesome. Best of luck being one of them this weekend.
Bowman: Thanks, Bryon. I hope so. Thanks a lot.