Cassie Scallon could be the U.S.’s fastest, female 50-mile runner and she’s running this weekend’s Sean O’Brien 50 Mile. In the following interview, Cassie talks about the long break she was forced to take after The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships in December due to physical issues, her approach to this weekend’s race, and what she’s thinking about racing in 2014 (including, possibly, a road marathon!).
Cassie Scallon Pre-2014 Sean O’Brien 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Cassie Scallon at Topanga Beach, California, before the Sean O’Brien 50. How are you doing, Cassie?
Cassie Scallon: Really good, thank you.
iRunFar: You had a long… you ran a lot of races by the end of the season last year up to TNF 50. You had some really great races throughout the year—course record and win at Lake Sonoma, Ice Age, Tussey Mountainback. You really nailed 50 miles last year. TNF 50 wasn’t your best race. What happened out there?
Scallon: I didn’t go into it with a really good mindset, I think. I don’t know if it was the long season that got to me or what. I just went into it very relaxed and kind of had a good time with it until I ran out of energy. They didn’t have the gels I was expecting at aid stations. It was funny because I said to Kerrie [Bruxvoort] right before the race, “Should I pack a few extra gels?” She’s like, “No, they’re going to have plenty out there.” I don’t know. I mean, not that I had a strong nutrition plan, but I was counting on that and it didn’t happen.
iRunFar: Didn’t happen; just derailed you a little bit. Did you end up taking a break after TNF 50?
Scallon: An unexpected break. I felt like I had taken a lot of time off last year and I didn’t need to take a break after that; but I went out for just a short run right after TNF and right away my leg said, “No way.”
Scallon: So, I haven’t run up until last week when I started running again.
iRunFar: What happened?
Scallon: I don’t know exactly. I don’t think it was a muscle tear like it was earlier in the year. I threw everything at it. I was trying acupuncture for my first time and tuning forks and all kinds of stuff. Something worked.
iRunFar: Everything in the Boulder arsenal.
Scallon: Yes, getting in the Boulder spirit. Yeah, but it’s feeling good now.
iRunFar: So maybe a little fresh going into this; not a lot of training. You ran a lot last year.
Scallon: I ran a lot last year and I’m kind of counting on this being a stepping stone for kind of getting back into things again.
iRunFar: Do you have any particular goals for this race?
Scallon: No, not as far as time goes. I just kind of saw or heard about the course yesterday through the interview that you did; so I’m kind of out here blind. This is a little bit of a birthday present for my brother. I wanted to come out to California with him and visit family here. I bought this for his birthday, so we’re just kind of having a good time.
iRunFar: Having a nice visit out to L.A. Are you sticking around longer than just the race?
Scallon: No, we’re leaving Sunday night. It’s kind of a short trip.
iRunFar: You get to see these hills. You weren’t really expecting as hilly of a course.
Scallon: No. I knew there were going to be some hills, but I heard yesterday, “three to four-mile climbs.” That’s a lot.
iRunFar: From the beach up to the ridges essentially.
Scallon: Hopefully we’ll have good views. This is beautiful.
iRunFar: Yeah, it’s pretty spectacular out here. What else do you have planned for your season? Have you sort of lined up your 2014 a little bit?
Scallon: I’m starting to think about it a little bit. Hopefully… it’s my goal to get a Western States spot here so that that is an option. I’ll be out at Moab Red Hot 55k in just a couple of weeks, but I don’t think I’m going to race there. In March I was thinking I’d really like to do a marathon. I haven’t just done a marathon in years.
iRunFar: A road marathon?
Scallon: A road marathon. So that’s kind of on my mind, but not for sure yet. I’m thinking about maybe traveling out to Oregon in the Northwest towards my birthday at the end of March. I’ve spent my birthday there the last few years. I’ll maybe do a race out there. Cayuga 50—I’m planning on going back to in Ithaca, NY.
iRunFar: Hopefully in a little healthier position.
Scallon: Yeah. Hopefully no hamstring tears there. Also Mad City 100k.
iRunFar: Really. So you’re going to attempt to get a spot on the World 100k team?
Scallon: I’d like to.
iRunFar: What do you think you can do for a flat 100k?
Scallon: I have no idea.
iRunFar: The road marathon might be a good tune-up for that to see what your speed is. Not to get ahead of ourselves—have a great time out there this weekend. Best of luck, Cassie.
Scallon: Thank you.